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Jonathan To 12 Northern Governors: Shame On You From Ali Garba, Bauchi ArELy two weeks after 12 B Northern governors, who visited the White House in the US, accused him of escalating the Boko Haram crisis ahead of 2015 presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, reacted with a counter allegation, saying the governors have failed in school enrolment and other parameters of governance. Blaming them for the security challenges that have bedeviled the Northeast region

• Accuses Them Of Non-performance, Bad Leadership • Says Govs Failed On School Enrolment Despite FG’s Support • ‘Manage Your Insecurity; I Handled Mine As Governor In Bayelsa’ since 2010, the President, who was in Bauchi for his People Democratic Party’s (PDP) North East Zonal unity rally at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, said the governors have performed poorly and failed to send their “children to school.” The President pointed to non-performance in viable

projects that would have improved the income of the common man. “I feel disappointed when a governor that spent eight years in office and the children in the state could not attend primary and secondary schools comes out publicly to blame the Federal Government on insurgency,”

Jonathan said. “It is the duty of the Federal Government,” he said, “to provide all states with tertiary education, which we have done in the last four years by establishing additional 12 Federal Universities in Nigeria (10 of them are in the North, and nine in the North East). We made sure that all states in

Nigeria have University; so, who is the bad leader?” He continued: “We are facing some issues today because of bad leadership, (because) this insecurity challenge is caused by lack of education of those children that do not go to primary and secondary schools and they are recruited by criminals, who use them to cause trouble. According to the president, rather than accuse the Federal Government, state governors should be ashamed for not supporting their  children in

primary and secondary education, a situation that fuels illiteracy and the attendant carrying of arms. “We had insecurity  challenges in Bayelsa when I was deputy governor and governor but we handled it;  it is not the duty of the Federal Government to send children to primary and secondary schools; but it is the conCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

NEWS 2

Jonathan Blames Africa’s Woes On Powerful Nations

Cassava...

Ajimobi Opens Up On Ibadan Forest Of Death

Against All Odds

• Vows To Expose Killers From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan PECIAL Adviser to Oyo State SSegun Governor on Security, Mr. Abolarinwa, yesterday appealed to residents to patiently await the outcome of police investigations into the recently discovered kidnappers’ den at Soka in Oluyole Local Government Area of Ibadan. He also said the outcome of forensic investigations currently being conducted by security agencies as well as examination by experts to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killings would soon be made public. Abolarinwa, who spoke on a radio programme in the state capital, said it would not be proper to preempt the outcome of investigations before it is concluded by security agencies. The Special Adviser, who described the incident as highly unfortunate and

Cassava flour mill at Oko Fufu Ifo Ogun State.

PHOTO AYODELE ADENIRAN

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


2 | NEWS Sunday, March 30, 2014

THE GUARdIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

NEWS

Jonathan Blames Africa’s Woes On Powerful Nations From Mathias Okwe (Abuja) and Kamal Tayo-Orokpo (Lagos) RESIdENT Goodluck P Jonathan yesterday blamed powerful and rich nations for the development challenges in developing nations, including Nigeria, saying these countries are behind the crises that have besotted Africa, holding her from progressing like her developed world counterparts. He made the allegation while declaring open the Seventh Joint Annual Meetings of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Economy and Finance in Abuja. The Conference, which began in Abuja since last Monday is discussing “Industrialization for Inclusive and Transformative development.” Jonathan regretted that growth efforts by African countries are being hampered by crises ostensibly orchestrated by the powerful nations to perpetually keep Africa in limbo.

He then charged leaders of the continent to close ranks and rise above the divisive tendencies of the detractors so as to pave way for the reign of prosperity for the children of the continent. Saying “we must continue to deepen our regional integration efforts and also to work towards a continental free trade area, Jonathan said: “The question we all should collectively find answers to is why is it that our economic growth is not being translated into job creation in the continent? “Is it because we are yet to shift away from our economy based on primary commodities; is it because of lack of energy; is it because of corruption in government and in the private sector? Is it the key infrastructural issues? Is it because our governments are very unstable? Is it because of security issues? “And whenever I mention security, I always remember that sometimes when you look at the characters that carry the weapons in the turbulent areas, including the northern part of my country, you see a young person carrying a rifle-AK 47 that is approximately more than $1,000 but the total things the person wears on his body from the canvass to whatever he puts on is not up to $50. “So, where is the money that they are using to buy these expensive guns com-

ing from? And very poor wretched boys carry these weapons to kill, destabilise the society; increase our problems in terms of eco-

nomic development. Are there some external forces that don’t want Africa to grow that are providing these weapons? “So you should, therefore, all

work together as a team, exchanging ideas, share knowledge and learning from each other’s experience. I charge you in particu-

lar to work together for regional infrastructure projects to implement our plans for industrialization and trade integration.”

EKITI GUBER: Confusion Over Emergence Of Consensus Candidate From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) N ominous signal A emerged at the weekend that the crisis within the ranks of the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples democratic Party (PdP) is far from over, as the aggrieved 13 governorship aspirants at Abuja, picked Senator Gbenga Aluko as consensus candidate. This is coming few days after the National Working Committee (NWC), presided over by the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, approved the election of former governor of the state, Ayo Fayose, as flagbearer of the party in the June 21 Governorship election.

Fayose has also been given certificate of return on Friday by the NWC. Aluko, in a telephone chat with news men in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, said the pro-consensus aspirants met at Samora Machel  House, Asokoro in Federal Capital Territory   and adopted him as the consensus candidate in line with the directive of PresidentGoodluck  Jonathan. He said the aspirants   unanimously  agreed among  themselves after  due consideration and had presented him to the party’s leaders for approval. Other aspirants   reportedly present at the meeting are: former  Minister of police affairs, Navy Capt Caleb Olubolade, Prince dayo Adeyeye, Wale

Aribisala, Ropo Ogunbolude, Modupe Ogundipe, dr Kadijat Adubiaro, Peter Obafemi, deji Ajayi, dare Bejide and Bodunde Adeyanju. But he said one of the aspirants, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni, who was  a former deputy  Governor to Fayose, was not at the meeting. Senator Aluko, said  the Chairman of the party, Mr Makanjuola Ogundipe, who was absent at the last Saturday’s primaries, presided  over the consensus meeting. Aluko said Ogundipe had forwarded a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan on the recent development in

the party. But Adeyeye, in a statement yesterday, denied that a  consensus candidate has been picked among the 13 aggrieved aspirants  in the party. The director General of Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM), Hon Bisi  Kolawole, said “the 12 aspirants  that met in Abuja yesterday did not unanimously agree on anyone as a consensus candidate.” Kolawole, who said agreement on consensus candidate must be unanimous,  added that only five out of the 12 aspirants supported one of the  aspirants.

Ibadan Forest Of death: Ajimobi Vows To Expose Killers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 disheartening, absolved the state government of complicity in the plight of the captives and killings at the den, saying no government would sit and watch its citizens being taken captive or killed. He recalled that the site was acquired in 1988 by a firm, Habiton, which later leased it to a construction company, Aprofill, adding that Aprofill abandoned the site when the contract it was executing then was terminated. On why the site had not been taken back by the state government since it was

abandoned, he said that Habiton had taken Aprofill and government to court and that the case was yet to be determined, thus preventing government from tampering with the large expanse of land, which he put at 11,000 square metres. He stated that it was part of the government’s urban renewal programme to remove destitute from the streets, adding that it was true that government contracted consultants to remove destitute from the streets with an understanding that they would be rehabilitated and reunited with their respective families, while those

from other parts of the country would be taken to their states of origin. Abolarinwa said the issue of hiring consultants for such assignments did not just start with the Ajimobi administration, stressing that such arrangements had been on for many years and that the particular consultant hired for the assignment had worked with past administrations. He, however, said that the police and other forensic experts handling the matter should be allowed to conclude their investigations to determine whether the con-

sultant hired by government was involved in taking destitute to the site, though without the knowledge and approval of government. The Special Adviser said that even Governor Ajimobi was surprised to have discovered such a thick forest in the heart of Ibadan city, remaining fallow for years. This, he said, spurred the governor into revoking the certificate of occupancy of the land and ordering immediate demolition of structures and clearing of the bush. details On Special Report, Page 25

‘Manage Your Insecurity; I Handled Mine As Governor In Bayelsa’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 stitutional right of the Federal Government to make sure children attend tertiary institutions, which we have done. “How did we build up these unemployed youths? The Federal Government does not control primary or secondary schools; so, who is the bad leader in Nigeria? “Governors must make sure our children go to schools, somebody stays eight years in leadership and opens his mouth and say bad leadership. Is it the Federal Government that will make your children go to primary schools? State governors that  do not send  their children to schools (and they carry arms) should be ashamed to say ‘bad leadership.’ We are into this madness because people refused to do their work and people carry arms and engage in insurgency.” Expressing condolences to families that lost loved ones to the insurgency, Jonathan gave the assurance that the insecurity challenge in the North East would soon be over, saying  “we must  bring this problem to the level that Nigerians will move freely.”

“Whether it is Boko Haram in the North, militants in South South or armed robbery in South West, we must get to where we are going, we must, as a government, bring this to an end.” Jonathan said that PdP will retain all its states in 2015, adding that “nobody will take away our states from us; we must reclaim Adamawa State, while Borno and Yobe state will come to us in 2015”. National Chairman of PdP, Alahji Ahmed Adamu Muazu, described the PdP as the largest and most transparent party in the country. He said the party would continue to reconcile members in all states to ensure fairness, commitment and success of the party in 2015. Mu’azu appealed to all members vying for elective offices to go back to their wards, villages and states and convince their people to support them and their party. “This party has opportunity for everyone, and you don’t need Godfather; all you need is Almighty God, the God of Adam and Eve. “Our party remains the best in all states, because in terms of delivering job to the common man, PdP is still the best. Speaking on the intervention of President Jonathan in the

North East zone, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said, out of 13 the federal universities established in the last four years, 10 are located in the zone. He also disclosed that the Federal Government established 125 Almajiri schools in the North East zone, which, according to him, have been furnished and handed over to state governors for management to enable Almajiri children have access to modern education. Chairman of the PdP Governors Forum,  Godswill Akpabio, called on insurgents in the North, especially the North East zone,  to support President Jonathan’ s administration by laying down their arms and allow peace reign in the country. He also called on elders and leaders in the North to talk to their youths in order to bring the insecurity challenge to an end. “We are a peace-loving country, this is not our behavior in this country, because we are God fearing people. So, we must live in peace with one another irrespective of our culture and religious differences. We can not enjoy Nigeria without peaceful coexistence,” Akpabio said. He expressed the determi-

nation of the PdP to reclaim all opposition states in the North East come 2015. “We must reclaim all these states to ensure peace in this country, because the insecurity we are experiencing comes from the states controlled by opposition parties. He assured President Jonathan of their support in 2015, saying, “ Mr. President, our people must decide in 2015. We must support you and go with you because you are a trustful and peaceful man”. In his address, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State described PdP as a peaceful and united family. He commended President Jonathan for his transformation agenda in the North East zone, saying “Mr. President, you have done your best to ensure we have our own fair share of the transformation agenda.” Yuguda, therefore, solicited Federal Government’s support in completing the Kafin Zaki dam, which, according to him, will provide over two million jobs to the teeming youths in the region. “Peace will be guaranteed immediately this dam is completed, because everybody in the region will have job”.


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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

NEWS World Bank Votes N1.9b For Erosion Control From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HE World Bank through T the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management

Justice Uthman Mohammed (rtd); Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola and his wife Abimbola; National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his wife, Oluremi; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulure; Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande; Wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunsho Amosun, during cutting of the cake to mark the 62nd birthday ceremony of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at his residence in Ikoyi, Lagos… yesterday.

No Ebola Virus Outbreak In Nigeria, Says Health Minister From Chukwuma Muanya (Lagos) and Emeka Anuforo (Abuja) HE federal government yesterday dispelled fear about the Ebola virus, saying there is no outbreak of the infection in Nigeria. The virus is known to cause Ebola virus disease (EVD) in humans, with a case fatality rate of up to 90 per cent. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. “In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chim-

T

panzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelopes and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.” Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said in Abuja yesterday that speculations on purported outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Nigeria and the alleged death of one affected person in Nasarawa State is unt r u e . “The report is not true and should be discountenanced. The said case is yet to be diagnosed and confirmed as Ebola virus disease,” Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Minister of Health, Dan Nwomeh, said in a statement in Abuja.

He stressed: “The general public should please note that the authority to confirm the outbreak of disease epidemics rests with the minister of health. Also, the institution of government that is mandated to investigate the outbreak of diseases and advise the minister is the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). “From the information available to the NCDC and the minister at the moment, there is no outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Nigeria. The Ebola virus is not the only cause of hemorrhagic fever. All suspected cases of Viral Haemorrhagic Fever are subjected to laboratory analyses and confir-

m a t i o n . ” The federal ministry of health had earlier issued a health alert, asking members of the public to take steps to avoid being infected by the deadly virus currently ravaging neighbouring Sudan, Guinea and C o n g o . Although the ministry affirmed that it has sufficient expertise to track spread of the viral disease, it however warned members of the public to avoid destinations where the diseases are prone. A statement from the federal ministry of health, signed March 27, 2014 by Nwomeh, said that all health institutions in the country have been put

on red alert over a possible outbreak of the deadly airborne disease. “The federal ministry of health urges the general public to take measures to avert the outbreak or spread of the disease. Persons with high fever, headache, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and bleeding and especially with a history of travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia are urged to report to the health authorities. Though the health institutions have been put on red alert for Ebola here in Nigeria, the WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions to Guinea in respect of this outbreak.

National Conference A Wasteful Venture – Kwankwaso From Saxone Akhaine (Northern Bureau Chief) RITICISING the ongoing C national dialogue, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State has described the forum as a theater were only stories and folklores would be told to the detriment of the nation. Besides, he said it is irrational for the federal government to spend N7 billion on a wasteful venture as the conference, while only a paltry N2 billion was given northeastern states grappling with terrorism and insurgency. Kwankwaso spoke in an interview with the BBC Hausa service monitored in Kaduna at the weekend.

He pointed out that the Jonathan-led government is short of ideas on how to further unite the nation and make Nigeria’s democracy a success story. He also pointed out that it is the reason he (Jonathan) hurriedly came up with the idea of a national conference where old wounds would be reopened with a clear intent to cause confusion in the polity. According to the governor, who has since left the PDP and joined the APC, he only allowed delegates from his state of Kano to attend the confab so that they too would, be part of the audience in a Broadwaylike theater. Kwankwaso further explained that the gathering was unfortunate and ill timed, because

“you see an Igbo insulting a Hausa, Yoruba insulting Fulani, a Christian talking against a Muslim and vice

versa”. He insisted that that the rationale behind convoking such a gathering clearly

AGOS State is expected to Lrainfall witness 263 days of heavy with severe thunderstorms and strong winds this year. Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, who disclosed this yesterday at the 2014 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction for Lagos State, said the total length of rainy season for 2014 in Lagos has been predicted to be 263 days with a

marginal error of nine days. He said: “The Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) rainfall onset date for this year began in the first week of March in the southernmost part of the country and late June in the far northern parts. However, rainfall onset in Lagos State commenced March 14, 2014 in Ikeja. A three-day marginal error was given. “In addition, from the magnitude of the seasonal prediction for this year 2014, Lagos State

shows that the Jonathan-led government has lost focus and does not know what next to do.

will experience normal rainfall with minimal intensity compared to the recorded event of last year. Lagos is expected to record 1,960mm as total annual amount of rainfall. “The strong winds, lighting and thunderstorms which are regular phenomena during the onset and cessation of rainfall were also predicted to occur in stronger magnitude during this year’s raining period.”

NIPSS, IPAC To Train Political Party Leadership From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja HE Nigerian Institute for T Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) together with the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria are organising training for leadership of registered political parties, to ensure a hitch-free general election in 2015. Director, Research, NIPSS, Professor Olu Obafemi, who

disclosed this yesterday at a joint press briefing with IPAC, said it is paramount that every registered political party take part in the programme as it will address challenges of internal democracy, voter mobilisation, as well as the problem of running parties effectively and credibly to the convenience and admiration of electorates. National chairman, IPAC, Dr. YunusaTanko, as well as the

secretary and national chairman, Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), Mr. Peter Ameh, on behalf of the group, used the occasion to disassociate themselves from recent call by IPAC, Anambra State chapter to deregister the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. They urged the APC leadership and the general public to disregard the statement. “The statement is unwar-

ranted, undemocratic and capable of sending wrong signals. We implore APC, a bonafide member of IPAC, to disregard that unguided statement as it does not represent our decision.” Obafemi said the intervention has become necessary, as no serious democratic culture can be cultivated without strong political parties. The training scheduled to

Ibadan Grammar School Honours Adenuga IGERIA’S foremost busiN ness mogul, Dr Mike Adenuga Jr., has been honoured by his alma mater, Ibadan Grammar School. Adenuga who is the chairman of national telecoms operator, Globacom, was honoured with the Distinguished Old Students Award of the school, alongside the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, at an award ceremony held last Thursday.

Nigeria Will Not Meet MDGs By 2015 – UN By Paul Adunwoke

Lagos To Experience 263 Days Of Heavy Rainfall, Storm In 2014 By Tunde Alao

Project (NEWMAP) will spend N1.9 billion to control three gully erosion sites in Imo State. The project will commence in three sites: Umueshi in Ideator South; Umuezeala Obizi, Ezinihitte; and Umuizu Iheoma, Orlu. World Bank’s international consultants had approved three sites at the engineering design stage of the erosion control project. The bank had released $658.59 million as facility, while International Development Agency and Special Climate Change grants amounted to $4.63 million; Global Environment Fund’s grant of $2.96 million is also involved, whereas a $150 million contribution from participating states is required. The project will last eight

take off April 15 will last for one year after which it would be renewed. Beginning with party chairmen across parties, the training is opened to party secretaries and treasurers first, before taking all cadres of leadership of political leadership including the technocrats, youth, women and physically challenged people who nurse political ambition.

EAR 2015 is around the corY ner and it’s clear that Nigeria and many other countries will not meet the targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, says United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Mr. Daouda Toure. He spoke at the 36th Annual Lions Club Day with the United Nations, Multiple District 404 Nigeria, held in Lagos at Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).

Institute To Tackle Joblessness From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt NSTITUTE of Directors NigeItowards ria (IOD) says it is working curbing growing joblessness in the country. Worried by the recent Nigeria Immigration Service job test that claimed the lives of applicants across the country, the organisation disclosed that it is re-strategising with its members to make their businesses better thereby creating rooms for more people to be employed. President of the Institute, Mrs. Eniola Fadayomi, stated this while inaugurating the Port Harcourt branch of IOD in Rivers State during the week.


