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Southeast:

GAT vs FAAN:

OMOBUDE:

Unending My Focus Is Controversy To Unite PFN

Marginalisation As A Native Lot

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,498

Alamieyeseigha:

PDP Disowns New APC, Accuses ACN Of Creating Crisis

US May Shelve Planned Obama Visit From Laolu Akande, New York RESIDENT Barack Obama’s P official relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan appears to be in jeopardy, following indications that Obama’s scheduled visit to Nigeria has been suspended over the state pardon granted former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha. It was gathered that the visit had already been agreed upon between governments of the United States and Nigeria, but has to be put on hold as a result of domestic pressure over the Boko Haram menace and Alamieyeseigha, whose corruption case has become a model for government officials in showing America’s new determination to fight kleptocracy around the world. American generals have continued to call for increased pressure against the Boko Haram sect and other terrorist groups in Africa. Speaking at the US Congress, the outgoing Commander of the African Command, General Carter Ham,  warned that “if pressure on Boko Haram decreases, they could expand their capabilities and reach to pose a more significant threat to US interests.” Top officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC had, a few weeks ago, hinted that a principled agreement has now been reached between Nigeria and US government on the need for

Obama to visit Nigeria during his second term. But it is believed that Obama would not want to be identified with the Nigerian president through a state visit to Abuja, if the current wave of negative feelings and impact in the US over the pardon persists. Since the pardon was announced by the Nigerian government, western news agencies and press, including Associated Press, New York Times and local TV networks have made a big deal of the story, which sources said sent shock waves across US government circles, including State Department, Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department-all US government agencies that were involved in dealing with the US end of the Alamieyeseigha corruption case.  Reflecting what is clearly the dominant perception of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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• No New Party Listed On INEC Website By Ehichioya Ezomon (Lagos) and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja) ONTROVERSY over the C emergence of African Peoples Congress and others using the acronym ‘APC’ got messier yesterday with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disowning its promotion. Rather, the ruling party accused the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) of creating the body and similar ones to attract sympathy from the public. This is coming, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not listed any new political party on its website, signifying that the commission has not registered the controversial APC or any other one for that matter. The website has only the 25 names of the political parties (one of them registered only in November 2012) that surCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

NEWS 3

Army Receives Arms, Ammunition From Militants NEWS 4

2015: Tukur This Vote Must Count... Aged man casting his vote in Kubwa Village during the Area Council election in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Meets Southeast Leaders

Govt Withdraws DANA’s Licence By Wole Shadare HE Federal Government may T have withdrawn the operating licence of DANA Air. A Director in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), who does not want his name in print, confirmed the withdrawal of airline’s Certificate (AOC).

Airline Meets Minister Today The source, however, did not give reason for the Ministry’s action, but disclosed that the decision was conveyed to the airline by the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA),

Nnamdi Udoh. The Guardian learnt from the airline yesterday that one of the batteries of the MD 83 aircraft was faulty and the captain statutorily notified the NCAA as required by law.

Based on this, the Minister called for the withdrawal of the airline’s licence, a situation that would further compound the airline’s woes, less than three months after it resumed operation. An official of DANA said the Minister has invited the airline management to Abuja for a

meeting scheduled for today at 11am. This is the first time the airline’s licence would be withdrawn. Its operations were grounded after the devastating crash of June 3, 2012 in Iju Ishaga, Lagos. But spokesman for the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


TheGuardian

2 | Sunday, March 17, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

PDP Disowns New APC, Accuses ACN Of Creating Crisis CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 vived its deregistration hammer of 28 parties on December 6, 2012. The PDP has been under fire from the merging All Progressives Congress (APC) since the appearance of the shadowy African Peoples Congress, which also uses the ellipsis, ‘APC’. The merger parties had alleged that the PDP and the Presidency, working hand in glove with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), were complicit in the formation of the mysterious APC, and its application to the commission for registration as a political party. The emergence of another abridged All Patriotic Citizens (APC) on Thursday, even as the rival African Peoples Congress was unveiling its national headquarters, logo, manifesto and constitution to the public, added to the confusion that had seized the polity in the past weeks. Although the All Patriotic Citizens, which also unveiled its documents and secretariat in Abuja, said it was withdrawing its application to INEC, thus leaving two ‘APCs’ on the laps of the commission, the PDP said the ACN was responsible for the crisis rocking the merger arrangement of some opposition parties. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, in Abuja, the PDP also dismissed as untrue, speculation that it was behind the formation of the African Peoples Congress, to create an acronym crisis for the merging parties. The statement reads in part: “We wish to state here that the PDP is not responsible for the ill fate already befalling the ill conceived merger of opposition groups. “We strongly suspect that the current drama on ownership of name may have been contrived by the ACN to attract attention to themselves and earn undue sympathy.   “This plot has played out in the sudden emergence and withdrawal of a third group bearing the acronym APC.” Metuh said the question is, could the merger group be creating a scenario where they would compete within themselves and claim “victory”  after overheating the polity with phantom parties? Holding that the capacity of the opposition for mischief had never been in doubt, he said the

PDP would not be surprised to find out at the end of the day that “the merger parties are behind this needless crisis.” It added. According to him, no member of the PDP was involved  in the formation of any other political organisation, neither were they interested in the activities of any other party. He noted that the alleged involvement of one Ugochinyere Imo Ikenga in the formation of the other APC had no bearing whatsoever on the PDP. “From our findings, Mr. Ikenga’s  recent activities, including his unsavoury attacks and illicit campaign for the dissolution of the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (of the PDP) makes him an estranged fellow and therefore can never be an agent of the PDP in anyway,” he said. However, Metuh said the PDP welcomes a strong and virile opposition and does not feel threatened by the emergence of any group. “We have no cause to frustrate any alliance as we have always defeated such coalitions in the recent past,” he said. “The PDP remains focused on strengthening its bond with the Nigerian people and will not be distracted by self-inflicted chaos among a rudderless group without an agenda of service to the Nigerian people.” Meanwhile, the battle by three political associations over which of them owns or should use the acronym, ‘APCs’, may after all be a media affair. Reason: None of the disputing association’s name — the All Progressives Congress (APC), African Peoples Congress (APC) and All Patriotic Citizens (APC) — is on the INEC website, as a perusal by The Guardian revealed yesterday. Specifically, the African Peoples Congress, which has raised the dust these past weeks, has not been registered by the INEC. The website has only the 25 names of existing political parties, which survived the commission’s deregistration hammer of 28 parties on December 6, 2012. The entire names, which include the National Conscience Party (NCP), are: Accord (A), Action Alliance (AA), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), African Democratic Congress (ADC), All Nigeria

Peoples Party (ANPP), African Peoples Alliance (APA), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The rest are: Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), Kowa Party (KP), Labour Party (LP), Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP), United Democratic Party (UDP), and the United Progressive Party (UPP), that was registered in November 2012. The NCP recently took INEC to court in anticipation of the commission’s threat to further deregister some political parties. However, the court ruled on March 6, 2013 that the commission has power to de-list parties. Even though the emerging All Progressives Congress has not submitted a letter of intent on the proposed party, the INEC has posted on its website newspaper reports/analyses about the association’s activities. Such materials, headlined, ‘APC Registration: Why INEC Must Tread Carefully’, ‘The APC Marching On’, and ‘Merger This Time’ were posted as recently as February 18, March 13 and March 14, 2013, respectively. On December 18, 2012, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, while defending the commission’s action against the 28 parties, promised that the electoral body would soon commence registration of new political parties “that meet the requirements for registration.” Those requirements are provided in Section 222 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which, among others, states that: • No association by whatever name called shall function as a party, unless the names and addresses of its national officers are registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission. • The membership of the association is open to every citizen of Nigeria irrespective of his place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion or ethnic grouping. • A copy of its constitution is registered in the principal office of the INEC in such form as may be prescribed by the INEC; any alteration in its registered constitution is also regis-

tered in the principal office of the Independent National Electoral Commission within 30 days of the making of such alteration. • The name of the association, its symbol or logo does not contain any ethnic or religious connotation or give the appearance that the activities of the association are confined to a part only of the geographical area of Nigeria. • The headquarters of the association is situated in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Going by these constitutional provisions, none of the disputing political associations has met the requirements for registration; certainly not the African Peoples Congress (APC), or All Patriotic Citizens, whose promoters claimed otherwise in Abuja on Thursday. At the unveiling of the association’s logo, manifesto, constitution and national secretariat, the National Chairman of the African Peoples Congress, Chief Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, brandished before journalists an acknowledgement letter from the INEC, based on the association’s letter of intent to the commission. Similarly, at a press conference in Abuja, the National Director of Operation of the All Peoples Citizens, Mr. Oliver Ike, released a statement, indicating that the group had submitted its application to INEC for registration. The application, dated March 8, 2013, bore INEC’s acknowledgement stamp of March 11, 2013. With its membership consisting of “patriotic Nigerians that have genuine concern for the plight of Nigerian masses,” the associa-

tion’s national office is situated at Plot 1385, Gurara Street, off IBB Way, Maitama, Abuja, and its logo consists of a slanted lantern. According to Ike: “We are committed to the re-engineering of our political, economic and social foundations to eschew politics of bitterness and build a new, united and prosperous Nigeria under good democratic governance.” The association has reportedly withdrawn its application to INEC, citing the need to “eschew politics of bitterness.” Nonetheless, leaders of the merging opposition parties, led by Chief Tom Ikimi, maintained that for weeks, they had sensitised Nigerians, including the INEC, about their plan to merge. This, they said, culminated in the February 6, 2013 press conference to announce the agreement of the parties to merge under the name, ‘All progressives Congress’.

“The name and acronym have therefore become the intellectual property of the merging parties since February 6, 2013 and it has received very wide publicity in the print and electronic media,” the group said on Thursday in Abuja. While stressing that they had begun all requirements to formalise their merger under the name, APC, the leaders said they were socked when INEC said it had received a letter from a “faceless and an unknown group” with the acronym, APC. “The obvious motive of this letter is to attempt, albeit in futility, to scuttle the registration of the All Progressives Congress, which has been so widely publicised and well-received to the discomfort of the establishment,” the parties said. They said they had written to the INEC on the development and advised it not to allow its credibility to be undermined by political hirelings and their faceless sponsors.

DANA Air Grounded CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Minister of Aviation, Joe Obi, said it was not true that the airline’s licence was withdrawn. Spokesman for Dana, Tony Usidamen, was yet to confirm the development as at press time. Dana’s Lagos-bound plane had, on June 3, 2012, crashed into a heavily populated area a

few minutes to the airport. The outcome of the investigation, which was released last month, confirmed that the inability of the pilot to turn on the fuel pumps led to the failure of the two engines and the eventual crash of the plane, killing about 160 people. Subsequently, the airline was grounded following public outcry over the incident.

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, Chief Launcher, Arthur Ezeh and Chairman Visa Phone, Jim Ovia during the fund raising for St. Stephen’s Anglican Deanery and Youth Development Centre, Otuoke, held in Lagos… yesterday.

Obama’s Planned Visit In The Balance Over Boko Haram, Alamieyeseigha’s Pardon CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Americans, the New York Times reported that  “conviction for corruption by top officials in Nigeria are so rare that they are treated as national milestones. So, when the government rolled back one of the most prominent of them this week, the shock was commensurate.” But the plans by both sides to advance the visit were already

being considered with meetings set up between Nigerian officials with different US officials in Washington DC. But sources said, over the weekend, that the international shock of the Alamieyeseigha’s pardon might become a significant wheel in the clog of the progress for a US presidential visit. Although the plans for the visit were yet to be made public, US sources said it would

now require “double effort” to make it a reality with the Jonathan presidency’s decision to pardon a well-known corruption case. At least, it is believed that the planned US presidential visit would be delayed until such a time the Jonathan administration improves upon its anti-corruption records in the estimation of the international community. On more than one occasion, the US government, specifically from the US Justice Department, has used the celebrated corruption case of D S P Alamieyeseigha as its major success story. This has involved officials as high as US Assistant AttorneyGeneral Lanny Breuer talking about  the former Governor’s case as a good showcase of America’s resolve. Just like the US Embassy in Nigeria and the State Department have said over the weekend, the US government considers the pardon to

the former governor a setback to Nigeria’s anti-corruption effort, but inside sources fear that it might affect USNigeria relationship, which otherwise has been on an upswing in the last three years under Nigeria’s Ambassador Ade Adefuye. So significant is the Alamieyeseigha’s case that it is being currently used as part of a promotion for an International Financial Crime Conference and Exhibition being planned for this May in Florida by the Association of Financial Crime Specialists. The Alamieyeseigha story is currently running on the website of the association. According to the association and also the US Justice Department, Alamieyeseigha’s case is one of the first targets of the “Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative,’ a new Justice Department unit that uses civil forfeiture laws to track

and seize the US-based assets of corrupt foreign officials. “On June 28, Alamieyeseigha became the programme’s first success story. Federal prosecutors assigned to the Initiative executed a forfeiture order on more than $400,000 the corrupt former official held at a brokerage account with Fidelity Investments, in Boston,” it was stated. It was added that “the governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Bayelsa State in 1999, Alamieyeseigha stole an estimated $12 million from government coffers over six years. He found a safe haven for the extortion, bribes, kickbacks and theft in US real estate and financial accounts In another development, the outgoing US Commander of the American Military Command in Africa, AFRICOM, General Ham has disclosed that much more pressure must be mounted by the US government against Boko Haram in Nigeria. Ham was speaking at a hearing

at the US House Armed Services Committee, where he noted that “in Nigeria, where Boko Haram is conducting a destabilising campaign of violent attacks focused on the northern part of the country, US Africa Command engages with the Nigerian Armed Forces to improve their military capabilities.” He added that the US Africa Command is seeking “to support the development of a professional military that will support a coordinated Nigerian Government effort to address Boko Haram and provide the citizens of Nigeria with responsive governance and improved economic opportunity.” , General Ham reminded the US Congress that “Boko Haram is in contact with al-Qa’ida and recently kidnapped a French family in retaliation for French actions against AQIM in Mali.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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NEWS ‘NYSC Was Not Unfair To Decamped Member’

OGUN By Gbenga Akinfenwa HE National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Ogun State has refuted allegation that it acted unfairly on circumstances surrounding the decamping of a corps member. Ekundayo Tolulope Damilola had been decamped over refusal to put on trousers as required by the scheme’s dress code. It had been alleged that NYSC authorities sent Damilola away from the camp at about 11pm, about two weeks ago. State Coordinator, Mrs. Theresa Anosike, at the weekend, told reporters during a press conference at the Sagamu Orientation Camp that Damilola was not sent packing as alleged. Anosike explained that one Apostle Otaru of Antioch Church, Sagamu, came to pick her up at about 10.27pm, acting on behalf of her pastor, Apostle Paul Adenuga. This, the Coordinator said, was after the corps member had written an undertaking that she could not comply with the camp’s stipulated dress code. “Since it was late, she was advised to go back to her hostel and prepare to leave in the morning. But she told us that her father sent somebody, who was already on the way, to pick her up,” said Anosike.

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Arms and ammunition handed over by the Inter-agency Task Force on Amnesty to the 82 Division Nigerian Army in Enugu… yesterday.

PHOTO: NAN

How We Weakened Boko Haram, Killed Bomb Expert, Others By Ihejirika From Adamu Abuh, Abuja HE Chief of Army Staff, LieuT tenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, at the weekend, reiterated the resolve of the Nigerian Army to deal decicively with the Boko Haram insect. He stated that the Army, in conjunction with other security agencies, has, in the last two weeks, recorded signifi-

cant progress on the war against members of the sect. Speaking after leading officers and men of the Army headquarters garrison in the range classification exercise, held at the 177 Guards Battalion in Keffi, Nasarawa State, he gave a vivid account of how his men got rid of key members of the sect in Sokoto, Maiduguri and Kaduna states.

NATIONAL He said: “I can tell you that, in the last one to two weeks, the operations have been very, very, successful. You are probably aware of the operations conducted in Kaduna, leading to the recovery of several assault weapons. This was followed by the operation conducted under the Joint

Task Force in Maiduguri that also yielded so much recovery of arsenal of the enemy. “The latest is the one in Sokoto during which we were able to take off one of the leaders of the Boko Haram sect. A member, ‘Asalafi’, was one of those on whose head we put a price. We took him off. This was followed by another leader, ‘Danladi’, and yet another called, ‘Doctor’. Doctor is

a bomb-making expert, while Danladi was said to be their Vice President or so. Asalafi was also known from to be their Minister of Defence. The recoveries made in Sokoto are as important as the ones made in Maiduguri and Kaduna. We discovered assault weapons, rocket launchers and pistols and other bomb making materials.”

39,880 Arms, Ammunition Handed Over To Army From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu TASK force set up by the Chief of Defence Staff has handed over a total of 39, 880 assorted arms and ammunition to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army. A breakdown of the arms, which were handed over, yesterday, at the 82 Division’s pa-

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rade ground, included: automatic arms - 482; ammunition - 20,132; magazines - 295, and locally made guns - 18, 971. They were recovered from exmilitants. General Officer Commanding 82 Division, General Adebayor Olaniyi, who spoke shortly after receiving the arms, said

ENUGU it is part of the Federal Government’s amnesty programme, which started in 2009. The GOC said President Jonathan “reasoned that without security there can be no development; he also rea-

soned that if the arms go out of these areas, they would have done grievous harm to the nation.” Commending the task force, he said, “These weapons of mass destruction will be destroyed openly just as they were openly collected from the arms militants.”

Police Parade Suspected Abductors, Request Additional Commands From Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri) and Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt) HE Police in Imo State have paraded five persons over the kidnap of one Emeka Asema. The suspects are: Ndidi Okorie, Onyemauche Chris Ordukwu, Nze Damian Onyenye, Ifeoma Ukachukwu, and Ikechukwu Ossai, Oguta. Commissioner of Police, Mohammad Musa Katsina, said the abduction was planned on Thursday, February 21, and executed on February 24, with the kidnap of Asema, Manag-

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IMO ing Director and owner of Naija Plaza Hotel, Oguta. He disclosed that another suspect, one Chika Richard Nwabirije, is on the run. Meanwhile, Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, has requested the creation of two additional Area Commands in order to combat crime in the state. Mbu made the request during a courtesy  visit to the state  governor, Chibuike

Amaechi, at the weekend in Port Harcourt. The request, if granted, would bring the number of Area Commands in the state to five. The Commissioner explained that he is making efforts to fix all dilapidated police vehicles to effectively monitor crime and enhance security in the state. “The Command is determined to ensure adequate security and not compromise on discipline. The officers must be disciplined, to achieve set goals and the vision of the cur-

rent administration in the state,” he said. Governor Amaechi in his response, charged the new Commissioner to live up to his constitutional responsibilities, noting that there is a fresh upsurge in crime rate in the state. The governor said: “I must tell you that 80 per cent of those who commit crime in the state are arrested. I must commend your officers for that. But I am also aware that there is a little upsurge in crime. And I think we must address it now.”

NATIONAL Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State praised the Federal Government’s initiative in setting up the task force. Chime, represented by the state’s Commissioner for Environment, Mr. John Egbo, urged the Federal Government and security agents not to relent in ridding the Niger Delta of illegal arms. In a speech before handing over the cache, coordinator of the task force, Air Vice Marshal Gbum, said the recovery is in response to new claims and agitations by some groups who felt excluded from the amnesty programme. Recalling that the programme was done in June 2009 and October 2010, he said: “Immediately after these two phases, there were serious agitations by some ex-militants, who claimed that they also surrendered arms and ammunition to JTF and other security agencies, but were excluded from the amnesty programme.

Brokers Explain Depreciation At Stock Market By Godfrey Okpugie (Deputy Lagos City Editor) OTABLE stock market operators including John Osuoha MD/CEO, Funds Matrix and Assets Management Limited, Mr. Ogieva Iyamu, an Investment adviser and stock market analyst, have urged the investing public not to be alarmed by the emergence of the bears in the stock market, on Friday. The development had re-

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sulted in the market sustaining an N83 billion depreciation in market capitalisation and a drop of 256.94 in the All-Share Index. The say the occurrence is normal, because following the long drawn bullish trend, which prevailed in the market for the past few weeks or months, what happened last Friday should not be regarded as abnormal. According to them, discern-

LAGOS ing investors, who have made capital gains in their investment, as a result of the market’s bullishness in the past few months or weeks, felt that they have made enough and therefore, decided to trade off their stocks in order to make profit. Osuoha told The Guardian in a telephone interview that the approaching festive pe-

riod of Easter might be another factor that provoked the excess supply of equities that led to a drop in the market capitalisation and AllShare Index, because investors in need of cash for the occasion may have decided to dispose off their shares to get money. According to him, the other strong reason for the development is insecurity in the country. Investors who have

At Forum, Copyright Owners Advocate Stiffer Penalties For Piracy

realised reasonable capital gains during the period the market was bullish may want to sell to take the little profit they have realised because they are not sure of what the future holds. While describing the occurrence as normal, Osuoha gave assurance that ongoing reforms by regulatory authorities in the market are strong enough to sustain it against any untoward development.

By Gbenga Salau TAKEHOLDERS in the creative industry say if ongoing efforts to reform the Copyright Act would make impact, there must be a database of all creative works, and the Act must feature stiffer penalties, to serve as deterrent. These were the submissions of participants at a two-day stakeholders’ forum, organised by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), and aimed at getting stakeholders’ inputs, as the commission makes effort to update the Copyright Act. Filmmaker, Mr. Mahmood AliBalogun, lamented that piracy is killing the sector and if perpetrators must quit their illegality, penalties must be stiff. He called for a N50, 000,000 fine with option of long jail terms, a position that was reechoed by several participants. Professor Ruth Okediji of the University of Minnesota, one of the facilitators of the programme, said it is important that producers register their works to aid verification and payment of royalties. “Throughout our consultation with the creative industry in Nigeria, we have asked what the challenges are. Every industry has said to me, ‘we have a problem identifying the person who owns the copyright’. So, there is no system in place for people who want to be legitimately part of the copyright system. Copyright is not just one right; you have the right to reproduce the work, or perform the work, in the case of a musical work; you have the right to distribute the work. We have so many rights.

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THE gUARDiAn, Sunday, March 17, 2013

nEWS Seven-man Panel To Probe Alleged Misconduct By Dep. gov

Female Varsity Lecturer Kidnapped From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh Uyo FEMALE lecturer of the department of Biochemistry at the University of Uyo, Dr. Mrs. ime Udotong, was kidnapped last Friday by about four 4 heavily armed men in front of her house, off idoro Road in Uyo, Akwa ibom State. An eyewitness told The Guardian that Mrs. Udotong, whose husband, Prof. ime Udotong, lectures in the department of Microbiology in the same school, was return-

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ing home from work at about 1.30pm when she was blocked by the men and taken away just as she was about to move into her compound. “i suspect she was trailed from school to her house because there is no other way her place would have been known by people other than those close to her. “i noticed that she had observed the car trailing her and she attempted to rush and turn into her compound,

NATIONAL when the kidnappers crossed her car, blocked her and forced her into their own car. “immediately they got her into their own car, they zoomed off in a different direction not from where they came in from,” he said. The eyewitness added that Mrs. Udotong was driving a jeep while her abductors followed her in a salon car and ensured that she was not al-

lowed access into her compound. The development has put fear in the minds of residents of the city, as kidnap cases have not been reported in the state in a long while. Besides, idoro Road, where the incident took place, is where the Mobil Police Base is located. The Guardian learnt that following a distress call, the Operation Thunder squad of the state Police command, arrived

the scene of the incident minutes after the hoodlums had made away with their victim. At the time of filing this report, it is uncertain whether the police or the family has made any contact with the kidnappers. The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Etim Dickson, could not confirm the incident. He told our reporter that he was ill and on admission in one of the hospitals in the state capital.

Low Turnout At Abuja Area Council Polls From Terhemba Daka, Abuja OW turnout marred council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as residents stayed indoors, despite appeal to voters to come out en-masse to elect the council leaders of their choice. The nyanya Road linking the FCT with nasarawa State was deserted, as vehicular movement was restricted at the nasarawa end by men of the

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nigeria Police who mounted a roadblock. in Karu and Jikwoyi in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), residents were seen going about their businesses as inEC officials attended to few voters who queued up at the polling centres to be accredited for voting, which began from 12pm. Ahead of the elections, the Federal Capital Territory’s (FCT) Security Committee on

NATIONAL Friday held an emergency meeting, assuring residents that tight security would be in place to ensure hitch free election. The Committee thereafter announced the restriction of movement between the 7am and 5pm. it also solicited understanding and cooperation from residents.

But at a polling booth located at nyanya 3 Primary/Secondary School, under the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), inEC and Police officials attached to the area had a herculean task controlling youths who thronged the area in large numbers to cast their ballots. it took the prompt intervention of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of nyanya, Aminu garba, who

monitored the elections, to restore normalcy before actual voting began. On the voter apathy during the polls, a resident, Adamu Apeh, attributed the development to loss of confidence in public office holders who “are engaged in corrupt practices”. He told The Guardian that there is therefore no need for people to waste time under the guise of voting.

IMO From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri n compliance with constitutional provisions and directive from the imo State House of Assembly, the imo State Chief Judge, Benjamin njemanze, has appointed a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of gross misconduct by the Deputy governor of imo State, Jude Agbaso. Agbaso is alleged to have demanded and received bribe from the Managing Director of J PROS Company, Joseph Dina. Those appointed by the Chief Judge include Justice J. C. ihekire (Chairman), Vin Onyeka, Egeonu Mere, Elder Humphrey Ajaelu, Mrs. Cecilia Chinyere Oladimeji, Mr. Jim gozie and Oparaku nwarie. According to a statement, the panel is to be sworn-in on Tuesday next week at 9am at the Chief Judge’s court hall.

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Conference On gulf Of guinea Maritime Security Kicks Off

INTERNATIONAL By Kamal Tayo Oropo n inter-ministerial Conference of the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on maritime security in the gulf of guinea will commence in Cotonou, Republic of Benin on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The meeting of Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the 25 countries of the two Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will be preceded by the technical meeting of experts of the Un Offices for West and Central Africa (UnOWA and UnOCA), the gulf of guinea Commission (ggC), international Maritime Organisation (iMO), Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) and the African Union (AU).

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Methodist Boys High School celebrates 135th Founder’s Day Anniversary. At the event were former Military Governor of Lagos State, Mobolaji Johnson (third left); father of Lagos State Governor, Pa Fashola (fourth left), and other celebrants.

2015: PDP Moves To Capture Southeast From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu OW to galvanize the Southeast to ensure it is retained as a stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2015 general elections, was the major point of discussion at yesterday’s meeting of the national leadership of the party with stakeholders of the zone yesterday in Enugu.

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The meeting called by the national Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, The Guardian gathered, was in response to the perceived inroads the newly-formed opposition merger, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had made in the zone as there are serious signals that the people are fast embracing the new political order.

NATIONAL APC had, in the Southeast, formed an Elders’ Committee, headed by Ogbonnaya Onu, as chairman, and Steering Committee, led by Senator Chris ngige, as chairman and Osita izunaso, as Secretary, to harmonise the zone. Sources said that ‘APC fever’ was being embraced by the

PLATEAU people of the Southeast, following alleged marginalisation of the zone, which does not seem to get the attention of the ruling party. Despite the support the zone had given to the PDP since its formation and about 14 years after the party has ruled the country, Southeast still claims to be the “most marginalised zone” in the country, stressing that the way the

country is structured, it was not likely to have a bright future with the PDP. Board of Trustees (BOT) member of the party, Chief Emmanuel iwuanyanwu, recently raised the alarm on how the zone was fast embracing the new opposition merger, describing it as “madness”, even as he lampooned the APC as “lacking ideology and weak foundation”.

Robbery Attack: FAAn Sacks Bureau de Change Operators By Wole Shadare OLLOWing the spate of armed robbery strikes at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, the Federal Airports Authority of nigeria (FAAn), yesterday, ordered all Bureau de change operators at both domestic and international terminals of the Lagos and Abuja

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airports to vacate the areas. The open display of huge amount of money in foreign currencies by the illegal operators has continued to attract armed robbers, thereby endangering lives of security personnel and other users of the facilities. On Wednesday night, over 10

NATIONAL heavily armed persons stormed the car park at the international wing of the Lagos airport, killing two policemen and losing a bandit colleague in the ensuing gunfire. The robbery has, again, revealed the shoddy security

STF gives Free Medical Treatment

arrangement at the nation’s major international airports, as a similar robbery occurred in the airport recently. Last year, robbers attacked the airport and made away with millions of dollars from the same Bureau de Change. All over the airport, inside and outside the terminal, they join

so many unregistered cab operators to pester returning passengers with shouts of “change your dollars, pounds, rand here,” with some of them carrying openly, huge amount of foreign currencies, while the cab drivers equally pester returning travellers to patronise them.

From Isa Abdulsalami, Jos HE two-day Free Medical Outreach carried out by the Special Task Force (STF), Operation Safe Haven, which started on Friday, has so far carried out 13 successful surgeries including one caesarean section, three appendectomies, three hydrocaelectomies, four hernioraphies and lumpectomies. About 2,383 patients drawn from Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government councils of Plateau State met with medical doctors on the health team of the STF and were given drugs. Six hundred persons had screening for HiV/AiDS. Four hundred were screened for Hepatitis B while 400 were screened for AntiHepatitis C Virus and 500 had Blood Sugar screenings. The exercise was carried out at the general Hospital, Barkin Ladi. Declaring it open, governor Jonah Jang, who was represented by his Commissioner for Health, Dr. Fom Dakwak, tasked the STF and other security agencies in the state to identify and arrest persons involved in isolated assassinations and attacks.

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 17, 2013

NEWS

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NEWS Akinyemi Proposes 25-year Development Plan For Nigeria ORMER Foreign Minister, Frecommended Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has a 25-year development plan for Nigeria to aim to be in High Development category in the Human Development Index within five years. Using the yardstick in the Human Development Report, he said Nigeria should aim for an annual increase by 10 to 15 positions, away from its current position of 156 out of 186 countries in the 2011 report. Akinyemi noted that Nigeria has always been ranked in the Low Human Development in

NATIONAL the Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and to move up the ladder “will necessitate more funds in the education, power and health sectors.” The UNDP groups countries into four categories, namely, Very High Human Development, High Human Development, Medium Human Development and Low Human Development, but it was only in 2009 that Nigeria

moved up to the last position in the Medium Human Development level. However, Akinyemi, a former Director-General of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos, said his envisaged development plan would emanate from a National Conference. “This 25-year plan can only emerge from a National Conference where the elite, from all over the country, driven by the fact that if they don’t hang together, they will hang separately, will bury suspicion and

age-old fears and grievances to save themselves and the nation,” he said. At a one-day national seminar on corruption hosted by the Niger State government in Minna last Thursday, the Professor of International Relations and Diplomacy laid out his suggestions based on the following: • Genuine war against corruption, with no bail for those charged with corruption, no appeal to high courts during the trial and life imprisonment with forfeiture of all as-

sets stolen. The onus should be on the accused to prove he or she acquired the assets legitimately. • There must be a conscious constitutional and public policy effort to grant all Nigerians a feeling of belonging and inclusiveness. Noting that perception is often stronger than reality, he said there is no justification for the Northeast and Southwest zones to have been excluded from the top 12 posts at the federal level, just as there is no justification for the

two National Assembly subcommittees coordinating the Constitutional Amendments process to have been headed by two chairmen from the same zone (Southeast) in the country. • No federal office holder should have an ADC, Press Secretary, Special Assistants or Chief of Staff from his own zone. • In each State Assembly, 10 per cent of the seats should be reserved for non-indigenes. • In each state cabinet, at least two posts must be reserved for non-indigenes. • Federal Ministries should be graded in terms of strategic importance and appointment of Ministers should be such that all zones are represented in each grade. • There should be a war on poverty such that by the end of that 25-year period, those below the poverty level will be less than one per cent. • Using the yardstick in the Human Development Report, Nigeria should aim for an annual increase by 10 to 15 positions and aim to be in the High Development category within five years. This will necessitate more funds in the education, power and health sectors. • There should be adoption of policies designed to generate massive employment. • There should be a firm commitment to religious tolerance, as nothing will emphasise this more than people of different faiths occupying the posts of Governor and Deputy Governor in states with a multi-religious complex.

Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (left) with project managers during an inspection of Ilo-Awela Road project, Ota, Ogun State… on Friday.

Pension Firm Seeks Rapprochement The Guardian Shines At NUJ Award With PenCom T was harvest of awards for NATIONAL By Joseph Onyekwere

ITING shareholders’ and fund contributors’ interest, the Board of First Guarantee Pension (FGPL) has called on the Acting Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amaizu, to resolve the case it (PenCom) had with the former management of the FGPL. The Chairman of FGPL Board, Chief Ojo Orlando Olaiya, said

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the company is ready to resolve whatever differences might have existed between FGPL and the past management of the pension fund regulators. He pledged the readiness of the Board to work with the new PenCom team towards a just resolution of the crisis and expressed optimism that the new DG would have a successful tenure.

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The Guardian at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) National Journalists Award 2012 held in Abuja at the weekend. The Guardian’s Science and Health reporter, Emeka Anuforo, won three awards. The categories are the Energy Reporter of the Year, the Science/Technology Reporter of the Year, and the Agriculture Reporter of the Year. The panel of judges described Anuforo as a prolific

writer whose contribution to the journalism profession is uniquely remarkable. Adebayo Solomon of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) won the Journalist of the Year, going home with cash prize of N1million. About 12 different awards were given out to journalists in recognition of their hardwork and commitment.

Malawi Agog, As AMAA Unveils 2013 Nominees From Chuks Nwanne, Lilongwe, Malawi HE sleeping town of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, was alive on Friday, as movie stars from different parts of the continent stormed the territory for the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) Nomination Party 2013. Staged at the Bingu wa Mutharika International Conference Centre, the night of glitz and glamour was graced by top government officials of Malawi led by the president, Joyce Banda and her husband Richard Banda. Representing Nigeria are top Nollywood stars such as Kanayo O Kanayo, Nse IkpeEtim, Victor Osuagwu, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotah, Ossy Ukaeje, Paul Obazele, Mmadu Chikwendu and others. Malawi Minister of Culture And Tourism, Rachel Mazombwe thanked AMAA for choosing Malawi to host this year’s nomination party. She acknowledged with gratitude,

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the support by the Film Association of Malawi and members the ministry in making the event a successful one. “Our artistes are undergoing training in different areas of movie making. Very soon, Africans and the world at large would know the Malawian culture through films. This is coming from a background that most Malawians know about Nigerian culture through movies. That is what we hope for as a ministry responsible for culture that one day many people in the world should know about Malawian culture through Malawian movies.” According to Mazombwe, staging the event in Malawi has created an opportunity for visitors to see the beauty of the country and also provide a platform for the country to market its potentials. “This award ceremony will be viewed by over 50million viewers around the world. This is a rare opportunity to sell the country as both a tourism and film destination. This is an op-

INTERNATIONAL portune time for Malawi, the warm heart of Africa, to host such grand events when government has declared tourism a priority area. We, as a nation, need more of these events to market our beautiful land. Film industry is one of the biggest employers and an important tool for revenue generation and tourism promotion in a country. Therefore, investment in this area will go a long way in empowering the youth and improving the socio-economic status of the country.” In her formal statement, the CEO of AMAA Peace Anyiam Osigwe described Malawi as a country with so much potential, urging the government to see a way of tapping from the opportunities provided by AMAA, with the training of 200 youths in different aspects of filmmaking. The CEO of AMAA also urged African leaders to see away of

opening the borders to allow free movement among Africans. This, she noted, would help in uniting the continent. Osigwe also called on corporate organisation to come to the aid of the Malawian film industry and other African countries by supporting their projects. In her keynote address, Malawian President, Joyce Banda expressed her joy over the decision to stage the Nomination Party in her country, describing it as an opportunity to grow the local film industry. According to Banda, development of the creative art industry is one of the major components of the Youth Job Creation Initiative by her government Unveiling the nominees, Shaibu Husseni informed the decision of the jury not to award any movie for the Best Diaspora Short Film as the works submitted did not meet with the requirements. The event was spiced with

‘Assess Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda Fairly’ ECRETARY-General of the SDevelopment United Niger Delta Energy Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), Comrade Tony Uranta, has called for unbiased assessment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda. He stated this shortly after an independent assessment of Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) hostel project at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, alleged to

NATIONAL have been abandoned. He said the Transformation Agenda of the President is on track while urging Nigerians to assess the achievements of the administration. “We have done an on-the-spot assessment of the university hostel. And from what we have seen, work is in progress. It is most uncharitable for anyone to say that the project is abandoned,” Uranta said.

Canadian Foundation Donates Anti-retroviral Drugs To Benue CTLAP Children FoundaBENUE Ation of Canada has donated anti-retroviral drugs to SEV-VA Foundation, a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) run by Benue State First Lady, Dooshima Yemisi Suswam. The anti-retroviral drugs donated by the Canadian foundation’s representative, Mrs. Patricia Aghayere, are meant to support the efforts of the First Lady through her foundation to ameliorate the

plight of people living with HIV in the state. The donation was by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). NAFDAC Director General, Dr. Paul Orhii, was personally present during the presentation to assure them of the safety of the drugs, which he said have been tested by the agency.

UBA Foundation Raises Awareness On Prostate Cancer BA Foundation, the corU porate social responsibility (CSR) arm of United Bank for Africa Plc, is organising a mini-marathon in Lagos to create awareness on prostate cancer. The event, which is in part of its annual prostate cancer awareness initiative, is scheduled to hold on Saturday,

LAGOS March 23. The race will commence from the UBA headquarters on Marina and terminates at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. There will also be free prostrate cancer screening as well as other fitness activities.


TheGuardian

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile

Blocked drainage at the market... yesterday.

Ladipo Market… A Return To Status Quo Some of the mechanic workshops on the drainage’s Right of Way (RoW) have resurfaced and it is back to business as usual, making passage through the market difficult for pedestrians and motorists. The much-emphasized abuse of sanitation laws and indiscriminate dumping of refuse into drainage channels have also returned. By Gbenga Akinfenwa When The Guardian visited the market on Thursday, the canal was littered with objects, ranging from plastic bottles, nylons, RADERS and patronizers of Ladipo auto spare parts market edible goods and human waste, a mixture of which sent putrid in Mushin area of Lagos can now heave a sigh of relief after the ban placed on their means of livelihood was lifted with the reopening of market last week, which was closed on Monday, February 25 by the state government. The reopening, which came days after Governor Rochas OkoIt is not an easy task getting people off the street, rocha of Imo State accompanied his Lagos State counterpart, Babatunde Fashola, to inspect Ladipo, was not without some but a process is being worked out to ensure total conditions, as traders were compelled to sign an agreement compliance with the agreement. Most of the wastes with government to abide by the state’s environmental laws and raise the sanitary standard of the market. in the canal were carried down from Shogunle. This Shut for what government described as abuse of sanitation is why we requested that the stretch of the canal laws, indiscriminate dumping of refuse into drainage channels and construction of stalls on road setbacks and drainage passing through the market should be fenced to prealignment, the state last Monday reopened the market. vent traders from dropping waste into it. The agreement to keep the peace and environment clean was jointly signed by president of the Ladipo Central Executive Committee (LASEC), Ikechukwu Animalu; secretary of Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealers’ Association, Steve Paul; chairman, Mushin Local Government, Babatunde Adepitan; and Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services in the ministry, Muyideen Akinsanya. The conditions reeled out to the traders include the non-conversion of the drainage right of way to trading points and mechanic workshops, non-conversion of the access roads in the market to trading points, non-conversion of the shops in the market to residential apartments, no dumping of wastes and vehicle parts into the canal, and maintaining the cleanliness of the market at all times.

For most traders at Ladipo auto spare parts market, two weeks of closure is not enough to wean off old habits, as agreement signed before reopening the market is flagrantly flouted days after.

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odour hanging in the air. Similarly, activities of traders along the Toyota bus-stop is also affecting vehicular and human movement due to indiscriminate parking and trading on the service lane of the expressway, making concerned Nigerians wonder if the traders learnt no lessons for the two weeks the market was closed. HEN the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of LASEC, Onyeka W Igwe, was contacted, he said the executives are doing everything possible to maintain the agreement signed with the state government. According to him, it is not an easy task getting people off the street, but a process is being worked out to ensure total compliance with the agreement. He added that most of the waste in the canal, highlighted as an abuse of the sanitation laws, were washed down to the market from Shogunle, while the empty cans, nylons and plastic bottles were dropped mostly by their customers. “Most of the wastes in the canal were carried down from Shogunle. This is why we requested that the stretch of the canal passing through the market should be fenced to prevent traders from dropping waste into it. On the careless attitude of some of our customers who drop wastes arbitrarily, we would put a stop to that with the purchase of waste bins placed at strategic locations in the market,” he said. It is, however, hoped that the traders would keep themselves in check before Fashola is forced to wield the big stick again.

UT like the proverbial dog that returns to its vomit, barely B three days after the reopening, the traders have returned to their old ways, despite the agreement signed by their executives to ensure compliance with the rules. Though the illegal shops and shanties that constituted nuisance to the public lay in ruins, many of the displaced traders have taken over the spaces. The access road from the market to Mushin, which was free during the closure, had been partially blocked, as engine scraps have begun to surface by the roadside. And if the market leaders do not take urgent steps, the large pool of displaced traders may pose serious security threat to users of the market. Most of them were seen loitering around Abandoned vehicles at Toyota bus-stop service lane on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway. the setback of the canal and wandering along the road.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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CITYFILE

Ijegun Explosion: Community Still In Fear Five Years On By Wole Oyebade HE last has not been heard of the pipeline explosion that killed over a dozen and destroyed properties in Ijegun suburb of Lagos five years ago. victims have since waited for compensation that has never come. Now, the unexpected health hazard of the disaster is catching up with the community. Till date, the neighbourhood that was up in flames that fateful day, still finds fuel in their underground storage systems, wells and soil, coupled with petrol fume oozing day and night. “The fume could not have been worse than that of a refinery,” a resident told The Guardian. The explosion on May 16, 2008, occurred after a bulldozer struck an oil pipeline. Road construction workers accidentally broke the underground pipeline from which fuel spilled out; moments later, an explosion occurred. The incident was a deviation from other explosions usually caused by pipeline vandals and oil thieves in the country. The Ijegun explosion had occurred barely five months after a similar explosion in Abagbo village in Iru Local Government that claimed about 50 lives. Similar incidents in the past were recorded in Ije Ododo and Abule Egba in 2006 with about 200 deaths. The resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that government and oil corporations in Nigeria had always blamed oil thieves for explosion to absolve themselves from responsibility, “but the case is different in Ijegun. “Government has not deemed it fit to compensate us or help the community from environmental and health hazards of living in a polluted environment. In the last five years, the water in this compound has not been useful even for bathing or washing. With the present severe heat, the smell is now suffocating us. You need to come here in the afternoon to see its full impact.

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Scene of the explosion five years ago. We cannot stand it,” he said. On the day the disaster struck, the spilled content made its way from the pipeline at Ijegun, descended the slope and streamed across streets into houses. The fire reportedly gutted more than 15 homes and over 20 vehicles, including the compound of a septuagenarian, Soewu.

Pa Soewu’s compound grappling with environmental impact of the pipeline explosion at Ijegun.

OEWU, 73, recalled with pains how many of his Sworrisome valuables were lost in the incident, but most for him, was the environmental hazard that has since become the lot of residents. “More or less, we have become endangered species in our own homes,” he said. Taking the reporter round his renovated house, he pointed at a cordoned portion and said: “This is my well that has since been abandoned. It cannot be useful again because the fuel spill hasn’t cleared.” Continuing, he said: “Even when we flush in toilets, the fume fills the air. The soak-away tank suddenly collapsed on February 18, 2013. It was not placed in vacuum. The slab that collapsed was nine inches thick. It has started to show the adverse effect of the petrol underground. “fortunately that day, the petrol passed through this compound and percolated here. The whole house was gutted by fire. If it had gone ahead, it would have affected the filling station three compounds away and the whole community would have been consumed.” When The Guardian visited, the soil that was removed from the ground to cover the collapsed soak-away had traces of fuel deposits in it coupled with accompanying fume. Soewu noted that the community and victims had been making claims since 2008 but they have not gotten a dime from concerned authorities. More so, the road construction has since been abandoned by Hi-Tech Construction Company, whose earth-moving equipment burst the pipeline, while the state of the road is now worse than it was before the rehabilitation that ended in disaster. “Since the incident happened, they have not done anything. We, in fact, sued Lagos State gov-

ernment, Hi-Tech, NNPC and PPMC. Till date, we are yet to receive any succour from the authorities, which is really saddening. “This is a compound that once haboured trees of different fruits. They have all die off. I’m living in danger. My borehole has petrol in it, plus lots of sediments. We usually add alum to the water to make it useful for washing, but we cannot drink it. With this situation, ideally there should have been relocation,” he said. NvIRONMENTALISTS in the country noted that E the disaster would have been averted if NNPC had heeded calls by the community that there was danger in the neglect of the old pipeline and carried out integrity checks on its facilities. Environmentalist under the aegis of Environmental Right Activists and Friend of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) flayed NNPC’s handling of the incident several years after, saying there was nothing meaningful on ground to guarantee there would be no recurrence. Executive Director of the group, Nnimmo Bassey, said it was distressing that victims of “NNPC carelessness” in Ijegun were yet to be adequately compensated and rehabilitated even after petitions they wrote to the corporation and government. “Such response to an incident of this calamitous magnitude exposes the value government places on the lives of its citizens. “It is particularly regrettable because before the incident, several letters from the community intimating the corporation of the dangers posed by the shallow depth of the pipeline, and therefore its susceptibility to explosion, were never acknowledged until the incident happened. Repeated letters on the need to compensate the people have also been unattended to,” he said.

Still On FERMA’s Unending Rehabilitation At Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway By Gbenga Akinfenwa T was cheers and thumbs up by road users for the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) six weeks ago after its intervention on the Sango/Tollgate section of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, in compliance with the agency’s ‘Operation Zero Potholes’ new initiative. It is, however, a different tale after FERMA extended its intervention to Ajegunle and Iyana-Ipaja axis in Lagos State, and Owode section in Ogun State. Instead of receiving accolades for alleviating the pains of commuters and road users, the agency is being jeered at for foot-dragging at the site and using manual labour to do palliatives on the highway. The expectation that a quality job would be done that would stand the test of time is also suspect. It was discovered that the Tollgate section of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway was yet to be com-

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pleted, while the road from IyanaIlogbo through Owode, Joju, Tollgate, Alakuko, Ijaye, Abule-Egba, Super, Ile-Epo/Oja, Iyana-Ipaja to Dopemu, which is in dire need of urgent attention, had been left for areas that are of less priority. Two weeks ago, FERMA had left the Ajegunle site while still working at the Iyana-Ipaja end, applying asphalt layer on the bad sections of the road. The FERMA engineer in charge of Ogun State, Alexander Mazoya, in a recent chat had promised a permanent solution to the traffic logjam at the Owode axis. When The Guardian visited the project site at Owode, which is in a serious state of disrepair, workers were seen digging and clearing the blocked drainage on both sides of the road, but residents are raising doubts over the durability of the rehabilitation using manual labour. Confronting Mazoya with the fears about competence raised by residents and motorists, he said contracts were awarded to indigenous firms for various sections of

the road such as Iyana-Ilogbo, Temidire and Wasinmi, but the contractors are not reporting to site at the same time. He, however, raised the hopes that work would resume on all the affected sections before the rain comes. The contractor handling the tollgate project, which he said would resume last week to put finishing touches to their unfinished work, was yet to show up at the site at the weekend. Mazoya added that FERMA do not pay contractors until the projects are completed though they are mobilized to move to site. He also gave the assurance that an enduring rehabilitation would be carried out at Owode. “After clearing the drainage, asphalt would be laid on the section. Work would also be extended for another 100m on the Owode Township road to ease the pressure on the expressway. We notice that whenever it rains, erosion from the township road is washed to the expressway,” he said.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

8

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

By Stanley Azuakola

GEJ Touts His Jobs Record To Pope Francis HE Federal Government of Nigeria has sent a message of congratulations to the new pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. In the message personally signed by President Jonathan, the government used the opportunity to prove that it was operating based on sound biblical principles. Jonathan said: “Recently, my government announced that in 2012, we created 195,534 Jobs, but the bias Nigerian media reported that we created 195,534 jobs. You see, there is a difference between Jobs and jobs. What business do we have creating jobs? Is that scriptural? Our official policy is to create lots of Jobs, like the long-suffering Job in the Bible; not jobs and definitely not Steve Jobs. We are trying to drive Nigerians to a place where they lose everything so that they can trust and rely totally on God, no matter how much the few who are eating the money laugh at them like Job’s friends. This is just to tell you, dear Pope, that we are a god-fearing government. With the way things are going, we are on track this year to double the number of Jobs from that of 2012. They say you are a pope who loves and cares for the absolute poor in society; if that’s true, rejoice and be glad for we are providing a large flock for you in Nigeria.”

