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The Guardian on Alamieyeseigha’s pardon NDEED, the action sends the wrong signal to both the domestic and external environments, Igory most especially regarding the much-orchestrated war against corruption in Nigeria. It tells a tale of the insincerity of the Nigerian government to wage a sustainable war against corruption. Worse still, the decision can also strengthen the hands of public servants at all levels in the ‘Corruption Incorporated’ that Nigeria has become under the Jonathan presidency. After all,

looters of state treasury now have some measure of assurance that if they belong to the ‘right’ political camp, they can actually get state pardon, even when convicted. To add salt to an already festering injury, the pardon comes with the restoration of all rights and privileges, including the right to aspire to higher political offices. The message therefore seems to be that it pays to be corrupt. Editorial Page 14

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,503

www.ngrguardiannews.com

N150

Unemployment may explode into crisis, Obasanjo warns From Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin) and Bola Olajuwon (Abidjan)

Ex-president, AU experts seek action on agric, manufacturing

NLESS the high rate of U youth unemployment in the country is urgently

serious crisis in the polity, according to former President Obasanjo. Olusegun

checked, it may soon trigger a

Describing the country as sitting on “a keg of gun-powder” over unemployment, Obasan-

jo said that there was the need to develop commercial agriculture to check the crisis of

joblessness. Also yesterday, experts from critical arms of African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and their

developing partners dissected the state of industrialisation in Africa and other economies. emerging They suggested that it was onCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Goni Aji is new Head of Service From Madu Onuorah, Abuja Goodluck RESIDENT P Jonathan has appointed Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji as the new

Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. A statement by Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said that Aji would take over from Alhaji Isa Bello Sali who would attain the mandatory retirement age of 60 tomorrow. The Guardian had exclusively reported on Tuesday that Aji was the preferred candidate. Aji was until his new appointment the Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. Jonathan had announced during a short valedictory session in honour of Sali, just before the commencement of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

Zenith Bank listed on London Stock Exchange Aji

Page 15

WOSEM founder, Obadare, passes on at 86 From Niyi Bello (Akure), Chris Irekamba and Isaac Taiwo (Lagos)

Mimiko, clerics pay tributes

R. Timothy Oluwole M Obadare, the blind prophet, whom thousands

Pastor Joseph Obadare. He died at the age of 86. Obadare passed on yesterday at his number 16, Adinlewa Street, Akure residence, close to the expansive WOSEM headquarters, where members of the congregation began gathering as the news of his passage filtered into town. Earlier yesterday, none of the church workers would confirm the veracity of the news

revered because of his reported healing powers, is dead. Obadare was the General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide and founder of the World Soul Winning Evangelical Ministry (WOSEM) headquartered in Akure, Ondo State. He was confirmed dead yesterday by his youngest son,

of the death of the prophet, who hailed from Ilesa, Osun State, preferring to wait for an official announcement to be made by the family through the first son, Pastor Paul Obadare , who was said to be overseas, yet many wore long faces and discussed the development in hushed tones. But when The Guardian made another visit to the residence of “Baba” as the prophet was called by many, the younger

Obadare

Pastor Obadare, who had earlier insisted on waiting for the

family announcement, confirmed the news which was already being spread by the social media. According to him, “Baba, because of old age, had been confined to this house for some time and today, he peacefully moved up to the higher realm of existence. Prophet T.O. Obadare is dead.” As journalists who had been waiting for confirmation got it, the news rapidly spread across the town and many sympathisers, mainly

women who had gathered to fetch water from the “Kosehunti well”, believed to have miraculous healing properties, trooped to the residence, some rejoicing that “Baba” lived a fulfilled life while others expressed shock at the development. Those who expressed shock said they had thought that the prophet, who after about three years had not attended the monthly “Kosehunti” prayer meetings, made a sur-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

2 NEWS

WOSEM founder, Obadare, passes on at 86 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 prise appearance last February 1. His appearance, albeit for only about one hour in a fullday programme, threw the entire auditorium, which is always filled to capacity, into wild ecstasy. The prophet’s personal driver since 1988, Pastor Gbenga Obatuyise, who spoke to The Guardian at the residence, said: “Baba was father to thousands of children and I am happy to be one of them. He turned my life around and through him I found a new life in Christ.” A member of the congregation of CAC Oke-Itura which Prophet Obadare attended anytime he was at home in Akure, Michael Dawodu, who initially doubted the prophet’s death asked several times: “Are you sure that you heard the news correctly? “Baba had been rumoured to have died more than three times and at the end of each, he was found to be alive. So, please be sure so that you don’t report falsehood about a man of God.” When he was told that the family had confirmed the death, Dawodu said: “May Baba’s soul rest in perfect peace. He was a remarkable man of God.” Reactions also started to

pour in shortly after news of Obadare’s death broke. Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko said yesterday that the death of Obadare was an example of the marching on of a saint. Mimiko, in a statement said Obadare’s life, ministry and influence could be likened to those of saints. “In his way of life, concern for the lost soul and uplifting of the name of God, Obadare stands tall among the prophets of his generation and broke barriers that health attempted to place on his way. He was consistent and controlled, aggressive yet unobstructive and had no pretensions about his faith and God. “Prophet Obadare made the life of the poor and the downtrodden his and helped many re-discover their connections to God. “His strident cries against sin and warnings to those departing from what is right and just will be sorely missed,” Mimiko said. The Ondo governor recalling the evangelistic exploits of the late cleric in the face of sight challenge said: “Prophet Obadare’s mastery of bible verses and lines underlines the fact that he was indeed a prophet called for a purpose by God. He, it appears, has discharged his du-

ties and deserves blissful rest in the bosom of His maker. “Our hearts go to his many disciples and members as well as family this period. We ask that the good Lord send consolation their ways.” Special Assistant (Personnel and Administration), to the General Overseer, The Redeemed Christian Church of God and Pastor in charge of Province 1, Headquarters, Throne of Grace, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, Johnson Odesola, described the passing on of Obadare as a great loss to the church of God as he was one of the prophetic voices in the church, declaring the truth without fear. “We have lost a great prophet as well as a great prophetic voice in the church and the world at large. We would greatly miss him,” he said. In the same vein, the Lord Bishop of Ife Diocese, (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. Oluranti Odubogun, described Obadare as a ‘father’ that had departed. “He was a great man of God and a prophet who proclaimed the word and fulfilled the mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ. “He lived a fulfilled life as well as a fulfilled ministry. The church would ever miss him as we pray that his soul rests in peace,” he said. On his part, the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria,

His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, said: “He was a great man, a prophet of our time and a man of humility. I commiserate with Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Nigeria and abroad on the passing away of this great man of God. “Even in his infirmity he stood with the Lord. He exercised patience in the Lord just like Paul the Apostle who had a thorn in the flesh and prayed to God to remove it but God said: ‘My grace is sufficient unto you.’ He lived to old age. This is a great loss for the church and the nation. A man who would not say there is woe when there is peace. He was never a false prophet but a passionate preacher. There was a time he was mocked by people and they said ‘prophet heal thyself’ and he said even if I cannot heal myself I can heal people.” The Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, said: “We pray that the Lord will rest his soul in peace. He had done so much in the area of evangelism. He impacted the life of so many people. We condole with the family and pray that God will console them to know that he has gone to be with the Lord.” The President and Chief Executive of Officer of the

Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev Samson Ayokunle, said: “His death was unfortunate. There is nothing to regret about his death . I knew him as a preacher of the gospel. Through him people were healed. People like him are rarely born to generations. God anointed him as he anointed Samson of old in the bible. I think God brought Prophet Obadare to lift Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). His camp prayers multiplied today in the nation, in fact, it became a vogue in the society. What happened to him I know it’s only God that can give such anointing. He was focused on the ministry he was called to do except when CAC was involved with the internal crisis. “He preached not only in Nigeria but everywhere with results and many people testified. Some people named areas after him. We pray that God will give the church fortitude to bear the loss.” The President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Felix Omobude in his reaction said: “He was a great man who accomplished a lot for the kingdom of God. I believe he must have finished his assignment here on earth. We will certainly miss him. We celebrate the good work he did while on earth and pray that God will comfort the family and the ministry he left behind.”

Reps remove Lawan as panel head From Terhemba Daka, Abuja HE embattled former T chairman of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on investigation of oil subsidy regime, Farouk Lawan has been sacked as chairman of the House Committee on Education. Lawan’s hope of regaining his status was yesterday dashed as the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal announced the appointment of Aminu Suleiman (PDP, Kano) as the substantive chairman of the committee. Tambuwal also appointed deputy chairmen for six other committees. Until his appointment yesterday, Sulaiman was the deputy chairman of the Committee on Labour and Productivity. Rose Okoh (PDP, Cross River), Deputy chairman of the committee had been operating in acting capacity until yesterday. Announcing the changes, Speaker Tambuwal said that the appointment is with immediate effect. Farouk Lawan was suspended at a special plenary of the House in June 2012 after billionaire oil marketer, Chief Femi Otedola alleged that the former chairman collected a $620,000 bribe from him to facilitate the removal of his companies: Zenon oil and Synopsis international from the list of erring companies in the subsidy regime.

Obasanjo, AU experts seek action on agric, manufacturing CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ly through critical investment in manufacturing that unemployment, unequalled growth and poverty could be tackled and the key objectives of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achieved. Delivering the yearly lecture of the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) in Ilorin, Obasanjo lamented how the little gains his administration made in 1979 were almost eroded due to bad policies on agriculture until his return to power in 1999. He said: “We are sitting on the keg of gun-powder in this country due to the problems of unemployment of our youths. We have almost 150 universities now in the country turning out these young Nigerians but without job opportunities for them. ARMTI has a bigger role to play here. We are not saying agriculture will make you a billionaire, in fact if you want to be one, don’t go into agric. Nevertheless, if we practise agriculture well, it will make you comfortable.” Obasanjo recalled that he had to enrol at Moore Plantation Ibadan after relinquishing powers to a democratically-elected government in 1979 to learn modern techniques in agriculture before venturing into large-scale farming. He added: “For sometime after 1979 when almost all gains in agriculture progress in Nigeria seemed to have been destroyed through indiscriminate importation and dumping into Nigeria, I was skeptical if we could ever make it in the area of agriculture. “But the progress we made between 2003 and 2007 when Nigeria grew its agricultural production by an average of seven per cent per annum enhanced my opti-

mism and enthusiasm. For instance, cocoa production increased from 150,000 metric tonnes to 400,000 metric tonnes; cassava production from 30 million metric tonnes to 50 million metric tonnes.” Obasanjo who spoke on the topic “Managing Agriculture as a Business: A Practitioner’s Perspective,” said: “We started being self-sufficient again in vegetable oil and increased our production of rice, maize and sorghum substantially. Then the successor administration put things in reverse gear. A start-stop policy does not help agribusiness. It is heartening that the present administration has put the gear back to forward movement in a number of essential commodities. For agribusiness to be embraced and upheld, a consistent and predictable policy is needed from government, in addition to clear support in all areas of the value chain.” Obasanjo who delivered the first yearly lecture of the ARMTI 30 years ago, warned that Nigerian farmers and other stakeholders in the agribusiness should stop seeing agriculture as a peasant venture requiring no management, a development undertaken on a part-time basis requiring little or no business management skills. Alluding to the biblical story on the Garden of Eden and its management, he said that God planted a beautiful garden for Adam and Eve but due to bad management policies of the couple, they messed up the business. He said: “In less than four decades from now, world population is expected to grow to over nine billion, significantly increasing the demand for food and other agricultural products. Some projections show that global

food production will need to jump by 70 per cent to feed a population of nine billion in 2050. “The World Economic Forum recognises that in order to achieve this, the world will need a new vision for agriculture - delivering food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity through agriculture.” Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, described Obasanjo as a visionary who practised what he preached in the field of agriculture. He added: “We have oil in commercial quantities but nobody drinks oil. Obasanjo added glamour to agric sector and the government of Goodluck Jonathan took it up from there. “He made agric a commercial venture and placed the nation on a good pedestal in the global market especially in the area of cassava. We are the largest producer of cassava today in the world. We used to spend N654 billion every year importing wheat flour. But today, we save N254 billion by using cassava flour.” According to the AUC experts who spoke on Wednesday at a capacity-building workshop for journalists attending the ongoing yearly meetings of the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the continent cannot continue to depend on mere agriculture, exporting raw materials and commodities for the end use of industries in Western and Asian economies in the face of socio-political problems confronting the continent, especially the youth. They said that emerging global innovation and devel-

opment were tied to the industrial sector hence, African countries like Nigeria and others would be relegated to the background without the required leadership creating the right tone, image, strategic policies, investment in the industrial and energy sectors. The experts included Director of Micro-economic Division of UNECA, Emmanuel Nnadozie; Director of Economic Affairs, AUC, Prof. Renee Kouassi; Regional Adviser and officer-incharge, Information and Communication Services (ICS), UNECA, Yinka Adeyemi; Director of Information and Communication, AU, Mrs. Habiba Mejri-Cheikh; Jay Gribble and Deborah Mesce of Population Research Bureau (PRB); publishers and communication experts, Jenerali Ulmwengu and Tunde Fagbenle and others. Setting the tone of the conference entitled “Industrialisation For An Emerging Africa” which officially kicked off yesterday, Nnadozie observed that the continent was doing well on economic growth judging from available indices of economic reports. But he added that researches also indicated that “the continent can do better in the face of youth unemployment, massive poverty and maternal mortality, among others.” He said that if care was not taken, the continent would be facing serious economic, socio-political problems as a result of youth unemployment. He called for private sector engagement through massive investment in manufacturing, adding of values to available raw materials, devising strategies to maximising foreign and local investments and minimising damage to the environment.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

4 | NEWS

New Zealand blames political leaders for Nigeria’s insecurity From John Okeke, Abuja N consonance with the Ikeen views already expressed by watchers of the Nigerian situation, the New Zealand Minister of Trade and Foreign Affairs, Timothy John Groser, is holding political leaders responsible for the insecurity in the country owing to their lack of will power to address the continual threats in different parts of the country. Groser stressed yesterday in Abuja during a visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, to parley on trade partnership, that socio-economic development would remain stagnant except appropriate steps were taken to tackle the situation. “It is absolutely clear (that) without physical security,

‘Innovention’ lecture holds in Lagos LECTURE with the theme, “Beyond Branding: Building Lasting Values for Nigeria’s Growth,” takes place today at MUSON Centre, Lagos It is Verdant Zeal Marketing Communication’s 2013 Innovention Lecture Series at which Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Group Managing Director, S0&U Saatchi & Saatchi, Mr. Udeme Ufot and the former Managing Director, Samsung West Africa, Mr. Idorenyen Enang, will deliver addresses. Fayemi is the guest speaker and Ufot will deliver the keynote address with Enang as the moderator. The Group Managing Director, Verdant Zeal Marketing Communications Ltd, Mr. Tunji Olugbodi, stated that the lecture series, which has become a yearly event, seeks to bring together major stakeholders in the private and public sectors towards charting paths on different issues of interest to the nation.

A

economic development is almost difficult, but this is the responsibility of the Nigerian authorities and political forces,” he said, adding: “What I know is that the regional development must be following quickly behind. “It is the task of political leaders, and I think that is a challenge. But once you advance state frontier on security, that is the point we should pick up to emphasize on economic development and that is the future of Nigeria.” Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Martins Uhormohbi, who received Groser on behalf of the minister, stressed that Nigeria and other African countries were waiting to witness a myriad of investors all over the world.

Aji is new head of federal civil service CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), a little girl and President Obiang Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, during Jonathan’s visit to the country at the Malabo International Airport… yesterday.

Reps insist on sack of SEC boss, Oteh From Terhemba Daka, Abuja HE House of RepresentaT tives yesterday stuck to its guns, insisting that President Goodluck Jonathan should sack the Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh. The development came a few days after Jonathan forwarded bills for amendment to the 2013 Appropriation Act and the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) to the National Assembly, specifically raising issues on a clause that seems to prevent SEC from spending funds in the 2013 fiscal year, a development the President said would spell doom for the capital market. Specifically, both chambers of the National Assembly had in their separate resolutions asked the President to remove Oteh as the DG of SEC, saying she lacked the requisite qualifications to head the commission, failure of which the parliament would have noth-

ing to do with the SEC. The House of Representatives had last year launched investigation into the near-collapse of the Nigeria’s capital market. Clause 10 of the 2013 Appropriation Act as passed by the National Assembly reads: “All revenue however described, including all fees received, fines, grants, budgetary provisions and all internally and externally-generated revenue, shall not be spent by the Security and Exchange Commission for recurrent or capital purposes or for any other matters, nor liabilities thereon incurred except with prior appropriation and approval by the National Assembly.” But in his reaction to the clause, Jonathan stated that “considering the fact that the budget of SEC does not form part of the core 2013 Federal Budget as presented to the National Assembly, I believe

that this clause ought not to have been inserted in the 2013 Appropriation Act in the first place. Secondly, the import of the clause is tantamount to shutting down the business of the Commission with a potential negative impact on the capital market.” However, the House, in a fresh resolution on a motion moved under matters of urgent public importance yesterday by Deputy Minority Whip of the House, Garba Datti, has mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to monitor the compliance and report back to it within 21 days. Datti had expressed concerns that the inaction of the President was a blatant disregard of the resolutions of the House of Representatives, and that most of these resolutions, though products of motions, hinge on fundamental public duty placed on public

officers by the Constitution under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive principles of State Policy. His words: “The motion urging the removal of Arunma Oteh, for instance, hinged on the fact that her appointment as Director-General of the Securities Exchange Commission was a gross violation of the Commission’s Act as she does not possess the minimum professional qualification prescribed for appointment to that position. “Recently, the Executive has adopted the dangerous and vexatious approach of picking and choosing the implementation of resolutions of the Senate on the dismissal of Abdulrasheed Maina which was passed much later in time while still disregarding the long pending motion on the removal of the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, that a new Head of Service would be appointed yesterday. Aji hails from Yobe State and was born on January 13, 1959. He attended Government College, Maiduguri; Borno College of Basic Studies, Maiduguri; and graduated from the University of Maiduguri in 1984. A career civil servant, he has held several key positions at state and federal levels, including Chief Administrative Officer, Governor’s Office, Maiduguri (1989-1991); Principal Secretary to the Military Administrator of Yobe State (1991-1992); Principal Secretary to the First Civilian Governor of Yobe State (1992-1993) and Principal Secretary to the second Military Administrator of Yobe State (1993-1995). Aji was appointed the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics at the Ministry of Women Affairs in 1995 and moved to the Ministry of Defence in 2000 as Director of Personnel Management. He headed various departments in the Ministry of Defence until his posting to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in 2008 as Director, International Organisations. He was appointed Permanent Secretary in 2009 and posted to the Ministry of Defence. He later served as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs (August 2009-August 2010) and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works (September 2011-November 2012). Other candidates in the race had included Alhaji Sheik Goni Musa from Borno State, Alhaji Umar Faruk Baba from Bauchi State and Mr. Danladi Kifasi from Taraba State.

Itsekiri leader tasks Delta govt on land dispute, honour for Olu of Warri OMAN activist and ItW sekiri leader, Chief Rita Lori Ogbebor, has enjoined Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to honour the Olu of Warri by building and naming some schools after him. Speaking against the backdrop of the land dispute between Delta State Government and the Okere Community in Warri, she de-

plored an alleged attempt by the Uduaghan administration to name the school on the controversial land after the Olu. Ogbebor said Uduaghan should emulate his cousin and predecessor, James Ibori, who built a secondary school, a polytechnic, a university and a teaching hospital in his village (Oghara). The government and the

community are locked in a legal battle over a landed property, which the Itsekiri pleaded to be spared for their cultural centre but the authorities prefer the site for a model school project. Ogbebor, in an open letter on Wednesday, alleged that the attempt to name the school built by the government on the disputed land was a calculated ploy to blackmail the

Lawmaker, council boss allege attack on Plateau community From Isa Abdulsalami, Jos O fewer than 20 people N have been confirmed dead in a Wednesday night attack on Attakar Community of Ganawuri Chiefdom in Riyom Local Council of Plateau State. The Majority Leader in the House of Assembly representing Riyom Constituency, Daniel Dem, confirmed the figure when he spoke with journalists yesterday. He said the village was over-run in a midnight attack by people suspected to be hired Fulani militia. Dem said since there had never been attack in the village before, there was no presence of security personnel, an advantage that the militia used to burn all the houses in the village. According to him, “bodies litter the village square. The figure may even be higher than the one given at the end of the day.” He commended the Divisional Police Officer

(DPO) of the area, saying if not for him, the entire village would have been destroyed. Earlier yesterday morning, Chairman of Riyom Council, Mr. Sam Gyang Audu, had told journalists that houses were being burnt by the Fulani in Attakar Village in Ganawuri as he was coming for a press briefing. According to him, more than 100 people have been killed in various attacks by unknown gunmen in the council from January 2012 till date. Addressing journalists at the NUJ Press Centre, Plateau State Council, Audu said that from the manner and style of the attacks and raids of his people, he smelt connivance of the Special Task Force (STF) personnel and the attackers. He said that since January 2012 when he came to office, his administration had spent about N5 million for treatment of 50 people who were

injured in various attacks. Audu said having carefully reviewed the activities of the STF in the council and other areas, he appealed to the Federal Government to gradually withdraw the STF from the council and replace them with the conventional police and other security agencies. The Riyom Council chairman pointed out that if members of the STF are biased in the conduct of their mandate in the state, then his people are not secure with the STF personnel around. He, however, admitted that there are good ones among the personnel of the STF infiltrated by the bad eggs among them. Contacted for comments, Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, said journalists should stop sensational journalism. “As I am speaking to you now, there is peace in Ganawuri chiefdom in Riyom,” said.

Okere people, who have been resolutely united in the legal fight for justice. She warned that naming the school after the Olu would make it an open sore that would continue to hurt the Okere people. Part of the letter reads: “May you live long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. It is 5 O’clock in the morning, after soul searching throughout the night, I have decided for the good of the Itsekiri land to write this open letter to you because: The matter between the Okere people and the Delta State (Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, an Itsekiri man) is now a public matter, we are in court and everybody is interested and waiting for an answer. “All Itsekiris hold the Olu and the palace very sacred. I was installed as your Chief on April 22, 1989, roughly 24 years ago. All Itsekiris know that I hold the institution of the palace very dearly. I have served my people. I am therefore pained to know and see the institution being dragged in the mud by a dirty, messy, selfish case that is now before the court of law. Your name, which spells hope, justice and fairplay is being hung on a controversial school which the Okere people will always look upon with great pain from generation to generation. It is like a sore on the face which one sees in the mirror every day. It is a matter the Okere people will fight from generation to generation. ”


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Law to sanction erring VCs underway From Adamu Abuh, Abuja BILL aimed at sanctioning A errant Vice Chancellors of Nigerian universities is underway, according to the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, who made this known yesterday to members of the House of Representatives Committee on Education while deliberating on the motion on the incessant students’ protest in the University of Abuja tagged the proposed legislation as “The Minimum standard Bill.” Represented by Mr. Akinbode Agbaoye, Okojie justified the proposed legislation, saying it was aimed at averting a situation whereby vice chancellors run courses without recourse to the laid down rules and regulations. He explained that once the Bill sails through, the NUC would be empowered the to sanction any vice chancellors of Nigerian universities that flouts the NUC regulations. Okojie told the Mrs Rose Okoh led committee that it was unfortunate that innocent students were made to take courses in four key faculties not accredited in the University of Abuja about eight years ago.

NEWS | 5

99 still missing in boat mishap, says agency From Anietie Akpan, Calabar CONFIRMATION yesterday A came from the Director General of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Vincent Aqua that 99 persons are still missing from last weekend’s boat mishap off the coast of Calabar, Cross River State. He said, “from all indications 128 persons including the crew

members were on board the ill fated boat and not 133 or 166 as speculated”. Aqua said out of the 128 only five were crew members and “so far the number we can say died are nine and 29 survived while the remaining ones are still missing. Two survivors are in Calabar while 27 more survivors found were taken to Oron”. Briefing reporters yesterday, Aqua said “rescue oper-

ation by Addax Petroleum is still on and the number of passengers on board the MV Sunny were 128 estimated. The name of the vessel that brought the dead bodies is Swat link 4 and they arrived ECM Terminal at 6.30 p.m. “Nationalities not yet known and wreckage of the boat not yet found and nobody knows the destination or take off point of the boat. There is

much reason to show this boat was not carrying Nigerians because of the items found in two bags that were recovered with the dead bodies. They contained wrappers, empty wallets, slippers, skin cream and an MTN SIM card number 455971831192 that was trying to point to somebody of Ghanaian origin and the SIM card seemed to be registered in Ghana”.

However, conflicting reports still trail the number of dead bodies brought to the hospital in Calabar. A reliable source in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) said: “42 bloated bodies were brought in and they were all examined to confirm if they were alive but they were all dead. They were brought into the hospital in two batches.”

Fire at army headquarters From Madu Onuorah, Abuja MINOR fire incident A occurred late Wednesday evening at the conference room of the Nigerian Army headquarters, Abuja. Director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Ibrahim Attahiru said the fire incident was “as a result of an electrical surge in one of the air conditioners at the Army Headquarters Conference Room in Abuja.” But Attahiru said it “was promptly put off by vigilant personnel on duty including our own fire service operatives using existing routine fire drills and men of the Federal Fire Service.” The Army spokesman stated: “The minor fire incident did not occur in the Office of the Chief of Army Staff. It was localised within the conference room. Additionally, there was no casualty or loss of any document.”

Govs rate Ondo, Kogi, others high on polio

Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun presenting a letter from the state government to the oldest identical twins in Nigeria, Madam Emily Kehinde Ogunde and Madam Esther Taiwo Oluyemi during a felicitation visit to the twins in Ijebu-Ode …on Wednesday

ACN, Okorocha, Igbo group condemn Kano blasts, urge action From Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri) Njadvara Musa (Damaturu) Isaac Taiwo (Lagos) and Ali Garba (Bauchi) ORE condemnation has M continued to trail Monday’s suicide bombing in Kano in which innocent citizens were killed and maimed as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State South East traditional rulers and Association of Igbos in Commerce (AIC) have lamented the incident.

In a related development, gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram sect on Wednesday killed a staff of Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Salisu Samael in Potiskum, Yobe State. Meanwhile, there are allegations that soldiers at security checkpoints on the highways in the North are brutalising travelers. In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the

ACN said it was now futile to expect that the Federal Government could end the crisis, as it had so far shown that it possesses neither the vision nor the capacity to confront the worsening acts of terrorism in the country. ‘’As we commiserate with the victims of this senseless act and their families, we will like to say that this is the time for sober reflection and restraint, and that all leaders of thought must urgently come together, formally or informally, to avert a national calamity that

will not spare anyone, whether or not they are members of the Boko Haram sect,’’ it said. ACN said all religious, ethnic and political leaders must start by preaching restraint in their domains, since it was now clear that the end-gamers behind these senseless killings are bent on setting Nigerians against themselves. ‘’There are two kinds of war that a nation can hardly survive religious and ethnic war. A combination of both can only spell doom for any

From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja OVERNORS of the 36 states G of the federation rose from a meeting Wednesday identifying six states as the best performing states in the antipolio campaign drive. Meeting under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), the state chief executives listed Ondo (South West; Cross River (South South); Kogi (North Central); Anambra (South East); Borno (North East); and Zamfara (North West) as the best performing states in their zones. The forum further identified Niger State as one that recorded most significant improvement so far. Contrary to expectations, the leadership crisis within the Forum did not come up for discussion and many governors refused to comment on the issue. Chairman of the Forum, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in a statement he read at the end of the all night meeting said Niger State was considered as the most improved state in the campaign to eradicate polio in the country.

S’African court rejects Okah’s bid to fault trial From Oghogho Obayuwana, Abuja (with agency report) SOUTH African High Court A has refused to grant the application filed by Henry Okah to declare that proceedings at his ongoing trial (mitigation of sentence) were irregular. Okah, exiled senior member of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) was jailed last January after standing trial for allegedly masterminding the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja as Nigeria celebrated its 50th anniversary that left 12 persons dead. South African prosecutors charged him with terrorism since his arrest on October 2, 2010. According to Wall Africa News Service, Justice Neels Claaseen of the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg while ruling on the three grounds of the application, dismissed Okah’s applications as “absurd and frivolous” But whatever happens in the event of a sentencing, extradi-

tion may be farfetched as militant Okah may then remain in South Africa. Judge Claaseen observed on Wednesday in this regard that: “The accused was arrested in South Africa and at the time of his arrest he had accepted South Africa residence, though he did not accept the citizenship of South Africa. So he is a citizen of Nigeria. “The evidence on record was that he was persona non-grata in Nigeria. He was arrested in South Africa and Nigeria still has death penalty in place for the offence the accused was arrested. South Africa does not have death penalty in its justice system. So, the accused cannot be extradited to Nigeria,” Claaseen said. He said no injustices had been done to the accused on his rights in terms of the international criminal cooperation treaty which South Africa and Nigeria are signatories. The Defence Counsel, J.P Marais, had on Monday urged the court to declare the trial as

irregular on three grounds. According to him, “Three grounds have been alleged for the purpose of the irregularity. The first ground is on the unlawful presence of an official of the State Security Service (SSS), one Clifford Osagie, who is an investigative officer in the 2010 Abuja car bombing. “That his presence intimidates the witnesses. In the affidavit by Osagie, he says he is a legal official in SSS and that he knew the accused since 2007 when he was part of Federal Government delegation to Angola to seek for the release of the accused who was arrested in Angola...It is common knowledge that he was involved in investigating and prosecution of the accused and the other conspirators.” But the Judge ruled that “the accused having known Osagie as an official of the SSS since 2007 and failed to mention it to his lawyer is a failure that cannot be laid at the feet of a judge.” He added that the presence of

Osagie and his sitting by the side of the prosecutor was regular, adding that the ground of the first irregularity cannot therefore succeed. Mr. Claaseen said the second ground of the application, which said that the accused was not warned of his right in terms of International Criminal Cooperation Treaty, was also frivolous while the third application was “most absurd.” “The third application was the most absurd to me because I have bent more than backward to assist the accused to have his witnesses...The accused indicated that he did not need the two other witnesses to testify. More so, if the accused had wanted the witnesses who were in Kuje Prison to come to South Africa and give evidence, his lawyer should have applied for their release from prison,” Claaseen added. All three applications were dismissed without cost. The submissions on the mitigation of Okah’s sentence are expected to continue on March 26.

nation, hence we must move today to prevent our nation from being plunged into religious and ethnic war, which seems to be the intention of the anarchists behind the worsening orgy of killings in our country. ‘’We also call on our leaders at all levels to exercise caution in their statements, so as not to incite one group against the other. This is because we have heard the drums of war being beaten by some easily excitable leaders, at a time that requires utmost restraint,’’ the party said. In a statement on Thursday in Owerri, signed by the Commissioner for Information, Strategy, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Chinedu Offor, Okorocha said the attack was “barbaric, utterly evil, callous, condemnable and does not in any form reflect our belief and culture”. Continuing, the statement said: “To this effect, the state government has put the security agencies on red alert to forestall any form of reprisal attack.” He urged that while the state government was ensuring adequate security, people should discountenance any rumour peddled of reprisal attack, adding that they should go about their lawful duties and businesses. At the emergency executive meeting held at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel, the monarchs urged Ndigbo in all parts of the country to remain calm. Chairman of South East traditional rulers Council, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, who briefed journalists, said the meeting condemned the Kano bombing but that Ndigbo all over the world should await further directive.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

6 | NEWS

Shettima commends journalists’ courage amidst challenges

Civil society groups seek extradition of Alamieyeseigha to UK From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja

From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri OVERNOR Kashim Shettima of Borno State has commended journalists in the state for their collective “courage and endurance” while discharging their professional duties and responsibilities in spite of continued threats to lives and property. Shettima spoke yesterday in Maiduguri at the opening ceremony of Triennial Delegates’ Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Borno State Council, at the Musa Usman Secretariat Complex Conference Hall. “Let me use this occasion today (Thursday) to commend you for your courage and endurance in the discharge of your professional duties here despite threats to you either collectively or individually,” said Shettima, who was represented by his Commissioner for Information, Inuwa Bwala.

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COALITION of Civil Society A Organisations (CSOs) yesterday rose stoutly in condemnation of the state pardon granted former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, by President Goodluck Jonathan,

describing it as an “incentive” for corruption. The CSOs, which said Alamieyeseigha’s pardon was undeserved, called on the United Kingdom to demand from the Nigerian government the release of Alamieyeseigha so that he can stand trial for money

laundering offences for which he was arrested and later escaped. At a press conference organised in Abuja under the aegis of the “Situation Room”, the coalition also urged the Federal Government to commence extradition process of Alamieyeseigha to the UK for

trial on money laundering. The coalition observed that the charges against him in London were distinct from the offences for which he was convicted and granted pardon by President Jonathan. While conceding that the President had the powers to grant pardon to any citizen,

Minister lauds N’Assembly over passage of Child Molestation Bill From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja INISTER of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, has commended the National Assembly for passing into law the Violence Against Persons and the Rape and Child Molestation Bills. Speaking when she received the Project Coordinator of Flying Broom Women’s Communications and Research Association, an international organisation based in Turkey advocating for end of child marriages in the world, Hajiya Maina said Nigerian women and African women are very grateful to the National Assembly for what she considers a Centenary gift, coming at a time when Nigeria is preparing to celebrate 100 years as a

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NOA, NAFDAC partner against counterfeiting From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja HE National Agency for T Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) have agreed to work together to further boost awareness campaign against the use of fake and substandard products in the country. To kick-start the partnership, both agencies will partner to launch a new campaign, tagged: “Do the right thing, stop fake and counterfeit drugs”. The campaign would be strengthened using NOA’s structures and platforms across the country. The campaign, which is the initiative of the NOA, targets taking the awareness against fake and substandard drugs to the rural areas, and more importantly, to the border communities through which NAFDAC says a lot of fake drugs come into the country. Director-General, NOA, Mr. Mike Omeri, who spoke during a visit to NAFDAC Headquarters in Abuja yesterday, stressed that the new strategy against such drugs was in line with NOA’s transformation from a mere information agency to one with the responsibility to re-orientate the attitude of Nigerians and provide a feedback to government on the people’s feelings and reactions towards its policies and activities, thus expanding the space for public input into government’s decision-making process.

National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okore-Offia (right) being saluted by the NYSC camp commandant during Okore-Offia’s visit to the camp in Dutse, Jigawa State capital… yesterday.

Court okays N200m suit against NUC, Zain over copyright infringement From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja HE Federal High Court, T Abuja Division, has cleared the way for a N200 million suit filed by a television production company, T.V Xtra Production Limited, demanding the sum of N200 million from the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Zain Nigeria for its copyright infringement. NUC and Zain Nigeria had filed applications for preliminary objection, praying the court to dismiss the suit brought by the plaintiff - T.V Xtra, for incompetence and lack of merit. But ruling on the said objections filed by NUC and Zain Nigeria, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that the defendants’ objection filed on June 8, 2009, seeking to terminate hearing of the substantive matter, lacked merit. According to Justice Kolawole, the arguments of the defence counsel, S.O. Yahaya, in his preliminary objection on the “non-justiceability of the suit and non-disclosure of any reasonable cause of action” wasn’t enough to dismiss the case of the plaintiff against the 1st and 2nd defendants. The judge held that it would be against the tenets of justice for the court to refer to the facts pleaded in the statement of defence in order to resolve the issue as to whether the plaintiff’s claims are justiceable or whether the suit discloses a reasonable cause of action. “To do so will be to subject only pleaded facts not yet proven by admissible and tested evidence to judicial

findings and determination. That will be contrary to the dictate of the constitution, which requires the court to accord both parties a fair hearing and will run foul of the established judicial decisions by which a preliminary objection is to be resolved on the facts as pleaded or presented by the plaintiff,” the judge held. He also held that it would neither serve the interest of justice nor of giving all parties fair hearing. Justice Kolawole pointed out that to shut out the plaintiff from the seat of justice by peremptorily striking out and dismissing his action on the grounds that the suit is not justiceable, doesn’t disclose a reasonable cause of action against the first defendants without affording the plaintiff the benefit of hearing based on the facts pleaded in its statement of claim. Consequently, he said further that he would set down a date for the determination of the substantive suit, which had suffered several delays since 2009 because of the interlocutory applications filed by the NUC. The judge directed counsels to the defendants, Yahaya and A. J. Ajala, to file their statements of defence, adding, “I want to hear both parties through their counsel as to suitable date for trial.” The plaintiff in the writ of summons is seeking a declaration that the decision of the NUC to approve the programme called “Acada Quiz,” Zain African Challenge” and “ University Challenge” in favour of the second defen-

dant is an infringement on the copyright of the plaintiff. Also, the plaintiff is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from producing, airing, marketing or exercising any right in respect of the mentioned

programmes. T. V. Xtra Production Limited is similarly asking for an order compelling the defendants to pay N200 million as general damages for airing the programmes and another N3 million being the cost of the legal action.

it regretted that there was no justifiable ground for such powers to be exercised in the former Bayelsa governor’s favour, declaring that it was clear evidence that the President was encouraging corruption. They said: “The Situation Room notes that Alamieyeseigha, in addition to being convicted in Nigeria, also has an international warrant of arrest issued by the UK authorities around the world for his arrest and extradition to face trial for charges that are still pending in the UK. “In other words, Alamieyeseigha is an international fugitive from justice.” Expressing the CSO’s position, the Chief Executive of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Mr. Clement Nwankwo said: “The pardon is a major contradiction. It clearly contradicts this administration’s commitment to fighting corruption in public office. It sends wrong signal that this government condones corruption.” Nwankwo said that there was an unmistakable nexus between security and corruption in the country and that Nigerians had been deprived the right to enjoy their lives through development as a result of corruption. They said: “Nigerians generally are angry. Responses from governmental quarters show that the government does not give a damn. But Nigerians are angry and, therefore, the government should surrender.” The coalition said it is alarmed at the security situation in the country and urged Jonathan to find practical ways to end the carnage. “Jonathan should show more competence to govern by providing security for lives and property,” they demanded. They warned that the level of insecurity in the country was a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.