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Sunday, March 30, 2014

NEWS

Police Arrest Suspected Assassin From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) SUSPECTED assassin, KolaA wole Onibile, allegedly hired to kill the chairman of the Ekiti State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Olubunmi Ajimoko, has been arrested by the police. Parading the suspect at the police headquarters in Ado Ekiti on  Friday, the police

commissioner, Felix Uyanna, said the suspect called Ajimoko and told him that he had been contracted to assassinate him, but had had a rethink because of the  victim’s past benevolence to him. The police commissioner, however,  revealed that the culprit, who called the victim with a hidden telephone number, insisted he  could only spare Ajimoko upon

payment of a sum of N150,000. The police commissioner added that Onibile lied to Ajimoko that the amount he sought was the same those that contracted him had intended to pay. He said: “The preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect has several bank accounts opened with different names. He also has lots of identity cards with differ-

ent names but same picture. The suspect confessed the crime, but claimed that he was not sent by anyone and never meant to kill the victim. “He said he devised the means to threaten the victim and obtain money from him after he ran into financial difficulties and knowing well that Ajimoko could afford the stated amount.” The police boss said the cul-

prit was arrested while withdrawing the money the victim had paid into his account at a first generation bank in Ado Ekiti. Uyanna said the suspect had withdrawn a sum of N145,000 out  of the money before he was nabbed . But fielding questions from reporters, Onibile said he spent the money to pay  his children’s school fees and fix the ceiling of his apartment.

Embassy Celebrates 100 Years Of Bollywood In Abuja From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE High Commission of T India will from tomorrow begin the celebration of 100 years of Bollywood. The event, which is billed to kick off with the first Indian film festival in Abuja, will take place at the Silverbird galleria. The festival will also witness the screening of several top Bollywood films such as Gandhi, Lagaan and Pardes and Tare Zameen Par and others.

Digital Africa To Engage Policymakers On Technology OLICYMAKERS from execuP tive, legislative and regulatory arms of government in Nigeria, and global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) thought leaders will deliberate on transiting Nigeria and Africa from a passive consumer to a dominant innovator and producer of technology at the 2014 Digital Africa conference and exhibition, slated for May 20-22, 2014 in Lagos.

Traders’ Body Inaugurate Imo Chapter Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola (middle); Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Osun State University, Osogbo, Professor Gabriel Adesiyan Olawoyin (right) and former Vice Chancellor, Professor, Adebisi Balogun (left) during the 3rd Convocation for the Conferment of First Degrees and Award of Prizes at Osun State University, Osogbo… yesterday.

Illicit Financial Flow: FG Asked To Review Tax Incentives From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE government of Nigeria T has been advised to review the process of granting tax incentives to foreign investors as a means of curbing illicit financial flow, which has the potential of impoverishing the nation. A director at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. A.O Amoman, gave this insight in Abuja during the just concluded two-day roundtable on Illicit Financial Flows in Africa. The conference, which hosted other countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone among others, was a collaboration of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Trust Africa and Third World Network Africa. Amoman noted in his presentation that illicit financial flow is currently impoverishing Africa where commercial

tax evasion likely constitutes more than 65 per cent of total national resources. This, he said, is because African economies are based on primary products such as precious stones, metals, hydrocarbons and forests, which are exported out of Africa with almost zero value a d d e d . This, and the fact that Africa is dependent on imports most of which come in finished and semi-finished goods, according to the tax chief, provide ample opportunity for commercial tax evasion and trade over-pricing, a key component of illicit financial flows in A f r i c a . “It is my view that taxation could play a very critical role in mending the leakages. In this respect, a review of the grant of tax incentives is of paramount importance,” he said. While not wanting to pass a wrong message about tax in-

centives, Amoman said no nation can do without them because they are used to attract, retain and increase investment in particular sectors, to stimulate growth in specific areas and assist companies or individuals carrying

on identified activities. He added, however, that foreign investors enjoying tax incentives are expected to plough them back into the Nigerian economy. “Foreign investors are development partners in any economy. The

relationship should be reciprocal and not exploitative. The Nigerian government guarantees security of investments. Therefore, investors should discharge their obligations that is, tax and corporate social responsibility”, he said.

Obi Celebrates Ojukwu, Mourns Death Of Former NUJ Boss HE former governor of T Anambra State, Peter Obi, has described as “glorious” the posthumous honorary Doctorate of Law degree conferred on late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu yesterday by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Obi, at the convocation arena, said Ojukwu, dead or alive,  was eminently qualified for any award because, according to him, “Ojukwu  stood for the dignity of his people till death.”

He said: “Considering what Dim was to his people, they  loved him profoundly. In death, they still love him beyond compare.” Obi described the degree as another gesture of love for what Ojukwu was and for sacrifices he  offered for his people.” The former governor  also used the opportunity to mourn the death of former chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State chapter, Mrs.

Toochukwu Udoji Omelu, describing it as sad, pathetic and a great loss to the journalism profession. Obi who recalled that Udoji was chairman when he was governor, described her as resourceful, hard working and always thirsty for success. He said that her death was like a thunderbolt to him, and consoled her immediate family and all those affected by her death. He also prayed God to grant her eternal rest.

UN Anti-torture Body Visits Nigeria By Kamal Tayo Oropo EGINNING Tuesday, April B 1 till Thursday, April 3, the UN Sub-committee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will be in the country for talks on strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees. SPT chairperson Malcolm Evans and fellow committee member, Victor Madrigal-

Borloz, are scheduled to meet government officials and hold technical discussions with relevant ministries, as well as civil society organisations. Their talks in Abuja will focus on advising and assisting authorities on measures to take in order to comply with obligations of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), which Nigeria ratified in 2009. They will also hold discus-

sions on the role, achievements and challenges of Nigeria’s independent National Preventive Mechanism – a body which OPCAT requires be established, and which must have authority and capacity to visit any place where persons are deprived of their liberty in order to help prevent torture or ill-treatment. Although Nigeria has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1993, the Conven-

tion Against Torture (CAT) in 2001 and the OPCAT in 2009, these have not been integrated into domestic laws. Nigeria is also yet to recognise the competence of the Committee Against Torture to receive communications from individuals under article 22 of CAT. However, the country has established a National Committee on Torture as its National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) for the prevention of torture at the domestic level in accor-

dance with the obligations of OPCAT. The committee is charged with the duty to receive and consider complaints on torture; conduct visits to places of detention and examine allegations of torture, prevent torture by reviewing the treatment of persons in detention and put in place, a national anti-torture policy. Nigeria is also a party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR).

From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri RADERS under the aegis T the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) on Thursday formally inaugurated the Imo State chapter of the association. The event, which witnessed a large turnout of traders, was held under the chairmanship of Chukwuemeka Durumba, an engineer, at Mayfair Hotel and Suites, Egbu Road, Owerri. Dan Ikpeazu, representing Owerri North in the Imo State House of Assembly, expressed joy that at last a body embracing all traders in the country has its branch in Imo State, appealing to the traders to eschew bitterness and rancour.

Alafin, 10 Oyo Traditional Rulers For UK Awards O fewer than 10 tradiN tional rulers in Oyo State will accompany the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III to the United Kingdom to receive an award to be presented to him by the Oyo State Council (OSC) next month. The award, according to the letter signed by Femi Durudola, the Secretary, Coordinating Committee and which was made available to journalists in Ibadan is in recognition of Alaafin’s contribution to the socio-economic and political development of the entire Yoruba Nation, Nigeria and indeed African continent.


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NEWS Gunmen Kill Four, Injure Seven In Fresh Borno Attacks From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri IOLENCE has erupted again in Borno State, as 30 gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists on motorcycles attacked Azir village in Damboa council area of the State, killing four residents and injuring seven others in the early hours of Saturday. The gunmen also torched several houses and shops with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs, before fleeing into the Sambisa Forest, east of the village. Isa Yakubu, a resident of Damboa in a telephone interview, said, Boko Haram sect issued a threat letter to the village head early this month that the people should vacate their village,

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as the Islamist sect group will execute the work of Allah (God) in the night of an undisclosed date. “Two weeks after the threat letter, we were shocked and terrified by 30 gunmen on motorcycles; and surrounded the entire village, shooting sporadically at people fleeing, before setting most of the houses and huts ablaze. Some of the villagers had to flee into nearby farmlands for safety, while others climbed trees to hide, as the village was burning with plumes of smoke for two hours last night,” said Yakubu, while explaining how some villagers escaped from being killed. On casualties of attack, he said: “I cannot tell you the

NATIONAL exact number of people killed, but definitely four of our people were shot dead, before their children and wives, while fleeing for safety that night along with other villagers to the bush and farmlands. Also seven villagers had broken limbs and fire burns; and they had been taken to an undisclosed hospital in Maiduguri for treatments.” He added that the villagers were left without security from either the military or police from Maiduguri, stating that before Saturday’s attack, the soldiers and policemen patrolling Maiduguri-Biu road were withdrawn early this month.

This, he explained, enabled the gunmen to cash in on non-protection of the village against insurgency attacks and killings of yesterday. The Borno police commis-

sioner, Tanko Lawal confirmed the incident yesterday in Maiduguri, stating that four people were feared killed by suspected armed hoodlums at one of the vil-

lages in Damboa council area of the state. He said that no arrests had been made yet by either the police or military.

PDP Approves Consensus Candidate, Zoning System From Gordi Udeajah - Umuahia HE People’s Democratic T Party (PDP) has approved the use of consensus and zoning in selecting candidates for election. This according to the publicity secretary of the party in the South East Zone,  Mr. Ali Odefa, is to reduce tension, rancour, disputes and litigation, Odefa made this known while fielding questions from journalists in

ABIA Umuahia, Abia State at the weekend during which he warned elective office aspirants in the 2015 election to desist from claims that they have been endorsed by top office holders including the State Governor. He asserted that there will be no imposition of or automatic candidates  for the next election, stressing that due process will be followed to the letter.  According to him, where a constituency or the state endorses a candidate by consensus in accordance with their adopted zoning, PDP would counter endorse such

candidates. He voiced his anger against the position of governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state whom he said had by joining the All Progressives Congress (APC), and distancing from  the other South East governors has become anti Igbo, adding that his change would not make PDP loose any sleep. The PDP South East Spokesman of Ebonyi State, who attributed the PDP loss of Imo State to APGA in 2011 to the misunderstanding within the party, stated that the issue had long been resolved while all  the aggrieved parties  have returned to PDP.

How To Boost Reading Culture Among Students, Okonkwo OUNDER of the Redeemed FBishop Mike Evangelical Mission, Okonkwo, has un-

Chairman, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd) (left); Commander, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield, Major-General Emmanuel Atewe; and D-G, NOSDRA, Dr. Peter Idabor, during a courtesy call on the commander in his office by the board of NOSDRA in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State… at the weekend.

Abia Policemen Abduct The Sun Editor From Lagos and eight men, who said collected my husband’s lapOLICEMEN from the Abia LAGOS they were policemen. They top and telephone. P State Command, yester“I followed as they took him day, stormed the Surulere, state, where he would be said he needed to follow Lagos residence of Mr. Ebere Wabara, the Sun Associate Editor and Special Assistant, Media to Dr. Uzor Orji Kalu, and whisked him away. The incident happened between 6.30 and 7a.m in the presence of Wabara’s wife and under-aged children. The officers from the State CID, Umuahia, had identified themselves to Wabara, and told him that some unnamed person had written a petition against him in Abia State. He was, therefore, asked to follow them to the

charged with sedition. First, Wabara was taken to Sholoki Police Station in Aguda, Surulere, and later to Oyingbo police station, also in Lagos. Speaking on how the abduction drama unfolded, Adanna Wabara, a mother of two kids aged eight and six years, respectively, said between 6.30 and 7.00a.m, her husband had gone downstairs to take something from his car. “Shortly after, I heard him shouting, and I ran downstairs. I saw between seven

Akinjide Blames Nation’s Woes On Failure Of Leadership

From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja INISTER of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide, has blamed the problems being experienced in the country on failure of leadership. Speaking at the inauguration of the new executives of the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) yesterday in Abuja, the minister said that Nigeria today is in a crisis of

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ABUJA leadership and called for moral rebirth. She said: “Today, we have a divorce of precept from action, and that is lack of integrity. We need moral spirituality. People who believe they are grounded in whatever faith they practice should step up to the positions of leadership and demonstrate those precepts of love, peace and integrity.”

them to Umuahia, that there was a petition against him for sedition. “They took us back into the house, one of them brought out an I.D Card, showing that he was a policeman. They requested to search our bedroom. They did, and

to Sholoki Police Station, but later, I had to take the children to school. By the time I returned, they had moved him away.  His phones could not be reached, and he had not eaten.  Now, we are deeply traumatized, the entire family.”

NOSDRA Boss Commends JTF Over Arrest Of Oil Thieves HE chairman of the NaT tional Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd), has commended the commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Pulo Shield, Major-General Emmanuel Atewe, over the latest arrest of oil thieves, including two Britons at the weekend. The JTF commander had paraded the oil thieves in Yenagoa with claims of economic sabotage by the syndicate who were said to have offered a N20 million bribe to siphon oil from Shell pipeline at Chanomi in Delta State before they were arrested. Lancelot said that the success of the JTF in ridding the Niger Delta of oil theft and illegal bunkering was important if

NOSDRA must deliver on the task of sanitising and saving the environment because there was a relationship between the activities of oil theft and oil spillage. “The problem of crude oil theft, illegal bunkering is one that has been a major worry for everyone. We are excited as an agency that those ills, those vices, those criminal activities are being eliminated. Our worry at NOSDRA is about oil spill and a major source of that problem is that of oil thieves because more often than not, these saboteurs do not have the expertise to deal with the infrastructure that they attack in the attempt to feed their greed and thereby damaging our ecology through oil spills.

derscored the need for stakeholders to evolve strategies for improving reading and writing culture among secondary school students. Speaking at a briefing in Lagos recently, as part of activities to mark the commencement of the Bishop Okonkwo National Essay competition, which opened on March 2 and would close on May 2, Okonkwo said the competition has so far been sustained “because of the desire to support the younger generation in the pursuit of academic excellence, by encouraging them to cultivate effective reading and writing habits.” According to him, the quality of education offered in Nigeria could only bring about empowerment, when Nigerian youths could compete favourably with their counterparts in developed nations. He affirmed that youths in Nigeria have the potential to excel if given the opportunity. On the vision behind the essay competition, now in its th 11 edition, Okonkwo explained that one of the major challenges facing the country is unemployment. To reverse the trend, he suggested that government and other stakeholders should invest in vocational education and youth empowerment. When people begin to see that education is not just about acquiring certificates, he affirmed, their mindset about vocational education will change. He announced that plans were underway, through the Mike Okonkwo Educational Youth Initiative, to establish a vocational centre, where youths could be trained in various trades, including welding, fashion designing, computer studies and masonry. He said: “We have acquired land at Aba, in Abia State and we have put up some structures there. As soon as we finish, we would start imparting

NATIONAL skills. Most of our youths who claim to be artisans are not well trained and that is why some multinational and construction companies do not employ them. Our people are too much in a hurry, as everybody wants to become a millionaire overnight, so they do shoddy jobs.” Expressing worry over the standard of education, Okonkwo described the failure rate in national examinations as “very ridiculous.” Some university lecturers, he lamented, were not helping matters by seeking sexual and financial gratification in exchange for marks, “owing to the prevalent harsh economic situation.” He implored governments at all levels to collaborate more with the various ministries of education to boost the sector, advising that the only way to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor “is through investment in quality education.” On the significance of the competition, he said: “Apart from serving as a tool to encourage reading and writing, the competition has also given the pupils the opportunity to make contributions on issues significant to the socio-economic development of our nation.” For this year’s contest, the cleric stated that pupils would write on the theme of insecurity in the country. He added that the contest would soon be extended to English-speaking nations in the West African sub-region, from where it would extend to other African nations. The competition, which started in 2004, as part of activities to celebrate Okonkwo’s birthday and contribute to the development of the education sector, has continued to produce winners in both public and private schools nationwide. Feedback from some of the students also confirmed the competition’s relevance.