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Oil Wells Can’t Fit Into My Cap, Lawan Assures Nigerians AROUK Lawan, the embattled member of the House of RepreFhissentatives, rediscovered his tiny voice last week. Since news of cap-feat came into the open, Lawan has hidden from the spotlight. But following claims by Sen. Ita Enang, that 83 percent of oil blocks in the country are owned by Northerners, Lawan came out promptly to counter. He took offence that Enang would insinuate that “my people, the Northerners have so many oil wells, when a whole me despite all the bribes I collect from people like Otedola to expose them of course, do not have even one? Impossible!” He called on the House to set up an ad-hoc committee to probe the distribution of oil wells among Northern oligarchs in Nigeria and make him the chairman. He said Nigerians have nothing to fear as he has learnt his lessons, besides, “oil wells cannot fit into my cap.”

Jonathan Replies Critics On Alams RESIDENT Jonathan has described as ‘painful’, the fact that NigeP rians are protesting the presidential pardon he gave to himself, even though officially it was the name of his former boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha that was written. According to a source at the villa, the president told a close confidante that what people fail to realise is that granting Alams a pardon is like pardoning himself because “I and Alams are like Siamese twins conjoined at the hips. Unfortunately for me, he has fatter hips, that’s why he can easily do inter-continental gender swap but I can’t.” Meanwhile, Jonathan is considering amending the constitution to give himself powers to grant himself perpetual pardon for anything he has committed, is committing and will commit as president. To achieve this, he has employed as consultant, the judge who granted a perpetual injunction to former Rivers governor, Peter Odili, shielding him from arrest and prosecution.

Two Families United In Love, Grief From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja KPAJESHI in Gwari dialect means ‘Let love abound amongst us.’ It was this love that propelled Dantani Jezhi, a native of Dafara 11 in Kuje area council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to decide to build a house at Bamishi, another village in the same area council, where he took a wife some years back. To further cement the bound between him and his in-laws at Bamishi, Dantani had thought erecting a building there to rent out would make his presence felt despite the fact that he resides with his family in Dafara 11, his own village. His in-law, Jeremiah Ayuba, father of four, had volunteered to assist in the project and so on March 3, Dantani took his children to Bamishi, which is about 15 kilometres from Dafara  11, for the construction work to commence. The work was going on in earnest and everybody was enjoying each others company, when at about 4pm, the cloud darkened and a light shower began. Both men decided to call it quit for the day to return the next day. By this time, the light shower had become slightly heavy and they gathered their children and working tools into a nearby building to take refuge from the rain. Had they known death was lurking in the corners of the seemingly beautiful building, they would have preferred to be drenched by the rain; after all, being drenched does not kill and children especially take delight in running around in the rain. Soon after getting into the building, a strong storm began. Dantani thought the storm would compel them to stay longer in the building. What he did not know was that each of the families would lose a child to the storm. It was the corrugated iron roof that he first saw flying up the sky and before any of them knew what was happening; the building had come down on them. By the

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… As Abuja’s First Rain Leaves Death, Sorrow In Its Wake time the coast was clear, Dantani’s eightyear-old daughter, Abaye, and Jeremiah’s seven-year-old son, Muria, lay dead under the rumbles of the crumbles. EARS flowed, regrets followed, but the T first rain of the year in the area had done what no one could have imagined.  Those who sustained different degrees of injuries were rushed to Gwagwalada specialist hospital for treatment, and by the time The Guardian visited the families during the week, one of Dantani’s daughters was still on admission. With the strong strength of a man, he summoned up courage to narrate his story, but his wife could not alter a word. She was laid on the bare floor gazing at the ceiling of the building and focusing at nothing in particular, with sympathizers milling around her. Abaye was a primary three pupil of LEA primary school. Her pictures adorned the wall in the living room and sympathizers struggled to pull themselves together at the thought of losing such a beautiful and promising child. It was the same tale of grief and gloom at

Bamishi, home of the second bereaved family. While Abaye’s mother gazed at the ceiling, it was a never-ending flow of tears for Muria’s mother. Asking her anything only made the tears flowed more freely, while there is a feeble attempt to murmur some incomprehensible words. Muria’s father, Jeremiah Ayuba, waxed philosophical when he said he shared an undeniable love and interest with Dantani. “We were interested in each other’s wellbeing and progress that when the issue of the building came up, I was so happy to volunteer myself for the project.” He added that the stormy period being experienced by both families would only make their love stronger. For Abaye and Muria, the end of their promising future may have ended abruptly, but the two families are still united in love.

We were interested in each other’s wellbeing and progress that when the issue of the building came up, I was so happy to volunteer myself for the project. This stormy period being experienced by both families would only make our love stronger

Late Muria Jeremiah

CROWNED CLOWN (CeeCee) OF THE WEEK FEW things became as clear as day last week. The first is that A Goodluck Jonathan has neither the will nor the measure of a man willing to fight corruption in Nigeria. God and conscience will not pardon us if we fail to speak the truth that: A leader who places an official seal of approval on corruption – like Jonathan did by granting a presidential pardon to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha – cannot possibly provide infrastructure or fix power or possess the moral force needed to inspire a nation. Jonathan has no sense of history, no self-awareness of his role in the Nigerian collage, and no foresight beyond what he sees in front of his nose. One other thing, which became clear is that there is no depth, which men like Doyin Okupe and Tony Uranta cannot sink to; no mire so unclean that they cannot bathe in; and no injustice so grave that they cannot defend. Okupe likened the Alams pardon to that of Awolowo and Ojukwu, while Uranta perversely asked if Alamieyeseigha should not be pardoned because he is a minority. Shame! But the ultimate shame belongs to the president. We can ignore perennial hacks like Okupe and Uranta, but of all men, Goodluck Jonathan is inexcusable. The Alamieyeseigha pardon is a blight on the Jonathan presidency, a stain that no amount of bleaching can fix. President Jonathan is an unpardonable clown and takes the CeeCee this week.

Late Abaye Dantani

Sympathizers at the bereaved home.

Oshiomhole, Works Minister In Billboard War Over Roads Rehabilitation Federal Government. Reason for the controversy is that the state OR the second time, Edo State government government is constructing additional lanes and the Federal Ministry of Works are enon both sides of the road and beautifying the gaged in a war of words over who is doing five junction through RCC, which incidentally what on some roads in the state. is the same contractor handling the Federal The first sign of conflict was noticed when on De- Government’s rehabilitation of the Benincember 15, 2011, the state governor, Adams OshOfosu-Lagos Road, starting from Kilometre iomhole, ordered the demolition of signposts 0.00 in Benin City. erected by the Federal Government on roads it However, the Works Supervisor for RCC, Yanic claimed to be constructing, which was being Dabah, last week confirmed that the project done by the state. around Five Junction is exclusively financed by Giving the order while inspecting construction Edo State. According to Dabah, “The road, erowork in some parts of Benin City, the state capital, sion control, beautification and street lights at along Ugbowo-Lagos Road, the governor had said the Five-Junction are being financed and exeit was a “mischievous” attempt by the Minister of cuted by the state government.” Works, Mike Onolemenmen, to give the impresBut a paid advertorial in a national daily on sion that the ongoing work along the road was a Monday, signed by D.U Orji, a Federal ConFederal Government project, when it was not. troller of Works, dismissed the claims made by This controversy resurfaced again recently dur- Dabah, who he said had been quoted out of ing a town-hall meeting organised by the Good context. He said the work of the Federal GovGovernance tour led by the Minister of Informa- ernment in the area was very clear and distinct tion, Labaran Maku, where the Minister of Works from that of the state. was quoted to have said the junction of Akpakpava and Dawson road to Five-Junction, Uselu, UgOWEvER, respondents in the area told The bowo, and Ekiadolor is being handled by the Guardian they are less bothered by the

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

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brickbats thrown by the state and the Federal Ministry of Works as what they want are good roads and erosion control that will forestall a repeat of last year’s experience. Junior Osahon said: “I don’t care what the Federal Government is saying because this place has been like this for years until Oshiomhole’s administration decided to tackle the problem of flood in this area. All I care about is for the job to be done and for this, we salute our Comrade Governor.” The Five-Junction along Uselu, which connects five different locations in the state capital, is a major erosion and flood flashpoint in Edo whenever it rains, causing severe nightmare for road users and residents. It is part of ongoing N30 billion Benin Water Storm reconstruction project. While commending government for the project, which he said would revive the dying commercial activities in the area, Babalola Oluwafemi, a civil engineer, wants a well-structured maintenance procedure to be in place to make the project enduring.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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FOREIGNNEWS

Pope Francis Wants ‘Poor Church For The Poor’ VATICAN OPE Francis has said he wants “a poor P Church, for the poor” following his election as head of the world’s 1.2bn Catholics on Wednesday. He said he chose the name Francis after 1213th Century St Francis of Assisi, who represented “poverty and peace”. He urged journalists to get to know the Church with its “virtues and sins” and to share its focus on “truth, goodness and beauty”. Pope Francis takes over from Benedict XVI, who abdicated last month. The former Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was the surprise choice of cardinals meeting in Rome to choose a new head of the Church. In his first audience at the Vatican, he said Jesus Christ and not the Pope was the centre of the Church, which he stressed was “spiritual not political” in nature. He said the Holy Spirit had inspired the resignation of Benedict XVI and guided the cardinals choosing him as the next pontiff. The Pope said he had been inspired to take the name Francis by a Brazilian colleague who embraced him and whispered “don’t forget the poor” when it was announced that he had been elected Pope. He said he immediately thought of St Francis of Assisi, the Italian founder of the Franciscan Order who was devoted to the poor. As well as representing poverty and peace, he said St Francis “loved and looked after” creation –– and he noted that humanity was “not having a good relationship with nature at the moment”. St Francis of Assisi is said to have loved animals as his “brothers and sisters” and even to have preached to birds. There had been speculation that Pope Francis - who was a member of the Jesuit order - had chosen his name in honour of St Francis Xavier, a 16th Century Jesuit missionary in Asia. But he said this was not the case. The new Pope’s style, according to the BBC, is very different to that of his predecessor. He talks in simple, easy to understand terms about ethical values and shows a remarkable sense of humour, our correspondent says. Earlier, the Vatican said Pope Francis would visit his predecessor Pope emeritus Benedict next week. Pope Benedict, 85, became the first Pope in 600 years to abdicate last month when he said old age and health meant he could no longer continue in the job.

Ivorian Muslims praying… yesterday at the culture palace in Abidjan during the official launch of the days of prayer for repentance, reconciliation, unity, love and peace in Ivory Coast.

Chavez Coffin Arrives At Caracas Museum VENEZUELA HE body of Hugo Chavez has been laid to T rest at a military museum in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. Thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the hearse as it carried his coffin from the military academy where it laid in state for 10 days. Many of his supporters were wearing red, the colour of Mr Chavez’s political movement. Chavez, who led Venezuela for 14 years, died of cancer last week. His coffin was received by a military guard of honour. Religious and political ceremonies were held at the military museum, attended by Mr Chavez’s chosen successor Nicolas Maduro. BBC report in Caracas says it is not yet clear what will happen to Chavez’s body in the longer term.

Odinga Files Election Appeal KENYA ENYAN Prime Minister Raila Odinga has K filed a Supreme Court appeal against Uhuru Kenyatta’s narrow victory in the presidential election’s first round. Mr Kenyatta beat Mr Odinga comfortably by 50.07 percent to 43.28 percent on March 4, avoiding a run-off by only 8,100 votes. But Mr Odinga has accused the electoral authorities of manipulating the result. Police fired tear gas to disperse about 100 supporters of his Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) who had gathered outside the Supreme Court. The police had warned them that they would not be allowed to do so. Some of the crowd were wearing t-shirts bearing slogans including “I support the petition” and “Democracy on trial”. The presidential, legislative and municipal elections held 12 days ago were the first since the 2007 poll, which set off ethnic and political violence in which more than 1,200 people were killed. Mr Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, are facing trial on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly fuelling the unrest. They deny the

PHOTO: AFP

charges. Lawyers for Mr Odinga said their petition to the Supreme Court included allegations of vote manipulation, as well as problems with the registration of voters and an electronic vote counting mechanism. “I have no hesitation whatsoever in lawfully challenging the election outcome,” Mr Odinga told reporters outside his offices in Nairobi. “These failures dwarf anything Kenyans have ever witnessed in any previous election,” he added. However, the prime minister urged his supporters not to resort to violence. “We cannot begin what is supposed to be a new era under a new constitution in the same old ways,” he added, referring to the charter adopted in 2010. The Minister of Lands, James Orengo, a senior Cord official, said the party had a constitutional right to file the petition and a “strong case”. “Expect a new election, and this time around no monkey-business. I think we’re going to win and win in the first round,” he told KTN TV. “I can assure you that we have the evidence, and we have the will and the preparedness to prosecute the petition,” he added.

Maduro asked the National Assembly to reform the constitution to allow Chavez’s body to be buried in the National Pantheon, together with the most important leaders in Venezuela’s history. Chavez, for his part, had said he wanted to be buried in his hometown in Barinas. After Friday’s ceremonies, the country’s Information Minister, Ernesto Villegas, said the government had dropped plans to embalm Chavez for permanent display.

He said the decision was made at the advice of Russian experts who said Chavez’s body had not been properly prepared. The embalming process would take seven to eight months. Earlier in the day, political and military authorities joined Chavez’s relatives for a ceremony at the military academy where his remains lay in state for 10 days. “Thanks, comandante, for giving us back our fatherland,” said one of Chavez’s daughters, Maria Gabriela, in an emotional eulogy.

Pyongyang Tells South To Leave Islands NORTH Korean propaganda website A has warned of strikes against Southern islands and advised residents to leave. The Uriminzokkiri website, linked to the regime, mentioned targets including Yeonpyeong island, which was attacked by Northern forces in 2010. Pyongyang has made a series of threats since its last nuclear test in February prompted the UN to tighten sanctions. The US said on Friday it would refocus missile defences to its west coast to counter the North’s threats. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said 14 more batteries would be placed in Alaska by 2017, adding to 30 already in place along the coast. On February 12 the North tested a nuclear device, which is believed to be its third such test.

NORTH KOREA The UN Security Council condemned the move and tightened sanctions on the regime. Before and after the UN announcement, Pyongyang promised reprisals for the sanctions, including a threat to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the US. North Korean media has also been vitriolic against the South. The Uriminzokkiri website stated: “Even an accidental spark by the belligerents in their war games can grow into a fire. “And the damage for those living along the border and on the five western islands will be great.” The threats came shortly after South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won visited Yeonpyeong.

Congress Approves New Cabinet CHINA HINA’S parliament has approved a new C cabinet, completing the leadership transition that saw Xi Jinping confirmed as president on Thursday. The new team of Communist Party officials takes over as China seeks to maintain the economic growth that has transformed its global role. The new foreign minister is Wang Yi, a former ambassador to Japan previously in charge of Taiwan relations. Other appointments signalled continuity in financial and economic policy. The new finance minister is Lou Jiwei, who was a deputy finance minister and head of

China’s sovereign wealth fund. Central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan was reappointed. The four vice-premiers are Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang and Ma Kai - all veteran Communist Party officials. Liu Yangdong, 67, is the highest-ranking woman in the Chinese leadership, while Wang Yang, 58, is considered a reformer. On Thursday, Xi Jinping was confirmed by legislators as China’s new president, completing the transition of power from Hu Jintao. And on Friday Li Keqiang was confirmed as premier, taking over from Wen Jiabao. The new leaders are expected to spend a decade at the helm of the world’s most populous country and second-largest economy.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, march 17, 2013

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NEWSFEATURE CUSTOmS:Embracing Globalisation, managing Changing Technology By Kikelola Oyebola HE scope of activities of the Customs globally have widened and gone beyond the traditional role of just collecting revenue and securing the borders. Since the 2003 revised Arusha Declaration whereby the World Customs Organisation (WCO) identified the need for a globally networked Customs to ensure seamless real time and paperless flow of information and connectivity, the Customs of the different nations of the world were consequently driven to adopt measures capable of facilitating a more efficient and faster execution of their mandates. members of the WCO also had to fashion out and adopt unique and suitable approaches to be able to cope with the demands and challenges this new trend entails in their respective homes. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), not wanting to be left out of the train of progress is conscious of the necessity to key into the current innovations for enhanced performance of its day-to-day transactions and dealings with the public on one hand and the execution of government policies on the other hand, the harmonisation of which will bring about a greater growth and development of the Nigerian economy. But even if the NCS is desirous of taking the urgent step that will usher in this new era of change and is poised to do so, it is, however, imperative that all stakeholders be carried along for a successful implementation. A thorough understanding of the processes, the cooperation and willingness on the part of the stakeholders to comply with the relevant rules and regulation is required for a smooth operation, which will in turn aid the achievement of the overall aims and objectives. It was in acknowledgement of this fact that a three-day stakeholders workshop/training on Extant Customs and Clearing Procedure was organised by the murtala mohammed Airport Command of the NCS to shed more light on its activities and the moves being made to become more modern and effective. The programme, held in the auditorium of the Customs Officer Wives Association (COWA) Complex in the Area Command from18 to 20 February, 2013, provided an interactive platform for the stakeholders as well as representatives of the Service to discuss in-depth various issues and aspects of the procedures involved in clearing and other pertinent processes. On hand to deliver the ‘message and new gospel of change’ being preached by the NCS were articulate Customs officers who through analytical presentations expressed the readiness of the Service to move forward and embrace the current inevitable reformations. The nitty-gritty of the workings of the NCS was thus laid bare for the layman to grasp. The forum was also used to dwell extensively on as well as solicit for compliance and transparency from all stakeholders that have dealings with the Service in whatever capacity. The exercise was undertaken in a relaxed ambience that encouraged meaningful contribution from participants. The bottom-line is that the NCS is positioning itself to become a modern, compact and dynamic Service that influences and contributes to Nigeria development. In the end, participants were unanimous in their opinion that the workshop had not only served its purpose but that more of such should be con-

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Dikko, Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service ducted in the future to act as a bridge between the Service and the public for a better understanding of the workings and technicalities of the former. Comptroller Eporwei CB Edike, Customs Area Comptroller, mmA said this much at the opening ceremony when he noted that there is a great gap between the NCS and stakeholders, which is impacting on the performance and output of the Service, hence the necessity for the workshop. He implored stakeholders and the public generally to cooperate with the Service and be sincere in all their dealings since “it is cheaper to be compliant than cutting corners.” EPUTY Comptroller ALIYU GALADIMA SAIDU, who was also the training coordinator, made a presentation on Airport/ Baggage Declaration. He explained that the legal provision of the Customs and Excise management Act (CEmA) sections 145 and 150 authorised the NCS to open and examine a passenger’s baggage with ‘a view of collecting duty from those passengers who have something to declare and seize those offending goods whose importation are banned through the Government Fiscal policy.’ He classified baggage into two viz: (1) Accompanied Passenger Baggage, which comes with the passenger and could be checked in or hand-carried and (2) Unaccompanied Passenger Baggage brought in by bona-fide residents working abroad and have stayed for 9 months or longer. Baggage are categorised into personal belongings, which include cloths, shoes, etc and passenger household effects such as cookers, microwaves, washing machines and furniture among others. The temporary visitor and tourist baggage are those brought in by a passenger coming into the county for a brief period either for meetings, inspections or just a visit; and a tourist for tourism and adventure. These categories of passengers are allowed to carry their personal effects and essentials. Then there is the merchandise in baggage, which are goods in bag-

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Ebeano! It’s Still Well URE you remember this line: CC deserves a reSare‘To God Be The Glory.’ If you sounding round having difficulties, we can of applause for a go ahead and strengthen your memory with this heavily loaded Igbo word: Ebeano. If you are still at a loss, there is nothing more we can do. It means you have been living in the moon and just got to earth for a brief visit. We must continue with our gist. And the gist is that the one who is synonymous with the phrase and the word above is at it again. When he was king in one of the kingdoms across the Niger, he brought God into everything that he did. And because God was involved, nobody asked questions until his days as ‘His Excellency’ ran out. Lo and behold, it came to pass that the king, like many kings of Israel in the days of yore, had used God’s name in vain, in deliberate breach of the Third Commandment. For good measure, hear the Lord Himself: “Thou shall not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold guiltless that taketh His name in vain (Exodus 20:7).”

CC was bothered and went underground to dig into the mystery of the everlasting ill health of the ex-king marvelous grasp of all the attendant of the Holy Bible. stories. The revelation Ebeano! To God was startling but perbe the glory. To fectly in tune with the the issue, ‘His Exex-king’s modus cellency’ was operandi. He is using found guilty of taking God’s some name in vain again. CC name in vain and has not hears the ill health theory is a known peace since he stepped strategy to ward off focus so out of the throne. The hallowed that the big man can achieve chambers of the Senate where some breathing space from the he had fled as a senator could combined heat of the EFCC and not even prove a sanctuary. He the ICPC. was smoked out by the forces of Another smart arrangement God for punishment. by a smart dude! Ebeano and to CC is not able to confirm if the God be the glory! angry Good God also struck the ex-king with a pestilence as He did thousands of years ago in Egypt, when a stubborn Pharaoh refused to let go the children of God. What CC however has on good authority, to the glory of God, is that “His Excellency” is out of the country By to settle almost forever some Didi health matters. Not long ago, the story came forcefully like Onu Hurricane Katrina that the exking was dead. It was a diabolic rumour.

JAW JAW

gage whose values are more than N50, 000. Passengers are also obliged to make currency declaration, the threshold/limit of which is USD 10, 000 or its equivalent in other foreign currency. Outward passenger should declare at the Currency Desk while Inward passenger is to declare at the Examination Bay inside the Baggage Hall. The passengers must also obtain the form CDF 1A and CDF 1B to facilitate the declaration. The Lagos and Abuja International Airports currently operate the dual channel system of passenger clearance: Red and Green Channels. By choosing either of the two, a passenger is by implication declaring the contents of his/her baggage. The Red Channel indicates that the passenger is carrying dutiable goods beyond the value baggage concessions while the Green Channel is for passengers that are not carrying dutiable or restricted goods. Customs In The 21st Century And Change management was another presentation by Galadima. Quoting the ‘Apple’s Think Different’ Commercial of 1997 that said: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”, he said that modern-day Customs is faced with the demands arising from globalisation of trade. Hence, there is a need for effective security and control of international supply chain and an increasing demand for greater facilitation of legitimate goods. The challenges posed by this reality is that the Customs has to cope with such issues as the development and poverty reduction; complex new governance rules; international terrorism; environmental protection as well as increase in trans-national threats. To be able to perform effectively in the present circumstances therefore, the Customs administration need to ensure an effective performance of its tasks while listening to the expectations of their stakeholders. A new dynamic role is thereby mapped out for the 21st Century Customs. In other words, the Customs’ traditional role of ensuring compliance in the cross-border movement of goods, to combat smuggling and secure borders whilst ensuring the facilitation of legitimate trade has to be expanded to accommodate its current role. The new dynamic Customs has therefore to evolve new strategic directions for better coordinated border management; intelligence-driven risk management; implementation of modern working methods, procedures and techniques from transaction-based to auditbased, integrity as well as enabling technology and tools among others. Change management, Aliyu said, becomes imperative at this point. He defined change management as ‘an increased level of modernisation and developmental reforms taking place in any organisation, which results in many changes that affect staff at all levels and their major stakeholders.’ This brings in its wake the need for effective management of change to minimise related pitfalls and speed the return to a normal or improved performance. There are also the ex-

pected resistance to change and poor communication arising from many initiatives, which prevent focus and follow through. SSISTANT Comptroller GYANG DUDU DAA LYOP dealt on compliance and the necessity for all stakeholders to willingly comply. He identified a compliant environment as one where revenue is assessed and paid correctly on time; revenue is also protected and nonrevenue requirements are met. Here, the information is accurate and given to the appropriate agencies. He listed the benefits of the adoption of a compliance approach to include an increase in productivity, which means more economic growth. There is also security and the conservation of resources while reduction in the cost of trade is experienced. Such approach also enhances revenue yield and facilitates trade. There is the socio-economic aspect, which encourages investment and integrity among others. The basis for compliance is that 95 percent or more of border users are compliant and a compliant environment facilitates speedy clearance, predictability, identification of unidentified risk, good ethical behaviour and service orientation. Stakeholders that have adopted a compliance approach will also benefit from an improved organisational compliance; more transparency in doing business thereby reducing time and cost while there will also be a reduction in number of default. Benefits of the adoption of a compliance approach for the NCS include change in attitude by staff, accurate and timely returns, reduction in administrative cost, more efficient use of resources, predictability of supply chain and saving in time. SSISTANT Comptroller ADEBAKIN O.A (MRS.) delved extensively on Information and A Communication Technology (ICT) and the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), which can also be defined as user-defined computer application software and was designed by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The sole purpose of ASYCUDA, she said, was to aid the administration and management of import and export procedures at the Sea and Airports of any nation. She outlined briefly the history of ASYCUDA, which began in 1981 when ECOWAS employed the services of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In 1998, ASYCUDA was introduced to the Nigeria Customs Service and in 2003 it was updated to ASYCUDA 3.0 popularly known as ASYCUDA++. ICT and ASYCUDA are basically interwoven since the latter cannot be successfully operated without the former. Adebaking listed the benefits to include monitoring revenue collection and giving adequate account of all taxes; reducing incidences of revenue leakage; generating statistical supports for fiscal policies; to aid the reality of 48 hours clearance procedure agenda by the management and proper storage of Customs data (archiving) among others.

$50 million Dollar Flight Anambra State-born moneyC is shocked at the way and are now more careful and clever in the art of stealing. They man did exactly what the GovC manner politicians flout anti-corruption laws, and man- traffic money in excess through ernor directed. He changed aging to get away with funds meant to address citizens’ needs. In the first years of the Fourth Republic, before the setting up of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and related anti-corruption bodies, politicians were brazen in their looting capacity. Since no one was watching, at least closely, like it is done now, politicians did so much to flout existing laws and had so much space to ply their game. But with the EFCC in place and with all eyes open, politicians

illegal routes out of the country. Some of them get demystified when their couriers get trapped at airports. Others use contractors to move money in hard currencies. CC is tracking a case in the Southeast, where an Excellency’s houseboy hijacked a kickback bag meant for Oga governor. The governor had hatched a plan with one of the contractors doing business in his state without carrying his houseboy along. So come that fateful day, the contractor, an

the Governor’s share of overbloated contract money into its dollar-equivalent. But instead of taking the loot, sorry, the load of dollars to the Governor’s Lodge, inside the Government House, the big man took the consignment to His Excellency’s private residence. It was here that scene two was unveiled. The houseboy, no, house rat opened the door to receive the businessman and a bag containing $50,000,000 crisp currency notes of hundred dollars denominations. As you read this, His Excellency is fuming, not only over the fact that the contractor failed to deliver the luggage to him in person, but above all, that both $50 million and his houseboy have taken flight to nowhere! Did those who brought the loot plot the scene to ferry away houseboy and secret consignment? Nobody can tell, not even His Excellency, because the matter is so confidential! CC is watching this development closely. 


TheGuardian

Sunday, March 17, 2013 | 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Distorted Federalism And Pervasive Insecurity (1) By John Uwaya N the foreseeable future, nobody is better qualified than President Barack Obama to speak against strongmen as opposed to strong state institutions being the fundamentals for good governance, and hence national security. Here is a man whose race is only about 12 per cent of the American electorate and a first generation African-American who has not only been elected but re-elected as president of the most powerful country on earth, courtesy of strong political institutions. So, no one would agree more that for countries tottering with political instability and the consequential social vices that include high official corruption and crime rate, the imperatives are nothing but strong political institutions that throw up only the very best for the onerous task of good governance. Without doubt, President Obama’s reelection is an eloquent testimony to the imperative and potentials of strong political institutions with equity, transparency and merit as bulwarks. His is the clime where the structure and functioning of political institutions as aggregates of the citizenry’s wishes on how and who can govern them, are the basis of national constitutions and therefore, held sacrosanct, sacred and inviolate. But the reverse is the case in some countries including Nigeria where a tiny minority from a section of the federation muffle popular will by threats of violence to ride on the back of the majority rough shod to realise selfishly determined national interests. The legitimacy crisis naturally suffered by a government founded on their warped blueprint is what gives rise to the kind of endemic official corruption and crime. That is the case with the so-called 1999 Nigerian constitution. Although there was never a constitutional conference of various ethnic nationalities and other stakeholders in 1999, the present “federal constitution” foisted on the country by a cabal alluded thus: “We the people of Nigeria…”. No matter any allusion to the national spread of representation on any military council that created that constitution, members would only have expressed contrary opinions to those of their benefactor (the Commander-in-Chief) at the risk of instant retirement or “death in active service”, which as “purely military affair”, their “bloody civilian” nativities dare not question. And it is doubtful if anyone took that risk judging from what patriots like Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), Col. Yohanna Madaki (of blessed memory), etc. had to pay for daring to be patriotic. For that reason, Chief Rotimi Williams, a constitutional and legal luminary of blessed memory dubbed the 1999 constitution, “…a lie against itself.” In their reactions, other knowledgeable citizens’ were no less peeved and unequivocal in their condemnation. That the constitution, in both process of creation and content is anti-federal is without doubt the reason there have been all forms of agitation against our present brew of federalism. Again, no matter any allusion to the desirability of a home-grown federal system, the truth is that the principles and components of a federal system of government are non-negotiable. And the reason we find ourselves in the present political doldrums is not because of any difficult learning curve we have to navigate but because our erstwhile military lords deliberately bequeathed the present constitution as a Trojan horse. This must be why in performance, there appears to be no fine line of demarcation between a military rule and the present democracy. For a quick check, simply juxtapose some pre and post-military era assessments below: …Decades of mostly military rule in Nigeria have exacerbated the problem, ruining the Nigerian economy and nearly bankrupting the Nigerian Government. Moreover, decades of gross economic mismanagement, with which the newly elected civilian government has just begun to grapple, have left not only private citizens but also government and law enforcement officials and junior and noncommissioned military officers with great incentive to engage in criminal activity to make ends meet. Under the recent military regime, many of Nigeria’s political and military leaders, government bureaucrats, and business elite routinely accepted and demanded bribes or kickbacks in return for facilitating profitable business activity- whether in the lucrative oil sector, competitive procurement contracts, or the drug trade. …Corruption and resource constraints have made meaningful law enforcement investigations and prosecutions against the crime barons very difficult in Nigeria. Corruption extends to all levels of the military, which has dominated politics in Nigeria for most years; since independence. Likewise, civilian politicians and bureaucrats have engaged in massive corruption, whether during periods of civilian or military rule. Nigerian sea and airports are rife with corruption, and borders are porous to criminals, terrorists, and illegal migrants (International Crime Threat As-

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CONversation

Jonathan sessment, USA, December 2000). AND …If you see the cost of governance in this country, you will feel very sad. If you go round the country, you see corruption everywhere by everybody. When you talk about values, where does it start from? … No country can develop in this way. If the situation persists for much longer, Nigerian leaders will soon find out that there is no country to be governed anymore as a result of their mindless greed, which makes only themselves and their aides the focus of their selfish, primordial accumulative tendencies. (Gov. Peter Obi at the Centre for Values in Leadership lecture, 2013). OR The NDS/EFCC Survey 2007 shows that crime and corruption is a major concern of the business community. Over 75 per cent of over 2,200 businessmen interviewed said that crime and insecurity and corruption represent very serious obstacles to doing business in Nigeria (Rule of Law: The Foundations are Shaking by Prof, Yemi Osibanjo). Obviously, it is our swerving from the collective vision of the founding fathers of Nigeria that must have given rise to the corruption and crime of pandemic proportions that are now holding the country by the jugular. By way of reference, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is on record to have insisted: “the constitution of Nigeria must be federal…. any other constitution will be unsuitable and will generate ever-recurring instability, which may eventually lead to the complete disappearance of the Nigeria composite State”, while Sir Ahmadu Bello concurred that only true federalism offered the “only guarantee that the country will grow evenly all over, we can spend the money we receive, the money we raise, in the direction best suited to us”. For his part, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe was no more convinced that it is only a federal structure that can galvanise the heterogeneous parts of Nigeria and release their energies for national development like the American dream that has turned out a monumental success story — going on to become the sole and undisputed global superpower. Apparently, they were unanimous about the federating units possessing reasonable levels of viability and relative economic autonomy both to guarantee and play their constitutional roles. And their wisdom in opting for true federalism was amply attested to by the healthy competition among the then federating units in all frontiers of socio-economic endeavour even with no petroleum crude revenues. But sadly, the emphasis on the federating units “spending the money they receive or raise in the direction best suited to them” soon gave way to bankrolling with revenues from sales of petroleum crude by successive military governments that ruled intermittently from 1966 to 1999. And even as early as 1973, a military government would announce to a stunned world that the problem of the country was not about earning foreign exchange but how to spend. That is why the typical Nigerian politician fights to be in power — to squander public funds on self and cronies. Once he or she gives “all it takes” to put himself or herself in power, all financial worries are over. What with regular announcements of federal, state and local governments sharing excess this and that revenues apart from statutory allocations, which all go mostly into private pockets just like tons of loans under which the country

totters like a drunkard. The same prospect of corrupt enrichment is what fuels the endless own cash sharing centre clamour couched as agitation for creation of more states and local governments by every conceivable ethnic group. In fact, after winning an election, the typical Nigerian politician has no need to wrack the brain to make his or her tier of government an economically viable unit in the federation. That is why many of them would scorn at President Clinton’s recent advice on creating an enabling environment for our intellectuals in the diaspora to return and join in developing our economy. If one may ask, why should Nigerians in the diaspora return home to grow the national economy when revenue allocations are bound to come from sales of petroleum crude? Even, as America is close to completely weaning herself off dependence on our oil and the striking of oil crude deposits by one West African neighbor after the other would soon deplete our oil crude earnings, is that no reason enough for our political leaders to “enjoy” now in lieu of difficult years ahead? Meanwhile, it is obvious that the programmed fiscal dependency by the other tiers of government is why the central government wants a say on who and who can assume power to receive its largesse because he that pays the piper should dictate the tunes. This is why elections are rigged with anyone assuming power through that flawed process seeing himself or herself as accountable to none other than a “godfather” or “garrison commander” like a military appointee to the commander-in-chief. Also, the same allure and ease of corrupt enrichment through public office is reason why the matter of who occupies any political office is a do or die affair to the extent that political gladiators with so much ill-gotten wealth at their disposal are now arming thugs and religious fanatics to threaten both individual and national security. The same disdain for merit and absence of national agenda is reason why there is so much acrimony as to which section of the country should produce the president at any given time. And with talk of rotating or zoning the presidency, no one should expect good governance and hence, national security. In itself, the very idea of rotation or zoning conjures intents other than service as the real motive for desiring power. Also, as it is now obvious, presidents from undemocratic arrangements like zoning or rotation naturally pander to the whims and caprices of the geopolitical zones that threw them up to the detriment of national integration and pursuit of national agenda. It gives no room for constructive criticisms as well as attempts at checks and balances, which are wrongly construed as impatience by one geopolitical zone to wait for its turn to govern. Instead, every geopolitical zone comes and does its own thing with no continuity or building upon the good programs of even an immediate past government of the same political party. Imagine the speed of policy summersaults and thrusts immediately President Olusegun Obasanjo handed over power to another geopolitical zone. How can we integrate and grow together as a nation without a national focus or agenda. So, one can safely conclude that the wrong reason of ease of corrupt enrichment and not service is reason for deciding on which geopolitical zone occupies the presidency, is such a contentious issue. Had America’s emphasis been anything but service, there would have been no chance for a President of African ancestry to kill their most audacious individual enemy in all history. Apart from any citizen’s right to vote and be voted for, the same right emphasis on service and merit as opposed to mediocrity and nepotism is what motivate America to attract the very best from around the globe with offer of citizenship without discrimination. There lies the invincibility and world leadership of that country. But here, in their own country, Nigerians are less than secondclass citizens in states other than theirs because their hosts are suspicious of migrant non-indigenes purportedly shortening their own rations from oil revenues. No matter the length of stay, a non-indigene cannot adopt another state; neither can children claim their place of birth aside their parents’ as their state of origin. So, you cannot then imagine citizens adopting, contesting and winning elections in states other than their places of nativity like in America. •To be continued. Uwaya lives in Lagos and wrote through: johnuwaya17@yahoo.com

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial LETTER

Oil Theft: To Save Insincere Calls On Marginalisation S An Industry HE Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria painted a vivid picture of how Nigeria hemorrhages, when its Managing Director Mutiu Sunmonu laid bare before the media the alarming rate of oil pipeline vandalism and oil theft being visited on the company’s Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) since last January. Within the past two months, Shell alone claims to have lost about 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day, which was the highest in the past three years. He recounted that the second half of last year witnessed the peak of the activities of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) during which time there was a significant drop in vandalism. Sunmonu said that the loss to the economy through oil theft was huge, but the accompanying massive oil spills portended social and environmental devastation in the Niger Delta region. The activities of oil thieves have reached both crisis and crunch points which, if not brought under control, would necessitate shutting down the NCTL, which handles 150,000 barrels per day, in order to save the environment from complete devastation. Around Kakrame and Awobia stretch of the trunk line, according to the Shell helmsman, well-funded and heavily armed oil thieves, who probably enjoy the backing of international syndicates, were setting up facilities for building barges to store crude oil for eventual shipment abroad. The oil thieves were operating on a scale beyond the capacity of one oil producing company to control even with the help of host community security patrols. Sunmonu, therefore, called not only on the JTF to redouble its activities but also for concerted local, national and international efforts in order to curb vandalism and oil thefts. However, to the layman but keen oil industry watcher, the scenario has been that until three years ago there had been high incidence of oil theft. That was when militancy in the Niger Delta reached its apogee. The JTF took on the militants but suffered a black eye. Then followed the three years before 2013 which experienced significant drop in the volume of stolen crude oil thanks not to JTF activities as Shell believes but to the amnesty programme for the militants that was spiced with security contracts to the leadership of the militants who embraced the amnesty. Even then, the NNPC maintained that 10 per cent of oil production continued to be stolen. Lately those security contracts have received bad press. Secondly, some militants who considered themselves unfairly shut out of the amnesty programme warned that they would return to the creeks. And thirdly, a key militant leader who had professed a lack of faith in the amnesty programme was convicted in South Africa. His supporters were aghast. The foregoing leads to several tentative conclusions. One, the present upsurge in vandalism and oil thefts may represent a relapse into militancy by elements that are still aggrieved. Two, in the circumstance, the seeming inactivity of JTF since January (the JTF actually denies Shell’s charge) might well be a quick reversion to the pre-amnesty days when JTF conceded the upper hand to the militants in the creeks. Three, could it be that sundry criminals and some state operatives have opted to be a part of the lucrative oil theft trade! Parenthetically, there is an aspect of oil theft that is clearly feeding on necessity. The JTF has reportedly destroyed about 5,000 illegal crude oil distilleries, which produce mostly diesel. These distilleries, which resprout, are the only source of supply of diesel to the thousands of rivercraft in the extensive Niger region. It is unthinkable to expect the people resident in the creeks to rely only on the fewer than ten conventional maritime fuel filling stations in the entire riverine Niger Delta region. Shell and other crude oil producing companies should, therefore, devise a practical solution to this specific need in the Niger Delta region so as to stem the widespread crime and of course, social and environmental devastation. When all issues that underpin militancy are resolved, there would not be any further presence of creek-based heavily armed bands intent on stealing crude oil and ready to confront the military in order to have their way. Similarly, with no armed militants to be used as cover, ill-motivated state operatives and criminals may not successfully organise crude oil thefts for sale to pirates on the high seas. Indications are that there are about eight choke points through which stolen crude oil leaving the creeks must pass. It should be possible even now for the Nigerian Navy and other coastal security forces to effectively patrol the choke points and prevent stolen crude oil being ferried for sale to pirates on international waters. And high scale oil thefts as well as incidents of vandalism to pipelines would cease to be

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IR: I sometimes get irritated and furious whenever the issue of marginalisation crops up in the public space. I get more discomfited when it is coming from politicians or self-acclaimed leaders because I know that most times, the call is usually self-serving and a calculated attempt by a few to feather their nest. They do this in some cases either because they want to be appointed into positions of authority or they have names they would like to nominate for positions. I stand to be corrected; most Nigerians don’t care about where their president is from, his religion or colour of skin. What they are concerned about is better living conditions. Only a few Nigerians are interested in the ethnic or religious background of their potential or incumbent leader. For instance, some of the people that I respect in Nigeria are not members of my faith and ethnic nationality. I voted for Ribadu-Adeola in

the last presidential election because I believed in them. Coincidentally, they are not Christians but I still cast my vote for them despite the fact that a member of my faith (president Goodluck) contested in that same election. Nigerians are united by hunger, deprivation, bad governance and corruption. The present call by ‘leaders of Yoruba ‘on the alleged marginalisation of Yoruba in the cabinet of the president is not only self-serving but is also uncalled for. One would have appreciated it if the elders had called for the reconstruction of federal government roads in the southwest many of which are impassable or the creation of employment opportunities for our teeming unemployed youth rather than for appointment into key positions. Chief Falae and others should not drag us backwards and should stop dividing us along ethnic and religion lines; we must look for a way of abolishing this ‘let our son do it’ policy in appointment selection. Let

the best man get the job! That is not to say the best people are currently at the helm of affairs but the proponents of the alleged marginalization should please come up with the things past leaders of Yoruba extraction did for the southwest in particular when they were top government functionaries. If the proponents of the marginalization must be active in the public space, let it be that they are championing the cause of the oppressed, fighting injustice and proffering solutions to the numerous problems confronting us a nation. The southwest people like their counterparts in other parts of the country want good roads, affordable houses, creation of employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths, creation of a conducive environment that will help entrepreneurship to thrive among many other needs that unite us a nation. God bless Nigeria! •Ireti Ishola, Lagos.

Menace Of Cultism In Schools of sacrifice for the sake of groups has led to moral decaMost universities in StheIR:Nigeria have been cut up in humanities. Some of the fright- dence, campus terrorism, examination malpractices, drug addicugly menace of secret cult ful ritually inclined activities activities among students. Secret cult as we all know has eaten deep into the foundation of the country’s universities. Not just what it has done to the tenets of our educational structures, but it has left many young ambitious and talented students dead and several others with life- threatening injuries. In reality, not all cult groups are bad, some fraternities exist to foster collective aspiration and pursuit of noble goals, promote active intellectualism, some members place others over and above their own narrow ego considerations. However, it demands a lifetime

they are alleged to engage in are more myth than reality. There are religious cults traditional cults and social/professional cults and now students cults. Universally there are two broad categories of cults namely: Benign cults-The good guys and destructive cults-The bad guys. Secret cult activities, which started in tertiary institutions in Nigeria within the first decade of university education, have taken different dimensions. Many secret cults/gang members fail to realise the fact that cultism is lethal weapon against humanity. The proliferation of the various illegal

tion and worst of all — cultism cum gangsterism, which has adversely threatened the nation in all ramification. It is obvious that joining any of these banned groups is like mortgaging one`s career and future for an unprofitable investment. It is actually termed unprofitable investment due to the fact that its demerits outweigh the assume merits associated with the confraternity. For instance, cultism poses serious threats to personal and national securities; it has also penetrated every segment of the society, higher institutions being the primary target. •Mohammed Jumai, Lapai, Niger State.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

14

NEWSFEATURE

New face of GAT

Unending Face-off Between Bi-Courtney, FAAN Over GAT By Gbenga Salau and Chijioke Iremeka IKE countless public infrastructure in Nigeria, the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammad Airport also suffered neglect with the facilities decaying. Also, as the population of the country grew, the local airport facilities could not cope with the services being demanded of it. So, it became over stretched. So when civil rule was ushered in 1999, the need to make a mark with the electorate and build better image for the country required that planned attention had to be given the airports, seen as the window into the country. The Olusegun Obasanjo administration particularly felt these should be upgraded to international standard. Coincidentally, the administration also wanted less government participation in business and more of private sector driven economy. This meant outright selling of public facilities, partial ownership or concession agreement. This gave birth to the agreement between Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited and the Federal Government to build the second MMA2 local wing on a build, operate and transfer policy. When the partnership was announced, and with the pictures painted about the project to be executed by Bi-Courtney, many Nigerians never bothered about the concession process; what they wanted was better service at the airport. Though delayed by about a year, when Bi-Courtney completed the building of the MMA2, the company gave Nigerians hope that it is achievable to enjoy world-class services at an airport in Nigeria. It was a huge departure from what was on ground. It made the airport not just a point for transiting from one place to another but a centre for commercial activities and leisure while not losing the essence of the place. The MMA2 facility is still running and many who still make use of the MMA2 are enjoying it. On the other hand, the GAT which was in a state of disrepair had not only been rebuilt but remodeled to one of international standard with commercial activities taking place simultaneously. But the struc-

L

ture and the organisation supervising the management of MMA2 are enmeshed in a controversy, which is however not new, just as the remodeled GAT is also in the centre of ownership controversy. The remodeling of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) has been brought to life and it is brimming with activities, better compared with the MMA2 when it was freshly opened. The new arrival and departure lounges built by the present administration has added colour to the terminal. When The Guardian visited the terminal last week, five stands belonging to different airlines were sighted at the departure lounge, although not all the airlines had staff manning them to attend to passengers. Arik Air, however had the dominating stand; it is not just occupying a bigger and larger stand but also had better patronage from what was seen at the time of the visit. It was also observed that though the two lounges – departure and arrival – are already operational; construction works are still ongoing, though it does not obstruct its use by passengers. From information made available, the new facility, which was built with some N648 million in 11 months has the capacity to handle at least 2.8 million passengers annually, 1,500 passengers at peak periods per hour and can handle at least 10 aircrafts at a time. The General Manager, Corporate Communication of FAAN, Mr. Yakubu Dati, gave an insight into what led into the remodeling of the local wing of the Muritala Muhammed Airport. According to him, “When the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah resumed office, she inherited an aviation sector that was collapsing, where the terminals were not operating optimally, and facilities broken down. This was what gave birth to the Aviation Master Plan to remodel and reconstruct 22 airports across the country. “In the first phase, 11 has been scheduled, Lagos has been completed, the GAT, Abuja, Benin, others are also

ready. This was done because there is a new direction that things needed to change at the airports across Nigeria. “The direction was that the airport should not just be only to travel, it is also the face of a nation and that is why the image part is being taken care of and the remodeling handled with a lot of seriousness. We need not only change our people’s image, we also need to turn the airport into an economic facility and that is in the new designs. We have commercial intakes where you have shops, restaurants, banking hall and other facilities, so that we are not just talking of people coming to take a flight but also providing other services.” The FAAN image-maker is excited that even before the completion of the project, the remodeling effort is providing jobs to those engaged while the project is being executed Nigerians can see the result. Asked what steps are being taken to ensure that the facilities at the GAT do not become uncared for and thereby be in disrepair, the FAAN spokesman said that it was to ensure that the facilities are self-sustaining that inspired FAAN to go for remodeling and provide facilities that would constantly generate revenue as those who rent the shops and halls would continue to pay rent. “We are not going to rely on any subvention from any where, the facilities will run itself, we believe that by the time we turn it into an economic centre, even people that occupy the place will want to ensure that it runs.” Before the ongoing efforts to uplift facilities at the terminal and during the remodeling, the terminal got engrossed in a controversy between FAAN and Bi-Courtney over who actually has the right to manage it. There is another issue being raised on the sideline about the tenure of the concession between Bi-Courtney and the Federal Government represented by FAAN. There had been different court cases, including a Federal Government panel spearheaded by the Min-

istry of Justice. While Dati maintained the concession was for 12 years, Bi-Courtney through its Public Relation Officer, Mr. Steve Omolale-Ajulo, insisted that they had 36 years agreement with the Federal Government and FAAN. Omolale-Ajulo agreed that there was an initial 12 years agreement, which was extended to 36 years after initial hiccups in the take-off of the project. So, to compensate for the time and money lost in the early years of executing the project as a result of the delay, there was an agreement to increase the tenure from 12 to 36 years. Dati said that the agreement was for 12 years, which will soon expire though Bi-Courtney has been going round with a document signed by a former minister that the tenure of concession had been increased to 36 years. “They are just trying to misinform the public and they are good at that. They are just dreamers. But as far as we are concerned and the document available to us, it is 12 years because the so called extension they say they have, there is no Federal Executive Council (FEC) attachment like it was done in the first agreement. There was no due process and you cannot do such a project of that magnitude without FEC approval or that of Mr. President, so it is ridiculous.” Giving an historical perspective to the issue of the administrative approval given by the then Minister of Aviation, a former aide of the minister said that the concession of MMA2 was made to Bi-Courtney in 2002 under Kema Chikwe as Minister of Aviation. “It was a concession agreement, a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT); it was not a contract but a concession agreement and Babalakin got that concession agreement which was drawn up with the Federal Government as far back as 2002 and 2003 under the tenure of Kema Chikwe.” He also said that the building of MMA2 started under Isa Yuguda as Minister of Aviation though it was not completed. He further said that after Yuguda left; Aborisade came in as Minister of Aviation.