14 bidding power firms meet deadline, pay $559.5m to BPE • Reps task Finance Minister on power companies From Terhemba Daka, Abuja and Roseline Okere HE Bureau of Public EnterT prises (BPE) has received $559.5 million (N88.4 billion) from 14 bidders for 15 successor electricity companies as at yesterday. The BPE, in a statement yesterday, said all the preferred bidders for the 15 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) (successor companies) have met the deadline for the payment of the mandatory 25 per cent of the offer value of their bids. Meanwhile, succour may have come the way of Power Distribution Companies (DISCOS) as the House of Representatives yesterday adopted and passed a resolution urging the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to accommodate their financial needs, as well as that of Power Generation Companies (GENCOS). This, according to the Parliament, should come by way of a supplementary budget to facilitate the discharge of their functions of providing electricity to the people while waiting for the process of privatisation to be perfected. The statement signed by BPE Spokesperson, Joe Chigbo Anichebe, stated that the

agency, on March 21, 2013, received $31 million from four more Power Consortium for Port-Harcourt Distribution Company; $31.5 million from Interstate Electrics Limited for Enugu Distribution Company; and $27,913,633.50 from NorthSouth Power Company for Shiroro Power Plc, being the mandatory 25 per cent of the bid value for the electricity companies. It noted that earlier, Vigeo Consortium, the preferred bidder for Benin Distribution Company, had paid $32.25million; Transcorp/Woodrock Consortium, the preferred bidder for Ughelli Power Plc, paid $75 million; CMEC/EUAFRIC Energy JV, the preferred bidder for Sapele Power Plc, paid $50,249,965; Kann Consortium, the preferred bidder for Abuja Distribution Company, paid $41 million; Aura Energy, the preferred bidder for Jos Distribution Company, paid $20,464,968.15; Mainstream Energy Limited, the preferred bidder for Kainji Power Plc, paid $59,467,500; and Sahelian Power SPV, the preferred bidder for Kano Distribution Company, paid $34.25 million. It added: “Other bidders are: Amperion Power Company Limited, the preferred bidder for Geregu Power Plc, which

paid $33 million; Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Company, the preferred bidder for Ibadan and Yola Distribution Companies, which paid $42.25 million and $14.75 million for Ibadan and Yola Discos; NEDC/KEPCO, the preferred bidder for Ikeja Distribution Company, which paid $32.75 million; and West Power & Gas, the preferred bidder for Eko Distribution Company, which paid $33.75 million. It would be recalled that the final approval of the preferred bidders by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and its announcement for the successor companies was done on October 23, 2012. The Nigerian electricity industry has been unbundled into generation and distribution companies and a single transmission company with a view to encouraging private sector participation and attracting foreign and local investments into the Nigerian power sector to ensure economic and reliable electricity supply. Adopting a motion introduced by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power, Patrick Ikhariale, the House contended that the power sector was critical to the economy and should not be neglected, especially in the area of funding.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

NEWS

7

‘Okwu cannot host APGA national convention’

ECOWAS common tariff to boost free trade

From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu

From Oghogho Obayuwana (Foreign Affairs Editor), Abuja ITH the impending adoption of a region-wide Common External Tariff (CET), a major barrier to free trade in West Africa is about to be blown away. Once the CET comes on board, goods imported into a Francophone country, for example, will not necessarily be cheaper than those entering an Anglophone country. According to a resolution at the latest meeting of the Technical Committee of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Praia, Cape Verde, which was made available to The Guardian yesterday, the area, which is home to about 260 million people, would soon start enjoying the fruits of integration made better by a uniform regime of customs charges. For a smooth take-off, however, seven ECOWAS states are to migrate to the new bands already applicable in countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). CET is a response to the 2006 decision of regional leaders for such common external tax regime. During the meeting, the regional experts also considered the draft CET for the region as well as the draft regulations on highly taxed inputs, customs evaluation and regional integration community levy to replace the existing community levy for funding the activities of the Commission and institutions of the community. This particular report was being considered yesterday by regional Ministers of Finance, who would thereafter review their proposals for a harmonised regional CET.

HE embattled National T Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has said that the Maxi Okwu-led interim committee lacks powers to convoke the party’s national convention. Reacting to a planned APGA convention scheduled for April 8 in Enugu, Umeh said the declarative judgment of the Enugu High Court, which sacked the entire executive members of the party, did not appoint Okwu to lead APGA, stressing that Okwu was not a member of APGA. And contrary to Okwu’s claim of headship of APGA, he declared that such recognition had not been accorded him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), adding that fixing convention and congresses remained the prerogative of the APGA National Executive Committee (NEC). “Okwu is an expert in propaganda and all his empty words in the media are an act of a man who is not honest to himself,” Umeh alleged. “The Enugu High Court judgment he is banking on did not appoint him to replace me as national chairman, and even his sponsors are aware of this.

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A vehicle burning at city gate along Airport Road in Abuja …yesterday

Uyo: Kidnap victim, Udotong, regains freedom after six days From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo T was a huge relief yesterday for Dr. Mrs. Justina Udotong, her family and friends and the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) after the lecturer regained freedom from her abductors six days after intensive search and protests. The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNIUYO branch, Dr. Nwachukwu Anyim, broke the news of her release, say-

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ing: “Our kidnapped colleague has been freed. We commend security agencies for their role towards her release.” The branch ASUU had on Tuesday, after a protest march, issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Udotong’s abductors to release her or they would take such action that would make the university ungovernable. Though the eventual sum paid for her release was not

given, sources within the family told The Guardian that an undisclosed amount was paid before her release. According to the source, “the family paid some amount of money before the kidnappers released Mrs. Udotong, who had stayed in their den for over five days.” Meanwhile, academic activities were paralysed yesterday, students gathered in groups discussing the development and most offices under lock

and key, apparently guarding against some notorious persons, who could capitalising on the situation to cause havoc. The state Commissioner of Police, Umar Gwadebe, could not be reached as his telephone lines continuously replied switched off. The senior lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry the 10th person to be kidnapped in the university, was whisked away last Friday by

heavily armed gunmen numbering over four in front of her house off Idoro Road in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. She was said to be returning home from work at about 1.30 p.m. when she was waylaid by her captors and taken away just as she was about to take a turn into her compound. Shortly after her abduction, the kidnappers established contact with her family members, demanding N100 mil-

From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka

Ogboru challenges court’s competence in debt suit By Joseph Onyekwere ITING lack of jurisdiction, former governorship candidate in Delta State, Great Ogboru, yesterday argued that the Federal High Court, Lagos, cannot entertain a suit filed against him by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). AMCON had filed an application against the politician in order to recover a debt of N200 million, which his firm, Fiogret Limited, owed Equatorial Trust Bank (now Sterling Bank), by appointing a receiver manager over his properties. Moving the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court, however, Ogboru’s counsel, Prof. McCarthy Mbadugha, said the suit was an abuse of court process because there was a pending suit before Justice Adamu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the same subject matter. According to Mbadugha, an Abuja court had earlier issued an order perpetually restraining AMCON from taking over Ogboru’s properties. He also faulted the appearance of Kunle Ogunba in the matter, accusing him of having financial interest in the matter, having already been appointed by the court as receiver/manager. He therefore, urged the court to dismiss the suit. In his response, Ogunba said that Ogboru agreed that the

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principal loan sum of N33 million was outstanding, adding: “He has not paid, but wants the court to determine the interest. The action of people like Ogboru wrecked some banks in Nigeria.” Besides, Ogunba faulted Mbadugha’s argument that he was not qualified to appear for AMCON, stating that there was no specific prayer to that effect by the defendant in the motion paper. He added that Ogboru’s motion was misconceived and should be dismissed.

Ogunba further told the court that Ogboru and his company, Fiogret Limited, “take delight in taking loans from banks without paying back,” stating that it was the reason he would always run to court to get injunction to stop recovery process. Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, had earlier ruled that he would first entertain Ogboru’s case before other applications in the matter and adjourned to March 22 (today) for Mbadugha’s reply on point of law to Ogunba’s argument. AMCON had secured an

order of the court confirming Ogunba’s appointment as receiver/manager over the assets pledged by Ogboru as security for the loan. But Ogboru filed two motions in response to that order. The first seeks to vacate the earlier order appointing Ogunba as receiver/manager over his properties situated at Plot 43, Norma Williams Street, Ikoyi, Plot 230-234, Owotu-Ikorodu, and Plot 15, Layi Ajayi-Bembe Street, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos. The second motion challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.

OVERNOR Peter Obi has G assured the people of Anambra State of his The court had on January 13, 2013, appointed Ogunba as receiver/manager over five of Ogboru’s properties scattered all over Nigeria. The court also ordered that all banks and financial institutions in the country should furnish the receiver/manager with details of any sum of money standing to the credit of the defendant (Ogboru). Besides, Justice Abang ordered the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, as well as Commissioners of Police in charge of Lagos, Delta, Edo and Rivers states to assist the receiver/manager in

NNPC hires international consultants to enhance operations From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City PPARENTLY irked by the criticisms that have trailed its operations and in a bid to engender efficiency and quick service delivery in Nigerian oil and gas industry, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) - a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) - yesterday said it has engaged the services of internationally certified consultants to help it upgrade its operations and strategies. According to NPDC, this would help it shorten con-

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tracting processes, just as it disclosed that it was working with other sister-companies in the NNPC to generate a database benchmark that would reduce the cost of contract execution and selection process. Managing Director of NPDC, Iyowuna Victor Briggs, disclosed at the 1st NPDC Quarter Contractors’ Forum held in Benin City, Edo State, that the forum became imperative because of the challenges facing the company as a result of rapid expansion within a very short period and the large number of assets recently assigned to it. Represented by the Executive

Director, Engineering and Technical Services Division, Malam Hamidu Namtari, Briggs noted that due to the time needed to deliver on these assets, the company decided to organise the forum to sensitise its contractors and service providers. “Operating the new assets also exposed us to interact with a large number of hostcommunities and this has introduced more complications in our operations,” Briggs said. “But because it is mandatory for us to maintain very high environmental and safety standards while delivering very good quality work, by

Obi tours Anambra South, restates commitment to state

producing crude oil for the Federal Government - which accounts for over 80 per cent of our national revenue, it became very important for us to organise a gathering such as this with our contractors and service providers.” He listed pipeline vandalism, community unrest and crude oil theft as other challenges confronting NPDC in its operations just as he pointed out that the forum was meant to provide opportunity for the company to interact with the contractors and enable it rob minds, highlight and identify problems they encounter in the execution of contracts.

unflinching resolve to continue to work for their welfare and the development of the state. Speaking yesterday during his tour of Anambra South Senatorial Zone, covering the seven councils - Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North and South, Orumba North and South, and Aguata, Obi said the routine tour was to enable him interact with the people and for the people to talk freely with their governor. Maintaining that governance was the responsibility of both leaders and followers, he charged them to write him on whatever the government is not doing well, and how to make it work. Meanwhile, the governor inspected the ongoing water projects at Oba, Umuoji and Obosi, while at Nnewi, he assured of more roads and improvement in power supply to boost industries in the town. At Ekwusigo, he disclosed that construction of the road connecting Atani in Ogbaru would be flagged off within two weeks, as well as the three bridges on the road. He said: “The state would witness the doubling of efforts towards development. As I speak, we awarded four road projects last week and will award more. This is not showmanship, we have the money to prosecute them.”


8 | NEWS

Nigeria rates third worst in population, potable water ratio From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja F the 783 million people worldwide without potable water, 66 million are in Nigeria, just as 109 million people in the country are without good sanitation, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This data places Nigeria third and fourth globally on the list of countries with large population without access to improved water sources and sanitation respectively. In a statement to commemorate the 2013 World Water Day, with the theme: “International Year of Water Cooperation”, UNICEF urged governments, civil society and the citizens to remember that behind the statistics are the faces of children. It noted that child mortality data shows that Nigeria is among the five countries contributing about half of the global under-five deaths alongside countries like India, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Pakistan and China. According to the statement by UNICEF Nigeria’s Media and External Relations Officer, Mr. Geoffery Njoku, India (24 per cent) and Nigeria (11 per cent) account for over a third of all deaths of children under five years and also have significant populations without improved water and sanitation. Njoku stated that children from rural areas are more vulnerable to diarrhea compared to their urban counterparts, adding that about 16 per cent of child deaths were attributed to diarrheal diseases in 2007.

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Rival APC alerts on plot to halt it, starts membership registration From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja HE African People’s ConT gress (APC) has raised alarm over alleged plot to manipulate and compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against registering it as a full political party. Briefing journalists at its Apo National Secretariat, the party also announced the commencement of membership registration even ahead of its formal registration by INEC. Meanwhile, a group, the All Progressives Youth League, has condemn the lingering controversy surrounding INEC’s registration of the merger-product All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the claim of ownership of the acronym by another group, the African People’s

• Group condemns name controversy Congress. It stated its belief in the political ideology, value system and vision of the merger-party APC as a formidable, focused and broad-based opposition party with capacity and political stamina to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. APC Acting National Chairman, Onyinye M. Ikeagwuonu, who addressed a press conference alongside other officials of the party, accused a group he called “the merger party” of misinforming INEC about “a baseless allegation of signature forgery.” According to him, “conspirators and dark forces against democracy have infiltrated

INEC. We wish to alert Nigerians of an ugly development - a black market transaction going on in INEC which, if not checked immediately, may murder the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria.” He added: “Information at our disposal has shown the manipulative, tinkering and leakage of official documentation concerning the ongoing registration process of the African People’s Congress. “We are particularly concerned about the activities going on in the legal department of INEC, where a certain group of senior (members of) staff are hell bent on using smuggled-in document and fabrication to

deny APC registration.” In the meantime, he said, “APC is not going to sit back and watch these dark forces in INEC, acting under the influence of the Lagos Mafia, deny APC its constitutional right to registration”. The organisation said it had complied with all requirements of the Electoral Act regarding party registration, adding that INEC had written a letter to acknowledge that all documents required had been submitted. Ikeagwuonu warned: “The requirements of the law have been complied with and we must warn that any prank against our registration shall be firmly resisted.” Addressing the controversy trailing the APC acronym,

DPR seals 15 fuel stations in Delta, Edo over extortion From Chido Okafor, Warri OR allegedly manipulating Fdeliberately fuel-dispensing pumps to cheat motorists and other users of premium motor spirit (PMS), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has shut down 15 fuel stations in Delta and Edo states. The DPR, which carried out a routine monitoring of some fuel stations in Asaba, Benin City and Warri in the last three days, uncovered largescale sharp practices by some marketers. According to DPR officials, several stations checked were under-dispensing PMS to motorist by over one and-a-

half litres, while a few underdispensed by over two litres. This means that for every 10 litres motorists buy, they only get 8 or 8.5 litres. Two filing stations in Benin City, Nocheal and Ogala, as well as Kepas in Warri were the worst cheats, as they underdispensed by over two litres. Warri metropolis had the highest number of fuel pump manipulations. Many of the marketers programmed their pumps to read N97 whereas the pumps were deliberately calibrated to cheat by not measuring the correct quantity paid for. Two cases of hoarding of products were as well recorded during the monitoring

exercise. Also, some of the stations that were shut sold beyond government’s regulated N97 pump price, though the stations involved claimed that they bought from private depots at high price. However, the DPR Zonal Operations Controller, Mr. Antigha B. Ekaluo, said that marketers who buy from private depots had no reason to sell above approved pump price since the DPR had ensured that private depots like Rain Oil, Matrix and others in the zone sell to marketers at the normal price. Ekaluo noted that most marketers manipulate their pumps deliberately to max-

imise profit, saying: “The marketers indulge in a lot of malpractices that the public is even aware of. They sale at high price, they divert, hoard products and under-dispense. “We do a lot of surveillance trying to track down the malpractices. When they are caught, we impose sanctions.” According to him, sanctions are applied discretionally because they don’t want crisis situation. He further disclosed that the DPR laboratory had been upgraded and now capable of accurately testing petroleum products, especially against adulteration.

the youth league said the dispute over ownership of the acronym was a diversionary tactics by the PDP and its hired spin-doctors to destabilise the merger-party APC, adding that African People’s Party is fake and aimed at discrediting the opposition

Benue Assembly passes N136.4b 2013 budget From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi HE Benue House of AssemT bly has passed the state’s 2013 appropriation bill with an increase of about N5.5 billion, bringing the figure to N136.4 billion from the N130.9 billion presented to the House on December 12, 2012, by Governor Gabriel Suswam. Speaker of the House, Terhile Ayua, gave the breakdown as N63.6 billion for recurrent expenditure and N72.85 billion for capital expenditure. He explained that the budget so passed has deficit of N12.4 billion, adding that financing is planned to come from statutory allocation, value added tax, internally-generated revenue, interest on investment, capital receipts and excess crude oil, among others. Ayua further appealed to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to implement the budget to the letter to give real benefits to the people of the state. Earlier, the Chairman of Appropriation Committee, Ianna Jato, told the House that the budget was increased because Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not included in the initial proposal.


9

The GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

WorldReport North Korea issues fresh threat to U.S., South probes hacking ORTh Korea said it would N attack United States military bases in Japan and the Pa-

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (right) and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands during a joint press conference following meetings at the Muqata, the Palestinian Authority headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah …yesterday PHOTO: AFP PHOTO/SAUL LOEB

U.S. in support of independent Palestinian state, says Obama ReSIDeNT Barack Obama P has said on a visit to the West Bank that the United States remains “deeply committed” to creating a sovereign state of Palestine. Speaking after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Obama said Israeli settlement activity was not “appropriate for peace”. Secretary of State John Kerry would, he added, devote time and energy to trying to bring the two sides closer. Mr. Abbas said the talks in Ramallah had been “good and useful”. however, Palestinian expectations of Mr. Obama’s visit have been low, analysts say. The three-day visit is Obama’s first to Israel and the West Bank as president. After his meeting with Mr. Abbas, which lasted slightly longer than scheduled, he

said there were “irritants” on both sides but that direct negotiations were the best solution for Israel and the Palestinians. “The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it,” he said in Ramallah. On the troubled proposal for a two-state solution, Obama said: “I absolutely believe that it is still possible but I think it is very difficult. Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own,” he said. he accepting the two sides had strong disagreements, but urged them to pursue an agreement nonetheless, saying: “I think we can keep pushing through some of these problems and make sure that we don’t use them as an excuse not to do anything.” Mr. Abbas said the Palestin-

ian side expected Israel to stop building settlements if it wanted to engage in talks. Thanking the US administration for its continuing support for the Palestinian Authority, Abbas said peace with Israel should not be achieved through violence, occupation, settlements, arrests or denial of refugee rights. About 150 protesters were kept away from the Palestinian president’s compound by police. Yesterday morning, Israeli officials said two rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, but there were no reports of anyone being hurt. A further two rockets fired from Gaza reportedly fell inside Gaza itself. Abbas condemned “violence against civilians, whatever its source, including the firing of

Election challenge, acid test for Kenya’s top judge ITh a history of proW democracy activism and an unconventional streak, Kenya’s Chief Justice, Justice Willy Mutunga, has won broad support for his campaign to clean up the country’s discredited judicial system. Now, with a nation’s expectations weighing on his shoulders, 65-year-old Mutunga must rule on a disputed presidential election in the biggest test yet of the country’s newly reformed judiciary. Defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s decision to challenge the result in court is already a dramatic shift from 2007, when he lost in another disputed election but called for protests because he said the judiciary could not be trusted to be fair. The tribal violence in the weeks that followed that vote

led to a new constitution that gave Kenyans a reformed judiciary and a Mutunga, breaking the mould of presidential appointees who were seen as political insiders. For Kenyans, the hard-won democratic gains are now at stake. Whatever Mutunga rules, upholding Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory or deciding in Odinga’s favour, he will face a tough job convincing the losers that his court has not again played politics. he has already faced some sniping from critics who suggest he is too close to Odinga and question his ability to be impartial. But Mutunga’s background as a lawyer who was detained in the 1980s for challenging the autocratic government at that time means he may stand a better chance than predeces-

sors in ensuring his final ruling, due by March 30, wins popular acceptance. “People have never had as much faith in the chief justice as they do in Willy Mutunga,” said John Githongo, a former anti-corruption official turned whistleblower. “Before now there has never been this level of confidence in the judiciary.” Odinga alleges the poll was rigged and said Kenyatta’s win had put “democracy on trial”. Kenyatta said the vote was fair. Both have promised to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling that could throw out Odinga’s challenge or order a re-run. Kenyatta secured 50.07 percent of the vote to Odinga’s 43.28 percent but only just scraped enough votes, a little more than 8,100 of the 12.3 million cast, to avoid a second round run-off.

rockets”, according to a Palestinian spokesperson. On Wednesday Mr Obama pledged America’s strong support for Israel as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a twostate solution.

cific island of Guam if provoked, a day after leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a mock drone strike on South Korea. The North also held an air raid drill yesterday after accusing the United States of preparing a military strike using bombers that have over flown the Korean peninsula as part of drills between South Korean and U.S. forces. North Korea stepped up its rhetoric in response to what it calls “hostile” drills between South Korea and the United States. It has also been angered by the imposition of fresh United Nations sanctions that followed its February 12 nuclear test. Separately, South Korea said a hacking attack on the servers of local broadcasters and banks on Wednesday originated from an IP address in China, raising suspicions the intrusion came from North Korea. “The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Anderson Air Force base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear powered submarines are deployed and the navy bases on Okinawa,” the

North’s supreme military command spokesman was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency. Japan and U.S. Pacific bases are in range of Pyongyang’s medium-range missiles.

EU threatens Egypt with aid cuts over reforms he european Union warned T egypt yesterday it could lose funds from its €5b aid package if democratic reforms fail to satisfy Brussels, and said Cairo has already lost some additional funding. In a report on reforms in eastern europe, the Middle east and North Africa, the european Commission said Cairo has shown insufficient progress since the 2011 revolt that overthrew President hosni Mubarak and handed power to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement. It listed “serious setbacks” in areas such as human rights, and criticised egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi for pushing through constitutional changes that have plunged the country into “a deeply divisive political crisis”. Failure to address eU concerns could result in cutbacks in aid for Mursi’s cash-strapped government, the eU’s commissioner for enlargement, Stefan Fuele, told a news conference.


10

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Politics Yoruba have no basis to cry marginalisation, says Okunnu Former Federal Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, says the marginalisation outcry by the Yoruba is a farce. He told Seye Olumide that one of the biggest setbacks for the nation is ethnic chauvinism. O you share the opinion that the Yoruba are DThismarginalised in the scheme of the federation? is a very loaded question but my attitude is we should de-emphasise on the issues of nationalities. The ideas we are the Yoruba, Hausa, and whatever should be removed. The emphasis the modern day politicians are placing on the notion that Nigeria is a collection of nation states will never foster one country called Nigeria or a national identity for the country. I reject personally the notion that we are a collection of nations or nationalities. It is true we speak different languages but if we want to make Nigeria one country and one nation, emphasis on nationalities should be de-emphasised. That is my belief but let me put it differently. If you want a Nigeria of one people, one vision and one goal, this is not the way to have it. A Nigeria where emphasis is, ‘I am a Yoruba, or an Ndigbo or Hausa and others’ cannot translate into one nation. There is no way we can build a strong and united nation that way. I think it is high time our politicians started to talk in terms of political ideology, as a dividing line rather than ethnicity. It’s true the leaders of old, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, used ethnicity effectively enough to achieve their aims, particularly Awolowo, to climb to political power. Awolowo, from my own study of him as a student and as a colleague in Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s government, from the 50s up to the time he died, he used Egbe Omo Oduduwa to climb to political power. But once he attained power on the platform of Action Group (AG), he gradually deemphasised the role of Egbe Omo Oduduwa. He did not even bring it into his government. He was leader of the AG, period. Azikiwe was leader of the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), period. There was less emphasis on Egbe Omo Oduduwa or Ndigbo under Azikiwe. But today, politicians don’t even make any difference. The emphasis is on Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Ijaw Nation and the rest. We are not serious about Nigeria and nobody is thinking about the collective interest of the country except very few people. I have never met a Chinese or an American, an India or a Japanese claiming they are from this part of an ethnic nationality in their country. What they talk about is their country. But when you meet Nigerians  even outside the country, they always lay emphasis on their ethnic backgrounds. We should start to de-emphasise our ethnic origin. We should leave ethnicity in the promotion of culture and stop all these Yoruba, Arewa, Ndigbo and other groups but rather make one nation. If we continue like this, we will never make one nation. We need a politician, who will come forward and say, ‘I am a Nigerian.’ I hope that people will listen to what I am saying. The Press will also place more emphasis on it just for the benefit of the country. We should try to cultivate the Nigerian nation. We should stop all theses ethnic chauvinism, quota system and the notion that it is our turn to get this and that. Otherwise, we will never develop. What the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Afenifere and others are saying is that President Goodluck Jonathan has been removing their kinsmen arbitrarily from cabinet positions and replacing them with people from other ethnic nationalities…   You do not understand what I am saying. I am a Nigerian and I don’t care whether President Jonathan has all his ministers from Bayelsa or Southeast or anywhere as long as they are the best people he can get in the country to run the government. I don’t care whether 25 per cent of the members in his cabinet are from Lagos. I will hold my head up as far as they are the best people or mate-

Okunnu rials for cabinet posts to make Nigeria a prosperous country. We should stop the chauvinistic feeling that Yoruba are cheated, or the Ndigbo are cheated out of government posts. The Yoruba are crying now but remember the Ndigbo and the South-South and several other ethnic nationalities made the same accusations against past administrations. I pronounced every cry of marginalisation from any ethnic nationalities in this country foul. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled for eight years and what happened? Is it possible all the ethnic groups must produce president or cabinet members at the same time? What is important to Nigerians is provision of basic needs for the common man. As someone born in Lagos, when will a man from Lagos become the president of the country? The Yoruba-speaking nation has had its turn and I don’t see any merit in what the people are saying. There are still Yoruba ministers in Jonathan’s cabinet. Posting cannot go round. It is bad enough for us to have a minister from each state of the federation. This is what adds up to cost of governance. During my time in government, there were only 12 states and we had only 12 ministers in the cabinet. I believe we had the best record in terms of infrastructure development in the country. Today, we have over 36 ministers in the cabinet and one from each state; tell me of what benefit has these to the country? These issues, in terms of sharing the national cake based on ethnicity, would not do. We should allow the best people on the political platform to govern the country. We cannot build the government on the numbers of ethnic nationalities we have in govern-

ment. America is not built on ethnic basis; so, for goodness sake, we should grow up and leave ethnicity in the corridor of culture. HAT would you say about the demand for a W national conference to address the imbalance and the constitutional crisis in the system? If we are going to conduct any conference on the basis of ethnicity or ethnic agenda, it will not work. I am bold to say that it will further polarise the nation more than we are witnessing. We must purge ourselves of the ethnic divide first before we can move forward. We need to work towards making living easy for the common man. We need to provide jobs, electricity and other basic needs of life for our people. We should think about the 160 million Nigerians and not the 30 million Yoruba and others. It is false to say any group is marginalised. It has no truth. There are Yoruba in the Federal Civil Service. We cannot have four Chief Justices, Senate Presidents and others at a time. The destiny of this nation cannot be placed on ethnic chauvinism. In any event, as far as the history of Nigeria is concerned, the Yoruba have had their fill. Obasanjo is a Yoruba person; he was Head of State for three years and also President for eight years. Haba! What should the Edo man or those from other ethnic groups say? What is the truth over marginalisation of the Yoruba? Chief Earnest Shonekan ruled the Interim National Government (ING); he came from Abeokuta in Ogun State like Obasanjo. In that regard, an Ijebu man from Ogun can also claim that his own area of Yoruba land is being marginalised.

The marginalisation theory has no basis in truth and in fact, and it will never help us to build one nation. Ethnic divide is to blame for the backwardness of Nigeria. That is one of the biggest challenges to the development of the country. The Arewa, Ohanaeze, Yoruba groups and others are not helping matters. They are encouraging selfishness, violence, mediocrity and several other vices in the country. I think they should restrict their activities to cultural background.

The marginalisation theory has no basis in truth and in fact and it will never help us to build one nation. It is just an irony that those talking about marginalisation now are my friends and most of them were former members  the Action Group and the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). These same people lampooned former Premier of the Old Western Region and his deputy, Chief Samuel L Akintola and Chief Fani-Kayode, respectively when the two cried out how Yoruba were being marginalised under the Balewa government. That is one of the reasons Akintola was expelled by the AG before he formed the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) with FaniKayode. So, I find it very funny that some of the people that lampooned them are crying marginalisation. Would you blame the backwardness of Nigeria on ethnic divide? Yes. That is one of the biggest challenges to the development of the country. The Arewa, Ohanaeze, Yoruba groups and others are not helping matters. They are encouraging selfishness, violence, mediocrity and several other vices in the country. I think they should restrict their activities to cultural background. Would you suggest the expunging of federal character in the Constitution? It should not be there in the first place. There is no federal character in any constitution of any country in the world. Allow the best men to do the job wherever they come from. I don’t believe in quota system. As an old boy of King’s College, Lagos, I fought along with other students against quota system. In the college, we didn’t bother where you came from. At what point do you think the issue of ethnic sentiment came up in our politics? Let me take Lagos as an example. Nigerians from different parts of the country played the politics of Lagos in the forties. Earnest Ikoli was a figure in Lagos politics and he was an Ijaw man. He was nominated for a seat in the Legislative Council to represent Lagos. We also had the Odemo of Ishara, Samuel Akinsanya. The two were active politicians in Lagos. Azikiwe was in favour of Akinsanya while Awolowo was in favour of Ikoli — none of them was a Lagos man. Lagos was a microcosm of Nigeria. The three elected members in Lagos to the Legislative Council in 1946 to 1947 were Dr. Olorunnimbe, the first Mayor of the state, had the highest votes, followed by Azikiwe and Adeleke Adedoyin, who came from Shagamu. We are all Nigerians. Mbonu Ojike from Orlu became the deputy mayor because the people in Lagos voted for him as deputy. If we are to trace the root of Olorunnimbe, maybe his grand father came from outside Lagos. That was the Nigeria of my own dream and not where you came from but what you are able to contribute to the country. Mallam Umaru Altine who hailed from the old Sokoto Province of the defunct region of Northern Nigeria and who served as President of the Enugu Branch of NCNC was elected the first Mayor of Enugu in 1956. Dr. Ajibade from Lagos was a political figure in Port Harcourt. Awolowo founded the Egbe Omo Oduduwa and he used the platform to bring all the traditional rulers and Yoruba people together to build up the AG. And once he did that, he put the organisation aside and he won his election on the platform of the AG. He did not misuse the platform. What we have today is disheartening. We should be talking of political ideologies of the parties. We should know the ideology of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the other parties. We should be talking of what the parties want to bring to the table of the common man. The truth is average Nigerians do not place any emphasis on where anyone comes from as long as the person can provide for his or her basic needs. It is the present day politicians that are using ethnic divide to pursue their individual and selfish agenda. At a point, Awolowo invited some of the best Yoruba brains in the Federal Civil Service to return to the Western Region for the purpose of development. Are we going to share water on ethnic basis or electricity? That’s the choice before us today.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Obasanjo

POLITICS 11

Ajimobi

PDP : Peace still elusive in Southwest From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan IKE a festering sore, the reconciliation move by LDemocratic the national leadership of the Peoples Party (PDP), which kicked off in the Southwest zone last Friday, ended on a less satisfactory note. This is in spite of the spirited efforts by the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC) to bring the gladiators to the negotiation table. In reviewing the peace process, a party chieftain said, “looking at the turnout of people at the parley, there was no way the Ibadan meeting could be regarded as reconciliatory.” The battle for the soul of the PDP in the zone is currently between a group loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and another against him. The anti-Obasanjo group fired the first shot with the sacking of former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as the party’s national secretary, premising its action on a subsisting order of the court. Barely a month after Oyinlola was removed, the PDP National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha and its National Vice-Chairman, Mr. Segun Oni, both staunch loyalists of the former president, were also sacked from their offices. So, when the call for reconciliation came from the NWC, the aggrieved party chieftains stayed away. Others, including the Minister of State for FCT, Jumoke Akinjide, former governors Adebayo AlaoAkala, Gbenga Daniel and Chief Yekini Adeojo also shunned the peace talks. At the stakeholders meeting was the immediate past Senate leader, Teslim Folarin; former governors Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State, his Osun and Ekiti States counterparts, Isiaka Adeleke and Ayo Fayose, respectively; Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, as well as Chief Buruji Kashamu. The failure of Tukur to bring all aggrieved parties to the round table, to fashion out the way forward and how to regain control of power at all levels in the zone for the PDP, is a minus for the party hierarchy. However, in their different presentations, the stakeholders maintained that the only path to genuine reconciliation is for the party to redress the problem of undue marginalisation of the zone in the nation’s leadership structure. They demanded the restoration of the Speakership of the House of Representatives, as well as the national secretary of the party to the Southwest, stressing, “this is the only way the PDP can bounce back in the 2015 polls.” Tukur, while addressing the gathering, appealed to the PDP Southwest leaders to be patient and allow the party to address what he admitted was lopsidedness in the distribution of political offices by the ruling party. The national chairman harped on the need for reconciliation, urging members to go back to their respective states and iron out their differences. He said the Southwest is very important and strategic, noting only peaceful co-existence and cordial relationship among members will assist them to win back the zone. One PDP leader in the zone told The Guardian that: “We are in a position to push for the redistribution of political offices. Specifically, we want the position of the Speaker and that of the party secretary to be given to us in the Southwest. “It doesn’t matter that some people currently occupy the positions. The party’s zoning principle gave them to us, and so, they should be ours. If we must tell our people to look in the way of the PDP again, we must be able to tell them the party respects and desires them. If the people feel they are not wanted by the party, it will be difficult to tell them about the PDP.” The party stalwart said that from the Presidency to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, “that is about 10 top positions in the country, and no Yoruba is there.” “We can feel it — that the anger of our people against the party is just because of that. We are

determined to push for redistribution in line with the constitution of the party,” the source added. On her part, the Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, stated that the party is ready to take back the zone from the incumbents in the next elections. She said members now know the difference between being in power and being out of power. “We have now learnt our lessons. Many things were taken for granted when our party was in the saddle. It is very important that we reconcile and forget the past,” he said. Dr. Agagu, former governor of Ondo State, who spoke on behalf of former governors in the zone, blamed the crisis rocking the PDP on the arbitrariness the party witnessed in the past. He also noted that lack of internal democracy is another bane scuttling peace. He called for the formation of a reconciliation team in each of the states, to look at these issues and come up with recommendations on ways to address them. Senator Folarin, who spoke with reporters at the end of the meeting, dismissed claims that the reconciliation process was a failure, saying Tukur’s visit would rather strengthen the party ahead of the 2015 general elections. He said the visit would enhance the effort by members to form a formidable party ahead of the next general elections. His words: “The visit has served as a morale booster to members of the PDP. With the exemplary leadership of Tukur and the teeming members of the party that received him, it had shown that he has the wherewithal to steer the ship of the party. “We have been talking among ourselves and we shall not relent in that, in reconciling ourselves, in making peace and in making the party the choice party of the people of the state.” The former Senate Leader added: “Our target is even beyond the 2015 polls. We are talking of the party generally of which 2015 is just one of it. In our talks, we are trying to pocket our interests for now and come together to enable the party restore its lost place.” But some chieftains of the party, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there was no way the Ibadan meeting could be regarded as reconciliatory. They argued that a situation where a faction of the party, allegedly loyal to the national chairman, was invited for the meeting could not be said to be truly reconciliatory. “If you look at the list of people at the Ibadan meeting, most of them are those who think they can further their political interest by trying to pull down Obasanjo. But they will fail. Besides, the national chairman had, right from the outset, shown that he is against Obasanjo’s men,” they stated. In the same vein, an ally of Alao-Akala, Mr. Femi Babalola, justified the former governor’s absence at the parley, saying, “as a true party man that respects the party constitution, there was no way he would have stayed away if he was truly invited.” But the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, debunked the allegation that former governors of the party were not in attendance. According to him, Agagu, Fayose and Isiaka Adeleke (Osun) were in attendance. “Former governors were in attendance, and yet, people are saying the tour was a failure. That is not correct,” he said. On why Obasanjo was not in attendance, Metuh said the former president was not known to be attending zonal meetings, adding, “Chief Obasanjo has never attended zonal meetings of the PDP, except once in the 14 years history of the party.” So far, the crisis shaking the PDP in the Southwest has not been doused by Tukur’s town hall meeting in the zone. Obasanjo’s men are still aggrieved and are yet to be placated, and their absence at the parley is an indication that things are still far from being right with the much-touted ‘largest party in Africa.’ But the question is, when will peace return to the PDP in the zone?


12

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

TheMetroSection Weather forecast, Ogun River raise fear of flood, storms in Lagos By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

The flood-prone communities include Ikosi-Ketu, Mile 12, Agiliti, Thomas Laniyan Estate, Owode-Onirin, Agboyi-Ketu, Owode Elede, Maidan and Isheri T is about another time Lagosians Irhyme: would begin to sing the old nursery Rain rain, go away. While many look forward to the rainy season as a huge relief from the searing heat of the last few weeks, the prediction of a heavy downpour spanning over 200 days is already raising anxiety among Lagos residents. Last week, in an address that signaled an admission to Providence, the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, called on residents to take necessary precautions to avert dangers, while bracing up for heavy storms. Specifically for residents in low-lying or flood prone areas, the state advised them to start thinking of alternative accommodation. According to government, the relocation order has become imperative due to this year’s seasonal rainfall prediction, which implies that lives and property of the residents are in danger. During the 2013 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) and its socio-economic implication for Lagos State, Bello noted that residents in low-lying areas where water from upstream passes through whenever it rains are highly vulnerable. Rainfall, according to the predictions, will commence in Lagos between the first and second week of March, with a margin of error of three days. This year’s rainfall is expected to end on December 17, with a margin of error of four days. “The magnitude of seasonal rainfall prediction for this year is that Lagos will experience heavy rainfall of high intensity, with thunderstorms just like last year. Heavy thunderstorm has been predicted to occur during the rainy period of June,

Flood scene...last year

July, August, September and October,” he said. The Commissioner, however, gave the assurance that the ministry is on top of its de-flooding programme, which started at the end of last year’s rainy season. “Lagos like other coastal cities of the world is prone to flooding, but we intend to sustain and strengthen last year’s strategy, which include anticipation, monitoring and clearing as well as cleaning of our drainage channels and canals across the state.” In the homes of many, the advent of the rainy season would remind them of their personal tragedies, suffered from a devastating flood, which swept through 19 states of the federation and left in its wake many tales of woe in 2012. It was an agonizing tale of death and destruction, with thousands temporarily and permanently displaced. Valuables lost could not be evaluated and communities are yet to shake off the enduring damage the great flood caused,

as vast tracks of farmland were completely destroyed. Curiously, unlike previous attempts at warning residents, the state government is silent about the fate of some communities in the northeastern part of the state. Last year, residents of over 10 communities were directed to relocate uplands in order to avoid the grave consequence of flood disaster. The flood-prone communities listed as disaster zone areas include Ikosi-Ketu, Mile 12, Agiliti, Thomas Laniyan Estate, Owode-Onirin, Agboyi-Ketu, Owode Elede, Maidan and Isheri North. Other flood-prone areas include IjoraBadia, Apapa-Iganmu, Aradagun in Badagry, Jakande area of Eti-Osa, Bogije Elego and Okegun Odofin in Ibeju Lekki council area, and Makinde/Fatokun in Alimosho local government area. As a coastal state, one of the major challenges the city is faced with during the rainy season is flooding. And whenever the heavens open, no part of the state – lowland or highland – is spared. This makes Lagos residents apprehensive, in-

cluding areas in Ayobo, Ipaja, Surulere, Bariga, Ikeja, Ijesha, Agege and Ajah. For residents of the affected areas in Agiliti and Ketu, there is indeed cause for alarm. While they are at risk of flooding, especially due to the overflowing of a river, which runs through several communities in the area, there is also intense apprehension over the release of water from Ogun River. A resident of Agiliti for three decades, Mrs. Omolara Omidiji, said: “We have been coping well with the rains in spite of the annual warnings by government, but our greatest fear is the flood caused by the dam from Ogun River, which is opened once in three years. And the dam was last opened in 2010, which caused severe destruction.” Omidiji, however, thanked Governor Fashola for coming to the rescue of the community with the construction of a bridge, which before now had been the nemesis in Agiliti. In the past, whenever there is heavy rainfall, the whole area is cut-off from Mile 12, while a canoe is used to come in or go out of the area. “The only thing that can make us leave our homes in panic is only if God cancels the decision he made between himself and mankind that He would not use flood or water to destroy the world again like it was in the days of Noah. If that covenant does not fail, there is no rain that can destroy us,” Omidiji said. Another resident, Ademola Ibrahim, described most of the areas designated as disaster zone as an island surrounded by water. “It is only those on the wetland that can be affected by rain water. Those who bought land close to the riverbank were lured because of the price.” “They also saw other people already inhabiting there, but they forgot that majority of them are from a particular tribe who live on water. These Itsekiris and Ilajes are comfortable with water and they built their house with palm fronds and wood, instead of blocks, meaning they are prepared for any eventuality without warning.”