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile Hotel Presidential, Enugu: When From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu LOFTY idea for the hospitality industry it was. The Hotel Presidential, conceived in the 60s by the defunct eastern regional administration of late Dr. Michael Okpara, was meant to raise revenue to boost the development of the region. It was to provide entertainment for fun lovers, create jobs and enhance tourism. Thus, two choice locations - Enugu and Port Harcourt were chosen to host the edifices. Over 40 years later, while the Hotel Presidential located in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, continues to flourish, living up to the dreams of its founders; its Enugu counterpart is in ruins and is now habitat to dangerous animals, birds and insects. Located in the heart of Enugu on the busy Presidential Road, Hotel Presidential used to be a centre of social engagements in the Coal City, providing entertainment for night crawlers. The design of the 100-room facility, reportedly drawn by an Israeli firm, was one of the edifices that made Enugu the ‘pride of the Igbo man’. Sitting close to the Michael Okpara Square and Enugu State Government House, the four-storey affair is on an expansive landmass that could be accessed from any part of the city. Each floor of the building has bed spaces while the ground floor holds the reception, shops for sundry items, as well as conference halls. The hotel was designed as a home away from home. It boasted: lawn tennis court, swimming pool with luxuriant flowers, and a spacious parking lot for cars. The hotel was always a choice venue for mega events. What used to be known as the hotel’s garden has, however, been enveloped by weeds, with the entire compound looking untidy. In fact, during the glorious days of the hotel, guests of the Enugu State government and its functionaries were usually lodged at the place for as long as they wished. A current commissioner in the administration of the state government spent over one year in the hotel when he relocated from Lagos in 2007 to undertake his present appointment. A visit on Tuesday to the premises, which was barricaded earlier, apparently to ward off intruders, revealed an investment in need of funds for resuscitation. Curiously, the ‘abandoned’ premises still house, at one section, the state’s ministry of culture and tourism – the supervisory ministry directly in charge of the hotel. The Guardian observed that the entry gate from Presidential Road has been sealed. The only entry is through the Rangers Avenue gate, which also provides access to staff of the ministry of culture and tourism. Two huge signposts with the bold inscription, ‘PrimeView Hotel Limited’, sit at the entrance, indicating that the company may have acquired the place for

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‘renovation and management.’ Roofing sheets, windows and other facilities at the hotel give way daily. In one part of the compound, occupied by a lunatic, pieces of disused clothes, empty cans of various drinks and several other items were prominent. Cow dung littered the compound, an indication that some herdsmen may have found the place suitable for grazing. It was gathered that staff stopped coming to work when situation at the hotel deteriorated so badly that many of them were owed salaries for up to 10 years. Some residents who have watched with dismay at the continued decline of the imposing edifice blamed the lack of a maintenance culture among governments of Enugu State. Mr. Jonas Onah, who told The Guardian that he held the reception party of his wedding at the hotel in 1993 said: “Posterity will not forgive our leaders if they allow the place to waste. This is because what we know today as Enugu has become a centre of all kinds of hotels; available records have also shown that the numerous hotels in Enugu are surviving and doing very well, irrespective of their location. “Why will the story of Hotel Presidential be different? Governor Sullivan Chime has done well on road infrastructure; he should as well see to the rehabilitation of this hotel in the interest of the state. The place remains the finest legacy bequeathed to Enugu by our forebears.” An ex-worker at the hotel, Ikenna Ugwu, said past and present governments of the state contributed to running down the hotel. “They held functions and brought in their guests at will without paying for the services. Some appointees of government in the present administration maintained permanent suits in the hotel, which they never paid for. Several bills incurred by government were never settled. At a point, it became obvious that management was no longer meeting with obligations. Then government appointed a board whose only concern was the fund generated and not how to invest the fund to improve the

fortunes of the hotel. You might be shocked to hear that even the businesses that run in the premises make payments to members of the board; payments which end up in private pockets. It is indeed a sad story because an edifice like that should not be run the way our politicians did,” he said. But Hotel Presidential is not the only government establishment in ruins in the state. Niger Gas, Niger Steel, Sunrise Flour Mills, as well as the recently established Shongai Farms in Adani and Heneke, among others, have become comatose and need financial push to revive them. The state commissioner for culture and tourism, Mr. Joe Mammel blamed poor management for the hotel’s decline, lamenting that government has never made a fortune out of the place in the last 25 years. “For more than 25 years of its existence, there has not been any profit accruing to government. It is a private limited liability company and bound by its own policy. Because of poor management, government decided that the best option is that government has no business being in business. We decided to go into partnership,” he explained. Mammel said that government had between 2012 until now entered into agreement with two tourism investment companies – Status Symbol Nigeria Limited and Exceptional Hospital Services. He regretted, however, that each of the agreements ran into problems. He stated that the concessional agreement government had with Status Symbol, which would have enabled the company to invest about $20m in the hotel, was terminated following discovery that the new managers were not willing to abide by the timeline for the development of the place. “Government’s interest was to give it out on long lease with government as shareholder. And this would be done on what we call a special vehicle (equity of the two individuals). When we know what the partner is putting in, in terms of value, we will then know about our own equity in terms of profit sharing. We didn’t get to that point because the issue of their capacity in

Roofing sheets, windows and other facilities at the hotel give way daily. In one part of the compound, occupied by a lunatic, pieces of disused clothes, empty cans of various drinks and several other items were prominent. Cow dung littered the compound, an indication that some herdsmen may have found the place suitable for grazing. It was gathered that staff stopped coming to work when situation at the hotel deteriorated so badly that many of them were owed salaries for up to 10 years. Some residents who have watched with dismay at the continued decline of the imposing edifice blamed the lack of a maintenance culture among governments of Enugu State.

ENUGU Going, Going... A section of Hotel Presidential, Enugu. (Inset: The hotel in the good old days)


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CITYFILE

Heritage Lies In Ruins… terms of development could not be realised over one year. Rather, the company came up and asked that the hotel be permanently shut down, which we did. It requested that no occupation go on within the premises. But they started selling the property of the hotel. We said the property is that of Enugu State government and evacuation should be done in accordance with the procurement act. We stopped them immediately,” he said. He added that Exceptional Hotel Limited indicated interest in 2013 to build, manage, operate and return the place to government. This required a transfer of lease to enable them invest about N4b into the place. He said the technicalities involved, including incorporating the hotel, had delayed take-off of work. He explained that the state government had worked hard to fulfill its part of the agreement. “The hotel, as you see it, cannot just work like that. It is more than 40 years old. And for you to maintain a standard, a lot of things have to be done. Government does not want to put in money, though putting in money will give us a lot of equity and right of management. But it is better that people who have the knowledge come in, see themselves as part owners and make the place work,” he said. Mammel noted that the first investors delayed the revitalisation plan of the state government, stressing that by now the hotel should have been on its way back to business. “This government came in after another government and met the hotel comatose. The managers were not even able to pay salaries to themselves; some people were owed 10 years’ salary. They should have been able to salaries, maintain the place and declare profit to the government. The people were just using the hotel to feed from hand to mouth. There was no business interest and government cannot just invest taxpayers’ money, else it becomes misused. So, what we are looking at is professionalism in the system, like what you have at the Nike Lake, which has blossomed. Let the professionals come and run the place, so that it

can live longer. But in doing this, we are trying to be careful, because we know that people don’t respect agreements and we want to ensure that whatever we do now will endure. That is why we are taking the time to ensure that we do our part to en-

able the hotel come on stream,” the commissioner said. Mammel said he is hopeful that the edifice would bounce back fully before the exit of the Chime administration. According to him, the government is passionate about the hotel.

Towards Making East-West Road A Reality From Willie Etim, Yenagoa HE proposed East-West Coastal Road with its iconic bridges is outstanding any day. And when the big wigs in the Niger Delta region gathered in Uyo for a retreat to set the agenda for the new board and management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the lofty dream of seeing a road running from Calabar to Lagos took centre-stage once again. Members of the executive management of the NDDC were unanimous in endorsing the coastal road project. They agreed that the project is key to opening up the Niger Delta region. The NDDC top shots said it would be a catalyst for the long awaited rapid development of the oil-rich region. “Posterity will not forgive us if we just want to dance in the comfort zone so that we don’t offend some people.” That was how the NDDC Managing Director, Bassey Dan-Abia, set the tone for the three-day retreat for members of the board and management of the commission held at the Ibom Le Meridien Hotel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The retreat, which held March 12-14 had the theme: “Re-focusing NDDC for better service delivery.” It was, more or less, a house cleaning exercise for the agency. In the words of the chairman of the NDDC board, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw: “I believe that it is now time to tell ourselves some home truths. It can no longer be business as usual. Substantial and immediate changes

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for the better must take place.” Indeed, it was three days of soul-searching and frank talks. All the skeletons lurking behind closets were exposed and the eerie cobwebs in the inner recesses were laid bare. At the end of the day, the board and management of the NDDC agreed to evolve robust and innovative strategies in the drive to deliver on the mandate of the commission. One of the keynote speakers delved into the core issue of a regional infrastructure that was bound to transform the Niger Delta. It was the lot of Mayne David-West, a design engineer, to give a presentation on the proposed East-West Coastal Road. He said that the road is pivotal to the rapid development of not just the Niger Delta but also the entire nation. He said that by strategic design, the road would be the Nigerian extension of the Trans-West African Coastal Highway segment linking DakarBanjul-Monrovia-Lome-Lagos. David-West, a lead consultant on the engineering design of the road, said the design has been completed and is waiting to be awarded. He suggested that the road should be undertaken through a multi-lateral funding arrangement. The design expert, who described himself as a “born again” Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) advocate, urged the federal government to seek for funding through the PPP and concessionary loans, since the capital resources needed for the actualisation of the road is huge.


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RIVERS A view of Braithwaite Memorial Hospital

Controversy Trails State’s Free Health Initiative From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt HE Rivers State Government won the 2014 Outstanding Government Healthcare Programme Excellence Award in recognition of its excellence in the field of healthcare. There is a question, however: can the achievement be sustained? Recently, doctors at Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, the only state tertiary healthcare centre, embarked on a strike over government’s failure to remit the cost of health services provided by the hospital. The state government had declared free for all medical services. According to the website of the Rivers State Ministry of Health, “The Free Medical Care Programme (FMCP) was established in May, 2000 to provide quality health care to the most vulnerable groups in society. It is a special form of health care financing designed to cushion the effects of the high cost of medical care on the citizenry. On assumption of office in October 2007, His Excellency Governor Rotimi Amaechi gave the go ahead for continuation of the programme, being aware of the benefits of the programme to the people. At that time, it was limited to children 6 years and below; and adults 60 years and above. Governor Amaechi has since then expanded the programme to include all ages, all residents, all medical services, and in all Rivers State owned hospitals and health centers.” Investigations, however, revealed that medical staff became handicapped when infrastructure were not refurbished and expended drugs and other supplies were not replenished. Reacting, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tamunoiyoriari Sampson Parker, said doctors in the hospital went on strike because of paucity of funds. He explained that the shortfall followed continued reduction in the state’s allocation from the federal account. He said: “We have been hearing a lot of things about the health sector in the state. It is true. We went through some trying periods in our health sector, recently, with the doctors going on a strike. The reason was that there were no funds. It is obvious that from time to time every system goes through such situations. “But what matters is how you come out of it. We have come out of it stronger with the prompt intervention of the state governor, Chibuike Amaechi. He has released N1b to fund the free medical care programme. So, as it is, we have injected some life back into the system. Presently, the doctors are back from the strike, and we will do everything possible to ensure normalcy in the sector.” However, one of the doctors who preferred anonymity said many of challenges in the hospital stem from the free medical programme. He frowned at what he described as government’s insincerity in implementing the programme, saying the state embarked on the initiative merely to score political goals. “There is nothing wrong with offering free medical services for citizens,” he said, “but one must be realistic. Most states restrict it to certain age categories, like children less than five years, the elderly above 65 years, and pregnant women. But in a situation where the state government offers it to all and sundry, it does not happen in any part of the world.” He went on: “In the developed countries, health is not free. Somebody pays for it and you have to qualify to receive it. Furthermore, the government did not count the cost, first, but wanted to score political goals. Could you imagine, people even come from neighbouring states to access this free medicare, because there was no restriction. It can’t work. “Government’s insincerity in remitting the cost of health serv-

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ices rendered by the hospital led to the collapse of the programme. The infrastructure is overstretched and there is no refurbishment. Drugs and other hospital consumables are exhausted and government is not replenishing anything. It’s just unfortunate. “The lack of electricity is expected because the hospital is totally broke. Before this time, management could use the little income from revolving funds to fuel the generators. But now that nobody is working, there is just no money! I heard that in some departments, the consultants and resident doctors were asked to contribute money to provide critical infrastructure, pending when funds would be available, and then they would be refunded, if possible.” A visit to the hospital revealed acute shortage of facilities. For instance, many patients do not have beds. Some were seen lying on the floor. Some gadgetry were also due for replacement. Be that as it may, the commissioner for health blamed the health workers for laziness in sending their bills regularly. “When doctors treat patients, they send the bills to the free medical programme. That is how they get money for replenishment,” he said. “What happened was there was delay in replenishing the fund. But now, we have paid in money to replenish all the funds. But I must say, this is not the first time of replenishing funds. Even during Governor Peter Odili’s period, we were paying backlog to replenish funds. I blame scarcity in shortage of drugs on the laziness of some of the staff. Some of them lack the ability to go and reclaim the used drugs. They

will wait until it becomes too bulky.” A medical expert in the state, Dr. John Onyekwere, in an interview, said that for government to sustain the free medical programme in the state, it must be realistic with policies. He argued that the programme should be selective, targeting vulnerable groups and providing resources to foot the bill from a dedicated tax account. “The healthcare services can be subsidised and made affordable, but not absolutely free,” Onyekwere said, adding, “There should be sincerity on the part of the government in implementing programmes that bother on health.” Parker, however, said that the state government should be commended for revitalising the healthcare system. He disclosed that the Amaechi led-administration commissioned 60 hospitals in 60 days in 60 communities and is currently planning to commission another 70 hospitals in 70 days in 70 communities. “We are insisting on universal free healthcare, following security issues borne out of poverty. For instance, if a child is sick and you do not have money and you go to a private hospital, they will tell you, ‘before we operate you, you must pay N250,000’. In order to save the life of such a child in our hospitals today, you need not pay. Also, considering what we met on ground when we came, we feel, this is another way to curb criminality and remove the burden of healthcare off the people. So, immediately you register for the free medical care, you do not need to bother about what to pay before you take your child to the hospital.” Asked if he thinks the programme is sustainable or whether government might undertake a review, Parker said: “Our constraints are finances. What we should be thinking about is how to get more money to finance some of these policies. We came up with the Social Services Tax Law; a means to get money to finance some of these things, but the people took us to court, saying they do not want to contribute. It was through that law that we intended to fund free education and free medical care. The people have gone to court to stop the contribution. If we had the contributions, we would not have had these financial challenges.” Meanwhile, the APC in the state has commended the state government for winning the 2014 Outstanding Healthcare Programme Excellence Award, beating Lagos, Kano and Ondo States to clinch the prize. A statement by the state APC interim chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said the feat has erased doubts about the commitment of the Amaechi-led administration to the health and wellbeing of Rivers’ citizens. “It is indeed remarkable that the Amaechi administration has, without much ado, built, staffed and equipped over 120 primary health centres across the state. It has in addition ensured that each primary healthcare centre in the state is headed by a medical doctor who lives in the premises to attend to patients round the clock. As a result of this, Rivers State has achieved 100 per cent routine immunisation by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) assessment in the year 2013,” Ikanya said. Disclosing its take on the state’s free health initiative, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Rivers State chapter, described the explanation by Sampson Parker as “false, deceptive and logically incoherent”. The party said the programme is a total failure and smacks of dishonesty, neglect and collapse in the state’s health sector. It noted that from inception the scheme failed as a result of nonpayment of drugs purchased from suppliers, and insincerity on the part of the government. It said complaints abound from patients and potential beneficiaries of how handlers of the system are still subjecting them to paying for drugs and services in various government owned health institutions in the state. The party, in a statement signed by Jerry Needam, special media assistant to the state PDP chairman, challenged the commissioner to mention any public health institution in Rivers State where the programme is operational, stressing that there are sufficient evidence and witnesses to prove that all patients registered under the programme in the state are currently paying for services and have been purchasing drugs with their monies over the past one year.

…As Jahi, Neglected Community Gets Respite From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja OCATED about five kilometers from Maitama District is Jahi, one of the numerous settlements in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Ironically, Jahi falls among neglected and marginalised suburbs, in spite of is proximity to the city centre, particularly the opulent Maitama District. Except for a small primary school structure donated by the chairman of the council, the community lacks basic amenities such as potable water, health care facilities, as well as accessible road, making movement in and out of the area cumbersome. Worried by the health condition of the community dwellers, Joseph Amuta Adeyi Foundation (JAAF) recently embarked on a mission to the area. In an exercise that lasted several hours, more than 100 members of the community were able to access medical attention. Not only were they

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supplied drugs for common illnesses, such as malaria and cough; medical tests were conducted on many before treatments were administered. According to the Executive Director of the foundation, Joseph Amuta Adeyi, about N2m was expended on the humanitarian gesture. He regretted that a community that is less than a 30-minute drive from the seat of power should be denied basic amenities. Adeyi said the foundation discovered the community while on an inspection of villages within and around the FCT.  “Everyone should be involved. Every one of us should be concerned. Governments at all levels should be involved. It takes very little resources but a big heart. All of us are change agents. This is a wake-up call to everybody. It is not for gain; it is not for fame. It is not for recognition; it is about contributing my own quota to the development of the society,” he said.

ABUJA Members of Joseph Amuta Adeyi Foundation distributing drugs to people of Jahi community

Community head of Jahi, Salihu Adamu, commended the foundation for coming to their rescue. He recalled how several people in the community, especially women, lost their lives to ailments that could have been treated had there been immediate medical attention. He said: “I am so happy and I commend you for remembering us. Health is the most im-

portant aspect of life. Without it, we cannot do anything. This community has a lot of problems concerning health issues. When women have complications during childbirth, it is usually a serious challenge to us. Most times, we lose them while going to the hospital due to long distance and poor condition of the road.


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CITYFILE

At Last, Old Federal Secretariat Gets New Occupants… After 35 Years! By Ijeoma Opara EMEMBER that gigantic edifice in Ikoyi, Lagos? That Federal R Secretariat built in 1979 during the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo? Remember it was headquarters to federal ministries before the nation’s capital was ‘hurled’ to Abuja, and that it became desolate afterwards? Well, there is happy news! The imposing structure finally has new tenants. You won’t believe it, but like the former occupants, these are also in the employ of the federal government! The old secretariat is now resident to some of the country’s law enforcers: the police, to be precise. It is not known how the ‘deal was sealed’. Observers would recall that about a year ago, the nation was shocked to the boots when reports unveiled the grim reality of life in police barracks. There were disturbing pictures of rot and grime at hostels meant for persons charged with keeping the rest of us safe. So bad it was, a public commentator even asked: “Are these structures meant for the police or animals? No. The place should be given to pigs, dogs and any other domestic animals.” Today, however, some of these police officers can ‘boast’ of something, at least, ‘better’ than many of the dilapidated barracks scattered across the country; structures so solid, they have withstood the elements for 35 years! “I live here with my sister who is in the police force,” said John, when The Guardian came calling. “There are boy’s quarters behind each of these buildings, and that is where we stay because most of the barracks are filled up and so most of them (policemen) opt for this place. “I learnt that someone bought this structure from the government, years back, but due to funding, he could not continue with the construction. I will prefer that this place be turned into an office to benefit the youths who are jobless. And if it has to be turned into a residence, it will also be of benefit. It will reduce the problem of accommodation in Lagos.” Asked what the place looks like when darkness falls, however, the respondent answered: “This place looks like a forest, and it can be very scary. But the fact that the mobile policemen are here makes it a bit safe for us to inhabit.” Against the many odds they face in the discharge of their duties – shabby uniforms, poor training, poor equipment, poor pay, low morale, bla, bla, bla – the policemen and women stationed at ‘FedSec Division’ are certainly far from being unpatriotic. Besides beaming their eagle eyes, and ‘bringing to book’ bad bad people who may want to perpetrate evil at the premises, they have also inspired confidence in their fellow residents, as John testified. So, who said the police or their handlers are not getting it right? That said: the huge complex also has other users. Some traders were seen displaying their wares beside the gates of the building. Along the fence were broken down cars and fairly used ones up for sale. Some commercial motorists found