Stella Oduah, Aviation Minister “It was during Aborisade tenure that the issue of elongation of the years of the concession came up. What happened was that FAAN made an offer to Bi-Courtney to extend the tenure of the period of time Bi-Courtney was to manage the place. And it was FAAN that did it, not even the minister. Though, it was under the tenure of Aborishade. “It is important to note that it did not come from the minister but from a parastatal. They wrote the letter and Bi-Courtney accepted that letter.” He said this was before Fani Kayode got there as a minister in November 2006 disclosing that what Fani-Kayode did as a minister was to approve the agreement that had been entered into between FAAN and Bi-Courtney, which was an administrative approval. The aide said that though it was during Fani Kayode’s tenure as minister, the MMA2 was completed and CONTINUED ON PAGE 15


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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NEWSFEATURE

Unending Bi-Courtney-FAAN Face-Off CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14

commissioned, it was not Fani-Kayode that superintended over the concession but just approved an agreement already entered into before he became minister. However, the agreement reached by both parties in the respect of the new domestic terminal at the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA2) and General Aviation terminal (GAT), Lagos, Nigeria has continued to get enmeshed in claims and counter claims from both parties about the content of the agreement between FAAN, an agency of the Federal Government and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL). While Bi-Courtney, the concessionaire, accused Federal Government and its agency for breaching the terms of agreement between the two parties and non-compliance to court decisions on the matters, FAAN maintained that the contract was fraudulently secured calling for a public hearing on the matter. The Concessionaire also accused the Federal Government (the Grantor) of competing with its concessionaire, saying that the remodeling and opening of GAT for the use of other airlines by the government, through its Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, violated the agreement reached and therefore denied them accruable revenue. According to the said agreement signed between Bi-Courtney and FAAN in 2004, it was agreed that Bi-Courtney should build a new domestic terminal on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) business arrangement with no other domestic terminal built at the airport and all scheduled domestic operations emanating from the new facility, which started operation in May 2007. But Bi-Courtney argued that by rebuilding and unveiling the GAT for use for some airlines, the government had breached the said agreement just as it had earlier defied the conditions that all domestic operations must emanate from the MMA2 as other airlines had been using the GAT to run scheduled domestic services. According to Bi-Courtney, it has the exclusive right to collect the heads of revenue mentioned in article 11.2 of the agreement and accruing from the operations of MMA2, particularly, levies and surcharges paid by fuel marketers delivering fuel to airlines operating scheduled domestic flights into and from MMA2. The firm lamented that in spite of the provisions of the agreement, which stipulated that all scheduled domestic flights in and out of Lagos shall operate from MMA2, the ministry encouraged Arik Air to operate from the GAT, where the Federal Government had been collecting the revenues due to the concessionaire and has threatened other airlines of dire consequences, if they refuse to move to the new GAT. “This affects our multi-billion naira investment in the state-of-the-art MMA2 and renders over 2,000 Nigerians, employed directly and indirectly, at the terminal jobless,” said BiCourtney’s Public Relations Officer, OmolaleAjulo, who cried foul that the provisions of the agreement had been thrown off board by the Ministry of Aviation, especially after it redeveloped the GAT without giving Bi-Courtney the option of first refusal and the first right of consideration, as stipulated in the concession agreement. These and many other crises led to the decision of a Coordinating Committee on the concession, which ordered the FG to render an account to the Concessionaire of all levies and surcharges it has collected from fuel marketers delivering fuel to airlines operating scheduled domestic flights into and from MMA2 from May, 2007, when MMA2 became operational, and to remit all such revenue to the concessionaire. But this resolution was seen to be controversial as FAAN said they were not represented in the committee. Dati said that though when the then minister of justice set up the committee, there were representatives from the ministry of justice but not from the ministry of aviation or FAAN. A statement from Bi-Courtney revealed that the firm has won five different court cases, including that of the Court of Appeal, over the GAT, but the FG has refused to obey the various court orders. “At Bi-Courtney, we believe firmly in the rule of law; we believe in due process. Although we have lost, and continue to lose, billions of naira in revenue to the Ministry of Aviation, it’s a calculated attempt to kill MMA2,” said OmolaleAjulo. Citing Article 2.2 of the said agreement, he said, BASL has responsibility for processing all scheduled domestic traffic in and out of Lagos and no other person is authorised to build any

terminal in Lagos, except the concessionaire. “Save as otherwise provided for in Articles 17.4 and 20.2, the concession granted to the concessionaire pursuant to this agreement is exclusive. The Grantor (FAAN) shall ensure that no part of the concession shall be granted to any other party unless the concessionaire is in breach of any of the obligation under the agreement that would give rise to a right of termination by the Grantor under Article 17 or is in breach of Nigerian law in relation to the concession,” he cited. But the Aviation Minister, in a recent report, alleged that the concessionaire had broken several clauses in the agreement on the specification of the MMA2 infrastructure and remittance of funds to government. “What puts you and I in relationship is the agreement that assigns responsibility. As long as you do yours and I do mine, we are in it together. But when you have contractual obligations that you unilaterally decide not to comply with, then there is something wrong with the relationship that I have with you,” Oduah explained. Babalakin Dati accused Bi-Courtney of breaching the represented and not a junior staff of FAAN was contract by changing the original plan and there to represent FAAN? If you mention people design for MMA2 given to it by FG. He listed from FG, are they directly involved with day-tothe breach to include building a personal day running of FAAN? We are not represented hotel on the space reserved for car park, there and their decision is not binding on us,” which has affected available space for flight said FAAN spoke’s man. operation. This, Dati said, led to why Arik Air It was however gathered that in FAAN’s letter moved to the GAT after paying to use the to Bi-Courtney, entitled: “Re: Tenure of new MMA2 to Bi-Courtney. MMA Domestic Terminal By Messrs Bi-Courtney Also, the Minister maintained that the conOn BOT Business Arrangement,” signed by its cessionaire has not remitted to the governformer Director of Commercial and Business ment, concession fee or rent for the space Development, Dr. Jaiye Oyedotun, on October occupied by MMA2 as stipulated in the agree12, 2006, FAAN said: “On the basis of the KPMG ment and GAT was not released to BASL, bereport, which recommends 36 years as the cause it was not part of the concession tenure for the concession, FAAN is offering BCC agreement. A statement from FAAN stated that the area Limited a concession period of thirty-six (36) years on the New MMA Domestic Terminal, where GAT is located has never been part of being developed by Messrs BCC Limited on BOT the area concession to Bi-Courtney, adding business arrangement.” that the agreement with Bi-Courtney has a Based on the said FAAN’s letter, Bi-Courtney Survey Plan clearly marked in square metres accepted the offer via a letter dated October 13, and the area of the GAT was never contemplated to be part of the area leased to Bi-Court- 2006, and signed by Dr. Adeniyi Odunlami. In ney. Bi-Courtney described the claims of the Ministry of Aviation that the GAT was not part of its concession and was rehabilitated and inaugurated by the ministry in “public interest” as “a tissue of lies wrapped in glossy paper to hoodwink members of the public,” noting that the inauguration amounted to the onslaught on the Nigerian legal system and an agreement willingly signed by the government. In a statement signed by Omolale-Ajulo, BASL insisted that the agreement stated that “the Grantor (FAAN) guarantees that it would not build any new domestic terminal in Lagos State and that no existing terminal would be materially improved throughout the concession period that would compete with the concessionaire,” adding that it also provides that the concessionaire shall have a right of first refusal in the event that passenger traffic during the concession period necessitates an expansion of the terminal and the first right of consideration, if FAAN or the Federal Government elects to build a new domestic terminal in the State.” EANWHILE, two major issues are in conM tention over the agreement on the GAT and MMA2. One is the ownership of GAT and the second is the tenureship, which the Concessionaire said is 36 years by the virtue of the said agreement later reached after the 12 years. It also claimed that GAT belongs to it while FAAN said, GAT was never part of concession agreement. FAAN also argued that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave approval to the12-year duration, wondering where the 36 years mentioned by the concessionaire is coming from since it was not endorsed by FEC. The agency also challenged the Concessionaire to provide any document(s) approved by FEC, which had 36 years contract duration, arguing that there is no extension of contract from 12 years to 36 years, and if there was any, then, it was fraudulently got. Effort by the ministry of justice under Andoakaaa to resolve the crises led to the setting up of a coordinating committee, which ruled in favour of Bi-Courtney after series of meetings believed to have been attended by all the representatives of FAAN and Bi-Courtney. But the agency argued that it was not a party to the process that affected its interest, rights, and obligations under the Concession Agreement. “How would you say that FAAN and BiCourtney had an issue, a committee was raised, where some groups of people were

Uresi the letter, it was stated, “We acknowledged receipt of your letter dated October 12, 2006, offering us a concession period of 36 years on the new Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal that is being developed by us under a BOT arrangement, Bi-Courtney formally accepted the offer of a concession tenure of 36 years.” Omolale-Ajulo noted that the delay and other difficulties, which translated to loss of income entertained by Bi-Courtney, was caused by government, necessitating the extension of the tenure. He noted that it was agreed that the project would be completed within 12 months, which the Concessionaire kept to but for FG, who didn’t commission the project until May 2007. “Bi-Courtney was not the preferred bidder for rebuilding the then burnt local airport, but the reserved bidder. It was a year after the bid was won by Sanders Ventures Limited without anything concrete on ground that Bi-Courtney was invited to take over the


16 | IN THE STORM

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

Oshiomhole: Day The Labour Man Lost His Cool the DIG, Force CID for complicity in the murder, alleging that the DIG hid facts and instead fingered an innocent person, human rights activist, David Ugolor. The governor is reported to have said: “The police ordered the murder of my Private Secretary. The DIG Force CID has a question to answer. He must be sacked. The same gun that was used in murdering my Personal Secretary was formally in police custody, and the criminal who was caught with the gun, was being investigated by the police, yet the same gun was used in murdering my Secretary. “Tell me why I shouldn’t draw this conclusion? Even if it will cost me my life and that of my office, I will always speak the truth about the death of my private secretary. If I cannot tell the truth, God should take my life”

By Femi Alabi Onikeku

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VEN the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, could now be reeling with envy. At the end of a very important State function, it was another officer of the Federal Republic, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who stole the agro shine. Reporters had thronged Oshiomhole. The governor opened the barnyard door, shoved aside some hay, and showed that beyond knowledge on how to pay workers’ salaries and make Edo State people happy, he has some understanding about animals. “It is like the case of the he-goat,” said Oshiomhole. “When the family is happy, they sacrifice the he-goat to celebrate. When the child is sick, the native doctor says, ‘sacrifice he-goat’. So, head or tail, the he-goat is in trouble.” The governor was reacting to the manner the murder of his Private Secretary, Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, is being handled. He is pained at heart that “nobody seems to bother”. And is therefore, doing his “best to raise the issue because that is the least I owe to someone who gave his life.” Many observers felt sympathy for the Edo strongman over his frustrated quest to ‘bring perpetrators of the dastardly act to book’. But he-goat… Of all the allusions available, how could that similitude lend itself so readily to the governor’s oratorical collections? The animal, besides its other characteristic, is a symbol for stubbornness, headiness. It would head-butt its way, if need be. It was at Nigeria’s highest advisory body, the National Council of State, last week. The President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, 36 governors, former Heads of State and Presidents, and serving and former Chief Justices of the Federation had met to drink juice and wrack their brains on how to ‘move the country forward’, as usual. But the next time the Council schedules a meeting, one man who might reconsider leaving his seat to chat with Oshiomhole is the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Mohammed Adoke. He might also with hindsight, choose to sit several meters away from the governor. When, last week, Adoke walked up to Oshiomhole, during premeeting interactions, incredible history could have been made. The governor had taken up Adoke, demanding answers on investigations into Oyerinde’s killing. The talks degenerated into hot exchange of words. And, but for the speedy intervention of Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghidomhe and the President’s Speech Writer, Matts Aikhionbare, newspaper headlines, the following morning,

could have screamed: ‘Oshiomhole blows Adoke in the mouth over Oyerinde’s murder!’ A rider, of course, might read: ‘Attorney-General vows to pursue legal redress’. Or worse: ‘Attorney-General sobs, threatens African backlash!’ Without trivialising the governor’s trauma over the death of his aide, Oshiomhole could have gone about issues more discretely, considering especially, that the forum was not a farmstead or some grazing field for livestock; it was a meeting of Nigeria’s who is who in governance, and decorum should have been allowed to prevail. But was the governor’s action really out of tune? Oshiomhole has always been a fighter. Many would recall the television debate he had with gubernatorial sparring mate, Airhiavbere; and how the governor kalashnikoved the Major General. He had alleged, before millions of viewers, that Airhiavbere had a corruption case to answer from the hands of military authorities. The latter, utterly overtaken by strange surprise over the allegation, could not as much as mutter a word, even in feigned defence. Oshiomhole went forward to clinch a resounding victory at the polls. Also, were his days as head of the Nigeria Labour Congress, how the comrade, at different times, oiled the machinery of industrial action and urged workers to down tools in protest of government’s policies. Recently, an infuriated Oshiomhole blatantly accused the police of masterminding Oyerinde’s death. At the launch of the Code of Conduct of officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja, he asked the IG of police, M.D. Abubakar to sack

BUT again, the goaty metaphor… One could wonder what members of the legislative arm of government at the meeting thought when they saw the governor look Adoke in the face and release salvoes, not caring a hoot for civility. They probably got envious too. Here was somebody trying to outdo them in what Nigerians believe legislators perform best – bickering. To worsen matters, the governor chose a much more distinguished setting - the National Council of State - to show what he is made off. That was one turf where lawmakers have not yet exercised. How might one read Oshiomhole? Not an angry governor. Not an aberration. The man is simply a Nigerian who is compliant with the times, a topranking victim of administrative frustration, of an awkward system. Governor Adams Oshiomhole hates hypocrisy. He would not, even at State functions, sip fruit juice and pretend, like some, that ‘situations are under control’ and things would improve, even when ongoing indices show the contrary. He is therefore the real Nigerian. The governor, for his ‘dastardly’ confrontation merely mirrors the rest of us. We all are Oshiomhole. We are, when at a thousand offices of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) across the country, we curse, swear and fight, wondering why we have to pay for services we do not receive. We are, when our youths become bitter and apathetic to things Nigeria, because successive governments told their grandfathers, their fathers and them that they must continue to make sacrifices for a better nation. We are Oshiomhole, when we rave and rant at why government would pardon former Bayelsa State Governor and high-profile convict, Diepriye Alamieyeseigha, when it is yet to resolve the case of misappropriated billions of naira involving chairman of the Pension Reforms Task Team (PRTT), Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina. And we would be Oshiomhole, when in wrath we turn to the polls and vote out political parties that have lost touch with reality and the feelings of Nigerians.

Alamieyeseigha: Repackaging A King Who Did His People Wrong By Anote Ajeluorou

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NCE again, there is a groundswell of opinion on a man, who only a few years ago held sway in Bayelsa State and was indeed one of the most powerful men around then. It would seem that the image of the first and only Governor-General of the Izon nation would continue to haunt the collective memory of Nigerians for a long time to come, whether for ill or good. First, Mr. Diepreye Solomon Alamieyeseigha (DSP, for short) was accused of corruptly enriching himself at the expense of poor Bayelsans, whom he was elected to serve; he was arrested in London, got back to Nigeria in fishy circumstances and was impeached. Now, the man has got State Pardon from his crimes and well on his way to leading a normal life again like every other Nigerian. Indeed, it’s the journey of a tragic hero in the classical folk narrative tradition, playing out in real life. It would probably be more tragic to miss out seeing how it all comes to an end. Perhaps, for no faults of his, DSP would go down as one of those people who would always be in the news, a cat with nine lives, and for controversial reasons. The former Nigerian Air Force Squadron Leader (rtd) ventured into politics to offer service to his people at the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999 and since then, he has caused enough ripples to rock many a boat. From offering his services to his Izon people, he got entangled with the corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2005, when he traveled to Germany to have abdominoplasty or ‘tummy tuck’, a cosmetic surgery procedure to make the abdomen more firm. But this medical tourism abroad was to prove his undoing. At London Heathrow airport, the London Metropolitan Police arrested DSP, purportedly on the orders of Nigeria’s government. The manner of his jumping bail in London is a

subject fit for a Nollywood movie; a former state governor reportedly escaping from London and dressed like a woman with wrapper and gele (headgear) and all. He was the subject of intense media coverage and the time and now. But then, his loyal political godson and Deputy Governor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, took over as governor of Bayelsa State to complete DSP’s second term in office. Jonathan would later become Nigeria’s Number Two man as Vice President and eventually, President of Nigeria. Although DSP was convicted and forfeited most of his choice property in Nigeria and overseas, many believed he got away too lightly for corruptly enriching himself at the expense of ordinary Bayelsans. Indeed, Alamieyeseigha, which literally means ‘the king can do no wrong’ did wrong his people and was made to pay for it. But Nigeria can sometimes be seen as a stage for a comedy of the absurd. Since DSP’s political travails on the grounds of corruption, Nigerian politicians and government officials have raised

the stakes in a free-for-all corruption orgy. With a notoriously misapplied ‘plea bargain’ being recklessly invoked on behalf of all manner of thieves to rob Nigerians the benefits of democracy, perhaps DSP’s pardon may well be in place. Since 2005, the man has been in political wilderness although he is often seen in President Jonathan’s entourage, an indication that the man may soon be rehabilitated. Indeed, rehabilitation is what it must now appear to be, given this contentious State Pardon. And President Jonathan may well have acted like every other man in his over-sized shoes. Under his watch, DSP was impeached as governor and he had to assume office immediately. And from that humble beginning of classical shoelessness and emergence at Government House, Yenagoa, as ordinary Deputy Governor, with no definable role as is the case across the country, the man with a load of luck becomes governor. And his luck continues to shine so brightly that he leaves behind the waterlogged backwaters of Bayelsa to Abuja, as Vice President. His luck did not dim until he landed the ultimate: President and Commander-inChief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria! Such great political leap in fortune for Jonathan would probably never have come if DSP had not said, in Nigerian beer-parlour parlance, ‘come, let’s chop’. For Jonathan to continue to leave his political mentor in the wilderness on account of crimes he’d paid for would be somewhat of a disservice, if not total disloyalty to one’s former boss. So, for yet another tragic hero in Nigeria’s political folk narrative to get a reprieve probably need not cause so much stir. After all, this is Nigeria, where a comedy of the absurd abounds to haunt the poor, innocent and ordinary Nigerians, who continue to bear the brunt of bad leadership. Welcome the folk hero in a wellcontrived tragic drama!

Akpabio:A Gift Brews A Storm By Aloysius Omo

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OR Nigerians who seem to have lost the capacity to be shocked by the usually strange and bizarre actions of their politicians, some events of the last few weeks must have reminded them of just how impossible it is for the political elite to avoid brazenly abusing their positions. Although President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to grant his mentor and former governor of Bayelsa State presidential pardon has sparked outrage across the land, many are still reeling from the shock caused by Akwa Ibom State’s helmsman, Godswill Akpabio’s attempt to take generosity to a level that borders on outright profligacy. Akpabio, who recently emerged chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum, and effectively, the points man in Jonathan’s bid to whip somewhat recalcitrant state governors into line, seems in a hurry to make an impact. However, what exactly he meant to achieve by a recent announcement of a gift of two SUVs and an all expense paid Dubai wedding trip for 29 guests, all for hip hop star, Tuface Idibia and his wife Annie Mauculay, has left many in a state of utter bewilderment. Akpabio dazed the audience at Apostolic High School, Esit Urua Community venue of the traditional wedding of the celerity couple, when he announced the donation of two brand new Toyota Prado SUVs to the couple. In addition, the governor quickly followed up by declaring that he would sponsor an all expense paid trip to Dubai for 29 people from Akwa Ibom. A storm of criticism has greeted this “kind gesture,” with many angered at the governor’s obvious assumption that resources belonging to Akwa Ibom, invariably belong to him, as the czar of the state. Unfortunately, the highly criticized donation comes at a time when much of the debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been defined by accusations that governors of oil rich states have misappropriated huge revenues accruing to their states, mainly from the 13 percent derivation they enjoy. Senators from the North during the PIB debate repeatedly lamented that 11 trillion naira in revenues accruing to oil producing states had been used in ways that were of no benefit to the ordinary man in the Niger Delta. While legislators from the Niger Delta were unable to defend the leadership of their region against this accusation of financial recklessness, Akpabio has unwittingly provided ammunition for the 10 percent host community fund, which has been a bone of contention in the PIB, to be shot down One opposition leader was quick to make the connection between Akpabio’s action and the scathing attacks the provision for 10 percent host community fund had been getting in the course of the PIB debate. He said, “This type of financial recklessness from governors of oil rich states is another reason militating against the passage of the PIB. The 10 per cent being proposed for the host communities is seen as superfluous if this type of unimaginable imprudence becomes second nature for some of these governors. This type of anti-people expenditure is only symptomatic of a leader that emerged through the subversion of the people’s will and desire.” Beyond these, there are others who have drawn attention to the fact that the individual the governor tried to cozy up to by making the vexatious donation is actually very well to do. Tu Face Idibia, one of the biggest artistes on the African continent, in the eyes of many does not really need the largesse that Akpabio has extended to him. Specifically, attention has been drawn to the plight of players of the state’s football club who are said to have gone without salaries for 16 months. Such as largesse channeled to pay salaries of young men, many of whom have dependents, it has been reasoned would have been a better deed to do.


SUNDAYMAGAZINE 17

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

NEWSPEOPLE

JOSEPHINE OKEI-ODUMAKIN:

Moment Of Glory for Human Rights Activist where majority are men and I never felt intimidated. One thing about me is that I CTIvISM, in its plain nature, would right- remain committed to the struggle and, in ly connote possessing a large dose of fact, any cause I believe in. Whatever I do, I do hardness in personal composition, and it with all my strength.” normally more associated with the male genShe was honoured last week, alongside nine der. other women around the world. The US first Though Dr. Josephine Okei-Odumakin does Lady and the Secretary of States, John Kerry, not look like a woman given to activism paid tribute to the 10 women at the event to because of her fragile look, she has however mark the International Women’s Day. lived for activism and during the week, she Being decorated with the award by Kerry, at was in the warm embrace of America’s first the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the State Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama, to receive the 2013 Department would no doubt be a soothing US Secretary of State’s International Woman balm to soak away the pains and troubles of of Courage Award. past years though it is expected that vicissiSo, for Mrs. Okei-Odumakin, the sympathy tudes, in one way or the other remain the that is usually evoked when people know that hallmark of activism. a Human rights fighter is a woman does not The Secretary of State’s International exist. Women of Courage Award is done every year Having been in and out of detention for the to recognise women around the globe who cause of Human Rights and the rights of have shown exceptional courage and leaderwomen, 17 times, under the military dictator- ship in advocating for women’s rights and ship of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, it is a testiempowerment, often at great personal risk. mony of the ‘Aluta’ spirit she is filled with. Since the inception of the award in 2007, 67 But, the early life of the democracy activist women from 45 different countries had been could help paint a picture of why it was ‘easy’ honoured. to carry on with this calling. Mrs. Okei-Odumakin, who is the President, She played football, manned the goal post as Campaign for Democracy, has over 25 years a keeper in school, dresses in trousers to experience in human rights activism. She avoid a repeat embarrassment years ago started out as the Secretary of Women in when mobile policemen beat her and tore her Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State, in 1988. She camskirt, and does not wear make up or long paigned against the Ibrahim Babangida milinails. tary dictatorship for which she was variously In an interview a few years back with a local arrested and detained though was not media, she said: “I have been in the struggle deterred by these travails. By Fabian Odum

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Okei-Odumakin and Mrs Obama

She is currently the Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Democratic Studies; President of Women Arise for Change Initiative; Chairman, Task force of the Citizen forum; Spokesperson, Coalition of Civil Society Organizations; and President, Centre for Participatory Democracy. She is married to a political activist, Yinka Odumakin, who is the spokesperson of the Save Nigeria Group and a close associate of CPC’s Gen. Buhari (rtd). Interestingly, they met in the thick of their involvement in rights struggle in

detention at Panti. Although Okei-Odumakin said she was not prepared for marriage until democracy was in place, meeting her ‘Aluta’ husband changed the conviction as they got married in 1997, two years before civil rule came on board. for her continued commitment to a better society, she has received several awards, including the Eminent International Gold Award, which she bagged in January 2013.

OGHARA: A Book-keeper Turns Monarch From Chido Okafor, Warri

Y any stretch of imagination, wearing the crown is honorable and it does not come easy in some cases. for the Ovie of Oghara throne, taking the exalted position was surely a contest of several months, where many were interested in the matter. However, on January 16, 2013, a historic event took place in the oilrich community of Oghara in Ethiope West local council, Delta state, the home place of the former governor of Delta state, Chief James Ibori, a new king finally emerged. The day saw the governor of Delta state Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, officially recognising his royal majesty, Noble Oyibo Eshemitan, fCA, Uku-Ogharaname, Orefe III, Ovie of Oghara Kingdom - by presenting him the staff of office meaning he was now legally empowered to discharge his duties as the traditional head of the kingdom. The large turnout of people from different walks of life that greeted the installation, to observers, who have followed the journey so far, was indication that Eshemitan’s emergence may have finally calmed frayed nerves and gradually paved the way for reconciliation after the scramble for the throne by about six candidates to occupy the throne declared vacant after the transition of the immediate past Ovie, HRH Oreki II. Interestingly, just as Eshemitan (Orefe III) an accounting professional and hotelier, was running in the contest to occupy the Oghara stool, he was equally handling the financial books of the Hoteliers Association in Warri and environ. So, after the six-horse race for the stool ended in his favour, his counterparts in the Hoteliers’ association, Delta state, were overwhelmed with joy that, at last, one of their own has creditably scaled the hurdles and mounted the saddle, which the king himself said was difficult to climb. Last Sunday, Orefe III’s palace was agog with activity as members of

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In an interview with The Guardian, the Ovie spoke on his ascendancy to the throne and others.

Hoteliers Association. “While he was there, he handled the accounts so well to the extent that on a monthly basis, we were having reconciled account and copies were sent to every member of the association, so arguments and disputes were nonexistent. “Right before us, he ascended the kingship of Oghara. Since he was a formidable member of the association we decided to visit him and appreciate the good work he did for the association. “We are happy we met him, he told us that he is still one of us and that he would see what he can do to assist us and to see to the growth of the association “He is a hotelier and he is a traditional king, the traditional rulers also have their own say in the state The Ovie of Oghara Kingdom, Orefe III, receives members of the Hoteliers Association of Delta State so, anytime we want to make a presentation to government, he will be there for us, Owarieta said. the hoteliers literally stormed the palace to pay homage to the new Other members of the association, who visited the king king, who was their treasurer. They came with kola nuts, drinks, giant included: Chief Andy Irikefe, Chief Chiedu Idama, Chief refrigerator and other things to express to their counterpart and Odogun S.I, Mr. Onajobi Wemimo, Mr. Jemedafe Macaulay, Mr. monarch the depth, perhaps, of their elation on his installation. Imonisan Godspower, among others. According to the Chairman of the Hoteliers Association, Delta state, The king expressed delight at the visit by the hoteliers saying Chief Sir George Owarieta, who led other members to the palace, the the visit showed that he is in their good book. visit was predicated on the fact that the king is a member of the

Let’s Work Together As A Kingdom

the throne with you? I will ask them to come let’s work together as a kingdom because we all belong to one family. My came out and gave money willingly and happily doors are open for them, lets pray together as Your royal majesty, how do you feel about the visit of six persons for the throne. The fact that I remained focused and believe in God made me on that day. It was a great crowd we saw that day; one kingdom. That is my advice for them the hotelier today surmount the hurdle. Since I was installed, I this is to show that people have put back their dif- Is it true that some cases are still in court confEEL honoured and excited because I’m part of have set up committees for reconciliation. I ferences and they came and shared in the joy of cerning the throne? them. Having ascended this position, they have have also extended hands of fellowship to my that day. I’m not aware of any. There was an injunction of come to share fellowship and felicitate with me. court but the injunction had been set aside. I It’s a thing of joy. It shows I’m in their good book that fellow contestants. I have sent text messages to The Governor was physically present to present you the staff of office; what is your relationship them that all over is now; they should join me don’t know whether they still have any case. is why they are here. with the Governor? Do you have any challenges? How have you coped with your new role as the king to build a peaceful, united and progressive He is my good friend but he is a governor who kingdom; this is the information I have sent to Obviously, there are some hiccups here and of Oghara Kingdom? them. I set up the reconciliation committee to believes in the truth and that things have been there. There is youth restiveness that we are tryThe fact that I’m a hotelier did not stop me from done perfectly and correctly. He is more or less a ing to sort out and we are holding security meetbeing an accountant. Accountancy is something that bring everybody together because as it is now everybody is my subject, I don’t see anybody as part of Oghara. He grew up in Oghara and he will ing to see how we can solve it. These are teething stays with you – you either practice or do business an enemy. We all belong to one kingdom and it not see any important event taking place here problem and my kingdom is not an exception; it with it. The fact that I’m an accountant has helped is my desire that we work together as one fami- without attending. is something you find in other kingdoms but we me to do the things that I’m doing right now. I’m You noticed in his speech, that as a boy, he witare doing something about it. now a monarch and I have made arrangement that ly. So far, are your subjects cooperating with you? nessed the first king that came from Oghara-Efe The youth crisis in Oghara has persisted for a my son will take over the hotel while I manage the and as a matured man, he witnessed the Oreki, that while, what could be the root cause? kingdom. There has been no problem about it I have One, during the staff-of-office presentation, it is, my predecessor. And now, he is going to play the Many of them are not unconnected with ecowas something I didn’t know how it would been moving on very well. turnout but I was happy because people happi- role of someone who is going to present the staff of nomic reasons. They are only doing it for their The road to being a king was tumultuous, so to say; ly gave out their money. Money was collected office to a new king, so he was so excited to play selfish interest, to collect money without going have you reconciled the warring parties who also that role. across the whole kingdom, people from far through due process. Youth restiveness in wanted to produce the king? away, when they knew that I had emerged they What advice do you have for those who contested Oghara is mostly due to economic reasons. Before I became king, there was struggle by about

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

18 SUNDAY MAGAZINE

LIVINGWOMAN Right from childhood, Nkiru Onyejaocha’s one guiding principle has been to give her very best in any endeavour. Having been brought up by an upright grandmother who inculcated in her the virtues of hard work and courage, her dogged, fearless nature has contributed in no small measure to forming her person and helping to achieve set goals. As a member of the House of Representative, she has been able to bring all these qualities to bear and has thus carved an admirable niche for herself.

ONYEJAOCHA: Holding Her Own In Men’s

World By Bisi Alabi Williams

KIRU is a spectacle to behold during hot debate sessions in the House of Representatives where she is an active member. What is particularly striking is the calm confidence with which she takes the floor while presenting her facts and arguments. But for the warm, friendly aura surrounding her, it would have been apt to refer to her as the Iron Lady. Among her colleagues, she cuts different picture: while some love and respect her for her firm, clarified stance on issues, others simply regard her with some measure of trepidation. To her, however, it is all part of the refining process to ensure that the Nigerian masses are served the best. “We can argue about issues, disagree with ourselves but we are still friends and lawmakers with a job to do, which is to represent our people well,” she says. Those close to her attest to the fact that she is a man living in a woman’s world, as she is not one to speak from both sides of the mouth. She is also not one to go about looking for favours because she ‘believes in doing things according to the dictates of her conscience,’ which she attributes to a firm belief in her Creator. So, she does what she thinks is the best at all times and for all this, she feels greatly honoured and fulfilled. Her legislative interest centres mainly on debates on bills that impact positively on the lives of her people. Her one goal is to be ‘the best representation for my people and my constituency.’ Her untiring efforts and sincerity of purpose in the House have seen her serving in different capacities. These include: Chairman, Committee on Federal Capital Territory House Services/Welfare. She also served on the Committee for the Navy, Petroleum Resources (Up Stream) and Public Procurement and Women in Parliament. She is the current Chairman, House Committee on Aviation. A well-informed woman who has garnered much-needed experiences while in the private sector, Nkiru is well loved at the grassroots by her people in Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State and she is representing her constituency under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). She is the current Chairman, House Committee on Aviation. As a Commissioner, she worked tirelessly to reactivate the skill acquisition programme in Abia State and in 2003; she was appointed the Executive Transition Chairman, Umunneochi Local Government Area. Her distinguished performances have earned her numerous honours, which have spurred her on to reach for greater heights. Her duty as Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation entails working closely with the Minister of Aviation. How does this feel? “I am working with a woman who is focused. Some women might not really like the idea of working with another woman but I have a different orientation and mindset. If one is focused, it is easier to work with a woman,’ she says. She attributes the on going infrastructural renewal in the aviation sector to the synergy between the Minister of Aviation and her committee. “Every woman wants to achieve a feat. The Minister of Aviation and I share the same mission and vision, which is to achieve a feat that has never been experienced before in that industry.’ The infrastructural renewal process, she says, is aimed at bringing about a remarkable change in the sector to international standard, which when completed will engender growth to the admiration of both local and international stakeholders. “The general belief in Nigeria is that women most often cannot work together. Instead, they work better with men. But I have a different opinion. I believe that women work better with women. And this is the first time a

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woman is chairing the House Committee on Aviation. All past Ministers that were women had men as committee chair. I recall that Bamaga Tukur’s son, Hon. Independence Ogunwele and Hon. Bethel Amadi were chairmen, committee on Aviation. “It’s on record that there has not been a time when a woman has chaired the committee on Aviation until my appointment. For me, it is a good omen. The priority for me is to keep my home as well as my job going. It is better for me to work on a platform where I feel free to do what I have to do. The Minister of Aviation being a woman gives me leverage to do the job right.’ As to be expected, it has not all been smooth sailing. She has had to cope with her fair share of challenges. “Nigeria’s economy is male dominated. The Nigerian society does not encourage a woman to talk no matter how well placed. The man is expected to take the lead while the woman follows. So, the major challenge is that you are confronting

men at every point you are doing business in Aviation. “This is a sector where nothing tangible has been done in the past 30 years. I detest procrastination. The challenges are such that first you have to deal with the men then the decay in the sector and there are also the bureaucratic processes. It’s been tough but we have pulled through somehow”. She is of the view that if women come together and are agreed on a particular issue, they tend to achieve much more. “The committee understood ab initio that the aviation sector needs to grow because it is one key sector that will help the economy of Nigeria. We also acknowledge the fact that if we allow the technicalities in our laws, no progress would be made in all the sectors of the economy. So we decided to boycott all the unnecessary bureaucratic processes to pass the budget without hitches’’. As a grassroots politician and philantropist, Nkiru draws her inspiration from her grand-

mother who moulded her from early childhood. She is convinced that the Lord created her for the purpose of helping others. “Grandmother was a courageous woman leader who fearlessly spoke the truth to authorities at all times. She was forthright. Each time the male dominated-village meetings sought to cover up things or lie, she would tell them: “Listen, the land would not forgive you if you go the wrong way.’ So if you are wondering where I got the courage from, that is where it came from,” she says. Grandmother was also a woman of character, virtue and compassion. Besides speaking the truth always, she gave shelter to the poor and taught her grandchildren the value of dignity of labour and the communion spirit. “The only thing I am doing differently now is that instead of bringing the indigent students to feed in my house, I prefer to give them scholarships. I also take from the little I have to provide shelter to the needy”. To her, women should aspire to political leadership and endeavour to make a difference although this may not go down well with some men. “There are many challenges that women seeking to build a political career face, especially from some men that are egocentric. So, women have to work 10 times harder than most men in order to excel and keep both the home and their work.” She would want professional women politicians and other professional women associations to forge a common ground to move the collective cause forward to enable them raise the profile of Nigerian women generally. “Most professional women have not come to terms with the fact that they need politicians to move to the next level. Politicians are policy makers. Even the counselor in the village who is not a member of the House of Reps may have access to the President. Politicians are always in the corridors of power while the professional women are always attending to their professions. “Yes, politicians may not speak good English yet they have the guts to speak almost on anything and on everything. If a female politician believes in a cause she will carry placard to protest but the professional women may not do this. We should see ourselves as one. Whether a professional female politician or a professional woman, when we synergise we can achieve a lot together”. Aside applying herself diligently in whatever she does, Nkiru is filled with the desire to make heaven. Since she came to the conviction that the Lord is the centre of everything, she has ordered her life to reflect this. “The rule is clear: seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all other things shall be added unto you. This is my philosophy of life”. Nkiru is a lover of bright colours. She loves white, orange, purple and lilac. Like a child wanting to commune with the Lord in the simplicity of her heart, whenever she goes for thanksgiving, she puts on purple or lilac because of their spiritual implications. Having observed that if a politician has 12 hours in a day, eight out of these is spent on serious and moody businesses, she decided to always clothe herself in bright colours. “For example, when I am not wearing any make-up people tend to ask me: Are you sick? So, I do things that would brighten my situations so that people do not know even when I am going through stress. And I can tell you that this profession has lots of stress.” Nkiru hails from Suikwuato/Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State and holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs/Diplomacy from the Imo State University. She also has a Diploma in Social and Community Development from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She holds a Master Degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Imo State University, Master Degree in Shipping from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (Transport Management [MTM]). During her university days, she participated actively in the Students’ Union and held various positions as chairman in various committees of the union.


TheGuardian

THE GUARDIAN,Sunday, March 17, 2013 19

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian THESAURUS Zealous a) enthusiastic b) fear c) bold d) cold Crave a) long for b) take c) curve d) deep Sanctity a) house b) holiness c) blame d) corner Pummel a) throw b) case c) hit d) flame Grandeur a) great b) top c) splendour d) ground Thorough a) soft b) means c) difficult d) methodical Preserve a) protect b) hold c) gain d) done Candid a) sweet b) frank c) clear d) drain Complex a) many b) multifaceted c) tough d) handle

Students of Queen’s College, Yaba Lagos during their march past at the 51st Annual Inter-house Sports competition.

Birthday Greeting Doyin Obasa is 7

PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO

Precarious a) shaky b) under c) cool d) remain

PUZZZLE

Solutions To Brain Teaser (20) MERCHANT TREASURE LOBSTER TRAVEL HERBALIST DOSSIER NOVELIST FEARFUL

Obasa (middle) with her friends at The Rock Nursery and Primary School, Yebade, Ijoko Ota, Ogun State

Zeenatullahi Shines At Quranic/Islamic Quiz Competition NSAR-UD-DEEN Girls High School’s Akinsanmi Zeenatullahi has emerged the overall winner of the third edition of the annual Alhaja Nusiratu Amope Sonibare Quranic/Islamic quiz competition organised by the Duro-Emmanuel Education Foundation Board. Zeenatullahi, with 105 points, outshone Kosoko Yeqeenah who emerged second with 85 points. Ahmed Faidat with 80 points clinched the third position. They are all from the same school. Speaking at the event, chairman of the Duro-Emmanuel Education Foundation Board, Dr. Waheeb Smith, noted that the competition is poised to instill into the students the need to be informed, not just in Islamic studies but also in all other ramifications of their career. “The board is on the verge of taking the quiz competition outside the shores of Lagos State, because it is important to further inculcate into the young ones in all the Ansar-Ud-Deen schools in country the need to be focused in their endeavours. Over 30 students from the three Ansar-Ud-Deen schools in Isolo, Itire and Surulere participated in the competition, after which five stu-

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Cross section of pupils at the event

COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA

dents were shortlisted for the grand finale. Meanwhile, the President of AnsarUd-Deen Society of Nigeria, Chief Femi Okunnu, encouraged the students to be industrious and relevant in their daily lives because this will go a long way in moulding them for the future. Okunnu, who chaired the event hosted by Ansar-Ud-Deen Grammar School, Surulere said there is a need for younger generation to take up responsibility positions early in life as a means of laying a strong foundation for the future. He thanked the board and the family members for continually holding the competition that aimed at bridging the gap in Quranic education, especially recitation of the Holy Quran. At the end of the competition, Akinsanmi Zeenatullahi went home with a computer laptop and N100, 000 paid into her school account, while Kosoko Yeqeenah went home with book materials and N50, 000 paid into his school account and Ahmed Faidat received educational materials. Prizes were also given to students that performed well during the quiz competition.

(You can contact us on events for this page through: e-mail: jideoojo@yahoo.com , 08035818924)

— Tony Nwanne


20 SUNDAY MAGAZINE

ThE GUArDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

CAMPUS Why We Purchased Tricycles – UNILORIN SU President rESIDENT of the University of Ilorin Students’ Union, Mr. Abdulmalik Aremu, has said the union went into transport business to break the monopoly of existing tricycle operators on campus, who he described as being too exploitative. Aremu, who made this at the commissioning of new tricycles by the Deputy ViceChancellor, Prof. F. A. Oladele, pointed out that the move would substantially ease transportation on campus. he disclosed that the tricycles operators were earlier asked to reduce their fares from N30 but they refused to do so, adding that as a proactive body, the Students’ Union decided to purchase its own tricycles and pegged the fare at N10 per drop to check the exploitation. The SU President, whose tenure would end in May this year, disclosed that other events and projects have been lined up that will excite students in the second semester of the 2012/2013 academic session. These, according to him, include the leadership Summit, which will hold March 20 and launch of the first Students’ Union Journal. Aremu added that there would be a Campus Blast where notable artistes like May D, Olamide and Tiwa Savage would thrill the students. “There would also be a Campus Trek for interested students from the school park to the terminus in town,” he said.

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Students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, awaiting the results of the Students’ Union election, which was held last week.

Secrets Of The Most Successful College Students By Annie Murphy Paul OllEGE admission letters go out weekly and most recipients (and their parents) place great importance on which of the universities they are most suited for. A growing body of evidence, however, suggests that the most significant thing about college is not where you go, but what you do once you get there. historian and educator, Ken Bain, has written a book on this subject, What The Best College Students Do?, that draws a roadmap for how students can get the most out of college, no matter where they go. As Bain details, there are three types of learners — surface, who do as little as possible to get by; strategic, who aim for top grades rather than true understanding, and finally, deep learners, who leave college with a real, rich education. Bain then introduces us to a host of real-life deep learners: young and old, scientific and artistic, famous or still getting there. Although they each have their own insights, Bain identifies common patterns in their stories:

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Pursue passion, not A’s

WhEN he was in college, says the eminent astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, he was “moved by curiosity, interest, and fascination, not by making the highest scores on a test.” As an adult, he points out, “no one ever asks you what your grades were. Grades become irrelevant.” In his experience as a student and a professor, says Tyson, “ambition and innovation trump grades every time.”

Get comfortable with failure

WhEN he was still a college student, comedian, Stephen Colbert, began working with an improvisational theatre in Chicago. “That really opened me up in ways I hadn’t expected,” he told Bain. “You must be OK with bombing. You have to love it.” Colbert adds, “Improvisation is a great educator when it comes to failing. There’s no way you are going to get it right every time.”

Make a personal connection to your studies

IN her sophomore year in college, Eliza Noh, now a professor of Asian American studies at California State University, Fullerton, took a class on power in society: who has it, how it’s used. “It really opened my eyes. For the first time in my

life, I realized that learning could be about me and my interests, about who I was,” Noh told Bain. “I didn’t just listen to lectures, but began to use my own experiences as a jumping off point for asking questions and wanting to pursue certain concepts.”

read and think actively

intelligence? For many of the subjects he pursued, Bain notes, “there was no place to ‘look it up,’ no simple answer.”

Set goals and make them real

TIA Fuller, who later became an accomplished saxophone player, began planning her future in college, envisioning the successful completion of her projects. ”I would keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel, and what that accomplishment would mean,” she said to Bain. “That would help me develop a crystalized vision.”