Kwara moves to end Ganmo crisis From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin WARA State government has suspended further action on the Oluganmo of Ganmo stool pending the resolution of all litigations on the matter. The suspension was announced by the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG) Alhaji Isiaka Gold following an on-the-spot assessment of the damage caused by the crisis in Ganmo. He rued the wanton destruction of property in the five-day mayhem that trailed the proposed presentation of staff of office to the Oluganmo. He was recently rated a fourth -class traditional ruler against the will of a rival monarch in the town.  Gold warned that security agents had been advised to fish out and bring the culprits to book.

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The SSG added that following the suspension of action on the traditional stool, government would view any further outbreak of violence as criminality and prosecute those apprehended. Meanwhile, the umbrella socio- political organisation of the Igbomina has threatened reprisal attacks if its people at Ganmo, Ifelodun Local Council are ever attacked again. The National President of Omo Ibile Igbomina (OII), Dr. Samuel Atolagbe, at a press briefing in Ilorin, stated that their kith and kin at Ganmo had fallen victim of four unprovoked attacks by their neighbours on July 10, 2002, March 18 2008, November 16 2010 and March 17, 2013. In the latest of the attacks, Atolagbe said two of his

people were killed while 30 houses belonging to them were torched and over 120 displaced with no homes to return to. Atolagbe also urged the state government to bring the culprits to book, rebuild damaged houses and compensate the victims. According to him, the postponement of the formal presentation of staff of office by the state government was itself a surprise and very disappointing. He noted that the government, through the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, had duly notified the community of its plan to present the Ganmo monarch with staff of office. He said between March 17 and 18, no fewer than two persons were killed and property worth millions of Naira including the palace of Oluganmo were razed.

Two killed, scores injured as land grabbers invade Ikorodu community By Yetunde Ayobami-Ojo AND grabbers have disrupted decades of peaceful co-existence among the people of Ayetoro Community in Ijede Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Ikorodu, Lagos State. Their sporadic gun-shots that lasted for several hours had left two people dead while scores were injured. The incident was said to have erupted on Wednesday afternoon over a parcel of land in Ayetoro, which had been a subject of litigation between the Adasofunjo and Aniyere families of Ijede before Justice O.A. Dabiri of the Lagos State High Court in 2009. While the proceedings of

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the matter was going on, the Ajibode family was alleged to have appeared in court and asked to be joined as an interested party. The land matter was also said to be under investigation by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Nigerian Police headquarters in Abuja since 2011 where parties were to sign an undertaken to maintain peace. However, the head of the Adasofunjo descendants, Mr. Babatunde Adelakun, who spoke through the family lawyer, Idris Thani, alleged that the land grabbers were brought into the community by the Ajibode family of Baiyeku of Igbogbo Baiyeku LCDA. He alleged that the Ajibode

family had wanted to forcefully take their choice land away from them. Adelakun also said that when people heard the sound of gun-shots, they ran in different directions in an attempt to escape the land grabbers who were allegedly shooting indiscriminately in their midst. He revealed that several people were hit by their bullets stressing that, many of the victims have not been seen since the incidence broke out . Specifically, Mrs. Taiwo Kolawole, a sister to the head of Adasofunjo family, was shot in the left eye, while two bodies were found dead. The names of the deceased were given as Tajudeen

Lawal and Emmanuel Dada whose bodies were seen being taken away in a Mitsubuishi wagon (registration number withheld). Adelakun also alleged that their invaders took away the body of Emmanuel, as they did not want to leave behind any evidence that could incriminate them. He noted that Tajudeen fell down in the bush after being shot and that the bush was set on fire by the marauders when they failed to locate his body which they also wanted to take away. Police from the Igbogbo Police station, led by the DPO, Superintendent Remy Awesome, responded to the distress call of the head of the Adasofunjo family and suc-

ceeded in arresting seven suspects as other land grabbers fled the scene. Ten women, three men, sustained injuries from the gun-shots and are undergoing treatment at the Ikorodu General Hospital. Those arrested include the head of the Ajibode family, Mr. Yaya Ajibode, Shafideen Bisiriyu a.k.a. Yowuyowu, Morufu Alao, Muyideen OPC, Gafari Ajibode a.k..a. Sampon among others. As at yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, a detachment of police in combat gear was still keeping vigil at Aiyetoro Community The case file of the incident and the arrested suspects were transferred to Panti Police station, Yaba yesterday.

Briefs Church holds programme HE General Overseer of T the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Adejare Adeboye would pray for pregnant women and expecting mothers at its monthly special programme coming up on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at the Throne of Grace, 1-9, Redemption Way, formerly Cemetery Street, Ebute-Metta (East), Lagos. Speaking through the Assistant Pastor in charge of Social Responsibility, Pastor Goke Aniyeloye, he gave kudos to Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) for his commitment to health services to Lagosians.

Odoga, 103, for burial URIAL rites for Madam B Alice Odoga who died on January 10, at the age of 103 begin tomorrow with a Christian wake at Prince Odoga Compound/Lawman, by Isoko Bus Stop, Ogudu at noon. Funeral service holds on Friday, April 5, 2013 at Ukri/Odukwe Street, Ellu, followed by interment.

Odoga

Emekwue, 85, passes on A John Emekwue of Ojoto, P Ndemili Local Council of Anambra State, who died at the age of 85, will be buried tomorrow in his hometown. He was a businessman and community leader. He is survived by his wife, Bridget and children among whom is Stella Gageche and Godswill Gageche (son-in-law) both of God’s Kingdom Society, Egbe branch.

Emekwue

Gaishu, 79, for burial rites for Ogbuenyi FdiedUNERAL Justus Okeleke Gaishu who at the age of 79, begin today with a lying-in-state at his compound, Umuekeke Quarters, Akwukwu-Igbo in Oshimili Local Council of Delta State; Requiem Mass holds tomorrow at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church, Akwukwu while a thanksgiving service holds on Sunday at the same church.

Gaishu


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

RCCG offers free food, clothes, medical check-up • Osinbajo speaks at his parish tomorrow HE Redeemed Christian T Church of God, (RCCG), Lagos Province One, will today and tomorrow provide free food, clothes, medical services and vocational training to the public as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. With theme: Touching lives in the year of signs and wonders, the event will hold at Oke Odo Junior High School, about a kilometre from the Mission’s national headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos. A statement by the Province’s Assistant Pastor in Charge of CSR, Pastor Samuel Olabode Olaniyan, said the programme is in furtherance of the directive given to all provinces by the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye. He said the training is in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs. Meanwhile, former Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Professor Yemi Osinbajo, will speak tomorrow at 3 p.m. about his life, including the turning points, his career, Christian journey and his navigation through the corridors of power at the premiere edition of the Man-in-the-Mirror programme of the Olive Tree Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Banana Island, Lagos. Professor Osinbajo is the Pastor of the Parish.

Prof. Osinbajo The programme is to have carefully selected people share their experience in life with others as a means of motivation and handling challenging situations. And there is a lot for Professor Osinbajo to talk about. He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Senior Partner in the Law firm of Simmons Cooper Partners. His tertiary education was at the University of Lagos and the London School of Economics and Political Science obtaining the LLB and LLM degrees respectively. He was appointed Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in

1999 and reappointed for a second term in 2003. During the period of his public service, he commenced the Lagos State justice reform project. A prominent feature of that project was the establishment of the Directorate for Citizens’ Rights (DCR) that provides free legal services and legal representation to indigent citizens of the state. This initiative gave a voice to many who would otherwise not have a way to access their rights. Prior to that appointment, Osinbajo, a Professor of Law, was the Head of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. Between 1988 and 1992, he was the Special Adviser to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He also served as a staff member of the United Nations and Member of the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Committee of Experts on Conduct and Discipline of UN Peacekeeping personnel around the globe, including United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, the United National African Institute for Crime Prevention, the International Criminal Court for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Peace Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM). Professor Osinbajo has authored, co-authored and edited several books and publications.

Couple charged to court over money laundering By Tolulope Okunlola and Bukola Ojeyemi WO employees of Diamond Bank, Lasisi Abayomi, Hillary Ojukwu and three others were arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday. The accused were arraigned by the Nigeria Police for money laundering, which is punishable under section 13(2)(B) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2004. The defandants are Lasisi Abayomi, Hilary Ojukwu (both employees of Diamond Bank), Onoche Ikenua, Lizzy Ikenua, Oni Oil and Gas and Diamond Bank Plc. They were standing trial on a five-count charge bordering on money launder-

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ing, illicit drug deal, conspiracy, fraud and fake identities. The court charged the defendants for allegedly conspiring with some alleged drug barons to conceal a large sum of money realized from illicit dealing in hard drugs. The bank workers were charged for failing to verify the true identity of Onoche Ikenua and Lizzy Ikenua before starting a business transaction with Oni Oil and Gas Limited. In the charge, the duo, Onoche and Lizzy Ikenua falsely presented fake identities of themselves as Directors of Oni Oil and Gas Limited in order to open an account with the bank.

The two bank officials were also alleged to have conspired with the couple to conceal large sums of money allegedly derived from their illicit drug deal. Justice James Tsoho fixed the trial date after the prosecutor, Mr. Raphael Hinmikaye, informed the court of the absence of the second accused, who he said, was ill. The accused had all pleaded not guilty to the charge, and Justice James Tsoho allowed them to continue on the bail earlier granted by the former trial Judge. Initially, the accused were formerly re-arraigned before the court in February 2012, following the transfer of the initial trial Judge, Justice Lambo Akanbi.

Photonews

Kids at Bluebells Montessori School celebrating with Anuoluwapo Afolabi during her second year birthday .. on Wednesday.

Photonews

Managing Director, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Mr. Deog Jun Kim (left); scholarship awardee and 400 level Engineering student of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Mr. Chinyere Harry Okoro; and the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Rahamon Bello, during the LG scholarship award presentation to deserving Engineering students in UNIPHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU LAG, Akoka, Lagos...  

Brand Operation Integration Manager, P&G Nigeria, Titilola Adetunji (left); Celebrity Endorser, Dr. Sid Esiri;  Brand Manager, P & G Nigeria, Ngozi Coker; and Regulatory and Technical Relations Manager, P& G, Adebusola Opanubi, during the World Oral Health Day celebration organized by Oral B in Lagos ...on Wednesday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI


TheGuardian

14 | THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Conscience Nurtured by Truth

FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011)

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

Editorial Alamieyeseigha’s pardon: Wrong! HE presidential pardon given to the former Governor of Bayelsa State, T Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, along with some other ex-convicts, is patently illconceived, morally reprehensible and should be reversed immediately. Just when it seems the Goodluck Jonathan administration has hit the lowest ebb in governance capacity and signaling for real national rebirth, it manages to find a further depth in ignominy. This pardon is one example of that inherent predilection for digging a grave beyond half a dozen feet. Unlike the others whose convictions were based on political offences, even though those too have no meaning since many of them had received pardon before, Alamieyeseigha was convicted for purely economic crime. To grant him pardon therefore is simply to encourage the perpetration of such crimes, and to consequently further ridicule government’s purported anti-corruption crusade. Alamieyeseigha was granted pardon along with some ex-convicts, notably the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, General Oladipo Diya, Major General Bello Magaji and Major General Abdulkareem Adisa who were convicted for what was generally viewed as a phantom coup. While it is debatable if the cause of some of the so-called coup plotters was just and therefore their pardon, then or now, is open to interrogation, the case of Alamieyeseigha is clearly egregious! It is hardly surprising that the action has been mired in protest. Indeed, with the exception of the ill-advised removal of fuel subsidy in January last year, nothing, in President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, seems to have attracted as much public anger and opprobrium as this pardon. Without any doubt, the president is constitutionally mandated, according to section 175(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to ‘grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions’. The exercise of such power by the president, according to section 172(2) of the same constitution, takes effect only ‘after consultation with the Council of State’. Therefore, though the president is so empowered, where and what then went wrong that this particular action has received so much condemnation, both at home and abroad? From the public debate the exercise has generated, Nigerians and the international community are not challenging the constitutional right of the President of Nigeria to pardon. Far from it! Their concern, instead, seems to be that there should be room for a measure of decorum and decency in the exercise of constitutional powers. The main grouse, and validly so, therefore, remains that in the case at hand, all virtues were totally discarded. And the action has no redeeming value. Whereas presidential pardon is not new to the Nigerian political landscape, extending such a gesture to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha by President Jonathan was not only ill-informed, but also morally wrong. Not only was Alamieyeseigha convicted of corrupt charges, including money laundering of huge proportion in Nigeria, he also jumped bail in London where he remains on the wanted list of the Metropolitan Police. Moreover, President Jonathan recently publicly declared Alamieyeseigha as his mentor, thereby further underscoring the public knowledge about their old-standing political bond. In civilized societies, taking advantage of a privileged presidential office to facilitate state pardon for such a close political associate would be considered an abuse of public office, even when the associate’s offence was not so heinous. The pardon for Alamieyeseigha is clearly an abuse of office by the President. Indeed, the action sends the wrong signal to both the domestic and external environments, most especially regarding the much-orchestrated war against corruption in Nigeria. It tells a gory tale of the insincerity of the Nigerian government to wage a sustainable war against corruption. Worse still, the decision can also strengthen the hands of public servants at all levels in the ‘Corruption Incorporated’ that Nigeria has become under the Jonathan presidency. After all, looters of state treasury now have some measure of assurance that if they belong to the ‘right’ political camp, they can actually get state pardon, even when convicted. To add salt to an already festering injury, the pardon comes with the restoration of all rights and privileges, including the right to aspire to higher political offices. The message therefore seems to be that it pays to be corrupt. The presidency, by attempting to defend the indefensible, in a shameless manner, rather than remonstrate and retrace its steps, has unwittingly admitted, openly, that the action was deliberate, with some ulterior motive. By picking up quarrels with western countries who expressed reservations over this development, President Jonathan has also shown that his government is totally out of sync with all values, especially zero toleration for corruption. By also ignoring the public outcry against the pardon, the presidency has confirmed, for the umpteenth time, that Nigerians are mere clients, instead of primary stakeholders of governance, in its own estimation. No government that derives its power from the popular will of the people treats its people with such ignominious contempt. From all indications, the only path of dignity left for this government is to withdraw the controversial pardon. This should be done in the overall interest of Nigeria’s national and international image, which has now suffered a more excruciating damage than ever before.

LETTERS

Why Gowon cannot write a memoir IR: Many people have urged Gen. Gowon to Swrite his memoir (before he

to according dies, Ghanaians). Mounting such pressure on him is an exercise in futility because there are five key issues, which he will never be able to explain all to convincingly Nigerians. So he prefers to avoid talking about them. The first is the Aburi Accord. How on earth can Gowon justify dumping an agreement he signed freely in a foreign country, surrounded by a crowd of advisers and technocrats? The second is the pogrom of 1966/1967 in Kano and Kaduna? Till date, nobody was arrested. Nobody was prosecuted or convicted for murder, arson and looting. Lest we forget, it is this impunity over the years that has metamorphosed into an controllable monster called Boko Haram. Boko Haram is not imported. It is a phenomenon nurtured by the Northern elite to consolidate their hold on power at the centre. It may have developed some international “tentacles” but it was wholly home-grown. The Northern elite have lost control of what they created. Third, how can Gowon justify the signing away of the Bakassi Peninsular without consulting the indigenes, all in a desperate move to win

his war against Emeka Ojukwu? Gen. Gowon traded away a people, their land, the resources and the strategic position of the Bakassi Peninsular. Fourthly, what is Gowon’s explanation for the starving to death of two million children in Biafra? Was there no other way to avoid this monumental human tragedy? Finally, how will Gowon justify signing the Abandoned Property decree? How will Gowon reconcile that decree with “No victor, No vanquished”? How will he reconcile the Abandoned Property law with his “RRR” (Reconciliation, R e h a b i l i t a t i o n , Reconstruction)? The “RRR” was cleverly hijacked by the

Lagos/Ibadan propaganda machine because Western Nigeria benefited immensely from Gowon’s dictatorship. “RRR” existed only on the pages of Tribune, Sketch and Herald newspapers. There was nothing on ground for the devastated Easterners. It was Sam Mbakwe and Jim Nwobodo that started reconstructing roads in 1979 (nine years after “RRR” was declared by the Federal Government). It is now (40 years after the war) that Rotimi Amaechi and Godswill Akpabio are reconstructing and expanding pre-war roads in their states. Nigerians waiting for Gowon’s memoir may have to wait forever. • Anthony Ezeifedi, Lagos.

Justin Bieber’s U.K. meltdown IR: Bieber’s U.K. meltdown Sbecome is a sign that he has a shameless victim of his own idolatrous popularity and degenerate music. Bieber’s pop-rock-rap music is aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as the cult of the banal. Rock music in general is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to

Christian worship. Rap and hip-hop music in particular are condescending in nature, projecting rhythmic elements of braggadocio and ritualised insult. They were both largely influenced by rock music (slang for sex). Bieber’s music ultimately degrades morals, sexualizes young girls and is disrespectful to women. Whatever happened to the once clean-cut boy from Ontario, Canada? • Paul Kokoski, Ontario, Canada.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2012

15

Business AutoWheels P43

BusinessTravel P44

Telsa Roadstar starts-up revival of Detroit electric brand

Lagos airport: A gateway bereft of alluring features

Zenith Bank now listed on London Stock Exchange By Ade Ogidan ENITH Bank Plc has been listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), making it the third financial institution to join the elite league in the market. Other banks from the coun-

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try listed on the LSE are, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc. Specifically, Zenith Bank is listing Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) in London, giving it access to a wide range of major institutional

investors and significantly raising its international profile. The company’s market capitalisation at listing was $4.24 billion. According to Head of Primary Markets, Africa, at London Stock Exchange, Ibukun Adebayo: “Zenith

Bank’s listing highlights London’s leading role in supporting Nigeria’s burgeoning financial sector. Three major Nigerian banks have listed in London demonstrating UK and international investors’ appetite for exposure to this

Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank Plc, Godwin Emefiele (left); and Head, Primary Market, London Stock Exchange, Alastair Walmsley at the listing of the bank’s Global Depository Receipts in London, United Kingdom, yesterday.

NCC announces new interconnection rates for voice services By Adeyemi Adepetun

HE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set a new Mobile Termination Rates (MTR), otherwise known as interconnection rate for the telecommunications sector in Nigeria. The new rates, which are for voice services, according to the NCC will take effect from April 1. MTR are the charges which one telecommunications operator charges to another for terminating calls on its network. That is what, for example, an operator like MTN will charge Airtel for allowing its voice traffic on its network. The present MTR was fixed in 2009 and expired in December 2012, but sev-

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. Subscribers to pay less for telephone calls eral consultations, with stakeholders delayed the new rates. The effect of the new MTR is that the over 113 million active telephone users in the country may pay less for calls. The new rates are for both GSM players (MTN, Airtel, Globacom, Etislat) and Code Division Multiple Access operators (Visafone, Starcomms). A statement yesterday, signed by the Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Tony Ojobo, stated: “After comprehensive consultations with various stakeholders the NCC has released a new set of interconnection rates determination for voice services for the coun-

try’s telecommunications industry, commencing April 1, 2013. The new determination rates, which significantly reviewed prices downwards are informed by the depth of competition in the industry while taken into consideration the position of New Entrants and Small Operators.” The new rates, which are for the next three years for both new entrants and small operators in the country, according to NCC are N6.40; from 1st April 2013; N5.20 from 1st April 2014; and N3. 90 from 1st April 2015. The statement also disclosed that the termination rates for voice services provided by other operators in Nigeria irrespective of the

originating network shall be: N4.90 from April 1, 2013; N4.40 from April 1, 2014; and N3.90 from April 1 2015. “This determination shall take effect from 1st of April 2013, and remain valid and binding on licensees for the next three years until further reviewed by the Commission”, NCC stated. Besides, the commission defined new entrant as newly licensed operator entering an existing or new market within three to three years. NCC said small operator is defined, for the purpose of the determina-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

fast growing and increasingly diverse economy.” Zenith Bank is admitting 125 million GDRs, which will trade on London Stock Exchange’s International Order Book, the world’s largest and most liquid GDR market. Each Zenith Bank GDR represents 50 ordinary shares. Zenith bank’s listing means that the two largest Nigerian financial Institutions by market capitalisation are now listed in London. The bank joins a vibrant community of 58 emerging market banks listed in London, valued collectively at just under $75 billion. The listing also gives Zenith Bank access to the deepest international pool of capital in the world, currently hold-

ing more than $1.8 trillion in international equity assets. It joins five other companies on London Stock Exchange’s markets that have major operations in Nigeria. LSE is the largest international stock exchange for African companies. Since 2008, Africa-focused companies listed on the Exchange have raised over £4.2 billion in new and further issues. Zenith Bank has subsidiaries in the UK, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and representative offices in South Africa and China. With a customer base of over two million accounts at 366 branches and total assets of $27billion, it is the biggest Nigerian bank in terms of Tier 1 capital and shareholders’ funds.


THE GUARDIAN, March 22, 2013

16 BUSINESS

NNPC awards $3.1b Egina FPSO contract to Samsung By Sulaimon Salau HE Nigerian National T Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) and its Joint Venture partners, Total Upstream Petroleum Nigeria Limited, have awarded the $3.1 billion  Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO), vessel contract for Egina deepwater oil field  to Samsung Heavy Industries.     Samsung emerged preferred bidder in a highly competitive bid conducted by the National Petroleum Investment Management System (NAPIMS) the investment arm of the NNPC and approved NNPC GEC (Group Executive Committee) headed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.     The multi-billion Egina field in OML130 near Akpo Field, is the third  deep offshore development projects

of the French oil giant in Nigeria with reserve potential in excess of  550 million barrels and a peak production of 150, 000 barrels per day The NNPC management awarded the Egina FPSO contract to  Samsung after a comprehensive review of the economics, the track records of the bidders and having met all the requirements of NCD including 10,000 tons in- country fabrication of topsides,      Besides, as a good corporate citizen Samsung through it’s capacity building programme had trained many Nigerians over the years while plans were equally in top gear to train many Niger Delta indigenes in South Korea under it’s skill acquisition programme to improve the capacity and competency of Nigerians in 6 G welding.   According to sources,

Hyundai Heavy Industry HHI bided $3.8billion for the Egina FPSO while Samsung Heavy Industry stuck to $3.1 billion for the same facility, development that gave it the winning edge.     Speaking on the scope of the multi-billion dollar project, Frank Ejizu the General Manager Samsung Nigeria, said the new FPSO will measure approximately 330m in length, 61m in width and 33.5m in depth, and is expected to have an oil storage capacity of approximately two million barrels.      Besides, the  FPSO will equally have topsides modules with a gross dry weight of 34,000tons and it  will be delivered on schedule for the production activities by 2014.     The field was discovered in December 2003 when the Egina-1 well was drilled. Following the discovery, the appraisal well Egina2 was drilled in October

2004.      The appraisal programme and seismic data processing resulted in the Egina-3 well drilling in September 2006, which occurred at a water depth of approximately 1,500m. Following this, Egina-4 was drilled in November 2006 and Egina-5

was drilled in January 2007.      Located 150km off the coast of Nigeria and about 20 km from Akpo oil field, Egina oil field in Oil Mining Lease OML 130 is  a production sharing contract being developed by Total Upstream Nigeria (24 per cent) in partnership with

NNPC (10 per cent), CNOOC (45 per cent), Sapetro (5 per cent) and Petrobras (16 per cent). Egina is the third deep offshore development of Total in Nigeria. The field is currently under development and the production is scheduled to begin by 2014/2015.

Subscribers to pay less for telephone calls CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 tion, as an existing operator with a market share of 0 – 7.5 per cent in terms of subscriber base. The statement said that the current interconnection rate regulation was implemented through the commission’s interconnection rate determination, issued on December 21, 2009, stressing that since then, the Nigerian Communications Market

has seen tremendous growth in both, subscriber numbers as well as traffic volumes and available technologies (e.g. 3G). The current rate, which is symmetric to all operators, is N8.2. NCC explained that in June 2012, it appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to undertake a cost study for voice interconnection. “In line with its commitment to a policy of open-

ness, transparency, fairness, and participatory regulation, the omission informed stakeholders in July 2012 of its engagement of PWC to advise on the review of interconnection rates for mobile and fixed telephony services. “After series of meetings with operators and other stakeholders, PWC provided the commission with recommendations related to the regulation of voice interconnection”, NCC added.

Leeway to improved power supply, by GE boss ENERAL Electric Nigeria (GE) has identified skill G development and capacity By Roseline Okere

building as some of the ways of tackling the challenges militating against the Nigeria power sector. The President and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric Nigeria, Lazarus Angbazo, at the Nigeria Summit yesterday, stated that “Nigeria is positioned to be Africa’s bread basket and the biggest economy by the year 2020. There has been a lot of focus and investment by the Federal Government in developing the power sector in Nigeria and we as the private sector should ask ourselves, what role can we play? How can we contribute to government’s vision for an improved power sector?” The skill development agenda, according to him, will create self and formal employment opportunities and increase Nigeria’s economic activities. Angbazo said that the company was playing a significant role in the on-going power sector reforms, adding that Nigeria remained an important market for General Electric. He expressed commitment to filling the huge supply gap in the Nigeria’s power sector. “GE’s strategy for Nigeria is hinged on three pillars; first to build infrastructure solutions that are relevant to the local market, localize GE’s capability in terms of personnel, suppliers and expertise and build financing capabilities which we plan to do through GE Capital which has the ability to work with the local banks to achieve our objectives. “GE has plans to further localize its operations in Nigeria. Already we have signed an agreement with the Federal Government to invest $1 billion in building a manufacturing assembly plant in Calabar. We also intend to employ 2300 Nigerians to power GE’s operations and to this end, we are instituting training programmes to build capability to deliver on our goals”, he added.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

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Weekend

A controversial state pardon Arts & Culture P. 28

Autowheels P.43

At last, peace returns to PMAN

Tesla Roadstar commences revival of Detroit electric brand

Business Travels P.44 Lagos airport:A gateway bereft of alluring features


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22 , 2013

WEEKEND 21

Bulama sparks outrage How Alamieyeseigha was impeached, convicted By Wole Oyebade IEPREYE Alamieyeseigha was born on November 16, 1952. He attended the Bishop Dimeari Grammar School, Yenagoa; the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1974 and then joined the Nigerian Air Force, where he served at the Department of Logistics and Supply. He held various positions in Enugu, Markurdi, (Benue) Kaduna and Ikeja (Lagos), and retired in 1992 as a Squadron Leader. Shortly after, he became the Sole Administrator of Pabod Supplies, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He later became the Head of Budget, Planning, Research and Development of the National Fertiliser Company (NAFCON). Alamieyeseigha was elected Governor of Bayelsa State in May 1999 as a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). On assumption of office, he declared assets totaling US$575,000 and stated an annual income of N1.5 million. He was re-elected for a second term in 2003. He was detained in London, United Kingdom on charges of money laundering in September 2005. At the time of his arrest, the Metropolitan Police found about £1m in cash in his London home. Later, they found another £1.8m ($3.2m) in cash and bank accounts. He allegedly owned a real estate in London worth an £10 million. In breach of £1.25 million bond, he jumped bail in December 2005, escaped from London with forged documents, allegedly disguising as a woman and returned to Nigeria. The Bayelsa State House of Assembly served him a Notice of Impeachment on November 22, 2005. His offences included: Maintaining foreign bank accounts while in office in the following banks: Barclays Bank Plc; National Westminster Bank; Royal Bank of Scotland and Commerz Bank all in London, contrary to the provisions of Paragraph 3 of the Fifth Schedule (Part 1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the provisions of which he swore on oath to uphold. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also accused him of: “Criminal diversion and misappropriation of public funds” to facilitate the acquisition of N1billion shares in Bond Bank Plc by private placement; purchase of Chelsea Hotel, Abuja for the sum of N2 billion and acquisition of £10 million worth of properties in London. The Bayelsa State House of Assembly that investigated him came up with the following findings, in a report signed by Barrister David Serena-Dokubo Spiff (Chairman) and six others: “That he (Alamieyeseigha) brought the exalted office of the governor of Bayelsa State to disrepute, odium and ridicule by jumping a London bail and returning to Nigeria dressed like a masquerade; that he is an international fugitive, as the Scotland Yard may issue a warrant of arrest against him which will embarrass the people of Bayelsa; that by this ignominious conduct Bayelsans and indeed all Nigerians have been scandalized, embarrassed and depicted as people whose word cannot be relied upon; that he jeopardized the safety and besmirched the reputation of Nigerians living in or visiting the United Kingdom; that he dealt a severe blow to the Ijaw Nation of which Bayelsa is part, whose people traditionally take great pride in the meaning of their name – Ijaw — truth; that by jumping bail, he breached his oath to respect international law.” The State’s Assembly subsequently impeached Alamieyeseigha on December 8, 2005 after adopting the report of a seven-man panel set up by the Chief Justice of the state, Emmanuel Igonarwari. President Goodluck Jonathan, then Alamieyeseigha’s deputy, subsequently became the state governor, paving the way for his arrest by the EFCC. On December 13, 2005, the Federal Government filed a fresh 17-count charge against Alamieyeseigha at the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Kaduna. The charges were: That as Governor of Bayelsa State, between May 29, 1999 and December 9, 2005, he maintained and operated the following foreign personal bank accounts: Acct number 10659347 with Barclays Bank Plc, United Kingdom with a balance of £203,753.34 as at February 15, 2005; Account number 3239940 with UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London, W1J 5HB with a balance of $2.5 million as at September 2005; Account number 338931 in the name of FALCON INC. with UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London, W1J 5HB; Account number 7341553/7341596 in U.S. dollars with Barclays

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Bank Plc at International Banking Unit, 88 Dighemis Akritas Avenue 1644, Nicosla, Cyprus; Account number 7341588 in pounds sterling with Barclays Bank Plc at International Banking Unit, 88 Dighemis Akrltas Avenue 1644, Nicosia, Cyprus; Bank account number 5005220454-7 in Denmark with JYSKE Bank at Bseterbrogate, 9, DK-1780, Copenhagen V, with a balance of at US$2.5 million; Bank account number 005482562491 with Bank of America United States of America in the name of Peter Alamieyeseigha with a balance of US$160,000.00, all contrary to section 7 and punishable under section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. Cap. 56 LFN 1990 as incorporated under paragraph 11, part 1, Fifth schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Besides, Alamieyeseigha was said to have made a false declaration by concealing information on the following: Property known as Water Gardens, London W2 2DG, which he bought at £1.75 million in the name of his company, Solomon & Peters Ltd; property at 14 Mapesbury Road, London, NW2 4JB which he bought at £1.4 million; property at 14 Jubilee Heights, School Uphill, London, NW2 2UQ, which he bought at £241,000; Property at No. 68-70, Regent’s Road, London, N3, bought at £3 million. It was also stated that while he served as the Governor of Bayelsa State between May 29, 1999 and December 9, 2005, he acquired: Property known as Chelsea Hotel Abuja worth of N2 billion for which N1.5 billion was paid; acquired two blocks of luxury flats at Plot 26, Bashir Dalhatu Close, Abacha Estate, Ikoyi worth of N45 million; acquired a property at John Kadiya Street, off Jose Marti Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja worth N350 million; acquired an estate of six luxury duplexes at No. 1 Community, Road, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos worth N200 million. He was equally accused of failing to declare N1 billion worth of shares, acquired from Bond bank and several properties including: Plot 916 & 917, Wuse II District, Abuja; Plot 7, Cadastral Zone A6, Maltama, Abuja; Plot1267, Amazon Road, Abuja; Plot 3375, Cadastral Zone A6, Abuja; Plot 1372-1374, Cadastral Zone A7, Wuse II, Abuja; Plot 1281, Cadastral Zone A4, Asokoro, Abuja. Investigations carried out by the EFCC also revealed that he is a Director of an offshore company named Solomon & Peters Ltd (two middle names), with four London properties bought and registered in the company’s name. The properties were domiciled at: 247, Water Gardens, London, W2 2DG, the registered address of the company and purchased for £1.75 million on 20/8/2003; 14, Mapesbury Road, London, NW2 4JB, purchased for £1.4 million on 6/7/2001; Flat 202, Jubilee Heights, Shoot uphill, London, NW2 3LJQ, purchased for £241,000.00 on 28/10/99; 68-70, Regent’s Park Road, London, N3, purchased in July 2002 for the sum of £3 million. All the listed properties have a value in excess of £381million On July 26, 2007, Alamieyeseigha, the ‘Governor General of Ijaw Nation’, as he was fondly called, pleaded guilty before a Nigerian court to six counts and was sentenced to two years in prison on each count. However, because the sentences were to run concurrently and counted from the time of his arrest nearly two years before the conviction, he was release hours after being taken to prison. But the court ordered that his assets, including N1billion shares, be forfeited to the Bayelsa State government. However, Alamieyeseigha said he only pleaded guilty because of his age and would have fought the charges had he been younger.

Falana

Omar

Lamorde

Sagay

Gowon

Okupe

State pardon for Alamieyeseigha in order, says Gowon CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 lieves that the decision to grant Alamieyeseigha state pardon was in order, in view of the fact, he explained, that Alamieyeseigha had been tried, convicted with his property seized. He also argued that there

were other corruption cases in court that are not being followed up. His words: “There is one particular case of a man that got a perpetual injunction at the high court, to stop his probe and trial and nothing has happened about it till today. What

There is one particular case of a man that got a perpetual injunction at the high court, to stop his probe and trial and nothing has happened about it till today. What type of corruption are we fighting? There is nothing relevant between Alamieyeseigha and corruption anymore. There are those corrupt government officials who are walking freely. These are the people the government should go after.

type of corruption are we fighting? There is nothing relevant between Alamieyeseigha and corruption anymore. There are those corrupt government officials who are walking freely. These are the people the government should go after.” Also former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) at a recent lecture held at the American University (AUN), Yola, Adamawa State, stated that the Council of State took the decision based on the grounds that Alamieyeseigha had finished serving the punishment for the offence he commited and that he had promised not to commit an offence again.


20 WEEKEND

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22 , 2013

State pardon granted Alamieyeseigha,

Jonathan By Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi HE federal government has been struggling T to defend its decision to grant state pardon to some individuals, since the announcement was made on March 12. This followed an unprecedented outpour of scathing criticisms that have continued to trail the decision. Those granted state pardon were the late Shehu Yar’Adua, Oladipo Diya, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Shettima Bulama, Bello Magaji and Lima Biyu. On the face of it, the constitution gives President Goodluck Jonathan the power to grant state pardon. But what is causing so much uproar in the polity is the category of people that could enjoy such privilege. Opinions are deeply divided over who is qualified to enjoy the privilege. The inclusion of both Alamieyeseigha and Bulama in the list is the bone of contention among citizens. The former was the Governor of Bayelsa State between May, 1999 and December 2005 while the latter was the former Managing Director of the Bank of the North. Both were convicted and jailed over corruption. In another breadth, the federal government is being accused of including those already granted state pardon in the list, just make it look good, a charge it has strongly denied. But it has since emerged that the former military government of Abdulsalami Abubakar had previously granted clemency to the late Yar’Adua, Diya and Adisa in March 1999. Abubakar had, in a gazette, granted clemency to nine military officers and soldiers convicted for their involvement in the phantom coup during the regime of the late Gen Sani Abacha. They were however, required to forfeit their assets. Among those pardoned men were former Minister of Communications, Major General Tajudeen Olarenwaju and Major General Fadipe. Federal officials have since been explaining the semantics between “clemency” and “pardon,” insisting that the two words don’t exactly mean the same thing. But a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, would have none of that. He insisted that the two words actually mean the same thing under the country’s constitution. He revealed that Section 161 of the 1979 Constitution, under which Abubakar exercised his powers was not any different from Section 175 of the 1999 Constitution which also gave Jonathan the power to grant state pardon. However, eminent Nigerians, institutions and even foreign governments have continued to insist that including Alamieyeseigha in the

list was not only morally wrong, but would send a wrong message about the government’s avowed fight against corruption. The United States is apparently not finding the government’s action funny. In a statement on Twitter, it declared: “We are deeply disappointed. We see this as a setback in the fight against corruption.” Although, the Foreign Affairs Ministry quickly deplored the use of the words “ deeply disappointed” and “a setback in the fight against corruption,” describing the statement as an “undue interference and meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of Nigeria.” And since the pardon was announced, the western news agencies and press have feasted on it, just as indications emerged that that the decision did send shockwaves through U.S government circles, including the State, Justice and Homeland Security Departments that were involved in dealing with the American end of the Alamieyeseigha’s corruption case. The New York Times wrote: “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.” The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) also did not mince words. In a statement titled: “Withdraw State Pardon in National Interest,” its President, Abdulwaheed Omar asserted: “it is totally unacceptable that those that committed economic crimes in such magnitude that affected public interest be granted state pardon. We still wonder what message the National Council of State is sending to Nigerians, if at the height of unprecedented corruption in the country, those who have been prosecuted and jailed for stealing public money are granted state pardon. “The congress finds it incongruous that state pardon is granted to Alamieyeseigha and Bulama. While, like other citizens, they may be entitled to state pardon, Congress believes that the crimes committed are too weighty for

state pardon. It is our view that state pardon remains an act of mercy or reprieve dispassionately exercised or granted by the highest authority in the land, for and on behalf of the government and the people, and it should be a last act of mercy, sparingly exercised for the good of the nation. “State pardon is recognized across the world, not for its own sake, but for its potential and capacity for redressing judicial guilt, rewarding penitence or for initiating reconciliation and in some instances, for ensuring restoration, but never losing sight of national interest. “We are surprised that eminent members of the National Council of State could not have deeper reflection on the list brought before by the Presidency before giving their endorsement. If the anti-corruption battle must be won, the Presidency must lead by its action.” Transparency International (TI) has joined the NLC in demanding that the government reverse the decision. the Nigeria Labour Congress have demanded a reversal of Jonathan’s pardon. Its vice chair, Akere Muna said in a statement: “This decision undermines anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria and encourages impunity. If government is serious about uprooting public corruption, sanctions against those who betray public trust should be strengthened not relaxed.” A lecturer in the Faulty of Law, Bayero University, Kano, Ahmed Rabiu also described the action as improper, untimely and political. The former chairman of the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Adebamigbe Omole, insisted that the intention of the drafters of the constitution could not have been that the state pardon be granted to treasury looters and economic saboteurs. He said: “It is not disputable that the President, in the exercise of his constitutional powers, can grant pardon to felons. But in granting such, the president must act reasonable, responsibly and in the overall interest of the nation.