the area most convenient to park their cabs and take a midday nap. Now, we have not even talked about the non-human and, possibly, innumerable residents. Name them – snakes in a dozen green places, hundreds of lizards, a million insects, rats of all species, scorpions… or even the ghosts of some long dead civil servants, moving files between floors on some moonlit night. SKED to furnish a present day naira estimate of the abanA doned structure, realtor and managing director of Xpress Property Ventures, Mr. Segun Alli, said: “Unfortunately, I am not privy to how much was expended to develop the abandoned old federal secretariat, having been built many decades ago when Lagos was then the nations capital. But it won’t take rocket science to figure out that the value and cost of building the same structure in today’s market will be staggering, to say the least. “My visual estimate in today’s market will range between N150-200b in its present dilapidated condition. My estimate is a mere speculation because one will need to know the number of square meters and carry out physical inspection. However, my cost estimate can be regarded as conservative.” Lagos resident, Mr. Allan, was asked what symbolism the edifice holds for governance and the contentious issue of federalism in the country. He said: “We have heard several attempts in the past to sell it off or lease it, including numerous legal actions initiated in favour and against the moves. But the losers at the end of the day are Nigerians whose taxes and resources are being allowed to waste. We have not heard any inspiring, heartwarming news or even bad news as update for a long time. It is a very sad situation. “Our choice and movement to Abuja as the new federal capital should not negate the fact that we still have an existing federal secretariat that can be held responsible for the management of its assets. There are many ways to generate productive use of real estate; it can be leased, sold outright or even rented to businesses rather than allow it turn to the dungeon and extreme dilapidation been witnessed today. “The question then is: if Abuja ceases to be our beloved capital, same fate will more than likely befall the many federal structures and real estate masterpieces on display today. And

by the way, it’s not only the old forgotten federal secretariat in Lagos that is facing dilapidation and neglect. There are several others, like NITEL, NIPOST, NNPC and even the old CBN building and many others.” According to Allan, “the message here is that our federal system of governance is restricted to the centre. The government is only interested in activities from Abuja, thus causing neglect to other parts of the country. True federalism should own up to its national responsibilities. Even the oil sector where our resources are generated is lacking care and attention. The only interest shown is how much money can be taken from it. Personally, I will expect the federal government to at worse release ownership of the federal secretariat to the Lagos State government on whose domain the sad story is located.” PEAKING on the effect of such abandoned structure to the S“When environment, health and safety expert, Jamiu Badmos said: you have an abandoned building, there are a lot of environmental and safety issues. A building like that left for years will be prone to criminals. The area is behind Ikoyi where you have Dolphin Estate and it could pose a problem for those living in that estate. When you have a building that has been abandoned for long, it starts to collapse gradually because human beings resident in a building give value to the strength of that building. But the moment people stop using the building, structural defects begin to take place and the building may collapse. “If you take it from an insurance point of view, if there are offices around the building, the insurance people can increase their premium because part of the risk of their business is the building, which is prone to collapsing. People are also prone to defecating around the structure, which can cause environmental hazards; people around will inhale unhealthy odour that could make them fall sick. “In my opinion, instead of leaving it lying waste, it should have been turned into flats for residents and offices which will generate a lot of money to the federal government. That building is in a beautiful location and it shouldn’t be wasted. The problem with us as Nigerians is that we always mismanage government property.” The secretariat, meanwhile, remains the subject of litigation between the federal government and the Lagos State govern-

We have heard several attempts in the past to sell it off or lease it, including numerous legal actions initiated in favour and against the moves. But the losers at the end of the day are Nigerians whose taxes and resources are being allowed to waste...In my opinion, instead of leaving it lying waste, it should have been turned into flats for residents and offices which will generate a lot of money to the federal government. That building is in a beautiful location and it shouldn’t be wasted. The problem with us as Nigerians is that we always mismanage government property.

LAGOS

Metaphor for neglect? Old Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi, Lagos State


10

Sunday, March 30, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Sms only) abogbodo@yahoo.com

Father, tion Daughter And The Na-

DO not know how many parents are in my Ionshoes. I have a daughter who, kind of, puts me a perpetual overdrive. She will be 18 in June and set to resume at the Philosophy Department of one of Nigeria’s first universities in May. Getting her to this point was a real study in adolescent psychology. She left St Francis Catholic Secondary School Idimu, Lagos, in 2012. Her result was excellent and only needed to clear the hurdle of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination to move on immediately to the Mass Communication Department of the University of Benin. The plan failed because the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), which conducted the exams, mismanaged the process and painfully lumped her among the outlaws. Her result was withheld for alleged infractions. I made effort to reach the depth of the matter. Nothing useful came out. My contact at JAMB only obtained scores in three of the four papers she sat for and explained that the fourth, Government and her best, was irretrievably lost due to some entry error he readily pinned down to my daughter. The total score of the three papers was 10 points short of the threshold required for her to qualify for the post-JAME test by the University of Benin. My good friend, Dr Eddy Akpomerha explained, “my brother, there is nothing I can do to change the rules.” I accepted, but the young lady was angry. “Daddy, I have not cheated once in my life, why are they withholding my results?” I did not know how to tell her that the innocent could be made to suffer in Nigeria due to institutional deficiencies. I tried to manage her. “Take me out of this country daddy, I am tired” She was going beyond the given circumstances. I expected her to come with suggestions of what could be done within and not outside of Nigeria. In effect, she was saying I should do whatever it

N those days when we were sure we had a naIstudents tion, when ethics and values were taught to in order to imbue integrity and character in the system, particularly in the growing generation, topical issues were randomly suggested out as debate topics. I remember one, which was so popular in schools in those days - honesty is the best policy, discuss? Even when we hadn’t fully grasped the meaning of the word ‘honesty’ as young Nigerians, we were encouraged to search the word to get familiar with it. We also looked up the word ‘policy’ and then we commenced the debate. It meant so much then because it was all about nation building. In those days, the departments of government in charge of civics and related matters did not have the kind of resources we see today before they embarked on national orientation. There were not too many television stations then. As a matter of fact, there were no signals in many remote parts of the country. The only channel of communication between the government and many Nigerians was just Radio. Yet, we keyed to it because we had a country and we were ready to build a great country by doing good and noble deeds. It was not all about money. We defended Nigeria. Today, it is not too clear how many Nigerians will join President Jonathan to defend this country, particularly on the issue of corruption. The President is of the mindset that global rating of Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries is exaggerated. Recently, at a meeting with the Nigerian community at the Country Club, Windhoek, Namibia, Jonathan said corruption is everywhere, but it is over-celebrated here, to the extent that the nation and its people are stigmatized. Again, the President has entangled himself with a difficult assignment; he does not agree with the perception that Nigeria is down there in the ladder of world’s most corrupt countries. He said pointedly that the perception is louder than the true situation on ground. That was not the first time the President would sell that message to an international audience. He does so regularly and even here at home. In terms of marketing a product to persons who are not too familiar with it, what the President did or said was okay. If Jonathan does not speak positively about Nigeria, who will? But coming back home, I think we need to step up the debate regarding the unenviable status of Nigeria as a leading corrupt country in the eyes of the world. We need to peer review ourselves and confess to one another, so that all of us, including Mr. President will have

would require to put her in school in Europe or America because the system at home was bad. I took time to push the point that since I was not a thieving politician, it was not an easy task earning very weak naira to service a dollar or pound sterling economy. She was not impressed. She veered suddenly into other issues. “Daddy, why can’t there be electricity for even six hours in this house?” I tried to explain that a roadmap that would lead to steady power supply had been crafted by President Goodluck Jonathan and that in no time the rule of darkness would give way to the rule of light. I was not saying anything new to her. She reeled out the history of failed official promises in this regard and told me that nothing was going to change because the same old men who do not understand how to change the game are still in charge. “There is no road map anywhere. You old men are the problem!” She has grouped me among the troublers of Nigeria. But it was not auspicious to seriously engage her on general matters. I stuck to the point. In the end, we agreed she could enrol at the International School, Ibadan (ISI) to do Higher School Certificate (HSC), which they also call Cambridge. For 12 months or so, her hands were full and she didn’t have time to do social crusading. She was practically off my back. After rewriting the JAMB in 2013, we had hoped for a smooth transition to the University. Again my girl had run a good race. She passed both the JAMB and the post examination test by the university. She also managed to pick eight points after 12 months of intensive preparation in her Cambridge Exams. Nothing else was holding her back except the Nigerian system. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) cast spanner into her works when the union began its epic strike. She returned home to resume the questioning ses-

sion. “Daddy, why are Nigerian universities under key and lock most times? Is that how it is in Ghana and elsewhere? Why can’t the government settle with the lecturers so that youths can go to school uninterrupted and build a good future for themselves? The children of these politicians don’t go to schools in Nigerian, which is why they do not care about what happens to other people’s children. If I become president, the first law I will make is to ban people from sending their children abroad for education, so that we can concentrate and make our schools function better.” She was saying so many things at a time. Notwithstanding, I said ‘Amen’ to her beautiful wish. Every father would want to produce a president and a female one at that. Remember my girl was fresh from the Cambridge programme and searching frantically for any opening to vent her newly acquired intellectual vigour. History was one of the three subjects she did. The others were Literature and sociology. She was therefore well equipped to teach me a thing or two about the objective social conditions that precipitated the French Revolution in 1789. Also, she could have been exposed to the teachings of Karl Max, the Communist Manifesto and all that stuff about social classification and class struggle. “This country is overdue for a revolution. It wasn’t this bad in France before the French people grabbed their king and decapitated him.” She was beginning to sound like a charged Amazon and I wasn’t too comfortable. I stressed the need for people to always hope for a better tomorrow even in the face of despondency. The initial story that most universities had lost a full academic session as a result of the ASUU strike did not help matters. In fact, a contact at her proposed university told me that the school was not going to open for fresh students till September. It was difficult to contemplate and my daughter blatantly told me to think seriously of an alternative plan because “I am not going to sit at home till that time.” I was greatly relieved when news came that the university would begin the new academic session in May. Eventually, father and daughter had come on the same page on the issue at hand. Even so, I am not laying-back yet. I now monitor the performance of the ASUU/Federal Government Agreement the same way a politician monitors the results of a crucial election in which he is tipped to emerge winner. I do not want to hear that government has failed

SUNDAY NARRATIVE Alabi Williams oruku35@gmail.com 08116759790 (Sms only)

Nigeria Is Corrupt: True Or False? an understanding of where we are on the matter. We need to know whether corruption has become an epidemic, or whether it is being blown out of proportion by those who do not wish Nigeria well. I feel that when we admit that we have a notorious ailment, we would be better prepared to deal with how we are perceived outside our shores. If we are all on the same page on this matter, those who travel regularly around the world, including Mr. President, would also be equipped to manage the jeers and shabby treatment by immigration services elsewhere and their governments. Imagine that old man in Zimbabwe, whose country is in a worse level of corruption, calling Nigeria names. The moment you are a Nigerian, you are viewed with suspicion, especially in money matters. Denying that we have a huge problem does not help our case. Those who concern themselves with corruption index in countries do not just reel out figures because they want to malign. They do surveys, make observations and ask questions. At a time, the most assessed agencies in Nigeria were the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), which later became Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the Police, Customs and Immigration. The power authority was notorious for corruption. Even when government did not commit to continuous reinvestment in power, monies were generated, but they were not put into government coffers. That was why the sector went into coma, until government decided to privatize. It is still in coma, even though billions of dollars have been spent to revive power. The manner of expenditure was not as transparent as it ought to be. The new companies are still making money through estimated bills forced on consumers. The point is that, despite selling, government did not create the environment that would sever the new entities from the culture of corruption they

inherited from NEPA and PHCN. If government sincerely wanted to tackle corruption at that end, consumers would have been provided with new billing system of prepaid metering, so that the tradition which Transparency International (TI) saw on ground when it assessed the sector some 10 years ago would have changed. If TI were to come again today, the power sector will still be lowly rated because the indices are clear. As for the Police, it is a difficult task to rid the force of corruption because the environment permits it. The open fleecing of motorists at roadblocks mounted by Police has stopped since 2012, when Mohammed Abubakar became the Inspector General. If TI were to come today, the agency may experience some challenge in assessing the Police. Truth is that the act has been driven underground and nothing has really changed. The President may not know that outside roadblocks, policemen have a thousand and one ways to extort. While it is a fact that there are operational challenges that remain to be tackled, the integrity of the force has not grown beyond what it was yesterday. And that touches on other aspects of national life. Once policing is challenged, it hampers justice delivery and social relations. Customs and Immigration are in a world of their own. Any wonder why hundreds of thousands were lured to apply for the immigration service jobs that is now a subject of probe? The perception is that the services provided opportunities for staff to enrich themselves. The reality is not too different because we see vehicles been smuggled into the country everyday. Those who are caught are those who either do not have godfathers or are unwilling to ‘settle.’ Government may pretend not to know the details, as long as the revenue profiles are healthy. Does Mr. President know that it is a daunting task for a qualified Nigerian to walk into the offices of NIS and be served without a headache? To start with, there are not too

again in the implementation of the all-important agreement and as a consequence, ASUU is spoiling for yet another show down and complete shutdown of the university system. I have tried to be optimistic. I told my daughter that ASUU would not strike again and that she would anchor successfully within the scheduled four years and go overseas for her post-graduate studies. She has accepted but she is raising fresh concerns. “Daddy, I hope we shall all be safe on campus and no armed men will come into our school in the night to kill innocent students?” Modern children are very exposed and sophisticated too. On current issues, they know as much as, if not better than, you know. And so, you can’t twist them around with baseless answers when they ask genuine questions. I prayed silently for guidance as I set to confront the poser. To say that attacks on school children by the Boko Haram Islamic sect is consigned to a section of the country is not a very good answer. In fact, it would be insensitive and uncharitable to say so. Yet if I said that there was a Boko Haram containment strategy that would ensure safety across board, she would simply look at me with disbelief because she reads on her mobile phone, all the gory daily details of the activities of the sect. And so, I simply drew her close, pat her softly on the back and reassured her: “You are protected by God my darling.” “Ehen, daddy, is it true that there is a forest or some spot in Ibadan where they butcher people like animals and sell their parts to buyers?” I was not expecting this. I had thought the session ended with that prayer line – you are protected by God... I was running out of good answers but I must answer this anyhow because it was worse to just leave it hanging. “It is true, but the place has been taken over by government and some people connected with the crime have been arrested. No cause for worry my dear.” As you can see, in this crucial conversation between father and daughter, I practically struggled to sound nice on behalf of government even as I tried to re-orientate a disenchanted youngster to forget the present and look ahead with hope. To say the truth, I cannot guarantee doing this successfully all the time. This is why I am worried and would sincerely want to suggest that we make excellent use of the opportunity of the ongoing National Conference to rearrange Nigeria and make it a better place for my daughter and many others in her generation and circumstances. many offices of the NIS where citizens can walk in freely and be served without hassles. In the process of squeezing through the few available channels, citizens are tempted to look for shortcuts, which are avenues created by the same NIS officials to enrich themselves. If there are fake drivers’ licenses out there, it is because the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) is unwilling to attend to the crowd of legitimate applicants. Whereas the commission has jerked up costs in order to raise revenue for consultants (who are allegedly wives and friends of politicians in high places), they leave hapless citizens with the temptation to visit black market. When services are made so difficult for citizens, it inadvertently creates avenues for corruption to thrive. Or, would the President not know that the entire school system has been ravaged by corruption? Hasn’t he heard of examination malpractices in our schools? Doesn’t he also know of the brown envelope syndrome in the media? Oh yes, it is real. These are routine acts of corruption that are all over the place, but could be far from the knowledge of insiders in Aso Rock. What we must not do is live in a state of denial. We don’t even want to talk about corruption in political office because the President should be conversant with that. At least, he was the deputy governor when his former boss, Alamieyeseigha deported himself from UK when the British Police were on his trail. That case went to court and the money stolen is quite huge. As Nigeria’s image gets battered out there, perhaps, this is the time to change the conversation on corruption. Let’s go to the grassroots, particular to our primary and secondary schools. Let us ask young Nigerians what they understand by the phenomenon called corruption and help them to understand the damage it could do to our country, if it has not done enough. Since all of us in the adult population are susceptible to one form of corruption or the other, let us engage the younger population, so that we may rescue their tomorrow. When a child in kindergarten returns from school with a set of pencils that he did not leave home with, he may not understand what he has done. But when we engage the matter in a regular debate, the child is sure to understand, that picking pencils and other items from others is a lower version of corruption. Perhaps, the next generation will grow to do something about it, in case we are unable to deal with it.