DEAN Baker, one of the few economists to predict the economic collapse of 2008, became fascinated in college by the way economic forces shape people’s lives. his studies led him to reflect on “what he believed and why, integrating and questioning,” Bain notes. Baker himself says:  ”I was always looking for arguments in Find a way to contribute  something I read, and then pinpointing the evi- JOEl  Feinman, now a lawyer who provides legal services to the poor, was set on his career dence to see how it was used.” path by a book he read in college: The Massacre at El Mazote, an account of a 1981 slaughter of Ask big questions JEFF hawkins, an engineer who created the first villagers in El Salvador. After writing and stagmobile computing device, organized his col- ing a campus play about the massacre, and lege studies around four profound questions he traveling to El Savador himself,  Feinman wanted to explore:  Why does anything “decided that I wanted to do something to exist? Given that a universe does exist, why do help people and bring a little justice to the we have the particular laws of physics that we world.” do? Why do we have life, and what is its nature? This article was featured on TIME Magazine And given that life exists, what’s the nature of

VC receives Thumbs Up At Mid-term Assessment From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia TAKEhOlDErS in Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUA), Umuahia, in Abia State at the weekend applauded the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. hilary Edeoga, for his exemplary leadership. At an event to mark his two years in office, they noted the significant transformation the university had witnessed under his administration. Some of the projects, which were recently commissioned, include the university radio station, fishponds and hatcheries, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim auditorium, two blocks of building at the College of Crop and Soil Sciences, two blocks at the College of Applied Food Science and Tourism, and construction of Aguiyi Ironsi road, among others. The anniversary luncheon, which began with a  thanksgiving service at the Anyim Pius Anyim auditorium, was attended by students and members of the university community. Chairman of the MOUA chapter of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Comrade Obisike Uchechi, said the transformation since Edeoga mounted the saddle on March 1, 2011, has been tremendous. Former chairman of the institution’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emma Osodeke, ‘accused’ the VC of rendering staff unions

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WISECrACKS

I really do think that any deep crisis is an opportunity to make your life such as upgrading those with added qualifications extraordinary in some way. Martha Beck and developing the staff quarters. Commenting on his two years in office, Edeoga told The Guardian that one of the key points of his The real winners in life are the achievement was his ability to access the Tertiary people who look at every situaEducation Trust Fund (TETFUND), which had lain tion with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better. Barbara Pletcher

redundant due to his work ethic of team work, consulting widely and operating an open-door policy. “This is why the unions have had no reasons to confront the VC on any issue, as all matters brought before is always given due attention.” Serving MOUA Chancellor and Tor Tiv, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkular, had during the last convocation ceremony held in December, said university authorities should emulate MOUA’s wisdom of selecting principal officers from among their staff. According to him, before Edeoga came on board, the university witnessed a slow rate of improvement in physical infrastructure since its inception in 1992. Kind words were also showered on the VC by president of the Students’ Union, Comrade Kalu Okorie, who noted that the VC had surpassed the expectation of both staff and students. “When we reflect on the new programmes, policies, student-friendly relationship you have sustained, and the infrastructure already in use and those under construction, including 10 student hostel blocks, it shows that you have the blueprint of the structural and policy framework of the MOUA of our dream,” he said. These eulogies did not, however, go without some tasks given to the VC. NASU urged him to move into the next lap of his tenure and increase staff welfare Prof. Hilary Edeoga

No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you. Althea Gibson The future you see is the future you get. Robert G Allen

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


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

SUNDAYMAGAZINE 21

HEALTH From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja

EOPLE suffering from mental disorder are not only those in the streets. Those are just the shame of a nation. In fact, about 18 million Nigerians, who have symptoms that need diagnoses of mental illness need not roam the streets. The majority of such persons should be in offices, earning good income while taking medication. Indeed, just as people with diabetic or hypertension go to work, most people with mental disorder should go to work. Experts in psychological medicine, who painted the above picture in Abuja during a recent meet, have therefore canvassed a change of attitude and approach to the management of mental disorders in the country. And cognisance of the pains of families of patients with mental health disorders, a call has gone out to the federal government to put up a national framework to guide families affected by mental illness or addiction.  A call has also gone out to society to stop the stigmatisation against people with mental problems. The framework, according to a United Kingdom based consultant psychiatrist, Dr. vincent Udenze, would empower families of mentally ill patients. Udenze, who spoke at a briefing on the celebration of families with people that suffer with mental illness and drug addiction organised by Synapse Services – a Centre for Psychological Medicine, held in Abuja, also wants a shift from the traditional belief in spiritual causes for mental disorder cases, insisting, rather, that mentally ill persons commonly found in many parts of Nigeria were evidence of a society that has failed to take care of its own.

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‘Mental Illness Is Manageable Like Diabetics, Hypertension, Others’ “There is nothing spiritual about why they are on the street. It is just that we have failed to care for them,” he stressed. Quoting World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, which indicate that 18 million Nigerians have symptoms of mental illness, he emphasised the need for government, NGOs, families and all stakeholders to come together to bring quality healthcare to Nigerians. Noting that rehabilitation abroad is not necessarily better, he called for early diagnosis to enable better and cost effective local management and treatment. His words: “I believe that there is need for us to have a framework to start looking at this. It is a long race that takes time.  What is wrong for somebody with mental disorder taking medication and going to work?  It is absolutely normal. This is what is obtained in many developed worlds. Mental disorder is manageable.” Speaking on the issue, an American-trained Nigerian doctor, Dr. Ugo Okafor lamented that families in Nigeria are often stigmatised along with the patient even long after a cure is achieved. This, he added, unfortunately, could last for generations. He stressed that mental illness is manageable like other illnesses. He described modern psy-

Mrs. Kofoworola Odeyemi, Chairman of Association of Public Health Physicians, Lagos State Chapter (left), Dr. Kemi Odukoya, Public Health Physician and Lecturer, Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos; and Dr. Bartholomew Brai, Nutritionist, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research at the Ignite Stakeholders parley in Lagos.

chological medicine as a multi –disciplinary profession that provides swift, standard, safe and appropriate mental health services to patients in a way and setting that meets their inner needs. To buttress the seriousness of the international celebration of families with people that suffer with mental illness and drug addiction,

DIET & HEALTH

beeconservation@yahoo.com BY TUNDE FABUNMI

Therapeutic Foods As Panacea To High Infant, Maternal Deaths (1) From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja

HILE there is global consensus that malnutrition is the main cause of high infant and maternal deaths in Africa, the approaches to redress these woes have been limited to food fortification and vitamin and mineral supplementation. However, many research studies have identified ineffectiveness, inadequate supply and high cost as the drawbacks of food fortification and supplementation. According to a study conducted by six institutions, three each from Germany and United States titled: Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in Human Food Supply, “Supplementation and fortification are not adequate substitutes for the loss or reduction of nutrients from food sources.” Each year about 225 million people are infected by malaria, which kills 781,000 out of which 91 per cent are Africans comprising 85 per cent under-5 infants and 6 per cent adults. Malaria also robs Africa more than 12 billion dollars in lost productivity every year and accounts for 40 per cent of

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Spiritual Healing As A Last Resort? By Moji Solanke

ANY Nigerians, including those in the medical profession, readily acknowledge that God plays a part in healing. Indeed in Africa generally, probably more than in other parts of the world, the idea of spiritual healing makes sense, even to the educated and the intellectual who have been taught to ask questions, and rely on provable phenomena. That said, the majority would, however, acknowledge that spiritual healing definitely ranks behind medical healing when choosing the first line of action, either in a health emergency, or for acute and chronic cases. When materia medica has failed to effect a cure, and a case has been given up as beyond hope, in desperation, the patient turns to spiritual healing, but only as a last resort. Yet, in cases too many to ignore, successes recorded by turning to spiritual healing, indicate that there is more to it than meets the eye — literally. Healings defying all medical explanations have been dubbed miraculous. This word implies that spiritual healing is not particularly reliable, since miracles are not the order of the

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day, and this explains why spiritual healing is often chosen as a last resort. The crux of the matter is that God, the source of spiritual healing, is invisible to the physical senses. Whether it is acknowledged or not, this brings a sense of doubt as to God’s reality, or at best inspires but a trembling faith that would much rather rely on what can be seen and felt. Often individuals feel that they do not qualify to be beneficiaries of the sparingly doled out miracles that they term spiritual healing. Also, the aggressiveness of symptoms, and fear of the implications for health and mortality, according to information garnered from books, or through the more subtle medium of advertising, make reliance on spiritual healing seem daunting, and therefore only worthy of consideration when there is nothing left to lose. But it does not have to be this way, because there is a scientific system of spiritual healing, which addresses the doubts and trembling faiths, in such a way that an individual may rationally and confidently choose spiri-

he noted that place like South Africa, British Columbus, Nevada in USA and parts of Canada declare public holidays. “As a clinician, a consultant psychiatrist, I have my patients and their family on my mind all the time. Do I have anything to say to families that would add value in their role towards patient management?”

tual healing as the first resort. It is called Christian Science, and it has the following indisputable facts going for it. It has a long record of success dating back to 1866. The rules of healing can be learnt by anyone. It has universal application and it is practical. This system of healing is not new. Christ Jesus healed spiritually, and taught his disciples to heal this way. Through personal experience, Mary Baker Eddy discovered this system and its rules for healing, which she presents in the textbook Science and Health with key to the Scriptures. Eddy writes, ‘Failing to recover health through adherence to physiology and hygiene, the despairing invalid often drops them, and in his extremity and only as a last resort, turns to God’. And elsewhere, ‘Spirit (God) is his last resort, but it should have been his first and only resort’. Today, countless individuals around the world, including Nigeria, are relying on Christian Science solely, not only as the first resort, but as their sole system of healthcare, and they are consistently finding healing. m_asolanke@hotmail.com

health expenditure. But malaria can be eradicated with therapeutic foods even with added benefits of creating jobs and wealth for agribusiness entrepreneurs and crop farmers in Africa. How? A study conducted in Burkina Faso by researchers from Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante found that vitamin A and zinc supplements cut the risk of malaria in kids by 34 per cent. But unfortunately, the global health establishment faces the challenge of getting zinc and vitamin A supplements into the diet of malnourished infants in Africa. But the question for our leaders is: are there no farm produce dense in zinc and vitamin A that can be processed and packaged into therapeutic foods to stem malaria – the biggest killer of infants and pregnant women in Africa? There is also a therapeutic food to repel mosquitoes – the main cause of malaria- based on a study at the Lake Superior State College in Michigan, USA. Also, virtually all the brands of baby foods being used in Africa are imported from Europe. Yet, a study group led by Dr. Nazanin Zand from the University of Greenwich UK found that micronutrient content of readymade baby meals in UK contain less than a fifth of the recommended daily supply of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and other minerals. Don’t we have requisite knowledge and technical skills to make quality baby food containing all nutrients essential for the health and optimal growth of infants with organic farm produce cultivated in Africa? About 80 per cent of newborn deaths in Africa are premature babies due to two factors – low protein intake of mother during pregnancy and lack of incubators after delivery. But many African countries may not be able to stem rising pre-term delivery and high mortality of premature babies. Why? In Nigeria, for instance, there is no preventive therapy against pre-term delivery, while many hospitals including teaching hospitals also lack incubators to save premature babies from the cold hands of death. We can process farm produce dense in protein into therapeutic foods to boost protein intake of pregnant women and stem preterm delivery in Africa. There is therapeutic food that has proved as effective as incubator in saving premature babies from death, while also providing A1 nourishment for babies and nursing mothers.

Health And Your Mind

Truth In The Dynamics Of Faith (6) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

vER the ages, religion had really come to be made synonymous with faith. It is therefore not surprising when you come across some people and they ask you what is your faith when they want to know about your religious leaning. This belief really damaged the whole concept of faith. Faith is supposed to be a concept that ought to stand on its own merit. It ought not to have been tied to any mode of worship because the dynamics of faith is not really so much about a mode of worship. But if it must be seen as a mode of worship, then it has to be clearly understood that this is a mode of worship that is much more concerned about a formidable mindset. It is what I have been trying to explain when I said that faith is about a diligent personality development. It must be directly concerned with the constructive mental and emotional orientation of the individual. It is a development that is concerned about the rules of mental operation — how to organise your mind to get result. We are talking of getting the result of something that you have visualised. You have seen it in your

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mind’s eye. Nobody has seen it with you. You have seen it and you begin the method to bring it to fruition. This is the method of faith and you might begin to appreciate what we could mean when we say that this method deserves to be called faith because there is something about it that suggests the rule of intelligence going with it. They all belong within the operations of what we have called constructive mental and emotional orientation of the individual. Religion may not seriously offer it. When we all wake up one day to recognise that this is the training that we all need and which has been eluding us, the power of the rule of intelligence will overwhelm us and we might just begin to see how the genuine power of faith is not only independent of religion, it might also just help all of us to see through the shenanigans of religious practices. We might just come to appreciate what was on the mind of Jesus when He said that ‘the time is coming when people will no longer say let’s go to this mountain or Jerusalem to go and worship the Father because those worshipping the Father will worship in spirit and in truth. This was away of Jesus contrasting what He considered as the true mode of worship to all the

confusions that have always abound in the name of worship. What you may permit me to tell you if you are not going to take offence is that Jesus had predicted it that a day is coming in the life of mankind when the power of faith in the true mode of worship will over-ride the confusions you have all been experiencing as worship. Worship now in its true concept will no longer necessarily be how to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Mecca or what have you. To eat sacrament or pay tithes or whatever but to concentrate more on expunging those things that defile your mind so that through the recesses of your mind, you can experience what it means largely through your own noble efforts to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is not something that you look for either here or there. Rather it is within you. What is this ‘within you’? This may give you an idea of the place of your mind and its cultivation in your relationship with God and the cardinal role of faith in all this. We might just need a series of articles to look at this. Concluded.

Ayo-Vaughan, a psychologist, lives in Lagos.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

22 SUNDAYMAGAZINE

PERSPECTIVE

President Jonathan

SERVICOM

Tangible Route To Developmental State By Tunji Olaopa

OVERNMENTS are distinguished by three complementary functions: the policy management, regulatory and service delivery functions. The urgent reform of these functions constitutes the fundamental theme of good governance as a global imperative. Nigeria cannot afford to be sidelined given that the possibility of erecting a truly functional and legitimate governance model depends on the transformation of government business. In spite of some of our earlier thoughts on the state of the civil service, there is a need for a “diagnostic audit” of its capacity as the machinery for efficient service delivery. The essence of service delivery is basically to bring the government in touch with the people and conversely to unfold the loyalty of the people in the service of the state. Customer experience, the culture of demands that is instituted and the institutional capacities to backstop the demand are therefore the cogent factors in the functionality of service delivery trajectory of any nation. For Michael Hammer, the American author, “Serving the customer is not a mechanical act but one that provides an opportunity for fulfillment and meaning.” The challenge of service delivery in Nigeria derives from the overall poor performance of the governance dynamics and its consequences on service delivery. This stems from the fact that services are inaccessible and inequitable, ineffective and bureaucratic, not adaptable to customers’ needs and inherent poor quality of public goods. Added to this is the fact that MDAs are fragmented in their approaches and lack the necessary capacities to tackle the challenges of delivering services efficiently. This is further heightened in Nigeria by the distortion created for governance by military rule. To deliver democratic dividends, governments need to convince the people of their good intentions. A government’s claim to legitimacy is thus informed by its capacity to deliver a range of unique services to its population through the operational capacity of the civil service. There are two components to any rethinking of service delivery. The first concerns the issue of institutional performance with regard to how policies, systems, processes, technology and resources can be harnessed to give efficient synergy. The second component is the individual performance which connects accountability with job description, training, ethical conduct and effective utilisation of the available resources. These two components are then brought under a rigorous reform programme that would open up the government to its citizens. This reform framework is represented in Nigeria by the SERVICOM brand, an irreducible framework around which the service delivery trajectory is articulated. SERVICOM is undergirded by series of fundamental principles, including holding public servants accountable for service rendered to the public, and essentially the building of a citizen-centric public service. These are fundamental because the right of the citizens to demand the delivery of qualitative public goods occupies a central place in the reclamation of the national project. However, while SERVICOM constitutes the tangible route to the realisa-

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it offers the benefits of governmental control of the public goods while devolving their production to other governance actors for effectiveness and efficiency. This model can be defined around two strategic frameworks for service delivery. The first is the integrated approach primarily motivated by the need to find a more cost-effective and technology-driven responsive delivery of government service through strengthening the existing bureaucratic structures and diversifying their operational dynamics. At the heart of the integrated approach is the core competency thesis which contends that an MDA becomes a high performing organisation if it concentrates on its core functions and outsources its non-cores. The operational dynamics can be either of a joinedup leveraging technology, one-stop-shop or no-wrong-door policy. For instance, the “no-wrong-door” idea operates through a common web-enabled information platform that enable a number of agencies enlarge their responsibilities to each other by attending to their respective customer irrespective of who is contacted via a common information clearance platform. The second strategic framework demands a separation of responsibilities between the provider and the producer of service. This strategy focuses government’s recognition that the governance space can be enlarged so that the service delivery functions can be shared with legitimate governance actors like the private sector, individuals and voluntary organisations. What is required of the provider is only the aggregation and articulation of the demands of the citizenry as well as providing the fund for financing the public goods. The producers face the technical dimension of transforming the aggregated demands into outputs for consumption. To get to the next level in the trajectory of an effective and efficient service delivery framework requires the enlargement of the governance structures to ensure that the government receives the required institutional capacities to achieve its objective of empowering the social contract. This enlargement will, ultimately, increase the quality and quantity of the services provided. This requires not only getting the MDAs effectively on their feet but also restructuring the route through which these MDAs can be made to deliver services efficiently. Whichever ingenious mix of the approaches is chosen would be defined by a service delivery improvement standard around which the service charter is measured. This will include the following: (a) Defining all services to be provided, and the identification of the client; (b) setting the standard and norms for each service; (c) developing capability to achieve the set standard and to manage the interface of public private partnership which can be tricky and intricate given current bureaucratic devoid of badly required entrepreneurial orientation and value-chain approaches; (d) performance orientation towards meeting the standard and quality control; (e) monitoring the performance vis-à-vis the set standard and accountability within contractual terms embodied in signed performance agreements; (f) impact evaluation through an independent mechanism; and (g) continuous improvement through the assessment of monitoring and evaluation results. Nigeria is at the threshold of transformation, a resuscitation of its march towards national greatness. What is required at this juncture is focus that will put the citizen in the spotlight of governance. “People are not willing to be governed by those who do not speak their language,” says Norman Tebbit. In this case, this language the government needs to reform is that of service delivery that would ultimately connect the people to the good intention of the government and produce a new consciousness of what it takes to renew the national project.

tion of a developmental state that is citizen-centric, it needed to be conceptually and operationally expanded to carry the weight of a formidable contract between government and citizens. If services have not been serving the people, then there is the need for a creative process of reform that begins from a restructuring of the institutional dynamics of service delivery through a genuine framework of collaboration. This rethinking is what defines the Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) usually operationalised through various PPP arrangements. This became necessary simply because there is no once-size-fits-all approach to delivering service effectively. The ASD would however also require a reform model that would serve as its fundamental instigator. Sir Michael Barber has suggested three paradigms for reforming the delivery of public goods—the command and control, devolution and transparency Dr. Olaopa is Federal Permanent Secretary, Abuja. and quasi-markets paradigms. The devolution and transparency model offers obvious fascination for the Nigerian context because tolaopa2003@yahoo.com

Taking Policy Work In Government To Next Level By Tunji Olaopa

NE of the most fundamental administrative questions that have engaged political scientists and historians is that of why and how some states and societies make disastrous decisions that would not only alienate their citizens but sometimes also lead to the eventual stagnation or outright collapse of that society. The broad answer is basically that the administrative component of these societies made terrible decisions that failed to uphold the political integrity of the society. A successful nation therefore is one where some people made or are making courageous decisions with lenses that read reality rightly which with time, add up to ignite desired transformation. Within the context of the good governance movement which is defining development trajectory in the world since the 90s, a courageous decision is defined as the government’s recognition and acceptance of the fact that the governance space requires admitting other governance actors to complement its efforts through connecting scarce resources of the state to other availabilities in a win-win synergy. This acceptance is then followed by an active deployment of reform methodology that enables the strengthening of its policy management and regulation functions. A reform agenda in government’s policy management and regulatory functions is required in terms of (a) conducive policy environment; (b) organisational and institutional infrastructure; and (c) policy analysis capacity. It is within these reform areas that the government can outline a developmental plan for transforming the nation. This plan requires a policy management dynamics that would serve as the rubric for the vision of moving forward. Since, as someone observed, “a strategy is only as good as the vision that

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guides it,” a conducive policy environment requires, in the first instance, that the policy makers — the politicians and the civil servants—outlines the direction of governance, i.e. efficient service delivery, and then channels the policy energies towards this through a framework that would bring together those who matter, especially within the civil service. The policy function of the civil service has evolved in line with the changing role of the state, changing development paradigm and especially the dominant influence of managerialism. The dominant dimension to policy reform therefore concerns moves to beef up strategic policy intelligence through the creation of a multi-disciplinary elite corps at senior executive level. This calls for the top level administrative leadership to play major role in public policy making process. Recruitment into this top level administrative corps will be on the basis of intelligence, professionalism and performance rating. This requirement also dovetails into the necessity of capacity building in policy analysis, problem-solving, project management, etc. which would entail professionalisation through radical modification of the generalist administrative cadre after a competency mapping of the requirement of the planning, research and statistics departments.The challenge here is to get the civil service to a professional level where it would engage in what Prof. Dror calls “high-order tasks” that would give creative impetus to support national transformation. The second dimension of a dynamic policy management framework is citizens’ involvement and participation in the policy environment. However capable the elite administrative corps of policy advisers may be, they are bound to share expertise with a range of subject specialists, think tanks, policy networks, and re-


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

SUNDAYMAGAZINE 23

PERSPECTIVE B y Chigachi Eke

HE Obolo Ijaw submitted a document titled: “Memorandum for the Creation of Oil Rivers State Out of the Present Rivers and Akwa Ibom States” to the National Assembly in June 2012. Lead signatories include HM King Prof. TJT Princewill, Amanyanabo of Kalabari; King Edward AWD Pepple, Amanyanabo of Grand Bonny; HM King Dandeson D. Jaja Jeki V, Amanyanabo of Opobo and HRH E.T.I. Obudibo, Amanyanabo of Ogoloma. Altogether, 590 Ijaws including Ben George T. Sekibo, representing Rivers East in the Senate and Bright Tamuno Gogo, representing Okrika/Ogu/Bolo in the House of Representatives, endorsed this document. Cartographically, proposed Oil Rivers covers 5000 sq kilometers of the southern seabed of Engeni, Abua/Odua, Akuku Toru, Degema, Asari Toru, Port Harcourt South, Okrika, Bonny, Andoni, Opobo/Nkoro, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno. The capital is Isaka/ Bakana or Degema while its 2, 344,945 population is exclusively Ijaws of Eastern Delta. Arc. Esoetok Etteh, also signatory to this document, explains this exclusivity, “We must recover and retain our culture lost to British balkanization of the past two hundred years. Some of us have lost our language and ways of life. The proposed Oil Rivers State will correct these anomalies.” In Akwa Ibom State the memo sent a cold fear into the stoutest of hearts where it was judged a reenactment of the terrible, terrible old days when Ijaws’ canons spat balls on Ibibio and Eket lands. Only British intervention in the affairs of Niger Delta singularly gave respite to the peoples of Ikot Abasi and Mkpat Enin from warring Ijaws. But this time they were ready. Their counter-attack came in petitions submitted to Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy President of Nigerian Senate and Chairman, National Assembly Committee on Constitutional Amendment. Led by Obong E.C.D. Abia, Attah of Eket, the traditional rulers of Eket Senatorial District comprising of twelve Local Government Areas, LGAs, including Eatern Obolo and Ibeno, urged the National Assembly February 2013 to reject the Obolo Ijaw demand: “The agitators and architects of the said memorandum have employed outright falsehood and distortions to advance their demand. If the Ibenos and the people of Eastern Obolo who now claim to be of Ijaw extraction desire to join the people of Rivers State to form a state, they should do so with their land and wealth not ours…The area of our land and wealth thereon which the people of Ibeno and Eastern Obolo local government areas of Akwa Ibom State have caused to be drawn or made to form part of the proposed Oil Rivers State is ours, they do not belong to the people of Ibeno and/or Eastern Obolo.” Armed with documented evidence the leaders pointed out that “the entire coastal area known as Stubbs Creek and the sea extending from the mouth of the Qua Iboe River eastward along the seashsore to the Child Point (Okposo II) belong to the Ekets, to wit: Eket, Esit Eket and Onna local government areas,” in line with the Supreme Court at Calabar, the West African Court of Appeal and the Privy Council judgments of 1914 and 1918.

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PROPOSED OIL RIVERS:

Turn Again Akpabio As matters stand now the stage is set for a major ethnic upheaval in Akwa Ibom. The contestation being (1) the Obolo Ijaw’s desire to unite with their kit and kin in “one culturally homogenous and territorially contiguous” unit called Ijaw land, Oil Rivers will form part of this grand scheme, in line with the original pre-colonial configuration and, (2) the opposing desire by the Eket and Ibibio to retain the present Akwa Ibom State structure including Eastern Obolo and Ibeno LGAs. Akwa Ibom state devoid of Eastern Obolo and Ibeno will virtually cease to be littoral as the bulk of its oil wells are located in these two areas. This explains why the counter-petitions by Ekets continue to harp on “our land and wealth.” It must be said that the Ijaw have a valid case reversing colonial injuries until you hear the bitter story of their neighbours: Imperial Ijaw who bestrode pre-colonial Niger Delta and hinterland was an inflexible monopolist. His middleman position in trade and military was ruthlessly employed to the disadvantage of others. This golden era of Ijaw nationalism marked the nadir for their traumatized neighbours so much so that the Ibibio should be forgiven if they wake up tomorrow only to demand for reparation from Obolo Ijaws for the latter’s high handedness in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The Obolo Ijaw must remember that the very conditions, which catapulted them to glory worked in reverse for others. The Ijaw would be naïve resurrecting a great past without the ambiguous legacy that comes with it. It is common knowledge that pre-colonial Ijaws rode to glory joggling war (war-war) and diplomacy (jaw-jaw). Their expansion East and West from Ogbe Ijaw, hypothetically, was conditioned by military conquest or willful migration. If by the former this talk about uniting all Ijaws will bruise old wounds rekindling the urge for revenging in those who lost lands to Ijaws. But if by the latter then we must carefully re-examine the claim of “territorially contiguous” Ijaw land, as I hope to do here, not to fall into the trap of arguing from answer to question. Human geography worldwide is mapped following ancient settlement patterns. In ancient times, Ijaws included, group settlements were never coordinated but discriminatory. That is why you have Zulu people in kwaZulu Natal (South Africa); Swaziland (Kingdom of Swaziland); Mpumalanga (South Africa) and Matabele Land (Zimbabwe), for instance. Territorial contiguity is a political necessity very much alien to our survivalist ancestors

search-enabled interest groups which also have a strategic role to play within the governance space that the government is attempting to define through policy and regulation. This collaboration stimulates an institutional form of “town and gown” networking for imbuing policy with the energy required to give it direction and values. Thus, for Edgar Stein, the American educator, “Real help can only be delivered when both consultant and client are using a common set of assumptions and have developed some common language.” This second level of policy advice becomes significant because it not only test the legitimacy of the government, it equally serves as a source of second opinion which the Executive receives and can weigh effectively against the policy advice emOlaopa anating from state officials. This can be further enhanced by the extent to which the public sphere can be opened up and public debate stimulated over policy formulation and deployment and regulation of policy space. These factors, in the final analysis, are basically avenues by which the government can gauge its policy and receive feedbacks to outputs. This public dimension will benefit immensely from the quality of research-based think tanking that support political parties’ aggregation of public opinion and feedback to the government in power.

Akpabio

whose security often meant putting great distance between themselves and their kind. Again in the Zulu example, Mzilikazi who was Emperor Shaka’s General decided to flee Zulu land with his Khumalo Clan when he lost a battle. Returning to Shaka at the capital city of Bulawayo in kwaZulu Natal would have meant execution so he did the wisest thing. Crossing the Limpopo River after more than seven hundred kilometers he founded a new settlement called Matabele land, called his new capital Bulawayo; but changed his identity from Zulu(s) to Ndebele(s). You reap conflict tampering with ancient truth or interpreting such to justify modern exigencies. I draw the attention of better informed historians like Felix Tuodulo, Timi Kaiser-Wilhelm Ogoriba and Etteh that a culturally homogenous Ijaw land less territorial contiguity could be nearer the truth, whether pre or post-colonial truth. Bear in mind that the natural trend of Ijaw civilization is ever fragmentary, never otherwise, favouring onward expansion in search of

What matters, therefore, is situating the flow of the whole dynamics in such a way that it effectively generates a policy agenda that would harness the policy and regulatory energies towards greater performance. In other words, the focus should be on achieving a strategic synergy with all the other agencies involved in the policy process including the department of planning, research and statistics (DPRS) of the MDAs or whatever their policy analysis hub is called. The DPRS are important because they serve a gatekeeping work of filtering ideas and best practices while maintaining platforms networked with others for institutional memory. They also filter public opinions, generating periodic policy briefs as a democratic participatory imperative. The big issue of the moment is one of whether the department (DPRS) should be a generalist administrative function or a specialist professional hub or a hybrid. This is a strategic issue that needs intelligent urgent resolution that the system can delay further only to the detriment of the system. On the other hand, the MDAs planning function requires an upgrading to better enable their planning function connects intelligently with the trajectories that the National Economic Implementation Team, the National Planning Commission and other policy incubators generate from time to time. The current notion that planning takes place at a certain time of the year over-simplifies strategic planning. Each MDA must be enabled to recognise the day-to-day planning initiative it must undertake such as: Planning in response to gaps in estimated, appropriated and actual budget releases; planning in response to new perceptible thrust in government policy which could be incidental; planning with regards to changing role of MDAs due to technology expansion and new performance-oriented business model; and so on. Policy management and regulation involves a serious attempt at coordinating government’s efforts with those of other governance actors to generate a language of service delivery which the citizens understand. The administrative structures for creating the “language” are already in place. The mighty challenge is to get to the task of connecting the dotted lines. Dr. Olaopa is Federal Permanent Secretary, Abuja. tolaopa2003@yahoo.com

new fishing grounds in line with Ijaw economy. Every empire must die someday. Ijaw City-States cannot be an exception to this immutable law. Ijaws must reconsider how to maximize modern realities than expending energy recreating a glorious past likely to pitch them in vicious struggles with others. That is Utopia. With the greatest respect to the Kaiama Declaration, which I wholeheartedly endorsed before President Miabiye Kuromiema, I insist that 21st Century Ijaw nationalism must be balanced with realism. Something is seriously wrong if at every turn we find Ijaws in conflict with Yorubas (Ondo State), Binis (Edo State), Itsekiris (Delta State) Ikwerres and Ogonis (Rivers State) and Ibibios and Ekets (Akwa Ibom State). How feasible is a territorial contiguous Ijaw land? In Maka and Grande Village (Gabon) I met large Ijaw communities of many generations who do not consider themselves Nigerians but Gabonese; they are also very proud of their Ijawness. Do we now extend Ijaw land to Central Africa to include them or stripe them of their Ijaw identity since they fall outside Ijaw territorial sphere? I have read elsewhere that Ijaws are Black Jews. This could be so only because they are indigenes of Lagos, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States; and citizens of Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Congo Kinshasha and Angola. Creating a united Ijaw land out of this hotchpotch remains to be seen even as none bothers about the flip side: Ijaws outside the new enclave would be condemned as settlers, a terrible minus demographically, territorially, economically and strategically, in particular, as a blockade is then feasible. But Ijaws scattered as they are today can claim indigenes/citizens of any state/country like pre-1948 Jews. Therefore, until an Izon Republic can protect Ijaws worldwide, like Israel does to Jews, the present configuration is best. The Obolo Ijaw of Eastern Obolo and Ibeno LGAs of Akwa Ibom have no need reinventing the wheel to assert themselves. To attempt a solution is to ask what Godswill Akpabio, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, is not doing to convince the Oron, Obolo, Annang, Eket and Ibibio that Akwa Ibom is “equally” for all. In “Godswill Akpabio: The Magician of Akwa Ibom,” Comrade Ebenezer Babatope in a rare show of generosity crowns Akpabio the Father of Akwa Ibom State with reasons. Akpabio’s transformation of this multi-ethnic state equals what Kim ill Sung did in North Korea and Audu Bako wrought in old Kano State. Predictably, Socialist Babatope is kind to Akpabio for the latter’s pro-populi agenda. Everything capable of making a people great Akpabio built and made available for his people. But these grand works could go up in smoke unless he calls the Obolo and Eket to a speedy order. For at the bottom of this problem is the generational indigene/settler curse. The highest courts in the land had looked into this matter with limited success. Magician Akpabio must change tact before these protagonists ruin his wonderful performance. A better art could be dealing a regular hand to all. Eke is an Igbo Rights Activist.


24 SUNDAYMAGAZINE

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

SOCIETY Dallaji Bags African Achievers Award

Birthdays OKUPE, Dr. Adedoyin Ajibike, physician, politician and administrator will be 61 on Friday, March 22, 2012. He was born on March 22, 1952 in Iperu, Ogun State, educated at St. Jude’s School, Ebute-Metta, Lagos; Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, 1964; University of Ibadan, 1971-76; medical officer, General Hospital, Pankshin, Plateau State, 197778; senior medical officer, St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, 1979; senior medical officer, Julisam Clinic, Lagos, 1981-82; member, Hospital Management Committee, Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, 1982; managing director, Royal Cross Hospital, Lagos, 1983; managing director, Life Communications Limited, Publishers of Life Mirror (First Health Newspaper in Nigeria) since 1988; House of Representatives candidate, defunct National Party of Nigeria and one time spokesman of former president Olusegun Obasanjo and at present Special Adviser to the President on Communication. ASHIMOLOWO, Pastor Mathew, teacher, evangelist, businessman and Senior Pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in London clocks 61 today. He is a Biblical scholar and media commentator. His winning ways programme is aired daily on Premier Radio (London) and Spirit FM (Amsterdam) and also viewed on television by a potential audi-

OUNDER and President of African Children Talent Discovery FAchievers Foundation, Engr. Noah Nuhu Dallaji, has won the African Award for the year 2013.

Okupe

Ashimolowo

Agege

ence of over 200 million in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, TV Africa, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and European The God Channel and Inspirational Network. He is also author of many books including the highly acclaimed Prayer Power Series.

ronmental Engineering in 2009 at the University of Port Harcourt. COREN registered Engineer and Engineering Consultant, a member of Nigerian Society of Engineers and Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers. He was elected the Public Relations Officer of the UNIBEN branch of Nigerian Universities Engineering Students Association (NUESA) in 1982/83 session and a member of Congress/Parliament of the University of Benin Students Union Government in 1983. He got elected as the National President of Nigerian Universities Engineering Students Association (NUESA) in 1983/84 at the National Convention of NUESA at the University of Benin. He is the author of Investment Opportunities in Solid Metallic Non-ferrous Minerals in Nigeria and several articles, papers and

opinions on chemical and environmental engineering.

AGEGE, Engr. Clement Ede, consulting chemical and environmental engineer will be 51 on Wednesday March 20, 2013. He attended Government College, Ughelli from 1973-78 for his secondary education and from 1978-80 for Higher School Certificate/Advanced level where he obtained Grade one and full HSC respectively. He bagged a Bachelor of Engineering honours degree in Chemical Engineering in 1984 at the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State and completed Masters degree in Envi-

Chairman. Anglo-Nigeria Welfare Association for the Blind, Ogie Eboigbe (left), Blind Law Student, University of Lagos, Olufunke Mariam Kazeem, Director, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and Executive Secretary of the Foundation, Nonny Ugboma at the MTN Foundation Scholarship Awards in Lagos... on Thursday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Project Manager, Next Scholar Tv Reality Show, Nedum Ogboruche, Quality Manager, Irina Igorevna and Policy Adviser, Dr Mark Igiehon, at the press briefing in Lagos.

The award is bestowed annually to recognise excellent individuals and organisations that have distinguished themselves in their contributions to the growth and development of Africa. Past recipients of the award include; Nobel Laureate, Arch Bishop Tutu, President of Malawi, Rt. Hon. Joyce Banda, Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Hon. Thokhozani Khope and Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. According to the citation read by the panel of judges, Dallaji’s nomination and conferment of the award was informed by his “rare and unique people-centric leadership and philanthropic qualities displayed through the instrumentality of his foundation.

The Head, Pinefield Schools, Lekki, Lagos, Mr. John Adetiba (middle) and some officials of the college, with pupils of the Modupe Cole Memorial Child Care and Treatment Home School, Akoka during donation of food and other items by Pinfield.

Prince Emma Eze, Financial Secretary, AIWU Lagos (left), Rev. Dr. Onyekwo Osundu-Emeraku; Executive President Nwakwusaralameruogwu Foundation, Ndubisi Okorie, National President, Community High School Old Students Association, Pastor Okpo Ugwa, Consultant of Nwakwusaralameruogwu Foundation, Akwarandu, Vice Principal, Community High School, Item, Abia State and some students of the school as beneficiaries of scholarship award by the Foundation at a ceremony marking the event in Amaokwe.

Mr. Nnamdi Ilodiuba (left), Co-ordinating Manager, Loss Control Limited, Mary Osusu, Group Product Manager, Abiodun Oshunniyi and Adminisration Office, Taiwo Alele at the company exhibition stand during the Itsec West Africa’s Manufacturers Exhibition at Eko Convention Centre, VI Lagos.

IWS Inducts Kalango As New President HE International Women’s Society (IWS), a group passionate on improving the lives and living standard of less-privileged women, youth and children has installed Mrs. Grace Nakubyana Kalango, the Chief Executive Officer of Towdah Travels and Tours Ltd., as the 56th President of the society. At the glamorous investiture ceremony held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos on Tuesday and attended by dignitaries, the society showed their resolve to see value added to others with a view to increasing their capacity to do more and be more. In her address, Kalango, who is also the founder of Graze Fashion House, which she has successfully run for over 10 years said the IWS has joined forces with others in meeting the needs of the needy. She noted that it may be difficult to achieve the goals and aspirations of the society without team work, which is the only way to take the society to another level. “This year, I intend to empower 50 widows to equip them

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with necessary tools to have a new life for their children. I pledge to assure our continuous success,” she said. Kalango hinted that the society is improving the lives of people through a number of vehicles such as — Day Nursery School, Widows Trust Fund, Skill Acquisition Centre, Scholarship Fund, Lagos University Teaching Hospital Library Trolley and Home for abandoned children in IjebuOde, Ogun State. “Today, we stand to make history as International Women’s Society inducts her 56th President. We have done a lot over the years. We believe in continuous improvement and that is what we will continually pursue. Our desire is to improve on current engagements of International Women’s Society,” she stated. She urged well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to partner with them in the assignment of improving the The New President, Kalango (middle), flanked by the immediate past president, Mrs. Evelyn Akeredolu (right) living conditions of others. — Gbenga Akinfenwa and the new Vice President, Mrs. Folasade Akeredolu at the induction ceremony. You can send your pictures, birthday events and reports to: jideoojo@yahoo.com


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 10, 2013

SUNDAYMAGAZINE 25

MOVIEDOM

BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI

shaibu70@yahoo.com

Around and about Nollywood... i-REP releases docufest programme

al education as well as encouraging participatory democracy in our societies. The festival also aims at providing opportunities for all participants to discuss cogent issues that are germane to the future of filmmaking in Africa, and indeed, the World. More information on the festival can be sourced at www.irepfilmfestival.com

RGANISERS of the yearly i-Represent O International Documentary Film Festival, otherwise known as iREP Docu Film Feast, have released programme of activities for the fiesta, which holds from March 21 to 24 at the Freedom Park, Hospital Road, by Broad Street, Lagos. According to a statement signed by the festival’s Executive Director, Femi Odugbemi, the generic theme for the festival is, Africa in Self-Conversation, but the theme for the 2013 edition is Reconnections. Over 30 popular and award winning documentaries sourced from notable and new filmmakers around Africa and its Diaspora, Europe and the USA, will be screened during the festival. The films as Odugbemi explained, treat themes that concern developments and realities around Africa and its peoples. Specifically, the films deal with issues of spirituality, religion, politics, culture, conflict, gender discrimination and affirmations, and others. The opening ceremony is billed to hold at the Kongi Harvest Arts Gallery, Freedom Park, on March 21. There will be a reflection on the state of African films in the global cinema circuit as would be encapsulated in the keynote address by Prof Awam Amkpa, a filmmaker and teacher of Africana studies at New York University. Also, the opening ceremony will feature the formal presentation of three books published by the Nigeria Film Corporation on developments in the Nigeria film industry. Similarly, there will be presentation of awards to deserving individuals, who have served the local industry diligently. Later that evening, at 5pm, a cocktail event designed to provide a platform for networking and camaraderie between the Nigerian filmmakers and their counterparts from abroad, who are participating in the festival, will hold. One unique aspect of the festival is the Filmmakers Networking, an interactive session designed as an informal business smeeting where various professional and technical issues affecting the film industry will be reflected on. The session, which holds on Saturday, March 23, starts at 11am. It is partly facilitated by the Goethe Institut through its invitation of the Berlin-based Association of German Film Producers, AG DOK and those of the DOK FEST in Munich. Issues of funding, especially co-production and funding opportunities that abound for the Nigerian film industry, will feature prominently. There will be usual screenings of award winning documentaries and various Workshop sessions on Production and Distribution, which would hold on Thursday March 21, and Friday, March 22. On the line-up for screening in the course of the festival is United States of Hoodoo by Oliver Hardt, which has been selected as the Opening Film for the festival on Thursday, March 21. Others include Orisha by notable Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan; Ifa of the Yoruba People by the renowned filmmaker, Tunde Kelani; Urban Prayers by Sabrina Dittrus, Crackles of Our Times by Sibylle Dahrendorf; Oranian by Tobias Lindern; Fatai Roling Dollars: A Legend Unplugged by Femi Odugbemi. In addition all the 10 finalists in the Afrinolly Shortfilm Competition will be screened in a special section of the festival. iREP International Documentary Film Festival, which in its three years has become the preeminent documentary film festival on the continent, will also play host to about 15 international filmmakers, especially from Germany, Southern Africa, USA and others. Special guests to the festival include the actor, director, filmmaker and scholar of Africana Studies, Professor Awam Amkpa, of the New York University, USA, who is a specialist on Africa and its Diasporas; and post coloniality. He is also the co-founder and executive director of the Real Life Documentary Film Festival, Accra, Ghana. The Festival’s selection of film will be co-curated by the Festival Director, Femi Odugbemi and Professor Niyi Coker, the documentary filmmaker, and executive director of the Africa World Documentary Film Festival, AWDFF. Prof. Coker, the E. Desmond Lee

Kwankwasiya film festival debuts in Kano HE Kano State Executive Council has T approved the institution of a yearly film festival christened Kwankwasiya Film Festival. The festival is to be organised by the state’s Censorship Board. Director of the Festival, Ahmad Alkanawy, disclosed that the festival would make its debut on March 18 and would run through March 20. It would be held under the theme Connecting Nigerian People Through Films. Alkanawy also hinted that the festival, which holds at the Muritala Muhammed Library Complex in Kano, would attract practitioners and festivalgoer’s from within and outside Kano State. It would feature screenings, workshops and panel discussion on the state of Kannywood. Kano State is acclaimed to be the hub of movie production in the north of Nigeria and it is the operational base of the motion picture industry called Kannywood. The industry has been receiving tremendous attention from government since Governor Rabiu Isa Kwankwaso assumed office. The Kano State Censorship Board has been transformed while an academy for the development of talents and capacity for Kannywood was established. The Kwankwasiya festival is clearly one of Governor Kwankwaso contribution to the promotion and development of Kannywood.

Lara George to headline Nnena and Friends Easter show ALE Adenuga Productions has W engaged multi award winning inspirational artiste and ex-KUSH member, Lara George, to headline the upcoming Nnena and Friends Easter live show. The show is scheduled to hold at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos on Sunday March 31. There will be three show (12noon – 2pm, 2 – 4pm and 4 – 6pm) and the fee paying audience would get to see Lara George light up the stage with her classic and new hits as well as brilliant performances by Papa Ajasco & Company. The numero uno comic troupe will perform alongside artistes like the marvelous Linda; electrifying dance groups Point X and Trace; as well as the young and versatile N-Stars who will be delivering a variety of exhilarating performances with MC Prince and wapTV’s very own Omo Nla serving as co-anchors. This diet of the show is sponsored by Indomie, Afrab Chem Limited, Toasties Bread Chips and other corporate organizations and it will be broadcast across Nigeria on wapTV (StarTimes Channel 222) and several other key stations.

Yvonne Okoro’s Contract for premiere on March 22 Odugbemi Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, USA, who has done extensive research on, and networking between Africa, America and the Caribbean through his AWDFF, will also make presentation on Documentary Films and The Africa Diaspora. Coker will make his presentation on March 22 at 11am. Also, Professor Femi Okiremuette Shaka will speak on Documentary Film and African Spirituality and Politics. Shaka, a Professor of Film Studies at the University of Port Harcourt, studied at the universities of Benin and lbadan, respectively in Nigeria, and took his doctorate degree in Film Studies at the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, in 1994. Shaka’s presentation is on March 23 at 11am. The festival will also feature various workshops, training sessions and master classes to be handled by experts from

Europe, the US, South Africa and Nigeria. Among the facilitators of the various workshops and training sessions aside from the special guests are Oliver Hardt, a freelance director, writer and filmmaker. His documentary credits include The United States of Hoodoo and Black Deutschland. There is also Tunji Akinshewa, who has been lecturing in cinematography at Leeds Metropolitan University for nine years, and also did three years teaching on the MA Film production course at the University of Salford. He has won several awards including Best Cinematography at The International Black Film Festival for Laters in 2004. I-Represent International Documentary Film Festival is an annual festival dedicated to promoting awareness about the power of documentary films to serve as a means of deepening and sharing social and cultur-

HE new movie with the signature of the T award winning movie director Shirley Frimpong Manso titled, Contract, will be premiered on March 22 in Lagos. Popular Ghanaian actress, Yvonne Okoro, is the producer. The movie, which stars Okoro, South Africa’s Hlomla Dandala and Nigeria’s Joseph Benjamin in lead roles, will be premiered at the Silverbird Cinemas, Lagos. Contract as Yvonne explains tells the story of a successful 40year-old bachelor, Peter Puplampo (Hlomla Dandala), who, despite his mother’s persistent attempts to find him a woman, sticks to his rule of non-committal casual dates, freedom and being in control of his life, until the desire to have a child.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

26 SUNDAYMAGAZINE

LAFETE

Peterside @ Crans Montana Forum In his paper entitled, Are today’s African Upheavals a real source of hope for our youths?, Peterside said despite today’s realities, the future still belongs to the described education as the only way to youth. “Through education, youth advance Nigeria’s quest for sustainable development. Peterside made the statement become citizens with rights, privileges and responsibilities. Part of their responin Brussels, Belgium at this year’s Crans sibilities as stakeholders or citizens of Montana Forum. their countries is to hold government According to Peterside, who represents Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency accountable. The government knowing that the citizens demand accountable and of Rivers State, “studies have shown that a responsible government the leaders country’s politics is powerfully shaped by would not do otherwise. And since the the quality of its mass education. A more youth would aspire to leadership, they educated society is more likely to have entrenched democracy than a less educated too would have to work towards being responsible,” he said. one. Thus, proper education and preparaHe described education as the magic key tion of young citizens for the roles and that unlocks potentials and opportuniresponsibilities they must be ready to take ties. Therefore for any society to experiupon maturity becomes critical.” ence real growth, education, according to He, therefore, called on Nigeria’s leaders him must be accessible to everybody. and other in positions of authority to give Earlier, Peterside had chaired The First youth education the priority attention it Economic Challenge for Africa: How to deserves. Manage Natural Resources: Focus on Nigeria Crans Montana Forum is a yearly world event devoted to new African economies and where he made useful contributions to Africa’s global integration. This year’s event the raging issue of resource management in the continent. was entitled Africa in 2013: Upheavals and This year’s event which held from March Change and Peterside spoke at the forum’s : Screen Divas, Kate Henshaw, Rita Dominic, Uche Jombo and Funke Akindele special meeting, which focused on New lead- 6 to 9 attracted participants from different parts of the world. ers for tomorrow. HE Chairman, House of Representatives T Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Hon. Dakuku Peterside, has

EbonyLife TV tackles domestic violence in Screen Divas TV has added a very important EfightBONYLIFE and highly strident voice to the global against domestic violence with the wrap

Prof Daniel Wagner; Hon. Dakuku Adol Peterside, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) receiving the Crans Montana Forum’s Medal at Egmont Palace, Brussels, Belgium at the forum’s conference on Africa entitled Africa in 2013: Upheavals & Changes. On his left is Prince Jean de Luxembourg... recently.

up of the filming of yet another of its flagship reality programmes, Screen Divas. The programme, which will enjoy a Pan African launch later on in the year, offers viewers an unprecedented, unscripted and unedited glimpse into the world of four of Africa’s most eclectic Nollywood stars, Funke Akindele, Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw and Uche Jombo, as it showcases not only the glitz, glam, and gloss, but the struggles of their interesting lives outside the regular world of make-belief. A key highlight of the reality series shot in Calabar at the Studio Tinapa is the collaboration of the Nollywood divas on the production of a short film titled, New Horizons, a soulrending flick that spotlights the plight of women across Africa, who have to bear the needless pains of domestic abuse, a crime far too familiar but rarely spoken about. An excited and jubilant production crew, led by Pamela Ofoegbu, Ebonylife TV’s Director of Reality Programming, could not hide its feeling of fulfillment on the project. “Domestic violence is simply evil and I applaud our screen divas for lending us their star status to give a voice to the voiceless. They gave a stellar performance throughout the thrilling three-week filming journey and we are so proud of them,“ said Ofoegbu.