State pardon is recognized across the world, not for its own sake, but for its potential and capacity for redressing judicial guilt, rewarding penitence or for initiating reconciliation and in some instances, for ensuring restoration, but never losing sight of national interest. We are surprised that eminent members of the National Council of State could not have deeper reflection on the list brought before them by the Presidency before giving their endorsement. If the anti-corruption battle must be won, the Presidency must lead by its actions.

The Campaign for Democracy (CD) also condemned the federal government’s action on Alamieyeseigha. The General Secretary of the pro-democracy group, Solomon Sobade said the group could not fathom the rationale behind the pardon granted to Alamieyeseigha, who he said is still being wanted in the United Kingdom to answer to charges related to graft. He said: “The CD sees the exercise of the Prerogative of Mercy by the President as a misuse of power, executive recklessness and it makes mockery of the global war against corruption. The action of the government is an official endorsement of corruption and stealing of public funds. It is a deadly blow and a dangerous trend in the fight against corruption. This is a great setback in the war against corruption in the country.” But defending the action, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Doyin Okupe said that apart from the remorse he had shown, Alamieyeseigha had also been quietly playing a key role in stabilizing the volatile Niger Delta region. He reminded Nigerians that Alamieyeseigha was removed from office in a manner that was suggested by many as not being entirely above board, contending that the former governor had been adequately punished for his misdemeanour and demonstrated enough sobriety after he served his sentence. He said: “He lost his position, forfeited the property illegally acquired and demonstrated enough soberness after he served his sentence. It is out of place to suggest that the pardon is tantamount to abandoning the fight against corruption in Nigeria. This is far from the truth.” Okupe also said the former governor was not the first to benefit from such state pardon. He said the late chief Obafemi Awolowo and the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu were earlier beneficiaries of such gesture. Also, Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr Rueben Abati said: “There has been a lot of sophisticated ignorance about what happened. The first thing to note is what a state pardon is not. One, a state pardon does not mean that an individual was not convicted at a particular time; in fact state pardon means that you have been convicted for a particular crime and you have been punished. The pardon within the view of the constitution means a forgiveness of what you have done and an opportunity to give you a chance to be reformed or reintegrate back into the society.” Prof Itse Sagay, a legal practitioner, also be-

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

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ExecutiveBrief In association with TRIPPLEA ASSOCIATES LIMITED

EDITION 259

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT INFOTECH4DEXECUTIVES CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE EXECUTIVE FINANCE -PROXIM Limited is basically a fully indigenous Technology Q company owned by visionary and result-oriented professionals that are committed to ensuring positive service delivery to Nigerians and the world in general. Dr. Gbenga Idowu, the CEO of Multishield Ltd, is currently the Executive Vice Chairman & CEO of QPROXIM Limited. The organization upholds integrity, accountability and professionalism in the area of integrated industry and toeing in the right link between the present and future technology, thereby ensuring that maximum benefit is derived by people. The Company provides services in the areas of Smart Card Solutions; Identity Management; Process ReEngineering & Automations; IT General Architecture; Call Centre Services; Claims Management; Benefit Management and Healthcare Services. In this interview, Dr. Idowu, who has over 3 decades of experience as a medical practitioner and Consultant Surgeon spoke on the challenges and prospects of providing quick and effective IT solutions in the managed healthcare industry. He is a Fellow of the Medical College of Surgeons of Nigeria, and also the Medical Director of Mount Pisgah Hospital, Egbe, Lagos. What influenced the establishment of the company? The recent appreciable improvement in the level of appreciation of, and participation in, health insurance in the country has exposed an inherent weakness in the operational processes of the health maintenance organisations with regard to the handling of large volumes. In recent years, there has been a pronounced effort to establish and refine standards for maintaining and moving healthcare and investment data. Q-Proxim Limited, therefore, introduced smartcard technology into the Healthcare and HMO industries. Today’s software applications require more functionality and security. This gives smart cards an edge because they are equipped with microprocessors and a significant number of security capabilities. Smart cards provide clean data for eligibility verification, prevention of administrative errors and streamlining of payment processes. Our smart cards have embedded match-on-reader biometric verification for access management. The administration of healthcare in the industry revolves around who is eligible and what benefits he/she is entitled to. The care providers will be able to authenticate cards/holders, verify users’ eligibility, deter-

Providing Quick and Effective IT Solutions mine entitled benefits and exclusion without the time consuming efforts of placing multiple phone calls to Health Maintenance Organisations. This innovation represents a unique opportunity to provide a solution that combines secure healthcare information access, utilization monitoring, data mobility and user privacy. In summary, the Q-Proxim offer saves the HMO considerable cost; significantly improves enrollee satisfaction and is virtually fraud proof.

rent cost i. e. a lot of money is saved. Eligibility is established online, real time through direct communication of the POS with the HMO server any time the enrollee card is inserted. It removes the cumbersome process of checking through long lists. It removes the need to call the HMO in order to confirm eligibility. Enrollee benefit is read on the POS Screen and can be printed. This removes the need to call HMO in order to confirm benefit. The waiting period before the patient is seen is consequently shortened. Challenges: Billing is done by special medical software, printed and transAt the beginning we had a challenge of network from service mitted to the HMO online real time. providers because the sim cards have to be inserted. This removes the concept of monthly billing. Bills are dispatched Sometimes there is network failure, but what we do is that by the software platform as they are incurred and can actually when we get to a hospital, we go with a pack of sim cards of dif- be settled within 24 hours. This is very good news, indeed, to the ferent network, check it one by one to know the one that has providers. It will be difficult for the provider to fraudulently the best service for that particular location, and insert it. And inflate the bill because the patient will sign the bill and even then we now keep a spare sim card inside the POS, so that if one take a copy away. fails they can make use of the spare one. That has been the major challenge so far. Our vision is to create a positive impact Driving force: and we are set about doing it at the most effective way. Our mis- I think I was born with and it has become part of my life. I can’t sion, how can we relieve all these I told you in the most cost find myself doing something else. I enjoy doing what I’m doing, effective way is the POS. we are not even selling it, we are not the reason being that I will be a very happy person to see the asking anyone to pay anything, it is there the smart card even transformation of this society to a better one. The driving force is though they are expensive, we are not asking anyone to pay for to creatively contribute or quota for the benefit of the people in smartcards. All we are charging is a nominal amount in some particular and the industry in general. You’ll agree with me that cases N5, in some case N50 depending on the technology is the in-thing now; for many of the hospitals, we don’t carry drug prescription sheet, the prescription are sent to Unique Selling Point: the pharmaceutical dept. You go to the pharmaceutical dept Q-Proxim Limited was established, in part, to address the seriand say my name is Dr. Idowu, can I have my drugs. The pharmaous lapses via the provision of specialized software and smart cist checks the computer and your name is there with the type Id Cards. Patient Identification is now done electronically of drugs you need and they give me my drugs. We are integratthrough the insertion of the smart card into the POS, domiciled ing IT in the managed care industry. with the provider. This process automatically solves several problems: It obliterates the need to manually update enrollee Success factors: lists monthly through courier with its attendant huge recurApart from quality of our service, we are using the media to reach out to Nigerians as part of our success strategy. At QPROXIM Ltd, we treat our Customers as kings, also believing that for any business growth and survival, your clients should be satisfied at all times. This goal could be attained by commitment, promptness and professionalism on all services rendered. We provide health care to individuals and corporate organisations through a contracted nationwide network of independent primary facilities, secondary and tertiary (specialist) hospital providers. The Company, leveraging on its provider network, assumes control of the full spectrum of health care coverage to members during their subscription period. In keeping with its focus on customer service and promotion of member health, the Company has introduced a range of innovative cost-effective health plans and tariff structures. Projections: I believe that the industry is emerging and have great potential for growth, don’t forget that there’ll always be room for improvement. For us at Q-PROXIM Limited, we will be at the forefront of the emerging scenario because we are committed and totally dedicated towards achieving continuous improvement in customer satisfaction through a commitment to excellence in the managed health care industry. We are committed to a controlled and organized start, middle and end; Regular reviews of progress against plan and against the Business Plan; Flexible decision points; Automatic Management control of any deviation from the plan; The involvement of the management and stakeholders at the right time during the project; Good communication channels between the project management team and the rest of the organization and agreement on the required quality at the outset and continuous monitoring against those requirement. To this end, Our Project Management experience will avail our client to be able to: Participate in the entire decision making on a Project; If desired, be fully involved in day-today progress; Participate in quality checks throughout the project. What is your leadership philosophy? He who seeks to lead must have been led. It is a very simple philosophy that he who commands (the troops) must first have obeyed. No one is taught leadership as a major in college, it is acquired and the quality will depend on the overall experience of the individual on the way to the top. Finally, a leader is that person who coordinates a group/team through hard and teamwork to achieve a set objective even when quite a few team members could be as smart if not smarter that he/she, but the leader takes the credit. I feel good. God has been good to me. I have had a fair share of ‘successful’ leadership. My secret strategy for success being simply surrounding myself with people much smarter than me and persuading them to let me lead. How do you cope with home and office challenges combined? Simple, I have a very loving wife who is dedicated to running the home front. I share the challenges in the office with the best partners anyone can ever hope to have. Another secret strategy I have is that I have a very good wife and absolutely good partners with diverse but complimenting strengths.

Gbenga Idowu For Advertisement E-mail:editor.executivebrief@trippleagroup.com


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24 | EXECUTIVEBRIEF

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Executive Management By Melissa Krivachek want to share with you twelve (12) strategic leadership actions I recommend to IGNITE you and your organizations productivity. Notice these are strategic leadership action which means that this is a strategy developed by effective leaders to compliment the action you and your team are already taking.

I

Strategic Leadership Action #1: Be a strategic thinker and use the power of strategic thinking to identify the needs of your employees during change. Strategic Leadership Action #2: Develop a Strategic Action Plan for the changes and share it with your employees. You can also engage your employees in helping develop this plan. Strategic Leadership Action #3: Engage the power and advice of a business coach, mentor or other outside trusted advisor. Strategic Leadership Action #4: Display passion in your commitment to the change. You must “walk the talk” and exhibit passion every day.

12 Strategic Actions to Ignite Productivity

ment or even a weak commitmeasurable goals that will proStrategic Leadership Action #5: vide proof of accomplishments ment to agreed expectations. Facilitate and celebrate and will build momentum to Leaders now know that a titanic achievements. Leaders need to reaching the next goal. mistake has been to focus more be engaged in facilitating the change and also be consistent Strategic promoters of celebrating the Leadership success of achievement Action #10: throughout the change Create an enviprocess. ronment that fosters a spirit Strategic Leadership Action #6: of “we” rather Honor and acknowledge every- than “me.” one’s value to your business. This should be done verbally Strategic and in writing. And it should Leadership also be done in public and in Action #11: private, as appropriate. Create performance Strategic Leadership Action #7: based comEmpower each employee to do pensation syshis or her work and provide tems so everyone with some leadership employees responsibility over a segment can “get a of the change. piece of the action” and Strategic Leadership Action #8: gain a sense of Promote the inclusion, rather ownership. than exclusion, of employees so they gain a sense of really Strategic belonging to the team and to Leadership the company. Action #12: Develop a zero Strategic Leadership Action #9: tolerance for Always focus on achieving an attitude of no commit-

on crafting strategy than on implementing it. Every strategy implementation must be unique because every organization is different. Leaders are

responsible for guiding staff members to the strategy destination and these 12 strategic actions will help guide you to success.

Customer Experience Executive Finance Customer Service = PROFIT By Yolanda Ogletree Is Your Money Mindset Keeping You Stuck? Theanddynamics of CUSTOMER treated with dignity and respect. multitude of knowledge to the elements of SERVICE Businesses are accountable for meet or exceed customer By Chris Atley harder it is for it to actually hap- equal PROFIT. Organizations Something that helped me the actions of employees who expectations. Organizations t costs money to travel. Money also gives you the luxury of Ihaving more time. When you

shift my perspective around money was hearing about a business owner who reached can stop trading your hours for the million-dollar mark. This money and leverage your time, was a great achievement, but you will have more of it. When that wasn't the part that your business grows, you can impressed me. It was what she also afford to hire people to did with it. She created a charihelp you - again, giving you ty where she was able to give more time. We live in a world back to a cause she felt strongwhere money gives us the ly about. That was enough for means to experience the freeme to make the shift! What an dom we desire. It's neither good amazing ripple effect our nor bad, it just is. It's simply an financial abundance can have exchange of energy. Society has on others. deemed money as being bad. What's important to point out Most of us were taught some is that it's our attachment to type of limiting belief about it money that we need to let go when we were young. Beliefs like people with money are evil of - the idea that if we could just have this, then we would in some way; we have to work really hard to earn money; or if be happy. Of course it's okay to we want to have nice things, it's set financial goals for ourselves, but letting go of the in some way bad. attachment to it is key. Being Unfortunately, these beliefs of service, loving ourselves, stick with us even when we're and giving to others will lessen not aware of it. We think we want what success has to offer, the attachment to money. but deep down in our subcon- Money of course is not the be all and end all. It just operates scious mind, we're telling ouras a vehicle to create more selves a different story that completely contradicts what we good. The ability to let go of the attachment is necessary say we want. These beliefs rise for anything you are trying to to the surface in unexpected ways, such as self-sabotage and create in your life. Have you procrastination. It can also feel ever noticed the more you try like you can't catch a break and to control something, the that nothing seems to go right. It's likely that your energy is out of alignment with what you really want. You say you want one thing, but deep down you don't, which sends out a confusing message to the universe. This in turn gives you that exact match back - mixed results. The reality is that it's your birthright to experience abundance in all areas of your life. We are meant to live beautiful lives full of happiness and peace. Our purpose in life is to use our unique talents in a way that will bring joy to others.

pen? There is a reason for this. If you want something to happen, you must stay unattached. The more unattached you can stay, the faster it will happen. This might seem backwards, but it has more to do with faith and trust and less about control. When you truly believe something will happen, you become less attached to it because you know it's certain. You will also stop trying to figure out how to make it happen and will let the way flow in. When you try too hard to make it happen, you actually repel the very way to manifest it.

providing high-level products and services recognize the potential of increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction by focusing on the need of consumers. These driving forces are paramount to the customer's experience and offer value to businesses that build relationships through exceptional service. Companies utilizing this business approach create the potential of recognizing a competitive advantage. Merging the characteristics of perseverance, responsibility, optimization, flexibility, innovation, and transparency (PROFIT) enhances the strateWhen we refer to money, it gic focus toward the compaworks the same way. Knowing ny's commitment to customer your success is certain will make service. all of the difference. Trusting, having faith, and believing this Perseverance during unstable to be true are the missing link. economic times is fundamenWhat happens next is truly mag- tal to the survival of a business. ical. You will then become Empowering the workforce in aware of all of the opportunities creating and implementing available to you now. You may techniques, to win patrons, is even see an old idea with a difan essential requirement for ferent perspective. It might all of customer satisfaction. This a sudden seem like the greatest approach should encompass idea, and you will wonder why determination, firmness, you never thought of it that way resolve, and a sense of urgency. before! Be prepared for amazing These principles allow organithings to happen! zations the ability to persevere and sustain a competitive advantage against rivals.

shape a patron's experience, which is directly associated with consumer satisfaction. Firms are liable for customer discontent and should augment personnel in remaining dedicated to company values, while aiming toward exceptional service.

employing leaders which have defined characteristics connecting with the workforce is essential in competing within the marketplace. Managers must be able to restructure, create, and implement new products, services and goods by develOptimization is the solution of oping strategies to survive in making sound decisions to max- an economically-challenged imize wealth for stockholders. environment. Effective leadLeaders understanding this ers promote their workforce principle guide businesses to to explore new options in strategically devise executable finding innovative ways to strategies for implementation. research changed behaviors, Organizations methodically with the goal of increasing directing their workforce under- efficiency. stand the benefit of patronizing customers for prolonged loyalty. Transparency is imperative when communicating Firms should recognize the between alliances, shareholdimportance of flexibility in ers, and the consumer. meeting the need of clients. Executive leaders have dual Businesses adapting to changes roles in balancing transparenin society, understand the level cy and confidentiality while of respect, value, and care neces- maintaining responsibility sary in gaining customer trust. for upholding trust and susPatrons have a tendency to fre- taining credibility. quent businesses that listen to Organizations should be willthe voice of consumers and pro- ing to provide information to vide a level of appreciation and stakeholders in an effort of genuineness. These attributes making informed decisions provide flexibility and adaptabil- about practices and transacity in meeting the requirement tions of a firm ensuring reguof customers. latory standards are maintained. Ethical standards are Innovation is vital to the essential while preserving the unremitting success of any confidentiality and reputaCompanies have a responsibili- organization. Leaders must be tion of a business, when forward thinkers possessing a ty in ensuring customers are embracing transparency.

Action is the foundational key to all success. Pablo Picasso

Businesses employing effective leaders recognize patrons are the driving force of a firm's products, service, and goods. Companies understanding this doctrine have the ability to sustain and enhance customer satisfaction. Combining the fundamentals of CUSTOMER and the elements of SERVICE is capable of increasing PROFIT. Assimilating the characteristics of perseverance, responsibility, optimization, flexibility, innovation, and transparency (PROFIT) creates the potential for future growth and increased revenue, while meeting the demand of consumers.


Theatre Lifting society through drama

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Literature Poetic rhythm in Overwhelming Treasures P. 27

PMAN... By Shaibu Husseini

HERE appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the embattled Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN). Members of the once vibrant musicians’ union have resolved to put the near eight- year old leadership crisis behind them. At a world press conference held at celebrity restaurant Ojez in Surulere, Lagos and organised by the Chris Mba-led PMAN Peace Initiative Committee (PPIC), the musicians resolved to institute a 45-man interim administrative committee to oversee the operations of PMAN. The committee, which has 18 months to put the association back on track, also has the mandate of members of PMAN to set the stage for the election of a President and Executive Council for the body. It

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REVUE will be the first time in the administrative history of PMAN that the association will set up such a large interim committee to run the association and as Oritz Wiliki, spokesman of PPIC who addressed the media on behalf of the committee explained, the setting up of such a large interim structure was an interventionist strategy designed to usher in a new era of peace through genuine reconciliation, justice and progress for the PMAN. “The PPIC has in the past nine months been in search of a permanent solution to the lingering leadership crisis that has dealt severe blows to the real essence of the association,” Wiliki said, noting that PMAN before the ‘interven-

Entertainment The rise and rise of Chidinma

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Visual Arts The ‘real’ Niger Delta on canvas

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As peace returns to music house

tionist strategy’ had about three members of the association laying claims to the PMAN presidency. Wiliki named Mr. Tee Mac Iseli, Ambassador Preddy Wise and Ras Murphy Van Anthony, as members of the association whose continuous claim to the presidency of the union has broken the PMAN into camps. Wiliki spoke of a faction led by Oizz Okhide, who, he said, has perfected the relocation of PMAN headquarters to Jibowu area of Lagos without recourse to PMAN constitution. “This scramble for power has led to several court cases involving PMAN and its members- a situation that has further relegated the union to the background in all national engagements,” he said. But determined to right the wrongs and since it is widely believed that the major problem is

that of leadership, Wiliki, an accomplished musician, stated that PPIC took into cognizance the fact that PMAN comprises seven major segments of music which the committee members believe must be represented in what he repeatedly said was a ‘new dispensation for PMAN’. According to Wiliki, who was flanked at the press conference by other members of PPIC, including King Feladey, Stella Monye, Desmond Effiong, Maureen Ejezie, Aita Bonny, Kabiru Kehinde, Tee Mac Iseli and Brigadier Brown Bread: “This led to the decision of the committee to recommend for the first time in the administrative history of PMAN, a 45-member cabinet that is structured to accommodate representatives of all the music segments in PMAN’’. CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

This scramble for power has led to several court cases involving PMAN and its members- a situation that has further relegated the union to the background in all national engagements


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

ARTS

Theatre

Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo By Omiko Awa BAFEMI Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun O State, recently played host to Nigerian playwrights. It was a gathering of both the masters and upcoming playwrights to share ideas in the craft of playwriting. The gathering was not only laudable, but served as a springboard for the tribe of thespian family across the nation to chart a way forward for better Nigerian plays, and to improve and develop those that depend on the stage as their major source of livelihood. Held at the school’s Conference Centre, this maiden edition of Nigerian Playwrights Confab was organised by the Institute of Cultural Studies, OAU, in conjunction with the Department of Dramatic Arts of the university as part of activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the institute. The conference dealt on different themes including, the state of playwriting in the postmilitary era; the playwright’s experience in contemporary society; philosophy, ideology and culture in Nigerian and African playwriting; the quality of plays in our dramatic literature over the decades; the problems of having plays staged and published typically encountered by playwrights, especially of the younger generation; inter and intra-generational relations between Nigerian playwrights with special reference to the complexities of the influence of the masters; and relations between playwriting for the stage, films, television and publication as literature. Initiated by the renowned playwright, Prof. Femi Osofisan, the three-day event, which ran from March 8 to 10 opened with drama workshops that dwelled on playwriting, scriptwriting (media), theatre criticism, media reviews and directing. While anchoring a session, Prof. Ahmed Yerima tasked playwrights on the multifaceted topic, which ranged from what makes playwrights choose their titles, the use of songs in drama to the use of language, conflict resolution, solo performance, and plays and social change. Taking on plays and their titles, Yerima said though some of the titles may be funny, they make the audiences/readers think. He said, “sometimes, the title of a play comes when the play has not been written and as such serves as a guide on what to write, while some at other times, it may come when the play has been written.” He informed that titles are very important to plays as they could attract audiences and readers. Supporting Yerima’s view of titles coming before the play, Prof. Irele Salam-Agunloye, author of Sweet Revenge said she usually got her title before writing. She informed that as a feminist, she draws inspirations from history and writes to project women in history and the contemporary society. She revealed that she uses the hero approach in her plays because the hero is usually appealed to accept a duty, is mentored and is involved in all the spheres of life of the people. She added that whenever she wishes to say the unpleasant, the conventionally

Prof. J.P. Clark

Segun Adefila

Prof. Femi Osofisan

At confab, stakeholders advocate better plays for society pegged woman or second person is called upon to say those things, so that, the audiences/readers would not see the hero as a bad person. Still on women and feminism, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo said most women don’t think feminism when they write; rather, they concentrate their attentions on the sufferings of fellow women, because they know how they feel and react to social issues. Inspired by human-interest stories such as widowhood wife battery and others, Ezeigbo stated that the tag feminist is used to describe a writer based on what he or she has written. She noted that the message determines the genre to convey it to the audiences/readers. While speaking on the use of songs in plays, Dr. Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo, said he usually package his messages in lyrics and movements. He stated that he uses songs to send necessary social messages to his audience without boring them, and also to introduce the next action. He stressed that song is a devise employed to keep the audience in suspense and to relax their minds in some serious plays. He said: “Though this devise is not usually found in European plays, but as an African writing for the African audience, and to tell the African story, I must say it is a must-use.” Commenting on the use of language, Arnold Udoka, said he uses the English language the way he does to make decisionmakers and leaders of thought to form better ideas about the communities in the Niger Delta region of the country. He observed that it is oftentimes difficult to write in English language while he thinks in his native language and as such finds it difficult translating his native proverbs and idioms while using the precise words in English. And to get out of this trouble, he said he writes the way that suits him. On plays and social change, Dr. Iwu noted that plays cannot change society overnight, but to a large extent, they could help sensitise the people against social ills. He, however, observed that before plays could have impact on the society, the playwright must know the culture he or she is writing about. While reiterating what Iwu said, Prof. Olu Obafemi noted that drama, though entertains and informs, stands as a veritable tool to sensitise society, showcase the nature of corruption and its negative effects on the society, and as well proffer solutions. Speaking on the relevance of plays and playwrights in society, Prof. J.P. Clark posed a question. Where would the products of theatre go when they leave the Department of Arts as graduates? He opined, “playwrights are faced with crisis after crisis. We are en-

demic.” In challenging the belief that plays and playwrights are changing the society, the first African professor of English noted that the statement was not entirely true and asked what he and his colleagues have changed in the past 50 years, as those negative things they had all been talking about are still present in the society. Taking on Nigerian plays, Prof. Abiola Irele informed that most of our plays remained in the universities because they are not properly packaged. She said playwrights should not blame Nollywood for the absence of audience because as in the United States of America, there is a Hollywood that runs side by side with the theatre. Irele urged playwrights to read other playwrights to improve on themselves and to know what is happening elsewhere. She observed that decay set into playwriting enterprise, when the number of works written were used as a criteria for promotion, which made most people to rush to write and be published by roadside publishers. She also noted that the interest in secondary school students reading plays dwindled when questions and answers mode of testing students’ knowledge in Literature-in-English at the Senior School Certificate level was introduced and called on stakeholders to revise the method because plays, aside from entertaining the audience, promotes culture and proffer solutions to societal problems. Picking on Nigerian youths, Segun Adefila said he draws inspiration from his childhood experiences and his environment, informing that the youth are now in a hurry to get rich quick, and as such are involved in all manner of things including, internet crime. He called for a situation where the youth could be mentored and made to use their talents for the good of the society. In lending a voice to Adefila’s view, Lekan Balogun said the youth should be given space to operate, be encouraged and mentored. He queried, “how would the voices of the youth be heard or they introduce new things, when the masters want them to still write what a Wole Soyinka or Osofisan has written? In supporting the use of diverse techniques to tell the African story, Chuks Okoye, said playwriting is a complex thing and each writer is at liberty to use the technique monologue, discussion and others -that he or she is grounded on to present his or her ideas. He frowned at the ways masters criticise upcoming writers without considering their limited fund for production and nonavailability of mentors to guide them. Also on funding, Greg Mbajiorgu stated that playwrights could result to one-man solo per-

formance commonly referred to as the gorilla theatre, as a way of conserving funds and making do with available space. He advised theatre companies to adapt the minimalist approach to production, by adjusting to limited funds and space while making great things out of nothing. Prof. Kalu Uka, while blaming poor presentation of plays on directors, opined that directors should be creative with plays without losing the message the writer aims at passing. He recalled how he presented one of Wole Soyinka’s plays to non-Yoruba speaking audience by creatively localising the songs and dances without changing the message. On avenues of promoting plays, Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr. Martin Adaji called on playwrights to ultilise the play-reading sessions that hold at the National Theatre to first present their plays to the public. He said the forum enables plays to be watched and criticised by stakeholders. He also said the idea of writing and not presenting plays before publishing should be discouraged, as it does not allow such work to be subjected to criticisms, which in the long run, is always to the advantage of the writer. N the way forward, journalist, playwright O and culture advocate, Mr. Ben Tomoloju called on playwrights to work with policymakers or government to establish cottage theatres in every local government area in the country. He said this would not only engage playwrights and create jobs, but would make playwrights to project the right values and culture to the society. He also suggested the promotion of drama from the primary school to secondary school level. Ending the Confab, the tribe of thespians came up with a communiqué that recommends that playwrights should make their plays relevant to the needs of society, advocate the building of cottage theatres in all local government areas of the country, inaugurate a national community or organisation of playwrights to look into some of the problems facing the sector. Other recommendations include setting up retreats or centres for playwriting and production; breaking away from Greco-Roman models and creating authentic African paradigms; making drama and theatre staples in school curriculum throughout the country; reawakening reading culture in society by reintroducing reading clubs and debating societies in primary and secondary schools across the country; and for the conference to meet biennially as a way of sustaining vital activities and contacts in the periods between.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

ARTS

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Literature By Anote Ajeluorou POKEN word poetry, or indeed, the pop verSNigeria, sion of poetry, is fast gaining ground in especially in the Lagos performance circuit. So much so that clubs or performance arenas to that effect are beginning to spring up. Paul Efe Azino, Pumbline and Atilola Moronfolu are frontline artists giving verbal authority to spoken word art. Azino has taken the spoken word art to a revolutionary level with the verbal audacity of his performance. Moronfolu is less daring as she engages religion taken to a noisome level and other domestic issues. But giving a solid, intellectual angle to spoken word art is Dr. Chiemeka Nduka Ekeghe, with his new collection of poems, Overwhelming Treasures: Poems on Love, Life and Nigeria (Createspace Publishers, U.S.; 2012). While the popular artists’ spoken word art still exists in their imagination, Ekeghe has stepped up the rhythm in a book form. This is a major leap for the spoken word art; what remains to be seen is Ekeghe stepping forward to also thrill his audience with his verbal art. This would be icing on the cake. However, for the non-initiate to spoken word poetry, Ekeghe’s book as a work of poetry would sorely disappoint on account of its prosaic language, which is only relieved, and indeed, redeemed by his consistent use of rhyming couplets, which solely lend a measure of poetic sensibility to the collection. Nevertheless, there are flashes of brilliance here and there for those not familiar with spoken word poetry, especially in pieces like ‘Human sympathy’, ‘Blessed Nigeria’ and ‘Corruption! Corruption!’ This is more so because of the topicality of the issues Ekeghe

In Ekeghe’s Overwhelming Treasures, performance poetry finds a rhythm treats. Overwhelming Treasures brims with the poet’s vision of love for his beloved woman, his sense of enjoyment of life, his disappointment with the perennial failings of his beloved country, Nigeria and God’s unfailing love for mankind and His desire to draw man close to Himself so he can escape the path of self-destruct man seems set by his rejection of God’s love for him. These are the concerns of the poet, which he has put together in the spoken word tradition. He calls the first season ‘Filos’ and the first poem is ‘Love or infatuation? (A love song) in which he pours out his love for a female persona (his wife), as he shuns love outside marital contract. The poem drips with love syrup that sweetens to the point of boredom: Oh fair maiden, pure and sweet/How I long for us to meet/And share a love song so full of heat/That gives a melodious everlasting beat/On Facebook and Twitter, start to tweet. The poet pours so much praise on this woman and recounts her many virtues and qualities and why she is the one woman that matters to him in the wide world. This poem traces a man’s quest for union with the woman he adores and a forecast of what their union will be if she agrees to marry. Ekeghe concludes it thus: Little time

remains/Please marry me in time so we make gains/Let’s give birth to beautiful kids named Junior and Jane/Who’ll never slack but be in the main/Of the faith, so demons are slain. In a poem reminiscent of Odia Ofeimun’s dance drama, Nigeria the Beautiful, Ekeghe’s poem ‘Abiriba, the Beautiful’ praises his hometown and the milestone developments it has recorded in its march to the future. Here, however, Ekeghe succumbs to the lure of ostentatious wealth that seems to abound in Abiriba, a phenomenon that has bred the corruptive tendency so prevalent in Nigeria that he condemns. In ‘Blessed Nigeria’, the poet gives a panoramic overview of the many fine qualities that set Nigeria apart as land of splendour and infinite possibilities. It enumerates the tourism attraction that abounds in the country, as he sings: To Zuma rock/The people flock/The amazing Gurara falls/Displays a great water wall/… Ekeghe gets into his finest element in denouncing Nigeria’s biggest enemy to development: ‘Corruption! Corruption!’, which he calls ‘society’s disruption’ and the ‘nation’s dissolution’. He further writes: Conscience has gone to snore/To chop belle full is at the fore/Greed is the aetiology of this sore/Honesty she mercilessly tore/Wealth for unborn generation is the lure/Vanity sits at the

very core/Naira is what they want more/The refuse to open the door/Of basic necessities to the masses… Other poems in this section include ‘Rape of a nation’ and ‘The godfather’, which extend the corruption metaphor further. The last season, ‘God is crazy about you’ is the poet’s vision of God’s love for mankind. It is his evangelical treatise to his readers to heed God’s free and unconditional call to repentance so the crucifixion of Jesus, the Christ would not be a waste. For the Christian reader, Ekeghe has touched a core of belief and he is a lot more lyrical in this section as well. Indeed, Ekeghe’s Spoken Word Art is virgin poetic territory in this clime. His effort is to be commended. He would do well next time to be a bit more ‘poetic’ so as to win the hearts of core poets and not just those that hanker after pop art that spoken word poetry really is. Perhaps, Ekeghe mistook simplicity for simplistic or ‘prosaic’ writing, which is reflected in this collection. That way, spoken word art can also be made more enjoyable.

POETRY Co-principal, Mrs. Onyema, author, Sogunle and his parents Mr. And Mrs. Sogunle at the launch of Master Sogunle’s book recently

Teen author saves endangered world By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku ITH the publishing of the 3rd book of a 12 years old secondary school boy, Adeoluwa Samuel Sogunle, children have been challenged and urged to discover their talents earlier in life through hard work. While speaking to a gathering of teenagers and young adults alike at the launch of the book titled; E-MAGNET... We Are Going to Madagascar at Day Waterman College, Ogun state, the co-principal (pastoral) of the school, Mrs. Onyemah said that through hard work, children could discover their talents and become useful to themselves and be relevant in the society they live. According to her, “Efforts breedstalent until talent is discovered. When you work hard and with the help and guidance of your parents and teachers, you will discover your own talent and be celebrated in the society.” The book, an adventure story, talks about a boy named Harvey who lives in South Africa

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and has electro-magnetic powers. As a super hero, he finds himself in a situation where he has a limited time to save the world from the evil scientist and the death machine that is designed to turn the world into the scientist’s, which prompted the boy to travel down to Madagascar to wage a war against him. The young author, who also has two other published books, The Unstoppable Unity and Life in the Big City said that he developed interest in writing when he was in primary school. According to him, “I like reading a lot and I found out then that I had a lot of free time in my hand and I said to myself, why can’t I utilise it to write and express myself so that people can read? So, I started penning down my thoughts and typing and put together all my stories. Sogunle, who said he gets inspiration from things around him, however, said that he intends to take to writing as a part time job in future because he has the dream of becoming a surgeon.

His overjoyed parents, Dr. and Mrs. Demola Sogunle urged parents to spend more time with their children and encourage them to become who God has made them to be and also allow them follow their passions. According to the mother, “I feel great and happy that I have not wasted my time parenting. Whatever passion the child has, once we the parents see how dedicated he or she is, we should actually support them to bring out those talents in them.” The publisher of the book, Mr. Charles Ayodeji Dada urged children to use their time wisely and also channel their energy to more productive things rather than waste it on frivolous things that do not profit them. He said, “It is good to associate with good things,” he said. “The young man used his time very wisely. He has shown courage and has made his parents proud. I wish everybody that has writing talent to come out and showcase his talent also.”

The cry of the Weakling By Simeon Medese Show me, Lord the way of love That my heart be void of lust Show me what the cross has done That at last may I be not lost Show me, Lord the path you throd That my feet on that may walk Show me, Lord your acts of justice That my deeds be not impure Not that I your word ignore Nor have I from you withdrawn Just that all the world adorn Can but only make me fall Let the world and gods be fought And the dragon’s camp be shut Then shall all the world be won And the Father’s will be done!


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

28 ARTS

Revue At last, peace returns to PMAN

Chris Mba

Wiliki CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 ILIKI also explained that the committee W comprised representatives of all the warring parties, the media, corporate bodies and personalities from all walks of life. Although Wiliki acknowledged that PMAN constitution does not provide for the setting up of an interim leadership, he explained, as did other members of the peace committee, that the committee relied on the now popular ‘doctrine of necessity’ to arrive at the constitution of an interim administration, noting, “It has become necessary to set aside that aspect of the constitution in order to get things working again for PMAN,” Chris Mba said during the question-and-answer session that followed. Mba informed that the decision to set up the interim structure was not taken by the PPIC alone, rather it was taken after a town hall meeting convened by the committee, which has “over 208 musicians including all the factional leaders and their followers”. Mba said the meeting was held at Ojez Restaurant, Surulere and that members unanimously endorsed the concept of the PPIC to set up the interim structure. According to Mba: “The issue of whether the constitution provided for the setting up of an interim committee was raised at that well attended meeting and that august forum of musicians endorsed the concept of the committee and the committee was consequently encouraged to dovetail into a committee with the mandate to reconcile all warring factions and any aggrieved member. “We then consulted widely, held meetings with individuals and groups, met with elders like Pa Fatai Rolling Dollars, Madam Onyeka Onwenu, Ras Kimono and many others and conducted a survey round the country and we suggested three ways to get PMAN moving again and over three hundred and forty five questionnaire were sent out through personal contact and the internet and the outcome of the survey we conducted is what

we are implementing now and that is the constitution of an interim government which is what almost everyone has clamoured for”. While giving a breakdown of the survey result, Wiliki said that of the two hundred and fourteen questionnaires that were signed

Tee Mac

and returned, 63 percent opted for the con- constitution of an interim administration stitution of an interim government while 33 that would restore peace and normalcy to percent of the respondents opted for the association. straight elections. However, seven percent Former PMAN President, Tee Mac Iseli, opted for anyway forward. Wiliki then said CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 the only way forward for now was for the


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

ARTS 29

...Peace in the music house CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 President of the Gospel Musician Association of Nigeria (GoMAN) Pastor Telemi orokoya, the Afro-pop artiste Stella Monye, the highlife musician, ochoma Innocent, Alhaji Hakeem Abayomi and Kabiru Kehinde of Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria (FUMAN), Jazzman olofin and Sound Sultan, all representing hip-hop musicians and the singer Azeezat Allen are among members of the interim committee. They have also confirmed their willingness to serve. other members include top entertainment writers like Charles okogene, Uzo Chikere, Biodun Kupoluyi, Sony Neme and Ben Ufeli, who is on the committee as a representative of Jazz artistes in Nigeria. Wiliki further explained that the 45-member interim committee would be joined by the 14-member PPIC. The reggae artiste noted that it was necessary for members of the committee to be included in the structure so as to monitor and supervise the activities leading to the inauguration of the executive. Although no date has been fixed for the inauguration of the committee, secretary of PPIC, Brigadier Brown Bread, said the inauguration would hold before the end of March 2013 and that it was expected to attract eminent personalities from all walks of life. He added, “The inauguration of the new interim executives of the PMAN is expected to put to rest the question of leadership crisis in PMAN. We thank the media, the Nigerian Police, elders of PMAN, individuals and corporate bodies who contributed morally and financially to the success of the peace committee activities”. Members of PMAN who were present at the briefing, including the afro-pop artiste, Skid Ikemefuna, expressed optimism that the steps taken by the peace committee would bring about lasting peace and restore normalcy to the musicians’ body, adding, “We must drop our personal ambitions and ego and work for the collective good of the Nigerian musician. It pains me that we have allowed PMAN to get this low. This was a PMAN that everyone wanted to associate with. “Time it was when PMAN was the only visible and notable union in the creative industry. Nobody reckoned with Nollywood way back then. But today, Nollywood has taken over. We must get back on track. I tell you, once we agree and have an acceptable leadership, the people and government will listen to us. So, I am happy with the work the peace committee has done and is still doing; we must rally round them and give them all the support it needs. Let us drop all this issue of it is in the constitution and it is not in the constitution. The way forward is what is important now”. Former PMAN President, Tee Mac Iseli spoke in the same vein. The flutist and Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) said it was to ensure that things were done rightly and for the betterment of the Nigerian musician that he volunteered to serve on the interim committee. He said: “I am for a better, united and virile PMAN; this is why I nominated myself to serve. I don’t have any more ambition to lead the union. If I had, I would not nominate myself because one of the conditions for nomination into the

Stella Monye

We then consulted widely, held meetings with individuals and groups, met with elders like Pa Fatai Rolling Dollars, Madam Onyeka Onwenu, Ras Kimono and many others and conducted a survey round the country and we suggested three ways to get PMAN moving again and over three hundred and forty five questionnaire were sent out through personal contact and the internet and the outcome of the survey we conducted is what we are implementing now and that is the constitution of an interim government which is what almost everyone has clamoured for interim structure is that such a person cannot vie for office. “So, I am in the interim committee to make sure we do it right. There are a lot of opportunities we are missing out just because we are not organised and I want to see PMAN get back into reckoning”. However, it would appear the flutist is the only ‘factional President’ on the list of members of the interim administration of PMAN. The names of the other two members laying claim to PMAN presidency—Preddy Wise and Ras Murphy Van Anthony were conspicuously missing. Although Preddy Wise attended the press conference and, in fact, sat next to Tee Mac Iseli, Wiliki explained that Preddy Wise’s name was missing on the list even though he was approached to nominate a representative or be on the committee, because Preddy Wise had expressed interest to vie for elective office when normalcy was restored. “wiliki said, That is the situation with Preddy Wise. As for Ras Murphy, we have made countless overtures but he is still hell bent on dividing the body. In fact, while the peace process was on, Ras Murphy tried to compound the problem by holding an illegal election in Port Harcourt but the peace committee moved and with the help of the police we were able to scuttle the illegality and by this development, Ras Murphy’s illegal occupation of PMAN’s headquarters has been brought to an end”. He explained that PPIC would soon inaugurate an interim administration that would continue wide spread consultations, saying, “We will continue to preach peace and dialogue and will keep tab on the interim administration so that they can deliver on their mandate”.