TheGuardian

www.ngrguardiannews.com

Sunday, March 30, 2014 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Power Sector Reform: The Months After By Idowu Oyebanjo IGERIA became the first African country to embark on large-scale privatisation of her electricity supply industry when the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN was unbundled and subsequently replaced by 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs), six Generation Companies (GENCOs) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, which owns and operates the Transmission Network. As with any other process, no one expected a perfect performance. Yet, it is in order to identify valuable lessons from this process in order to improve performance during future restructuring programme or privatisation of other public utilities, the time for which in my opinion, will soon be here. In addition, other African countries and or developing nations that may want to follow the example of Nigeria in this regard will benefit greatly too from the forensic evaluation of the process. A serious flaw of the reform exercise is the nonavailability of gas to fire the many Gas Power Plants built in the years running up to the eventual handing over of assets to the new owners. Not only can the Government not guarantee the availability of gas and pipelines, most of the newly constructed gas power plants had no gas pipelines laid to their sites. In essence, there was inadequate Project Management expertise deployed. There seems to be a disarticulation between Gas and Power and both ministries moved at different speeds and wavelengths throughout the process. The synergy was not just there! It is nothing but incredulous that gas power plants were established without the certainty of gas supply! Needless to say, there was no clear policy and viable commercial framework on Gas-to-Power in the many years that the reform took. This should not have been the case as it became a panacea for a fatal flaw. It beats common sense that Nigeria supplies gas to neighbouring countries like Ghana whilst it cannot provide gas to fire gas power plants at home. Food for thought! Another disconnect between the mediators of the reform and the realities of power systems is the non-establishment of a credible off-taker or buyer of electricity from the many licensed Independent Power Producers (IPPs). This meant that financiers became sceptical, and rightfully so, about providing required funds to build Power Plants without a guarantee that someone is committed to buying their potential power generation. In this regard, it is expected that the sufficient capitalisation of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) will enhance the release of required funds by financiers to IPPs that could come on stream to inject more power generation onto the National Grid. The Achilles heel or weakest link of the Nigerian electricity power network is the Transmission system but those saddled with the privatisation process ignored this fact. The scale of reinforcement required on the Transmission Network is huge. The bureaucracy of Government in the affairs of the managing contractor led to delays in execution and operation of the terms of the contract with the conse-

N

CONversation

Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo quent lack of grid wheeling capacity in the face of minimal generation. If the Transmission Network is unable to cope with the limited generation available now, further improvements or successes in generation and availability of gas, will not lead to availability of electricity in our homes because of insufficient capacity of the Transmission network to wheel available power. This again, is the result of not taking a holistic approach to this matter. At the same time, the distribution network is equally in a poor condition but with new owners not having enough power come through to sell to consumers, they did not have enough revenue to finance the much needed network reinforcement works required to improve the quality and quantity of electricity available to domestic, industrial and commercial consumers. Even if they did, electricity theft and issues of adequate metering will kill their investment. A lot of putting the cart before the horse here! The management of information relating to the reform process was poor. Most politicians boasted of availability of electricity by the end of virtually every year since the year 2000. The citizenry became too familiar with the rhetorics after some time. The items of plant required in power systems take time to manufacture or procure and the project delivery guides of Long Lead items should have in the least, provided better estimates of time scales to politicians and their “technical” advisers as to the lead time before power will become available to Nigerians in Nigeria. The unending promises made Nigeria a laughing stock. TCN has failed to make people aware that lies about inadequate wheeling capacity of the Network are unfounded. When the total aggregate generation in-country is about 3GW and the quoted wheeling capacity of the transmission network is about double that amount, how is it that anyone in the right frame of mind will say the transmission network is the cause of the mayhem. This betrays the lack of knowledge of power systems in country and so these people can take everyone for a jolly ride to nowhere! Judging by the pedigree of new owners of the

power network assets, it is clear that the evaluation of technical/commercial bids of companies and partnerships that are interested in the Nigerian Electricity Power Network and Infrastructure did not put appropriate focus on the technical competencies of bidders. Yet, of all the criteria that must be used for evaluation of bids of this kind, the technical competencies of bidders should be given due importance. While the commercial viability of a bid is important, it is equally important that those who will be saddled with the running of the electricity network of Nigeria be competent technically. Otherwise, the entire power sector reform exercise will be in futility. This is not a delightful news to anxious Nigerians who have long waited to ‘See the Light’. Those saddled with setting the criteria should have weighted each criterion in proportion to the engineering value desired. A vibrant power sector can only be as successful as the experience of the operators. If the winners of the different assets lack demonstrable competence in the management, operation, design, control, protection and maintenance of an electricity network, they will be unable to deliver. Nigeria will thus remain in darkness and the final position will be worse than the first. As we speak, there are still many other things that should be on-going even now that the reform process is underway. There is need to embark on a structured training or development programme for citizens who have the bias in the electrical power engineering field to be saddled in future with the task of managing the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). One suggestion is to sponsor different individuals on research areas (PhD courses) that border on key areas that will have direct bearing on the management of the NESI. These areas include, but not limited to, Economics of Power System Regulation, Power System Management, Power System Operations and Controls to mention but a few areas. This investment will yield future veritable dividends if and only if candidates are selected on merit. Studies in Electrical Power Systems are for people with very good analytical or mathematical inclination with appropriate level of ingenuity to match. There is no point using the Quota System misnomer in this regard. Let only those that are qualified and are willing to learn attend to this urgent need. When done properly, this will take a few years. One area that is worth mentioning is the overall benefit of learning from the experience and mistakes of those who have embarked on similar privatisation of the ESI for over 20 years now. So many countries like The UK, USA, Canada, and some of Western Europe have gone beyond the initial hurdles of running a privatised power sector. A constructive evaluation of their successes and shortcomings will be of great value to developing the Nigerian power sector. The electricity supply industry is a technically intensive one. This is one area that the quota system syndrome will not work! You either ask for help from those who know how

to do it or you forget about uninterrupted power supply. As highlighted, the issues with the NESI are huge. Yet, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a mere step! (I must add, in the right direction!) I really hope Lagos can learn from the visiting speakers from Georgia, U.S. and the electricity supply industry (worldwide) who could attend the summit. One critical area that is often overlooked is the human capital requirement. Without this, every effort will prove to become the square of zero. Fortunately for Nigeria, she is endowed with “the most intelligent crop of individuals you will ever meet”. Hence, a carefully planned national strategy to implement the closure of the skill gap in the NESI is urgent. It will not cost so much compared to the obvious cost required to “rebuild” the Nigerian power system. An urgent requirement is for stakeholders to convoke a meeting of Nigerians working in the electricity supply industries in countries that enjoy uninterrupted or near constant electricity supply (essentially developed countries of U.S, Canada and Europe). These ones, if they can attend to the national call, should form the bedrock of activities that will lead to the successful implementation of the power sector reform. Another area that is important to look at is having a uniform set of standards for the design and quality of equipment to be deployed on the electricity network. These standards, when stipulated carefully to reflect the overall intention of the EPSR Act of 2005, will prevent selfish individuals or partnerships from “sweating” the Nigerian asset and people. Sweating the asset is a popular consequence of privatization of an electric power network. This is the situation where the investors win the bids, get as much money as they wish from the customers and the network, leave the network in a worse state than they have met it, and exit the business according to the rules of the game. Who loses? The country that owns the electricity network, and by direct implication, the poor people suffering to eke out a living. The strategy to be used to prevent this is for the regulator, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC in this case, to associate the earnings of investors or successful bidders to the verifiable investment in the electricity network. This is known as output measure. Otherwise, we are in for something worse than experienced with the Telecommunication sector. Yes, it was “Privatised” but with lack of proper regulation and standards, the major players came, did a few years of genuine network infrastructural development in compliance with best practice (Nigerians enjoyed using their mobile phones during this period) and slowly, but surely, lowered the standards to the point that network failure is the tune from Nigerians when we try to use our mobile phones. Those operators in the Telecommunication sector know that their regulator lack technical ability to manage the industry and would not enforce the standards required. The same goes with the regulators of the Oil Industry. This is why knowledge is power. Nigeria needs to celebrate knowledge. “Return to the era” when education was given proper attention, good teachers were celebrated and students were given quality education. That will be the beginning. •Oyebanjo wrote in from Lagos.

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

www.ngrguardiannews.com

12 Sunday, March 30, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial Nigerian Life: So Brutish, So Short

HE sea of heads in various stadia, the stampede and the eventual human tragedy said it all: The average Nigerian’s life is brutish and has no value placed on it, especially by the ruling and looting elite. At the badly organised aptitude test exercise for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, the other day where hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths jostled for only 5000 vacancies, it was, naturally, bedlam and so many died needlessly. In that incident was advertised the raw deal Nigerians have been dealt with regards to expectation from democracy. This is a shame. When Nigerians agitated for democracy and did all it took to have one, expectation was high, that a democratic Nigeria, shall direct its policy and action towards ensuring that all citizens, without discrimination against any group whatsoever, shall have the opportunity of securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment. Sad enough, that expectation is getting forlorn while despondency is palpable in the air as there is little really to cheer about in the current experiment. Instead of life more abundant, it is death, cries of death and threat of death all over the place. Security of life and property is completely prostrate, obviously a tall order for government to accomplish, leaving agents of death on rampage, wrecking havoc at home, places of rest, in the holy sanctuaries, school dormitories, police stations, military barracks, in and out of place of work and even while in search of daily bread. So it happened the other day in yet another unusual place and at the most inauspicious occasion. Unemployed graduates who had for too long borne the pangs of hunger and calamitous deprivation and the shame of not being able to pay back the investment of their parents over them saw a window of opportunity in the recruitment test offered by the Nigerian Immigration Service to terminate these negative tendencies. What they got in abundance was thorough dehumanization and abysmal disrespect for the dignity of their persons, for those who were very lucky. For others, about 19 of them, it was the terminal point of their lives as they paid dearly with their lives. That was the extent to which death is cheap in Nigeria a sad commentary on government’s appreciation of its basic obligation to its people and the extent to which it wants to be perceived and seen as government of the people for the people. In clearly unmistakable terms, it depicts a government totally bereft of ideas and lacking in conscience and integrity and which exalts in self-deceit and vainglory. That unfortunate event, as horrendous and pathetic as it may be, was not without its blessings. For once it resolved the controversy between a government who continues to congratulate, celebrate and pride itself for its innovative ideas in job creation as part of its transformational agenda and the mass of critical Nigerians who see deceit in government’s claim and needless celebration and decry the level of unemployment and the security risk it portends for the nation. Secondly, although the test did not take place for those it was intended, it took place for those it was not intended namely the management of the National Immigration Service and those who appointed them. Beyond any shadow of doubt, square pegs had all along been in round holes, which the unfortunate incident revealed. In other words, it was the best advertisement of seething incompetence and mediocrity in high places just as it underscored once again government’s notorious deficit of credibility. It reinforced the notion, that to qualify for high offices in Nigeria, unlike elsewhere, is not necessarily a function of competence, intelligence, acumen or suitability but how connected a person is to the seat of power. It will be pretty hard to convince anyone, that the man who called out over 500,000 Nigerians, for an aptitude test belongs to this scientific age that has moulded the world to a global village, where instantaneous transactions are achievable regardless of distance or magnitude of space between the parties involved, however, numerous they may be. In this age and clime, only a person or government groping in the dark or inextricably attached to the relics of history would find attraction in the antiquated and homicidal method continuously employed by the NIS in its recruitment drive. It is regrettable that an organization, categorized as para-military, is lacking in the basic rudiments of crowd management and control for which NIS is gaining notoriety. The recent mishap was not its first and may not be the last unless drastic action is taken to forestall it. As a first measure, the disciplinary measure of the past must apply, as it was when a similar incident happened. The last time it happened, the then Comptroller-General was sacked. That means the present Comptroller General of Immigration should be shoved out of office if he lacks the decency to throw in the towel for incompetence. Secondly, the old order of mass recruitment must give way for a systematic and periodic recruitment programme that ensures consistent and robust filling of vacancies as they occur. Thirdly, never again must Nigerians be treated to the obscene celebration of such intellectual poverty and advertisement of backwardness, the global trend is to adopt electronic way of conducting such tests relying basically on the internet. Fourthly, never again must Nigerians be made to pay any kind of money to get employed into the public service. There is no better way to destroy integrity in the system and annihilate patriotism, which is the driving force of an effective and efficient public service. Finally, and by far the most important, those who hold positions of responsibility in the country should begin to do stock-taking to see whether, they are living up to the expectations of the people or are mere parasites to the country. It is good to realize that Nigerians have forborne long enough and have been long in waiting. They deserve more than the raw hand continually dealt them by their government or agencies of government. They aspire for a leader who would own and drive an incorruptible process and machinery of change and who would leave no one in doubt that in matters of common good, he identifies unashamedly with the ordinary Nigerians. That is the kind of leader who could send jitters down the spine of corrupt and inept public officials who abound in their number; court-jesters, maximum pretenders and traditional sinecures who feed fat on the system and give nothing back in return.

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LETTERS

The Dilemma Of A Nation Nigeria is undoubtedly Sise.IR:a country with great promOn account of her favourable weather conditions and rich supply of natural resources, Nigeria was once described by my good friend, Olanike Omolehin, as a country situated in the heart of God; and I agree with her. However, in the same piece, she laments the woes of Africa’s second largest economy calling it, among other things, “My sweet country, where nothing works”. And that’s where the dilemma is. As much as we cannot deny Nigeria’s potential to become one of the most desirable nations to live in, we also cannot shy away from our pervasive challenges. One problem that has, especially bothered me over time is our value system, which seems to have little respect for human dignity and the sanctity of human life. Needless loss of lives does not seem to bother us anymore. When we’re not talking about the destruction being wreaked by Boko Haram, we’re discussing the havoc being inflicted by Fulani herdsmen. That is not to mention police brutality, illegal detention, dehumanising condition of our prisons and various acts of subjugation. In November 2013, at least 25 people lost their lives while apparently trying to invoke the beggarly generosity of a

politician. Now, some folks are capitalising on the challenge of unemployment to waste our youths. And the youths themselves are too blind to see. While the Nigerian Immigrations Service has been in the spotlight as a result of the tragedy that attended its ill-advised recruitment test a cursory inspection will reveal that many other government agencies and privatelyowned firms are equally culpable. When are we going to develop value for human life in this nation? When are we going to stop treating people with indignity? When are the “masses” going to stop running after every foolish

scheme like hungry dogs scrambling for dry bones? When are we going to ditch the lie that we are “the masses” and wake up to the reality of our true identity as plenipotentiaries of the Most High God? We have wallowed in the mud of greed, selfishness and corruption for too long; and this has robbed us of our collective power as a people. As a nation, we have allowed a few bad eggs to spoil our omelette. We are not going to tolerate this anymore. Now is the time to stop playing the fool and start living out our true identity as the great nation that we are. Change is imminent. A revolution is underway. We cannot avoid it. •Philip Amiola, Lagos.

Still On Immigration IR: Why on earth would SMoro, the Interior Minister, Abba and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) still blame the victims of the agency’s scam called recruitment? For God’s sake, having collected N1000 from each applicant, the NIS could have outsourced the Assessment Test to JAMB/WAEC that have built capacity in conducting such tests or examinations over the years with zero level casualty rate. As such, the authorities should not blame

the victims but take full responsibility for all that has happened. The sheer number of applicants is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the country. At least, the hard pictures of a sea of applicants particularly at the National Stadium, Abuja has put a big question mark on the purported 1.2 million jobs touted by the Jonathan administration in 2013. • Tunde Salman, Kuje Abuja.


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Sunday, March 30, 2014

HEALTH By Fabian Odum ILK has traditionally been associated with the cow and the consumer haM bitually tied around it. But this is not without its health consequences especially the full cream milk (with the load of saturated fat from animal source) and adult consumers. However, here comes the milk, not from animal source but a plant, the Soyabean. The awareness is beginning to grow in this part of the world where milk is spelt in terms of canned and powdered forms of various brands. The soyabean seed has for some time now provided an alternative source of milk which nutritionists have widely acclaimed to be healthier and more wholesome in its ability to give un-

Healthy, Milk From Plant saturated fat to the body. Though the taste is not the same as milk from animal sources, the inherent qualities far out weigh the supposedly ‘normal’ taste of milk. It is only a matter of time before the taste buds adjusted. Health consideration Its health benefits more than compensate for any loss in the culinary or diet value of normal milk. The nutritional composition of the milk, which is only one among so many products of Soyabean processing, places it in a special class of its own. Soyabean contain all three of the macronutrients required for good nutrition: protein,

carbohydrate and fat as well as vitamins and minerals- calcium, folic acid and iron. The protein from Soyabean is known to be complete in the sense of essential amino acids among others. In this respect, it is nearly equivalent in meat, milk (animal source) and egg protein. Diet watch Diet consciousness has led health watchers to steadily monitor the kind of fat used in preparing the food they eat. It is particularly so since the deleterious nature of saturated fat, which raises blood cholesterol has been proved. When this happens, the tendency of the arterial wall to thicken and get

Another Look At Smoking And Health By Moji Solanke

N article titled ‘Spirituality and healing addiction’, published in The Guardian of November 4, 2013, names smoking as an addiction. The impact of smoking on health is worth another look. It is commonplace for all public areas to be non-smoking in Nigeria, as well as in over 90 other countries worldwide. The reason for the near-global ban is mainly health related. The National Tobacco Control Bill, drafted by then Minister of Health, late Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti in 2008, was eventually passed by the Senate in March 2011, and by the House of Representatives in May, although it is yet to be ratified into law. While every individual has the freedom of choice, breathing is not optional. Studies have shown that second hand smoke arising from inhaling smoke exhaled by a smoker, has the same dire health consequences as it has for the actual cigarette or pipe smoker. Even third hand smoke, the residual nicotine left on surfaces and objects saturated in cigarette smoke, has been found to be just as hazardous to health, becoming increasingly toxic over time. Needless to say, the tobacco market has long

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been very profitable, contributing significantly to various national economies. In Nigeria, a 2012 survey reports that cigarettes sales raked in a tidy N89.7billion, albeit a significant drop from the N200billion figure posted in previous years. Yet, the duty of a responsible government to its citizenry, and particularly to the vulnerable members of society, especially children, must outweigh rosy economics, in the final analysis. There are now e-cigarettes, deemed safer for health, as the smoker inhales the vapour from heating nicotine laced liquid, rather than tobacco smoke. The concern here is that youngsters, particularly teenagers, are being encouraged to smoke e-cigarettes with the sale of kid-friendly flavours such as chocolate. This poses the danger of these adolescents ultimately progressing to smoking harmful tobacco. Non smokers heaved a collective sigh of relief, with the ban on smoking in public places, and smoke related diseases immediately began to decline world-wide. The good news is that research shows that ceasing to smoke, regardless of how long the individual had in-

dulged, immediately begins to reverse the negative effects that smoking can cause. The article mentioned above posits that spirituality can heal addictions such as smoking; and indeed religious institutions have long weighed in on this issue. Many ingrain on their doctrinal platforms the spiritual importance of adherents abstaining from smoking; yet in the past, religious leaders who advocated abstinence or temperance, were dismissed as irrelevant and behind the times. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist wrote in her book Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, as far back as 1875 ‘The tobacco-user, eating or smoking poison for half a century, sometimes tells you that the weed preserves his health, but does this make it so?’ She insisted that smoking was not a salubrious habit, and health was not better off by smoking. In the twenty first century, governments and medical research are agreeing that such health promoting assertions by spiritual thinkers in years gone by, are relevant today after all. m_asolanke@hotmail.com

Regional Category Manager, Africa UNILEVER, Workmore Chimweta (left); Senior Vice President, Oral Care UNILEVER, Aymerich Marie-Anne; Category Manager, Oral Care UNILEVER, Oiza Gyang; and the Manager, Central Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos, Ibe Charity Ngozi during the Close-Up World Oral Health Day at the school in Lagos PHOTO; SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Mind, Jesus And Heaven (8) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

N our discussion on the issue of mind, Jesus and heaven, we got to a point in the last article where the cardinal importance of the concept of faith was brought into it. As it is well known, the general notion of heaven to a lot of people is about an abode outside this material world. Much as I had already argued it that the notion has relative acceptance in that respect, it does not really reflect the true nature of heaven. This is because the same Jesus that may be quoted to validate the notion of Heaven as something that may represent an abode outside the world can equally be quoted authoritatively to prove it, that Heaven as a concept represents far more than that. To the extent that the concept of Heaven represents everything that is ideal and excellent in the hands of God, it may have a room to accommodate most probably a celestial abode. But the truth of the matter is that if Heaven represents the ideal and the excellent in the hands of God, then the ideal and the excellent might just be the reflection of the intelligence of God. In other words, rather than just seeing Heaven as a special abode reserved for some special entities, it may serve a purpose in its true meaning when it is seen as the embodiment of the intelligence of God, that is, the mind of God from which everything beautiful in creation emanates. When you recognise the notion of heaven from this perspective, you will understand the reason why the same Jesus for example, who can validate

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the idea that Heaven can be perceived as a place outside this world, could also use the concept in some other ways to reflect some other meanings. It is true Jesus might have said that ‘hereafter ye shall see Heaven open and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man’ (John 1:51) and Peter one of His disciples might have also said of Jesus ‘whom the Heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things,’ (Acts 3:21). References like these suggesting Heaven as an abode somewhere do not nul-

Health And Your Mind lify what ought to be believed as the comprehensive understanding of the meaning of Heaven, which I want to believe is even particularly located in one statement of Jesus in which He said; ‘The kingdom of God (Heaven) cometh not with observation, neither shall they say lo here! or lo there! For behold the kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17:20, 21). I have commented on this passage before and I said I don’t know in what other way will anybody want to interprete ‘the kingdom of Heaven is within you’ if not as a reference to the idea that the very fabric of the nature of God is within you and that could not be anything other than the quality of the intelligence or the mind of God being operative in man. This may explain why the scriptures say man is created in the image of

God. The evidences are there to prove this assertion. No other creature in creation as far as we know operates creativity in the way that man operates. In other words, it is only man who shares the creative ability with God and that is the evidence of the true power of the mind — creative intelligence. If man can understand the operational method of this intelligence, then he does not need to leave this world to experience Heaven. He carries the capacity within himself to establish its benefits here on earth. This is what the Islamic principle essentially is all about — submission to the Will of God. As I had equally explained this, it is a statement asking you to align your mind with the mind of God. That mind of God according to Jesus is the kingdom of God within you. When He asked you to seek first the kingdom of Heaven and everything that you need in this world will be added to you, He had said beyond reasonable doubt, Heaven may not necessarily be something out of this world but that you carry the potential within you to the extent that you can actually establish it here on earth. You only need to appreciate the factor of your mind in this regard. It can be proved that it is to the extent that you don’t know the crucial factor of your mind functions in this regard that Jesus said man is of little faith. Ayo-Vaughan, a psychologist, lives in Lagos babatund_2@yahoo.com

constricted, a situation that has led to heart diseases, gets intense. Nutrient content Soyabean is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid including linoleic and linolenic acids, which are not produced by the human body. These two fatty acids aid the absorption of vital nutrients in the body. The protein is rich and the milk is free from damaging cholesterol. For the health-conscious consumer, it contains five anti-cancer agents including a natural phytoestrogen unique to soy bean called isoflavone. Sweet soy milk, aside being rich in protein, contains vitamin B and iron. It is recommended for those who are intolerant of lactose (milk sugar from animal sources) since it is lactose-free. Soyamilk is made from ground soyabeans mixed to yield milk-like liquid. It is regarded good food for vegetarians and for those who are dairy-sensitive.