For director and producer of the short film within the must-see reality show, the tireless, award winning, Tope Oshin Ogun, Screen Divas is a reality programme like no other. “Before and after Screen Divas, there was and will never be any quite like it.” The wrap up of Screen Divas, which is coming fast on the heels of the wrap of the filming of Sistaz!, another of the TV channel’s flagship programmes, and which is being hotly followed by the production of a number of other exciting entertainment, reality and drama programmes, is in furtherance of the new Channel’s mission of being the first in Africa set to produce and broadcast over 700 hours of premium, original and inspiring content with an African soul for a global black audience. Set to broadcast the best of African content Pan Africa wide on the DSTV platform, and globally on key international platforms in the UK, United States, Brazil, Canada and other parts of Europe, EbonyLife TV’s programming cuts across drama, comedy, reality, lifestyle, talk, magazine, feature film and factual and is poised to reach a global black audience through an exciting multiplicity of media platforms, including TV, Web, Mobile, Apps and Live Events.

When Lagosians stormed The Bar HE Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) T Centre, Onikan, Lagos came alive recently, as Squadron, from the stable of Intercontinental Distillers Ltd, IDL, took a prominent place at The Bar to thrill Lagos audience. The Bar, a two-man satire, which featured Olympic Torch-bearers, Steve Onu (aka Yaw) and Funke Akindele (aka Jenifa), attracted a large audience. Both Onu and Akindele treated the audience to a high dose of pure, undiluted entertainment. The stand-up comedy and musical performances were also worthy of note. While commenting on the play, Innocent Oboh, head, Marketing, IDL, said, “as a brand, we are committed to promoting and validating the ‘Naija spirit’. The entertainment industry is one of the country’s vibrant sectors, boasting of quite a number of latent, refined talents. IDL is very much interested in the success of this industry, which is why we are always on hand to give our support, by identifying with and celebrating Nigerian artistes.” Written by Obi Martins and directed by Bunmi Davies, The Bar is the fifth edition of Yaw Back2stage Project, a concept designed

to revive live theatre in the country. The play lampoons the bad and ugly events in Nigeria from January 2012 to February 2013. Perhaps, the highpoint of the show were the musical performances by Olamide, Phyno and African China.

From Left, Delta State Commissioner For Tourism & Culture, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Brand Manager, Squadron Dark Rum, Zekeri Dokpesi and Head of Marketing, From Left, Brand Manager, Chelsea Dry Gin, Kingsley Anuebunwa; comedian Steve Onu (aka Yaw) and actress, Intercontinental Distillers, Innocent Oboh Funke Akindele at the performance of The Bar in MUSON Centre, Lagos... recently


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Stanley Jordan … Taking The Guitar To Inspired Heights VERY jazz instrument has its acclaimed virtuoso who is looked up to by the jazz world as the reference point and dominant influence. The piano reached a creatively pianistic level with the likes of Oscar person who was greatly influenced by Errol Garner; the saxophone took on status as a solo instrument with Coleman Hawkins and reached its ultimate through Charlie Parker to Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane; Elvin Jones established intricate patterns and dynamics to become jazz’s number one drummer; Louis Armstrong is associated with excellent trumpeting in its traditional, New Orleans style while Miles Davis remains the modern jazz favourite; the trombone became a total accomplishment in the hands of J. J. Johnson. The guitar is currently evolving and reaching out to new levels of creativity with Stanley Jordan opening up new frontiers and dimensions. The journey began in 1942 when Charlie Christian succeeded in taking the instrument to the forefront from the back seat where it was restricted to performing an accompanying role. Wes Montgomery elevated it to a height where the instrument began to establish chorded solos at the octave in the 60s.But Stanley Jordan has emerged with a new artistic feat. And this is not at all surprising because the Jordans are known for their artistic greatness, especially in the jazz world: Clifford Jordan is known for the ability to hold his own with Eric Dolphy in the 1964 Charles Mingus Orchestra; Duke Jordan will always be remembered for being the pianist with Charlie Parker’s classic 1947 quintet; Louis Jordan, a great saxophonist and talented singer is one of the most beloved of all musicians as his celebrated Tympany Five bridged the gap between swing and rhythm and blues; trumpeter Marlon Jordan who is the younger brother of Kent Jordan is currently creating a sound identity for himself; Sheila Jordan is one of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers. The roll call is long, as the Jordan’s have dominated the jazz scene, bringing their different talents to bear on the art form. But Stanley Jordan is perhaps the most inventive of them all, introducing an extraordinary element to jazz. I became convinced when I saw Jordan perform recently. Parading a trio of bass and drums with him doubling on piano and guitar, it was a strange and brilliant spectacle from point of view of musicianship and instrumental configuration. Instead of playing these two instruments separately, he configured the two into one single instrument, making one complement the other as he shared improvisational lines between the low and high notes of the piano and guitar. Sounding like a quartet, he occasionally turned his attention to the piano, which he played professionally well. He struck me as a genius and virtuoso waiting to enjoy widespread acclaim at 52. Born in 1959, Stanley Jordan’s discovery in the early 80s deservedly earned a lot of headlines in the jazz world because he came up with a new approach to the instrument. Though he was not the first to use the technique of tapping, Jordan’s extensive expertise gave him the ability to play two completely independent lines on the guitar (as if it were a keyboard) or, when he wanted, two guitars at the same time. Jordan originally studied the piano but switched to the guitar at the age of eleven years. He played for a while on the streets of New York after graduating from Princeton in 1981. On account of his talent and proven ability, he was soon discovered. And instead of playing with rhythm and blues groups the way most jazz men do as stepping stone for graduating

ARTSVILLE

BY BENSON IDONIJE benidoni@yahoo.com

All That Jazz

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BY TOYIN AKINOSHO

‘Dami’ Burns Bright In Flower Girl HE story stumbles in a few places, the casting is odd in one case T and it’s hard to dismiss the feeling that this is a Nollywood flick trying a little hard to be Hollywood. But overall, Michelle Bello’s Flower Girl succeeds as a witty, entertaining, feel good movie asking the old question in a new way: how does a girl know this is the man for her? From the get go, Damilola Adegbite, playing the lead character, Kemi Williams, the sales girl in her parents’ flower shop, takes the cue, or seizes the initiative the screenwriter and the director have handed her. She dictates the rhythm. It’s clear from the movie’s beginning, when she is supposed to come across as the plain, naïve , vulnerable young woman desperate to hang on to the clothes’ sleeve of the only man she knows, that this particular girl- next- door has immense possibilities. This no fritz, likeable young lady is the one the standard contemporary man is hoping to take to mum. Yes, she could do with a little more sassy outlook, but nothing that can’t be taken care of. Her man, though, doesn’t get it, until the huge box office star Tunde Kulani, comes along and turns the glassy shard of rock into a shimmering piece of diamond jewelry by way of a makeover. Adegbite plays her role from inside out. In every scene she appears, she just happens. Whether she is acting surprised, feigning sadness, or jumping for joy, you feel, deep inside you that this is coming straight from the heart. This particular actor just acts. Prior to the production of this movie she had taken a bold, audacious move to leave Tinsel, a bespoke(by Nigerian standards), MNET-sponsored soap opera which is one of the few TV productions that guarantee their actors good steady income. Watching Flower Girl, it’s clear that the decision isn’t rash.

Sefi Atta Speaks For The Peppersoup Elite O Sefi Atta’s colourful curriculum vitae, it’s time to add one more comment. With A Bit Of Difference, her latest novel, Atta has made T clear that she is the official chronicler of the ways and habits, hopes, fears, terrors and anxieties of the Lagos Peppersoup Elite, the razor thin middle class(less than half a million people, really) that is responsible for the bulk of Nigeria’s economic activity. And she has erased the boundaries of the city, implying, through the life, career and interactions of Deola, the novel’s lead character, that London is as much Nigeria’s second most important city(before Abuja) as it is an extension of Lagos. ‘There’s a Nigerian crowd in London that Deola is not part of’, writes the narrator of A Bit Of Difference. ‘People who came in the nineties when the naira to pound exchange rate plunged. They came to work, not to study or to get professional training. They settled in Lewisham, Peckham, Belham and any other“ham” they could transform into Lagos. Through her church family, Subu gets invited to their owambe functions, where they dress up in aso ebi, play juju music, spray money…’ A Bit Of Difference is driven by gist, by small talk, by observations of minute details. Atta has warned that her new novel is a revisit of the issues explored in Everything Good Will Come, her first novel and most successful book to date, which is seen by many as a generic, composite biography of middle class Lagosians born around the time of independence. If you hang out, once-in- a- while, with fifty-something types at the Polo Club in Ikoyi, this passage will sound familiar, utterly familiar: “When she was a student at LSE(London School Of Economics), she went out every weekend and how ridiculously young she and her friends were, living in their parents’ flats, running up their parents’ phone bills and driving the cars their parents had bought them. They spent their pocket money on memberships at nightclubs like SpringFellows… Nigerian boys carried on like polygamists, juggling their serious girlfriends with chicks on the side. Well –brought up Nigerian girls were essentially housewives-in-training. They dressed and behaved more mature than they were, cooked for their boyfriends and didn’t party much.”

Nollywood Producers To Narrate Funding Challenges EXT Sunday, March 24, at the Freedom Park in Lagos, a group of N key Nollywood producers will be talking about their funding challenges, narrating their experiences with potential funders and

to the real, straight-ahead thing, he was immediately employed by the masters and giants of the art form. It was a great opportunity to play with the great composer, arranger, saxophonist and bandleader, Benny Carter. It was a great achievement becoming a sideman to veteran Dizzy Gillespie, the king of bop and bebop with whom Jordan successfully held his own. However, the big break came for him after he recorded a solo album for his Tangent label and he signed with Blue Note Records. Jordan plays amazing jazz and is one of today’s greatest talents, but like most genuinely creative artists, he has not organized himself well business- wise, neither is he allowing any one to do it for him. Otherwise, considering the incredible guitar he continues to play, Jordan deserves more acclaim and recognition than he is getting today Jordan’s acclaimed technique, which

corporate supports. Among the panelists are Tunde Kelani, the country’s top cinematographer and filmmaker and Charles Novia, director, producer and author of the memoirs Nollywood Till November, which inspired the theme of the conversation. The event is CORA’s 100th Quarterly Art Stampede, and the theme of the conversation ‘Nigerian Films and the Challenges of Corporate Funding and Partnerships’. The stampede is a quarterly, discursive platform at which the burning issues of culture production are interrogated. It has taken place every quarter since June 2, 1991. For the past five years, however, the March edition of the stampede, which is the first finds him roaming over the fret board, in the year, has focused on the movie sector. Last year, the organisers decided to collaborate with IREP, the documentary movie advocacy strumming and gliding rather than picking, has earned him both plaudits group, and run the March stampede within the yearly IREP docuand brickbats. But he silenced his crit- mentary film Festival. It is the second stampede to take place inside ics with his recording by taking stan- of an IREP Festival. The conversation starts at 2pm. Freedom Park is on Broad Street. dards and anthems that have been done to death and making them The Grillo Pavillion, 2013, Is On March 30 sound fresh through invigorating, explosive guitar solos. At age 52, ISUAL art patron, Rasheed Gbadamosi is inviting the arthouse Jordan is an inspiration to the young crowd to his country home in Ikorodu on Easter Saturday, March generation of guitar players where 30, 2013. The open house party is christened ‘Mini Visual Art Fiesta’, everybody seems hooked on the George Benson - Earl Klug solo concept and is the fifth in the series. The Fiesta kicked off on Easter Saturday 2009 with the unveiling of a gallery named ‘Yussuf Grillo Pavillion’ in in particular and the jazz world in the Gbadamosi compound, a comprehensive lecture on contempogeneral. Operating at a time when the art form rary Nigerian art by Babatunde Lawal, a United States based professor is being compromised and reduced to of African art, an exhibition of Grillo’s work and a large outdoor garden lunch which featured a hearty conversation coordinated by the popular music in the name of painter Olu Ajayi. The following year, the honoree was Bruce ‘crossovers’ and ‘fusions,’ Jordan Onobrakpeya, patriarch of the country’s visual arts scene and the remains a vital link between the old most commercially successful of the Zaria Rebels. A year after and the new. His continued experimentation is a reminder that the puri- Onobrakpeya was honored, the Pavillion hosted Uche Okeke and the pattern was repeated: a lecture by a ranking scholar, a retrospective ty of the art form must be kept alive.

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Jazzy Sundown @ EniObanke BY AUSTYN NJOKU N these days of Nigerian musical explosion showcasing all sorts of lyrical vulgarism and parading indecent and repulsive fashion, worshiping flesh through nudity and suggestive dance styles, it is very heart-warming to step out on a Sunday evening, to the EniObanke Arts Centre on Adekunle Fajuyi Way, Ikeja G.R.A, to watch and listen to the soothing tunes, refreshing lyrics and melodies of the cerebral veterinary doctor-turned musician, Beautiful Nubia and his Roots Renaissance Band. On this jazzy Sunday sundown, legendary Pa Chris Ajilo, who at 83 is still saxing with such strength and delight, was on the menu and was the first to mount the stage. The palm tree standing regally in her corner of the compound, the guava trees with full green leaves thanks to the early rains, and the bougainvillea lusciously lazing on the walls surrounding the compound at the far side, all swayed and danced to the lambent melodies and sweet valentine songs dished out by Pa Ajilo. He serenaded the select and discerning audience with Ariwo and several other songs, from his latest album. Idi Ileke then took the stage. She poured out her heart in a love song she dedicated to her Valentine. For a fledgling artiste, back-up singer and dancer with OJ’s Band, she did creditably well. Her level of confidence and stage appearance is notable, just like Akin Akinola, who seems to be the regular compere at this fast growing entertainment centre. Akin performed You and I, also dedicated to his Valentine, before he called on stage, Latoya, who sang a series of Afro Soul songs. Her husband, the renowned Orlando Julius, who played the sax, and Duro Ikujeyo accompanied her. Dolapo, an emerging Spoken Words Artiste, came on stage and charged the atmosphere and audience with her poetic renditions backed up by the Roots Renaissance Band. Her lyricism, passion and stage craft are certainly very entertaining. One hopes to someday see what those poems look like, when they are engaged on paper. The stage was now set, the atmosphere properly tickled by the flow of palmwine and small chops. Beautiful Nubia, the artiste who was hardly given a chance and little respect when he started out over a decade ago, strumming his guitar and singing his poetic songs wherever he got the chance to do so, ever humble and smiling, honing his craft while pur-

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Beautiful Nubia

suing and plucking his dreams, he now arrives on stage. He always sports something traditional, proud of his roots. He welcomes the excited audience with a smile and a short rendition of Fat Girls, a song he is now not so proud of, from his very early album, Seven Lifes. The cool evening breeze beckons couples to respond to the mellow melodies of Fere, Awilele, Irinajo as the Nubia ensemble weaves from one popular tune to the other, as the now frenzied audience demanded and the elements rejoiced. My mind wondered at how this gentle, soft-spoken musician coped with the female folks who always fancy and flock around those who have found fame or fortune or both. Beautiful Nubia, a two-time Kora awards nominee, has slowly and steadily played himself into the hearts of most discerning music lovers in Nigeria, Africa and the Western world. The Owuro lo ojo crooner, with over seven CDs, is in a class of his own, as against the ephemeral, corruptive Hip Hop “shake ya bum bum”, “go down low” gibberish most Nigerian musicians seem to be stuck with. Music should not be all about rhythm and melody, half-naked women and wines, guys splaying dollars in the air! With Beautiful Nubia’s music, there’s always something of intrinsic value to take home. There’s always a deep sense of satiation akin to that derived from listening to the maestros of the sixties, seventies, and eighties, Orlando Owo, Orlando Julius, Osadebe, Ebenezar Obey, Oliver De Coque, King Sunny Ade, Pa Chris Ajilo, Onyeka Onwenu, Christy Essien Igbokwe, etc. These great and evergreen musicians wedded harmony and wisdom with their music. Beautiful Nubia follows in their wake with certainty and vision. Pick up any of his CDs, Jangbalajubu, Seven Lifes, Awilele, Fere, Kilokilo, Sun no de Sleep, Irinajo, Oriojori his latest, or attend any of his shows, and you would see the difference between the modern mature music of one relative youth, and that of his even more celebrated here today, gone tomorrow contemporaries. Nubia, to my mind, is comparable only to the likes of 2face, Asha, TWO, Timi Dakolo, Darey, Praise, 9ice, and a few others like Naeto C, Sasha, and Savage who sing with a measured sense of decency, poetry and philosophy. One then wonders at why his music is seldom played on radio and television, often enough to balance the corrosive effects of the damaging lyrics ones ears are assailed with on a daily basis, be it on local or international channels. The Brand Managers do not even help matters by preferring to promote what they consider to be commercial music as against good, classic music with cultural relevance such as is played by Beautiful Nubia and his Roots Renaissance Band. This music and cultural ambassador whose real name is Olusegun Akinlolu, a veterinary doctor from the University of Ibadan, is worthy of honour and celebration.

Udoh emerges winner in Scratch and Win promo XCITEMENTS rented the air recently in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, as loyal costumers of So Klin and Good Mama E range of detergent — both old and young — thronged the Etim Edem Park for the Scratch and Win Promo, which was won by Mrs. Blessing Udoh. Mrs. Udoh couldn’t believe her eyes and was filled with total shock at the presentation of the N1 million cheque by Mr. Tarek Darwiche, a So-Klin management representative. She expressed her profound gratitude to the organisation for availing her of such a groundbreaking opportunity. Apart from Frank-Hart, 10 other lucky winners went home with the sum of N25,000 each. Mr. Owolabi Mustapha, chief operating officer, Focus Experiential Marketing, said, “this fourth edition of the Scratch and Win promo is the biggest of all, with a mega winner assured of N5 million.” He revealed that his company is committed to the cause of transforming lives of winners, most especially, the lucky recipient of N5 million. “The promotion is targeted at rewarding loyal customers for their patronage, and also, to empower more consumers available.” Eko Supreme Resources Nigeria Limited has consistently embarked on this exercise, yearly. The promo will run till May 31, when 45 winners would have emerged across the country.


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36 SUNDAY MAGAZINE

Special Report On Most Enterprising Fish Trawling And Shrimp Companies In Nigeria

Nigerian Fish Trawling Industry on the Throes of Death Lagos Fishing Terminal. But a new directive from the government based on concessioning the KLTs is making the Nigerian Ports Authority to order the sea fishing operators out of the previously approved terminals. This order is threatening the survival of about 90 percent of Nigeria’s fishing companies that operate from Lagos. If this should happen, the question is where would the government expect them to go and would it not mean that their previous investment at the KLT at the instance of government itself has become a waste? What would have happened to the initial security concern that made government settle for a centralized location? Investigations reveal that the Nigerian

HIS is not the best of times for the T marine fishing industry in Nigeria. The industry, which provides employment for about 500,000 Nigerians and engages not less than 10,000 professionals, is fighting for its last breadth as the federal government ordered its vacation of the fishing terminals where it presently operates. This decision, according to the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA), is as a result of the concessioning programme for kirikiri Lighter Terminals Phases 1 and 2 [KLT I & II] earlier approved as the Lagos Fishing Terminal under the Obasanjo administration. If this order is carried through, it will portend the final collapse of the industry. NITOA, the umbrella body of industrial fishing companies in Nigeria, are miffed at the government’s decision, especially now that the industry is afflicted with many challenges, which include the menace of piracy and sea armed robbery, uneconomic price of AGO (Diesel Oil), delay in-payment of Export Expansion Grant (EEG) to operators, high cost of electricity power generation and threat of ejection from their operations base at the Kirikiri Lighter Terminals (KLT) I & II. Due to lack of public power supply, individual company generates power 24-hour of the day. This, impacts heavily on the operating costs and overheads. The problem of a dedicated fishing terminal in Lagos started in the early 80s, when the federal government ordered the closure of all private jetties due to security concerns and made fishing companies to relocate to where centralized services would be provided. The option provided then was the KLT I

J. O. 0vero, NITOA President

& II since government was yet to build its proposed Lagos Fishing Terminal, which was to be fashioned after some of those in the West African sub-region, like the Tema Fishing Harbour in Ghana and the Fishing Port in Mauritania. In 2005, President Olusegun Obasanjo approved the dedication of KLT I & II for use as the Lagos Fishing Terminal in order to save the trawl fishing industry from collapse. This propelled many of the Nigerian Trawlers’ Owners Association (NITOA) members to relocate to the new terminals and invested much over $3.2 billion in infrastructures, pending a decision by government to implement the master-plan prepared for the modification of the KLT to the

Ports Authority believes that more revenue would accrue to government if the KLT was concessioned to cargo operators. According to our sources, it is believed in some quarters that a fishing terminal would be like a social service but those in the industry are quick to point out that the industrial fishing subsector in addition to its ability to attract local and foreign direct investment, generate employment, provide the much needed cheap food protein for healthy living as part of its contributions towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), was also the 6th largest non oil foreign exchange earner for Nigeria in 2006 (NEPC). CONTINUED ON PAGE 37


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Special Report On Most Enterprising Fish Trawling And Shrimp Companies In Nigeria

Nigerian Fish Trawling Industry on the Throes of Death CONTINUED FROM PAGE 36 Already, the number of operating industrial fishing companies has continued to reduce due to persistent harsh economic environment occasioned by government itself. Many other companies regrettably are making arrangements to relocate to neighboring West African countries. Another major hindrance to the growth of the fishing industry is the high cost of diesel oil (AGO). Though unstable price of AGO is a global phenomenon, the exorbitant price that trawler owners in Nigeria have to pay to sustain this business can only produce one end: the death of indigenous fishing industry. This is so because it is only in the fishing industry that AGO alone ac-

counts for 85 percent of its production cost; with each vessel consuming an average of 75 metric tons per trip of about 45 days, amounting about N11 million per fishing trip. And the cost can only increase rather than decrease. Therefore, it has become impossible for the industry to continue to absorb the high cost of AGO without having serious adverse consequences on fishing companies, including staff layoffs, vessel delisting, long and painful vessel idling time at the various jetties and yet there is a limit to how the price of fish can increase. The fishing industry is now on the verge of total collapse, as crew members no longer wish to sail due to the renewed persistent and violent attacks on

the fishing vessels by armed sea robbers, which in very many cases have resulted in serious fatalities including death. Many fishing vessels have been attacked and used as platforms to attack bigger vessels both within and outside Nigeria. In many instances, the entire catch of vessels have been discharged by the sea robbers and taken away unchallenged. The operators have continued to incur huge financial losses as a result of these persistent attacks. Many fishing grounds have become no-go areas for fear of attack thereby resulting in low catches. In the last one year, NITOA records indicate that not less than 300 sea armed robbery attacks had been suffered by its members. Vessel Captains and Chief Engineers have been held hostage while unspeakable sums were demanded as ransom. About ten vessel crew members have been shot dead by the sea robbers within the period. Financial loss to these attacks indeed runs into billions of Naira. NITOA said it is in a position to meet a considerable percentage of the domestic fish demand from local and sub-regional sources if the challenges confronting the industrial fishing operations in Nigeria are tackled by government. NITOA therefore appeal to the government to release KLT I & II, which had been approved as fishing terminals since 2005 for that purpose. It is believed that this action will cause infrastructure development in line with the original master plan done some years ago. The Nigerian sea fishing industry is reeling for survival and government that has food security and provision of

gainful employment to its citizens as some of its key transformation programmes owe it a duty to guarantee the survival of this vital subsector of the economy that can assist government in generating additional foreign exchange by increasing shrimp exports, reduce fish imports through increased local fish production, generate increased employment both directly and indirectly, bring improvement on the general health of the populace through the provision of cheap fish protein, etc, rather than coerce it to collapse through neglect and deliberate negative policies. Government needs to provide a conducive environment for business to thrive. This includes the enunciation of business development policies and the guarantee of adequate security of men and investment. It is only by doing so that local and foreign investors can be attracted to set up businesses in Nigeria. It is therefore no gainsaying that for Nigeria to make the best from its enormous marine fisheries resources concerted effort must be made to assist industrial trawl operators with a central operating area in Lagos from where its operations can be effectively monitored by concerned government agencies. The security agencies should also be enabled, as a matter of deliberate policy, to provide adequate security to the operators at sea as it is done in neighboring countries, like Ghana and Cameroon. It is only by so doing that Nigeria and indeed Nigerians can derive maximum benefits from the country’s God given vast and renewable marine fisheries resources without having to continue with fish importation at huge foreign exchange cost to provide


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38 SUNDAYMAGAZINE

KALEIDOSCOPE

INDUSTRIALISATION

Getting Emerging African Economy Ready By Kamal Tayo Oropo TARTING on March 21, policy decision makers across the continent will be spending days meeting in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, with one agenda on their minds –– adopting a strategy of industrialisation in support of Africa’s development agenda a continent. Meeting under auspices of Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Sixth Joint Annual Meetings of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Africa Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance, the ministers are expected to come up with concrete ideas expected to prove to cynics that the indices of growth are sustainable. However, their task does not stop there, bearing in mind that many people still dismissed as a fluke Africa’s average 5 per cent annual economic growth, they are set to confront the unflattering role of a trade post and dumping ground, which the continent appears to have been doomed. This may have informed the choice of the meeting’s theme: ‘Industrialisation for an emerging Africa’. Since the early 1990s, Africa has been experiencing robust growth rates. However, this solid growth performance was interrupted by the global recession of 2008-2009. Despite the severity of the global recession, which was fuelled by the financial and economic crisis of 2007/2008, the continent did not go deep into a recession but rather saw its economies significantly slowed down. The negative influences of the global crisis brought the average growth of Africa’s economy to around 2 per cent, significantly down from about 5-7 per cent previously. Although there are currently turbulent head winds coming out of the Eurozone, the 2007/2008 financial crisis has thawed and Africa’s economy is roaring back, forecasted to grow between 5-7 per cent in the period 2012-2015. Also, growth has not translated into more employment and has been accompanied by rising inequality in some countries. In addition, Africa’s significant natural resources are being extracted and exported in their raw form and not as finished products. Hence, no value is added to Africa’s extractive commodities exports.

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Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, flanked by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi (now deceased), former Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Jean Ping, and African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Addis Ababa during the 5th Joint ECA Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and Meeting of the AUC African Ministers of Economy and Finance last year, March 26, 2012. In order to significantly transform the economies of African countries from the current low- income to middle-income levels, it is paramount that value is significantly added to Africa’s large reservoir of natural and agricultural resources. This will tremendously boost economic performance as well as uplift many Africans out of poverty through employment and wealth creation. The increased demand for Africa’s natural resources, together with increased urbanization and consumer demand for processed goods within the continent provide an opportunity for resourcebased industrialization. Indeed, Africa has the potential for increasing its production of higher value-added products. Accelerating industrialisation can potentially contribute to the expansion of trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world through the diversification of exports. Moreover, creating food-processing industries in rural Africa would contribute to lifting a significant number of Africans from poverty. Evidence shows that a number of African resource- rich countries have remained poor, while other resource-poor countries have become richer through the implementation

of polices that promote value addition, demonstrating that prosperity and poverty alleviation are consequences of smart policy choices. Hence, African countries should take advantage of the growing opportunities to promote industrialisation. Despite the progress made in a number of countries, industrialisation in Africa remains a challenge. First, agriculture has not been sufficiently modernised and the manufacturing base is very low around the continent. Manufacturing is dominated by artisanal activities in mostly in the informal sector and is therefore insignificant in most African economies. Africa therefore lags behind other developing regions in its industrial performance. Second, the degree of export diversification is very low as most African countries continue to export unsophisticated commodities. At the moment, only a small group of countries dominate African manufacturing (South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt) and they have managed to diversify to some extent. Third, a number of African countries are landlocked and face high transport costs, low economic density and geographic isolation from high-growth clusters. Markets are small and fragmented in

most parts of Africa. Industrial agglomerations and diversification are also not very common in Africa. The Economic Report for Africa 2007 indicated that most African countries were still at a very early stage of industrial development. The Report recommended that African countries should strive for diversification into higher-valued products, capitalising on its mineral and agricultural riches. It has to be recognised that entrepreneurs in Africa continue to face greater regulatory and administrative obstacles. Compared to other regions of the world, the protection of property and investor rights is weak. Although there are improvements in some countries, doing business in Africa is not easy as entrepreneurs face high transaction costs, due to small and fragmented markets, protracted and cumbersome administrative procedures and bureaucratic bottlenecks, and poor physical and financial infrastructure. FRICA’S economic growth is currently largely driven by commodity exports, especially oil and metals. This is in sharp contrast to the growth pattern of other developing regions, especially Asia, where growth has been driven by a solid industrialisation agenda, which places greater focus on manufacturing. The downside to Africa’s reliance on a commodity-driven growth path includes risks to resource extraction, vulnerability to unfavourable terms-of-trade deterioration, risks of currency overvaluation as a result of Dutch disease, weak backward and forward linkages to the domestic economy, limited use of advanced technologies and, above all, weak creation of employment. The current state of Africa’s economies can be reversed with the pursuit of strong industrialisation strategies, with greater emphasis on value addition to the extractive sectors and modernization of agriculture. The over whelming majority of the poor in Africa live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. A modernized agriculture sector, which is labour- intensive, creates jobs and generates value added in agro-processing activities, would uplift many Africans from poverty. A modernized agriculture sector also entails significant forward and backward linkages to the domestic economy. Such linkages do not exist to the same extent in the extractive industries.

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SUNDAYMAGAZiNE 39

THE GUArDiAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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Orisa Imole (deity and Judgment) Chief Aderemi Awogbemi.

Orisa Lajoomi (deity of children) Mrs Ogunremi Lekun.

From myth of suspicion, Opara projects

Emissaries of an Iconic Religion By Tajudeen Sowole ONfiNED to obscurity by the popularity of C other faiths, traditional African religions are widely perceived as dark or evil in intent and may not exactly be inaccessible, so suggests a photographer, Adolphus Opara in his adventure among worshipers of Yoruba deities. Currently on display at Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos, as portraits’ exhibition, and supported by the British Council, London, the body of work titled Emissaries of an Iconic Religion, according to the organisers, marks the first major solo exhibition of Opara in Nigeria. it would be recalled that two years ago, the photographer showed a few portraits of worshipers from the Yoruba traditional religion during a group exhibition Contested Terrains, which featured works of Kalder Attia, Sammy Bolaji and Michael ManGary at Level 2 Gallery, Tate Modern, U.K. and at CCA last year. The curator of Emissaries of an Iconic Religion, Jude Anoqwih noted that though “God and religion generate heated debate among Nigerians, Opara’s work offers opportunity to share diverse views, particularly about Yoruba traditional religion.” The debate over religious tolerance, which Opara’s work might generate, is as complex as distilling culture from traditional African religions. Culture scholars and theologians may keep drawing or erasing the lines between religion and culture, but education about a people’s history, which the exhibition focuses, is perhaps paramount in picking or discarding certain ancestral elements. Apart from seeing a depiction of traditional Yoruba religious worship in shoestring-budget dramas on TV and movies, perhaps, one photographic projections about adherents in recent times that got close came from a Berlin-based Nigerian photographer, Akinbiyi Akinbode. Although Akinbode captured his images from the community of Orisa worshipers in Brazil, the portraitures have a commonality with Opara’s works. However, Opara’s Emissaries of an Iconic Religion brings the paraphernalia of the adherents’ religion into public space in images, and glossed with pride. Given the myth or reality of fear built around traditional African worship generally, the images appear like costumed and modeled por-

traitures, but he stated otherwise, noting, “No, these are the real people”. indeed, there was a relationship established between the photographers and the people; it was not just about looking for adherents of dying culture or practice. “i spent quite some time with them, through a friend, Wale,” Opara disclosed. it took him two years of “traveling to and from Osun State when Wale shared some knowledge about the traditional Yoruba worship with me”. Presented in aristocratic-like portrait framing, some the works include Orisa Imole (deity and Judgment) with a young man, Chief Aderemi Awogbemi who is pictured with several shrine items; Orisa Odu (diety of Blessings and Protection) pictured with Olakunle falowo Ololade; and Orisa Lajoomi (deity of children) seen with Mrs. Ogunremi Lekun. The director of CCA, Bisi Silva described Opara’s works as engaging “the sensitive debate surrounding the demonisation and denigration of traditional religion instigated by colonial and missionary rhetoric”. Also to be contested is the wrong reasons, especially of intolerance, that has since crept into religious practices that now breeds stereotypes. Silva argued that the “issues of power and representation are at the fore of present tensions and civil unrest between what is characterised locally as the Muslim north and the Christian south.” The photographer said he had always been suspicious of traditional African religion, and recalled that, “at this level is confrontational”. Adolphus Opara Between promoting “idolatory and educating past five years through the initiatives of people about African religious background” lies many photographers and organisations that the dilemma. Opara, however, argued that “knowing where we are coming from would keep have carried out workshops, talks and exhibitions.” The yearly Lagos Photofestival organus in focus and produce better leadership.” ised by The African Artists foundation (AAf) CCA traced the exhibition to the centre’s fivewas cited as one such activity. year old commitment in the “promotion of lensOpara, born in1981 in imo State, has held based media.” Some of the previous shows in the exhibitions in group shows such as African context of identity via photography included Lace 2010, Museum fur Vulkerkunde, Vienna, that of Nigerian artists such as George Osodi, Austria and National Museum, Onikan, Lucy Azubuike, Mudi Yahaya, Jide Alakija, Victor Lagos; African Photography Encounters 2011, Ehikamenor and J.D. Okhai Ojeikere as well as Bamako, Mali; The Tie That Binds Us 2012, foreign artists such as Zanele Muholi and Pinar Tiwani Contemporary, London among othYolacan. The centre noted how the visibility of photogra- ers. phy in Nigeria “has grown exponentially over the

African art fair holds in London fAir for African art, which is A being organised by 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is

scheduled to debut in London, U.K. it’s in partnership with a media house, iC Publications. founded by Touria El Glaoui, daughter of celebrated Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be the first international art fair dedicated exclusively to contemporary African art, and will run concurrently with the worldrenowned London frieze Art fair from October the 14-20, 2013. The fair will be held in the historic setting of Somerset House in central London and will be designed by award-winning Ghanaian/British architect, David Adjaye – the man responsible for the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the forthcoming $500m National Museum of AfricanAmerican History and Culture in Washington D.C. founder of 1:54, Touria El Glaoui, said: “We are very excited to have iC Publications as our media partner for 1:54, the first fair dedicated to Contemporary African Art. The fair aims to promote on an international level established and emerging talents from Africa and the African Diaspora.” Managing Director of iC Publications, Omar Ben Yedder said: “African art is finally getting the attention its artists and art deserves and 1:54 will be a showcase for a lot of what is good in African art today. We are truly excited about 1:54. i’m delighted as this is something that is very close to me personally. Touria has put together an impressive and highly talented team to lead this initiative.”


TheGuardian

40 Sunday, March 17, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

IbruCentre Rev. (Dr.) Felix Ilawagbon Omobude is Founder and General Superintendent of New Covenant Gospel Church, Benin, Edo State, and new President of the Pentecostal Fellowship on Nigeria (PFN). He spoke to AYOYINKA OLAGOKE on his vision for the body, the challenges he anticipates, doctrinal differences in PFN ranks, and why Boko Haram sect members are undeserving of amnesty, among others. Doctrinal differences among Pentecostal churches HAT is what makes us great; our unity is in our diversity. We all cannot see things from the same angle. Even in a nuclear family, some prefer one type of food to the other. That does not touch the fact that they are members of the same family. We must understand that we cannot have one signpost; we cannot be under one church building, and also, God has dealt with everyone according to the measure of faith. PFN gives room to people to grow in their callings. That reduces nothing from our unity. We still have big challenges, like any big organisation, we are still working on harmonising our unity and God-given resources together. Paul planted, Apollo watered, God gave the increase. The gospel of circumcision was given to Peter; the gospel without circumcision and grace was given to Paul. We must have a large heart and accommodate these various graces that God has given to us. Though there might be few excesses, the PFN says that in things that are major, we should plead unity. In things that are minor, we should give liberty. Things, like salvation by faith, the virgin birth, issues of heaven, God in three persons, are major. The issue of you wearing a suite to preach in your church and I preferring a robe is minor.

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Corruption, indecent exposure in Pentecostal churches You also need to ask: what would have happened if churches that preach against corruption and vices were not available? When I was growing up, there was only one radio station we knew; that was in Ibadan. We had Daily Times as the only newspaper. Today, there are radio stations and various mass media everywhere, including the Internet. Yet, people are still uninformed. You go out there now and ask one or two persons the name of the Minister for Education; you would be shocked at the answers you will get. The society is dynamic. The Church is trying to respond to the dynamism of the society. Our efforts may not be appreciated, but when light completely moves out then you will see how dark it is. We are going to look inward because I do believe that the light that will shine farthest must shine brightest at its space. I will like to work with my colleagues and try to improve on our ethical conducts. Everything in life has rules. We would improve on what we already have. Again when you are in a large body, you can’t do without having issues; you can’t rule that out. Recent events have shown that at some older religious groups you thought were pure and without problems, ‘the rich also cry’. We will work on our image; we will try to rebrand as much as possible. I also want to let you know that not all Pentecostals are members of PFN. You have to subscribe to belong. The fact that you put up a signboard: “Jesus is Love Pentecostal Church”, does not make you a member of PFN. When someone with the word ‘Pentecostal’ on his signboard is changing his wife or adding to what he has, PFN cannot call him to order, if he does not belong to us. We have no control over any Pentecostal church that does not belong to PFN. If such church does something that the law should take care of, the law would run its course. Should overseers own private jets? This has to do with our developmental process, if a man has the resources. For the man who pastor several thousands of church branches within and outside the country, and his work shows evidence he needs to reach various places, and God provides him with means to do that, I don’t think such is a crime. I was at the airport yesterday. I got there at a quarter to six in the morning and spent almost the entire day waiting for a flight. As President of PFN, I am supposed to visit several places. If I had the means, I would just walk to that airport and fly to Benin and finish what I am doing. It will serve the body of Christ properly. Why must people think that pastors have no right to own private jets? The CEOs of some companies have them. Believe me, as at today, if someone gives me one freely, I would so much appreciate it. I don’t have the means to use it now. But, if in the process of time God makes it possible, I won’t throw it away. And why should people think that it came through corruption? I left the public service several years ago. I have taken to this work for close to 42 years now. May be, if I also had started a business and it had gone well, I could be somewhere today. That anybody who takes to the gospel must be poor, so that people would believe him, is not the idea of the gospel we preach. How to checkmate Boko Haram First, my appeal is to those who are involved, those who sponsor these acts. If they have genuine reasons, let them come up. The Niger Delta people came and said, ‘Look at our farms. You took our oil and used it in building Abuja. Look at how bad our region is’. We want to know what cause these people are pushing. Who are they? There is nothing wrong with dialogue. I don’t have anything wrong with it. But nobody should bully the country into submission. I hope our leadership is not bullied to submission. Amnesty for killers is impossible.

Omobude

My Focus Will Be Uniting PFN, Says Omobude

..

Why Body Can’t Rein In Some ‘Pentecostal’ Churches Says No To Amnesty For Boko Haram Militants

In any event, have these people come to say that they are sorry: ‘we want to lay down our arms’ because forgiveness is normal where there is repentance. The question now is: have we seen Boko Haram face to face? Election as PFN President That leaders of our great organisation can say, ‘you are the one’, is a great honour. I appreciate the confidence they have in me. I know that it is a great challenge to lead the over 25 million Pentecostal Christians. This is not a mere job, knowing very well that PFN is made up of mainly several independent churches. It will take the grace of God to harmonise, pursue our core values and fulfil the objectives of the fellowship. Vision for the Fellowship I have marshalled out some plans. I believe that when I meet with the leaders, at a meeting we would soon call, I will formally unveil my plans and also give them room to make input. It is not a political appointment; it is a spiritual entity where we have great leaders around me. I am going to cling to their experiences and we are going to work together. Coping with responsibilities as General Superintendent of New Covenant Gospel Church and PFN President I believe that God will not give me what will destroy me. He is aware of the responsibilities I had locally before allowing this. I trust his grace and the prayers of the saints. Challenges envisaged Leading people has never been an easy thing; I know that. I need to live my personal life before the people; the way God has ordered me to live. I believe that we have the challenge of bringing all stakeholders in the Fellowship together, knowing that these are busy men and women. You don’t pay me and I don’t pay you. That is the way it is - the challenges of letting

The fact that you put up a signboard: ‘Jesus is Love Pentecostal Church’, does not make you a member of PFN. When someone with the word ‘Pentecostal’ on his signboard is changing his wife or adding to what he has, PFN cannot call him to order, if he does not belong to us. We have no control over any Pentecostal church that does not belong to PFN. If such church does something that the law should take care of, the law would run its course. everybody see our overall goal, our corporate image. That is one of the challenges I am going to face. Certainly, we are not going to come and tell you how to rule your church. But events that have happened in this country and are still happening make it imperative that PFN should come together. What I will focus on in my administration is uniting PFN. Our forerunners worked hard to bring us to where we are, unity wise. I intend not only to sustain it, but also improve on it. Youths Prior to this time, we had a very formidable youth arm of PFN - controlled, empowered and directed. We need to build more of our youths. Our youth are not raised up to use bow and arrows. They are not raised to use Ak47s. We are investing in them educationally, we are empowering them and we are getting them involved in politics because they are the people that would sing this song after us. We would build on that.

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


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

41

IBRUCENTRE

Sunday School Missions Memory Verse: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations” (Mark 13:10). Bible Passage: Isaiah 54:1-3 Introduction HE word: “missions”, means different things to different people. The context can, in fact, make all the difference. In Christianity, it has a technical and precise connotation.

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What Is Missions? Mankind set itself against God. God responded by breaking the line of communication. (Gen. 3:9-17, 6:5-8, 11:5-7). God’s mercy, however, prevailed over judgement, so he immediately started a plan to reconcile the whole world back to Himself

...With Pastor Enoch Adeboye (Gen. 12:1-3; Mt. 1:17; Jn. 3:17). Missions started with God paying the highest price possible to bring about reconciliation between Him and mankind (Lk. 24:47; Acts 1:8). The Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, paid the price for every kindred, tongue, people and nations to be saved (rev. 5:9; Jn. 3:16; Phil. 2:2-11). It is now the duty of the Church to carry this good news of salvation all over the world (Mk. 13:10; Isa. 49:6; 2 Cor. 5:19). Should I Be Involved In Missions? God expects every true child of His to be involved in missions (Jn. 17:18; Mk. 16:15-20). The salvation of mankind is something very dear to God’s heart (Num. 14:20-21; Heb. 2:14; 2Pet. 1:9; Jonah

4:10-11). God expects us to also be deeply concerned about every unsaved soul, tribe, kindred and nation on earth (Lk. 15:3-7) and make a lifetime commitment to missionary work. Conclusion Each time a sinner repents and surrenders, there is great joy in heaven and our universe becomes the better for it. It is a mission that will define the course of history and determine the timeline of the end time. God has not entrusted this important assignment to angels but is depending on His children, the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit will reveal the mind of God the Father to you on missions and will use you to start a revival in your local environment.

Keys To Overcoming Raging Spirits (IV) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka E shall look at the activities of raging spirits and consider W things we could do to counter their attacks: They sponsor territorial powers; they take charge of a geographical location and take decisions concerning inhabitants. There are some areas where children of God should not live. In such places, raging spirits rob people of their virtues. Raging spirits are also seducing spirits. They promote promiscuity. They are in charge of prostitution. They break up homes and disrupt family life. Wherever they go, they walk hand in hand with water spirits. You would have wondered if some women you saw are truly human - very beautiful, tall and light in complexion. Such have seducing spirits. Some may not even know that they have the spirit in them. Wherever they go, men look at them and are ready to spend money to have them. Any man that touches them tumbles from riches to poverty. Many men have fallen victim. Raging spirits are also involved in recruitment into witchcraft. Nowadays, young people are recruited without their consent. Food is one of the easiest means to achieve this. Everyone is advised to be careful where he or she eats. Affected foods may be found at birthday celebrations, roadside canteens or at religious sacrifices. These spirits are gunmen. They shoot at people physically or in dreams. Some people have developed terminal diseases as a result. Many people are ignorant of their existence and activities. Hence, they run to hospitals, instead of extracting the bullets by the fire of the Holy Ghost. In some cases, medical doctors are helpless on diagnosis. A lot of money is wasted and the person eventually dies. What are we to do? The first thing is laughing your enemy to scorn, as Elijah did to the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. (Psalm 2:4) “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.” Once you learn of the enemy’s secret weapons, the next thing is laugh them to scorn. Pray with holy anger. In 1 Kings 18:36-37, the Bible says, “At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LOrd, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LOrd, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LOrd, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Elijah prayed with holy anger and asked the Lord to step into the situation. We also should pray with holy anger and ask the Lord to intervene on our behalf. Break the enemy into irreparable pieces. Psalm 2:9 states, “You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Pastor Seyi Ogunorunyinka is the General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com

Personal Assistant to Oshodi Local Govt. Chairman, Rev. Dare Akindele (left); Bishop of Ikorodu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Olumuyiwa Odejayi; Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Sunday Ajayi; Host and Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos-North, Rt. Rev. Joel Olu Akinola; Lay President, Diocese of Lagos-North, Sir James Akintola; Special Guest from Agodi Diocese, Ibada, Sir Jide Fatokun and Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos-West, Rt. Rev. Isaac Abayomi Olawuyi, at commencement of the Second Annual Synod of the Diocese of Lagos-North.

Taking Drugs Doesn’t Mean You’re Faithless By Gabriel Agbo OD will heal you! Yes, He said that He is the one that heals ALL our diseases. As you read this message, may the healing power of the Almighty touch you in Jesus’ name! Now, we have known clearly that it is the will of God that we live in good health. You cannot effectively and joyfully fulfil God’s programme for your life without being physically, mentally and spiritually sound. As Christians, God wants us to prosper in everything He leads us to do. He wants us to be like Him. He doesn’t fail in His endeavours. He wants us to grow in our relationship with Him. And He wants us to be in good health, so we can be useful to Him, to others and to ourselves. Good health is His perfect will. But, remember we said in the first part of this message that there are various factors that could bring ill health. We said these could be spiritual, environmental, physiological or psychological. We cannot treat all these here, but let me make brief comment on each before we move on. Spiritual A sickness is spiritual when it is caused by demonic powers, agents of Satan or by curses. God, man or Satan (and his agents) can issue curses that can result in sickness. This kind can only be cured through spiritual means - prayers and repentance. There are others that are a result of disobeying God’s word. They come with damage to the body. These require repentance, prayer and medication. I always advocate that spiritual healers and medical

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Why Christians Are More Than Conquerors By Prophet S. K. Abiara T is erroneous and unscriptural to think that once you become a Christian, you will not experience trials or sorrows. Others think if they have enough faith and overcome all negative thoughts, words or confessions, they would be immune from trouble. When therefore, they are faced with challenges, like job loss, death, poverty or debt, they become perplexed. They accuse God ignorantly and seek to know why He allowed such ugly situations to befall them. But the Lord Jesus did not hide truth from us when he said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, because also in me… in the world you will experience tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The history of the Church and events that happen everyday indicate that we are not exempt from problems. The good news is that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has overcome all problems on our behalf. We only need to have faith in His finished work on the Cross of Calvary. We also need to learn how to draw strength and hope from

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Him who has been made Lord over all things. He is the one that is able to see us through all sufferings, “For because he himself has suffered and has been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.” (Heb. 2:18) It is true that life gets tougher after we have believed in Christ Jesus. The world has nothing to offer to saints but tribulation, tears, persecution and affliction. But we need not fear. Jesus says, ‘I have overcome the world’, which means that He will give us victory over every knotty problem. Sometimes, God uses these difficult moments to perfect our spiritual development. Therefore, every true believer must know that in all things - suffering, sorrow, tears or trials, tumult, success and victory - God works for the good of those who love Him (romans 8:28).

skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.uk

practitioners work in harmony to achieve good health. Nothing stops somebody who is praying for divine healing from receiving medication. It is God that heals - prayer or medication. I ministered to a very sick lady who said she was poisoned. She continued to insist on prayer, but I was led to take her to a medical lab for tests. There it was discovered she had a serious infection - STD. She was taken to the hospital. As I write, she is still taking her medication and recovering fast. Imagine if I had allowed her to be moving from one place to another soliciting prayers. She would have been dead by now. False prophets had already started exploiting her, saying that the problem is spiritual. I also remember a promising young pastor’s son that died some years ago. The parents refused to take him to the hospital to treat a wound he sustained in an accident, because their church dogma rejects medication. Sadly, thousands perish like this everyday. Environmental We must keep our environment clean, if we must stay healthy. You cannot live in a dirty or polluted environment and expect to be free from diseases and sickness. God even warned the Israelites to keep their surroundings clean. In the wilderness, He instructed them on how to evacuate their waste. God loves cleanliness. He heals all sicknesses, but He wants you to be clean. Psychological This is when the illness touches the emotional or mental state of the individual. And several factors can lead to this - depression, drugs, demons, damage to the brain, and even our thought life. When it’s depression, you need encouragement and assurances of faith from the word of God. For drugs, you need repentance, prayer and abstinence. For demons, cast them out and live a holy life. And for brain damage, you need prayers and the assistance of medical specialists. Medication does not mean faithlessness. Physical Old age, weakness or abuse of the body can cause illness. Old age comes with weakness of the organs. Lack of rest or misuse of the body can also cause weariness and breakdown. Lack of body cleanliness can attract germs and diseases. We won’t forget to mention sin. Sin and sinful habits are responsible for so many sicknesses today. Immorality, smoking, drunkenness, gluttony, etc, are proven to be the immediate and remote causes of the worst diseases. Talk of HIV/AID, STDs, cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc. Disobedience to the word of God is still the main reason man pines away with sicknesses and diseases. So, the foundation of divine health is built obeying and appropriating the word of God, cleanliness of environment, body and thoughts and right eating.