From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja HE Director General, Nigerian Tourism T Development Corporation (NTDC), otunba Segun Runsewe, last week played host to Ngas Development Association (NDA), a cultural group from Jos, Plateau State. The group, led by its National Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Gomerep, came to solicit support from the management of NTDC on the planned 2013 annual Festival of Arts and Culture of the Ngas community tagged PUSDUNG 2013. Gomerep, in his remarks, said the festival was historically acclaimed for fostering love, brotherhood and togetherness among the Ngas people. According to him, it has also served to promote socio-cultural and economic purposes in the lives of the people of the area in the past. Recalling the mission statement and mandate of NTDC, the group leader said the programme and activities of the cultural group were in line with the responsibility of NTDC, thus, the need for collaboration. “What the Ngas Development Association is doing today in collaboration with NTDC is part of that responsibility that NTDC was established to do”. With its debut in 1988, Gomerep said the staging of 2013 festival of arts and culture of the Ngas people was systematically rooted in the social context of the people, which has placed the festival as the largest crowed puller of contemporary cultural festival in northern Nigeria. After about nine years’ break, the group said the re-emergence of the festival on the Plateau would mark a significant paradigm shift in organisation and artistic content. “This collaboration between NDA and NTDC is the first step towards giving this cultural fiesta an international and business outlook. “The economic and social impact of the Ngas festival of arts and culture cannot be overemphasised. The diversity of the people’s culture has the capacity to generate and sustain audiences for several days. The collaboration therefore and the window of opportunity that NTDC has provided for the Ngas Development Association would be adequately explored and sustained”, he said. Welcoming his guests, the NTDC boss commended them for upholding their cultural heritage and saving it from extinction. Runsewe reminded the group of the corporation’s input last year in ensuring peace in the Plateau. According to him, the activities, which included youth forum, meetings with traditional institutions, musical performances lasting about 10 days culminated in a symbolic planting of the peace tree. “We were in Jos for 10 days because we recognise that Plateau in particular used to be the hub of tourism in Nigeria and the country generated a lot of revenue from tourism in the state.’ Runsewe believed that a better understanding of the people’s culture and diversity would ensure peaceful co-existence among different

NTDC to partner Ngas people on cultural festival people and ethnic groups in Nigeria. Pledging the management’s willingness to partner the Ngas community, he said the festival had the full endorsement of NTDC and would be included in the calendar of festivals as one of the national cultural events in the country. The NTDC urged the people to take the calamity that has befallen the Jos, Plateau in recent years as a challenge and forge ahead with determination and enthusiasm.

Runsewe

N300 million suspected pirated DVDs seized FoRTy-FEET container, A loaded with 612,000 copies of suspected pirated DVDs and 45,900 units of DVD jackets estimated at three hundred million Naira (N300 million), has been confiscated by operatives of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the Apapa Seaport, Lagos. The Director-General, NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, who disclosed this in Lagos on March 8, 2013, stated that upon a tip-off to the Customs by officers of the Commission, the container marked MRKU4366990 was intercepted on the verge of leaving the port on March 6, 2013. He indicated that a vehicle with Registration No. XU 814 BDG, which freighted the container, was turned back at the exit gate of the port for antipiracy inspection at the Enforcement Department of the NCS. “A joint inspection team made up of officers of the Nigeria Customs Service drawn from its various units and the NCC officers con-

ducted inspection on the container on 7th March 2013,” he stated. According to him, “The inspection revealed that the container contains 600 cartons with each carton containing 1,020 copies (612,000 copies in all) of cinematographic DVDs and 45,900 units of empty jackets. The estimated market value of the contents of the container is put at about N300 million”. The Director-General stated that investigation was ongoing, adding that the container would soon be handed over to the Commission by the Customs. It would be recalled that last year, the Commission, in collaboration with Nigeria Customs Service, recorded an unprecedented confiscation of a total of 13 containers of 3.6 billion (3,613,315) units of pirated products, valued at four billion, seven hundred and fifty million Naira (N4.75 billion) at different seaports in the country. Whereas, 11 of the containers were stacked with pirated books of Nigerian and foreign authors, the remaining two were loaded with pirated musical

and film works of local and foreign titles. This brings to 14 the total number of containers of suspected pirated copyright works impounded so far at a cumulative total estimated cost of five billion and fifty million Naira (N5.05 billion). Meanwhile the DirectorGeneral has reassured stakeholders in the copyright industries of the Commission’s commitment to a proactive execution of its statutory regulatory and enforcement mandate on all copyright matters across the country. He stated that the renewed enforcement drive of the Commission in collaboration with the Customs and sister enforcement agencies was an indication of its determination in the realisation of NCC’s zero-tolerance policy on copyright piracy. The Director-General sent a strong warning to pirates of all categories of copyright protected works that it would no longer be business as usual in the creative industries.


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Events 2013 MAN Awards Dinner Date(s): 22/03/2013 Location: EKO HOTEL & SUITES, Victoria Island, Lagos. Promoter: altern8events Maiden edition of the Market Awards Nigeria. Come witness the companies that have been chosen through consumer polling that provided excellent customer service and product delivery in 2012. More info: www.afritickets.com

Nigerpreneur Youth Conference (NYC 4.0)

Date(s): 23/03/2013 Location: Paradise Christian Centre, Ajuwon Road, Off Ojodu-Berger, Akute Lagos, Nigeria. Promoter: Nigerpreneur This is the fourth edition of NYC (Nigerpreneur Youth Conference). NYC is an event where young individuals, aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, professionals, come under one platform to share ideas, transfer knowledge and network. More info: www.afritickets.com

In partnership with Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

TheGuardian

WED Awards

Premium Speed Dating Event

Date(s): 22/03/2013 Location: Landmark Village, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos. Promoter: WED Magazine This event heralds the first time Nigerian Wedding entrepreneurs would be recognized for their contributions in the wedding Industry. Akin Eso, the Publisher of WED Magazine commented: “The wedding industry has grown over the years with professionals that have put smiles on couples’ faces.

Date(s): 23/03/2013 Location: Aquinos Event Hall, Km 22 ,Lekki Expressway,Beside Ikota Shopping Complex Lekki Lagos Promoter: Lagos Dates Find your soul-mate in less than five minutes or just have fun seeing new, interesting people and networking in a safe, secure environment with light entertainments and refreshments. GET TICKETS HERE: www.afritickets.com

Next Rated:

I D E AS R U L E T H E W O R L D - B re a k f a s t M e e ti n g

Date(s): 23/03/2013 Location: Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos. Promoter: CAMPAIGN HYPE Campaign Hype Entertainment has announced the date for NEXT RATED, …The Search. This event is a highly impactful, first-of-its kind musical talent show/concert organized by Campaign Hype Entertainment. GET TICKETS HERE: www.afritickets.com

Date(s): 23/03/2013 Location: RCCG, Jubilee Christian Centre Promoter: Experience Jubilee Main Speaker is Mr. Kola Oyeyemi, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria. Mr. Oyeyemi is an alumnus of Columbia Business School, Lagos Business School and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife. GET TICKETS HERE: www.afritickets.com

The Search


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Showblast

...The buzz in town

Stories by Chuks Nwanne

‘I never knew I could really sing enough to catch anyone’s attenURING her time in the MTN Project Fame Academy, D Chidimma Ekile left no one in doubt about her singing One-on-one with Chidinma ability. Even with her petit frame, the Imo State native towered above other contestants, as she sang her heart out at the grand finale and was rewarded with fame and fortune. Done with the glamour and razzmatazz that come with winning the Project Fame, Chidimma signaled her arrival in the music industry with the release of her first single, Jankoliko, featuring Naija Ninja, Sound Sultan. The track got rave reviews with favourable airplay on radio stations. But to stamp her authority in the showbiz industry, the petit singer returned with Kedike, the song that finally brought her into the list of top-rated female singers in the industry. So, it was no surprise to most observers that Chidimma won the Kora Award for Best West African (Female) category, beating other contenders such as Omawunmi, Viviane Ndour from Senegal, Claire Bahi from Cote d’Ivoire, Fafa Ruffino from Benin and Suzanna Lubrano from Cape Verde. To prove her worth, she enchanted the audience with an electrifying performance of Kedike on the same stage as international superstar Chris Brown (with Rihanna), and P-Square. Former Chelsea footballer and Captain of the Ivorian national team, Didier Drogba was on hand to present Chidinma her award. “I’m happy and I feel blessed seeing myself as the best female artiste in West Africa. The song Kedike was co-written and produced by Cobhams, but most especially, Cobhams came up with the word Kedike.” Do you actually think you are the best person for this award, considering the strength of other contenders? “I won’t say I’m the best but what I will say is, I deserve it because I’ve worked hard to have come this far. Like I said earlier, you need to know the way we were drilled in the Project Fame Academy; it actually helped as well.” Though naturally talented, Chidimma’s musical skill came to limelight during her days in the Project Fame Academy. “I discovered that I had so much talent when I came for MTN Project Fame produced by Ultima Limited. I never knew I could really sing enough to catch anyone’s attention, though I was doing the bathroom and sitting room kind of singing. I was also in choir, but MTN Project Fame really helped me.” Chidimma paid glowing tribute to her teachers in the Academy for helping her discover her voice with which she’s making inroad into the world of music. “It was in the Academy that my huge voice was discovered and tamed. I used to just open my mouth and sing, but I learnt control it in the Academy. I also became popular through MTN Project Fame and I started growing my fan base from this platform too. So, I’m grateful to MTN Project Fame through Ultima for the platform and it has shot me into the limelight...trust me they are wonderful people.” Though known as a singer, Chidimma is gradually enlarging her coast as she has delved into broadcasting and acting. “I’ve done something with MTV base and I’ve also done few roles in some movies. I’m a Sociology student of University of Lagos, and I make sure I spend time with family and friends.” No doubt, her African tour last year played a vital role in Chidimma’s success story at the Kora Award; her fan base increased. “I toured over twelve countries and they all went well, but Republic of Benin amazed me. The turn out was massive that I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a stadium full to capacity just to watch me sing. The experience really humbled me. Right now, I’m looking forward to an international tour,” she said. Though her father never gave his blessings in the beginning, today, Mr. Ekile seems to be a proud father of an award-winning artiste. “Well, he has been very supportive and he understands the demands of my job. He has fully thrown his weight behind me now and he even makes sure I’m safe wherever I am.” To a large extent, Chidimma owes her success to God almighty, her family and the Project fame family. “I give thanks to God who has brought me this far in a short while; I thank my family for the support. Words cannot express my appreciation to Ultima Limited, who brought out the best in me and also to MTN; they’ve been a wonderful family to me. I won’t forget all my fans too who have supported me from the Project Fame days till date... May God continue to bless you,” she prayed. And to other upcoming artistes, “keep doing what you know how to do best. The journey to fame is not easy, so you must work hard and keep praying to God. You will get to wherever you are destined to be no matter what, if you work at it.” As for relationship, “well, for now I don’t have a boyfriend Chidinma and I know I’m not getting married anytime soon.”

I won’t say I’m the best but what I will say is, I deserve it because I’ve worked hard to come this far. Like I said earlier, you need to know the way we were drilled in the Project Fame Academy; it actually helped as well


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As part of the 2013 AMAA Nomination Party, the organisers of the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) staged a live concert at the Golf Club, Lilongwe, Malawi, featuring Nigeria’s P-Square and some local talents. Despite the evening showers, both young and old Malawians trooped to the show ground in their number and were treated to the best of Naija beats.

MTV Boss, Alex Okosi, is Global Young Leader

Etisalat Cliqfest rocks Unilorin

n a bid to share love and excitement enior Vice President and Managing Director of African mulicompany, to the youths, telecommunication S(ViMn) timedia powerhouse Viacom international Media networks etisalat, recently moved its Africa (formerly MTV networks Africa), has been named by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a 2013 Young Global Leader (YGL). The Young Global Leader award is an honour bestowed by the World economic Forum each year to recognise the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world.  A nomination is described by the WeF as “…recognition of your record of professional accomplishments, your commitment to society and your potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through your inspiring leadership.”  okosi was named by the Selection Committee, chaired by Her Majesty Queen rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which screened thousands of potential young leaders from every region of the world and from a myriad of disciplines and sectors. okosi will become an active member of The Forum of Young Global Leaders, a global network of peers from diverse backgrounds and fields, with the goal of significantly impacting world affairs and shaping the global agenda. To achieve its mission, the FYGL acts as a platform for young leaders to be both a voice for the future in global thought processes and a catalyst for joint action when appropriate. Together, its community members form a powerful international force for the global common good. okosi enthused, “i am very proud to have been named by the World economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and look forward to working with my peers in the Forum of Young Global Leaders to ensure that African affairs; issues and ideas are key priorities for action on the global agenda”. A native of onitsha, Anambra State, okosi is based in Johannesburg, where he heads Viacom international Media networks’ pan-African business operations. He is responsible for managing the growth and development of ViMn’s iconic kids, youth, music, comedy and general entertainment brands on the African continent, including MTV, MTV Base, VH1 Classic, BeT international, nickelodeon and Comedy Central. The channels’ collective footprint reaches 52 territories in sub-Saharan Africa, serving over 100 million viewers via DTH, DTT, CATV, iPTV and terrestrial branded block broadcast services, and three dynamic online destinations.

Okosi

Cliqfest train to the University of ilorin, Kwara State. Designed as a youth empowerment and entertainment programme, over 7,000 students took part in the two-day programme that featured an array of activities designed to empower, educate and entertain the students of higher institutions across the country. Like in other campuses covered so far by the project, the Unilorin Cliqfest featured a motivational seminar, novelty football matches, concert, comedy, raffle draw and other competitions. The high point of the programme was the presentation of a brand new Kia Picanto car to the raffle draw winner, Sola oladimeji, a 300-level law student of the university. Speaking at the event, the manager, youth segment, etisalat nigeria, Mr. idiare Atimomo informed that Cliqfest is all about empowering, whilst also exciting the students.

“etisalat nigeria is concerned about how outstanding these young individuals will be, outside their institutions of learning. We want to prepare them for life after school. They need to be equipped with skills for employment, but in a relaxed atmosphere. Most importantly, etisalat aims to give the students courage to be entrepreneurial in thinking and help them to set self-targets. Thus our activation of Cliqfest, which is powered by our easycliq, a package that is tailored to suit the lifestyles and communication needs of young people.” During the seminar, motivational speaker and president of Fifth Gear Plus Consulting, Mr. niyi Adesanya, encouraged the students to increase their value for better competitive edge and create self-immunity from being stranded, by developing the strength of their knowledge base and skills. He reminded the students that they would need more innovativeness, creativity and determination to tackle any employment situation. The etisalat nigeria team also paid a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor of the

school, Professor Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali and the Dean of Student Affairs, Professor olubunmi Abayomi omotesho. receiving the team, the Dean expressed optimism that the seminar would help prepare the students for the future. “Unemployment is a challenge as the world changes; everyone has to think of what can be done. The etisalat Cliqfest has really added value. i’ve always looked for such opportunities for our students, this coming from etisalat nigeria is perfect and timely,” he said. The seminar was spiced with various competitions accompanied with prizes. excited students cheered with vuvuzelas during football matches, followed by performances by student singers and comedians. However, the atmosphere became completely electric when pop singers, May D and olamide, took to the stage. nigerian idol Season 2 winner, Mercy Chinwo, also gave her best to the delight and awe of the students.

Sharing With Amara berths on air MArA nwosu is not a green A horn in the nigerian media; she has been contributing to notable newspapers, including The Guardian. But after years of researching and consulting widely within and outside nigeria, the amiable lady is set to launch her TV programme, Sharing With Amara (SWA), a three-dimensional talk show that will enthrall viewers and ultimately revamp quality programming on TV. The show will primarily focus on human-interest issues, especially relationships, health, beauty, fashion, entertainment, society, habits and successful living and others. According to nwosu, the producer and host of the programme, the pilot episode has already been shot. “SWA is poised to be the dominant human interest talk show in nigeria and Africa. it will be broadcast on AfricaMagic, Ben TV europe and other nigerian TV stations. For sure, the show will draw viewers of all ages, sexes and income classes due to the

critical life issues it will explore. it will also offer insightful brand managers an excellent platform to propagate their brands,” Amara said. A graduate of the University of Lagos, Amara is poised to bring her wealth of experience as a columnist of over four years to bear on the TV show. interestingly, her weekly columns are focused on issues pertaining to human interest; health and beauty; relationships; fashion and society; habits; and successful living. Aside from her role in the media, Amara also runs Dorcas Generation initiative, an nGo that focuses on widows and less-privileged women in the society. She is also the executive Director, real Thoughts initiative for the African Child, a group that is taking care of children in public schools and hospitals. “i’m seeking to leverage and extend the offerings on my columns into a syndicated talk show to be shown on local and foreign TV stations. My pay off says it all: Let’s Amara


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Baba T, another Kuboye steps in with a new beat ITH a singer, pianist, painter, saxophonist W and dentist mother and a bass guitarist and entrepreneur father, it didn’t come as any

Baba T

Harvest time for Destiny Child winners

Destiny Child FTER that rigorous process that won them fame and fortune at the Destiny Child A Gospel Music Reality Show, winners in the contest have all released their singles. The young talents, who are signed on Autograph Records, teamed up with the label’s in house producer Tolu, T-Yanks, who was Music Director in the reality show to produce music that edifies the soul. The overall winner of contest, Israel Funsho’s track is titled Praise your name. The well-crafted song is born out of his desire as a music minis-

Soundbite

ter to praise God in every way possible. “I strongly believe I’m alive today because God brought me into this world to do only one thing; praise and lead his people to praise him. Hence the reason why my first single is titled Praise   your name.” The Osun state born artiste believes lovers of good and clean music will surely have a blast listening to this song. Femi Flames decided to stick to his mother tongue as he sings about the supremacy of God in his first single tagged Adanimagbagbe. The song exalts God’s supremacy and reminds one that God is the creator. “I love singing from my heart, because if I do not connect to the song I am singing, I believe others won’t. So, I decided to keep it indigenous because I needed to feel it in a different way. One thing is certain the world will be blessed by this song,” he affirmed. On the other hand, Rasine Brown brings her multiple blessings to bear in her single, Amazing Love. The song combines rock, Afrobeat and a blend of pop to deliver a truly amazing sound that deserves a place on music shelf. “I feel so blessed by this opportunity and I’m believing God that the general public, both Christians and Non-Christians alike, will be blessed by this song,” she said. Autograph records is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the trio actualized their dreams of singing to the world as they have out lined a music tour for the young talents between the month of May and June, with the biggest being a performance at Mike Aremu’s concert in London come May 6.

surprise that Babatunmida Kuboye, the middle child of renowned jazz duo, Tunde and Fran Kuboye (Fran died in 1997), has decided to launch into professional music career. Though Baba, as he prefers to be called by fans and friends, has always been on the periphery of the music industry by virtue of his regular sessions at his parents’ popular Jazz 38 Club with The Extended Family Band, even releasing an album to lukewarm reception years back; the gangling and gregarious London-based RF Engineer is now musically and mentally prepared to give established Nigerian music stars a run for their talent and artistry. Baba T is coming to the scene with a new single, Baba De Baba, accompanied with a multi million naira video shot on location in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. Despite the fact that he only has one single at the moment, Baba is upbeat about his chances of scaling through whatever challenges that he may encounter on his path as a professional musician. He expects people to have same amount of fun he had when he first listened to his latest single and says that his guiding principle is to have fun in whatever he ventures into. “I have been exposed to some of the good and bad sides of the industry by virtue of my background. I have also had some experience whilst doing my own music. Whilst nothing can ever fully prepare one for the wonderful world of the music industry, I like to think I have a good support system and experience to deal with what comes my way.” For the artistes, the guiding principle in doing music is that it should always be fun. “I had fun making the track; from the composition to the recording in the UK, to the video shoot out in Florida… I think that comes across in the song itself. My hope is that people will have the same amount of fun I had whilst they watch and listen to it.” Though his family’s Afrobeat and Jazz background remains a big influence in his career however Baba is always receptive to other gen-

MoviBuzz Aside from Yaw, who also doubles as the producer, the situation comedy series features other acts such as Lilian Esoro, Stanley “Funnybone” Chibuna, Tina Mba, Ngozi Nwosu, Ufuoma Ejenobor and others. For Yaw, life is no more the same because of his parents EW weeks after his yearly sojourn in America; hence the drama show staged reonus falls on him to manage cently at the MUSON Centre, the home front with it’s comOnikan, Lagos, Wazobia FM plexity. Thrown and twisted presenter and comedy merchant, Steve Onu is back with into the web of an impostor tenant, a controversial aunt, a new project, which he believes would put smiles on the an Hausa gatekeeper, a face of TV viewers. Titled Yaw’s grandma that speaks only Igbo language and confused N’ Myn, the sitcom mirrors siblings, Yaw is indeed in troutrue life experiences of the popular radio host, who is fet- ble. Written by the trio of Bovi tered in the same home with Ugboma, Adebola Rayo and his siblings.

Film Review Yaw’s N’ Myn… A new sitcom

F

Yes, a lot of artistes are misguided; you get into fame and start to believe that’s you; it’s very dangerous. But I like the fact that in Nigeria, the society would call you to order. They will tell you, ‘who are you? Who do you think you are? Somebody like me, I don’t act like I’m anything. Humility to me is somebody that is big, but pretends to be small. But I’m small, what’s there to pretend about?”

M.I.

res of music. Essentially, he took a keen interest in hip-hop when he listened to late American gangster rapper, 2Pac Shakur’s fourth studio album titled All Eyes On Me in the mid90’s. His dad bought a CD changer at the time and 2Pac’s album was among the free CDs given out as part of the package. “I was feeling the lyrical content and the beats on 2Pac’s album and that got me into rapping. I also listened to other rappers such as Nas and before I knew it, I became more conscious and thoughtful with my lyrics. These days, my musical taste is more eclectic; I like to hear the collections of sounds. I will try anything once – but my favourite stuff is urban music.” However, Baba T is not bringing anything new. “I’m just adding to the selection people have out there to listen to. There are other artistes like me, who compose or produce their own music, rap, play an instrument and run their own label.  I am bringing an alternative. That alternative is just the music that I compose which I think is distinct. My music is urban, but you will still hear some Jazz or Afrobeat influences in my compositions.” It is not surprise that when Baba T started writing his own songs in his teens, he took more to rap; to the consternation of many, who thought he would follow in the footsteps of his father by doing Afrobeat or Jazz. The drawback, however, he says, was that he felt his voice was too deep to be a lead singer and that’s his reason for not taking to Afrobeat or Jazz. “One would expect that given my background, I’d be doing Afrobeat or Jazz. If you put it in terms of genres of music, it is a deviation. But if you put it in terms of what my parents and uncle did, it’s actually not that different. I think my parents took to Jazz because it was the popular and cool music in their time. Fela formed Afrobeat and made it popular music then and even beyond his time. I grew up listening to these kinds of music as well as what was on radio and TV. Having been exposed to all these kinds of music as a kid, it allowed me appreciate music, its composition and instru-

Yaw (middle) with some of the cast

By Chika Onwukwe Obi Martins, the scintillating production had Imoh Imoren as director. According to the renowned on-air-personality, the first thirteen episodes are already showing on StarTimes channel 115,Tuesday’s 8:30pm, LTV 8 on StarTimes channel 118 and Dstv channel 256 on Fridays, starting from 10:35 pm. However, talks are ongoing with some stations televisions in South African, the United States and the United Kingdom on the possibility of beaming the programme on their screens. Shot on location in Lagos, the cast and crew are on the verge of hitting locations for the season two of the TV series.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

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VisualArts By Tajudeen Sowole S a picture is said to be A worth a thousand words, a group of photographers known as f/stopCollective is set to prove that there are better stories to tell of the Niger Delta than militancy and oil spillage. From some of the Niger Delta cities, the photographers Perez Tigidam (Port Harcourt), Ebiware Okiy (Benin), Israel Ophori (Ugeli), Tuoyo Omagba (Asaba) and Timipre Willis Amah (Yenagoa) will on Saturday, March 23 to April 6, at Quintessence Gallery, Falomo, Lagos exhibit exotic photographs with the theme, Circus of Encounter. Some of the images to be displayed include across actual representational scenes taken at festivals, landscapes and conceptual or composite images, from which members of f/stopCollective explore the cultural values of the troubled region. The aim, they state, is to draw the world’s attention away from oil and focus it on creativity as well as tourism. In digging into myth, Tigidam brings the aquatic legendary creature, Mamiwater – a local version of Mermaid – into contemporaneity. It’s a photo composite that places a costumed model against painterly skyline. Titled Mamiwater Monolugue Study 1, the picture could have been a pullout from any travel and tour magazine for A-list destinations of exotic islands anywhere in the world. From a low angle shot, Tigidam’s capture of Mamiwater on a boat sailing over water that bounces light into space for a convergence of reflection between the blue sky and the lady’s white costume, indicates that indeed, there are still some parts of the region not yet violated by oil explorations. In festival-related images,

Circus of Encounter

against Niger Delta stereotypes works such as Omoke Dancers, acrobatic and highly costumed displays; Omunguaru, King Koko Festival, Nembe, a boat regatta; Masqurade Dance from the Creeks, Gbaramatu; and a procession for traditional rulers in Benin by Okiy stress the people’s rich culture, as expressed in the diversity of languages and other challenges. Perhaps, some of the most fascinating photographs of landscapes and skylines from the Niger Delta in recent times come from the camera of Amah. He, however, laments, “Unfortunately, the Niger Delta is only known for militancy”. To change the perception, even among the people, the theme of the exhibition, he explains “is therefore based on the beauty of the people, their culture and natural environment”. And despite the environmental degradation caused by oil exploration, Ophori argues that there are still quite a number of places with their natural features. “We still have beautiful environment in places like Bonny Island, Agbar Otor and others, which we hope to showcase to the world.” Aside the natural ambience of the environment, which the f/stopsCollective projects, there are the abundance of human resources, particularly in the creative areas such as performances. This much is captured in Wonders of Niger Delta, from Nchaka Festival (Omoke,

By Anote Ajeluorou HE people of Badagry are bracing up to tap into the huge potential in T tourism located in their doorsteps. This year, a new logo, encapsulating Badagry tourism potential and its cultural heritage, as bequeathed by a sad historical past, await visitors to the two festivals the ancient town will host. From March 25, when the Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF) opens, Badagry will be at the centre of activities, with Day 3 devoted to Badagry alone, to mark mainstreaming the town

Perez Tigidam’s Mamiwater Monolugue Study 1 Rivers State) in a display of son and Ken Saro Wiwa and perceptive illusion by a Kelechi Amadi Obi to creativyoung man who seems to ity in the land”. have passed a bar through The choice of art, he added, his mouth. was crucial as “art allows the For a region known to have freedom of diversity and difproduced some of the creference to find form and ative minds in Nigeria in the purpose in the contradicarts and culture field, Amah tion and complexities of stated that the gathering of human existence.” The ultif/stopsCollective “is to remate goal, he added, “is to mind the people about the build a new Niger Delta, via beauty of the land as an exthe arts that can withstand tension of the contribution the challenges of the fuof others like Late Rex Lawture.”

Wonders of Niger Delta

Badagry unveils logo, ready to host LBHF into the festival’s calendar for the first time. Until now, Badagry had been on the fringe of the Lagos festival. Indeed, for most Badagry people, Lagos Black Heritage Festival is a derivation from their original Badagry Festival, which had existed for almost 10 years before the state government decided to organise its own to overshadow it. Lagos State Government had repeatedly refused to fund or participate in the Badagry festival,

only to start its own years later. Badagry Local Government chairman, Hon. Disu hinted at the state hijacking Badagry Festival from them, even when he minimally participates in it himself. Even now, initiator of Badagry Festival and boss of African Renaissance Foundation, Mr. Babatunde Olaide-Mesewaku is shopping abroad among the American Caucus of Black Mayors for sponsorship and participationin the festival

Council Manager, Prince Sunday Olujobi; Executive Chairman, Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu and his wife, Chief (Mrs.) Bukola Dosu at the unveiling of Badagry Tourism logo at the council chambers

in August, as a way of giving it the international stature and exposure it deserves. But now, Consultant to LBHF, Prof. Wole Soyinka has seen reason for the active involvement of Badagry because of the sheer historical and cultural importance of the town to the festival. At this year’s festival, Badagry council sponsored 55 school pupils to participate at the Vision of the Child Art Competition out of which six pupils are in the running for the top prizes. But this involvement is with its sets of fits and starts on the part of the state government in harnessing the tourism potentials of Badagry. Construction of facilities in the ancient town that would facilitate patronage of tourists is still half done. From the world-class golf course along the Marine Beach to Vlekete Slave Market, where slaves were sold during the period of the infamous slave trade to the Slave Tunnels and other landmark slave trade relics, Lagos is yet to deliver to enhance tourism. Badagry has, therefore, remained a rustic community and is perhaps the poorest for it among its sister towns with heavy slave trade past along the West Africa coast. But in spite of these setbacks for the ancient town, the local people are up-

beat about the cultural resource at their disposal. And so amidst a gathering of all the chiefs of Badagry except the Akran himself, Dosu unveiled Badagry Tourism logo to wide admiration. It consists of a curving coconut tree (symbol of Badagry town and main agricultural resource) and the giant traditional sato drum set against a background of a golden sunset, with Badagry Tourism blazoned beside it. Stickers with the logo were distributed among those in attendance to openly display as means of promoting Badagry tourism. The gesture elicited wide commendation from virtually everyone. But the council boss was also urged to go beyond merely producing logo to further market Badagry as a tourism haven by taking a stand at the Lagos airport to help visitors to the two festivals on how to easily get to Badagry without much trouble. The council boss was also enjoined to create tourism facilities in the town that would attract visitors beyond what Lagos State Government was doing that could also generate funds for the council and the local people. Such facilities like boat route from Apapa to Badagry and neighbouring states of Togo and Benin Republic to Badagry, it was canvassed, would give the town international attraction, especially now when the road leading these other places from Badagry was in bad shape.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

40 ARTS

Film By Florence Utor OVIE pratictionerrs in Nollywood recently M gathered at a one-day Consultative Forum last week to find solutions to an endowed but under-performing industry for the benefit of all. Organised by TREND Media in collaboration with School of Media and Communication, PAN-African University and Federation of Pan-African Cinema (FEPACI), it had as theme ‘The African Film and Entertainment Investment Summit’. It’s a precursor to the main event scheduled for December 10 to 13. The summit will primarily provide opportunity for investors in film and other content providers, studio executives, media experts and regulators to meet on securing financing for film, television and entertainment content and infrastructure. It’s also expected to inaugurate an investment fund in the sector of the creative industries. The main goal, however, is to provide a platform for networking and transactional opportunities among stakeholders in the film and entertainment industry in Africa, create avenues for sustainable investment and development of the film and entertainment industry. The summit is also expected to link film and entertainment professionals with investors, equip investors with adequate information to appraise projects, expose and understand new trends in film/TV and entertainment content, infrastructure and development, explain funding opportunities and availability, network on prospects and projects, facilitate financing agreements and create linkage with other regional and global film and entertainment industries. While presenting a paper on ‘The Nigerian film and Entertainment Industry: Growth and Development Strategy Presentation’, Prof. Dapo Adelagan pointed out the many afflictions of the business, as managing and protecting content rights and royalties, piracy and lack of talent synergy. He said piracy and the non-existent of a well-structured distribution network that would make it possible for marketers who do not mean well for the industry to determine the fate of producers was another bane of the industry. He quoted a source that put Nigeria’s loss of an estimated US$50 million annually to international piracy of Nigerian movies and films in the America, Canada, other countries in Africa and Europe. Adelagan, therefore, said investors could not confidently finance movie productions in the country as a result. Although Nollywood had assumed a vertical growth since the 1950s, he said there were no auteur (producer wit grasp) in the field and that the bulk of directors, producers and artists lack the intelligence and imagination to improvise. He noted that the entertainment industry in Nigeria was currently at a vocational level. He noted that entertainment practitioners’ apathy towards wealth was an impediment for fostering the financial or wealth potentials in the industry. He averred, “We over glamourise the things that don’t matter, but how we attract capital is the major thing that matters”. There’s motion without movement in the industry after many years; we are still on the same spot. We need to make the entry level very expensive, so that not everybody can come in.” Still on the low standard that make financiers not to take the industry seriously, Adelagan noted, “the diachronic adaptations of thousands of scripts for Nigerian movies have fallen flat on their faces. Epic movies, evade historical essence and substance for drama and voodoo. “In modern theatre productions the adaptation of novels, stories or plays goes for accuracy as best as it can get. In cases where accuracy is not achieved in that sense, the producer must conscientiously and intelligently review the narrative, not to distort certain diachronic essentials, but to achieve a desirable purpose for the audience. “Even if you have the talent you must go and learn it. You need to go to school, because you need to put some finishing touches to the talent to make it more solid”, noting that these were reasons why most Nollywood directors and producers fail to interpret scripts well. “They even make shoddier jobs of adapting a novel or a play, except in cases where such works were handled or supervised by masters, which are apparently very few”, he stated. While citing the example of The Gladiators with its multiple award winning, he said, Nollywood may be bigger than Hollywood and

Cross section of participants at the event

Funding, unity top agenda at film summit Bollywood put together, but it may still be derided by the bigger part of the film world that is a stickler for details, quality and meaningful growth. The vain flattery in town that Nollywood is the fastest growing movie industry in the world and only next to Bollywood is not helpful, he said. He noted, “Traders and businessmen in garbs of movie directors, producers, scriptwriters and actors must lean back and come up with better ideas.” He identified capital and talent as critical issues, saying, “Film and entertainment industry is a complex and highly speculative business. The reality is that the vast majority of quality films and entertainment related projects are never funded due to misconceptions of the principals, insufficient capitalisation and improper marketing. “21st century realities have heightened the need to attract owners of capital into the industry by the creation of an entertainment fund for long term investment as well as pension fund and trust fund to aggregate capital to infrastructure so direly needed in the industry, such as films and studios, cinemas, music stalls.” He pinned the global value of film and entertainment industry at about $906 billion, adding, “According to 2010 reports, and as had been projected, figures should have risen to about $102 billion as at the end of the year. The global movie and entertainment industry is expected to reach an estimated US $139 billion in 2017 with about 4.25% growth over the next five years. “This growth is likely to be driven by the acceleration of online and mobile distribution of movies, lower admission prices, and government policy initiative in developing countries.” With North America as having the largest market share of 40 percent followed by Europe, Middle East and Africa, which account for 24 percent market share index, Asia pacific has just three percent. He advised, “It is not good enough for movies to project our lifestyles, cultures fashions and diverse religions and other trendy issues in the country, but it should also be proactive by using positive imaginations in unveiling some innate opportunities lying fallow in the industry.” He concluded by saying, “With the high emphasis on intellectual property skills in

terms of recognition world wide of Nigeria skills in arts, music and film, it provides impetus for the film and entertainment industry as well as stakeholders in arts and music to come together in serious understanding to find a way to manage market, and streamline the resources in arts and music and channel efforts in more organised form. “There is a need to expose the industry positively to the Nigerian government and corporate entities; then harness every available resources in Nigeria both legally and politically and sell Nigeria arts and music in a more patented and more protected and legally backed venture both in a diplomatic collaboration with other countries and with international treaties backing these efforts since our laws and enforcement in Nigeria are weak. This will also protect their products and earn rightful income and foreign exchange for themselves and for the Nigerian nation. “The film industry has to learn to reach out in a highly organised form to engage the government, corporate entities and international organisations for financial resources to support and encourage the film industry. In as much as these efforts are being made, efforts should also be placed on better quality of Nigerian movies, good stories to tell about Nigeria and Africa, less emphasis on negative portrayal of our national and traditional lives, the positive story about our villages and cultures in our towns, our leaders our youths, our schools, our government, democracy, respect for the rule of law and decency should be encouraged and emphasised.” A summit like this would not have been complete without a representative from the banking sector. Technical adviser to Managing Director of Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) Hope Yongo was in attendance. Contrary to claims by some practitioners who are not able to access the N200 million dollars set aside for the industry, a couple of practitioners have met the standards and are assessing the fund like Mo Abudu, producer of Moments with Mo and now, Ebony Life t.v. said she got a loan from the bank. Yongo further clarified that “people should understand that this money is not a grant but a loan and to access a loan anywhere in the world, you must meet the criteria. If the

money is given out to practitioners based on sentiments, the bank will collapse, and we will be out of business”. “What we are doing”, he continued, “is to lobby for certain things that will benefit the industry such as starting another campus of the Film Institute in Lagos, since Jos is rather too far for the people down here, so that more people get the training they need. In doing this, we shall be positioning the industry in a vantage position where private investors begin to come and invest by themselves so that the industry does not depend on government alone.” Other practitioners were also of the opinion that capacity building, a key aspect of moving the industry forward, was lacking and that there were not enough training schools. But the representative of Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC), Brian Etuk clearly stated that there were enough standard training schools in the country, and cited The National film Institute and Television College all in Jos, as well as the training school owned by Zeb Ejiro, Amaka Igwe, Wale Adenuga among others, in other parts of the country. He noted, “What these schools need is serious funding which is lacking”, also noting that the corporation had done everything it could to make sure Motion Pictures Council of Nigeria (MOPICON) bill is passed into law to enable the industry function properly. Adding, “But like you know, nothing has come up yet. We expect that when practitioners themselves have an opportunity of interacting with the President like they did a few weeks back, they should make a strong a case for themselves as well. If they can push strongly like we are all trying, I’m sure something will happen soon.” President of Association of of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP), Alex Eyengho said, “Funding is not the problem of Nollywood but lack of proper umbrella structure for the industry. Unless and until the MOPICON is put in place, a hundred billion dollars pumped into the industry will go down the drain. President Goodluck Jonathan should sponsor the MOPICOPN bill as an executive bill at the National Assembly and ensure its passage into law. That is what we need in Nollywood and not dinners and stakeholders’ meetings organised by jobbers in the industry who will never want MOPICON to work because it would cut off their selfish middleman role in Nollywood.”