Practical Psychology

Remedy For Public Speaking Anxiety (II) By Passy Amaraegbu

O the uninformed, it seems that some people T never face the challenge of public speaking anxiety (PSA). Yet, this may be far from the truth. This may be the reason why Mark Twain, the great American poet said that, There are two kinds of speakers; those who are nervous and those that are liars. This is a wise manner of saying the obvious that most if not everybody faces the challenge of anxiety when faced with the task of addressing an audience because even lying is an anxiety provoking stimulus. In the first part of this article, we had considered a few strategies used to handle PSA or glossophobia. We considered the role of engaging in private rehearsals, physical exercise, dialogue approach and speech training. Today, we round off by considering a few others. We begin with the strategy of association with role models. This is a deliberate action to discover and identify with someone or people who are experts or excellent performers in the endeavour of life we are interested in with the purpose of learning from them. It is a form of mentoring process, which enables the mentee to acquire appropriate skills, expertise and perhaps virtues, which will enhance one’s life and career. In this occasion, we are concerned with conquering public speaking anxiety, which will enhance public speech. When it becomes difficult to gain access to such role models or mentors, one can rely on their literature or audio-visual materials. Relaxation therapy has also been implicated as a useful strategy to handle public speaking anxiety. This involves a systematic, consistent and gradual relaxation of the muscles of the body. It can proceed from head to toe or in the converse direction. Like the use of anesthesia, relaxation therapy can be applied in a complete, particular or peculiar way. In other words, the therapy may involve the whole body or only the part(s), which is (are) tensed up or under the attack of anxiety. Managing one’s breathing process is an important aspect of speech training. It is important that one pays serious attention to the issue of learning to exercise control over one’s breathing. Other areas of learning to master one’s emotions during public speaking including, focusing on the subject instead of the numerous distractions from the audience, maintaining proper eye contact, maintaining excellent physical appearance, and appropriate dressing as well as grooming. The purpose of all these is to restore personal confidence and courage in the speaker. The more composed and confident one is, the greater the assurance that one will overcome public speaking anxiety. In these days of sophisticated technology, it may be useful to get the assistance of an expert who can handle the technical aspect of the public speaking such as mounting the audio and video equipments. This can reduce one’s anxiety and distraction except of course in an occasion where one is an expert in this area. Again, earlier rehearsals will enhance the business of public speaking. Generally, systematic dysensitization is an appropriate form of behaviour modification used to handle anxiety disorders. A technical process, at the very basic level, it involves exposing the victim to graduated degrees of the anxiety provoking stimulus with the aim of conquering the anxiety. The therapist can only expose the victim to the next degree of anxiety stimulus after the victim has learnt to conquer or overcome the previous level. The process continues until the stimulus (in this case public speaking) can (and does) no longer provoke anxiety. Of course, victims of PSA should go for consultation and therapy. Till we meet again, keep your candle burning.

Dr. Passy Amaraegbu, A clinical psychologist lives in Lagos. drpassy@yahoo.com


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OLUWAGBEMIGA Bringing Message Of Hope, Care

COVER P/17 Corruption: The Thin Line Between Perception And Reality

NEWSFEATURE

P/25

Ibadan Evil Forest: Not A Place For The Faint-hearted NATIONAL CONFERENCE P/30

Nigeria On A Delicate Balance

PERSPECTIVES

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Challenges APC Should Overcome Before Congresses


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SPOTLIGHT

OLUWAGBEMIGA

Bringing Message Of Hope, Care

By Bisi Alabi Williams RINCESS Ngozi Oluwagbemiga is a dynamic and visionary preacher. She is the founder of Charity Missions Empowerment Foundation (CMEF). As an evangelist, she says her mandate is to liberate the poor and the hurting in nations, starting from the grassroots. She is called the caring preacher because her passion and vision is targeted towards creating wealth and empowering the poor through her foundation, which has provided solutions for the poor, healed hurting hearts and affected communities across West Africa. She founded the Charity Mission Empowerment Foundation, a multi-cultural rural missions organisation with various overseas initiatives in 2001. Princess is the treasurer of Food for the Hungry Nigeria and believes that information is power. With her team of gifted partners, she has relentlessly worked to bring about positive change in the lives of many. Her sole aim is to develop God’s Kingdom ethics of caring and sharing with specialised programmes that foster peace, success and progress. She described herself thus: “I see myself as a Bureaucrat for Jesus based on the mandate given to me by God on the De-

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cember 21, 2001, to provide succour to society’s rejects, downtrodden, hurting hearts, especially widows. It is targeted towards the advancement of God’s Kingdom on earth, which led to the public launch of the foundation,” Since then, the Foundation has hosted and undertaken various life changing and empowerment outreaches in various places within and outside the country through providing job creation workshops, empowerment projects for scavengers and destitute, donations to widows, and the provision of library facilities for missionaries, as well as free medical services among others. With great joy and a sense of gratitude she attests to the abounding testimonies of years gone by. Recounting God’s unfailing mercies, Princess says: “First of all, I give all the glory to God for great things He has done for and through this care giving, soul touching 14 year-old organisation. It is not by might or about human connection or even the calibre of my ever- willing partners, but is indeed the Lord’s grace. For us as a mission, it’s been testimonies upon testimonies. Thousands of souls have been saved; communities have been won and transformed by the power and mercy of God. “We have witnessed mind-blowing, life – changing healings and deliverances in great dimensions including HIV cases. I

remember vividly the case of a man, who could not walk due to multiple tumors in Awomama, Imo State and who later, enjoyed free surgery. Thousands of widows, the elderly and poor have had cause to smile all because CMEF gave a lending hand of Christ’s love. Many orphans have been given a new lease of life and sent back to school through the Foundation’s scholarship scheme.” She also recounts how so many unemployed people including graduates have been able to secure jobs. Others now run their own businesses and are into one form of production or the other through the training they got from her skill acquisition workshops, especially the one in Niger Republic. “The Foundation’s medical team has trained many nurses; and this has become a reference point and a thing of joy in the Obiato Eziama community in Imo State Nigeria. The blood screening and treatment of people’s health have remained one great event that the communities can never forget,” she says. One of the most interesting aspects of Princess’s work is her Foundation’s outreach to the Nigeria Police Force. It is on record across many police divisions that Charity Missions Empowerment Foundation has consistently supported and assisted men of the Nigeria Police in doing their work better. Indeed, it is one of the Federal Government’s Security agencies that have benefitted the most when it comes to empowerment by CMEF. “The first international Charity Missions Vocational Centre (CMVC) was inaugurated on the Feb 28, 2009 and since then, the Foundation has held several empowerment trainings in quick successions,” she explains. In return, she says the Nigeria Police Force has also appreciated the efforts of her Foundation. “Without holding brief for the Force, I can say they are so proud of me. Over time, and indeed wherever I go, I naturally command their love, trust and respect for the support and goodwill extended to them. The men of the Force are convinced that if a few more Nigerians could replicate the goodwill and support they have enjoyed from the Foundation, the morale of the men would be further boosted and their lots bettered for the advancement of the nation.” On impacting people’s lives, Princess and her team of missionaries and humanitarian workers are convinced they have no doubt made their mark. For instance, they have made donations of various useful items to help the police in their crime prevention and detection work to the extent that they have somewhat become more of a welfare collection centre to not only various missions and missionaries, but also to members of the Police Force. The Foundation has also opened many skill acquisition centres in rural communities in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries, where they provide basic training equipment, as well as supplying medical eyeglasses. Despite these notable achievements, however, she is convinced that her job is far from being done. Her vision, she says, is to run a vibrant missionary organisation that is well equipped to provide mobile qualitative all-round basic medical services, as well as provide the grassroots with free skill acquisition. “My idea is to build training centres in 100 rural communities with starter packs to promote self-reliance, selfproductivity and a dependable support system for widows and the aged, as a way of strengthening spiritual energy that is environmentally relevant by 2020,” she tells The Guardian. She attributes her success to hard work; volunteers, partners and a dedicated management team with which the foundation is blessed. “Above all, we depend heavily on the grace of God, which has helped in delivering the mandate. God has gone ahead of us to design the Foundation in such a way that its team is drawn from various ministries from the humblest and the unsophisticated of all people worldwide. And this has been an effective tool for efficient participation and good networking. What more can I say than to acknowledge that together, we are fighting purposefully to reach the world with God’s love and great passion.” Her one goal is to serve God and humanity and make the world a better place, while sharing the life-transforming message of hope and power as an international conference speaker. Her message of empowerment, deliverance, self-enterprise, she says, has impacted the lives of millions across the world. She is particularly grateful for being married to a man like Dr. Bukola Oluwagbemiga, who is the Dean of post-graduate studies at LIFE Theological Seminary and for her children, who have all been her pillar of strength in tough times. Outside the demands of her calling and work as a missionary, Princess is a purposeful academic with Masters of Theology in Missions and Church Growth and has been honoured with several speaking engagement in both television and radio within African. In 2008, she was appointed to the Human Right Development International, an influential non-government organisation, as a Transformational Activist to deal with humanitarian issues, systemic poverty and, in partnership with world leaders. Currently, she works with Famous Gospel Proclaimers’ ministries as a pastor with her husband. And despite her commitments, she believes that she is an achiever in the making. Little wonder she is still pressing on to raise the profile and lifestyle of rural indigent women. “As long as God helps us to sustain our training cuts across socioethnic or religious affiliations, we will continue to deliver on our mandate in line with Biblical tradition through the power of Jesus Christ until His coming.


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cover Corruption: The Thin Line Between Perception And Reality By Armsfree Ajanaku HEN, in 1999, Nigeria managed to wriggle out of the vice-like grip of military dictators that had held it down for decades, there was a groundswell of expectations among the people. The reasoning was that finally, with the soldiers out of the way and civilians brimming with ideas taking over, the country would experience a new lease of life. So profound were the expectations of the people that, a few months into the democratic experiment, the expression “dividends of democracy,” became an integral part of the political lexicon. The logic was that the Nigerian people had invested in the democratic project by buying “shares” through their votes given sacrificially to their representatives. In return, they expected to get “dividends,” as soon as the project of democracy began to yield fruits. For a people traumatised by the long brutal years of military dictatorships, the clichéd expression “dividends of democracy,” beyond its consonance was a manifestation of deep confidence in the democratic system, and the logic of its instrumentality in the quest to deliver the material and non-material goods the people crave. To those at the base of Nigeria’s democratic pyramid, therefore, the expectation was that, with democracy, certain benefits would trickle down. The very first of those benefits was freedom of expression and association, which had been upended during those years when the military adventured into the political space. However, beyond those abstract freedoms, millions of Nigerians also wanted freedom from poverty. They also wanted to see decent hospitals, good schools for their children, passable road infrastructure, potable water amongst a long list of other goods they had reason would come with the advent of democracy. Unfortunately, those expectations have been repeatedly dashed. The reality of the ordinary Nigerian is that of a man suffering the constancy of lack and poverty in the face of plenty. And to further add insult to injury, the poor Nigerian is systematically made a spectator of the ostentatious lifestyle of the political class. The time bomb of youth unemployment ticks away bringing to the fore the scary notion that one day the poor would have nothing to eat but the rich. Analysts of this growing gulf between ordinary Nigerians and the political class, which has made the most of its access to the commonwealth, point to corruption as the bane of Nigeria’s retarded development. The thinking is that there is actually enough to go round, and that the elite could still enjoy all the ‘big man’ perks and privileges, if they decide to work for the economic empowerment of the vast majority of the people. But sheer greed, as amply demonstrated in the humongous amounts being heard to have disappeared through corrupt practices has continued to swell Nigeria’s army of the poor. However, it is pertinent to note that the rise of corruption within the context of the Nigerian begun way before the advent of civil rule in 1999. In fact at independence, Nigeria’s elites seem too much in a hurry to emulate the ostentatious lifestyle that the British colonial overlords before them had led. There was thus a scramble to grab everything within sight not minding the fact that what was being grabbed was being taken from the national till. Public office holders were thus unable to draw a firm line between public and private property. The result was an apparent privatization of public resources for the sole purpose of commandeering the commonwealth for private benefit. In the coups that shunted aside the premiership of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa for example, allegations of how politicians and top civil servants engaged in profiteering and other forms of corruption resonated in the rationalizations of the intervention. Military governments which replaced the civilians did not fare better in the area of corruption. The junta of General Yakubu Gowon for example was accused of being soft with regards

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to the excesses of the military governors in his regime. After the Shehu Shagari administration mounted the saddle, one of the reasons the military engineered its demise in 1983 was that there was grand scale corruption under the watch of the administration. The Muhammadu Buhari administration subsequently sentenced a number of politicians to long prison terms. While some felt that the draconian approach of the Buhari junta towards fighting corruption would serve as deterrence, his trial and sentencing of politicians, and even journalists was knocked for lacking in basic standards of human rights. It appeared the tribunals went to work with a pre-determined outcome of jailing all politicians of that dispensation, not on the merit of evidence, but on the basis of their participation in the political space. This was how respectable statesmen and administrators including Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Lagos State Governor, Lateef Jakande, former Unity Party of Nigeria juggernaut, Ebenezer Babatope, Pa Micheal Adekunle Ajasin, amongst others, were thrown into jail for what turned out to be a hurried persecution of politicians of whatever hue. This was the state of affairs when the Ibrahim Babangida junta took the reins, after ousting Buhari in a place coup in August 1985. Babangida’s was a free wheeling and dealing government in which it was alleged that the underlining philosophy was that every Nigerian had a price, and could be settled, no matter his principles. It is alleged that it was under this administration that ‘settlement’ became official state policy as the administration pushed forward with the controversial and lacerating structural adjustment regime. It is the administration that still has questions hovering over its use of the Gulf oil windfall. Ironically, in terms of corruption, things degenerated with every new administration. It is reckoned that while the Babangida junta was subtle or even manipulative in institutionalizing the culture of settlement, the

despotic Sanni Abacha elevated the brazen looting of the public treasury to an art. Abacha grabbed from wherever, and stashed the proceeds in Swiss banks. He did not have the patience for the manipulative tactics of his predecessor. He simply laid siege on the treasury like an armed bandit. This is why many years after, traces of his loot from across the world are still yielding hundreds of millions of dollars of monies belonging to the Nigerian people. The international community, although at odds as to what to do with a bumbling Nigeria has been following Nigeria’s mind boggling corruption profile meticulously. The most readily recognizable voice tracking Nigeria’s corruption proclivities at the level of perception is the international organization known as Transparency International. So by the time Nigeria returned to a civilian dispensation in 1999, it had duly earned a well deserved place in the global hall of infamy due to pervasive corruption. Transparency International rightly adjudged Nigeria as one of the world’s most corrupt country, a monumental, albeit negative recognition of Africa’s giant as a global powerhouse for corruption. Nigerians are known to be proud people who resented the dubious gold medal that the political elite had won for the country. It jolted civil society as well as critical voices and there were strident calls for government to launch an onslaught against corruption. President Olusegun Obasanjo responded with the setting up of two anti-corruption agencies, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. With a fearless Nuhu Ribadu at the helm, the EFCC launched a major onslaught against corruption at the public and private level. High profile cases involving governors were investigated, and the agency demonstrated its resolve to prosecute. A serving Inspector General of Police was brought to book for grand scale larceny. While a number of figures in the opposition flayed Ribadu’s tactics, and what was deemed the selective nature of his onslaught,

there was no doubt that his exertions brought people who had cases to answer to book. It is a testimony to the work Ribadu and the EFCC did that Nigeria began to improve in the Transparency International ratings. By 2007, Nigeria, which had been rated the most corrupt country in the world in 1999, was rated 33rd from bottom. In that year, it was ranked 147 out of 179 countries that were rated. In 2008, Nigeria ranked 121 out of 180 countries rated, making it the 60th country from the bottom in that year’s ranking. But the anti-corruption crusade, which was gathering steam under Ribadu suffered a big blow because of the need by the political class to accommodate members who had been caught stealing from the till. Ribadu was shunted out of the EFCC in 2009, and ever since, the commission has struggled to find its verve. Not too long ago, it was revealed at the National Assembly that the commission was broke, and therefore incapacitated to carry out the functions of curbing corruption. Little wonder, several cases that should have attracted action from the commission are being overlooked. Even the organized stealing as was the case of the various subsidy frauds have been languishing in the courts where cases were perfunctorily instituted to fulfill all righteousness. In the end, it is crystal clear that there is no deterrence for corruption in Nigeria today. The implication of this is that people who have robbed the system are getting away without hassles from the law. So, when President Goodluck Jonathan recently asserted that Nigeria’s corruption perception is exaggerated, he seemed not to have reckoned with the realities on ground. A detailed inventory of corruption cases and how they are being handled would tell a story of the pervasiveness of corruption, which has become a way of Nigerian life. The reality on the ground suggests that people can get away with anything and that there is so much incentive for corruption. It is not just about the administration at the federal level; it is about a value system, an attitude that puts a lot of premium on outsmarting the system. It is this reality that shapes the perceptions.