Rev. Agbo is author of ‘Power of Midnight Prayer’ and a minister with the Assemblies of God Nigeria, gabrielagbo@yahoo.com


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

42

IBRUCENTRE Springs Of Wisdom By PASTOR W.F KUMUYI

Champions Awake! N every sphere of life, especially in the world of athletics, sciIonsence, politics and education, people always look for champiand experts. Individuals and organisations are in search of

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, Ven. Ernest Onuoha (left) in a discussion with Director of Communications, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Abuja, Ven. Foluso Taiwo during the consecration of three Anglican Bishops on February 24, 2013.

Fear Not, Says The Lord By Ernest Onuoha HIS Bible verse is rendered differently by some versions. The T Thompson’s Chain-Reference Bible says: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’. The Maxwell Leadership Bible says: ‘Be of good cheer! It is I. Do not be afraid’. The Life Application Study Bible says: ‘Don’t be afraid, He said, Take courage! I am here!’ It is good to note that ‘It is I, fear not’ was taken from the story that showed how Jesus walked on water. Because of its importance, three Gospel writers recorded it (Mk. 6:45-51; Mtt. 14:22-23; Jh. 6:16-21). Any time the Bible says, ‘fear not’, ‘don’t be afraid’, ‘take heart’, ‘take courage’, ‘be of good cheer’ etc, it suggests there is something a child of God is worried about. Fear is such a basic human emotion that many of us constantly live with it. God tells us, ‘fear not’ because He knows that we would all wrestle with fear, sooner or later. Fear could arise from loss of freedom, the unknown, pain, disappointment, failure, death, unemployment, loneliness, ridicule, unconfessed sin, marital storms, childlessness, etc. What do you do when your fears seem to be winning? What if you have prayed and God still hasn’t come to help you? If you are like most people, you will begin to lose hope. You will wonder why you even prayed in the first instance. Little seeds of doubt begin to take root in your heart, growing into frustration and anger. It happens to most of us. Some of the best men and women of the Bible struggled with doubts when their dreams didn’t come true. At such points, we are not to lose hope or entertain fear. Remember Abraham. God did not seem in a hurry to give him a son. But Abraham persevered until at his old age Isaac was born. Claim the prophecy. No matter how delayed God’s promise is, it will come to pass. It might be delayed. But it will not be destroyed. Therefore, fear not, says the Lord.

You will then appreciate the disciples and the stormy waves that confronted them out on the sea. Their lives would have been lost. At that darkest hour, their Saviour and Master appeared, saying: ‘It is I, fear not’. The Bible tells us that after the people had been fed, Jesus sent His disciples away before dismissing the crowd. Why would He do that? Mark does not say. But probably we have an explanation in John’s account. John tells us that there was a move to seize Jesus and make Him king. It was the last thing He wanted. He had rejected such power during his Temptation. He did not want His disciples caught up in nationalistic outburst. Galilee was the hotbed of revolution. He didn’t want any movement that would result in disaster. Jesus therefore sent away His disciples, calmed the crowd and bade them farewell. When He was alone, He went to a mountain to pray. Problems were mounting. There was the hostility of the people; there was the suspicion of Herod Antipas; there were also political hotheads who would make Him a nationalistic Messiah against His will. For some hours, He was alone with God on the hills. At about three o’clock in the morning, Jesus looked from across the lake. He saw the boat and His men having a hard struggle to reach the other side. Immediately Jesus saw His friends in trouble, he set aside His own problems. The moment for prayer was past; the time for action had come; He went to help them. That is the essence of Jesus. It is a simple fact of life, proven by men and women in every generation, that when Christ is present storms become calm, the impossible becomes possible and the unbearable becomes bearable. Walking with Christ is victory over storms. Therefore, fear not. Ven. Ernest Onuoha, Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, www.ibrucentre.org

Now Is Time To Reconcile With God By Msgr. Gabriel Osu ‘I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’ (Luke 15, 6-7) AVE there been periods in your life when you so offended God till you thought it was impossible to return to him? Have there been times when, weighed down by sinfulness, you felt like yielding to hopelessness? If yes, I have a message for you. God has not given up on you. He is saying: ‘Come, let us reason together, though your sins are as black as charcoal, I will not reject you if you come back to me with a contrite heart. Though you have offended me so dearly, I will not cast you away. All I need from you is to confess your sins and turn a new leaf.’ The above is the simple message of Lent. It is a clarion call to repentance. It is the good news of Christ, giving us another opportunity to amend our ways. This is the reason he allowed himself to be killed in our stead that fateful Good Friday. He gave himself willingly, so that by paying the supreme sacrifice for our sins, He might reconcile us to our creator. A simple story, narrated by Jesus, gives us a good idea of the depth of God’s forgiveness. The first is the prodigal son as found in Luke 15. In it, we learn of the selfish actions of a young man who forced his father to give him his inheritance even while the father was yet alive. As soon as he received it, the impressionable young man travelled to a far country and lavished the wealth till he was left with nothing. Groaning with hunger, one day, he came back to his senses and returned home. His father, who had been so worried about his whereabouts, welcomed him wholeheartedly

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and even declared a feast. On the other hand, the elder son expressed anger at the grand manner his younger brother was treated, despite his wayward life. What was the father’s response? ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive, he was lost, and is found.’ The lessons from the above are enormous. In the first instance, we all are like the prodigal sons who have gone astray. Like him, we are selfish, always pestering God to bless us with material gifts, even when we are not mature enough for such. When God eventually grants our wishes, we go haywire, living as if there will be no tomorrow. Excessive joy can kill! There have been instances of people dying upon receiving news of big promotions. There was a man in Britain who collapsed and died upon hearing that he had won a jackpot totalling millions of pounds. We must be careful what we ask from God. The prodigal son thought that having so much money would make him happy. On the contrary, he became miserable. But he was lucky to have a second chance. He was quick enough to repent and come back to his father. He knew it was better to go home and be ridiculed than die in a foreign land. Do you remember what happened to David after he pleaded guilty of killing Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba? He repented and willingly agreed to submit himself to God’s punishment. At the end of the chastisement, he emerged a better and a wiser man. The father of the prodigal son heartily welcomed him back despite his shortcomings.

He did not send him away as many earthly fathers would have done. Here, Jesus is telling us that our God is merciful, that no matter how grievous our sins are, He is willing and able to reconcile us to Himself. Is that not wonderful? What better deal can we get? The response of the elder son is very instructive. He was embittered at the joyous manner his father welcomed his younger brother after numerous atrocities. ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave a me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him. Here, we can see envy at work. The elder son was not happy that his brother had come back. He is the accuser of the brethren, like Satan. We can say that he was also selfish. He had remained faithful to his father because of the prospect of inheriting his property some day. But should that be our guiding principles as Christians? No. Our relationship with God should not be conditional. We should not serve God merely because of the things we stand to gain from Him, but because we love Him with our heart and soul. As we prepare to enter the Holy Week, God is calling on us to come and drink from His inexhaustible brook of forgiveness, so that as Christ would rise triumphantly on Easter day, we also might rise with Him in righteousness and truth. Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu is the Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos

people with extra-ordinary gifts, skills and talents, those that can lead them to greater heights. The Church is also looking for champions that can accomplish great tasks, and prosecute the worthy cause of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many times, the unlikeliest persons do become champions for good causes. The story of Nehemiah in the Bible is most instructive. He never thought that God could make a champion out of him. But with the right principles, he was able to get the work done. With little resources and lack of experience, he accomplished a great task for the Lord and his people. He was a servant who became the governor and ruler of the nation of Israel. Family background, limited knowledge, lack of experience, etc., are never enough reasons to shy away from God’s work. Nehemiah was an ordinary child of God who became an extraordinary champion for the Lord. The work he did got him national, international and eternal recognition. In his days, the nation of Israel was in desperate need. Rather than stand by passively, he stepped forward and made a difference. There is a desperate need in our society today, to rebuild the crumbling walls of integrity, family, spirituality, morality, righteousness and holiness. What is lacking are people of conviction and courage, willing and able to change the course of history. By rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah changed the course of his life and that of his people. Though he had a good job as a cupbearer in the king’s palace, he left this secular engagement for something sacred. His greatness and exploits started with the information he got. If we must make progress in life, we must cultivate the habit of asking questions. By being inquisitive, we would learn more about the situation in our country, the welfare of believers, as well as the state of sinners. Whatever information we get from the media and other sources should lead us to compassion, prayer and intercession. Champions are not made by accident; it depends much on the information at their disposal – spiritual, social and national. Nehemiah had a proper understanding, interpretation and application of God’s word, that if the people turned away from God, and transgressed His command, they would be exiled abroad. Thus, he identified with his people in their transgression, and more importantly, interceded on their behalf. It is only when we acknowledge our shortcomings that the Lord can forgive us. We should desire the passion, pursuit and enthusiasm that Nehemiah had for the work of God. Before this time, he was not a preacher, reformer, an architect, builder, a construction worker, leader, manager, or organiser. His responsibility was to serve wine to the king. Yet, by stepping forward to make a difference, he became a teacher, reformer, interpreter of God’s word, a prayer warrior and a revivalist, who brought the people back to the Lord. He mobilised, equipped and trained the people. Though he had not been a captain of an army before this time, he developed a strategy with which he was able to overcome the threat and distraction from enemies. He managed his time effectively and summoned the courage to confront the men who tried to intimidate him. In the face of persecution, we must be courageous enough to face the enemy. If we are engaged in the work of the Lord, we have no reason to abandon it, because true champions do not quit. When we have the heart of a champion nothing will intimidate us. Nehemiah was conscious of the fact that God had not given him the spirit of fear, but of love, power and sound mind. As a true champion, Nehemiah was upright of character and sound in moral principles. He had an unwavering commitment to the word of God. We too, must never compromise or bow to the wishes of our enemies. The prayer, passion, pursuit, principle, and practice of the life of Nehemiah were ordered according to God’s revealed will in His word. He did everything with confidence while depending entirely on the promises of God. He never took any step without prayer. And God always answered his short, powerful and pungent prayers. His dedication to the task at hand, though the time was unfavourable, was proof that he had his foundation in the word of God. Considering the situation in our land today, it is only champions that can give themselves to the task of spreading the word of God, planting churches, praying and soul winning. There is no future for churches and individuals who cease to talk about God in difficult times. This is the best time to rise as champions and work for the Lord. Nehemiah’s life was characterised by loyalty, which is a product of conviction. He had his conviction rooted in the word of God. First, his loyalty to God was supreme. Second, he was loyal to the king as superior. Third, he was loyal to his subordinates. Loyalty ensures stability, reliability, initiative and perseverance until the work is finished. Unlike many Christians who have not mastered their circumstances, Nehemiah had the capacity to dominate and master his circumstances. He knew he was in charge of the assignment that the Lord had given to him. The intrigues and manipulation of the opposition could not stop him. He saw the entire project through to a successful conclusion. If such Biblical characters as Moses, Joshua, David, Paul, etc., accomplished the goal they set for themselves through determination and help from the Lord, we can set goals in our personal lives and follow them through. Champions don’t think the way ordinary people do. They know what to do at any given time. They see in every problem, an opportunity, which they then turn into success. In our community, local government, state or nation, we must have the passion to set things aright, like Nehemiah. We should be willing and ready to improve the condition of the people by turning things around for their benefit. References: Nehemiah 1:1-11; Nehemiah 1:1; 2:1; 4:21-23; 6:10,11; 8:8; 13:15-17.Nehemiah 1:4-8; Isaiah 66:7,8; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Nehemiah 1:2-4; 9:36,37; Luke 19:41,42; Romans 9:1-3; 10:1; Matthew 9:3538. (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

43

IBRUCENTRE

‘With Non-European Pope The Tide Has Moved And Could Reach Africa’ By Oghogho Obayuwana (Foreign Affairs Editor) T was exactly 8.15pm Nigerian time on Wednesday. A Vatican Ioverlooking official emerged from the parted heavy drapes at the balcony St Peter’s Square and announced in Latin, “Habemus Papum!“ (We have a Pope!) This was greeted by cheers of “Viva il Papa“ by the throng of the laity below. The announcement ended a two-day exercise where 115 cardinals worked and prayed hard to elect a new pontiff to replace Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down last month, ostensibly on grounds of ill health. The homily has been given; the 1.2 billion Catholic faithful worldwide have heard something inspirational from the new Pope Francis I. Now, will this pope live his name, a name he must have chewed over prior to the election? Before his assumption of the papacy, the only name everyone knew he would not be called was Peter II. This is not only out of respect for the first Pope, St. Peter, the Apostle, it is also in keeping with the centuries’ old prophecy that a Peter II will be the last pope to serve. When the 76-year-old Argentine, Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerged, he raised his hand, calling himself to duty by summoning all catholic faithful to commence praying for the world and himself. “Bless me,” he announced to the mammoth crowd that had gathered at St Peter’s Square. Forty-two per cent of the world’s Catholics come from Latin America. Pope Francis I is the first non-European pope in modern times. Back in the 8th Century, a Syrian - Pope St. Gregory III led the Church from 731 to 741 A.D. There have also been popes from Bethlehem (St. Evaristus, from 97 to 105 A.D.); Jerusalem, (Pope Theodore I, from 642 to 649) and modern-day Libya (Saint Victor I, from 189 to 199). Several other Syrians have also been pontiff in the last few millennia. But the majority has been Italian. The thinking now is that with Francis’ appointment, the tide has moved and could reach Africa! LEARLY Pope Francis, the people’s pope, lover of the poor, must surely be on a reconciliation mission. The Catholic Church is rocked by scandals and a polarisation of fundamental ideas. Francis takes over a church plagued by sex abuse, corruption and infighting among its hierarchy. Many argue that there is need for broad reforms. Vatican watchers expect him to reach out to all people including disenchanted and marginal Catholics, gays and lesbians, victims of clerical sexual abuse, and those who feel alienated because of some of the Church’s sterner moral and spiritual prescriptions. Scholars have also maintained that the boundaries of ethical and doctrinal discourse are shifting in a radical way. This being so, it should be the task of the new pope to help make the Catholic Church a community of faith, of people of many colours; a church that embraces social change and cultures as a friend, and endorses, through her laws and practices, the dignity of differences. This way, it is believed, the Church will become truly a household of God, where blacks and whites, saints and sinners, men and women, liberals and conservatives, rich and poor, gays and straights, are treated as equal before the Creator, without regard to rank or status. And the Pope is already aware of all of these. Warning of the dangers of inaction, He told the cardinals at their first mass together that the Church could “end up a compassionate NGO”, using a word in Italian which interpreters say can also mean “pitiful”. And as if to engrain the necessary symbolism on the minds of

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By Eugene Ohu HE world’s television stations were glued to the Vatican, most of Tuesday March 12 and all of Wednesday March 13, until white smoke started billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, signalling end of what people had called “Chimney Watch”. A record 5,600 journalists who gathered in Rome to report the Conclave had been all but kept on tenterhooks. They placed bets, may be not with money, but surely on their reputations, making guesses as to who would be elected. When black smoke started coming out of the chimney, signalling that no one had been elected, the voice of caution began to beckon. The word from journalists by Wednesday March 13 was that if by evening, none of the major people they had put forward as papabile made it, “all bets would be off”. That is to say, they would no longer be able to predict who would be Pope. Well, the Pope did get elected by Wednesday evening. But the journalists, all the same, got it all wrong - big time! And all bets should indeed be off, because once again, it was made clear that God’s ways are not man’s. The person chosen to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics is neither of Cardinals Angelo Scola of Milan, nor Marc Ouellet of Canada or Scherer of Brazil. It was instead a humble 76-year-old South American pastor from Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, with a great reputation for personal holiness and Christian poverty. From the moment he stepped out on the Balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to give his first blessing, Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world), Pope Francis, son of an immigrant railway worker, began to steal hearts. There he was standing almost erect, in simplicity before more than 150,000 people who defied rain and cold to come to St. Peter’s square to welcome the new

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Pope Francis waves from the steps of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, along with Cardinal Santos Abril of Spain and Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of Rome PHOTO: ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/REUTERS

the faithful, the new pope is already sending out signals that reflect his apostolate bent. On the day of his announcement, he was dressed in white papal vestments and driven to the basilica in a standard-issue Vatican car, rather than the papal limousine. This is largely seen as some symbolic action, which is in keeping with early signs that the ascetic 76-year-old Argentine will shun the perks of high office. Francis is known to use public transportation and has been refusing to elevate himself on a platform above cardinals. His exertion from the Vatican would reflect his antecedents. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio took a keen interest in the poor and dispossessed. Francis opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, which isn’t surprising, as leader of the socially conservative Catholic Church. As a cardinal, Francis clashed with the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives. In the days ahead, he would need to keep the balance while upholding moral obligations.

reform. Predecessor Benedict XVI, for instance, meant his choice of name to be a unifying umbrella. He gets to keep his name in rather than reverting to Joseph Ratzinger. The idea of Pope emeritus is rather unprecedented. For the early popes, the choice of a name wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t until the end of the 10th Century that the head of the Church started taking a different name to the one he was born with. But according to church historian, Alberto Melloni, since then only one, Adrian VI in the 16th Century, has kept his baptismal name. He informed the CNN: “Some were monks from countries other than Italy who wanted to create a link through their names to the great saints of Rome. This was the start of the long list of popes named Leo, Gregory and Benedict”. So deep is the idea of a chosen name that before the emergence of Pope Francis, many faithful looked to someone like Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, as a possible John Paul III, while some of the Italians who wanted to see the papacy returned to one of their number actually talked about Paul VII.

E learn that in the long history of popes, stretching back OPE Francis would need to find ways of working with shifting W two millennia to St. Peter, some names have picked up negP viewpoints among Catholics. In the United States, for examative associations, while others have come to signify conserple, 90 per cent of Catholics are using contraception and 82 per vatism or a desire for change. We see here that the name Francis points to the course he intends to steer. It (name) is in honour St. Francis of Assisi an admirer of nature and a servant to the poor and destitute. St. Francis of Assisi was born the son of a rich cloth merchant. But he lived in rags among beggars at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The name, chosen by a pope, signals his outlook for the papacy. Past names can carry a message of conservatism or openness to

cent think it is morally permissible. A lot certainly is expected of Pope Francis. But is the world already seeing something in the new pontiff ‘s words spelt out last Saturday: “When we don’t walk, we are stuck. When we don’t build on the rock, what happens? It’s what happens to children when they build a sand castle and it then falls down.” For the Catholic Church, this is another chance to start rebuilding.

Pope Francis I: The Man, Hopes, Challenges Bishop of Rome. And then he stole more hearts with his first words, inviting the crowd to join him in praying for his predecessor, Benedict XVI. There and then, all prayed the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, asking that Jesus keep him and that his Blessed Mother guard him. Before he gave the Urbi et Orbi blessing, he told the crowd that he wanted to beg of them a favour - that they would pray to God for him. You would think it was doctored humility, but not this man – he really meant it, and in a most telling way too. With the world having been in near turmoil on speculations, arguments and analysis, this Pope wanted to begin his pontificate with silence. Pope Francis then invited everyone to observe some moments of silence, and then… wait for it; he bent his head, asking that all pray for him there and then, inviting God’s blessings on the new Pope. Wow! St. Peter’s square went dead quiet and there was an intense silent moment of prayer by hundreds of thousands of people. It was after that he himself gave his first blessing. Prayer set the tone. Prayer changed the discourse and my guess is that it will be a major factor that will mark this Papacy, an invitation to man and woman to look inwards, to that personal examination of conscience that brings one in direct contact with his Creator every minute. All of these are hardly surprising, judging from what is known of Cardinal Bergoglio’s past. His humility and simplicity is already the stuff of stories. A case in point: he cooks his own meals and takes the public bus to work, having given up his official chauffeured limousine. Pope Francis was born in 1936 to an Italian immigrant father who worked in the railways. He joined the Jesuits at the age of

22 where he would be ordained priest at the end of his training and studies, and would later serve as the head (Provincial) of the Jesuits in Argentina from 1973 to 1979. He has also spent many years teaching literature, psychology and philosophy, and in 1980 became the rector of the seminary from where he graduated. Pope Francis is the first in many things. He is the first Jesuit to become Pope. He is the first Pope from Latin America, and he is the first Pope to be called Francis. Not only does he live poverty in his personal capacity but he clearly has great love for the poor, as can be judged from this statement of his in 2007: “We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most, yet reduced misery the least. The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.” This is a characteristic that will clearly resonate to all men and women, especially those in developing countries. The Conclave, which elected him, has been one of the shortest. From all indications, he got the required two-third majority in less than five ballots, just like Benedict XVI. It is a clear indication of the unity and consensus among his brother cardinals. Their choice also indicates that while the secular press may judge the papal election using terms and categories that hardly fit, there comes an occasional reminder, such as this, that the Church is a supernatural institution. The coming days will surely be exciting times, but the tone is already set for hope, which today’s world sorely needs.

Ohu writes from Lagos.


44 Sunday, march 17, 2013

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Business Proposed National Council On Smes Takes Off Soon ByGeoff Iyatse he minister of Trade and investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, has formally written President Goodluck Jonathan seeking his go-ahead for the establishment of a new interministerial body to be known as the National Council on Small and medium enterprises (Smes), The Guardian has learnt. The Council, which may be formally inaugurated before the end of second quarter of the year, will function as a policy think tank for the largely unorganised sector. it will give direction to policy statements and coordinate inter-ministerial efforts aimed at giving breath to the struggling sector. Different ministries, departments and agencies (mDAs) linked to the development of Smes are expected to be represented in the planned body that will be technically driven by the ministry of Trade and investment. The letter, which sources disclosed was submitted to the Presidency earlier this month, is expected to receive speedy approval of the President, who is said to have considered the establishment of the Council a top priority. Details of the proposal, which Special Adviser to the Aganga, Yemi Kolapo, acknowledged has been submitted, remain sketchy as at press time. When contacted on telephone, Kolapo sought for more time to confirm the true position. She called back, clarifying “i just confirmed that the letter has gone out”. But she could not give details of its contents because “the civil servants are not accessible.” Source privy to the drafting process of the

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it is not clear whether Nigeria will go for leaner structure or model its completely after malaysia’s relating to the development of the sector will style. The ministry of Trade and investment recently get urgent attention,” disclosed the source. launched NeDeP as part of the grand plan to give Aganga recently gave a hint about the life to Smes. The policy is expected to be formally Council at the launch of the National inaugurated by the Presidency after inputs are enterprise Development Programme made by concerned stakeholders. (NeDeP). he said it would comprise governAganga said the programme, which is aimed at ment and the private sector to coordinate existing initiatives and make them more rele- creating a more robust and stronger Smes sector is estimated to cost the government N10 billion vant. yearly. it targets about 3.5 million direct jobs in OUNTrieS like malaysia have used similar 2013 as well as five million indirect jobs by 2015. Speaking in Abuja at a stakeholders’ meeting on body to drive policies that promote the the programme, Aganga said NeDeP would serve development of small businesses. malaysia, as solution to the currently uncoordinated relafor instance, terms its the National Sme tionship among the various Smes initiatives in Development Council (NSDC). NSDC is the country. chaired by Prime minister and draws reprehe said the programme would be funded from sentatives from 14 ministries and three agenstatutory allocations of implementing agencies, cies involved in Sme development. the Subsidy re-investment Programme (SUre-P) members of NSDC are ministers of and contributions by state governments and international Trade/industry, Finance, development partners. Agriculture/Agro-based industry, human Describing the proposed policy as a critical step resource, Science/Technology/innovation, towards reviving the industrial sector, he said it rural/regional Development, higher would be the first time three key institutions education, Tourism, Domestic Trade, including the industrial Training Fund (iTF), Boi Cooperative/Consumerism and Plantation and SmeDAN would be collaborating to boost industries/Commodities. Smes’ development in the country. Aganga said Others are ministers in charge of Prime NeDeP would provide the requisite business minister’s Department, his counterpart in skills, training and affordable financing and marindustrial Development Sabah, that of ket access to the Nigerian unemployed youths. industrial Development Sarawak, Chief he maintained that the Smes sector is critical to Secretary to the Government, Director General of the economic Planning Unit of the the Federal Government’s Transformation Prime minister’s Department and Governor of Agenda, noting that it has the capability to significantly boost the country’s Gross Domestic the Central Bank of malaysia. Product (GDP).

Aganga Seeks Jonathan’s Go-ahead document said the President could oversee the proposed council as chairman while the Vice President will assist him in the capacity. There will also be a technical committee comprising representatives of relevant associations and experts in entrepreneurship development. The technical committee will be chaired by the minister of Trade and investment. “The National Council on Smes should be the sector’s highest decision-making organ in the country and it is structured to have the President as its chairman. This means all issues relating to small businesses will go straight to the President’s table. “When the proposal becomes operational, issues on Smes will get to the table of the President, and we expect that any challenge

Countries like Malaysia have used similar body to drive policies that promote the development of small businesses. Malaysia, for instance, terms its the National SME Development Council (NSDC). NSDC is chaired by Prime Minister and draws representatives from 14 ministries and three agencies involved in SME development

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...As Nigerian, UK Firms Partner On Business Devt he UK Trade & investment has partnered T ACiOe Associates, a Nigerian consulting firm, on the growth of micro, Small and medium enterprises (mSmes) in the country The two organisations recently held a two-day conference in Lagos to create platform for collaboration between Nigerian and United Kingdom Smes. minister for Trade and investment, Dr Olusengun Agnaga was represented by Director of Strategic Planning, Small and medium enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SmeDAN), monday ewans, said mSmes are key to the growth of the economy. he lamented that majority of 89.87 per cent of the country’s mSmes, which operate at micro level, are unregistered. he said the challenge makes it difficult for government to properly plan for the sector. Aganga said efforts should be made to assist mSmes to register and conduct their businesses formally so that they can be properly integrated with mainstream of national planning. he disclosed that SmeDAN was working with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to reduce the cost of business registration for mSme operators. relying on a survey SmeDAN conducted in 2010 in conjunction with the Federal Office of Statistics, Aganga said Nigeria has 17, 284, 671 small businesses, which contribute about 46 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creates about 32 million. executive Director, ACiOe Associates, ekenem isichei, said Nigeria and UK share strong relationship dating back to several years, hence the need to strengthen the tie. he said opportunities abounds in the economy for mSmes but that they need collaborative efforts to harness them, which was the reason behind the conference. According to Trade Development manager, UK Trade & investment, Judy melifonwu, the collaboration was to bring Nigerian and UK companies to network, establish and strengthen relationship that would encourage both countries to harness available opportunities to boost their operations. She noted that the long historical tie between Nigeria and the United Kingdom requires that the two work together to advance bilateral relationship especially in the area of trade.

Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL), Chief Micheal Ade Ojo (left); Managing Director/CEO, TNL, Kunnle Ade Ojo; and Chandrasheker Krishnadas, during Award presentation to journalists/dealers/customers in Lagos …recently. PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO

‘Why Productivity is Low Among Nigeria Workers’ equipment for cleaning services donated by his company to the hieF executive, Janiking and Nigeria Breweries Plc, he stated Degreasers Limited, mr. Oliver that the move was a way to encourNkem Obi, has attributed low pro- age greater output and improve ductivity of the country’s workefficiency. force to poor working environment, lack of facilities, motivation among others, saying that any organisations that require maximum output must be ready to proOrexTime Ltd (FxTm) has vide effective working tools. announced the launch of seven he stated that though enhancement of welfare package was a way new currency pairs and 13 new CFD instruments for trading, givof motivating labour, however, ing traders more options in their there could be greater output when other working facilities are trading. The new currency pairs include exotic pairs, crosses with in place. the Swiss Franc and crosses with Speaking in enugu during the the Australian Dollar, a major commissioning of automation

From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu

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The equipment, which he said gulped the company over ten million naira include a ride on sweeper, an 14m hydraulic/electric table lift and an electrical blower machine for Silo and raw material area of the brewery.

Obi disclosed that sweeper is a diesel driven piece of equipment with capacity to sweep about 10,000m of space within an hour, a job normally handled by a large number of people manually before now.

Forextime Launches New Currency Pairs include exotic currencies such as commodity currency. ForexTime gives its clients access Turkish Lira, the Danish Krone, F Norwegian Krone and Swedish to the global currency market and offers trading in Foreign exchange market (FOrex), precious metals, commodities and shares. CeO of ForexTime, Olga rybalkina, said: “The new currency pairs

Krone. These currencies tend to make quicker and bigger movement than major currency pairs. And it is this volatility that makes these pairs popular with experienced traders.”


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BUSINESSINTERVIEW

LAPO Boss: Microfinance Industry Needs Intellectual Leadership Stories by Geoff Iyatse IFT Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) operated as a pro-poor non-government organisation (NGO) more than two decades before it was licensed a microfinance institution in 2010. The same year it was recognised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a micro lender, it paid out N21.9 billion loans. In 2011, its total yearly loan stood at N31.58 billion while it rose to N46.42 billion in 2012. While it was still operating as unlicensed micro lender, its 2009’s loan portfolio was N13 billion. The bank has similarly grown its customer base. In 2009, it had 243,056, while the figure grew to 355, 502 the following year. It rose to 518,187 in 2011 and jumped to 756,904 at the end of last year. It also expanded operations to 27 states just as its branch network hit 303 as at last December. Last November, the bank’s exceptional performance (in a sector where several operators have lost licenses to inactivity) caught the attention of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the commercial arm of the World Bank. In a deal expected to continue, IFC gave LAPO an on-lending facility of $5 million (N800 million). Remarkably, LAPO’s exceptional growth comes hand-in-hand with massive closure of microfinance institutions. And that keeps many guessing at what could have sustained LAPO amidst what appears like darkness in the industry. In a recent interview, the founder and Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, simply attributed the outstanding success to the unique business model the institution has adopted. “LAPO is a unique institution in a number of ways. First, it is exclusively a business for the lowincome people as well as micro enterprises. The focus influences the way we do business. We have distinct operational procedures and structures. For instance, we use group methodology extensively; potential borrowers are organised into small groups where most transactions take place. Such transactions hardly take place in branch offices. “On weekly basis, the groups meet specific days and venues. Transactions as regards loan disbursement and deposit mobilisation take place at the meetings; this is quite different from a conventional approach where customers are required to go to branch offices to do business. While others wait in banking halls for customers, we go out to meet them.” Ehigiamusoe said the approach helps the bank to known its customers beyond the borderline of know your customers (KYC) mantra. He said the bank, on the strength of thorough knowledge about the business, lifestyle and socio-economic class of its customers, could determine their financial needs and absorbing capacity. “Because we know them very well,” he stressed, “we are able to determine the type of loans that meet their needs at a particular time. We do not overburden them to the point that they cannot repay. We do it in a manner that there will be subsequent increase as borrowers progress. The first loan to a borrower is usually small. But after complete repayment, subsequent credit is increased. The beauty of the approach is that, over time, we are able to monitor the repayment capacity of our customers.”

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Ehigiamusoe

recruits, who are “strategically groomed to take over the affairs of the company” in future, will undergo years of rigorous training in specific management needs. The bank is also investing enormous resources in cutting-edge technology, including new software, to meet growing customer needs. Yet, its boss knows (and is mindful of the fact that) the organisation must remain focused on the business he has comparative advantage — micro lending — to sustain the speed of growth and keep its lure. “We are very clear about what we want to do in the next five years. We want to remain a microfinance organisation. No matter how big we are, we want to be committed to meeting the needs of micro enterprises. What we may do, going forward, is diversifying to different segments of the society. “We also want to continue to address the needs of clients beyond financial services. We know that this category of people have challenges that are beyond lack of funds. We want to work with them to enhance the educational standard of their children,” he continued. Where it is convenient for conventional bank to adopt the customer engagement style of micro financing, which has favoured LAPO, the expert said such approach should be embraced. He, however, noted that the peculiar nature of customers of microfinance institutions makes them easier to be engaged in an informal manner that increases mutual understanding. Ehigiamusoe, who began micro lending in a rather primitive manner in 1980s when he gave N100 to three women in a church in OgwashiUku (a community in present Delta State), said the sector urgently needs intellectual leadership. He explained: “We need people in intellectual enterprise to develop microfinance. We don’t need them as practitioners but to conduct useful researches; look at issues of product development and make available information that will be useful to practitioners. They will be able to support capacity building in the sector. “Looking at microfinance in Africa, there is dearth of human capacity. I believe those who have capacity can produce documentation that will enhance the sector. I strongly advocate the involvement of intellectual leadership. We have seen how that has made huge contribution to the development of Asia. People in relevant disciplines — banking, finance and sociology — should begin to redirect their interest to researches in microfinance.” He dismissed claims that micro finance institutions have not made sufficient impact on the economy six years after they were created through a policy of CBN, noting that their performances are limited by the challenges facing the sector. He said: “The challenges encountered in the past has limited its impacts on the economy. But it will not be right to conclude that microfinance sector has not made serious impacts. They may not be making impact the way they ought to. At LAPO, we provide cheap funds to micro enterprises. If you look at what others did in 2012, you will appreciate the contribution of the sector to the bottom of the pyramid.”

odically we carry out institutional review and “The only thing that has changed is that there are a set of prudential guidelines we comply renewal to address emerging challenges. “For instance, the quality of the board is good. with. For example, we need to do monthly reIn terms of diversity of skills and experiences, ports to CBN. Those are the only things that have changed. Otherwise, we have built a proit is superb. This was noted in CBN’s comprefessional system that has stood the test of time. hensive examination report in September We had a customer support unit years ago as an 2011. Our institutional performances reflect NGO.” the operating system.” LAPO has existed for over 20 years. It evolved HIGIAMUSOE, like every other businessman, into a full microfinance institution in 2005, has plan for future expansion. Along with his five years before it was thus licensed. What has management team, he recently unveiled a fiveworked for the bank, even during its pre-license era, is linked with the level of profession- year development strategy that focuses on people, technology, products and performance alism it subscribes to. management. As part of the implementation, it The managing director disclosed: “What we do now is not different from what we were do- has commenced aggressive human capacity building process. It wants to train a team of huing as NGO or unregulated micro lender. We have always been guided by professionalism. man resources that could be a reference point in Nigeria and beyond. Nothing has changed in terms of our profesIn relation, the organisation, last year, resional approach (loan appraisal and deposit mobilisation) since we became a regulated en- cruited young professionals (some of whom HE interface between LAPO staff and customers tity. are products of the Lagos Business School). The at group meetings helps in a number of ways. First, it encourages better communication that reduces the usual repayment tension between lender and borrowers. tions have not found the proHE inability of the private sector that educates the public on CDM In specific terms, Ehigiamusoe sees the union as gramme attractive because of the to key into opportunities in the development, marked its first ana sort of family bond that gives everyone involved perceived complexity wrapping carbon credit market through de- niversary, experts said Nigeria is the feeling that he is a member of LAPO. velopment of viable Clean Develop- yet to demonstrate capacity to exe- the process. “Customers don’t see LAPO as ‘their organisaAdaju, however, said sensitisation tion.’ They are engaged in a manner that they per- ment Mechanism (CDM) projects, cute projects that can gain from by relevant NGOs, such as CCN, has the fund years when it took off. as defined in Article 12 of the 1997 ceive it as ‘our organisation.’ At branch level, made it simple for interested orFormer Nigeria’s High Commisleaders of the credit groups meet on quarterly ba- Kyoto Protocol, is beginning to ganisations to access useful inforsioner to the United Kingdom, Dr worry experts. sis to look at issues that affect the bank transacChristopher Kolade, said the coun- mation on carbon trading. Under the protocol, CDM allows tions. They also look at how operation of LAPO But CCN’s founder, Femi Oye, said companies in industrialised coun- try must follow suit, as it cannot impacts their businesses. They relate with an ortries to buy carbon credits from de- continue to deny the reality of cli- the organisation, in the past one ganisation like they are part of the institution. year, has pulled together 8,000 mate change. He said it must veloping nations in order to And we also consider ourselves as part of their “green ambassadors” who have choose to cut down carbon footcomply with requirements to rebusinesses. They don’t look at it from afar,” he benefitted $100,000 in form of print or continue to lose lives to duce emissions. Chinese companoted. credit bonuses. unsafe energy. Interestingly, LAPO, unlike many other organisa- nies have sold 229 million metric Project Manager of Bank of Indus- “For more than a decade, carbon tions, is not established upon sophisticated man- tons of Certified Emission Reductrading and incredibly big carbon try/United Nations Development tion (CERs) under the United Naagement principles. Its founder admitted this fund was being shared by the elite Programme Access To Renewable tions-backed CDM since 2005. when he said: “We never had a well-formulated Energy, Segun Adaju, called on the in Bonn, Germany. Africa was a sigbusiness plan at the beginning. LAPO was not es- China is, therefore, a benchmark private sector to rise up to the chal- natory to the deal but never partictablished as a project of an international develop- for measuring the success of the lenge of “going green” by develop- ipated in the commonwealth due programme. ment agency.” to greed, ignorance, and poor leadIn Lagos last week where the Car- ing viable CDM projects to earn He said that it is merely driven by the desire for ership. China and India became bon Credit Network (CCN), a non- carbon credits. excellence. “We seek to learn; we grow through lords of the ring and did it legitiHe observed that many organisagovernmental organisation (NGO) learning. While we learn, we innovate as well. Peri-

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Kolade, Others Condemn ‘Nigeria’s Low Interest’ T

mately. But we are changing the history. “We formed CCN to become the premier platform where interested stakeholders come to learn, develop, promote and increase awareness about clean technology or projects that have capacity to lower carbon footprint, to make us eligible for carbon credit earning,” noted Oye. Oye disclosed that CCN has distributed Kike biofuel cook stove and biofuel gel to over 120,000 households in the country since its inception, thereby reducing carbon emission drastically. He said the NGO would reach millions of Nigerian households in coming years as it increases campaign for renewable energy.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

BUSINESS NERC Submits Valuation Report On Troubled Enugu DISCO entered into a lease agreement on April 28, 2005 for the distribution of power to ring-fenced resiHE Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Comdential and commercial consumers at Aba, Abia mission (NERC) has submitted the Sate. The contract covered Aba Business Unit much-awaited valuation report of the and Ariaria Business Unit, both of which form Aba Business Unit and Ariaria Business part of the Enugu Distribution Company (Enugu Unit, where a legal tussle looms over a 20Disco). year lease agreement government entered Following the agreement, NERC in 2006 with a private company. granted a license to Aba Power Limited to disNERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, confirmed tribute power within the ring-fence. the development in an interview with The A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding Guardian yesterday. indicates that the agreements lease the Aba and The Guardian last week reported that efAriaria Business Units to Aba Power Limited for a forts by the Bureau for Public Enterprises term of 20 years and by article 10 of the lease (BPE) to privatise the Enugu Electricity Disagreement, Aba Power Limited has “first right tribution Company (EEDC) despite a subsist- and option to purchase” the leased facilities ing 20-year lease agreement the should the Federal Government or the Power government entered with a private concern Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) decide to is brewing fresh concern. sell the assets. It was learnt that the Federal Government, Signaling her intention to respect the existing the defunct National Electric Power Author- pact before concluding the privatization of ity (NEPA) and the then Aba Power Limited Enugo Disco, The Guardian learnt that

From Emeka Anuforo

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former Director General of the BPE Bolanle Onagoruwa had on November 12, 2012 written to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to do a valuation of the Aba Business Unit and what is left of the Enugu Disco. She then wrote to the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, intimating him of the intention of the BPE to respect the agreement and possibly sell off the Enugu Disco minus the Aba Business Unit and Ariaria Business Unit, both of which have been previously concessioned to Aba Power Limited.  Reliable sources told The Guardian that the VP’s office had written back to her asking her to ‘avoid confusion’. Obviously haunted by the fate of his predecessor, Acting Director General of BPE, Benjamin Dikki, is said to have kept a ‘safe distance’ from the issue, preferring rather to continue the privatisation of the entire Enugu Distribution Company. On December 12, 2012, a group of chieftains under the umbrella of Ndigbo Lagos, wrote to

Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America, Adebowale Adefuye(left); Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Mimi Alemayehou; and Chairman of Heirs Holdings,Tony Elumelu, during a reception hosted by Elumelu for the private sector delegations from the United States in Lagos, at the weekend.

President Goodluck Jonathan asking him to toe the path of honour by respecting the terms of the agreement with Aba Power Limited. The letter noted: “Mr. President, we write to draw your attention to a brewing anti- privatization subterfuge that is not only set to torpedo these noble objectives, but has the potential of truncating the process of power sector reforms. As you are aware, a group of investors that include both local and international banks invested in an integrated power project that includes 188 MW Power Plant, 5 substations, over 110 km of overhead lines and a 27 km gas pipeline. This project is due to be commissioned in three months time and will bring much relief to the industries and residents of the South East. “The power plant will also supply its excess power to the national grid in addition to the power which could have gone from the grid to Aba that will now be available for consumption elsewhere in the nation.” The letter signed by Prof. Anya O. Anya, Paschal Dozie, Admiral Allison Madueke and others, went on: “ The project was conceived as a ring-fenced that will not require the normal Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Sovereign Guarantee. Aba metropolis was thus concessioned  to Aba Power Limited through an Agreement between   the Federal Government  and Aba Power Limited in 2005 as a follow up to a 2004 MoU between the FGN and Geometric Power Limited. “Article 10 of the Agreement specifically stated that should FGN decide to privatize the assets in the Aba ring-fenced area, that Aba Power Limited will have a First Right and Option to purchase the fenced area.” In a follow up visit to President Goodluck Jonathan last January, the group of 19 elders from Ndigbo Lagos led by Prof. Anya O. Anya had stressed how Aba remains a major commercial and industrial hub in Nigeria that necessitated the development of the Aba IPP to ensure reliable power to the entire region. Anya was quoted to have said:  “We, NdigboLagos, therefore call on you, Mr. President, to honour this agreement and give Ndigbo and the entire region an opportunity to progress by directing the BPE to implement the 2005 Agreement between Aba Power a limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria. Media reports quote the President of assuring the visiting elders that the agreement stands sacrosanct. But despite the President’s assurances, it was learnt that various interpretations were still being proffered within the BPE against the contract implementation. In a letter to the BPE on January 10, 2013, Wole Olanipekun & Co, acting on behalf of Aba Power Limited, demanded a valuation and offer for sale of Aba and Ariaria Business Unit to Aba Power Limited in line with the terms of the 2005 agreement. The letter noted: “Despite many notices to the FGN and BPE with respect to the right of the option to purchase, our client is yet to receive any confirmation that the BPE will respect the extant agreement, particularly the right of our client there under.  BPE has also not informed our client of the separate valuation of the two business units so that our client has been unable effectively, to make an offer of payment for the lease facilities. Similarly, expectation of a meeting between our client and the BPE to discuss the issues raised severally by our client remains pendent.”

Competition Gives Consumers More Value, Says Bread Maker By Florence Utor Hy many only see the challenges in the business environment, others like Tosan Jemide, owner of Cakes by Tosan brand, has not only made a mark in it but has also expanded his love for pastry to bread leading to the establishment of Top Crust Bread. Jemide said the bakery business is to provide quality and value to average bread consumer. He admitted that the company is yet to achieve the level of success it targets. But he noted: “It will not be hard for us to acknowledge that we have recorded some level results in the past 15 months we have been in operation.” Asked about the secret of the success, the pastry expert said: “I think it is just the right mix of everything. We spent much time on feasibility study. We talked with stakeholders who were already in the business and location and the right combination of big buyers.” Comparing Top Crust with Cakes by Tosan, he said: “I just started something that I was passionate about and went with the flow and discovered there was demand for it. But in terms of plan, there was none.” So pleased is he with the level of growth that he organised an awards ceremony to show gratitude to suppliers and staff for the

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tremendous he is getting from them. The 15-months operation, according to him, has recorded a huge success. “I also did some short business school courses coupled with the experience I had with Cakes by Tosan, where I was the baker, accountant, HR manager and everything. I corrected the mistakes in Top Crust Bakery. “It is not a cheap business to start. The industrial ovens we use are in the region of five to eight million naira each and there are lots

of other things to buy as well. But we acquire the equipment we need gradually. We first got one oven and then the second and so on.” He gave reasons why he thinks the brand is the best in the market. “Before we started production, we sampled all the flour produced in the country and we chose Flour Mills Nigeria Plc because it was the best quality type we found for the quality of bread we wanted to produce.”