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

ARTS 41

Heritage Black History Month and rethinking Africa’s contribution to world civilization By Gbenga Salau order to ensure that the attention of the IofNworld is drawn to the positive contributions black Africans to the development of the world, CBAAC successfully celebrated this year’s Black History Month at the University of Port Harcourt. The opening of the two-day event started with the African Composers’ Summit and a lecture by an Emeritus Professor. The next day, DirectorGeneral of CBAAC, Prof. Tunde Babawale address the gathering and went down memory lane of how the celebration started. He said, “Black History Month celebration, as an annual event, began in the United States as Negro History Week and pioneered by the renowned African American historian, Dr. Carter Godson Woodson to protest the exclusion of the contributions of African Americans from history textbooks in the United States. “Since it began nearly ninety years ago, the celebration of the Black History Month as an annual event has grown and gained global acceptance. Over the years, as part of our statutory responsibility, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization has used it to direct attention to matters of concern to Black and African peoples across the world. We have also instituted this celebration as an annual event to celebrate the appreciation of Black and African history and to reecho the triumph of Africans over forces of domination, discrimination and exploitation. “Our celebration of Black History Month is also geared towards showcasing to the world the tremendous contributions of Black people to world civilization. Realising the importance and strategic role music can play in Africa’s development and strengthening relationship between Africa and its vast Diaspora, CBAAC has partnered with the Department of Music of this great institution in organising this summit. We are of the hope and belief that this summit, which has brought together scholars and practitioners in African music composition, will help bridge and cement existing cordial relationship between Africa and the African Diaspora.” On the theme, History, Culture and the Integration of Africa and Africa Diaspora, Babawale said that it was timely and relevant given growing interest in Diaspora matters on the continent, adding, “The invaluable role the Diaspora can play on the continent made the African Union to confer the Sixth Region status to it. In recognition of their importance, the Federal Government recently extended invitation to the country’s vast Diaspora to complement efforts made by it in realising of its numerous pro-

Duke

Babawale

grammes. “Similarly, the importance, relevance, recognition and premium our country continues to place on Diaspora and Diaspora matters inform the establishment of agencies like ours which is created to help foster greater understanding about African culture and sustain the cultural link and relationship between them and their African motherland. This way the centre helps our country harness its inherent potentials that can assist development.” On his part, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, in his speech, commended CBAAC for celebrating the Black History Month as it provided a memorable platform for the celebration of achievements of Africans and people of African descent and their contributions to global development. He stated, “Therefore, I am in deed glad and delighted to always be part of CBAAC’s activities and wish to express satisfaction with what I have seen so far. All I can say is that as long as this tempo of achievements is sustained, CBAAC will continue to get the ministry’s support for her activities”. The minister observed that Africa’s Diaspora remains a hugely untapped resource by Africa itself as there were quite a number of ways Africa can benefit from its Diaspora citizens, noting, “Africa can tap from her Diaspora’s link to vast global networks that can make the continent gain strategic access to wealth, in-

formation, innovative business ideas and skills. Africans in the Diaspora, given their exposure to western technologies and education are in a vantage position to transfer the same for the growth and the development of the African continent. Africa’s Diaspora also can help to promote voluntary self-help development projects to rescue the continent from near-collapse of the social services”. Duke maintained that the continent’s Diaspora remained the mirror that reflects the resourcefulness of Africa’s global presence and the beauty in her cultural diversity and ways of life. He stated, “Records have shown that the Diasporas are not doing badly and are significantly contributing their quota to socio-economic development of the various countries they are located around the world. The United States of America and Brazil are good examples of countries where people of African descent are doing well and contributing their quota to development. “The general improvements in the living standards of people in such countries are therefore testimonies to the industry, contributions and relevance of Africa’s Diaspora. The continent can also tap into these advantages. Therefore, we must haste to tap and benefit from the inherent potential the Diaspora offers. Our common culture and history are placed in a position of advantage to benefit from the Diaspora. “Consequently, the organisation of this pro-

gramme, particularly the lecture using the auspicious occasion of the Black History Month celebration, is a unique way of redirecting our attention not only to the need for cultural rediscovery and reawakening but also provides us opportunity for deep reflection on how to utilize and maximise benefits that can be derived from the Diaspora for Africa’s development. “Therefore, the building of the theme of today’s lecture around History, Culture and the Integration of Africa and Africa Diaspora is timely given our common quests for national and continental development. It appears relevant given the desire of this administration to explore options of returning Nigeria to the path of greatness”. In her paper titled, Diasporas and Homeland: An emerging Central theme in African Cultural and Historical Studies, Emeritus Professor Okon E. Uya, traced the origin of the African Diaspora with emphasis in Black historiography. She stressed the central role played by African-American scholars in the process, noting that some of these efforts had existed long before the emergence of professional historians, indeed scholars, in Africa. She argued that their pioneering role in this scholarship has not always been recognised. According to her, many of the early writings on historical records were bias because “The writers of this early period were not trained historians but interested amateurs who identified history as a necessary weapon for the struggle for racial justice and equality. Inspired by their Christian beliefs, the egalitarian principles of the French and American Revolutions, and great faith in the future of “The Negro,” these-early writers wrote history to justify the need to emancipate the race. History was thus called upon to bear the burden it has borne in most societies, a close ally in the emancipation and upliftment of a people, a tradition which has continued to the present.” She also examined the development of the Diaspora in historical perspective, pointing out the peculiarities of each stage. She also pointed to the importance of the Diaspora as a major reservoir of talent, capital, technical and professional expertise and emphasised the need to properly mobilize and engage them in projects of development, saying though there were appreciate efforts to do this by government, it was, however, not enough. She summed up by noting, “The main burden of our presentation has been to stress that African Studies in our universities cannot and should not be regarded as complete or comprehensive until we are able to incorporate this vital aspect of our heritage into our curriculum, teaching and research. It is indeed in this regard that we commend the efforts being made by CBAAC through advocacy and research to draw attention to this important emerging theme in the study of African History, Culture and Civilization”.

Pomp, fun at 2013 Lisabi festival By Florence Utor HE 2013 Lisabi Festival kicked off with the boomT ing of canons from Olumo

Male champion, Rasheed Akanbi and female champion, Sadiat Sokunbi contesting for ayo game Champion of Chmapions while Oba Gbadebo looks at Lisabi Festival recently… in Abeokuta

Rock and this was closely followed by a grand Durban tagged Woro and characterised by a procession and horse riding by Egba warriors, which was terminated after the procession paid homage to the paramount ruler at the ancient Ake Palace. Also on the first day, Globacom, title sponsor of Lisabi Festival, redeemed the promise it made to the Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Michael Aremu Gbadebo, who had requested for a Lisabi Special Subscriber Identification Module (SIM Card) and Egba ring tune. These were presented to him alongside Lisabi sponsorship cheque, one week to the event. Oba Gbadebo was particularly happy and decreed that all Egba citizens should make

Globacom their preferred telecommunication network. He proudly displayed the Lisabi SIMs and commended Globacom for helping to preserve the cultural heritage of his ancestors. Globacom was represented at the grand finale by the Treasurer, Mr Adebola Sofela. The traditional ayo competition among the six local governments in Ogun Central Senatorial District was very exciting and highly entertaining. After the finals and the emergence of the best male and female players, Oba Gbadebo asked for a Champion of Champion bout between the two and the male, Rasheed Akanbi defeated Sadiat Sokunbi three games to nothing. However, Lisabi Festival 2013 wasn’t all about festivities. It also included an intellectual aspect as a way of deepening its value. Education is central to the development and improvement of a community and this

perhaps explains why the Egba chose an intriguing theme for this year’s Lisabi Festival powered by leading telecommunication giant, Globacom. While delivering the 2013 Lisabi Festival Celebration lecture on the theme ‘Retaining the Girl-child in School’, Dr. (Mrs.) Comfort Ibironke Sodiya, an Associate Professor of Agricultural Extension and Gender Studies at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, held the crowd at the Centenary Hall, Abeokuta spellbound as she narrated some of the challenges she faced as a girl-child. She narrated her trajectory in life and used it as a template for suing for retention of girls in schools, especially tertiary institutions. The academic listed factors affecting girlchild education in society to include barriers caused by family circumstances, economic barriers, social and cultural barriers.


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THe GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

ARTS

ArtHouse easter Passiontide Concert … live at MUSON

He Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), lagos will on T Sunday, March 24 hold its yearly easter Passiontide Concert at the Agip Recital Hall. Titled Passion (The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross) by Joseph Haydn, the concert, which features solos and choral, is a reflection of the Christian Holy Week and easter celebration. The internationally acclaimed MUSON Choir conducted by emeka Nwokedi will also perform.

From an Orphan… for launch

NeW novel, From an Orphan to a Queen Esther that treats the A life and times of biblical esther in an ingenuously creative manner, capturing the vast sweep of the Medo-Persian empire, is scheduled for launch on Tuesday, March 26 at Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi, lagos. Time is 11am. Special guest of honour is Adesuwa Onyenokwe, guest of honour is Michael Ikpoki while chairman of event is Tony Ogbuigwe.

Broadcasters’ Nite with Bucknor, Jimmy Jatt

OPUlAR radio presenter and on-air-personality, Tosyn P Bucknor has been voted as the first celebrity broadcaster to be hosted at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Broadcasters’ Nite (NBN) designed to celebrate the achievements of broadcast industry and its practitioners. The event will hold on March 28 at one of Club Vegas situated along the SheratonOpebi link Road in Ikeja.

Argungu Fishing Festival … loud in Kebbi

RGUNGU Fishing Festival holds this weekend in Kebbi State. A This fishing festival is long standing; the first one was held in 1934. The festival attracts thousands of men and boys dashing into the local river intent on scooping up the largest fish in the river, the Nile perch.

Ipi Ntombi, a Zulu performance by some pupils in Lagos

Photography expo holds in April

IGeRIA Photography expo & Conference 2013 has been N scheduled to hold from April 29 to May 2. The expo is for professionals, students, educators and enthusiasts who want

Princess Iyabo steps out with Better Nigeria

to learn more about photography.

From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja

PeN Centre, Nigeria calls for entries

IGeRIA PeN Centre is calling for entries in prose and poetry in order to shortlist a male and female writer in the age bracket of 18-30 years old to represent the centre in the PeN international/new voices award 2013. eligibility in the Nigerian shortlist process is based on the exact rules of the international competition as stated. PeN International has set up an annual New Voices Award to encourage new writing in the countries in which we operate and to provide a much needed space for young and unpublished writers to submit their work. The award will actively encourage entries from diverse linguistic regions and communities.

N

-Compiled by Florence Utor

NANTAP Lagos celebrates World Theatre Day By Omiko Awa HIS year’s World Theatre Day (WTD), as declared by the United Nations educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNeSCO), is March 27. Initiated by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), Paris, France under UNeSCO, the Day aims at celebrating Theatre Arts and its relevance in global development. To this end, the lagos State chapter of National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), lagos State chapter, has lined up a series of activities to mark the occasion. NANTAP has since 1990 celebrated this yearly event in collaboration with ITI and UNeSCO. The celebration, which includes the performances of all genres of the theatre, recognition and awards to distinguished arts and culture ambassadors, also serves as a platform to project policy directions for the Nigerian art and culture sector. In 2005, NANTAP introduced the celebration of the event around personalities who have distinguished themselves in the advancement of the

T

Nigeria Project. Some of these personalities included: the late chief Segun Olusola; Oba Abiodun Idowu Oniru, Oniru of Iruland; Oba Sanya Dosunmu, Olowu of Owu; Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi and others. According to the Director of Publicity (lagos State), Tony Okuyeme, this year’s event, with Sustainable Environment In Reaction To Climate Change as theme, will honour Prof. Tunde Babawale, D.G, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) while carrying out its two-day programme of activities. The first day of events, Tuesday, March 26, will witness the planting of the first entertainment Tree by NANTAP/Nollywood celebrities at the mini garden of Queen Amina, entrance C, National Theatre, Iganmu, lagos by 8:30am. This is in line with the WTD theme. At 10am same day, Mr. Olukunle Sotade, MD, lASPARK, lagos, will speak on the topic, The Entertainment Industry As Catalyst For Response To Environmental Change at the Cinema Hall, National Theatre, lagos.

ess than one year after her fist single lAfolabi was launched, Princess Iyabo Olajubu has emerged with another threetracker. Titled, Better Nigeria, the daughter of late musician and ex-regent of Ikogosi, Princess Bunmi Olajubu, said her choice of album title was driven by her passion to use her talent to impact lives in her little way. For her, Better Nigeria is an expression of optimism for a country that is devoid of social vices and where people live in peace and harmony. She said, “My album title was informed by the belief that having gone through a lot and still confronted with social, economic and political challenges, Nigeria will surmount her problems and achieve greatness at the end.” The tracks in Better Nigeria include Loving Each Other, Terrorism as well as the title song, Better Nigeria. The three are inspirational and highlights the need for Nigerians to love one another irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliations. “With peace in our hearts and love for one another, the unnecessary bloodshed in the name of terrorism would be a thing of the past in our country”, she said. The medium of communication in Better Nigeria is Pidgin english. The artist said it was aimed at ensuring that greater percentage of Nigerian listeners

understands message she is trying to pass across. “I feel that Pidgin english is the most spoken language in Nigeria for now. even the elderly speak and understand it. I don’t want to sing only in Yoruba language. I want the message to spread Better Nigeria is rendered in high-life style, danceable and appealing. “I believe it is something both the old and the young will find interesting”, she said. Meanwhile, Love Each Other is a gospel song, rendered in twelve Nigerian languages and highly lyrical; the use of local instruments also adds a lot of embellishments to the song. Princess Afolabi debuted last year with a three-track promo album titled Ayele. The Ayele, Glorify Him and Adura Wuru, The artist as an advocate has borrowed greatly from her late mother, who used her musical career to preach peace, unity and the need for youths to imbibe positive reading culture. The late Princess Olajubu came to limelight in the 80s with her Save Nigeria. One of the hit tracks, Bata mi a du ko ko ka, was a toast of the younger generation of Nigerians then as it admonished them to study hard if they wished want to walk on pointed heel shoes – a metaphor for affluence and great personality. “My mother sang Save Nigeria and by then, the country was not as bad as it is now. She talked about war against indiscipline. To her, there was need to save

Nigeria but for me and considering the prevailing situation in the country, there is need to wish for a better Nigeria. It is my country and I am so passionate about it. If God has given me the talent, I should use it as my little contribution to uplift the country”. On how musical career has impact her life, Princess of song said it is great to be celebrated and be listened to by others. “Since my first album, I must say that music has made a positive impact in my life. I am well celebrated, people listen to my song and they call to say how inspirational the songs have been.” She however confessed that the road to fame has not been easy. As a business woman, she said music has taken better hold of her. “Yet, it has not been easy; it takes time, energy and resources. In fact, combining music and other things that I do for a living has not been easy. “Although I am a private person, I am getting myself ready for concert and other activities to promote my songs. My first album is also on U tube and radio stations are listening to them. I know it is not easy to be in the entertainment and still maintain a reserved life but I think I can still maintain my privacy”. Afolabi’s hope for her career is to take African music to the next level. She promised to promote African culture through my music.  According to her, it is the only thing that will bring her fulfillment – sailing above her mother in music.

P-Square sings for KHF By Tony Nwanne UlTIPle awards winning M artistes, P-Square, have thrown their weight behind the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) by endorsing its new project titled, Kanu Cardiac fund raising project. The duo, who reiterated their support, were of the view that the foundation’s goal could not be overemphasised, adding that Kanu is indeed a philanthropist whose endless efforts to save Nigerian children are commendable. According to Peter, who spoke on behalf of the duo,

“Kanu has a very big heart which is worth emulating and supporting; he has been supporting people since, and it is high time people supported his noble cause. This is why we are endorsing this project.” On several occasions, the duo had reiterated plans to embark on similar projects. “We have been doing similar things like that; we decided to keep it underground. For me personally, I have 12 children I’m catering for, which I’m doing for God. But in the main time, we will be coming out big very soon to unveil our foundation.”

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AutoWheels Tesla Roadstar commences revival of Detroit electric brand FTER a few years of boom A and bust, the electric car market has lately settled into a rut, as established automakers try to meet regulatory goals mostly with a few everyday models converted to electric power rather than designing allnew electric cars, leaving Tesla as the only independent, high-volume EV builder. Here’s the first attempt to shake up that stasis, the launch of a startup that will revive the century-old name of Detroit Electric cars with a car that on paper looks much like a Tesla Roadstar. The new Detroit Electric company revealed today after years of fund-raising and stealth engineering it would reveal its first model next month, a two-seat allelectric sports car that would be a harbinger of future models. The company will not just take Detroit as a brand but base its headquarters in the city, vowing to generate 180 jobs and open a Michigan plant that can build 2,500 vehicles a year. Detroit Electric’s executives hail from former parts of the Lotus Engineering Group, and it has previously said it had contracts with Malaysian automaker Proton for production overseas, as well as contacts with Chinese automaker Dongfeng. It vows the new model will roll forth this August, followed by more family-friendly vehicles in 2014, but declined to offer specifics about where its key parts such as lithium-ion batteries would come from. The original Detroit

Tesia Electric was a popular electric car builder in the early 20th century, when handcranked gasoline engines were known for dislocating

shoulders and even killing drivers. Despite thencelebrity clientele like Henry Ford’s wife and Thomas Edison, the compa-

ny only managed to build 2,000 cars a year at its peak and faded into collapse during the Great Depression. Outside of Tesla, which was

backed with billions of dollars in private capital and a $465 million government loan, modern EV companies have fared no better, unable

to solve the complex equation of capital, technology and engineering necessary to stay in business. Who says you can’t find optimists in

NAC lauds Simba group for human capacity development in auto industry By Taiwo Hassan HE National Automotive Council (NAC) has commended the Simba Group of companies, sole distributors of TVS King tricycle machines for the training of over 400 mechanics over a threemonth period. The Director-General of

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National Automotive Council, Aminu Jalai, made this known in a congratulatory letter to the management of the company on Wednesday that NAC and the Ministry for Trade and Investment, were satisfied with the training programme organised for tricy-

cle mechanics by the company. The training programme, which was conducted in the six geo-political zones of the country, was basically organised to improve the skills of mechanics and to update them on the latest knowledge in the automotive industry, especially on

the maintenance and repair of the three-wheeler vehicles. According to him, “The 432 mechanics that were trained have now been enabled to sustain themselves and their families and to ensure long economic lifetimes of tricycles and motorcycles, impacting positively on our economy,” Jalal said in the

letter. The Director General also expressed the desire of the National Automotive Council to collaborate with Wandel International Nigeria Limited on such programmes that can enhance individual skills and the economy at large.

Suzuki Motors targets 20 per cent market share with Swift Dzire car By Taiwo Hassan HE Managing Director of Suzuki, a subsidiary of C&I Motors Limited, Vikram Mehtani, has projected that the company would account for 20 per cent market share in the first one year on its newly launched Suzuki Swift Dzire in Nigeria. Mehtani, who stated this at the company’s unveiling of Suzuki Swift Dzire in Lagos at the weekend, said that the company was aware of the stiff competition posed by other automobile companies in the sedan segment of which the newly launched car was classified. According to him, the 2013 Suzuki Swift Dzire was a sedan brand that the company hoped to further consolidate its presence in the nation’s auto industry. He said that the Suzuki Swift Dzire was essentially a sedan version of the attractive swift hatchback, adding that dealers were already being honest

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and pitching it more as a fleet car for the future because of its robust engine and fuel efficiency. “Swift Dzire belongs to the sedan segment. Which include offering from our competitors, such as Kia, Hyundai and to some extent yaris from Toyota. “We are looking at 20 per cent market share in the first year in that segment. “We hope to use this brand to further make our huge presence in the Nigerian auto industry,” he said. The Indian-built car comes standard with a “K12 engine, a 94 hp 1.2-litre four-cylinder with 113 Nm of torque and a choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. What is clear though is the specs sheet. The Suzuki DZire comes in GL, GLX & GLX SPL variants, all with power steering, dual airbags, ABS with EBD and a CD/MP3 player as standard, while options

include full power features, keyless entry system, alloy wheels, fog lamps, USB port and automatic climate control. It replaced the long standing Maruti Esteem and shared its engines with the hatchback. Swift DZire is a result of an indigenous project started in 2005 to design a three-box notchback version of the swift hatchback. Some changes have been made to the car’s overall styling to seamlessly integrate the boot. The wheelbase remains the same. The car weighs about 30–35 kilograms (66–77 lb) more than the hatchback. Few modifications in the rear suspension have been done to cope with the additional weight of the boot and improve the ride quality for the rear passengers. Adjustments in the rear seat inclination have been made to improve the rear seat comfort and legroom.

Swift Dzire


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

BusinessTravel Lagos airport:A gateway bereft of alluring features By Wole Shadare HE twin problems of incessant robbery attacks and traffic congestion have made the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, particularly its international wing, to be less friendly to passengers and other visitors. With Lagos being the nation’s commercial nerve centre, the airport is understandably the busiest in the country. That status may have made it alluring to robbers and other hoodlums. All over the world, airports are seen as places where security and safety are guaranteed. In Nigeria, the pervading national security challenge has found expression at this strategic gateway. The Lagos airport is a place where orderliness has taken flight, with irregular electricity supply lacking; a ‘hellish’ place where passenger facilitation is not only cumbersome but one that has made travelling uninteresting. The attack by bandits, which left two police officers and a robber dead last week, has again brought to the fore, the porousity of the premier airport. Last week, a gang of robbers invaded the car park of the airport, engaged in a shooting battle with policemen who were obviously ill-equipped to battle the bandits. They came, robbed bureau de change operators which activities had always attracted them to the area. The car park has always been poorly lit; just as it is very unclear whether the newly installed Close Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) are working. It is not paved, as there are many potholes that have added ugliness to the area and unbefitting of an international airport. There is no sign that the car park was ever paved and is undulating with potholes. Infact, the area is a den of robbers. Somalia, Afghanistan, countries ravaged by war can boast of better facilities than most of the nation’s airports. The car park lacks convenience for people who are in need of toilet facilities. How about the harrowing experience the traffic snarl often cause? How about the security threat it poses to the airport in times of emergencies? There are no facilities to indicate that the car park is full to capacity during peak period, as economic reason, rather than provision of security seems to be the priority of FAAN and leads to anxiety for returning and departing travelers. A frequent user of the airport who gave his name simply as Kennedy lamented the break down of order in the area. According to him, “it seems that FAAN has gone to sleep as usual.

By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi

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Sun Ikoyi Hotel, has SitsOUTHERN offered a special Easter packages to numerous and prospective guests

Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos change operators. The agency’s The chaos outside the airport foretells the one inside. The car action is commendable but stakeholders said that they should be park has become choked and is also poorly maintained. proactive rather than the reacLawlessness rules as cars, most of them belonging to highly influ- more tionary measures they take most of time. ential Nigerians, are still parked on the roads leading to the arrival theLast year, the airport police comand departure halls, seriously obstructing the flow of traffic mand engaged a group of robbers in Nigeria needs a befitting car park at the airport, not the shame that we are parading here.” He stated that airport refurbishment project would not yield dividend if the facilities around the terminals were in terrible state, adding that security at the Lagos is, ‘very porous”. The chaos outside the airport, foretells the one inside. The car park has become choked and is also poorly maintained. Lawlessness rules as cars, most of them belonging to highly influential Nigerians, are still parked on the roads leading to the arrival and departure halls, seriously obstructing the flow of traffic. Besides, there is need for policy consistency. Under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the federal government settled on a policy of developing and operating airports through Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Bi-Courtney Aviation Services developed Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal Two under this policy. Has the federal government abandoned PPP as a means to develop

the country’s aviation infrastructure and why, if this is the case? The current trend in aviation is to have airports developed and managed by private investors while governments focus on regulation and safety, areas in which Nigeria remain challenged severely. What is important is to embrace due diligence in choosing the partners. Brazil, a much richer country, in December 2012, announced a plan to attract $9.2 billion of private sector investment for the Rio Airport and 270 regional aerodromes under concession arrangements. The renovation of airports by the Ministry of Aviation has attracted its share of controversy with allegations of opaque procurement and poor design by aviation experts. The rationale of spending millions to upgrade financially unviable airports all over Nigeria is also suspect. The private sector is better skilled at undertaking the ministry’s proposed plan to incorporate revenue-generating facilities such as shopping malls at the airports as a means of enhancing their financial viability. Immediately after the recent attack, FAAN quickly evicted bureau de

a gun duel while trying to rob shops of some bureau de change operators at the local wing of the airport. The robbers, numbering over 25, according to the airport police commissioner, made their way into the airport at about 2.30 a.m in a bus. In 2011, dare devil robbers stormed the cargo wing of the Lagos airport. They carted away some electioneering materials belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The hoodlums were later arrested but security is yet to be tightened. Thank God that there was no major casualty despite the heavy shootings that transpired during the event as airport workers had not started resuming to their work places then. Ade Johnson, an airport worker said since it had been established that the robbers preferred to perpetrate their crimes at the airport by making the airport road accessible to all manners of people may give the robbers and other undesirable elements a lee way to focus more attention on the airport since they can pay their ways into the airport under the guise of driving through the place.

GTA unveils new platform for tour operators, travel agents By Wole Shadare TA, a one-stop shop portal for travel agents and tour operators has been unveiled. This portal enables travel agents and tour operators provide all their clients’ travel needs under one roof. The Managing Director of Tour Brokers International (TBI), Mrs Uloma Egbuna, made this disclosure at a press conference for the GTA product presentation in Lagos recently. Egbuna, said her firm was recently appointed the

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Southern Sun offers Easter package for customers

General Sales Agent (GSA) for GTA in Nigeria, in its bid to expand its African network. She further added that the entire GTA team would be working very closely with her firm in the coming months, to ensure a seamless service provision. The Business Development Manager for GTA, Shaun Beckley, disclosed that GTA’s wholesale booking system was an easy to use online booking tool providing access to the extensive global content and excellent negotiated rates,

adding that no other company provided as much variety and quantity of travel related content, including hotels, apartments, transfers, sightseeing tours. Egbuna went on to explain that the business of GTA is to sell its product to travel agents and tour operators, who in turn sell these to the consumers. GTA are well established in other parts of the world, but they needed to expand their African operations. However to do this, they needed a firm that had very good local knowledge of

the African market. They decided to take the initiative and seek out a company in Africa for themselves, who they could partner with. Hence, the partnership with Tour Brokers International was born. The TBI boss disclosed that her intention was to roll out the system to top performing travel agents and tour operators, with a professional outlook. According to her, the initial response by the target market to the system has been pretty amazing. It has been well received by

the travel agents and tour operators. Explaining how the system works, the GSA Manager for GTA, Mrs Odion Chigbufue said the portal was a booking exchange platform, where online bookings are made. These include hotel accommodation, flights,transfers amongst others. She explained that the beauty of the system was the fact that one could provide all their clients’ travel needs in the comfort of their office, under one roof and at very short notice.

to enable them celebrate and experience a memorable season with family and friends. It noted that the essence of the Easter weekend special package was to offer its guests the opportunity to experience a pleasant stay at discounted rates without compromising the usual high quality service rendered. The package, it stated, would run from 29th March to 1st April, 2013 and guests stands to enjoy a special room rate of N45, 000 which covers bed and breakfast for two people, room service breakfast, 10 per cent discount on laundry and dry cleaning, complimentary gym with sauna and steam room facilities and guaranteed hi speed internet service at no extra cost. The General Manager, Mark Loxley said, “For all our in-house guests who love sea food, the Friday sea food dinner buffet would come with a 20 per cent discount. Not forgetting the 20 per cent discount that comes with the popular Special Easter Sunday brunch with in-house guest enjoying priority table reservation’’. He further added that guest could upgrade to executive rooms as well as enjoy early check in and late check out privileges upon availability. Guests who stay within that period are also automatically entitled to the hotel’s frequent hotel loyalty programme, he said. Loxley, who said that Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel has a tradition of quality service delivery and customer satisfaction, pointed that its facilities offer modern comfort, perfect for business and leisure.

Things Remembered berths at GAT By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi RAVELLERS using the newly refurbished General Aviation Terminal (GAT) airport have more reasons to enjoy the new airport facilities as Things Remembered, a Bar, Restaurant & lounge, has just opened its branch within the airport. The restaurant, which was opened by top officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has a huge lounge where travellers can relax before their flights. FAAN has adopted a new way of doing business and is fully guided by international business precepts. The Chief Operating Officer of Things Remembered, Benedict Njogwuani said that the opening of Things Remembered at the GAT is an ongoing realization of the dream of the founder and CEO, Mrs Adeola Omikunle. He said that their services have diversified into; Inflight Catering, (providing flight catering to some reputable airlines, including Arik Air, Medview Airlines, Airfirst and Aero Contractors). He further added that the vision of the company was to partner with the FAAN to provide World Class Restaurant facilities in every Airport in the country. He stated that some of the challenges facing the hospitality operators in the airport were lack of rear access to allow for separate passage for movement of catering items and equipment distinct from passage of passengers and limited storage facilities. Things Remembered currently maintains restaurants in the three terminals (International, MMA2 and GAT) of Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos. All located in the departure halls of the respective terminals.

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

FridayWorshi In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful

“And that is why in every town criminals have emerged as their ring (political) leaders to plot therein; they plot against none but their own souls, though they do not perceive it-” (Quran 3: 123) By Afis A. Oladosu RETHREN, I thought nothing is comparable to him as a source of grief and anger: that man who is clothed in soft raiment, lodged in a public palace, endowed with the greatest portion of the product of other men’s toil and industry, who now use all the influence of his splendid station and position, day and night to deepen his people’s anger, inflame their fury and insult the dignity and sensibility of his fellow compatriots. I thought nothing is comparable to that. Brethren, what pleasure and happiness is there in a country where the wise is seen to be a fool where the fool is seen to be wise? Dear brethren what dignity do you have left when you bear the green passport, only to be treated as a subject of scorn and derision by the extremely lowly and inferior, just because you have the ill-luck, yes the ill-luck of being a Nigerian. Then I was startled when Mark Twain (1906), as if anticipating an aberrant nation such as Nigeria of the 21st century “whispered” the following into my ears: “Afis! Nations do not think, they only feel. They get their feelings at second hand through their temperaments, not their brains.” The above has close affinity with

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“Surely, the religion with Allah is ISLAM,complete submission”... Qur’an 3:19

State pardon for corruption and indignity the state pardon granted by the current tenant in Aso Rock to some of the most odious civil servants in contemporary Nigerian history. Thus when Mark Twain says, “nations do not think” I thought this is a metaphor for the nation’s protectors, its leaders, its “servants.” I thought it is a graphic reference to politicians who are always happy to seize upon the lacuna created by the sleaze in the nation’s constitution in order to perpetrate the most outrageous indignities one can imagine. Goaded by a faithless and imperious pursuit of political gains, they band together to push the moral rectitude of the nation down the drain. Under their hegemony, no sin is odious, no sacrilege is unpardonable. Brethren, the above represents some of the reasonable reactions, even in a state of unreason, one could glean from the on-going discourse consequent upon the state pardon granted to the former governor of Bayelsa State, the former Managing Director of Bank of the North, Alhaji Shettima Bulama and others. Alamieyeseigha was impeached and later convicted for money laundering and other corruption offences in 2007, while Bulama was convicted for defrauding the defunct Bank of the North. As if this is not bizarre enough, President Jonathan also pardoned one Major Bello Magaji - a military police officer who was found guilty of committing sodomy with young

male teenagers in his barracks. Magaji’s appeal against his conviction was dismissed at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, on Friday, March 7, 2008. By executive fiat, Magaji was last week set free to continue his business of ruining the conscience and future of the nation. He is now free to introduce children of the ordinary masses, not those of the president, to his queer lifestyle. It does not matter that grievous sins such as his are infractions against the Divine order in whose name the president collected around N6 billion to build a church in his village. It does not matter whether persons like Alams and Bulama would once again become instruments in the hand of Shaytan with whom his fledgling empire of concupiscence and filthy lusts of wicked politicalwhoredom could be expanded. Brethren the state pardon granted by Mr. President unto the corruptible ones in this society has understandably occasioned international hubbub particularly from the United States. But it was sobering for me to realise that the U.S. also has an instrument, which is similar to the one made use of by Mr. President in granting pardon to those who have corrupted our sense of history. It is known as Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. The article grants U.S. Presidents power of reprieves and pardons. And this article has also been

invoked in the past to the utter indignation of Americans the same way discerning minds in this country are feeling assaulted by what Mr. President has done. It was invoked in 1830 by former President Andrew Jackson, who pardoned George Wilson. Wilson was convicted of capital murders and robbing mail trains. Both Wilson and his accomplice were consequently sentenced to death. However while the accomplice had his head chopped off on the guillotine, Wilson’s powerful friends intervened on his behalf. In December 1992, former President George Bush, who was Reagan’s Vice President, generated a storm as an outraged country questioned his pardons of Caspar Weinberger, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and five others convicted for their corruptive roles in the Iran-Contra affair. In 2001, former President Clinton used his last day in office as president to pardon Marc Rich. Rich was a felon, having been indicted in 1983 for 51 counts of tax fraud and evading $48 million in taxes and was living in Switzerland as a fugitive. After Clinton left office, it was reported that Rich’s ex-wife had made big contribution to the Clinton Presidential Library. In other words, those who crafted the Nigerian constitution knew what they were doing when they inserted articles like the above in it. They knew it would be useful either for virtue or vice. Compare the pardon granted Alams and

company to the instances cited above in American political history then you would probably come to the same conclusion that politicians are the same all over the world. They have the temerity of heart to hang their nation in defense of their inordinate ambition. They appear sometimes as believers in the “hitleric” philosophy that “you should never make people laugh; that if you would succeed in life, you must be solemn, solemn like an ass; that all great monuments are built over solemn asses.” Adolf Hitler is equally reported to have said that the sum total success of a man will always be determined by his originality plus his brutality! Brethren, Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said: “In the near future there will be Amirs (rulers) and you will like their good deeds and dislike their bad deeds. One who sees through their bad deeds (and tries to prevent their repetition by his hand or through his speech) is absolved from blame, but one who hates their bad deeds (in the heart of his heart, being unable to prevent their recurrence by his hand or his tongue), is (also) safe so far as God’s wrath is concerned. But one who approves of their bad deeds and imitates them is spiritually ruined…” Brethren, some say the state pardon happened because of 2015. I say this has happened because of an appointment in the future, when Mr. President and all his advisors shall stand up to give account of their stewardship to their Creator. (guardianfridayworship@gmail.co m)


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Opinion SNC: An utopian or a desideratum? By Fidelis Nwagbara HE ubiquitous call for the convocation of a T Sovereign National Conference has gained further currency. The crescendo of this trumpet has by all standard surpassed the Anthony Enahoro’s PRONACO threat of embarking on this journey on behalf of all of us, should the Federal Government under Olusegun Obasanjo decline to heed to vox populi, in 2005. The then president was expected to seize the bull by the horn and allow people to exercise their sovereignty. Apparently cowed by the boisterous yowl of some intellectuals of note and worthy politicians orchestrating and espousing the clamour, an off the cuff committee was arranged by the powers that be to bamboozle Nigerians and hence put an end to the growing interest. But like the naïve teenager who thought she could cover up her pregnancy forever quickly found out after three months that she has only succeeded in fooling herself, the ad hoc committee ended up in oblivion. The wind is blowing again, exposing the anus of the fowl. The bubble is burst, how do we gather again the liquid content? This is the crux of the matter. The choice of this caption is informed by the incessant reverberating noise about the desirability or otherwise of a people’s conference, the inaction of government and the inability of the protagonist to compel the establishment (as happens elsewhere) to listen to the “voice of reason”. It is therefore germane to establish if the sovereign national conference, so canvassed is an utopian or a desideratum. Firstly, what do the people want to achieve with an all encompassing discourse? Could it be that “this geographical expression called Nigeria” has lost its relevance or is no longer conducive for certain groups of people? If so what has the entity, Nigeria, done wrong to elicit unwholesome gratitude from her “vassals”? Have the people lost confidence in their “chosen” representatives that they are no longer trusted as the mouthpiece of their respective wards? If so, what responsible for this loss of confidence? Why is the government rebuffing every overture made to converge and converse at a common forum? Are the people not being realistic with their demand? Or is the government filled with the foreboding of a total relapse to anarchy should the conference come on stream? What is the foreboding of the contemporary security silhouette of our dear country or the ultimate resolution? The answers to the op’cit puzzle lounge in the pattern of administration we have dragged from the first time of military interregnum. The pattern of federal structure in Nigeria is perhaps the first of its kind in the world; federalism in principle but with full imports of the unitary organism. This arrangement is bereft of the full trappings of Federalism where the federating units have total control of their af-

fairs with the exclusion of such things like Defence and Foreign Affairs. Proper application of federalism enhances growth and development as the federating units compete and scramble to catch up and to outpace one another; source for their own revenue and spend as they deem fit. For example once television was introduced in the old western region in the ‘60s, other regions followed suit, just like the road traffic controllers started in Lagos during the second tenure of Chief Bola Tinubu is spreading to other lands gradually. Healthy competitions spice up growth and development and life is all about competition and imitation. Self-dependency in this case eliminates the cries and complaints about marginalization because all the rights to mine and extract natural resources are vested in the units who in turn pay subvention to the Central authority for its maintenance. This is the tradition or practice in the USA from where we have copied our democracy and federal structure. For instance the states of Houston and Louisiana are in total control of their oil wealth without any encroachment from the central authority. Comparatively, the states of the USA are not equally developed, places with abundant resources like Houston and California can boast of better facilities than some areas like Arkansas and Mississippi. They have not folded their hands either, but are ever scrambling to meet up with their respective needs and hence, evolve various revenue generating ventures, without depending on the central government. Needless to say that concentration and over dependency on one source of revenue has been the bane of Nigeria’s socio-economic emancipation. This calamitous reliance on oil has grievously limited and diverted the attention of the country from very many other resources that abound in our land, from where we could have been raking in commensurate, if not more revenue. It is no longer news that we have columbite, iron ore, gold, bauxite, uranium and lead among so many others, in abundance in this country. In terms of the deposit of mineral resources, the North is far more endowed than the whole of the South put together. Why did the government unilaterally decide to seize the exploration of oil from the states while allowing these other mineral resources to be unflappably and criminally exploited by inhabitants of those areas? Is it not proper that the manner in which our natural endowments are expropriated is formally affirmed, to the betterment of host communities? Clement Ikpatt and co, observed that “The Federal Government has been unfair to states in the Niger Delta region where crude oil is explored and mostly accounted for Niger Delta states – and few other states – are deprived of legitimate earnings even as their resources are being depleted and revenues shared between the Federal Government and

all states”. A man deprived of his assets will continue to exhibit elements of anger and frustrations, sometimes taking extra judicial (unlawful) means to regain control of his prized assets. This is the psychological malady that has befallen the Niger Delta for which they are seeking redress. Until this anomaly has been redressed the struggle for inalienable right for resource control, which has been on the front burner will never cease. The process of ascendancy to the highest office in the land and other positions of honour is another issue that has generated considerable controversy. It has been alleged in some quarters that the presidency is the birth right of some groups, while the youths are wont to say that all entry points into the political arena have been closed in on them by the older generation. The manner in which ethnicity is read into some noble institutions of our land, including the Military (Air force, Army and the Navy), Police, Immigrations Customs and other federal agencies such as NNPC and its allied units, states security services, ministries and parastatals is worrisome. What is the true position about the allegation of dominance of particular regions or groups of regions to the exclusion of others? How have restrictive policies such as Federal Character and quota system impacted on our national life? Are we in them enthroning mediocrity at the expense of excellence? What is the implication of preferring round pegs in square holes in our quest for economic wellbeing and diplomatic relevance? Can we not modify this Siamese mugger in a form that restricts them to only entry point, whereas growth will now hinge on personal development and proven aptitude? Is it not disgusting to “fire up” some one with only a diploma certificate, and meagre experience, far and above a doctorate degree holder, even with several years of experience on the job, more than quota beneficiary? Doesn’t this belie our aspiration to be the best economy in the world by 2020 as roundly canvassed? On the front burner is the contemporary security silhouette of our dear country. What are the imports of MEND and Boko Haram’s threats in our body polity, particularly as regards our corporate existence? These two groups have continued to be a very serious threat to our national life; an ominous pointer to the carnage that may bedevil this country, if appropriate measures including a national dialogue, is not put in place to chart the future. Amnesty was granted to MEND and people are advocating for same gesture to be extended to Boko Haram. Some people have expressed anxiety that the non-violent MASSOB may one day degenerate to arms-carrying terrorist group; OPC is watching or studying the situation as the Yoruba is crying loudest now against marginalisation. How many times and for how long are we going to dialogue in isolation? We must strive to be proactive rather than han-

dling issues retroactively. The best time for an all-inclusive national dialogue is now. Boko Haram should be asked to present their grievances and the way forward, same for all ethnic nationalities. The marginalization lamentation from various quarters is enough to inform the basis for convocation of a national dialogue. Let us know why some institutions can’t just work since Independence. It is a great irony to wallow in abject poverty in the midst of plenty. A friend once asked me, “why is it that Nigeria can’t just work”? I was never in the least surprised at that question because I had at various fora queried in like manner, particularly as has to do with the black skin. Corroborating the above assertion, the former secretary of ECOWAS, Mohammed Ibn Chambers made an allusion to the irony of Nigeria’s poverty in a recent programme in Port Harcourt. Nigeria remains the only country where the citizens are responsible for their own power generation. Nigerians are also responsible for their own water, roads, healthcare needs and many more. A privileged few in positions revel in extra-ordinary looting, stolen funds are stashed in foreign bank vaults while fellow citizens engage in subsistence living. If the immunity clause enjoyed by certain category of persons is becoming counter productive, or too protective, as to be longed for by every government functionary, then it should be totally expunged from our constitution. Next January Nigeria will be 100 years old for which the presidency is touting a long and expensive centenary celebration, not minding the manner in which this ethnically flecked entity was tinkered. The best way to celebrate the fusion of Nigeria is to ensure that everybody has acquiesced to the modalities of operation in governance, through the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference. Through this conference, Nigeria will develop a working manifesto – a manifesto based on the principles of equity, good governance and the rule of law; a manifesto that spells out in concrete terms the behavioural pattern of both the leaders and the led; a manifesto imbued with the appropriate sanctions for both right and wrong. We must imbibe a clear-cut system of administration, this fusion of Federalism with “Unitarism” appears incongruous with development administration. Nigeria cannot afford to be comfortable with retrogressive steps where even the lowly and the less endowed nations are moving at supersonic speed to economic paradise. Sovereign National Conference is in the least an Utopian but a Desideratum. The delinquent reticence of the powers that be on this matter is for me a great disservice to this great nation. We must invest in the opportunity of the contemporary allure of dialogue to keep the dreams of the founding fathers of Nigeria alive. • Nwagbara is of Protocol Department (Immigration and Visas).