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COVER Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), Professor Pat Utomi, believes that Nigeria’s public service exhibits a great deal of corruption, which, in the long run, frustrates government programmes. In this interview with TUNDE AKINOLA, the Professor of Political Economy and management expert says a “dramatic” change in the leadership structure with visionary leaders will address the issue of corruption. OULD you say the issue of corruption in Nigeria is exaggerated? W No, it is not. I can tell you, from experience and being a student of Political Economy of development in Nigeria, that it has not been exaggerated. On the contrary, it is frightening in its acceptance as the norm. Several years ago, there was a book titled: Corruption and Development in Africa edited by Kempe Ronald Hope (Snr.) and Bornwell Chukulo. The opening line in that book runs something like this: “Corruption runs a spectrum in Africa; from rare in Botswana to widespread in Ghana to systemic in Nigeria.” There was a chapter in that book written by two professors from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife; their contributions were damning. I recall from my personal experience in 1996 and 1997, when I had my sabbatical leave in the United States, an interview on CBS News 60 Minutes, where the late Mike Wallace, the correspondent spoke with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. This was during the Abacha era. Farrakhan in that interview talked about a visit to Nigeria and Wallace asked him why he would visit Nigeria, which is the most corrupt country in the world, if he was a man of good values? Of course, as a good Nigerian, I was very mad so I sent a fax to CBS News in 60 Minutes, in which I said I know a thing or two about journalism. In Journalism 101, journalists are thought to be careful of the use of superlatives. You need a statistical evidence to be able to assert some assumptions. For instance, calling Nigeria the most corrupt country in the world should be backed by facts and figures. Wallace called me back when he got my fax. He said he read all I have said about superlatives and all, but he said at times to make a point you have to turn to hyperbole. He said he felt and spoke that way of Nigeria because this was a country he held out great hope for. He talked about how he came to Nigeria in1970 to interview a Nigerian president he referred to as “Mr. Gowon” and how he went away to talk about an emerging power and how that power never emerged because it was crippled by corruption. I was of course naturally defensive; so, I reeled out my credentials. I said I could stand at the defunct World Trade Centre (WTC) and boast that I have never asked anybody for a bribe in my entire life and I was a Nigerian who had worked in government and served is a senior government position,

UTOMI: Corruption In Nigeria Is Frightening industry as an executive in manufacturing, academia. So to say Nigerians are all corrupt is to say I am a corrupt person as well. Wallace said he knew there would be people like me in Nigeria, but it is just that the few who represent you and those in position of authority have made your country seem like its national character is corruption. I said to him, I know that we have problem but we are fighting, I told him I was on the board of Transparency International (TI) in Nigeria. It almost turned out to be my undoing, because less than six months after that conversation, TI published its very first corruption index and Nigeria was the most corrupt country in the world. If it was after that publication by an organisation I claimed to belong to, he would have been on solid ground to say there is statistical evidence of at least a perception that Nigeria is the most corrupt country in the world. But the President said in Namibia that corruption perception of Nigeria has been exaggerated; what is your view on this? Everybody can have individual opinions on issues; I certainly will not say it is exaggerated. That is not my view of this reality. I wonder the last time the president tried to do any business in the Nigerian Civil Service. Bribe is considered an entitlement in the country’s civil service. It is almost impossible to pass anything through the Nigerian public service today without bribing, almost impossible. The people there look at you like something must be wrong with you to not have known that they need to be bribed. Myself and one of the heads of a major finance organisations here in Lagos were discussing this subject a few weeks ago and he told the story of a director in a certain major government agency in Abuja, who he was visiting. The director was complaining about how much someone brought to him for some businesses he got through him. He was saying the money was too small and that if he had not put it in the budget he would not have made the profit. He was asking for as much as 50 per cent of the man’s profit as if it was his personal prerogative. That is how bad it is. One of my disagreements with General Olusegun Obasanjo is that, sometimes, people do not take advice. When Obasanjo was running for president in 1998, I was one of those he invited to lead policy discussions with him. I remember telling him that the basis of the progress of any civilian government in Nigeria is a total reinventing of the country’s civil service. There is a kind of leadership of the civil service; it has hap-

pened elsewhere, Nigeria is not the first. Hong Kong used to have awful police force. Many countries with significant bureaucratic corruption have managed to change that completely. I told Obasanjo that, unless there was a serious effort to reform the public service in terms of mindset change, no serious initiative will achieve the goal. A lot of programmes the government has been passionate about since 1999 have failed disastrously because all kinds of interest have frustrated them (and they are significantly around corruption). The sooner we stopped deceiving ourselves about corruption, the better for us. Corruption is endemic in the country’s public service. I can tell you a story; I can even bring all the individuals concerned out because they are all alive and when they read this interview they will decode whom I am talking about. As I arrived Hilton Hotel in Abuja about two years ago, a friend of mine was on the 10th floor at the executive lounge, so I went and sat with him for din-

ner and I noticed he was looking sad. So I asked him what the issue was. He said what he heard that day was so terrible that he wished he were in a bad dream. He said he was representing some international organisations that had come for a major investment in Nigeria and they had gone to a meeting with the minister. He said the first time they came they met with him and they went through all the issues and there was a simple letter that was meant to be issued so that the American in question can get their home base to authorise a decision of activities that will lead to the realisation of the investment. He said the minister was friendly and the conversation was great and their agreements were cordial. He said the minister called is personal assistant and he dictated the short letter to him to prepare for the foreign company. He said he waited for three weeks to receive the short letter but it did not come, so he went back to Abuja to secure another appointment with the minister. He went with the Americans to see him again. The minister told them it was a small letter; that they should have known what to do if they wanted a quick response from his office. He said the letter was waiting but he could not write such a letter without being bribed. The guy said he was embarrassed by the minister’s attitude. He told the minister that he would not advice the American to pay the bribe because if their country gets to know of the act they could go to jail. The man told the minister there are several ways to go about the issue. He told him he could make the project possible by approving it, but instead of demanding for bribes, he could have slots to nominate candidates for employment or even determine people who can get contracts in developing the facilities they are putting up. The minster told him it is easy to say all he was saying, but most of his predecessors are poor today because they listened to people like my friend. That was what ensued between a Nigerian minister, a lawyer and foreigners. The lawyer is there and I can even ask you to interview him but I don’t think that is necessary for this type of subject. So to say that corruption perception is exaggerated with this type of daily practice is trying to deliberately divert attention from the reality. This is not to say there are no good people in the system. There are good people, who do their work. Many times, even their colleagues see them as aberrations. Check in many ministries and you will see how abuse takes place. However, there are many good people, I must repeat that. There are people who realise they can do their jobs decently, build goodwill with people and based on how well they do their jobs this goodwill will serve them well in the future. That is what I call delayed gratification.

Major Corruption Allegations Against The Jonathan Presidency From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE Nigerian government commenced efforts at fighting corrupT tion in 2000 when it established the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). Prior to

this event, corruption perception of Nigeria was very high, such that, in 1999, the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rated Nigeria the second most corrupt nation in the world. Corruption was said to have permeated both public and private sectors, spanning all levels of government. The commission was mandated to receive complaints, investigate and prosecute offenders. Other duties include education and enlightenment of the public about and against bribery, corruption and related offences. The commission also has the task of reviewing and modifying the activities of public bodies, where such practices may aid corruption. Four years after that, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was also established to fight financial and economic crimes specifically. Its activities, at the time, reduced the level of corruption in the country as the EFCC arrested and prosecuted many high-profile individuals and government officials who, hitherto, were considered untouchable. Persons prosecuted and jailed included former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, and former governor of Bayelsa State, Dieprieye Alamiyeseigha. Before the exit of the former chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, the fear of EFCC was the beginning of wisdom for many corrupt individuals. But the opinion in many quarters now is that the anti-graft agencies are no longer working as they should; Nigerians actually think that corruption is on the increase. This is despite the many corruption cases pending in the courts. Some of those cases, especially those against ex-governors seem to be making no progress due to frivolous applications by defence counsel. Though the EFCC has continually put the blame for delay in dispensation of corruption cases at the door of the Judiciary, the current government of President Goodluck Jonathan has been accused of frustrating the efforts of the anti-graft agencies. The 2013 US Country Report on Nigeria blamed the President for the lull currently being experienced in the fight against corruption in the country. The Report stated in Section 4 that, although the law

provides criminal penalties for official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Meanwhile, massive, widespread and pervasive corruption was said to have affected all levels of government and the security forces. It should be noted that some cabinet members of the President are currently facing probe on allegation of financial misconduct. Former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, who is currently being investigated by the EFCC, is alleged to have ordered two bulletproof cars with N255 million. Another female minister, Mrs. Allison Madueke of the Petroleum Resources, is alleged to have chartered three jets for her personal use at the sum of N10 billion. The prime agency under her ministry, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is also accused of financial misconduct to the tune of $20 million. All these allegations if allowed to be swept under the carpet, will speak volume of the President’s tolerance for corruption and corrupt individuals in his cabinet. The suspended Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is also being accused of financial recklessness during his four-year reign at the apex bank According to the US Report, “The anti-corruption efforts of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and EFCC remained largely ineffectual. The ICPC holds broad authorities to prosecute all forms of corruption, whereas the EFCC is tasked with handling only financial crimes. Despite this wider mandate, the ICPC had achieved only 68 convictions since its inauguration in 2000”. “EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde, who took office in 2011, continued previous cases or brought new cases against 12 nationally prominent public officials. The EFCC faced several frustrating setbacks during the year”, the Report stated. By the controversial case involving a former director at Police Pension Office, John Yakubu Yusuf, which conviction was won by EFCC in January of 2013, the US is also convinced that the current administration in the country was stifling the fight against corruption. Yusuf was convicted for embezzling N2 billion ($12.6 million), an offence, which carried with it a two-year prison sentence. The judge fined Yusuf N750,000 in lieu of prison term. The day following this judgment, the EFCC re-arrested Yusuf on the charge of fail-

ing to declare a N250 million ($1.57 million) bank account on his mandatory Declaration of Assets Form; Yusuf remained in custody pending trial at the end of the year. The presidential pardon granted former Bayelsa State governor, Alamieyeseigha, was not a welcome idea as indicated in the report. Alamieyeseigha, was convicted in 2008 for embezzling more than $10 million in state funds. While Alamieyeseigha served two years in prison and forfeited the property he held in the country, he was still wanted in the United Kingdom on money laundering charges, and another foreign government seized his assets. By granting him pardon, the US noted that President Jonathan paved the way for Alamieyeseigha to run for another elected office or to hold other appointed offices. “Despite the arrest of several high-ranking officials by the EFCC, allegations continued that agency investigations targeted individuals who had fallen out of favour with the government, while those who were in favour continued their activities with impunity”, the report stated. Giving a chronicle of how the President may have been frustrating the efforts of the anti-graft agencies, the US report stated that: “In February 2012, the EFCC brought criminal charges against former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva for laundering almost N5 billion ($31.4 million) of funds belonging to Bayelsa State. In October 2012, the EFCC seized 48 properties worth approximately N1 billion ($6.3 million) allegedly belonging to Sylva in Abuja. Sylva was granted bail in January 2013. The EFCC discovered more evidence of Sylva’s money laundering activities, and after he refused to cooperate with the investigation, the Commission arrested him again in May to bring new charges, raising the amount of money he was suspected of laundering to N6.46 billion ($40.6 million). The court held Sylva in custody for one month before granting him bail of N100 million ($628,000); the court refused his request to return his passports to travel to London with his wife. On July 4, 2013, the Federal High Court in Abuja acquitted former minister of works and housing Hassan Lawal. In May 2011, the EFCC arrested Lawal on $471 million fraud allegation. On May 28, the Federal High Court in Abuja started the trial of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, for making fraudulent contracts worth N894 million ($5.6 million); the former Speaker was later absolved of wrongdoing.


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OLADELE: Despite Progress, Corruption Remains A Collective Challenge Kayode Oladele, an international lawyer and chief of staff in the office of the executive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the agency required by law to prosecute all financial crimes in the country, agrees in this interview with ABOSEDE MUSARI that, despite efforts since 2003, corruption remains ‘a collective challenge’ in Nigeria. How has EFCC fared over the years in handling corruption cases or in executing its mandates? The establishment of the EFCC was a response to the worldwide condemnation of corruption and one of the reforms to the criminal justice system in Nigeria. The Criminal Code and Penal Codes were not only obsolete, they were very old and could not deal effectively with certain crimes particularly, economic and financial crimes. There is a general consensus that corruption is wrong and it is safe to assume that one of the goals of any self-respecting government is to stamp out corruption and demolish institutions that breed corruption.  Corruption is no longer a local matter; it has evolved into a transnational phenomenon, which affects all societies and economies requiring international cooperation and synergy.  This was why the United Nations Convention Against Corruption was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 31 October 2003. Nigeria is a signatory. What the EFCC is doing today is not only to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption both within and outside the public sector; we have also discovered that we need to take part in remolding the attitude of Nigerians. We have embarked on grassroots campaigns against corruption from the elementary level to the tertiary institutions — all aimed at ensuring attitudinal change and help promote integrity right from the beginning.  The EFCC will continue to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute anybody who is found culpable to the full extent of the law as a deterrent to others.  However, for the total war against corruption to be won, we must fight corruption as a world phenomenon and from all perspectives. Since corruption is a transnational matter, which affects all societies and economies, International cooperation is essential, in addition to the fact that a comprehensive and multiple tactics are required in order to prevent and combat the scourge. Hence, the EFCC has worked tirelessly to accomplish one of the objectives of the UN Convention Against Corruption, which is to reduce the problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of the Nigerian society undermining the ethics and values of our democracy, justice system, sustainable development and the rule of law. But on a very serious note, we have done pretty well for a country where corruption is seen as normal, as a way of life. With this institution today everybody is conscious of the evil of corruption; people are willing to discuss the issue. A lot of things have changed and people are beginning to see corruption as a serious problem. People think the EFCC is the solution to most of the problems of this country and if we want to contain and sustain the confidence of the public we must be able to fulfill their dreams and wishes by doing what is expected of us. With EFCC prosecuting corruption since 2003, would you say that it has made any serious impact; is corruption reducing? Yes corruption is reducing. No matter what the perception is out there, there’s reduction in the level of corruption; though the process is a continuous one that involves not just EFCC but also public and private sector and the society. In order to stem the tide of corruption in Nigeria, the commission is using a three-prong approach of education, prevention and enforcement. To this effect, it is important to note that the mandate of the commission is not to investigate or prosecute alone but is also required to educate the public on the evil of corruption. Today, what we do is reach out to every segment of the society and involve them in the campaign. This we do, not only through the

negatively impacts other strata of governance such as security, education, energy and power and other sectors. Political corruption is often aided by the political elites, whether the ruling or the counter elites, through their appalling acts of political accommodation which is in itself driven by the quest to gain political power at whatever cost, whether it’s a “do-or-die” or “ turning a blind eye” to corruption and the corrupt. My point is: why would political elites accommodate individuals with questionable character, or people who are being investigated for serious acts of corruption allowed into a political party, even when such individuals are known to be corrupt? People, who are facing corruption trials, are being given party tickets to run for election as governors, senators and so on. Rather than view corruption as a malady that can dent the chances of a political party, the pages of national newspapers have been replete with instances where corrupt politicians who decamp from one party to another are welcome with rallies and adulation. Corruption becomes relegated while politics and quest for power by any means tend to become the essence of politics.   Known corrupt individuals have not only backed political office holders but pictures of some of these corrupt individuals with public office holder have severally graced the front pages of newspapers. Unfortunately, because politics has been bastardised in our society, the culture of resignation, even where an allegation of corruption has been made, is considered an aberration. Political office holders find it difficult to resign or at least “step aside” to allow for non-interference in administrative investigation of their actions. I have severally presented papers to explain some of the challenges faced by anti-corruption institutions and one of these challenges is the problem of weak institutions. If the EFCC arrests a corrupt public officer for stealing millions of naira and the courts release such individuals after paying a token, who is to be blamed? Political corruption and governance are shaped by institutions, and it is these institutions, through the individuals that operate them, that implement the rules of the game. If these same institutions were weak or compromised, how would the process of deepening anti-corruption and PHOTOS: ABOSEDE MUSARI best possible governance be promoted? Related to weak institutions is another important factor, which is the legal framemedia but also through civil society organisa- el of corruption perception of Nigeria is work. There is an urgent need to drastically tions and college campuses. exaggerated? revisit the punishment for corruption in People are better equipped today to fight I’m not concerned about how exaggerated Nigeria. This need has been buttressed by corruption than they were 12 years ago when corruption is; I’m concerned about the calls, which range from those for special there was little or no effort to bring corrupt appearance of corruption itself and the level courts for the trial of corruption cases to people to trial. People now ask questions, they of impunity with which people loot the those that advocate for a “Chinese treatment” question their leaders and confront them economy. The appearance of corruption at for corrupt individuals. To this effect, some using the Freedom of Information Act. They all is worrisome. Everybody is in agreement judges have, in a way rightly, argued that the even go to court to compel the release of certhat the level of corruption is high, what you light punishment for corruption is based on tain information, which, hitherto, wasn’t the see is what you get. Everybody should see the existing laws and inadequate legal framepractice. corruption as something that must be com- work. In my opinion, this will continue to be on bated because of its consequences on the Do you also agree that there is inadequate the increase. In the final analysis, corruption economy. legal framework for punishing offenders? may not be entirely wiped out of the system What challenges are you facing in the fight Yes I do. A typical example of inadequate but we’ll see a significant reduction in the lev- against corruption and what is this new legal framework was demonstrated by the el of impunity in the country. term, political corruption? Court in the decision of Justice Abubakar Political corruption remains the major Talba of an Abuja High Court on January 28, Would you, therefore, say that the current lev- challenge of governance in Nigeria and it 2013 in the police pension scam case involving one John Yusuf, a Director at the Police Pension Office who was charged with criminal misappropriation and stealing by the EFCC, under section 309 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria, 2007.   Yusuf pleaded guilty to breach of trust and fraudulently converting N2bn of police pension funds to his private use. Upon conviction, the trial Judge sentenced him to two years imprisonment with an option of fine in the sum of N750,000 for the three offences he  pleaded guilty to even though, each of the three offences  attracted  a  maximum of twoyear jail term. Despite the fact that the conviction was unarguably overtly light and against the weight of evidence, it is clear that the Judge manipulated the inadequate legal provisions and the inherent weakness in the criminal justice administration system to abuse his discretion in favour of  John Yusuf.  