Jonathan, Onasanya, Others For Nigeria Summit stitutions and rules, functions and chalHE commitment of First Bank of Nigeria ‘Nigeria: the Transformation Agenda.’ T Plc to fostering thought leadership and Onasanya will be joined by Executive Vice lenges of regional integration in West promoting economic integration will see President Africa, Unilever, Frank Braeken, Africa. its Group Managing Director, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, join other panelists at The Nigeria Summit 2013 organized by Economist Conferences to discuss transformation in the West African sub-region. President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to flag off the event on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with a keynote address on

Vice President Procter & Gamble West Africa, Manoj Kumar; Regional Chief Executive Officer Africa and Standard Chartered, Diana Layfield at a session on The Regional Environment for Transformation. The panel will deliberate on several issues including regional economic and security integration, existing regional economic blocks, regional cooperation through in-

Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, First Bank, Mrs. Folake AniMumuney, said the bank considers its participation at the summit as an “opportunity to align forces with global business leaders in the quest to understand the challenges of regional integrations and proffer viable solutions to overcoming them in the nearest future.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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BUSINESSAGRO

Spar Park ‘n’ Shop Joins Cassava Bread Train By Fabian Odum HE private sector continT ued its show of support for the use of cassava composite flour for bread production as Spar Park ‘n’ Shop, lekki, lagos when it launched various confectionery products on Tuesday. Chairman of Spar group, Asiwaju Solomon Onafowokan said this step is its contribution to the patriotism needed to develop rural farmers in their endeavour to grow more cassava tubers. He said the company had experimented on the 80 per cent wheat flour and 20 per cent cassava flour composite to bake the bread and found the loaf very satisfactory. “It was by August 2012 that we were nominated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and given raw material to make samples… and by 20 September. 2012 that cassava flour bread and other products from Spar Park ‘n’ Shop were displayed at Hilton Hotel, Abuja,” Onofowokan said. However, the Chairman said the formal launch of the bread at CEDDI Plaza, Abuja opened up the resolve get it to other areas outside the federal capital territory to other outlets like the lekki location in lagos. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said this

• Opens Lekki Sales Outlet

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina launching cassava flour composite bread baked at the bakeries of the Lekki outlet of Spar Park ‘n’ Shop on Tuesday bread and other pastry, production of cassava flouris happening due to the good additives like enzymes. Adesina assured of the based confectionery to comWhile the Spar Park ‘n’ Shop policy of government to resolve of government to mercial scale to feed the peoreduce the quantum of for- has put in place the baking invest in research and devel- ple and create more jobs. eign exchange being expend- equipment backed by the relOn the premise that these opment. This is to put the evant technology to roll out ed on wheat importation. He said that to support the master bakers, the Jonathan administration approved the zero-duty regime for baking By Fabian Odum High rice prices in late 2007 and trends in rice production T was a positive outlook for the 2008 had sparked food riots in across the African continent, production of rice in sub- several African cities. As a result placing particular emphasis on Saharan Africa as a recent analy- of this “rice crisis,” African gov- the periods before and after the sis by the Africa Rice Centre ernments, assisted by the inter- 2007/2008 rice crisis. “We were pleased to learn that (AfricaRice) showed a very sig- national donor community, embarked on ambitious pro- paddy rice production in SSA nificant increase. In a release by the Centre, grams to boost their rice pro- increased by 2.8 million tonnes from 2000 to 2007, and then paddy rice production growth duction capacity. To find out the domestic pro- accelerated, increasing by rate in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) taminated grains include shot up from 3.2 per cent per duction responses to these 4.7 million tonnes in the period stunting in children, liver can- year before the rice crisis measures, AfricaRice analysed 2007–2012,” said AfricaRice (2000–2007) to 8.4 per cent per cer, and even death. After more than a decade, sci- year after the rice crisis entists at IITA have developed a (2007–2012). The analysis also showed that biological control product named aflasafe that is control- average rice yield in SSA jumped By Oluwakemi Ajani take adequate care of their chilling grain contamination in by about 30 per cent from 2007 dren irrespective of any probto 2012 and that it is increasing ATIONAl Director of SOS lem they might be facing. Africa. at a faster rate than the global Children’s Village Nigeria, The impact of the product on He said that garri-processing Mr. Eghosa Erhumwunse has had provided job opportunithe poultry industry—one of average. “This is very encouraging urged the parents especially ties not only for families particthe major consumers of maize—has been hailed by news,” said AfricaRice Director mothers to make use of the ipating in the SOS Children’s stakeholders. “We are excited General Dr Papa Seck. “The garri processing factory to Villages Nigeria Family in SSA’s rice production train their children educawith these results because the surge Strengthening Programme and yield is a result of key invest- tionally. use of aflasafe is a cheaper and ments made by farmers, govalone but also to other commuSpeaking recently at the nity women. safer solution for the poultry ernments, the private sector,” says Dr Emmanuel sector, the research community commissioning of the garri The director said that there is Ewuola of the Department of and donors to develop Africa’s processing factory held in need to provide job opportuniOwu-Ikija Ogun State, ties for rural women especially Animal Science, University of rice sector.” Ibadan, who supervised the Dr. Seck underlined that it is Erhumwunse said that the widows. animal feeding experiment. crucial to maintain this trend, commissioning of garri pro- He noted that about 63 careHe added that with it grains because rice consumption con- cessing factory will go a long givers and 196 children have poultry farmers would not tinues to increase in SSA at an way to further empower fami- benefitted from the prolies to have the capacity to gramme. need aflatoxin binders in annual rate of 5 per cent. feeds. Dr. Ayoola Odutan, Managing Director of Amo farms, who is also the Chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, in his presentation, cited IITA for the work, stressing that the future is bright for the poultry industry because science-led outputs such as the discovery of the product that improves the quality of maize have come to the rescue of the industry. The Managing Director of Doreo Partners, Mr Kola Masha, in his presentation, cited the economic gains of using aflasafe. He said that the result of the feeding trial translates into an estimated increase in profitability of over N500,000 (about $3,200) for every 10,000 birds. Operations in progress at the SOS-funded gari-processing factory last week

IITA-Developed Biocontrol Product Reduces Mortality In Poultry OUlTRY fed with maize that P had been treated with aflasafeTM – a biocontrol product for controlling aflatoxins— experienced reduced mortality in addition to other benefits, according to a new study by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. To unravel the benefits of the new product in the poultry industry, researchers set up a feeding experiment involving 1,020 broilers that used the following feed formulations: aflasafe maize without binders, host farm’s feed with binders, contaminated feed with binders, and contaminated feed without binders. The broilers were fed for eight weeks. Results showed that the use of maize from aflasafe-treated feeds reduced mortality rate by 43.9 per cent, feed intake dropped by 10.4 per cent, and there was an increase of 3.3 per cent in feed conversion ratio. Unveiling details of the results to stakeholders at a conference in lagos, Dr Ranajit Bandyopadhyay, IITA Pathologist, said the results demonstrated the impact of alfasafe, a biological control product developed by IITA for controlling aflatoxins. Produced by toxigenic strains of Aspergillus flavus, aflatoxins have become a menace in developing countries, contaminating about 25 per cent of grains produced in the region. The aftermath effects of consuming aflatoxin-con-

development in the cassava value chain require funding, the Minister revealed that the much talked about Cassava Development Fund would be unfolded this week. He added that the DG, Customs is being reached to work out what has accrued to the fund and then to formally get it off the ground. When asked how much was involved, Adesina could not specifically say but affirmed that the fund would be unveiled this week. He said that from this fund there would be support for master bakers, school feeding programme and marketing of the bread. The minister stressed that the cassava flour project failed in the past because the people importing wheat never wanted it to succeed but added that it would be different this time. For now, there 153 SMEs in the business of producing cassava flour. To this end, the FG is importing cassava modular processing mills that will make it easier to do the baking from the nicely mixed flour. He called for support for cassava bread because ‘the bread is healthier, tastier and cheaper; tastier because the flour has lower Glycemic Index (GI), which is better for those predisposed to diabetes and heart-related conditions.

AfricaRice: Average Rice Yield In SSA Increase 30% After Crisis

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Deputy Director General Dr Wopereis. “But what’s more important, the analysis revealed that average rice yield in SSA increased by about 11 kg per ha per year from 1961 to 2007 and by a spectacular 108 kg per ha per year from 2007 to 2012, despite drought and floods in several African countries in 2011 and 2012.”

SOS Nigeria Commissions Garri Processing Factory

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“ On a daily basis, more than 10 women work in the factory peeling and washing cassava, which is sieved and fried into garri. Also, 30 women have formed a cooperative group for the marketing of the finished product to make ends meet”. He stated that the community has provided five hectares of land to plant cassava to support the rural women Erhumwunse said that the increase in child vulnerability in communities requires immediate attention adding that wellbeing of the children, who are the future leaders is at stake as many of them lack parental upbringing. “As an organisation, we strive to help to alleviate suffering of children in the entire community. To achieve these we ensure those children live in a caring family environment. Recently we set a baseline to study and understand the situation of children and families in Ijebu-east 1, the report of the study revealed that the local government had over 2,000 orphans and vulnerable children in the community as a result of the poverty,” he explained. The mandate of the organisation is to ensure that all children have access to essential services through family support programme to protect and care for vulnerable children and their families within the community.


TheGuardian

Sunday, March 17, 2013 53

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Alamieyeseigha: Goodluck Puts Jonathan On Trial Y the state pardon granted the disgraced former governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha last week, President Goodluck Jonathan confirmed that he does not understand the joke. One thing is for certain: the joke is on him. Nigeria’s most powerful man, but the joke is on him. Mr. Jonathan said something of great significance last year. In an interview with TELL magazine, he said, “When I look at some people that shout ‘Corruption! Corruption!’ I shake my head.” That was exactly three years after Jonathan took the presidency. The statement suggested that he knew how deeply corruption was ravaging Nigeria. But neither in that statement nor in anything else that he told his interviewers did he appear as if he would ever do anything about it. Clearly, Alamieyeseigha, whom Jonathan tried to clean up last week, was not among those shouting ‘Corruption! Corruption!’ I am not an admirer of Jonathan. I have never admired weak or hypocritical rulers, and last week, he reminded us he is both. His first defence of the Alamieyeseigha pardon was that it was done by the Council of State, not he. Not true; it was his initiative. Even if someone else managed to smuggle it into the agenda; even if it came from someone who was trying to win favours from him; even if it came from an enemy who was trying to make him look bad, he could have struck out that name, not only was it the patriotic and responsible thing to do, it might have saved his presidency. When that ruse did not work, he tried to ram the decision down the throats of citizens, declaring he had no apologies for the decision, and that Nigerians will one day thank him for it. When that patronizing approach failed, Jonathan unveiled the saddest argument: that Alamieyeseigha is a national economic asset who is responsible for the increase in the barrels of oil now being sold by Nigeria. Besides, the President said, the man is sorry. This is partly why there is so much laughter

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around Mr. Jonathan that he probably interprets as applause. But the pardon goes far beyond that. By making it, Jonathan has effectively put himself on trial. Prior to it, Nigeria was set for a 2015 election that could well have been a referendum on Jonathan’s presidency. In this column, I have pointed out how almost everything that Mr. Jonathan has told Nigerians has turned out to be questionable. As we approached 2015, he would have had the task of justifying his track record. That would have been a daunting task itself. With last week’s event and the absurd justifications his government came up with, he confirmed that his presidency is not on the side of Nigerians. That is why he has now unwittingly rephrased the road ahead as his own trial. I am not sure that this is clear to Jonathan. But it is certainly clear to many of the people who are traveling with him. In 2011, he did not have to campaign; he simply showed up at campaign events where somebody gave him a list of promises, tailored to meet local expectations, to read. He read the list and moved on to the next venue. That is why he wound up with the astonishing list of electoral promises I posted in this column on May 22, 2011, one week before he took his oath of office. He has done everything since then to avoid identifying with those promises, but if he wants to retain the job, he will have to confront them. In 2011, he did not have to debate anyone. At the only debate at which he showed up, he debated himself. All of that was good for a man who was being swept along by a tidal wave of sentiment; in 2015, he will have to show up at his trial and speak. There are two obvious problems here. The first is that the people to whom Jonathan was making his promises in 2011 did not know he was from Nollywood. They believed him; it resonated with them that as one who once “had no shoes,” he would bring them shoes. And possibly socks. But Jonathan then took office, and the only

people who have ascended in the world are such men as Doyin Okupe, Tony Anenih and Alamieyesegha. In 2015, Mr. Jonathan will not have the advantage of a soliloquy. He will campaign, on the basis of his record or lack of it, and answer questions. Unless Anenih and the electoral commission intend to count votes in the dark, it was always clear before last week that Jonathan would have to attend live debates and answer his father’s name. That was the picture before last week when he announced the pardon to Alamieyeseigha, a pardon, which was stunning only because Jonathan had tried to prepare the ground weeks earlier by declaring the man to be his mentor. Still, Jonathan ought to have known that the pardon was not a sale he could make. His former boss cannot suddenly become a saint or an admired citizen simply because somebody — anybody — has declared him pardoned. He symbolizes Nigeria’s darkest hour. By pardoning the man in this way, Jonathan achieves the opposite: he alerts the people of Nigeria to the simple wisdom that, in the end, the people who have driven Nigeria to the edge are sticking together. These people laugh at how easy it is. They exchange favours, from huge massive homes and prime parcels of land in Abuja to massive government contracts and private jets. That is the reminder that Jonathan provided to the public last week, arguing rather ingenuously — at the same time as he was describing Alamieyeseigha as “hounded,” that the man is sorry. This explains why the most prominent feature of Jonathan’s administration is its repeated ability to defend and explain. His government has demonstrated a singular lack of capacity to come up with strong initiatives, but even of the everyday clichés it has announced, think about it: when was the first time the government accomplished something it set out to do? The answer is: apart from an Almajiri school he promised in the North, Never! Instead, the government is loaded with twists and turns,

circumventions and circumlocution. He hired the ethically-challenged Okupe, with absolutely no hint of irony, to provide muscle to the image of a weak presidency, adding to the layers of personnel he agreed with Danjuma’s Presidential Advisory Committee he would whittle down. It is a government of defence, the principal business of which is to explain not how something was achieved, but why it was not. In this one respect, we must concede something to Jonathan: it is consistent. Consistent in a character of negativity and under-achievement; he has no problems digging up dead bodies so he can argue he has provided meat. Most world leaders are engaged with the challenge of finding a positive message. Our leaders send for the dung that is the product of their malice and their incompetence and call declare it food. That is why Jonathan has no achievements. If you know of any, please list them next to your name and I would be happy to publish them on this page. But if he seeks a way forward and an accomplishment he can beat his chest about, let him revert the tragic pardon of Alamieyeseigha he inflicted on Nigeria last week. It is a cynical action for a man who claims to be fighting corruption. It is corruption winning by a landslide, and Jonathan is certain to pay for it. sonala.olumhense@gmail.com

I Beg Your Pardon By Tunji Lardner HIS time, not even the fig leaf of hiding behind the National Council of State could morally justify and mollify public opinion about the decision of President Goodluck Jonathan to especially pardon his self-described ‘boss and mentor’ the former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. While embedding this egregious pardon in the cynical calculus of Nigeria’s ethic representational politics; a spineless ex-general here, a thieving bank manager there, one or two dead politicians sprinkled in for good measure to tote up the numbers for the arithmetic of national character, and as it turns out, even in this act of magnanimity he got his sums wrong. Three of those pardoned had already been pardoned before by another head of state. It is, therefore, crystal clear that the intentionality of President Jonathan was to free and rehabilitate Alamieyeseigha; possibly in preparation for his run in 2015. It is also clear that he was, as is increasingly the case, playing to his Southsouth constituency gallery, while willing to sacrifice the larger Nigerian sensibilities and concerns about our international standing regarding the almost mythical fight against corruption. No surprise here really, like most Nigerian politicians, his parochial nativist instincts trumps National interests every time, and besides, he after all has publicly told us that he does ‘not give a damn’ about what we really think of him and his governance. So, as his voluble and gratingly meretricious spokesman Doyin Okupe said directly quoting the president ‘that this is an action that has been taken by the National Council of States and I have no apology for that.’ But what is to be said about our National Council of State, our own secular conclave of elders, the Nation’s pre-eminent congregation of leaders comprising the President, the Vice President, all former Presidents, all former Chief Justices of the Federation, the leadership of the National Assembly and all state governors. Indeed our national constitution stipulates that the Council of State is established under Section 153 of the Constitution. In the Third Schedule, it is stated that: “The Council shall have power to (a) advice the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to the – (ii) prerogative of mercy.” In the best of times this august body represents the collective embodiment of our values, ethics and morality as a

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nation-the gathering of the wisest men in all of Nigeria — what advice did they give Mr. President on this issue? Granted that this enquiry is now moot and the question rhetorical; it nonetheless raises some very vexing issues about the moral bankruptcy of our present political elite. In unanimously granting a cross-dressing felon like Diepreye Alamieyeseigha a presidential pardon, the council of state was taking care of one of their own, in him they respectively recognized a fellow wayfarer on that tortuous road to the destruction of Nigeria, and so their collective act of esprit d corps in the warped logic of national politics to date is perfectly understandable. There is after all honour amongst thieves, and in this instance, thieves of all political stripes. However, what about the rest of us? How does this explain the sociology of our corruption and our own collective reluctance to criminalize and punish corrupt practices by establishing a rules based, legal, rational, fair and equitable justice system that ensures that if your do the crime, you will do the time. What does it say about great amoral wall we have collectively built (and maintained) between our private ethics and our public morality? What does it say about our willful ignorance and denial about tremendous opportunity cost of the grand theft ($400billion by some estimates) by our leaders since 1960? What does it say that increasingly we are degenerating into a country where the usual societal disapprobation of shame and or guilt can no longer modify behaviour? What does it say about our collective complicity in allowing this audacious act of state impunity to happen, with absolutely no fear of retribution? Above all else, what does it say that we as a nation have lost that collective sense of treason — treason for the avoidance of doubt, defined as ‘a violation of allegiance to one’s state or the betrayal of trust or confidence’ by engaging in acts injurious to the collective well being of the state to which one bears allegiance. By this definition it seems we are all guilty in varying degrees of co-creating this treacherous state of affairs. With all the organs of state fully represented in executing this pardon, we can formally and without equivocation state that Nigeria as a country represented by its ‘democratically’ elected leaders has lost its moral bearings and the ship of state is unmoored and drifting in its own self created sea of anomie. We are all in a leaking ship, in dire straits, piloted by a Captain

lost in the fog of his own confusion and heading for the rocks. Contrary to what the apologists might say, it is not the hard technical numbers about GDP growth and other economic indices that guarantee that nations thrive and continue to evolve; it is their collective sense of identity as a nation, their binding set of values, their body of laws and their collective moral codes and their clear consensus about what is good and what is bad, and their collective will to insist that their represented leaders always seek to do the public good, and punish them if they do the bad. Not so in this case, to fully understand our relationship with our ruling elite, we sadly must again turn to the president’s mouthpiece and alter ego, Doyin Okupe, who rationalized the issue thusly, “It is like a parent, it is not every decision a parent takes that is palatable or acceptable to the children. But in due course, we always find out the parents were right,” His condescending characterization of Nigerians as children bound to obey the decision of their parent, in this instance, Mr. President and the council, while galling, actually speaks to a larger truth. Nigerians over the last five decades and especially since 1999 have allowed themselves to be infantilized by the political elite. In truth, we all are members of a large fractious and thoroughly dysfunctional family headed by immature, venal, abusive, violent, and untrustworthy parents who prefer the ‘do as I say, and not as I do’ style of parenting. A trait compounded by years of military misrule and our own lax moral values. We can pardon our leaders and not seek to hold them accountable, because we (the children) ourselves are always exonerating our respective bad behavior and do not want to be held accountable for anything. In this Nigerian family, any and everything goes, you are encouraged to behave badly, because everyone is doing the same and can statistically be assured with getting away with it. In the same way it can be argued that a nation gets the leaders it deserves, we can also make the case that the children of this grotesque family definitely have the parents they deserve. Our parents are right to expect that again in this instance, we will throw our typical juvenile tantrums, cry out in disgust, stomp our feet in muted rage, even fling a few toys, but in the end we will return to our humdrum sedated selves busying ourselves with the ever grinding business of life in Nigeria. But I do beg your pardon sir… I find the decision unacceptable and unpalatable as well as wrong in its entirety. Comments can be sent to: me.tlardner@gmail.com


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday March 17, 2013

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Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Text only) abogbodo@yahoo.com

SUNDAY NARRATIVE Alabi Williams

How SURE-P Will Not Fall Into Wrong Hands

Marginalisation In The Land I E

VERYONE is lying belly down like lizards and it is difficult telling who among the lot has stomach ache and who doesn’t. The simile is required to explain the deafening shout of marginalisation in the land. From the far North through the Middle Belt, Southwest, Southeast and down to the deep South, otherwise known as South-South, the voices are singing the same song of sorrow: systematic exclusion from participation in the political economy and the benefits thereof. Take the Southwest for instance. One would have hoped that the region would lie low after the eight years of Obasanjo’s presidency. But the Oduduwa enclave is in the forefront of the campaign for a better deal from Jonathan. Its leaders are complaining just about everything regarding the management of the political economy. They are saying so many things at the same time and it is a bit difficult understanding their point. They want higher stakes in the fed- Jonathan eral bureaucracy especially in the aviation ministry, the customs and then an administrative the trophy. Many in the line-up are mere political re-alignment that would ensure better repre- merchants only waiting to trade in their resolve sentation of the zone in the top echelon of the for short-term benefits at the appropriate time. armed forces, specifically the positions of the And so, if nothing is done to give a more serious Service Chiefs. They are also asking for a more ro- outlook to Ndigbos in the build-up, nothing also is likely to change and the lamentations of marginbust representation in the Federal cabinet. One spokesman from the Southwest added alisation shall continue far beyond 2015 in the that the Federal Government has found it con- Southeast. venient to equate Lagos State with the entire Meanwhile, the North is literally boiling over. It zone and has excluded the core states of Ondo, says the 33 out of the 53 years of Nigeria’s IndeEkiti, Osun and Oyo in the distribution of road pendence that it had retained power did not amount to enough time to settle basic issues of and rail infrastructures. The Southeast, which has been somehow development in the region. In fact, leaders from named by certain quarters, as co-host in the the region notably Governor Babangida Aliyu of Jonathan’s dinner party, is surprisingly reject- Niger State, who is also the chairman of the ing that appellate, preferring instead to main- Northern Governors’ Forum are even alleging tain the status of an invited guest. Even so, the that the Boko Haram uprising is a direct reaction zone sees its own share of the big food namely to the continued denial of the region of access to aviation, power, labour and by marriage, fi- adequate resources for purposes of development. nance and petroleum ministries, as mere The leaders sound as if it is in the DNA of the recrumbs from the master’s table. Not even the gion to persistently remain in power and staying plumb slots of the secretary to the Government out of it could be as perilous as keeping fish out of of the Federation (SGF), Chief of Army Staff, water. In a nutshell, even the North, which aldeputy Senate President and deputy House legedly controls more than 80 per cent of oil and Speaker, as well as chief executives of a handful gas operations in Nigeria is marginalised in the Federal agencies are making good sense. The Jonathan power equation. zone wants to superintend over the main food By deduction, the only zone that is having a swell and also sit at the main table as the director of time is the South-south for the simple reason that welfare. Its case, on the surface, appears good. It it controls the Presidency. It is only when the says 43 years after the civil war that pitched it equation is further broken down that the fallacy against the rest parts of the country, an integra- of a favoured South-south is revealed. The zone contains more than 180 indigenous tion to return the zone to the mainstream of national life has not been achieved, largely communities, of which Otueke, where President because, of a sustained design by other stake- Jonathan comes from is one. To the Urhobo, holders to prevent Ndigbo from becoming the Isoko, Ibibio, Efik, Ogoja, Ndokwa, Ogba, Ikwerre and many others, the Jonathan’s Presidency does President of Nigeria, even for one hour. And if that were truly the position, the case of not translate to a common heritage. It is at best, the Southeast geo-political should qualify for an Ijaw or more specifically, Ogbia heritage, listing as crime against humanity at the Inter- which is why in the South-south, the shout of national Criminal Court, where the newly marginalisation is as loud as it is in any other part elected President of Kenya is standing trial too of the country. for crime against humanity. The Igbos are evidently tired of operating from the margins after The Fashola Facade ET me begin by saying that I completely agree more than four decades and as the drumbeats with Governor Babatunde Fashola’s position for the 2015 political macabre dance get louder, the preparations in the Southeast are getting that everybody must not live in Lagos. A lot of elaborate to launch the zone from the doldrums folks in Lagos today would be more useful to themselves and the national economy if they to the mountain top. If they fail to arrive at the projected destination, were in the country side farming. But they are which is very likely, it will not be because the stuck in Lagos doing okada riding and further Ndigbos do not deserve a good deal, but more be- compounding issues for Fashola, who has to incause of an enduring inability, almost assuming vent some formula to provide for everyone. It has the dimension of a racial trait, of the Ndigbos to been a major challenge for the governor and a build a consensus and maintain a uniform view- way out in the short run was to redefine the stapoint on matters of deep political conse- tus of Lagos and make it somebody’s land instead quences. The republican spirit, which fires of a No Man’s Land where manners and the rules competition and a desire to be first among Ndig- had become perfect freedom. It is this redefinition that is making living in bos, is painfully, also a disadvantage. Every traditional titleholder in Igbo land must be an Eze Lagos a lot more suffocating these days. The tax, gidigbam gidigbam I (first) of somewhere. None sanitation and traffic laws are harsh and they loves to come second. There is an undue em- apply across board. What do not apply across phasis on ordinal calibration. In a roll call, the board are the orchestrated infrastructural wonIgbo man loves to be counted first, second or ders of Fashola. The wonders in Surulere and elsethird and not one, two or three in that cardinal where in the state are lacking in the sense. Surprisingly however, this indomitable Isolo-Ejigbo-Ikotun axis where, for instance, the spirit that drives in the Ndigbo the desire to be government has been building the about 10 kilofirst, described by Rev Martin Luther King Jnr as meters road between Isheri Osun and Jakande Esthe DRUM MAJOR INSTINCT, does not play out tate for well over a decade now. The connecting well in the contest for power at the centre stage. road between Orilowo-Ejigbo and Idimu is an Instead, the Ndigbo is almost always too pre- ideal location for a Guilder Ultimate Search. The pared to downgrade to a supporting role when contractor in charge of the road uses shovels, it matters most and thereafter recline across the head pans and diggers to work the side Niger to shout: Hey! Help O! We are marginalised drainages. The Oke Afa -Ajao Estate link intended as if power is ever given to anybody on a platter to ease pressure on the Isolo-Ikotun Road, the sole of gold. Thus, the real challenge to the realisa- traffic artery in that area, is taking forever to fix. In tion of the much taunted Igbo presidency in fact, much of the expansive Alimosho local gov2015 or at any other time, are the Ndigbos them- ernment that gave the votes that put and reselves who, like a colony of crabs, may push at turned Fashola to office is completely lost on the cross purposes and will therefore fail to build a governor’s infrastructural radar. Just the same formidable consensus that could swing the dy- way Jonathan is said to be unfair to the Southwest, which gave him the ‘cleanest’ and largest namics in their favour. Right now, there are so many forerunners for bloc votes in 2011.

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T is about a year since the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) was inaugurated and entrusted with the management of savings from government’s partial reduction of subsidies on petroleum products. It was a difficult task convincing Nigerians that the federal government could be trusted with extra funds, when it is yet to effectively manage its yearly budgets. The whole argument about fuel subsidy is a huge bunkum, as government’s resort to full importation of refined petroleum products is an unexplainable case of failed economics. That an oil producing country has no capacity to manage her refineries, but would rather surrender the downstream sector to the unsure vagaries of market forces is a big shame. But since the January 2012 uprising had to be resolved one way or the other, Nigerians who trooped out to protest had to go home and wait to fight another day. They were also given the assurance that the people nominated to be in charge of SURE-P are people of integrity, who would not let this intervention go the way of similar past efforts. One year after, where are the safety nets and the goodies promised to assuage the fears of Nigerians that subsidy savings will only end up in the pockets of politicians. Those who protested did so at a huge cost, believing that it was time to teach government some sense. Not less than 11 persons were reported killed by overzealous security agents and the only way to reap lasting gains from that exercise is to see SURE-P working visibly. Commuters in Lagos, Abuja and other major towns and cities are wondering when the buses would arrive, to reduce the stress that accompany moving from home to place of work. They can’t see much of anything good happening with respect to the mass transit that was promised. Recently, members of the opposition raised doubts over the sincerity of government’s management of subsidy savings. The National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, accused government of using parts of the funds to empower cronies of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the 2015 elections. According to Mohammed: “They have created State Implementation Committees (SICs) to handle the disbursement of SURE-P cash to party members as a strategy to arm them with a war chest ahead of the 2015 elections.” Ordinarily, there is reason to doubt promises and pronouncements by governments, particularly those who have been in power since 1999. Nigeria has earned surplus revenue between 1999 and 2013, far more than she did in previous years. But surprisingly, this is the period all the indices of poverty have grown menacingly, far more than what was recorded in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Revenues have refused to work and there is a growing doubt that more revenue will not end up being stolen. Without subjecting the activi-

ties of SURE-P at all levels to the rigours of due process, in terms of making the revenues public and making expenditures transparent, how will the opposition know what SURE-P is doing or refusing to do? Transparency is therefore the path to thread, putting everything on the desk, for everyone to see. A check on the Christopher Kolade-led SURE-P shows that the committee seems to have a lot on its hands, in the areas it had chosen to intervene – community service, women and youth empowerment, maternal and child healthcare, public works (FERMA), vocational training and mass transit. SURE-P’s website is quite busy and detailed on what it is doing. It might be difficult sitting in one place and claiming to know all the committee is doing or whether it is doing well or not. But there are areas SURE-P should ensure that it does not allow politicians to dictate its pace of work. Public works and mass transit are areas the people are quick to notice. Therefore, SURE-P should be wary of undue interference by politicians. For instance, what is the mode of partnership between SURE-P and FERMA in the construction and repair of roads? The FERMA we know is a federal government agency that is run like a parastatal where the ruling party peddles some influence. FERMA is hardly accountable to the people and does not present its books for public scrutiny. Therefore, monies given to FERMA must be closely monitored and the quality of job done must be independently certified by SURE-P before payment. A drive along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, where FERMA claims to be doing some intervention shows that the agency is stuck to its old ways of doing business, doing poor quality jobs to ensure that it returns to the same site next year. A spot at Owode, about four kilometres outwards Ota, shows clearly that what is absent is a good drainage, but FERMA is right there, hurriedly dressing the road, without creating access for the flood water that will gather throughout the rainy reason. Meanwhile, the entire stretch had been contracted to Julius Berger, but was abandoned due to poor funding by government. Yet, FERMA has money to toy with and do shoddy jobs. By March 2014, FERMA will be called to return to the same site. In case SURE-P is funding that project or any other project for that matter, the committee should insist that the right thing is done, so that opposition politicians and members of the public will not have doubts regarding the integrity of SURE-P. SURE-P also needs to explain in clearer details those it has licensed and funded to import mass transit vehicles and what are the terms of operation and mode of deployment. There were similar arrangements in the past that did not yield much. Schemes that were supposed to be revolving quickly petered out and nobody has been held accountable. Of more concern is what states and local councils are doing with their share of the subsidy savings. Too often, all eyes tend

to be focused on the federal, forgetting that subsidy savings are shared between the federal, states and local councils. While the Kolade committee has shown courage to display what it is doing and challenging Nigerians to go out and verify, states have collected huge amounts and are keeping quiet. SURE-P allocation is not part of states’ regular earnings and cannot take the place of their regular budgets. States must come out to outline what their policies are regarding SURE-P and should toe the example of the Kolade committee, to show minimum transparency in revenues and expenditure. Subsidy savings are not slush fund for governors’ discretionary expenditure. Here, the onus is on those energetic and committed Nigerians, who occupied the country in January 2012 to go to their states and demand accountability from their governments. Those who are using SURE-P to ‘equip’ party supporters ahead of 2015 must be exposed.

Much Ado About APC

ECENTLY, The Guardian on R Sunday did a piece on what it would cost opposition political parties to merge into a formidable alternative for Nigerians who desperately want a change. It was a thankless, unsolicited assignment, apparently unheeded, going by the travails of the Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party and the Congress for Progressive Change, parties whose collective efforts of many months were last week, nearly evaporated in a ‘dark’ fruitless smoke. Handlers of the merger were beginning to take so much for granted. They have the goodwill, a growing tribe of supporters and good prospects. But they were also getting too ambitious and refusing to realise that this is still Nigeria. No matter how good, you are not there yet until the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says you’re there. The All Progressives Congress (APC), which the three parties desire to merge into, is not yet a party. They also do not have a certificate from INEC to lay claim to; they may have secured a name, which nobody has tampered with, except that other Nigerians are also on the verge of registering their own parties, which may turn out to share the same APC acronym. That’s not new, even though unhealthy. What the original APC members need to do is get smarter with strategy. They make too much noise without supporting it with strategy. They had gone to town to threaten to wrest power from the PDP, without having a letter of registration from INEC. APC propagandists said 12 PDP governors were on their way to joining their unformed party, meaning that their aim is to destabilse the ruling party. And curiously, they expect PDP to fold its hands and watch a yet to be registered APC disintegrate a ruling party? This is crude politics; it could get better with time, but for now, nobody should play the victim. Go out there and slug it out.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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COVER

Ekweremadu

Anyim

Ihedioha

Southeast: Marginalisation As A Native Lot By Leo Sobechi

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IME was, when Nigeria happened to be the toast of all citizens. Then, though tribe and tongue differed, brotherhood stood out. And the nation’s green-whitegreen flag fluttered in praise of the citizens’ unity and faith in Nigeria. Freshly freed from British colonial subjugation, the new republic was rearing to go. Everybody was happy that at last, “we are masters of our own destiny”. And those who reveled most happened to be Nigerian citizens who had imbibed western civilization. Being a product of amalgamation, both Lagos and the then southern protectorates, appeared to enjoy a head start. Their early contact with the missionaries put them in good stead, especially to step into the shoes of the departing white men. There were a lot of opportunities in the civil service, public sector, commerce and industry. The Nigeria Railway Corporation, (NRC) Nigeria Post and Telegraphs Department, (P&T) Central Bank, Nigeria Airport Authority, (NAA) among others offered boundless opportunities for Nigerians to drive the new nation. There was also healthy political competition in the air as the old regions engaged in creative thinking to justify the release from clutches of colonial domination. The tempo of socio-economic activities reflected on the new impetus given to agriculture, the rationale for the green colour on the country’s national flag. In the north, Kano to be precise; groundnut pyramids towered high beckoning on markets, especially export. The Southwest, which came out as forerunners in innovative governance had its economy serviced by cocoa. The Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation, (ENDC), which championed many developmental projects in the Southeast was founded specifically to moderate the development and sales of palm nuts and oil. Some authorities like the West African red book indicated that the economy of the northern Nigeria was to some extent subsidized with proceeds from the South. The North was seen as slow starters mainly because of their sluggish embrace of western education. It is partly on account of the socio-economic situation in the North coupled to its large expanse of arable land that most people from the South moved up country to take positions in civil and allied services. Being

landlocked and propelled by their republican and acquisitive tendencies, it was not hard to understand why the people of Southeast numbered in the majority of those who sojourned in the North away from their towns of origin. The Igbo of present day Southeast were seen scattered in virtually every nook and crevice of the newly independent Nigeria. The South Easterners’ sense of adventure and readiness to embrace foreign ideas could explain why a substantial number of citizens from that part took employment in the military, public service, customs and sundry national establishment. Through the powerful Igbo Union, Igbo went as far as founding schools in different parts of the country especially in the North of Nigeria. Such schools like St. Thomas’ in Kano and others in Kaduna became totem poles of Igbo adventurism. Igbo were fat and flourishing in the country. They seemed to exult in the fact of their vast spread and financial success. That the first indigenous governor general, Dr. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, who secured Nigeria’s independence from Britain was born in Zungeru, northern Nigeria, showed the extent to which Igbo got entrenched in the North. Such was the admixture that almost a third of all Igbo in the First Republic could speak Hausa as a second language. In no time, either on account of their loud living or expansionist tendencies, resentment set in against Igbo. May be it was this growing resentment against Igbo and their ostentatious tendencies that made what would have remained a purely military affair to degenerate into a pogrom and finally the civil war! In consequence, after 30 months of fratricidal civil war, the centre could no longer hold for Igbo of the Southeast. Apart from being weeded out from the military, police and allied services, the people of Southeast were dislodged from their perceived strategic positions. The civil war also brought about a seeming glass ceiling being placed against Igbo in certain offices even after the war. Irrespective of the programme of ‘Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reintegration’ embarked upon the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon, it was unthinkable then for any Southeast officer in the Nigeria Army to dream of occupying the position of Chief of Army Staff, General Officer Commanding, Inspector General of Police or even Comptroller General of Customs. Moreover, some of the residential and business edifices built and owned by Igbo, which they left and fled at the outbreak of the civil war were labeled ‘abandoned property’ at the end of the hostilities.

On the social level, Igbo were treated as less than full citizens and traumatized by mutual suspicion. Name- calling was rife as they were sometimes styled ‘evil people’ instead of Igbo people. The number of Southeast people in the civil service dwindled, except for junior officers with inconsequential ranks. The climate of suspicion also led to a systematic neglect of the Southeast in the dispensation of benefits of citizenship. Not minding that successive military regimes held the mantle of political governance after the civil war, words started making the rounds that people from the former secessionist enclave were being mistreated. Ever since, marginalisation became a compound word in Nigeria’s political lexicon. From the twelve states structure designed by General Gowon as a reaction to the mutual suspicion that triggered the civil war, more states were created to answer to the charges of marginalisation. As Nigeria’s military successor to Gowon, Late Murtala Ramat Mohammed created additional seven states during which one additional state, Imo; was carved for Igbo to douse their claim of marginalisation. It is still a matter of conjecture, whether the decision by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida to raise Nigeria’s federal structure to 21 states was to erase the 12 2/3 electoral arguments that nearly truncated the 1979 presidential election or to give a sense of belonging to some minority elements agitating against their marginalisation by parent states. If any observer believed that the creation of Katsina and Akwa Ibom states would permanently stamp out the cries of marginalisation in the area of state creation, that notion fled immediately the civilian-military experiment by the Babangida era kissed the dust. This is because shortly after the General Sani Abacha regime, which many believed was seeking legitimacy by increasing the states to 36 announced the new states in 1996, marginalisation still linger at the root of agitation for more states! Guess which geopolitical zone argues more profusely citing marginalisation? Southeast! Political leaders from the zone point to the five states structure as a poignant instance of continued marginalisation the zone in the country’s scheme of things. They also insist that based on the five states structure, the number of local councils and therefore revenue accruing from the federation account leave the zone at a serious deficit. Following on that premise, the Southeast leaders conclude that the zone has been castrated politically by the number of federal constituencies for both House of Representatives and the

Senate. What the political leaders from Southeast have not done is to calculate the quantum of budgetary provisions for projects in other zones to contrast with what the zone has been getting, at least under the democratic dispensation spanning 1999 through 2011. When that is done the picture may be clearer, but in the interim, the cry of marginalisation is still loud and resounding. For instance, in 2008, a high-powered delegation of Igbo leaders met with former President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The purpose of their meeting at the Presidential Villa was simply to confront the President with ready instances of marginalisation of Southeast in the dispensation of federal government’s favours. With faces crestfallen and voices somber, the Southeast leaders complained to the President about the very scary situation of roads and infrastructure in the zone. Specifically, Senator Anyim Chukwu Ude, then Chairman of Senate Committee on Aviation; was said to have pointed out to President Yar’Adua that out of the former regions that made up Nigeria, only the Southeast does not as yet have an international airport. Worse still, Anyim Ude painted the picture of gloom further by telling the President that the Control Tower at the Enugu Airport houses obsolete equipment, while the executive lounge harbours rodents and man-eating mosquitoes. It was a stunned President Yar’Adua, sources say that gave directives for the upgrading of facilities at the airport, which he renamed Akanu Ibiam Airport towards its up scaling to an international status. President Goodluck Jonathan has followed up on the steps set by Yar’Adua to drive a programme inclusion. The appointment of Ogbonna Onovo and General Azubuike Ihejirika as Inspector of Police and Chief of Army Staff seemed to have broken the glass ceiling. Also, a Southeasterner in the person of Senator Anyim Pius Anyim seats as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF). Yet, some Southeast leaders still see those developments as so little so late, contending that apart from such “tokenisms”, the zone remains thoroughly marginalised. There are still areas of complaints of marginalisation as could be seen from the views of some respondents. And what the people of Southeast seem to be saying is that ‘marginalisation is our native lot’.


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OKECHUKWU: Jonathan Marginalises Entire Nigeria Osita Okechukwu, a former governorship candidate in Enugu State, and National Publicity Secretary of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) to spoke to LAWRENCE NJOKU in Enugu on the marginalisation of the Southeast by the Jonathan administration. OW has the Jonathan administration fared in H the last couple of years? The Jonathan administration will be three years by May this year becååause it took off on May 6, 2010. In this regard, I will say that Nigeria has remained united, in spite of the frictions, which any president can celebrate. But most importantly, we all did not expect much from President Jonathan. He inherited a political party that has an economic policy that is inchoate and at variance with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. I mean that the Peoples Democratic Party, by their philosophy, is food is ready and their motto is share the money. Their basic principle anchored in the inchoate policy is that the government has no business in business.  Since Jonathan inherited a platform that says government has no business in business, like his predecessors, Obasanjo and the late Yar’Adua did, he cannot engage in critical infrastructure that could turn around the economy, create jobs, eradicate poverty and also position the economy. Some expected that a refinery could at least today be finalising completion in Bayelsa and other states. Going by the Obasanjo account, as bad as it was, they said they left over $22 billion in Excess Crude Account, and it’s being squandered; they left over $44 billion in the Reserve, and it’s being squandered also. So, you would not expect such a government to perform when every month, the business is to share crude oil revenue, and the revenue accruing from the Federal Inland revenue. As of last year, the Customs duties made over N4 trillion, the same with the Federal Inland revenue. When you match these with oil revenue, you will know how much that passes through every year, and yet, nothing commensurate to show for it. How do you react to the cries of marginalisation, in terms of appointments and infrastructure, from Southwest and South-South against this government? They are not the only ones being marginalised; the Southeast is also being marginalised; so is the Northwest, North Central, etc. What can we claim today Jonathan did in Bayelsa? The only thing we can refer to is a federal university. University is no longer the in-thing because a friend of mine, Chief Ibe, has built one in Uturu; another friend has built one in Abuja; a reverend father of my congregation, Fr. Edeh, has built three. Jonathan is not only marginalising the Southwest, but he is marginalising Nigeria. What can Jonathan say he has done in Rivers State; what can he say he has done in Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Delta and any other state in South-South? Is it the East-West road? If it is about marginalising the Southwest, I do not understand it unless it is in the PDP parlance of sharing the money, or that they are not the Minister of Finance, Speaker of the House of Reps

or even the Senate President. What of the Southeast? The Southeast has neither the President, Vice President, Senate President nor the House of Reps Speaker. Even the Chairman of the party (PDP), which they used to hang on, has been removed from them. I do not think that the Southwest agitators are wrong but they should help the country because it is the country that is being marginalised. The root cause of the marginalisation is the economic policy. Forget the tenet of section 162 of the Constitution, which says that money that accrues to the Federation Account should be distributed. It does not say it should be shared as raw cash. No local government in Nigeria gets less than N100 million monthly from the Federation Account; no country does that kind of sharing. If you do coal-powered plant in Enugu and it supplies light to everybody, it is sharing; if you do the Mambilla plant in Kogi (Sardauna Local Government of Taraba State) and it is distributing light, you have shared the resources. Which of the states is not being marginalised? Bayelsa, where the president comes from, is being marginalised; even Abuja (Federal Capital) has continued to have low budget. What I am saying is that the Southeast or any other zone cannot be different. If the Southeast is not marginalised, it means that no other section of the country is being marginalised. If you (president) have built the East-West Road, it would be a transformation from the South-South and we will be benefitting from there because a lot of us are living in Warri and Port Harcourt. It is the economic policy that encourages monumental corruption. When you keep on giving people money on monthly basis, sometimes, they start thinking it is their own. The governor of

Enugu State thinks that the Enugu allocation is his own; likewise the other governors; they approximate it as theirs, yet there are critical infrastructure that must be done centrally, which are being neglected. The PDP is today waiting for the private sector on Lagos-Ibadan highway, which carries about 20,000 vehicles a day; the East-West Road could have been one of the commitments of any president that comes from that part of the country but if you go there, you will be ashamed of yourself because they are waiting for the private sector to do it. Where has such been done in any primitive economy like ours? The Southeast has always claimed marginalisation, but will that be tenable today with the level of portfolios being occupied by the zone? I do not actually take the issue of appointment as a project to any region because as long as we are all parts of the country, each state must be represented. The military was appointing people also for every state; they were appointing councilors. So, there is no time in the history of the world or Nigeria where nobody is being appointed. The question is can we actually be (one of) the tripods of this federation because we have the Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker? For God’s sake, they are not on the protocol list; there are about five or six on the protocol list: the President of Nigeria, the Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker of House of Reps and the Chief Justice of the Federation, who is in charge of the judiciary. This is the main protocol list. We had thought that with the massive support the PDP had received from the Southeast, they could have considered Igbo better than they did but they could not. For some people, their interest is the money they are sharing from the jamboree going on and for them, the Southeast is not mar-

Okechukwu

ginalised. But for me, we are being marginalised. I am one of those who admired Jonathan when he was humble enough to admit that he had no shoes when he was going to school. It reminded me that some of us (were like him); I remember a photograph we took sometimes in 1962 where none of us had no shoes. When he mentioned that, it appealed to my conscience; but for me to see him today dining with the moneyed people and forgetting where he was coming from, I knew he had lost the way. He is presiding over an economy that is primitive; he didn’t need an abstract economist, who came from a Professor’s household and never knew poverty like Jonathan. If he knew where he was coming from, he won’t be sitting on Excess Crude Accounts when there are excess youths looking for what to do and there is opportunity for the provision of industries to employ them. In 2006, Nigeria lost N261 billion on importation of petroleum products; by 2010, it was over N600 billion, and by 2011, it was N2.5 trillion. By 2010, the budget was N888 billion and November, they brought a supplementary budget of N161 million and now, you are saying that there is no sense in using $3 billion to get refineries that can stop the importation. Thus, our entire oil resource is to feed the government and people of other countries because those refineries you import from will keep on employing people, while we are here facing gross unemployment that is traced to insecurity and the Boko Haram, kidnapping, armed robbery and all sorts of vices. As a son of a bicycle repairer, if I come to power tomorrow, I will not forget that. It will always guide my decisions; it does not mean that I will not befriend the likes of the moneyed people and all that. Jonathan promised the second Niger Bridge, where is it? The coal-powered plant or even ordinary roads — Enugu-Port Harcourt, Enugu-Onitsha, what has he done to them? What they did last December was to patch-up the roads. Since the (Civil) War, nobody has done anything about the road to Abakaliki. The roads awarded by his predecessor, Obasanjo, in 2001 have not been completed; therefore, I don’t see Jonathan completing any. It’s the trademark of the PDP. What are you implying? I am trying to say that this administration has become a total failure. Look at it this way. Since the Boko Haram crisis, this government set up a committee and the committee released a report; they decided to sit on it because it was an indictment on the government. Some people thought it was the opposition that was fuelling the crisis in the North. It was after the election that they it was the PDP. We have challenged government to give us a white paper on those reports because the taxpayer’s money funded them, but none. It is highly undemocratic, and I want to say there is no country that can grow this way. Jonathan has not given Nigerians cause to rejoice for being members of this country. The Southeast should be regretting giving Jonathan much votes because liberal democracy is that votes should be aimed at substantiating a promise made to you in terms of projects. For God’s sake, what are you still doing with a political party that has not protected your interest? It is regrettable. The Southeast even made sure the elections were padded. In Enugu, he made over 1.1 million votes but the totality of the 22 of us that contested the governorship election in Enugu did not get 700,000 votes. Does it mean he was more popular than all of us, including the governor of the state? This was the same in Imo and others. I have never seen Igbo give anybody that kind of support excerpt during the Biafra war and the return is empty cheque. It is very unfortunate.

EGWU: Jonathan Has Been Fair To Southeast ernance is not easy at all, I have been in government and I know that once you are in government, people will always emphasize the negative aspect of whatever efforts that are being made. So, as a former governor and minister, I have witnessed that. When people criticize, they should be objective in their criticism. And in this country, we are no longer objective in our assessment of leaders; we want to look at everything from the sectional point of view, which is always not good. Will you say the Southeast has been Having given this background, and I marginalised under the Goodluck am not given to sycophancy, I’m a very Jonathan administration? direct person who says my mind at all ARGINALISATION is a relative term; it depends on the angle times. Honestly, I will say that this govyou are looking at it from. Is it ernment as far Southeast is concerned has done better compared to other govin terms of appointments or infrastructural development? For me, gov- ernments, though we have our chal-

Sam Egwu, former governor of Ebonyi State, in a chat with GBENGA SALAU said the Southeast has benefited from the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. He also asks for me.