A 10-year wait on population policy By Bayo Fadeyi and Peter Ogunjuyigbe HE National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development came into operation on July 24, 2003. Thereafter, everyT body went to ‘sleep’ thinking that the objectives and goals of the policy would translate into reality. The earlier policy, which came into being on February 4, 1988 named the National Policy on Population for Development, Unity, Progress and Self-Reliance also suffered the same fate. Between 1960 and early 1980s, Nigeria was without an official, explicit National Population Policy with clear-cut demographic objective. Before the introduction of the National Policy on Population for Development, Unity, Progress and Self-Reliance in 1988, the country suffered and witnessed serious economic and social crises. There was oil glut in the world market, a drastic reduction in the crude oil price. There was absolute neglect of agriculture in the national economy and political instability. These resulted in an ailing economy, which accentuated population problems. Several reforms were introduced in a bid to tackle the economic crisis. The government seems to have been overwhelmed by the social problems in the country and the preponderance of neglected youths became a precursor of all manner of social problems, including kidnapping, militancy, cyber crime, armed robbery, and human trafficking among others. The 1988 population policy was aimed at the development of human resources in the face of a severe economic crisis. Among

the objectives of the policy was limiting the size of the family and reducing the rate of population growth. The reviewed policy in 2004 was as a result of exigencies of global activities and issues. Also, the reviewed 2003 policy is designed to improve the standard of living and quality of life of the people, promote maternal, child and reproductive health, achieve lower population growth rate through the reduction of birth rates by voluntary fertility regulation methods among others. The policy aims at achieving even distribution of population between urban and rural areas, prevent the causes and spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic and address the problem of internal migration and spatial distribution of population as implied in the Dakar/Ngor Declaration (1992), the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992) and International Conference on Population and Development – Programmes of Action (ICPD-PA, 1994). The policy expresses the need for active involvement of and implementation by both the public and private sectors in the realization of the goals and objectives of the policy. The major goal of the policy is improvement of the quality of life and the standard of living of the people. There are five broad specific goals and nine objectives outlined to achieve the goals. It is worthy of mention here that the last objective of the policy states the need to improve systems for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the population policy and for reviewing the policy at periodic intervals. This has so far not been implemented.

There is a government target of two per cent population growth rate by 2015 or beyond and drastic reduction in total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, child mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio, and HIV adult prevalent rate. From the available statistics, one is not sure if this target will be met. Two years to the target year 2015, the country has an infant mortality rate of 74 deaths per 1,000 and maternal mortality rate of 630 deaths per 100,000. The policy document has every ingredient in it to succeed if given the required political will and commitment. Governments at the federal, state and local government levels must wake up now. The private sector, the civil society and individuals must join hands with the government. Implementation of the policy is undoubtedly a multi-sectoral concern. All hands must be on deck now. The National Population Commission has a critical role to play in this exercise. A lack of implementation of the policy has grave consequences for all sectors of the economy. Government’s political will to enforce population policy measure should be strong. A lot of resources are expended on putting the document together, so it will not be enough to have it on paper without adequate planning on how it will be implemented. There is need for a comprehensive action plan, which is timespecific for effective implementation of the population policy. • Dr. Fadeyi of the Lagos State University and Prof. Ogunjuyigbe of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife are National Secretary and President of the Population Association of Nigeria.


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Opinion Amaechi’s struggles and masked erudition By Okechukwu Nwafor NE may argue that in order to solve a complex political O arithmetic in Nigeria, one needs to subtract Rotimi Amaechi’s singularity. This postulation follows the sundry power struggles that Amaechi has engaged in. From his struggles to regain his mandate in the April 2007 Rivers State elections to his struggles with the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) Branch of Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), which has crippled almost all academic activities in the university over the past one year; from his struggles with the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) over the ceding of oil wells in Soku communities in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state to Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa State to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s continuous probe of his administration, to his struggles with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), it would seem that the essence of Amaechi’s life is “struggle”. However, all these struggles seem to have been borne out of a tyranny of discourses that Amaechi instituted to suppress most voices of dialogue. When Amaechi’s various power struggles are situated in the interpretation of theory of power, then a critical breakdown of the struggles becomes necessary. This will enable an understanding of the role of power in the making of an “erudite” politician such as Amaechi. Indeed, Amaechi parades himself as a man of “erudition”. However, it does seem that his erudition smacks of hierarchies that stifle genuine struggles and discursive critiques. Among the subterfuges that mask his sneaky erudition is intensive media attention. For example, Vanguard of Tuesday, January 1, 2013, had in its cover page “Gov. Amaechi wins Vanguard Personality of the Year 2012...” On page 27, Ikeddy Isiguzo, Chairman of Vanguard Editorial Board, among other problems, mentioned insecurity and subsidy scam as topping the list of misfortunes that befell Nigeria in 2012. Under his subtitle, “Meaningful change”, he writes: “It was in the midst of these that we found the winner of Personality of The Year, a choice that would appeal to anyone who craves for meaningful change”. Of course, Isiguzo names Amaechi as this unique messiah-reformer deserving of the award. Isiguzo’s universalism of “meaningful change” rather suggests intellectual mischiefmaking that tries the patience of Nigerian public intellectuals. One does not need to go into the dialectics of “meaningful change” in the face Amaechi’s undeserving accolade and continuous onslaught on ASUU members of Rivers State University of Science and Technology.

While it may not be necessary to question the newspaper’s yardstick for the award, it is pertinent to suggest what ought to inform the yardstick. It is a memorialisation of Amaechi’s power struggles with ASUU RSUST. If a thorough investigation, had been carried out, it would have been discovered that memories of Amaechi’s power struggles with ASUU RSUST Branch suggest that his proclaimed erudition negated the essential articulations of Nigerian academics. This is suggested by the following vignettes: On October 12, 2012, ASUU RSUST Branch released a memo titled “Why we are on strike”. In the memo, they listed a litany of irregularities, aberrations and breaches of the RSUST law by the governor. Among the breaches are the imposition of Professor B. B. Fakae as the Acting Vice-Chancellor for almost two successive tenures in contravention of the law establishing the university, the deployment of assailants who targeted ASUU members with evidence of an attack on ASUU RSUST Chairperson and other ASUU RSUST members on August 15, 2012, the reappointment of retired Justice A.G. Karibi-Whyte as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the reconstituted 11th Governing Council of the University in contravention of the law establishing the university, and the imposition of second semester examinations on students with only five weeks of lectures against NUC’s standard of 12 to 13 weeks. This was before the commencement of strike by ASUU RSUST on August 13, 2012. Other violations include the use of mutilated question papers to conduct examinations without the course lecturers who are obviously on strike, the use of police, students and non-teaching staff as invigilators, the institutionalization of exam malpractices as “students are encouraged to copy from textbooks and “handouts” (lecture notes) and non-teaching staff invigilators directed to withdraw question papers after examinations in order to cover up tracks (of improprieties),” among other vices. Above all, RSUST is highly policed and militarized. This is an aberration in an educational institution. There are worse crimes and violations by Prof. Fakae, Amaechi’s imposed VC. These violations, including undue victimization of ASUU members, are many and cannot be captured fully in this piece. Some of the above violations are presented as Amaechi-imposed and are supported by various media publicity on the RSUST-ASUU crisis. For example, The Punch of August 31 2012 reports: “Strike paralyses varsities over face-off with Amaechi”. A similar report, which followed in almost all national dailies, dwelt on the nation-wide one-day solidarity strike embarked by ASUU to compel Amaechi to redress the appointment of Prof. Fakae as Acting VC without due process. When we examine the above genealogical investigations, there seems to be a meticulous rediscovery of dangerous power

struggles and the raw memory of fights. These genealogies manifest as a degeneration of Amaechi’s abstract definition of power struggle: a case of dialogical absence, unwarranted chauvinism, bold and blatant egocentrism and a play of some sort of god. The question, therefore, is: Should the image of the chairman of Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF), which Amaechi desperately aspires to cling to, in any way suggest a governor that would consistently invent a political apparatus that terrorises and smashes voices of dialogue among academics or Nigerians? The helm of NGF does not require a governor whose methods, contents and concepts of power struggle is a complete institutionalization of intolerant systems that foreclose any chance of mutual understanding. It does not obviously require a governor whose claims to the foundational premise of knowledge production are purposeless. The leader of NGF must be one ready to initiate meaningful dialogue, institute the rule of law and grant fellow citizens freedom of expression. Isiguzo’s argument is that “Amaechi is a big dreamer”. However, one wonders the essence of “big dreams” whose seeds are sown in dry, parched soil. If the strike action embarked by ASUURSUST is the parched soil of Rivers State, then the constant threat on ASUU members by Amaechi is the seed-sowing process in the state. This is a fatal deed. If university education in Rivers State does not constitute part of Amaechi’s “big dreams”, then it is obvious that the Personality of the Year award is hypocritical. When criteria for awards obviate essential elements of holistic development then such awards only become questionable. This award only points to an increasing suspicion of Amaechi’s public show of erudition. Does this award, in any way, suggest relations between power and economism? This is food for thought. In conclusion, when we juxtapose “ASUU struggle” against Amaechi’s “Power struggle” it becomes obvious that Amaechi instituted inequality of power to misrecognize and miss the specificity of ASUU struggle. This inequality, which also involves the legitimating of sole-administrator system of governance, is incompatible with the pragmatic institutions that protect the citizens’ right to non-violent and genuine agitation. I suggest that the only way to radically expel Amaechi’s transcendence and re-inscribe the humane order in his political immanence may be to checkmate his NGF leadership ambition. In this way, the real intentions behind his award, his power struggles and masked erudition all would have become clearer to all and sundry. • Nwafor, a former fellow of the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) University of Minnesota, USA, is a lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Fashola’s thoughts on local council autonomy By C. Don Adinuba OVERNOR Babatunde Fashola of Lagos G State will go down in history as one of the very few public officers in contemporary Nigeria who excels in not just building mortars and bricks but also in farsightedness. Fashola thinks profoundly and has the courage of his convictions. He could have chosen the path of populism by continuing the tradition of making tuition at Lagos State University practically free – without minding if the graduates would ever be employable because of the poor quality of instruction and the awful lack of critical facilities arising out of scarce financial resources – but he opted for the trajectory of sustainable development through a review of tuition fees. When a large army of political actors in the Southwest were playing to the gallery by denouncing Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country, a personal account of the Nigerian civil war, Fashola attended an Achebe event in the United States where he positively reviewed the novelist’s oeuvre, declaring that his (Fashola’s) generation of Nigerians is not held hostage by the error of the past. The governor once again displayed the courage of his convictions when at the 80th birthday anniversary of former Works Minister, Femi Okunnu held on February 4 he eloquently argued that the concept of constitutionally guaranteed autonomy for local governments in the country is fundamentally flawed. It has become fashionable since 1989 when Sam Orji was removed by the Federal Military Government as the chairman of the Enugu Local Government for the media, activist groups and even academics to demand a constitutional provision for LG autonomy. After

all, argued the protagonists, there are three tiers of government in Nigeria and the constitution has ensured that states are independent of the central government and vice versa. Indeed, it amounts to extravagant use of language to declare local governments the third tier of government. A federal system everywhere on earth is composed of only two government tiers, namely, the federal government and state governments (which are called provincial governments in Canada and regional governments in Nigeria until 1967). The United Kingdom has a local government system all right, but the country runs a unitary system of government. LGs are more of administrative units than political entities. This is why LGs do not have the judiciary, a vital arm of government. Fashola appropriately calls them development centres. It is a supreme irony that socio-political activists who spearhead the campaign for constitutionally provided autonomy for LGs are the very elements campaigning against the inclusion of LGs in the constitution on the ground that it should be the prerogative of states to decide whether to have LGs in their territories and the number as well as the structure, based on peculiarities of the states and their development needs. The present national uniform LG structure, a concomitant of the 1976 LG Reforms carried out by the General Obasanjo military government, is counterproductive. The current structure does not recognize differences between LGs in cities and those in rural communities. Hence, it provides, for instance, for a supervisor of agriculture in Lagos Island Local Government Area, which does not have one single farm! Much as LGs are in theory development centres, the development quotient in their cre-

ation has been abysmal; rather, the overriding consideration has been politics. Lagos has the highest population of all states in Nigeria. Yet, it has a mere 20 constitutionally recognized LGAs, in sharp contrast to Kano, which has 44 LGAs. The reason is not difficult to understand: the last LGs were created by the central government during the Sani Abacha military regime. Abacha, a Kano indigene, made sure that the number of LGs in Kano and Jigawa (which was carved out of Kano in 1996) is about all LGAs in the Southeast geopolitical zone combined! When it is considered that LGs are allocated huge revenues monthly from the federation account, the political economy of Abacha’s LG creation exercise becomes clearer.  To address some of the far-reaching implications of the imbalance in local governments across the country, Bola Tinubu, as Lagos governor, created an additional 37 LGs in one fell swoop, which he called local development councils, bringing the total  number of LGAs in the state to 57. In a swift reaction, the Kano State government increased the number of its LGAs astronomically to overwhelm the new number in Lagos. In other words, the nation is in a rat race with itself because of the inclusion of LGAs in the present constitution and the consequent allocation of resources from the federation account. The removal of LGAs from the constitution will end this debilitating brand of politics. The 774 constitutionally recognized LGAs are too unwieldy for the nation. They are, at best, cost centres and, at worst, cesspools of graft and duty dereliction. I have been to a number of local government offices in recent years, and for some reason never met the legislators who are called councillors. The councillors go to the office only at month end to collect salary and

share whatever remains of public resources with other senior officials. Most Nigerians do not know that every LG has, among other key officers, a secretary to the government, a head of service called head of personnel management and supervisors who are like commissioners or ministers. Each appointee is on a heavy pay and has a retinue of aides. Worse, some states have gone ahead to create local development centres (which are LGs in disguise), and they share the monthly resources from the federation account on an equal basis with constitutionally recognised LGs. Instead of having one chairman in a given LGA, there are now about four. This has great implications for the public treasury. Far from these centres being catalysts or vehicles for development, they are avenues for partisan mobilization and provision of jobs for politicians and hangers on. How long can we continue to toy with the destiny of an otherwise great nation? Governor Fashola has provided us all with food for thought as regards the place of local governments in our constitution and our federal nexus. He presents his arguments with so much thoughtfulness and admirable courage. He is a thoroughbred developmentalist, in the mould of Southeast Asian modernisers like Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia and Lee kuan Yew of Singapore. Developmentalists are, according to new social science theorists, political leaders who genuinely regard the well being and future of their people as inviolable and place the radical enhancement of the living standards of the citizens above politics and all personal and primordial considerations. With people like Fashola in Nigerian politics, there is still a ray of hope for our people. • Adinuba is head of Discovery Public Affairs Consulting.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22 , 2013

NigeriaCapitalMarket NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 21/3/2013 PRICE LIST OF SYMBOLS

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

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NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 21/3/2013

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Suspension order from SEC: Our position, by Ecobank By Bukky Olajide and Helen Oji COBANK Nigeria Plc, yesterday, explained that the issue it had with regulatory authorities, leading to its suspension from capital market activities by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be resolved soon, as communication gap was being bridged with regulators. SEC has slammed an indefinite suspension on the bank following alleged irregularities in a loan deal with Arian capital management. The bank had explained in a statement that sometime in 2007, it granted a margin loan facility to Arian Capital Management Limited (Arian Capital), for on-lending, secured by quoted shares. According to the statement, the shares were to be in the CSCS account in the joint names of Arian and Ecobank.

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The margin loan to Arian Capital became delinquent and this debt was sold to AMCON together with the collateral. Part of the collateral used by Arian on the CSCS were shares in the name of Avil Services/Arian Capital which Arian moved to the joint account in the name of Arian/Ecobank and which Ecobank transferred to AMCON. The statement explained further that Avil Services complained to SEC primarily against Arian Capital for the return of its shares. Arian Capital’s position is that Avil Services signed an agreement with Arian Capital that its shares would be used as collateral with Ecobank. Ecobank also provided its position formally to SEC. Said the statement :’’Following SEC’s investigation, Arian Capital could not

provide this agreement to the satisfaction of SEC. SEC thereafter suspended Ecobank Nigeria from its role as receiving bank and not in respect of any other capital market activity or in any other capacity. SEC also insisted that the bank should replace the shares worth N11million. “The Bank has since been in formal communication with SEC and has agreed to replace the shares. This has also been duly communicated to SEC and SEC gave Ecobank till April 3, 2013 to replace the shares. The value of the shares has been issued in favour of Avil Services Limited and handed over to SEC. “ The bank has therefore fulfilled its obligations under SEC directive. “ For clarity, Ecobank did not connive with Arian Capital or

any other party to convert any shares. Kindly note that Ecobank remains a responsible and ethical banking institution which has not and would not intentionally breach rules and regulations in the capital market, and/or any other market where it operates. SEC had yesterday suspended Ecobank Plc from acting as a receiving banker and from all capital market activities. According to a statement from SEC, the suspension is as a result of the role played by the bank in a complaint by Avil Services Ltd relating to a margin loan transaction with Arian Capital Management Ltd Under the said transaction, Arian Capital Management Ltd (a fund manager) advanced margin loan to Avil Services Ltd which was secured by 555, 555 units

of  First Bank of Nigeria Plc shares belonging to Avil Services Ltd. At the termination of the margin facility, sec explained that Avil Services Ltd demanded for the lifting of the lien placed on the shares but was informed by Arian Capital Management Limited that the said shares were used as collateral for a “Global Margin Facility” that was granted to it (Arian Capital Management Ltd) by Ecobank Nigeria Plc in a tripartite arrangement. Dissatisfied by the explanation offered by Arian Capital Management Ltd, the SEC in May 2012, suspended Arian Capital Management Ltd from all capital market activities for withholding the said shares and accruals thereon. In July 2012, the SEC pursuant to Section 13 (r) and (t) of the Investments and Securities

Act 2007 requested further explanation from Ecobank Nigeria Plc on the consent of Avil Services Ltd in the “Global Margin Facility”. The explanation, according to SEC is yet to come from Ecobank Nigeria Plc despite repeated demands for it. “The suspension was imposed on Ecobank Nigeria Plc on February 5, 2013 for its perceived connivance with Arian Capital Management Ltd to convert the 555, 555 units of First Bank of Nigeria Plc shares belonging to Avil Services Ltd. “The suspension will continue to be in force until the bank clears all the issues relating to the use of Avil Services Ltd’s shares as collateral for the Global Margin Facility it granted Arian Capital Management Ltd,” the statement from SEC added.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Sports Uyo Basketball 3 x 3 Jam

Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup

Uloma Queens eye top prize

Fans demand goal feast, as Eagles practise set pieces, shooting

HE first edition of the Akwa T Ibom State sponsored Uyo Basketball 3 x 3 Jam began yesterday in Uyo with home side Uloma Queens ready to claim the top prize. Coach Gift Anukam of Uloma Queens said the name was adopted in honour of the wife of the State Governor, Godswill Akpabio for her support for the development of women in the state. “We’re happy that the basketball 3 x 3 jam is here finally in Uyo and we look forward to playing all the way to the final and winning the trophy in appreciation of Mrs Uloma Akpabio. The last Calabar Carnival 3 x 3 Jam at the 13 Brigdade was won by the Imoke Babes of Calabar and we believe we can achieve same here,” she said. Reminded that the Calabar Carnival champions are also in this championship, Anukam, who is also going to play to give her team the needed experience said that the Imoke girls are no threat to their ambition, noting that she and her teammates were determined not to let the trophy out of the state.

NFF denies abandoning Kenyans By Christian Okpara ANS, who thronged the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar, yesterday to watch Super Eagles’ training session, urged the players to ensure they scored enough goals tomorrow when they meet the Harambee Stars in a Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier. The fans, who cheered the players’ every move during the session, said beating the Kenyans soundly would show that Nigeria’s victory at the South Africa 2013 Nations Cup was no fluke. The fans, decked in the different types of Super Eagles’ tee-shirts that have surfaced in Calabar, have coming to the U.J Esuene Stadium to get a glimpse of their heroes. One of the fans, a former Enyimba star, Bob Osim said he was impressed with the job Coach Stephen Keshi has done with the national team, adding that beating Kenya is almost certain because of the level the team has attained. “But I want them to ensure to utilise all their chances because sometimes goals come to play in a round-robin competition like this one. “I know the fans would want the players to entertain and show why they are African champions, but they should just concentrate first in securing the game before being fanciful,” he said. A supporter, Ifeanyi Ojekwe, who said he came from Aba to watch the training session ahead of the game, believes the only way the Eagles would make the game easy for the fans and themselves is by scoring early goals.

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“If they score early goals it will ease their mind and make the remaining period of the game smooth for all of us. Tension sets in when the goals refuse to come, but whatever happens, they should just play their game and the goals will come,” he said. Coach Keshi revealed yesterday that he knows what to expect from the Kenyans because “they are not new to me.” He added, “I know how to handle Kenya. I equally know that they are rebuilding just like us, but the beauty of it is that it is a team I know inside out.” Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has dismissed complaints by the Kenyan delegation that it was not received on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Wednesday, as pure fict i o n . NFF’s Assistant Director (Media), Ademola Olajire yesterday said the Federation “really didn’t want to be seen to exchange words with the Kenyans on non-existent issues. Nigeria is known to be good hosts at any time and we have not done less for the Kenyan delegation. “Our protocol officials were at the Lagos airport to receive them, and took them to the Silver Grandeur Hotel, which is not a substandard hotel as being claimed.” He said the Kenyans were economical with information on their trip to Nigeria. “For more than one week, we sent several mails to the Football Kenya Federation but they refused to respond to any.”

Yobo urges Eagles to go for goals against Kenya UPER Eagles’ exiled Captain, Steam Joseph Yobo has urged the to go all out for victory

Ready to thrill…Super Eagles’ star, Victor Moses, is one of the players expected feature in tomorrow’s Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier against Kenya at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar.

Again, Egypt rides on Nigeria to ITTF World Team Classic in China By Olalekan Okusan OR the umpteenth time, Egypt again usurped Nigeria to be the Africa’s flagbearer at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-organised World Team Classic holding in Guangzhou, China. In 2011, Nigeria became the first team from Africa to claim the Intercontinental Trophy at the World Team Classic

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Confident Harambee Stars train in Oshodi, hit Calabar HE Harambee Stars, who T arrived in Lagos on Wednesday, had their first training session at a primary school in the Oshodi area of the city yesterday before moving to Calabar. Although the team’s officials complained of the ‘bad’ treatment they received on arrival in the country, the players were cheerful as they jogged round the school compound to shake off the jet lag. The team, made up of 18 players and five officials, later moved to Calabar yesterday aboard an Arik Air aircraft.

The delegation, led by Husseini Terry, was received at the airport by the Nigerian Football Association’s Director, (Technical), Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme and other members of the A s s o c i a t i o n . The team will be camped at the Channel View Hotel, C a l a b a r . A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who was at the airport, reported that the Kenyans seemed battle ready for tomorrow’s m a t c h . The team’s Captain, Dennis

Oleich, pointedly refused to speak to journalists, but one of the players, Isah Mohammed said that the team was in Calabar to win. “Of course, we are very much aware of the status of the Super Eagles in African football. But this is football, anything can happen. We are here to win,” he said. The Super Eagles currently top group F with four points, ahead of Namibia, Botswana and Kenya.

Nigeria in the men and women events to overtake Nigeria in the latest world team ranking released by ITTF. Efforts by the Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) to ensure that top table tennis playing nations like Nigeria benefit from its partnership with European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) by staging EuroAfrica Circuit has not been utilised by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) with the usual ‘no fund excuse.’ Most of the Euro-Africa Circuits have been well attended especially by Egyptian players and this has positively affected their ranking in the globe. Besides attending the Dortmund tourney in April and the London Olympics in July 2012, Nigeria has failed to feature in any major competition within or outside the continent and this was what prompted the call by stakeholders for passionate and

Team Nigeria arrives in Warri on Monday for AYAC IGERIA’S contingent to next N week’s First African Youth Championships in Athletics

The Harambee Stars training in Lagos before moving to Calabar…yesterday.

held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) but all this has gone into history book with the team’s inability to feature in series of top class competitions after the 2012 London Olympic Games. Even when another opportunity was availed Nigeria to affirm its superiority at the 2012 ITTF-African Championships held in Cairo, Egypt, Nigeria failed to make it to the competition despite the top shape of most of its players. The absence of Nigeria, however, made it easy for Egypt to have a smooth passage to the World Team Classic after beating Congo Brazzaville in the final of the ITTF-African Championships. In addition, Egyptian players also represented the continent at the last Men and Women World Cup after most of its players dominated the continental ranking. Even at the last World Championship held in Dortmund, Egypt defeated

tomorrow in the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying game against the Harambee Stars of Kenya at the U.J Esuene stadium in Calabar. The Fenerbahce of Turkey defender, who led the Eagles to their third Nations Cup victory last month in South Africa, wants the team to prove their AFCON feat didn’t come by happenstance. “I am urging the boys to go all out and ensure they beat the Harambee Stars and maintain leadership of the group. I want them to play like the champions that they are and continue to make Nigerians happy. “I know the team is capable of not only beating Kenya, but also qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. So I want them to stay focused and not feel winning the AFCON trophy is the ultimate,” said the former Everton of England star. “I think the team is also blessed with quality people on the bench who know the importance of keeping the team focused. I am sure the technical crew has worked on the boys and let them know the AFCON party is over,” Yobo added.

(AYAC) scheduled for Warri, Delta State, is confident of emerging winners of the inaugural edition of the champio n s h i p s . The team, comprising 59 athletes and 15 officials, will arrive in Warri on Monday morning from their training camp in Port Harcourt and President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, says

Nigeria is hosting to win. “We are not only going to give Africa an event they will be talking about for a long, long time and which will serve as the benchmark for future championships, we are also hosting to win. “We have a good team that we believe will not only win the African Youth Championships in Athletics, but also one that can produce many future stars for Nigeria,’’ says Ogba. The AFN president says his fed-

eration has done everything possible in terms of preparing the team for the competition and is confident the 59 boys and girls selected will not disappoint N i g e r i a n s . “Last year, we won the Senior African Championships in Athletics in Port Novo, Republic of Benin, and I believe our policy of exposing  our young athletes to international competitions and good training has started yielding the desired results.’’ Serghi Porbeni, one of the

team’s officials is also confident Nigeria will win the c h a m p i o n s h i p s . “Nigeria has always been a force to reckon with in track and field in the continent. We want to use this competition to reassert the authority we started in Port Novo last year. We have selected a very strong squad for this championships and I believe the bright future that awaits track and field in Nigeria starts with this event in Warri,” said Porbeni.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday March 22, 2013

SPORTS | 57

Mba knows fate on Monday From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja MBATTLED Super Eagles’ E South Africa 2013 African Nations Cup revelation,

Dodan Warriors’ Edwin Jerry (right) goes against Hillary Aigbakohaide of Lagos Islanders during their DStv Basketball League Final Eight game at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos…recently.

Sunday Mba, will on Monday know whether he will be directed to remain with Warri Wolves or cleared to play for CAF Champions League side, Enugu Rangers in the ongoing 2012/3013 season. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Wednesday said it would declare the status of the player on Monday having received and gone through the reports of the committee set up to look into the claims of both Wolves and Rangers. Following claims of ownership of the player by the two Nigeria Professional Football League sides, the NFF set up a three-man committee, headed by director competitions, Mohammed Sanusi, to liaise with the management of the Nigeria Premier League to determine the true owners of the player. The Guardian, however, gathered that the committee, after meeting with the player and officials of both Warri Wolves and Rangers, could not reach

a decision on the status of the player, as both clubs still held firm to their claims of ownership. Mba recently sent an appeal to both clubs and the NFF to save his career to enable him concentrate on his game, especially now he is being courted by some European clubs. NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that Mba, who is currently in camp with the Super Eagles as they prepare to confront the Harambee Stars of Kenya tomorrow in a World Cup qualifier in Calabar, regretted that the two clubs failed to settle the issue without coming to the federation, noting that the interest and future of the player must be

taken into consideration in deciding the case. “We will do what has to be done to get the player free to concentrate on his game. The two clubs should have handled this better without coming to the NFF, but since our committee has deliberated on it, we must set him free so that he will concentrate on his football and future. “So on Monday there will be declaration on the  club that owns Sunday Mba. The committee has finalised its decision and submitted to the federation. Without any delay, bearing in mind that the future of the player is at stake, the NFF will let him off the hook on Monday and he will know his fate and club on that day,” Amadu disclosed.

Umar assures on Dstv Basketball League despite delay By Adeyinka Adedipe ITH uncertainty surW rounding the commencement date of the Dstv Basketball League, President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijan Umar has assured that the league would dunk off in style, as soon as arrangements were finalised with the sponsors, Multichoice. The league was expected to begin last weekend but The Guardian gathered that the non-release of cheque and contract papers by the sponsor stalled the move. However, the NBBF boss said that arrangement had gone beyond that and that the league would begin with a bang.

He also said that the DStv League could not commence this weekend because the Zenith Bank Basketball League for Women is scheduled to begin in Abuja on tomorrow. He, however, assured that the league would dunk off as soon as arrangements were concluded. “What I can tell you now is that arrangement are in top gear to ensure that the league starts with a big bang. We are talking with the sponsors and as soon as we settle all the issues surrounding the staging of the league, it would definitely commence. “Already, we have increased the number of games and that is to make the league vibrant and mote competitive. The more games that are

played the better for the teams and I am sure whatever we do will take the league to the next level,” he noted. When The Guardian contacted one of the top shots at Multichoice, who pleaded anonymity, he said the NBBF was in a position to know the current situation as regards the DStv League. He said, “I will advise that you call the NBBF president who is in a position to tell you the true position of things concerning the league.” When asked whether the non-release of the sponsorship cheque and contract papers might have stalled the commencement of the league, he replied, “I don’t have an answer to that but I am sure that the NBBF will

Moses’ visit thrills fans at Seven Up headquarters ORK was temporarily haltW ed at Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc headquarters,

smiles, posed for photographs and shared jokes with staffers. El Khalil congratulated Moses for his performance during the Nations Cup tournament, noting that Pepsi is proud to be associated with him.

He said Pepsi, through the Pepsi Football Academy, has been discovering and nurturing young Nigerian talents in football for over 20 years, including giving them full scholarships to study and play in top high schools in the United Kingdom.

give you all the information you need.” However, for the first time, the Zenith Bank Basketball League is starting before the men’s league while the delay may also hinder the NBBF plans to stage the league in four months.

Chairman, Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc, Faysal El Khalil (left), with Victor Moses when the Super Eagles’ star paid him a visit at his office in Ijora Lagos.

Why we are supporting Kanu’s Cardiac Centre, by Otti ROUP Managing Director G and Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc, Dr. Alex Otti has said the bank decided to play a major role in the fund raising for the N5 billion Kanu Cardiac Heart Centre, as it is an organisation devoted to touching the lives of people positively. Otti stated in Abuja at a N5 billion fund raising event for the proposed Kanu Cardiac Centre in Abuja, that “as a bank that gives back to society, we see it as part of our corporate social responsibility to support organisations that are touching the lives of

Ijora, Lagos, on Monday where Pepsi Football Ambassador, Victor Moses, stopped over to say thank you to the management and staff of the company for their support. As the news spread round that Moses was inside the sprawling premises, staffers left their offices to catch a glimpse of the Pepsi ambassador, who brought joy to over 160 million Nigerians by playing a key role in the Super Eagles winning the 2013 African Nations Cup trophy. Moses was also the arrowhead in Pepsi’s theme campaign for AFCON tagged: “Our Nation, Our Pride.” The star, who was conducted round different offices by the Head of Marketing, Seven-Up Bottling Company, Norden Thurston visited the Chairman, Faysal El Khalil, Managing Director, Sunil Sawhney, Executive Director, Femi Mokikan, PepsiCo Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, and GMD/CEO Diamond Bank, Dr. Alex Otti, during the N5 billion Kanu Cardiac International, among others. Centre Fund Raising event in Abuja.  Moses, who was calm and all

people.” According to him, “for us in Diamond, this is not the first time we are supporting initiatives such as this, we have a few things that we are doing on our own and we also use avenues like the Kanu Heart Foundation to support society to ensure that life gets better for the less privileged and to also ensure that people have hope in life.” He also said, “we should all in our own little way support people, who are less privileged. We should thank God if we were privileged, we shouldn’t take it for granted because the reality is that some of those people we saw, out of no offence of their own and their families are under privileged today and if society turns its eyes against them, they may probably die or go into permanent disability. I advised everybody who have been blessed in one way or the other to give a helping hand to the less privileged.” The Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) is a non-government, non-profit organisation founded by world renowned footballer, Kanu Nwankwo to help needy Nigerian children with cardiac diseases to obtain life saving surgeries within and outside the country. The vision of the founda-

tion is to put back smiles on the faces of children suffering from heart diseases, as well as, their family members, friends and relatives. Since its launch in 2000, KHF has successfully helped 425 children of varying ages get free heart surgeries in hospitals across the world from Europe to Asia. However, with the increasing number of heart disease patients on the foundation’s waiting list, the foundation deemed it fit that the establishment and building of a Cardiac Specialist Hospital would save more lives and also greatly save cost.  In a goodwill message, Senator Bala Mohammed, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory said the FCT has already allocated a parcel of land for the centre and that the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) would be ready soon. The event, which was graced by notable Nigerians, was chaired by Chief Edwin Clark while General Ibrahim Babangida, former head of state, who was represented by his son, Mohammed, was the chief launcher. He donated N50 million while the son donated N20 million. The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu represented President Goodluck Jonathan.