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lenges and problems, especially the roads. We have the worst roads in the country. As it concerns the Southeast, starting from my end, Ebonyi State, the roads we have been crying for attention and repair; the Abakaliki-Enugu road is currently under construction. Somebody may say that Africa Development Bank (ADB) is funding the road, but then Nigeria has a counterpart funding for the project in order to actualise it. ADB did not give the entire money; they paid part. And when I was in council under the last regime, I know that approval was made for us to pay that counterpart fund, but it was never actualised, it was under this administration that the money was paid and work started on the project. As I am talking

to you now, work is going on at the Abakaliki-Enugu Road. I am also aware that other roads in the Southeast, work is going on there. Again, regarding major airports in the Southeast, we had been crying that Enugu airport should be upgraded to an international standard. Currently, under this administration, that airport has been given attention. All attempts in the past to upgrade it never saw the light of the day but now it is happening, the runway has been expanded and extended including renovating other infrastructures within the airport. So the airport in particular is something that has given us a lot of joy. I am also aware that the Niger Bridge has been awarded and work is going to start soon. So for me, these are efforts to

improve the lots of the people in the Southeast. I know we have other challenges, we know government cannot do everything, but we need more support from government. As everybody is crying for attention, we are also crying for attention. For instance, it will be a thing of joy if under this administration we have the sixth state in the region. For us, that one is serious marginalisation, which was not caused by this administration but we want this administration to address this injustice so that we can have six states as obtained in other regions of the country. We are not different and for that we feel

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COVER UWAZURIKE: Equity, Power Sharing, Rotation Must Come To Pass Chief Anayo Goddy Uwazurike, lawyer and president of Igbo think-tank, Aka Ikenga, told TUNDE AKINOLA that what the country needs is equity and fairness to all. What is your assessment of the principle of federal character under the present administration? HE federal character is a constitutional provision; every head of state and governor is enjoined to see that the principle is adhered to. In fact, it is one of the directive principles of this country in the constitution; therefore any president that neglects it does so at his own risk. We all want to make sure it operates in this country. In other words, federal character means equity and fairness. We subscribe to it and we believe in it. As for the present administration, we have always urged them to go ahead and make sure what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and that there should be no discrimination. We have always called on this administration to always carry everybody along in the sharing of posts and appointments and decision-making bodies of the country. Although there are some ministries and parastatals that don’t care about the principles and we the Igbo are saying this should be observed. We have been crying for this for a long time and we will not stop now. Don’t you think governance should be done on merit instead of being rotated among the various ethnic groups? Governance in this country means democracy and what the federal character principle as enunciated in the constitution actually means is that, you have been elected but you must not ignore any part. If we are talking about ministerial positions we know the president has observed that. Talking about his personal staff, like special advisers, special assistants, this is where they betray themselves. But talking about heads of various ministries of agencies, federal character must be observed but not at the expense of merit. Many of us complain when we see someone that

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Uwazurike deserves a certain post but pushed aside in the name of federal character, that is partiality, ethnicism and parochialism, if you look at it critically. Despite having some key positions in this administration, does Ndigbo still say South East is marginalised? As a president of an Igbo think-tank, I speak for the Igbo, both the ones in the Southeast and South-south. The fact is Igbo people are not occupying key positions in the country. Those that appear whenever the wreath is being laid hold the key positions in the country. So also, there is no Igbo man among those that take salutes at all official occasions, like on July 6, January 15 and October 1. Those are the key positions in the country. There is no Igbo person in the first five positions in the country. We have always said we are marginalised, it is only when some basic issues are

being observed and addressed that we can stop talking. For instance, in the past 13 years, we have only occupied number three position in the country and we did that briefly. Do you know at the National Council of States meeting, the only Igbo people you find there are the governors? The others are nonIgbo, not even an Igbo minister. The composition of the National Council of States includes; the president, past presidents, chief justice, the attorney general and the governors. Only 2.1 per cent of the federal government projects are in Igbo land. No headquarters of any ongoing Federal Government department or agency except the universities; no Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Solid Minerals in Igbo land. Igbo people in federal service are below two percent. So you now begin to see these people have the right to

feel the way they feel, and it is that feeling that makes them ask why? Whenever we cry we know why we are crying, but I am also happy that the Yoruba people have also realised that there is also something there that the Igbo are complaining about. So what exactly do the Igbo want? Equity and fairness. In other words, that which is good for the Hausa, Yoruba, South-south, is also good for the Igbo. All they think of the Igbo is to make us the vice president, deputy senate president, deputy speaker and so on. So with this we can say marginalisation is real. What do you think is the cause? It is the individual inclination to dominate others. Somebody has said one of the pre-occupation of man, apart from food and shelter is the domination of his neighbours. In Nigeria, the winnertakes-all syndrome is actually one of the biggest problems we have in this country.

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo was there and he never cared about the Igbo people till tomorrow. As far as I know, the way they are going about it is wrong. Whenever we say after President Goodluck Jonathan, it is out turn, they will always find one funny looking person coming out to make one sarcastic comment. In other words, that person making such sarcastic comment is representing the views of some power brokers. Yet, the Igbo say we will never give up, we will continue to struggle till we get to the position where others have held. We are not different from others whatever is our own share must be given to us. What are the clear effects of marginalisation? It has a serious negative effect on the psyche of every Igbo man. It is like a glass ceiling, you can see others there, they will pass you, but you can never get there. One funny thing about glass ceiling is that one day; it will crack, and when it cracks, all façades and machinations will be brought down and fairness will simply take its place. The average person in the Igbo-speaking area of this country looks at those people who are holding it now as those holding it temporarily. That is why students say aluta continua, the struggle must continue and you never say never in politics. Let me cite the example of the British people in terms of international politics; when they find themselves in a disadvantaged position they always use the expression “let us be realistic” but whenever they find themselves on top of the situation or holding upper hand, they will say, “it is a matter of principle.” Now back to Nigeria, nobody says presidency should not go round, it is how it goes round that bothers me. I believe in zoning, I believe the office of the president must rotate from one ethnic group to the other. Out of those who brought independence, it was only the Igbo that is yet to test that power. We are not saying you should dash us, all we are saying is give us the chance to rule just as some people have ruled. Must we reinvent the system? Power must go round and the moment we maintain the status quo there will be disequilibrium in the polity. Equity, power sharing, power rotation must come to pass in this country.

IGBOKWE: What Ndigbo Desire Is A Level Playing Field Mr. Joe Igbokwe is a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In a chat with KAMAL TAYO OROPO, he insists that the Southeast is the most marginalised zone in the country. The spokesperson of the ACN, Lagos Chapter, stressed that what zone desires mostly is a level playing ground. Looking at the Southeast under this administration, how well has the zone fared? OUTHEAST remains the weakest zone in the country President Jonathan or no Jonathan. The zone most cheated in the project Nigeria, the most deprived in Nigeria’s political history, the most subdued, the most harassed, the most marginalised, the smallest zone with the smallest number of states, local governments, ministers, senators, House of Reps members members, smallest in the Federal Civil Service. The zone has the lowest number of federal presence in Nigeria. I can go on and on but there is no need to continue to do so. The world knows about it. Cheating Ndigbo did not start with Jonathan. It started since 1967, when General Yakubu Gowon created 12 states structure. 43 years after the Civil War, the victors are still celebrating and you cannot continue to blame the victims from the Southeast zone. What have been happening since 1970 are structured marginalisation, systemic marginalisation, programmed marginalisation and official marginalisation. Remember, Professor Chinua Achebe’s Book: ‘The Trouble With Nigeria’, where he said: “Nigerians of all ethnic

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Igbokwe groups will achieve consensus on no other matter than their common resentment of the Igbo.” Goodluck Jonathan is our President, yet our seized properties in Rivers State are still abandoned properties. The truth, however, is that Southeast zone gets better in a democracy and not because ‘our man’ Jonathan is the President. There seems to be no more cry of marginalisation

from the zone, does it mean the zone is satisfied? The zone is still suffering in silence. How long will you continue to cry even when it is obvious that nobody is listening? During President Obasanjo era as civilian President, he organised a Constitutional Conference in 2005, where members agreed unanimously that there should be an additional state to the Southeast zone. Now has it

been created? Ask yourself how much this country has defrauded Ndigbo, assuming that Southeast got additional state in 2005. It runs in hundreds of billions of naira. That state would have created more than 20,000 jobs in the Southeast. Our cries have been echoing in the ears of the deaf and dumb leaders of Nigeria. Igbo have left Nigeria to their conscience. Igbo have left their case in the hands of God. Igbo take solace in the findings of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council that all acts of indignity, oppression, suppression and repression against human persons debase the perpetrators more than the victims. Igbo have become the conscience of Nigeria. Igbo are tired of crying of marginalisation. Let other Nigerians speak for Igbo. But let me tell you, Southeast is not the poorest zone in Nigeria. It is one of the richest zones in the country. Per capita income in the Southeast zone is very high compared to other zones in the country. How correct is the impression that Southeast is enjoying its best moment ever in the Federation, seeing that it can boast of key appointments and positions? When have Federal appointments become the yardstick to measure economic growth in the Southeast? President Obasanjo was the President of Nigeria for 8 years, and please tell me what he did for the Southwest zone. Igbo do not need political appointments and positions to better the lot of the Igbo. Igbo need level playing field for every Nigerian, irrespective of tribe, religion or culture. Igbo thrive better in a democracy even though there are great imbalances in the country. To say that Igbo is enjoying the best of moments because of federal appointments and positions is to play to the gallery. It is not CONTINUED ON PAGE 58


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COVER Chief Nduka Eya, former secretary general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, spoke to LAWRENCE NJOKU in Enugu on how Ndigbo have fared under the administration of President Jonathan. HAT would you say that Ndigbo have benefitted from the massive support they gave Jonathan during the 2011 elections? It is a fact that Ndigbo massively supported Jonathan. I am one of those who believe that without the votes of the Igbo, Jonathan may not have made the 31 states out of the 36 states of this country, which he relied upon to win the election. I know that from the part of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, we were part of that mobilisation based on our rational calculation on what we called an unbroken succession on how this country had been run in the last 52 years. We believed that we should support Jonathan, who happened to have been on seat at the material time, and the fact that in the spirit of equity and fairplay, his area, which is South-South, had not had a shot at the presidency. We felt it was not morally right to turn our back against him, when he was already on the seat, and the good luck in his name, we should give him a chance. And it worked; God heard our prayers. Then the question comes: did the Igbo vote for Jonathan for what he was going to do for them? That is the approach from where I want to come from. Jonathan, having been voted as president of Nigeria, is constrained. First, he must ensure that the federal character is maintained. According to the Constitution, he swore to protect the federation of Nigeria; he could face impeachment if he comes out specially to serve only the Igbo. One thing is clear, much as we say that Ndigbo massively supported him, he could not have won the election with the votes of Ndigbo alone; we must admit that fact. There were other sections that put up their votes to make the Igbo votes meaningful. Many Igbo, as individuals, will want Jonathan to pave the road from Abuja to Onitsha in gold, to build three bridges across the Niger, even when the second one is still being battled. But the president is the president of Nigeria. I think that we have to be fair; it is possible that Jonathan is doing his best. After all, if you look at the federal executive, you will discover that Igbo have their good share of representation. There is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; there are Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker, the Chief of Army Staff, among others. But I want to put a question to those Igbo people, who may want to know what Jonathan has done: How much have they done for the Igbo man using their positions? We cut our nose to spite our face and we have never recognised it. There was a time when an Igbo person was in charge of FERMA and our roads were the worst for it. How much did that help the people of the zone? Jonathan has done his best, but we should look at our rank and file to determine why this man (Jonathan) is not doing enough and begin to unplug those things. Jonathan is quietly doing something for this nation but the politicians, who are everywhere, will not allow him peace of mind. We must learn to pray for our leaders, for God to give them wisdom, fortitude and strength to rule because ruling Nigeria is not an easy job. Apart from appointments you mentioned, are there other specific things that have come to Ndigbo to address certain imperfections in the polity? You are in my house now; I want to tell you that there has been tremendous improvement in power. It is true that it is not only the Igbo that have benefitted from this, but this is part of the dividend. Prof Barth Nnaji left the Ministry of Power, and today, another Igbo man has been appointed to replace him. There are generating points here and there and the Igboland has benefitted. After the hue and cry, the roads are now being

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Don’t you see our inability to produce a President of Igbo extraction as being part of the marginalisation of Ndigbo? This Ohanaeze leadership tried to work out a rationalised argument on how Ndigbo could get the presidency and we worked for it. But even among the same Igbo people, they were saying that achieving this was not possible. That sense of defeat fuelled, by selfish interests, is still within us and until we learn to remove it, we cannot make any headway. It is true we have not had the residency, but we have put up an effort and one of this is the support we showed Jonathan during the last elections. How do you react to cries from the South-South and Southwest that President Jonathan is marginalising them? All those cries are but political jingoism — that since Igbo are shouting about marginalisation, we, too, should shout about marginalisation. Somebody from the South-South is talking about marginalisation, have you talked about the NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission)? Do you know how much money of this country is being sunk into that place? Can we find an Igbo Zone Development Commission? Look at Nanka in Anambra State and so many other erosion-prone areas in the Southeast like Arochukwu, Ohafia and the rest of them; why have we not had our own commission to tackle these problems and many more? We have been crying about a second Niger Bridge; has it come? The Seaport that was built at Onitsha, has it become operational? The Oil Minister is from Bayelsa; never mind that she is married to someone from Enugu. In 52 years, some people have held power for 12 years, some have held for eight years, some have held for 15 years and others have not held any. In our fair mindedness, we said there was a zone that had not held power but had that opportunity to hold power. We said let them continue and because of this, we supported Jonathan in that unbroken succession. If the truth must be told — and if fairness and justice should be the order of the day — it should be the turn of Ndigbo after Jonathan because we have only held power for six months. I am still crying; Ndigbo are still crying because The Yoruba, who are talking, should go the memthere are so many things that we can point at to ory lane and ask themselves who have been mansay Ndigbo are not yet there. But what I am say- aging various government parastatals in the ing is that when we begin to look at indices on country. Is there anything in Igbo land that is not who should share the blame for greater part of twice in Lagos or Ibadan? When did this so-called the marginalisation, I will say it is Ndigbo, marginalisation start? because we have failed to secure the Southeast Let us stop using politics to divert attention and land, we have failed to speak with one voice, we face our real problems. Ndigbo, even with their are greedy, we lack unity and our selfish desires huge investments before the War, were only given have not allowed us remember our base. £20 in this country. No part of the country can I served in Ohanaeze Ndigbo as secretary gener- claim to have suffered this level of deprivation, yet al for four years; I knew what we passed we survived it. through in the hands of our own people. But I want to make bold to say that after the War and the successes of the Igbo union, there had never been any executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo that mobilised Ndigbo to speak with one voice than the immediate past executive and we are hoping that the new executive will continue. But look at what is happening; we are in limbo because certain persons have refused to listen to the truth. So, if we are crying about marginalisation, we should know from where the marginalisation is coming from. Let me go back to history. Do you remember when the Igboman was the National Chairman of the PDP? It was the Igbo governors in the PDP that removed him from being there. The motion was moved here in Igbo land, yet today, they are crying that they are schemed out of the PDP. We don’t always have to blame Jonathan for our marginalisation; there are others responsible within the rank and file. We are the architects of our downfall because we have not accepted our collective will and destiny. All the troubles the Ohanaeze had gone through these years is that they are in conflict with political leaders, who are interested only about their individual desires against those of majority Igbo.

Nduka Eya: On Igbo Marginalisation

Eya built. I can do (ply) Nsukka road now in an hour, as opposed to two hours plus. It is being rehabilitated. The highway from Enugu to Onitsha had been a problem, but it is a lot better now. That of Enugu to Port Harcourt has seriously been improved upon. We are seeing the ongoing work at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. We go to Lagos and each time, we are shouting about Ore (bad spot on the Benin road). Though this is not in the Southeast but it is now a forgotten issue. The dualisation from Abuja and Lokoja is on course, among various others. But I will want a situation where our representatives at the National Assembly should be asked some questions. I give you an example: The damming of Adada River from Nsukka is part of our sadness that we are being treated as second-class citizens in a place where we can take over government if we are united. But they have succeeded in dividing us and we cannot work together. The Adada dam has been in the budget but what has happened? It is not Jonathan that will do the job; we have a senator, and members of the House of Reps; are they thinking of what will benefit them as individuals or committee members? We are talking about review of the Constitution, which our man, Ike Ekweremadu, is at the head. We should be asking what he would achieve for Ndigbo using this opportunity of constitution amendment. The trouble is not in our style but in ourselves; those who represent us are the problem. Everybody is talking because it is Jonathan. Those who were there before him, what did they do? your position, can we say that the cry of FROM marginalisation is history for Ndigbo?

I want to put a question to those Igbo people, who may want to know what Jonathan has done: How much have they done for the Igbo man using their positions? We cut our nose to spite our face and we have never recognised it. There was a time when an Igbo person was in charge of FERMA and our roads were the worst for it. How much did that help the people of the zone? Jonathan has done his best, but we should look at our rank and file to determine why this man (Jonathan) is not doing enough and begin to unplug those things.

We Demand A Level Playing Field — Igbokwe CONTINUED FROM PAGE 57 true and it can never be true. Nigerian leaders must show leadership by closing these gaps in the system. OU spoke against mainstream Y politics but the major Party in the zone APGA has been unable to put its acts together. Don’t you think your position is untenable? Mainstream politics in Nigeria is a fraud. Despite the crisis the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is facing in the Southeast, the party is

still the best thing that has happened in the zone. In Anambra State, Governor Peter Obi has done very, well but we need APGA to join the progressive forces in Nigeria to rebuild the country. When mainstream politics is controlled by the progressives, real democrats, real politicians, it is only then that things can get better for everybody. I hate mainstream politics of the Second Republic’s National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of today. I will support mainstream politics when the centre is

being controlled by the progressives. That is why I want Ndigbo in the new All Progressives Congress (APC). Igbo should stop playing ‘JonathanAzikiwe’ politics and join forces with APC to reposition Nigeria in the comity of nations. It will pain me to no end if APC takes over Abuja without Ndigbo in the platform. Our people must open their eyes and look at how to retrieve the lost soul of Nigeria. Yet, many may construe your advocacy against mainstream politics as another argument for tribal-based politicking. Can you put your position in perspective?

I am an advocate of a two-party system for Nigeria. It will help to checkmate primordial politics in Nigeria. I have no doubt that we will get there soon with the emergence of APC. Governor Okorocha of Imo State is driving a section of APGA in Southeast to the APC family and this is a wonderful development. Igbo is republican in nature and they are not too tribalistic. Igbo can settle anywhere in the country and make a living. In fact, if you get to any village or town in this country and you cannot see Igbo there, please run away in full speed. I have no problem with

mainstream politics controlled by the progressives. It is good to play politics with real politicians and celebrate democracy with real democrats. Since Independence, history has shown that mainstream politics has been in the hands of conservatives. This is why we have been suffering in the midst of plenty. APGA controls two states in the Southeast and the leaders in those two states can join forces with APC for a better Nigeria. It is better to be a supervisor of something than to be a Managing Director of nothing.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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COVER OBIDIGBO: Ndigbo Is Yet To Get The Best Of This Presidency Dr. Chike Obidigbo is the chairman of manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN) Anambra/Enugu/Ebonyi states chapter. In this interview with LEO SOBECHI, he offers perspectives on the reality of marginalisation in the Southeast. Recently, stakeholders in the Southwest said the federal government was marginalising the zone; tracing the history of marginalization, would you say the Southeast has been lucky this time? ARGINALISATION is a word that crept into the Nigerian socio-political vocabulary a couple of years back, especially since after the Nigerian civil war. Marginalisation has a lot to do with when you are not right there where decisions are taken, especially those decisions that affect you and your people. The Igbo nation has remained outside policy decision-making circles of this country since after the war. And the cry of marginalisation must always continue, so long as we remain outside the decision-making bodies and as far as we are not included in the decision-making process to shape this country. So long as we are outside the arena, where the benefits accruing to this country are distributed, we would always feel marginalised. Any group of people that are outside the decision-making arena, are almost always marginalised. Before Dr. Goodluck Jonathan became the president of Nigeria, he came to the Southeast and he did not need to campaign at all because right from the word go, he was accepted as one of us. Because we all belonged to the area that was described as Biafra and that unity of the mind tended to bind us all. Again, he is married to a descendant of Igbo, so he is one of us. Hence when he, Jonathan was campaigning to be president that explains why we did not negotiate what would be the benefit of our support for his presidency. We did not bother with that kind of negotiation. And because we did not negotiate, when things started happening we saw that we were excluded from the corridors of power, where decisions were being made. As such, I don’t believe we got the best out of the presidency, especially because the President is a very busy person. Since the president operates under a very heavy tension, those that are close to the seat of power naturally get more than those outside. And the Southeast has remained outside, so I know that we are not getting the best. However, I believe he is not unmindful of that and I believe also that he has plans and purpose for the Southeast. But let us see that purpose and plan as soon as possible, so we don’t continue to feel marginalised and overstretch our patience. In time past you have been known to complain about infrastructure decay and other policies that are clearly skewed against the Southeast; is the situation still the same? The Igbo nation still has a lot of unresolved issues and the problems have just a single solution. And that single solution must come from the federal government. When we started business initially, for instance, we were using Port Harcourt wharf as the port of destination of shipped goods. Somewhere along the line the whole thing changed. Our goods used to land in Port Harcourt, but today it is no longer so. What they did was to expand Apapa, Tincan and all the wharfs in Lagos, so all the goods were systematically manipulated to stop in Lagos. There was a question I raised at a meeting with

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• Marginalisation Has Been With Us Since The Civil War the shippers’ council of Nigeria. What they told us was that Port Harcourt had shallow water and therefore cannot take big volume ships to berth there. But Port Harcourt had been taking big ships, what happened? It was like everybody was directed one way or the other to start using Lagos ports. And so when you route your goods to Lagos and start moving them to the Igbo heartland, it costs you a lot of money. And the roads are not in good shape. Again, there are so many officials along the road to discourage you. It is a kind of subtle decision that Igbos should be made to off load their goods in Lagos, do their businesses in Lagos and take just their cash to the Southeast. But when you are doing your business, there are things that matter a lot. Apart from the fact that, the roads leading to Igbo heartland, Lagos to Onitsha, for example, are in deplorable condition, then look at the Niger Bridge; till today there has not been any major maintenance carried out on that bridge. All we have been hearing several years is about a second Niger bridge that has remained on the drawing board. I don’t know if it has been awarded or even designed! While that is happening, there is heavy load on the existing Niger Bridge with heavy vehicular and human traffic over it from the Asaba end into Onitsha. Then when you look at it thoroughly, you will perceive that there is no serious federal government development in any of the Southeast states. There is no serious meaningful developmental activity anywhere in the Southeast by the federal government. The other day the President came to flag off the harbor (Onitsha). There was no single ship there and till today no ship has berthed there. When we were still

growing up as children, ships were berthing at Onitsha carrying goods; there was the particular one that was called Erico, belonging to UAC (United African Company). It was often coming there. People from the Ghana region were coming to Onitsha in boats to buy goods. All these have been destroyed, decimated and there is nothing new to replace them. When they talk about dredging river Niger, they pay lip service to it. That was what caused massive flooding of so many areas in Anambra State. So the federal government owes the Igbo nation a lot. And until they come in to start redeeming the pledges they made to the Igbo nation, that feeling of marginalisation must continue to be there. In the area of appointments, don’t you think that the present regime has broken the unseen barriers? In the area of appointments I must confess the President has done quite some job there. The appointment of General Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff, (COAS) was very much welcome, including similar ones in the paramilitary, police, customs among others. There has been quite some reasonable balancing in some of those areas. But we want to see physical infrastructure on the ground. The roads are still in bad shape. I can say without fear of contradiction that the roads in the Southeast are some of the worst in the country. Traveling from Onitsha to Enugu or Enugu to Abakaliki; Enugu to Port Harcourt and Enugu to Aba, will convince you that these roads have remained dilapidated. They are not being repaired; some of the roads were built in the early eighties, yet there has not been any meaningful repair work on them. This act of willful omission makes the roads death traps and so many lives have actually been lost on

‘Jonathan Has Been Fair To Southeast’ istration has scored low? There are so many, I talked about the Niger highly marginalised. Bridge, we also want industries to be sited in the We have to give credit to areas where governSoutheast. We want refineries to be given to us, at ment has put in efforts. And I am not one of least one in each state. Also, we want to be includthose who condemn blindly; we have to look at ed in the oil producing states as we have oil wells things objectively and give credit to where it is in Ebonyi and Anambra states, though the minisdue and then mention areas that we still need ter had visited that of Anambra State. So to that attention. So the issue of state creation, if it is extent, we feel we should be included in the oil given attention, then we may say we have got producing states and start to benefit from the part of our rights. But for now, we are seriously provisions for oil producing states. We are mostly marginalised in that area but in terms of infraagriculturists in Ebonyi and some parts of other structure and other areas, I think this adminisstates in the region, so we need dams. There are a tration has done well. And it would be unfair to lot of dams in the North; we cannot depend on condemn because we want to condemn rainwater for agriculture in the Southeast. We Jonathan administration. have the land, resources, all it takes; we are We are asking for more, because there are still blessed with fertile land for that matter, so we more areas where we need attention. In fact, we need these dams so that the agriculture sector in are saying other zones should wait until we have the region will be well serviced. got to their level because this country belongs to We want to grow rice, cultivate yams all year us all. round not seasonal. So what are the other areas you feel this admin- Government needs to site industries in the

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region so that employment is created. A lot of things are going on in other regions; we want them in our region too. We need the dredging of the Niger River to Onitsha, to open up the Onitsha seaport, it is very important to us. Southeast people go to Lagos or Port Harcourt to get their goods cleared at the seaports. We are traders, we do a lot of importation and exportation; we want it to be easier for us, instead of going to Lagos or Port Harcourt to get goods cleared. We want the ships to anchor and berth in Onitsha. We also want the Cross River Seaport to be done so that from Ebonyi we can go to Cross River to get our goods cleared. So we want two ports; we want the airport in Enugu that is ongoing now to be international so that our people who are traveling outside the country do not need to go to Lagos or Port Harcourt, or Abuja, they can travel from Enugu. These are part of the things we need, these are the major ones I can remember now but there are a lot more but let us start from somewhere.

them. So much property worth millions of naira, have equally been lost on these roads. So I think that they should make sure that those people they employed are put in positions where they can influence things positively and impact fruitfully on decisions in Nigeria. To that extent, Enugu international airport for instance, should become an international airport indeed. The airport should be completed in record time; Southeast is the only zone in Nigeria that does not have an international airport. It is very unfair. Calabar has one and Port Harcourt also, making it two for that zone; Asaba and Akwa Ibom have airports. Imo has one, which was originally designated as international cargo airport, but it has never been used for that purpose. Enugu has always been there as one of the oldest airports in Nigeria, but to upgrade it to an international status took them so many years and countless battles. Look at the number of international airports in the Southwest, including Lagos that has in addition the biggest seaport in Nigeria. We are in one corner; we are relegated in virtually every sector! If there is any talk of marginalisation, Igbo of Southeast are the worst marginalised in the scheme of things in this country. As a manufacturer, how do you feel about the Enugu International Trade Fair complex? I happened to be a-one time vice chairman of Enugu Chamber of Commerce Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), as such, I am aware of the battles that have been raging between the chamber and the federal ministry of commerce. The Lagos International Trade Fair was built by the ministry, as well as the one in Kaduna; that of Enugu has not been built, even for a day. All we have is a piece of land that has remained undeveloped for several years. So ECCIMA approached the minister, pleading that the ministry allows participants to build the structures but they refused. Now what they have there is that participants build their stands and at the end of the fair they dismantle and take the materials home. There is no built up permanent structure there at all. When you attend the trade fair in Kaduna, you move into a solid structure, display your wares and when the event is over you just carry your wares home. If you go to the Lagos International trade, it is the same thing - it is built up. Enugu has no single structure and they would not allow us to build our own structures there. All they allow us is to raise stands and dismantle at the end of the fair. It is not fair at all. That is evidence of the marginalisation we have been crying about. Anything that concerns Southeast is never taken seriously. But I must add also that much of that marginalisation comes from our own people. It is not as if it comes from people of other parts of Nigeria or ghosts. In most cases, we marginalise ourselves, we are the cause. Two Igbo people cannot function together and be happy, it is not healthy. The same way Igbo people in the Senate cannot hold caucus meeting and take a stand on any national issue, while members of the state Assemblies cannot take decision as to what is best for our people. All they ask for is what did the governor say? What does the governor think? How much did he bring? So, as long as these sorts of behaviours continue we remain crawling on the ground until we find good leaders who could help us out, because we are in serious trouble. Don’t you think that these hues and cries about marginalisation reduce our patriotism and vitiate our unity as a nation? I don’t think so because if you feel you are marginalised, then the best thing for you to do is to come together, pool your resources together and form a force. Once you become a force, nobody can ignore you. It is the same kind of thing that is happening in Anambra State today. Governor Peter Obi, for example, has said that the next governor of the state should come from Anambra north. And so many people from other parts of the state have agreed saying that it is right and equitable. But the problem confronting us is that people of Anambra north find it very difficult to come together and form a forceful bloc, so that with the support of Governor Obi and members of the public, they could take it. It is therefore up to us that have been complaining of marginalisation to come together. If we lose the opportunity it would take time. The same thing goes for the Igbo nation of Southeast. If you think you are marginalised, then come together and when you form a force nobody can ignore you. Once they know you are speaking in one voice nobody can afford to ignore you. But when it is only your voice alone, when they settle you, you go home, yet your zone has benefited nothing. That is where we are and that is the way we should not be. We pray that one day God will touch the heart of Igbo man to stop think only in terms of ‘I’ and to start thinking in terms of ‘we’, because we don’t seem to have ‘we’ in our vocabulary.


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POLITICS

OPEYEMI: Internal Democracy Crucial For ACN’s Future Successes Mr. Bamidele Opeyemi, member, House of Representatives, former president of NANS and Commissioner of Information in Lagos State, fielded questions on issues in Ekiti ahead of the 2014 governorship election in the state. GBENGA AKINFENWA reports. n endorsement of Governor Fayemi for a O second term AS far as I am concerned, the issue is not whether or not the two senators and five other House of Reps members from Ekiti have endorsed Dr. Fayemi for a second term. I consider it extremely unfortunate in the last one year that people have tried to make the possibility or otherwise of Governor Fayemi spending a second term in office as an issue. I feel they have been unfair to the nation and Ekiti State. I also don’t think they are doing Dr. Fayemi any good. We had his one-year anniversary in office on the 16th of October 2011 and some characters from that ceremony had begun to distribute leaflets and souvenirs announcing the second term bid of the governor. I thought it was immoral. I have no apology if my being objective to this style has attracted the wrath of some people. For me, there has to be a clear line of demarcation between governance and politics. Politics has to do with our own narrow, sometimes selfish political or ideological or platform interest while governance has to do with overriding public interest regardless of what is political, ideological, religious or ethnic affiliations or origin. I feel that there should be a time for politics. You cannot convince me that one year into office, you cannot spend the next two three years making rigorous issues and campaign about second term. If you do that, you will mislead the governor and create a bad image for the administration. That is my position on Ekiti. I want to say it for the record that I have no objection to anybody endorsing Governor Fayemi for a second term, but I am convinced that one million endorsements from Senator Ojudu cannot translate into additional votes for any aspirant. I am talking of a senator, who was elected on a senatorial district that comprises five local governments. The general election results are there. I scored 47,000 votes to go to the House of Reps from two local governments and Senator Ojudu scored 57,000 to go to the Senate out five local governments. On if you will support Fayemi’s second term bid? I will put it this way: if this is actually an attempt to put me on a spot, I’d say it is a good one; the question you are asking is as good as asking Dr. Fayemi a similar question, like you did some time. I would say that Governor Fayemi is my person and all the other five governors elected on the platform of the ACN are my persons. You asked Governor Fayemi a question specifically about me and he told you that, ‘Opeyemi is my person’ and I am also confirming to you that Governor Fayemi and all the other governors elected on the platform of the ACN are my persons; that is what I would say to that. As I am concerned, the issue of second term is much more fundamental than what people are talking about. I will not talk about second term of someone just one or two years into office. I will not celebrate achievements at a time that I am supposed to join other leaders of the party and other elected representatives of the people to be encouraging the administration to do more work. Let everybody continue to do the best that they can. On whether you will run for Ekiti governorship WHAT I will say to that at some time, it will be a yes or no question, and I don’t think it is anything that anybody would need to hide. But let me say that I am one man who believes in timing; I am one man who believes in strategy. Whatever I want to do, there must be a strategy of doing it; there also must be timing for it. When I feel it is time for me to make an open

Opeyemi

Tinubu

One Million Endorsements Cannot Translate To Votes declaration, I will. As of today, I will tell you that I have a passion for Ekiti. Politics is about love. I love this state passionately and I say without fear of any contradiction, and without minding whose ox is gored, that Ekiti people love me; they love me genuinely. We know it and they are things you can feel on the streets of Ekiti. And I am not hiding my passion for development — the need for rapid development in Ekiti. The only question that I have to answer myself is as to when am I going to be running. Am I running in 2014, 2018? Whether or not I will run for governorship in Ekiti, I think I have gone past that; definitely I will. The only thing left to announce is the timing and that is why I say timing and strategy are things that I take very seriously and it’s not going to be too long. But I am watching events; I am consulting and very soon, I will let the whole people know where I stand on this issue. On incumbency and ACN not doing primaries Let me put it this way: Gentlemen, mark my word when I interchangeably use the words aspiration and ambition. An ambition has to do with the broad understanding of what ought to be, on what you expect to do or what you hope to be able to achieve, while aspiration has to do with your own specific desire, either you want to get to that place yourself or desire to want to help some one get there, or be part of a platform to get there. As to ambition, my ambition in Ekiti is to have a better, united and developed state where there will be a stable polity and where there will be security of life and property and major and defining infrastructural development. That is my ambition and that is what people are quarreling with. So, my ambition has been consistent and it’s going to remain regardless of who is governor in Ekiti. Because, like I said, it is about Ekiti first. But as to aspiration, let me say yet again that in due course, I will disclose it. In the event that I choose to aspire to run for governorship election in 2014, your question is whether or not I feel I could defeat an incumbent governor. I don’t think this is peculiar to Ekiti…

Okay, you are talking about the party. I will say I don’t believe the ACN as a party — given the current political dispensations, given international political best practices and given the much needed desire to have a united front within the party — will encourage any kind of imposition. If I choose to aspire, I will aspire on the assumption — and please, mark my word — that there will be free and fair primary and at best, the party will be interested in presenting a candidate that is capable of winning a general election for the party. I said that in order to not appear like I am running away from the question. But in the event that I choose to run for election in 2014, I will weigh the various options, and as much as possible also come up with my own ideas of how best I feel I can emerge… It may be sooner than you think. On you being in good terms with the governor and/or in consultation with the party hierarchy I AM in consultation with the party hierarchy, and as far as I am concerned, I meet with the governor from time to time. Do I have to visit the governor? If I find myself in the State (Government) House, for instance… what am I doing? Am I visiting the governor? It depends on what we called visit. Whatever takes me there… if the governor calls for a meeting, I will attend; if the party calls for meeting, I attend. In the course of it, the governor himself might be there. You know, as much as possible, I try to avoid personality; I try to take personalities out of this issue, so that issues don’t get compounded; so that the whole thing doesn’t look like it is a personality clash. I am sure the governor will sit anywhere and say that he and I are not quarreling just as I am telling you today that we are not quarrelling. On when last the governor had called you The only meeting that I remember him attending was when I was away in South Africa and the governor met with the National Assembly caucus. This was last month actually, this February and the meeting was in Abuja. Of course, the governor knew I was in South Africa. That is the only meeting that I can remember and everybody knew where I was. On speculation that you are contesting the election under another platform

fayemi I am glad you use the word speculation and I think the speculation has become open. I just said, in the course of this interview that some people paid for posters, announcing that I was running for governorship on the platform of the LP. And that is even taking it beyond the doors; they are trying to make it open. I emphasise that whatever I am running for is going to be on the platform of the ACN — ACN of today; and if by tomorrow, we get registered as APC, on the platform of the APC. I am saying that again, the leaders of our party are committed to internal democracy and they also want best global practices. On the assertion that your supporters are being sidelined If we say my supporters, whom are we talking about? We are talking about somebody, who by the grace of God, has been a member of the party since inception and who has interacted very widely with different shapes of opinion within the party. I respond to a lot of political stimuli within the ACN and I interact with a lot of people even across party divides. I have heard a lot of things that I have asked the governor himself and the governor had tried to convince me that they are not true. A lot of people have said that it was because of their association with me that they were not considered for appointment in Ekiti. A lot of people have said that because of their association with me, they have been removed as either board chairmen or members of board of parastatals. I have even seen some members of the Cabinet, who have said part of the reason the Cabinet was dissolved and reconstituted and they were dropped was to ensure that they and some other supporters or some other people, who were believed to be in close interaction with me, were not allowed to hold sensitive positions in government. In the same way some people are trying to speculate about me, there also speculations going on about the governor and some other forces, but again, like you said, they are all speculations in politics. And as much as possible, if I choose to run for governor, I will need to collate and articulate my reasons and at that point, if there are issues that need to be addressed, I’ll definitely address them. For now, I would just leave everything within the realm of speculations.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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TheGuardian

62 Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sports Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Indian Wells

Murray’s Hopes Of Reclaiming Number Two Spot Crushed By Defeat To Del Potro

Murray NDY Murray’s hopes of claiming the world number two position from Roger

A

Federer were put on hold when he could not halt a surprise comeback from

Juan Martin Del Potro and was dispatched from the quarterfinals of the BNP

Paribas Open. Murray went down 6-7, 6-3, 6-1 in a gruelling two and a half hour battle in the desert heat at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, made to pay heavily for a sloppy few games at the start of the second set when he appeared to have the match at his mercy. He therefore missed out on the opportunity to face Novak Djokovic in yesterday’s semi-finals, victory in which would have seen him pull ahead of Federer in the rankings. The British number one can console himself that he has at least fared better at this venue in the past two years, when he was dumped out in his opening match, but will be frustrated that he could not finish off the towering Argentine after what appeared to be a pivotal tiebreaker. Following the defeat, Murray said: “You need to play a high quality match from start to finish and I had a bit of a letdown at the start of the second set. I

haven’t played a match for six weeks before this week and he played the big points better than me. He’s won a lot of matches recently and that comes with it. “The conditions were challenging. If I look at the bigger picture, after taking a break you don’t expect to go out and win every match straightaway. “He played a very good match and there were a few things tactically I would have liked to have done better, I could have serve and returned better and served better. There are a few things I can work on in Miami.” Despite both players looking tired at the end it was Del Potro who came through much the stronger, shoring up his backhand and making far fewer unforced errors than Murray, who netted too many forehands and was also out-served by someone who had beaten him only once in six meetings. It was a fine display from Del Potro yet, having said that he would be focusing on trying to improve his performances at this Masters level of event just below the Grand Slams, this was an unexpected setback for Murray, and ultimately the manner of it was not pretty. Murray let things slip badly in the third set and ended the match with an eighth double fault. There is plenty for him to discuss with coach Ivan Lendl when they are reunited next week for the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. He came into the match having failed to produce his best tennis against spirited but essentially inferior opposition through the week, but had still made it through to the last eight dropping only one set. When he immediately faced two break points in his first service game it looked very much like what had gone before, but once

he had rescued those it was clear his game was moving to a higher level, the cobwebs having been cleared out after a six-week break following the Australian Open. No quarter was given on either side, but steadily Murray began to open up Del Potro’s weaker backhand side, still without any break points. The Argentine was having to do a lot of running in the dry desert heat and the 25 year-old Scot should have forced a set point at 6-5 3030 when he hit a sublime approach but then netted a simple putaway volley. In the tiebreak he got ahead to 5-2 thanks to some wild forehands from his opponent, but then double faulted. He got ahead again to 6-4 after prevailing in a marathon rally and then finally clinched it at 6-5 when the gangly Argentine shanked a backhand into the tramlines. Then Murray, with all the momentum, elected to take a toilet break for whatever reason and that appeared to give the world number seven the chance to regroup, and he went ahead 3-0 thanks to a lousy Murray service game. It looked like the British number one still fancied his chances in the decider, but his head dropped uncharacteristically after missing a break point in each of his opponent’s first two service games of the set, and from there he fairly subsided. Djokovic earlier looked in prime form, utterly dominating Jo Wilfried Tsonga for a runaway 6-3 6-1 victory. The world number one has improved this season, with his serve especially more potent. He was taxed so little by the Frenchman that, despite the temperatures, he headed straight to the players’ warm up lawn for a game of football immediately afterwards.

As Beaten Federer Takes Eight-Week Break OGER Federer will take a R slightly curious eightweek early-season break with plenty on his mind after a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open. The 31-year-old Swiss headed home knowing Andy Murray would be within a win of usurping him as world No 2 if he could defeat Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the quarterfinal. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Federer’s was plagued by

back problems all week and it was feared it may be a sign of the wear and tear that comes with age and a long career. He has been amazingly injury-free, so having his movement impeded against the gazelle-like Nadal was unfamiliar. The Swiss has made two semi-finals and two quarters this year; no disaster even by his standards but not what he would have foreseen. Surprisingly, he made a worse start to 2008 before

making the French Open and Wimbledon finals, and winning the US Open. But he is five years older now and that is why he is taking eight weeks out to prepare for European clay before reappearing at the Madrid Open in May. Federer said: ‘Normally I’d like to practise hard, rest up and recover from what has been a difficult week. Under the circumstances, I had a good tournament but over the next few days, I’ll discuss my schedule with my team.’


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, March 17, 2013

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TheGuardian

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Seattle Sounders Sure Martins Will Deliver WNER of MLS club Seattle O Sounders, Adrian Hanauer, has predicted Obafemi Martins will make a huge impact in the United States.   “We are thrilled to welcome Obafemi to our family,” said Hanauer. Winning trophies continues to be the focus of our club. Martins is an impact player who we hope will help us reach the ultimate goal.” The club announced on Friday that they had signed Martins but by league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Martins joins Seattle after a short stint at Spanish La Liga side Levante, where he scored nine goals in 24 appearances across all competitions. Martins will occupy Seattle’s third and final Designated Player slot.  The 28-year-old forward and the newest addition to the Sounders roster talked about his eagerness to meet his new

teammates, to see a packed CenturyLink Field and to play with his new club. Most obvious in indicating the sincerity of that enthusiasm was the megawatt smile that never left his face while he met with media at SeaTac Airport just minutes after he landed on a flight from London.  “I’m happy I’m here. Chris Henderson came over to Valencia in Spain and tried as hard as possible to bring me here. Now I’m glad I’m here and I can’t wait to see my teammates,” said Martins, who said he expects to play against Portland. “I’ve been watching the games and they’re crazy about football. They love the game. I want to really see how it’s going to be…I’m ready to play. That’s why I’m here.”  He has been handed the no.9 shirt.

Ahead Zenith Bank Women Basketball League

First Deepwater Down Oluyole Babes 97-30 friendly game. The first phase of the league is slated for Abuja from March 21st through 30th organised Zenith Bank with teams expected to Women League, defending arrive the venue March 21. champions, First Deepwater Basketball Club, Friday hand- Technical meeting will hold ed newcomers, Oluyole Babes on March 22 while action begins on March 23 at the Basketball Club of Ibadan, a Sports Hall of the Abuja 97-30 points defeat in Lagos. National Stadium. The defending champions, First Deepwater basketball who finished seventh at the 2012 Africa Champions Cup in club are expected to lead Group A in the new format, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire made which will see the 16 teams the Oluyole ladies look ordidivided into two groups of nary in the largely one-sided eight teams. Deepwater’s head coach, Premier League Results Lateef Erinfolami who spoke shortly after the match, said Everton 2 - 0 Man City the friendly had revealed A Villa 3 - 2 QPR some lapses in his squad, Southampton 3 - 1 Liverpool promised that such would be taken care of before the Stoke City 0 - 0 West Brom team departs for Abuja on Swansea 0 - 2 Arsenal Tuesday. HEAD of the 2012/2013 seaA son of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF)-

Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud (left) vies with Swansea City’s English-born Welsh defender, Ashley Williams during their Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, Wales… yesterday PHOTO: AFP

Everton Deal Man City Fatal Blow, Arsenal Keep Fourth Place Dream Alive Saints Secure Priceless Win

points of Chelsea, who play West Ham today. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain twice City could have had a penalty EON Osman and Nikica playing with three centre-backs. near post after adjusting his feet hit the crossbar but both goallate on when Marouane Fellaini Everton’s Osman and Darron Jelavic struck as 10-man brilliantly 15 yards from goal. keepers had remained largely Everton responded to their was penalised for handling a Gibson dominated the City mid- Though City finally mustered a untested until Monreal struck critics with a 2-0 victory, which Carlos Tevez shot but referee Lee field and continually exploited couple of tame efforts on goal and Gervinho slotted home in delivers a potentially fatal blow Probert mistakenly thought the the gaps the system left on through Edin Dzeko and Tevez, added time on the counterattack. to Manchester City’s title hopes. offence had occurred outside Everton were still on top and either flank. Michu, meanwhile, started up the area. The Toffees have spent the The ever-impressive Leighton deservedly ended the match in front for Swansea, with Luke All these happened on a day week soul-searching after their Baines saw less of the ball on the their favour. Moore dropping to the bench and devastating loss to Wigan in the Everton manager David Moyes left but always looked likely to Nacho Monreal scored his first Leon Britton returning to midcelebrated 11 years in charge. FA Cup quarterfinals but they goal for Arsenal to help the tee up a goal, while the excelfield, and Michael Laudrup’s The hosts were the better side lent Seamus Coleman struggled Gunners to a 2-0 victory over looked back to their best in a change to a 4-3-3 looked to be paythroughout, despite a frantic fiery clash. to find a telling cross despite a Swansea and a crucial three ing off early on. Kevin Mirallas had a goal harsh- finale in which goalkeeper Jan barnstorming first-half display. points at the Liberty Stadium. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s hopes of saves. fine several made Mucha ly disallowed before Osman Everton’s early superiority was The new signing from Malaga gate crashing the Champions scored from long range after 32 A City side missing the consid- almost rewarded when Mirallas pounced on a loose ball in the League places are almost over minutes and the Toffees held on erable midfield presence of Yaya had the ball in the net before it penalty area after 74 minutes after they were pummeled 3-1 by despite the dismissal of Steven Toure, who had a migraine, was wiped out for offside, even before beating Michel Vorm with Southampton in a riveting Pienaar and made sure through were second best from the out- though it appeared he was level a low shot that brings Arsene encounter. set and never look comfortable as he smashed the ball into the Wenger’s team within two Jelavic in injury time. Brendan Rodgers’ team, were swept away by the aggression of the relegation strugglers in drivPublished by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 ing rain down on the south coast. Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotline Lagos: 7736351, Abuja: 07098513445 Goals from Morgan Schneiderlin All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. and Rickie Lambert within the (ISSN NO 0189-5125) Editor: E-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com opening 33 minutes was due ABRAHAM OBOMEYOMA OGBODO • A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation ••ABC reward for the early dominance

L

of the hosts, who took full advantage of shambolic defending from the Merseysiders. Phillipe Coutinho gave Liverpool hope by pulling one back on the cusp of half-time but the off-colour Reds failed to make their marginal secondhalf improvement count. With 10 minutes remaining, the excellent Jay Rodriguez slalomed through the porous visiting rearguard and sealed the win with a finish at the second attempt. In front of a Premier Leaguerecord attendance at the stadium of 32,070, the 3-1 triumph helped Southampton climb seven points clear of the bottom three and has surely sealed their top-flight status. Liverpool end the day in seventh place, three points behind Everton and seven adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, who have two games in hand on the Merseysiders.

Sun 17 Mar 2013 The Guardian Nigeria  

The Guardian Nigeria

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