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

Heroes Of ‘Fit as a fiddle,’ Zack Orji’s reward As a teenager, Zachee Ama Orji, better known as Zack Orji was what is known in literature as a round character. Academically, he was one of the leading lights in his school and in sports, he played football and handball as well as threw discus and short put. Along the line, his interest in football and handball waned while he carved a niche for himself in the last two. From being the school champion in discuss at the National Secondary School, Nike, Enugu, he withstood stiff competition to become state champion in the old Anambra State, which was then composed of present day Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states. He went on to represent the state at the 1978 National School Sports Festival, which Cross River State hosted. Though many of Orji’s peers and younger colleagues including Innocent Ejima Egbunike, ended up becoming national athletes and in the process bagged sports scholarships to further their education abroad, Orji was content with the level he got to. Sitting down with ENO-ABASI SUNDAY, he summed up his sojourn in school sports. He also said going beyond the level he did was not his focus hence his determination not to pursue sports as a career. On the health and social planes, Orji, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Estate Management from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, maintains that sports participation has impacted positively on his life. ACK Orji is one of the most recognisable Z faces in the Nigerian movie industry also known as Nollywood, where he commands a reasonable followership owing to his showstopping performances and amiable disposition. Judging from whatever criteria, he is one of the icons of the industry having put in over a decade of hard work with dozens of movies to show for. It is, therefore, not surprising that not many would have imagined that the debonair gentleman had a serious romance with sports in his early life. Perhaps, the only remaining vestige of his life-long standing relationship with sports is his insatiable appetite to keep fit hence his almost daily visits to the gymnasium as well as working out at home. Though not keen on taking sports to professional heights as did some of his peers of yesteryears, bearded Orji was quick to point out that keeping fit and trim remains an aspect of life he could not part ways with, because of lifelong benefits accruable from it. As a kid, Orji sojourned for 10 years in Central African countries as the family had to move once his father, a staff of John Holt Plc, was transferred to a new station. It was out there that he started taking part in sports right from primary school. “We were born in Libreville, Gabon, where my father was working for John Holt. I attended both primary and secondary schools there. For primary education, I had it twice, one in English at St Anthony’s Catholic School in Buea. As a matter of fact, it was with the result I obtained from the first school, that I used to gain admission into Primary Four in a French school- Ecole Francophone de Buea in the capital of the South West Province of Cameroun. It was here that they noticed that I was good in football,” he recalled. “In the school’s football team, I played in the defence. Since I was good at what I did, I was always in the school’s first team. I also was in the first team of the school’s handball team,” the actor further recalled with pride. Orji was also a member of the school’s drama team as well as the football team at the College King Akwa, Douala, where he had his secondary education. “Being in the drama team notwithstanding,” he said, “I still found a way to ensure that my love for football and other activities were kept aflame. What really helped matters was that there were clearly spelt out periods for sports and other activities. In fact, my teacher used to rebuke my classmates at College King Akwa saying, ‘you are here and this boy came all the way from Nigeria to be beating you in your own country in sports, academics and even in your own language.” But how did such remarks make him feel coming from a foreign teacher in a foreign school? He responded, “I was just who I was. I continued to improve in sports and remained the ferocious reader that I was. This did really helped matters for me because I continued to

read every literature I could lay hands and my vocabulary in French and English continued to improve. “However, what I learnt in the school drama group and being a voracious reader helped to lay a solid foundation for my acting career today, as it was also in Cameroun that I started going to cinema to watch movies and fall in love with actors like James Bond, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Lee, Jimmy Wang Yu, Sidney Poitier, Antonio Sabato, Yausaki Kurata, Sean Connery, Lee Van Cliff, Humphrey Boggart among others,” he stated. On the family’s return to Nigeria in 1976, the older Orji’s had no qualms allowing his ward to continue with his exploits in sports and the National Secondary School, Nike, Enugu, where he berthed provided a clement environment for him to thrive. According to him, “when I returned to Nigeria, I still took sports seriously prompting my principal at National Secondary School, Nike, Mr. C.O. Chiedozie, to describe me as an ‘allrounder because.’ This was because in academics, I was always finishing inside the first three positions in my class at the end of the term and was also offering both arts and science subjects. Apart from being good in academics, I was also very good in sports. Besides this, I was Senior Prefect in my set, was the speaker for the school’s senior debate team as well as member of the drama society. He continued, “in sports, I was the school’s champion in short put and discus and actually went on to become the state champion in short put in the old Anambra State, which was composed of what is now Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states. During his time as school champion in short put and discus, Orji represented his school in a number of state’s sports competition in 1978. “It was here that I emerged as the state’s champion. I also went on to represent my state in the 1978 National School Sports Festival that took place in Calabar, Cross River State. At that festival, I was beaten to the fourth position nationally. “There were many other outings that I represented my school and state as champion in short put and discus, but the outing in Calabar was the most notable one because this remains the most prestigious event for any school sports practitioner to aspire to compete in,’ he stated. Asked to identify some of his toughest opponents back in the day, “Orji said, “for me, memories are very dim now, and this applies especially in individual sports. All I can remember is that in those days, there were some opponents, who were huge and more physically endowed than my humble self. But in short put and discus, ones’ size does not necessarily count. What does is the technique that one is imbued with and I was technically sound in techniques.” On why he decided to stick to short put and discus at National Secondary School, which were sporting disciplines that were not very

Orji


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

School Sports for romance with sports popular except in missionary schools, he countered saying, “short put and discus were reasonably popular in my days. My alma mater, National Secondary School, Nike, Enugu, was like the “state champion” in academics and was for several years, topping the state’s chart in school sports, ranging from football to track and field events. Secondly, it is common knowledge that in sports, you always look for areas that you would excel. This is why I decided to stick with these two because they were areas I had what it took to excel. For me, there were no role models even though I trained under one or two persons that I knew at the national level, who also did well in these sports. In fact, one of them was a guy, who came back from the United States.” As an athlete that was worth his salt, Orji had moments when he appeared to be wrapped in the euphoria of his accomplishments. Some of these are moments have remained evergreen in his memory. “One of my most memorable moments was when I became the school champion,” he recalled with a wide grin. “After beating your contemporaries in a sporting endeavour to become a school champion, all eyes are bound to be on you because you have become the first among equals. Being saddled with the task of representing your school even makes you feel better. However, in representing your school, you are faced with yet another set of competitors from other schools. Beating those sets of competitors to become the state champion, who will fly the state’s flag in major competitions, was no doubt, an awesome experience. The feeling was much more exhilarating because one had graduated from being just a school property to being the property of a state. “Other than this, those moments when we were dressed in tracksuits heading to represent our school or wearing state colours to represent the old Anambra State in numerous sports competitions for schools, were moments that I will forever cherish.” Conversely, “getting up to the state level, representing my state at the National School Sports Festival in 1978, without being able to win a medal is something that was very agonising to me. This was so because everybody that goes to a competition of that magnitude is going there to win, so once you fall outside the medal zone like I did when I finished fourth, it is bound to make you experience some sadness because in any competition, there is always the thrills of victory and the agony of defeat. However, my consolation then was even though I could not get a medal in 1978 at the peak of my school sports career, I was among the first six in the country in my days.” With the level of proficiency Orji displayed by

Orji

Taking part in sports early in life has affected my adult life positively because it taught me a number of things. However, one of the most important things it left me with is an insatiable appetite to be fit and making sure that I don’t allow myself to go obese. Because of this, I have also developed a habit of being conscious of the way I look and how my clothes fit. A culmination of all these is what me to patronising gymnasiums way back in my secondary school days. Now, having internalised the daily workouts, it has helped in disciplining me and caused me to adopt a certain regimen as far as keeping fit is concerned. brushing off stiff competition to become state champion, one would have thought that the next logical step for him was to become a national thrower and ultimately crave to compete internationally. But he said “this was never my focus. Getting to represent my state at the national level was just okay for me because I did not want to pursue it as a career.” Orji still cherishes his days as a school sports practitioner. According to him, “as an adult, sometimes you look back at your days in sports and wished that they could be replayed for you to make amends, where you feel you should have done better. These are the kind of nostalgic feelings that I have to live with.”  The 1984 graduate of Estate Management from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, may not have benefitted from education funded by exploits in the field of sports. Nevertheless, sports participation left indelible imprints in his every day life. He confessed, “taking part in sports early in life has affected my adult life positively because it taught me a number of things. However, one of the most important things it left me with is an insatiable appetite to be fit and making sure that I don’t allow myself to go obese. Because of this, I have also developed a habit of being conscious of the way I look and how my clothes fit. A culmination of all these is what me to patronising gymnasiums way back in my secondary school days. Now, having internalised the daily workouts, it has helped in disciplining me and caused me to adopt a certain regimen as far as keeping fit is concerned.” “Furthermore, sports participation has also imbued me with a certain kind of confidence that comes with the knowledge that you are fit and trim. Moving along your colleagues and contemporaries, you just can stop being conscious of your looks as well as feeling confident with yourself,” he added. Interestingly, Orji does not belong to the school of thought that is of the opinion that school sport is on the downward slide. “I am not sure there is a decline in school sports,” he stated adding, “on the contrary, I think that it is on the rise. I am saying so because at the last National Sports Festival (NSF), which Lagos State hosted, I saw a lot of young people, who came from schools from different parts of the country to represent their states. This made me remember 1978, when we went to Calabar to represent the old Anambra State in the school sports festival. Having said that, I think the NSF gave me the impression that sports still thrived in schools, if not, we would not have seen the huge number of young, school-aged competitors. “Secondly, I believe that with the amount of money the government is spending in sports now is much more than what was the case in my days, so there is every reason for sports to be on the rise because there is a lot more interest in sports now than there was in my days.”

Zack Orji (left); then Anambra State and National Secondary School 400m champion, Tony Okonkwo; Games master, Baba Ikpo (fourth left); I. G. Anibogu (third right); Tony Okonkwo (right) Innocent Egbunike (second right) and others after a sporting event during their days at National Secondary School, Nike, Enugu

Innocent Egbunike (second left, back row), Orji, (third left, back row), Baba Ikpo (in track suit) and others pose with their trophies won after a sports meet

Orji (right); then Anambra State and National Secondary School 100m champion Felix “Nefefe” Nnaji; Innocent Egbunike and others


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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

SchoolSports Pacific School boss laments state of school sports

Delta Governor’s Cup

Teams lament missed opportunity of foreign trip, cash prizes By Gowon Akpodonor HEY wept uncontrollably as T they walked into a waiting bus to begin their journey from Afesere, Ughelli to their base in Agbor. Before the commencement of the quarterfinal matches on Tuesday, many soccer fans in Delta State had tipped Gbenoba Grammar School for the title, going by their performance in the preliminaries and zonal elimination. But it turned out to be a mere dream. Their quarterfinal match against Alegbo Secondary School, Effurun, ended 8-7 on penalties in favour of Alegbo at the Afesere play ground. It was the end of the journey for Gbenoba School in the competition. As they filed out of the pitch looking dejected, one of the players looked back and said, “oh, we have just lost the golden opportunity of winning a brand new school bus, N2 million cash and a foreign trip this year. This is painful.” His emotional comment drew the attention of the school Principal, Emmanuel Onyeugbo, who responded with a word of encouragement for the players. “Don’t worry young man. You tried you best only that it was not good enough. You have to go back and practice for the coming year. I am proud of you.” This is Onyeugbo’s last term as principal of Gbenoba as the school will be handed over to the missionaries by August this year. He had fasted and prayed for the boys to win the trophy so

Yellow House defends title at De Modern Pace sports meet ELLOW House will today Y defend the title at the yearly inter-house sports competition of De Modern Pace School, which takes place at Pius Ikedia Field, Abesan Estate, Ipaja in Lagos. Events like 100, 200, 400, 800 and invitational relay will be competed for with companies like Honeywell Flour Mill and banks like Access, Stanbic, as well as, Ultimate Microfinance expected to be part of the colourful event.

as to get the opportunity of traveling with the boys abroad. “I may not be there with them next year, but I want the boys to continue with their training. I have told the coach to always come and train them. Maybe, next year may be their turn to smile. I commend the state government for this brilliant initiative of reviving the school sports system,” Onyeugbo said. Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogwashi-Uku defeated Community Secondary School, Ogume 3-0 to seal into the last four, while Don-Domingos School, Warri, defeated EmoEni Grammar School Eliu, 5-1. Edjekota Secondary School, Edjekota was a better side in their game against Baptist High School, Orerokpe. It ended 1-0. Meanwhile, a member of the Technical Study Group (TSG) set up by the LOC, John Omughele has said that players, who did well so far in the competition would be invited to the state academicals soon after the championship. The semifinal and final matches will hold in April.

HE Chairman of Pacific T School, Shasha, Remigious Omosowon has appealed to parents to encourage their children to develop their full potentials in sports. This he said is one of the best ways that will launch them to stardom. He stated this at the 5th biennial inter-house sports meets of the school, which took place at the Airforce Base in Shasha. He described sports as a lucrative business and is imperative to develop the sports potential of every child. He decried maladministration as a major syndrome towards sports development in the

Green House is champion of St. Mary’s sports meet By Mary Ogar T. Mary’s College, Festac Shouse Town marked its 3rd intersports competition

Action from the GTB-sponsored Heritage Cup, held at the Campos Mini Stadium. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Teams ignite Lagos as GTB Principal’s Cup enters group stage By Olalekan Okusan ROM yesterday, the city of Lagos came alive as 40 schools began hostilities in the group stage of the season four of GTBank Lagos Principal’s Cup. With the schools drawn into four group each in the boys and girls events, the organisers have also promised a hitch free tournament in a bid to select the best football playing secondary schools in Lagos State. For the Chairman, Planning Committee, Seyi Akinwunmi, the state is ready for a successful outing, as everything has been concluded to stage a befitting tournament this year. Akinwunmi, who is also the chairman, Lagos State Football Association, lauded the partnership between the state Ministries of Sports and

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country. “Nigeria has not been able to tap the enormous economics potentials in sports because the sector like every other sector in Nigeria has been badly mismanaged. “Sports stars all over the world make fortunes in sports and its little wonder that footballers, tennis stars, golfers, boxers athletes are known worldwide while professors, engineers  and doctors are little known beyond there territories,” he said. He urged parents to provide kits and equipment for their children as way of grooming them for the future.

Education Ministry for their efforts at ensuring the success of previous editions. Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi was indeed thrilled with the enormous support the competition has received and still getting from Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).

“GTB has not only sponsored the Principal’s Cup over the past few years, they have sought to add value and enhance the competition in a variety of ways. They have introduced a range of brilliant innovations and have no doubt breathed a new lease of life into the competition,” the commissioner said.

School head calls for increased sports promotion in schools From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki state governments FbeenEDERAL, and local councils have urged to do all in their powers to promote sports as a veritable way to foster unity, understanding and economic empowerment of young persons.

Girls’ 100metre event of Dowen College sports meet, held at University of Lagos Sports Complex. PHOTO: OSENI YUSUF

The Principal of Community Secondary School, Ndiagu Echara, Ikwo Local Council of Ebonyi State, Mrs. Pamela Oken, who made the assertion during the grand finale of the school’s Inter-House Sports competition added that sports help to sharpen the intellect and physique of students. Oken noted that talent hunt and detection of budding stars in sports are usually done at the secondary school level pointing out that her school has been equipping talents for rapid development of various sports so that the students could demonstrate keen interest in any of the numerous sporting activities. While commending Governor Martin Elechi and the chairman of Secondary Schools Board, Mrs. Patience C. Oko, the principal said that the establishment of 30 boarding schools, as well as, promotion of compulsory sporting activities in all schools in the state.

with Green House topping the medals table with nine gold, seven sliver and three bronze medals. Blue House finished second with nine gold, four silver and eight bronze while Yellow House came third with eight gold, 11 sliver and seven bronze medals and Red House was in the fourth position with four g old, 9 Sliver and 8 Bronze. Highlights of the sporting competition included a match pass by the four houses, relay race for senior boys and girls, the invitation relay race, 100 metres and 200 metres senior race for senior boys and girls including

cycling and egg race. Speaking at the event, the proprietor of the college, Mr. Ezediash Ofili urged parents to encourage their wards to participate in sports. He hinted that sport has become prestigious unlike in the past when parents often discourage their children from sports. “In those days parents wanted their children to become only Lawyers, Doctors or Engineers. If a child was caught playing football his parents would spank him and ask him to concentrate on academics but nowadays with the fantastic salaries, allowances, national pride and other benefits earned by footballers and other sports men and women, parent can only encourage their children to take an active interest in sports.’’    

Pink wins Hall of Fame Academy sports meet By Joe Adiorho INK House emerged the P overall winner of the maiden Hall of Fame Academy inter house sports competition. The team garnered 20 points to outclass the Orange House, who got 13 points to place, second in both field and track events with Lemon House and Sky Blue house coming third and fourth respectively. The games prefect of the school, Olanrewaju Abiodun was picked as the outstanding athlete of the competition. Addressing the gathering, the director of the  school, Mr. Godspower Agofure said that he was excited that the event was a huge success. He explained that education is a process of building a total man with a sound mind dwelling in a physically sound body. He stated that the objective of the competition was to catch the stars young. According to him, “world beaters like Usain

Bolt, Marry Onyali and others in their class were discovered in competitions this nature. I am sure and convinced that in no distant future, some of the pupils and students participating in the competition today would be inducted not only in the academic hall of fame, but also in the international sports hall of fame.” He called on the parents of the children to always allow their wards participate in sports competitions. The proprietress of the school, who doubles as the principal, Mrs. Victoria Agofure, said that the importance of sports in human development could hardly be over-emphasised. According to her, a child’s development involved three main domains, which were cognitive, affective and psychomotor. She explained that the first two were mostly done in the classroom while the psychomotor takes place on the field of sports.

Royal Group of Schools marks inter-sports tourney HE Sports Complex of the T University of Lagos will tomorrow come alive, as Royal Group of Schools marks its fourth inter-house sports competition.

The five arms of the schools will converge for the one-day championship, which kicks off at 10am with athletes competing in series of events.


SPORTS | 61

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, March 22, 2013

European Round-Off

Chelsea must win a trophy to be successful this season, Hazard insists C

HELSEA attacker, Eden Hazard has insisted his side must win either the FA Cup or Europa League to make the season a success. The Blues have endured a turbulent campaign, with the defense of its Champions League crown ending at the group stage and the club’s Premier League title tilt failing to spark. But the Belgian, who has scored 13 goals in all competitions during his debut season in England, believes the west London club must atone for its past poor performances by earning silverware. “It’s been a good season for me so far but I could have done better in certain situations,” he told the club’s official website. “There have been good moments and bad moments, both for me individually and the team, but hopefully we can finish the season strongly. “We’re still on the right track to win both the FA Cup and Europa League and we’ll be doing everything in our power to make sure that happens because big clubs can only be judged to have had a successful season if they win one or, if they’re lucky, several trophies.” The 22-year-old went on to express his disappointment at Chelsea’s failure to progress in the Champions League, and has underlined the importance of qualifying again this term. “You have to reserve judgement until the end of the season,” he continued. “You can’t summarise or sum up until everybody knows exact-

ly what’s been won. But it was a big disappointment going out of the Champions League so early, particularly as the same thing happened to me with Lille last season, when we were eliminated at the group stage. It’s such an important competition and that’s why I feel we could have achieved a bit more this season. “We’re on the right path to qualify for next season’s tournament, though, and I think if we do we have enough quality players at the club to go a long way in it. The ultimate objective is to go as far as you can in the Champions League.”

After a string of recent impressive displays against Manchester United, Steaua Bucharest and West Brom in the Premier League, the former Lille man also revealed March is often a good month for him. “My confidence is really up at the moment and I feel good in myself,” he said. “It’s quite weird because, historically, March always seems to be the best time of the year for me. “Last year I got player of the month in Ligue 1, and a couple of years ago I won the same award. I don’t know why but it seems as though things come good for me at

I won’t stand unless my legacy is threatened, Blatter admits President, Sepp Blatter FforIFA has said he will not stand a fifth term when his current mandate ends in 2015 as long as there is a candidate to replace him, who he believes, will continue his work to “globalise” soccer. Swiss Blatter, who turned 77 this month, was elected president of soccer’s world governing body in 1998 and has consistently refused to rule out standing again in two years as long as his health permits. “I will not carry on as long as there is at least one candidate prepared to continue my work,” Blatter said in an interview with Spanish sports daily As published yesterday. “The most important thing for me is that the person who takes over FIFA does so with the spirit of globalisation of

soccer that we have developed in recent years,” he added. Blatter named two possible successors, former France international, Michel Platini, who is the president of European governing body UEFA, and Angel Maria Villar, the president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) and a vice president of both UEFA and FIFA. “Michel Platini could be a possible successor as we started together in 1998,” Blatter said. “On the other side is Angel Villar, who has had a long career and has good contacts in America and Africa and who would also be a good candidate. “I don’t know if there is a deal between Villar and Platini on

Chelsea’s Belgian midfielder, Eden Hazard (second right); celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League match against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London at the weekend. PHOTO: AFP

The most important thing for me is that the person who takes over FIFA does so with the spirit of globalisation of soccer that we have developed in recent years these UEFA and FIFA issues but in any case the elections for the FIFA presidency in 2015 will be open and democratic.”

Mourinho’s claims are childish, says Del Bosque PAIN boss, Vicente del SMourinho’s Bosque has dismissed Jose suggestions that the vote for FIFA’s Coach of the Year award was rigged as “childish.” The Real Madrid manager claimed earlier this week that certain people’s votes in the elections were wrongly awarded to Del Bosque, a revelation that has since been denied by FIFA, but was backed by Macedonia skipper Goran Pandev yesterday. “The situation does not bother me at all. To me, it is all a bit childish,” Del Bosque stated to ONDA Cero. “I don’t want to give any further comments on it to avoid any misinterpretation. “We have an important match against Finland coming up and that’s all I’m thinking about at the moment.” Del Bosque was beaten to the prestigious individual award by Mourinho in 2010, but got his revenge in January when he pipped him to the trophy following Spain’s Euro 2012 success.


THE GUARDIAn, Friday, March 22, 2013

62

Golf Weekly

General Manager, IBB Golf and Golf Club, Abuja, Ado Gonji (left), teeing off while Captain of the club, Tony Azogu and Abel Abia Bassey wait to take their turn during the 2013 Julius Berger Invitational Charity Golf Championship …recently PHOTO: ENO-ABASI SUNDAY

Maiden tour victory thrills, emboldens Bulus Stories by Eno-Abasi Sunday ARELY three years after he turned pro at the Qualifying School, which held at the Ibori Golf and Country Club, James Bulus of the nigeria Defence Academy (nDA) Golf Club, Kaduna broke the duck’s egg winning his maiden tour trophy. Bulus’ ULO Open victory last weekend at the Otukpo Golf and Country Club, Benue State, was not only a

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• Willy, Olopade aim to tip scale at NNPC Pro-Am significant milestone for his fledgling career, but also a big relief and moral booster for his compatriots, who had won only one of the last six tour events played in the last five months. The balance of the five were won by Emos Korblah and Vincent Torgah, both Ghanaian members of the Professional Golfers’

Association of nigeria (PGAn), who finished first and second in the PGAn Order of Merit for 2012. An elated Bulus, in an interview with The Guardian said, “I feel really excited and fulfilled with this victory because I was not expecting to win. But after finishing +1 on the first day and shooting +2 on the second day, I

became somehow confident that I could make it. On the third day, I shot +5 and in my final round, I carded +1 to win the tournament with +9. Apart from the n1.350m he carted home for his efforts, the Kaduna-based golfer said, “most importantly, I am happy because I have broken the yoke of fear that used to overwhelm me during tour-

Julius Berger Cup, one of IBB Club’s preferred tourneys, says Azogu APTAIn of the IBB Golf and our competition’s menu in charity event. ileged in our society. C “Let me also add that Julius Country Club, Abuja, Tony more ways than one. Immediate past champion, Azogu has applauded  spon- However, I would like to stress Berger Cup going charity has sors of the Julius Berger Invitational Charity Golf Championship for the initiative describing the tournament as one of the club members “preferred tournaments.” Azogu, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian at the 13th edition of the championship said: “The Julius Berger Cup is one of the preferred tournaments for members of IBB Golf and Country Club. It is also an avenue for the Julius Berger family to come together on a golf course, take sometime off the business of construction and other things they do to commune and relax. We will always look forward to I every year.” Asked to what extent it enriches the competition’s menu of the club, Azogu said, “every corporate sponsor of a tournament here enriches

that this particular corporate sponsor does more than sponsoring a tournament.  The firm maintains this facility that is why you see that after 21 years of existence, everything is still working and in pristine condition. “They also sponsor some holes on the course and this brings money to the club. Because of this, I would say that Julius Berger is of great value to the club,” Azogu, a legal practitioner added. Some golfers are of the opinion that the tourney, which went charity at it’s 10th edition may have lost its competitive edge, but Azogu begged to differ saying, “golfers would compete for anything once an enabling environment has been created for competition to take place. So I would say that nothing has been taken away from the tourney since it became a

enabled the firm and golfers to pay even more attention to the less privileged members of the society as the proceeds from the competition goes to this class of people. So, as a matter of fact, I think they should be commended for the initiative. Other corporate outfits should borrow a leaf from Julius Berger Plc and do more for the less priv-

Emeka Okatta  and some others would want the event turned into a Pro-Am, but Azogu said, “much as I would agree with Okatta that it would be good if the championship were to be a Pro-Am, but it is up to he who pays the piper to dictate the tune. I would still be happy if they want to encourage golf development at another level by turning the event to a Pro-Am.”

naments. now, I am ruled by the spirit of victory.” Insisting that the victory came at the right time, Bulus said before now, “I was always saying to myself there are other better players on the course and this is the spirit of fear that I am talking about. “Even though I sometimes dreamt about coming out victorious in tournaments, for some strange reasons, I never gave myself the chance of doing that so soon and on a course like this. But with this development, I am determined to work harder to sustain what I have just achieved,” he stated. Asked if the victory was not a flash in the pan, he stressed, “I have played alongside top players since turning pro and I know their game, their strength and weaknesses. But my business is to continue trying to improve my game and working on my weaknesses. This is the only way I can get better and not wast-

ing my time to see who is playing better and who is not. I believe this is the beginning of good things to come for me.” Bulus, is not participating in this weekend’s nnPC ProAm Golf Championship at the golf section of the Port Harcourt Club, expressed hope of a good performance at the Senator David Mark 65th  birthday tourney, which comes up at the same club in a fortnight. Sunday Olapade of MicCom Golf and Country Club, Ada, Osun State and Gift Willy of Air Assault Golf Club, Port Harcourt, who carded +10 and +12 respectively to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively at the ULO Pro-Am last weekend, are fired up to make the most of the n5 million Port Harcourt event. With the form they are in now, a good performance on Saturday and Sunday at the 36-hole event, which almost all the big names have signed up, will definitely change the complexion of the Order of Merit.

…As NTDC supports proposed 150-room hotel on club course HE nigerian Tourism T Development Corporation (nTDC), has given its backing to plans to build a 150-room ultra-modern hotel on parts of the course of the IBB Golf and Country Club, Abuja. According to Director General of the nTDC, Olusegun Runsewe, “our corporation is in support of the hotel and we believe it will

help to raise the tourism index of the facility. The Abuja IBB Golf Club is a national monument and  is long overdue for this type of facelift.” West Africa and nigeria in particular have been cited as locations of potential growth for golf and have seen a growing amount of investment in this area. Such projects look set to increase revenue as it is

hoped golfers will be more inclined to stay on and play golf on the same facility. When realised, the project will raise the profile of the club and cause it to rival Le Meridien Ibom Resort in Akwa Ibom State and MicCom Golf Resort in Ada, Osun State, which all have residential quarters. It is thought that the fair-

ways and holes of the front nine holes will be visible from the hotel, which is renowned for its vast number of lakes, streams and ponds. The course covers 101 hectares and has a playing distance of 6098 metres. It is home to crocodiles, pythons, monkeys and migrating birds, all of, which share the course’s natural habitat with golfers.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday March 22, 2013

GOLFWEEKLY

63

Storms wreck opening round of Malaysian Open, Donald trail ORLD number three, W Luke Donald insisted jet-lag was not a factor

Tiger Woods of the United States plays his tee shot at the par 5, 15th hole during the first round of the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Bay Hill Golf and Country Club, Orlando, Florida…yesterday PHOTO: David Cannon/AFP

after finding himself nine shots off the lead in the weather-hit opening round of the Maybank Malaysian Open. Donald only arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday after finishing fourth in the defence of his Tampa Bay Championship at the weekend, a result which had him looking forward with optimism to The Masters next month. The 35-year-old was adamant the 12-hour time difference would not be a problem, but was nevertheless far from his best in compiling a two-over 74 in sweltering conditions, which saw two players retire ill before play was abandoned for the day in the late afternoon due to thunderstorms. Tournament officials will now hope to get the event back on track over the next two days, with an early finish planned for Sunday to allow the country’s prime minister to attend the prize-giving ceremony before heading to the Malaysian Grand Prix. Starting from the 10th, Donald dropped three shots in a row from the 11th and, after chipping in for birdie from short of the first green, ran up a double-bogey six on the second after pitching into a greenside bunker. The former world No 1 then missed good birdie chances on the next two holes before holing from six feet on the fifth, while a closing birdie from similar range on the ninth at least boosted his hopes of making the halfway cut on his tournament debut. ‘Today the game was quite tough for me,’ Donald told European Tour Radio. ‘It’s one of those courses where if you are a little bit off it can get you. “I did not play the hard holes very well and when I did have opportunities I couldn’t take them on the greens. It was one of those frustrating rounds where I got very little momentum. It was a nice birdie on the

last, so hopefully I can use that as a little bit of a kickstart for tomorrow’s round. “I got off to a slow start, three over after four, and was just hanging on after that. There’s a lot of trouble out there and I found too much of it. I gave it my all on every shot and there’s a low one out there. This course can produce some low scores and hopefully I can have mine tomorrow, that’s what I need to get back into the mix for this tournament. “I slept pretty well the last two nights and felt pretty good, it was just a case of not being quite on today.” Donald found himself nine shots off the clubhouse lead held by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, whose 65 continued the excellent form of last week when he was fourth in the Avantha Masters. Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, Denmark’s Anders Hansen and France’s Gregory Bourdy were a shot behind after rounds of 66, while Scotland’s Scott Jamieson was six under through 10 holes and pre-tournament favourite Charl Schwartzel four under after 11 before play was suspended. Molinari, who changed coach in December after missing three months following wrist surgery, has not made a halfway cut in five events this season, but carded eight birdies and two bogeys in his round. “It was a good round of golf finally,” said Molinari, who is now coached by Sean Foley, who works with Tiger Woods and Justin Rose among others. “Sean is making big changes but I needed them because the way I played last year especially I didn’t like it. ‘I like what Sean says, I have a lot more knowledge about what I’m doing on the course and as soon as I miss a shot I know how to fix it. “Sean speaks a lot of sense about golf and right now he is definitely the most knowledgeable coach in golf.”

Woods may return to world number one spot at Arnold Palmer event IGER Woods will not be T satisfied if he returns to the world number one spot with a victory at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida. The American, 37, who is the defending champion and has won the event seven times, will replace Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who is not playing. The 14-time major winner, who has spent a record 623 weeks as world number one, was last top in October 2010. “I don’t want to be as good as I once was, I want to become better,” he said. Woods has won two of the

four events he has played in this year - winning the World Golf Championship event, two weeks ago at Doral, to add to his victory at Torrey Pines in January. And he went into this week’s Bay Hill tournament, which started yesterday as favourite to win a third event of 2013 as he continues his build-up to the first major of the season, the Masters at Augusta in April. “Just got to win this week, not too complicated,” said Woods. “Things are still becoming more efficient. You know, these two wins I’ve had this

Wants to be “better than ever” year have been built (on) some nice leads, which means I’ve played really well and things are starting to come around and become more efficient day in and day out.” Golf legend Palmer, who won seven majors between 1958 and 1970, believes Woods is back to his best. The 83-year-old American told the Golf Channel, “he looks probably as strong and as good from a golf perspective as I’ve ever seen him.

“I think his swing and his posture and his attitude is far better than it’s been in some time, and it takes me back to when I first played with him at Augusta when he was a rookie.” Woods began his opening round alongside South Africa’s Open champion Ernie Els and England’s Justin Rose. The trio teed off on the 10th at 12:05 GMT yesterday. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, runner up to Woods at Bay Hill in 2012,

also teed off on the 10th, with England’s Ian Poulter and American Keegan Bradley, in the group behind Woods. Meanwhile, Woods said he and Lindsey Vonn released news of their relationship to limit paparazzi intrusion on their romance. Woods and Vonn, a four time Alpine World Cup skiing champion, released statements and a series of pictures confirming their relationship on Monday. Woods told a press conference at the Bay Hill course they had put out the snaps to prevent any invasion into

their lives from photographers that he referred to as the “stalkerazzi.” “It’s very simple, we’re very happy where we are at but also we wanted to limit the stalkerazzi and all those sleazy websites out there following us,” he told reporters. “I’ve had situations where it’s been very dangerous for my kids, the extent that they’ll go to. We basically devalued the first photos. Unfortunately that’s just the way it is in our society right now and we felt it was the best thing to do and we’re very happy about it.”


TheGuardian

Friday, March 22, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Timothy Ajiteru President of Nigeria, General Fa ORMER Olusegun Obasanjo has turned himself into prophet in the recent development in Nigerian polity. Take for instance, long before the Pandora’s box of embezzlement ravaging the oil sector was broken, he had prophesied that some of the Nigerian senators were rogues. And how do you know a true prophet? It is when what was prophesied is fulfilled. Lo and behold! What did we see? It soon came to light that even the so-called ‘Mr. Integrity’ among them has a case to answer. Not long ago, he came out again to prophesy. This time, not about rogues but about the coming revolution. He warned the elite politicians of whom he is one. Whether he himself is afraid or not I don’t know. But one thing that is certain is that he will soon be proved right again whether these politicians like it or not. We have heard of French revolution, Industrial revolution in England, Liberian revolution, Cuban revolution etc. I think the next is Nigerian revolution. Most of these revolutions have been bloody and brutal. However, the elite politicians including Obasanjo himself can heave a sigh of relief. The coming revolution in Nigeria will neither be bloody nor brutal. It is a mental and political revolution. As 2015 election is fast approaching— though some think it is too early to talk about it, to me it is better now or never— Nigerian youths should wake up from their slumber and care free attitude. They should get ready for 2015 election. This time, not as thugs, assassins, riggers or campaign materials, rather as decision makers, aspiring leaders and revolutionaries. It is high time we decided the kind of future we want for the coming generations and ourselves. I am rest assured that the stage is set much more today than ever. By the way, whom can we call a youth? According to the advanced learner’s dictionary: Youth means a period of life when a person is young especially the time a child becomes an adult. Another of its definitions says the youth are young people considered as a group, for example, the nation’s youth. The youths have been up to the task in the history of mankind. They always rise to the occasion whenever the need arises. They are strong, agile and always in the forefront of battles. Look around you, even in the armies and sport circles they look out for youths. Therefore, we Nigerian youths must not shy away from our responsibilities, leadership and decisive roles in Nigerian polity. This time around we must take the bull by the horns and stand to revolutionise Nigerian politics in 2015. The followings are thoughts on how to go about it: We must change our orientation about Nigeria politics People usually say politics is a dirty game. This idea has been sold to us over the years and has scared many well-meaning Nigerians from politics. I want to say politics is a good and clean game, which we have left so far in dirty hands to play it dirty and rough. Now that we have sat down and watched these dirty hands play it dirty for years to our own detriment we must rise up to show them how to play it clean. We must play according to the rules. We must avoid their corrupt practices, greed, and selfishness for a better future. We must come up as a group in our localities Charity they say begins at home. The youths in my community have recently been coming up as groups and clubs. They task and engage themselves in developing projects like constructing street lights and house numbering, even long before the Lagos State government decided on numbering of houses. This is commendable. Our coming together must not only be on frivolities. We must begin to take leadership position and responsibilities in our communities. And to some of us that think we are educated and highly sophisticated, we must humble ourselves enough to relate with youths of lower educational background some of whom may be okada riders, bus conductors or petty traders. Everybody has something to contribute. We must all come together to liberate our nation from the hands of bad politi-

One thing that is recurrent in the history of freedom is that freedom always starts by one person or a group of people voicing out their opinions about oppression. For instance, the fight for our independence started by a group of committed Nigerians speaking out, demanding freedom.

Please send reactions and feedback for YOUTH SPEAK to:

editorial@risenetworks.org and 07067976667- SMS ONLY

The coming revolution: Yes, it is inevitable!

We the youths must begin to speak out about the state of the nation. We must demand a change from the norms in Nigerian politics. We must secure our freedom from the cabals and the cartels, who have turned Nigeria’s treasuries into their private kitties. We must demand our leadership roles in Nigeria polity. The future belongs to the youths. We must make our voices known and make choices count during the coming election. The earlier we started the better.

Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo

cians. Involvement in local politics The local politics at ward levels which is the focal point of politics in this country has been left for too long in the hands of old men and women in our communities many of whom are ready tools used by corrupt politicians in our nation to achieve their selfish ends. We must work skillfully and move with tact into this local party politics by joining political parties in our localities and influence decisions to our advantage. Mobilising other youths into politics We must begin to mobilise other youths that are non-challant about politics in our discussion one on one and as groups. We must use the modern technology of social media and other media of communication to get ready. All of us may not be politicians but at least let us begin to prepare the minds of youths towards this task. We must be actively involved as aspirants, party members, campaigners and voters. Even the electoral officers, majority of who are always youths must be mobilised to do their jobs with honesty and transparency. They should refuse to be influenced by corrupt politicians. We must speak out

One thing that is recurrent in the history of freedom is that freedom always starts by one person or a group of people voicing out their opinions about oppression. For instance, the fight for our independence started by a group of committed Nigerians speaking out, demanding freedom. Obama is a black American President today because people such as Dr. Martins Luther King Jnr. spoke. In his second-term inaugural speech, Barrack Obama said: ‘For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth’. The coming revolution will not be an exception. We the youths must begin to speak out about the state of the nation. We must demand a change from the norms in Nigerian politics. We must secure our freedom from the cabals and the cartels, who have turned Nigeria’s treasuries into their private kitties. We must demand our leadership roles in Nigeria polity. The future belongs to the youths. We must make our voices known and make choices count during the coming election. The earlier we started the better.

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

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ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125)

We must stay united Another important thing we need is brotherliness. Whether you are from the North or from the South or from the East or from the West, we must see ourselves as one. Do not see an Hausa or Yoruba or Ibo or others as a threat to your life and ambition. We must forget about the past and forge ahead in unity towards a new Nigeria where everybody will be treated with equity and justice. We must not allow these selfish politicians to divide and rule us by religious, ethnic or cultural differences. Most importantly, we must not allow anybody to sell his or her ageless hatred and frustration to us. We must think differently. We must be God-fearing Most of the time when people misbehave, they leave God out of the equation. Check very well, when people embezzle, steal, cheat or even kill, the creator is not in the equation because he will tell you not to steal, cheat or kill. But science and modern thinking believe that you can play God in your own life. We should allow the creator to play a role in our individual and national life. It is only then that we can make a sustainable progress. The fear of God, they say, is the beginning of wisdom. We should follow Godly principles that we make us disciplined and good people. To become effective leaders, we must be disciplined and principled. From world history, freedom has never been given to any set of people they fought for it. Leadership roles have never been given out free. They were demanded. Nigerian youths with new and progressive orientation and as vanguards must fight for the next election because it will not come on a platter of gold. This fight is not with guns, cutlasses, or bombs but with our active participation in the election and in politics in totality. We must be bold and courageous. Every Nigerian youth must see himself or herself as a revolutionary. We must believe this cause and be confident. It is only then we can see it happen. If American youths rose and demanded a change in 2008 and got it and even now for the second time yes, we too can. Political revolution in 2015, yes, it is inevitable! • Timothy Ajiteru is a registered nurse residing in Lagos.


Fri 22 Mar 2013 The Guardian Nigeria