For now, there are numerous cases where the legal system is frustrating the activities of the EFCC. Another related problem is the undue delay in the judicial process. This is, perhaps; the most monstrous challenge in the prosecution of political corruption in Nigeria. It is extremely challenging in Nigeria today to prosecute accused persons, particularly in corruption and money laundering cases. It is now a brazen and unbridled “art” for many defence counsel to stall prosecution of cases by endless, and most times frivolous interlocutory applications and appeals; blackmailing and intimidating judges who do not yield to their delay tactics, thereby  encouraging their clients to malinger and hide from the law. Most importantly, political corruption has persisted because there is the lack of what I would call collective governance.

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‘Legal System Frustrating Anti-graft War’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 Why did you say this? Section 309 of the Penal Code, under which Yusuf was sentenced, provides that “whoever commits criminal misappropriation shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to two years or with fine or both.” Therefore, we shall continue to witness inconsequential and unconscionable convictions of this nature until the law is amended to provide for stiffer penalty and the criminal justice administration system is reviewed by the National Assembly. For instance, where the law says a man who steals should be sentenced to two years with an option of fine, can be amended upwardly and the sentence increased while also making provision for restitution. As the law is today, victims of crime go home empty-handed. For now, there are numerous cases where the legal system is frustrating the activities of the EFCC. Another related problem is the undue delay in the judicial process. This is, perhaps; the most monstrous challenge in the prosecution of political corruption in Nigeria. It is extremely challenging in Nigeria today to prosecute accused persons, particularly in corruption and money laundering cases. It is now a brazen and unbridled “art” for many defence counsel to stall prosecution of cases by endless, and most times frivolous interlocutory applications and appeals; blackmailing and intimidating judges who do not yield to their delay tactics, thereby  encouraging their clients to malinger and hide from the law. Most importantly, political corruption has persisted because there is the lack of what I would call collective governance What is collective governance? Simply put, collective governance is grounded in democracy to an extent that both the government and the governed are conscious of their roles and responsibilities in the governance process. Here, governance is not only restricted to government. Rather, the civil society as represented in individuals, organisations and groups, are as involved in shaping and sustaining best practices in governance as the government officials themselves. By this token, citizens become proactive members of the state. My point is that, even where there is the failure of governance from the point of government and the country’s leadership, the governed on a number of occasions have not shown their distaste for corruption. Nigeria is the way it is, not only because of leadership failure but followers have also failed to appreciate the power that they wield as checks on government. Although it is often easy to argue that poverty is responsible for the loss of value in society, collective governance would only be attained when the people for whom government exists in the first place have a mindset that they chiefly determine who rules them and how they should be ruled. The churches and mosques should become more involved in the naming and shaming of corrupt individuals. It is laughable the number of corrupt Nigerians that go to mosques and churches for “thanksgiving” even after looting the nation’s treasury. Instead of collective governance, the socio-cultural landscape in the political economy is readily exploited by criminals to give sentimental or primordial interpretation or coloration to allegations of crimes against them, particularly corruption-related crimes. As a result, even in glaring incidents of misconduct, fraud, crime and corruption the perpetrators do not lack sympathisers, who cluster around them.

was being prosecuted for laundering billions of Naira belonging to their state, which in turn, impoverished them. When the court refused Ibori’s oral application for bail, the crowd went wild, caused a stampede, pulled down the fence of the court’s premises and the women among them went semi-nude in protest. It was very difficult for the security agents to control them. With such frenzy, one could imagine what would have happened if the case had been held in Delta State. The position was not different with the other high-profile suspects, who always appeared on each day of trial with placards carrying crowds in protest against the EFCC prosecution. According to you, there are challenges with the judicial process; how then do the new practice directions address all of these? The problem with the criminal justice administration system has been addressed by the courts, especially since the emergence of the new Chief Justice of Nigeria. Specifically last year, there were three sets of practice directions that came out; one for Federal High Court  Practice Direction Amendment 2013,  signed by the chief judge of the Federal High Court. Hon Justice Auta.   The second practice direction signed also in June 2013 was the one relating to the Court of Appeal, and was signed by then Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Bukachuwa. While the last one was signed by the CJN; that is the Supreme Court Practice Direction.  I must also say that these practice directions relate only to cases involving terrorism, kidnapping, rape, corruption and money laundering. It’s not a practice direction that involves civil matters; criminal matters, such as  murder or manslaughter, are not included. The purpose of the practice direction is actually to establish a system of case management that will provide for fair, impartial administration of criminal justice cases before our courts. I will talk specifically on Oladele the Federal High Court practice Direction 2013. Because that is where every case starts before proceeding to the Court of Appeal and ultimately, the supreme court.   The practice direction for the federal high court was done to ensure that during trials, parties focus on matters that are genuine so that they don’t deviate beyond matters that are brought before the court.  In addition, it is to ensure they minimise the time spent on trials so they don’t waste the time of the court as well as their own time. Very interestingly, there is also provision for possibility of settlement. It’s a tacit response to the issue of plea bargain. It says that parties should look for the possibility of settlement before they go into trial or into hearing of the matter. This means that the practice direction tacitly encourages plea bargain because that is probably the only way you can discuss settlement in criminal matters.

If parties have agreed on settlement what’s the need for trial? That’s why the objective and guiding principle of the practice direction says that parties explore possibilities of settlement before hearing. It’s not even before trial but before they go into hearing, meaning that they don’t want to waste taxpayers’ money or waste the judicial resources. For judicial economy, parties are encouraged to seek possibilities of settlement before hearing. Would you want to do plea bargain after that experience with John Yusuf’s case? There’s nothing wrong with plea bargain, it is the implementation that is the problem. Does this impact your operations at the EFCC? Regrettably, it is within this peculiar and hos- All over the world, plea bargain is something tile milieu that the EFCC prosecutes corruption they use to save judicial time and taxpayers’ cases in Nigeria.  The effect is that there is a high resources. It’s just that, maybe, in this country, people are being manipulative and cortendency by accused persons to tamper with ruption is also brought to bear on the witnesses either by compromise or outright process of plea bargain.  If you look at John intimidation, which makes it difficult for the Yusuf’s case that you are talking about, it is EFCC in some cases to secure witnesses attennot what was bargained for that the judge dance in courts. There is also a disposition of sympathisers to delivered. And, of course, judges have discretion as to whether or not to accept plea barassist the criminals to hide their proceeds of gain.  Because plea bargain is an agreement crime. A good example of this was the case of between the prosecutor and the defendant, James Ibori, a former Governor of Delta State. Judges have the power to disagree with When Ibori was arraigned by the EFCC in the terms of the plea bargain; they can even Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court on the 17th of December, 2007, large crowds num- impose new terms. Judges have a duty to ensure that whatevbering about 500 travelled all the way from er comes out of their courts will not violate Delta State to Kaduna in buses, a distance of more than 700kms in solidarity with the former public policy, that it will serve the interest of justice and the rule of law. But a situation governor notwithstanding the fact that Ibori

There is also a disposition of sympathisers to assist the criminals to hide their proceeds of crime. A good example of this was the case of James Ibori, a former Governor of Delta State. When Ibori was arraigned by the EFCC in the Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court on the 17th of December, 2007, large crowds numbering about 500 travelled all the way from Delta State to Kaduna in buses, a distance of more than 700kms in solidarity with the former governor notwithstanding the fact that Ibori was being prosecuted for laundering billions of Naira belonging to their state, which in turn, impoverished them. where a judge now aids the violation of rule of law, public policy as well as the course of justice is not the principle behind plea bargain. So, the issue of John Yusuf is really an exception to the rule; and, of course, you could see the kind of public condemnation that trailed that judgment. Judges have the discretion to accept or not to accept a bargain and when it comes to the imposition of sentence, the prosecutor and the accused cannot agree on a sentence. They can make recommendation to the judge, it’s for the judge to agree or disagree. Even if the prosecutor agrees with an accused to reduce a particular sentence, the judge can look at it and if he believes that the sentence is too light, he can decline that recommendation and then impose an appropriate sentence in line with the charges. Usually what prosecutors do in plea bargain is to make recommendation when it comes to sentencing or punishment. It’s the discretion of the judge to impose punishment in line with the sentencing guidelines. So you are trying to say that Nigeria is not off course by adopting the principles of plea bargain? All over the world, it’s not something that is new but, as I said, when something gets to Nigeria, we taint it. Plea bargain is not meant to let people off the hook. And I’ve said it also that I’ve never seen a plea bargain that will set a criminal free. A plea bargain must, by all means, involve some form of punishment, including custodian sentencing, particularly

in corruption cases. There’s nothing like an option of fine. In corruption cases, plea bargain must involve a custodian sentence and apart from that, there should be forfeiture and restitution. Again there’s this misconception that when people plea-bargain, they go away with the money they stole. This is not so. Even in John Yusuf’s matter, that was not the case. When a person is convicted, he forfeits the proceeds of crime to the Federal Government. If you look at section 20 of the EFCC Act, it deals with forfeiture.  It says that “A person convicted of an offence under the EFCC Act shall forfeit to the Federal Government, all the assets and properties which may or are the subject of the interim order of the court after an attachment”. There’s a reference to an interim order of the court. I will tell you what that means. When we proceed against somebody, we first get an interim order of forfeiture just to make sure that such an individual does not tamper with the property while the case is pending. It’s interim and can only become permanent when such a person is convicted.  Don’t also forget that an accused person is deemed innocent until after trial and conviction.  So after conviction, we will bring another motion before the court to turn that interim order to permanent order of forfeiture. The interim order of forfeiture will now become permaCONTINUED ON PAGE 21


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COVER CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 nent and will forfeit all the properties covered by the order. Usually, when we arrest somebody, the person is bound to complete an asset declaration form. But again, there are instances when people don’t disclose some of their assets fully. We can still proceed to do our own investigation beyond what they have disclosed. So whatever thing they have disclosed and those they have not disclosed but traceable to the crime are liable to forfeiture. The law also says that any of the person’s properties or instrumentalities used in any manner to commit or facilitate the commission of the offence shall be confiscated. If the person used a vehicle to convey a large sum of money and in the process he was arrested, and during the process of search, we discover a large sum of money hidden maybe in the trunk, the vehicle used to convey that money is also liable to forfeiture. For the avoidance of doubt, and without any further assurance, all the property of the person convicted of an offence under the EFCC Act and shown to be derived or acquired from such illegal act, and already the subject of an interim order, shall be forfeited to the federal government. Definitely no plea bargain can change this. Even if a person bargains to say he is guilty and a court says he should pay a fine of N750,000 or go to jail for two years, and he chooses to pay N750,000,  don’t forget  it is still a form of conviction. That person is already a convict and his properties will be subject to section 20 of the EFCC Act. Even if he is later pardoned, the property cannot be released to him because the property is not a subject of pardon. What people are also saying is that there should be a process of restitution, particularly for those who stole from other people, there should be a way of paying back. It’s not a matter of they will steal, go to jail for two years and come back to enjoy the loot. In other climes, you cannot even pay your legal fees from the stolen funds. This way, you cannot use the money at your disposal to frustrate legal process. Accused persons can source for legal fees to defend themselves but all accounts traceable to that person and are proceeds of illicit financial transaction or corruption will be frozen. But when people still have access to their stolen funds, which could be in Billions, they will hire several lawyers who will whatever they can to frustrate their client’s prosecution as we are currently witnessing in Nigeria. If they don’t have access to their stolen money and don’t have resources t pay for legal services, you are sure to have speedy trial of offenders. So you don’t freeze accounts in Nigeria? We do but not in all situations. Many of these politically exposed persons that are standing trial still have access to their fat bank accounts and that is why they have the resources to hire several senior advocates of Nigeria whose briefs are to frustrate the legal process. No lawyer will continue to represent a client if the prospects of being paid are dim or non-existent. If EFCC has powers to freeze accounts, why have cases involving the ex-governors continued for so many years without conclusion or even trials in some cases? As I said earlier, again Nigeria is a place where you have our criminal justice administration system being turned upside down. You see many judges ordering EFCC not to even investigate a governor not to talk of freezing his accounts. So people go around, obtain interim or permanent injunction against arrest or freezing of their accounts and judges will still go ahead to grant these orders. I’m sure you are aware of Odili’s case. Odili obtained a permanent injunction restraining the EFCC from either arresting him or tampering with his accounts.  So we have a problem with the judiciary. In other places by the time they freeze the accounts here and there, the people will be the ones pushing for speedy trial. But when you have the money to spend, you can tell EFCC to go to blazes; several of our cases have been in court for as many as seven years yet, we are still dealing with preliminary matters, from one interlocutory appeal to another. And before you know it, the Judge will be replaced or promoted and the matter will start again afresh, de novo as they call it. What should be done about this? I think the judiciary and the lawyers have a lot of roles to play.  And I’ve said it elsewhere that lawyers should see themselves as officers of court first before talking of their duties to

‘How Lawyers Violate The Rule Of Law’ their clients. Lawyers usually take oath of office and that makes them permanently under oath. Before they are admitted as lawyers, they have to swear to uphold the constitution of the country.   So, they are permanently under oath to protect the integrity of the country and the rule of law. But what we see is that because of lack of sufficient supervision over the activities of lawyers in Nigeria, many lawyers do what they like and they are actually the ones that violate the rule of law. Some lawyers, unfortunately very senior ones, tell their clients that if their clients have money they can drag cases for decades.  They don’t see themselves as having a responsibility to the people or to the country or to the constitution but they see themselves first and last as lawyers to their clients whose interest must be protected at all cost and by whatever means possible. This is very sad to say the least. When you look at the judiciary, we have problems there and it is because many of those that are supposed to be at the temple of justice are the ones tampering with justice. This portends a very great danger to the country. The judiciary is seen as the last hope of the common man and where a common man no longer have hope in the judiciary, I think it is an invitation to anarchy, a journey to the state of nation where might is right.  I’ve heard about instances where people go to court with cutlasses. I understand there was an incident where a litigant had to chase a judge out of court with cutlass because of numerous adjournments and the man was never allowed to have his day in court. We should not allow the society to degenerate to that level and so far, people are not really very happy. Many politicians

don’t care about winning elections any longer. And many of them don’t even care about paying their lawyers any longer because they feel they have access to the judges. Such is the level of political corruption in Nigeria and if judiciary also becomes a significant part of it, then we are gunning towards a serious institutional disorder. Are you saying that the judiciary is losing public confidence because of political corruption? Yes. Public confidence in the judiciary is very essential to the role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption, therefore, when confidence is eroding, any elements responsible for such erosion of confidence must be removed in order to strengthen the institution and further assure the general public of the independence of the judiciary. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, former President of the United States,  “unless a man is honest we have no right to keep him in public life, it matters not how brilliant his capacity, it hardly matters how great his power of doing good service on certain lines may be...No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community.”  It is bad if public servants are corrupt; it is worse if those in the administration of justice are compromised. The judiciary is there to serve the interest of the public and no judiciary can flourish without the respect and trust of the public due to corruption and impunity. Without such respect and trust, we cannot say that a truly functioning judiciary is in operation in Nigeria and there cannot be an effective mechanism to fight corruption in the larger society.  Therefore, I am happy that both the NJC and the presidency have not

So, they are permanently under oath to protect the integrity of the country and the rule of law. But what we see is that because of lack of sufficient supervision over the activities of lawyers in Nigeria, many lawyers do what they like and they are actually the ones that violate the rule of law. Some lawyers, unfortunately very senior ones, tell their clients that if their clients have money they can drag cases for decades. They don’t see themselves as having a responsibility to the people or to the country or to the constitution but they see themselves first and last as lawyers to their clients whose interest must be protected at all cost and by whatever means possible. This is very sad, to say the least.

been dismissive of the allegation of corruption against some judges in Nigeria and have taken the drastic steps of sacking the judges in order to demonstrate zero tolerance in the administration of justice. Going back to the practice direction, what direct advantages do you see there in the prosecution of your cases? The practice direction, if followed to the letter, will assist us in expediting some of these cases that we have in court right now. There is a direction given to prosecutors in terms of what they are supposed to do when they want to file a charge, there are duties expected of the prosecutor, there are duties expected of the defence.  For instance, in cases relating to EFCC, ICPC, terrorism matters, even rape, the complainant shall not file a charge unless it is accompanied by affidavit stating that all investigations into that matter had been concluded and in the opinion of the prosecutor, a prima facie case exists against such an accused person and on the first arraignment, the prosecutor must produce the accused person in court.  So it’s not a question of the accused is not in court, let us adjourn. Where there is a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear such a matter, the court shall ensure that the ruling is delivered within 14 days, but the problem is that some of these directives  are observed in the breach. But I think so far, you just heard about the suspension of some judges. The NJC just fired two judges while a few others received warnings. Part of the reasons was because one of them failed to deliver judgment within the stipulated time by the constitution. So far, the NJC and the current CJN have taken the bull by the horn and are doing the right thing. I just hope they don’t derail at some point.  Again in the past, lawyers would wait until they got to court before serving motions on each other, throwing motion papers at one another in the courtroom after which they would request for adjournment to study the motion and respond. These are all tricks to delay the hearing of a case. And don’t forget in Nigeria, our courts still go on vacation. To some extent, Nigerian judges need some time to rest because they use long hand to write. If you have to take dictations like you are in secondary school, then you need some time off, otherwise, you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome due to work stress. No party under the current High Court is allowed to serve a notice of application on another on days scheduled for hearing; that’s the new directive. It’s on matters relating to EFCC, ICPC, rape and kidnapping because they are matters requiring urgent attention and requires that they should be heard expeditiously. In addition, in order to ensure speedy dispensation, lawyers are also encouraged to use e-mails to communicate with the courts so you don’t say that it is the dispatch clerk or the post office that caused the delay. You can use email, it’s allowed now. Prosecution have a duty to serve the statement of evidence and documentary exhibit upon the defence seven days before arraignment so that they have an idea of what is against them. And then, for the defence itself (this is very important), the defence lawyers have a duty to specify in writing, the defence they will raise during the trial.  They also must specify that aspect of the prosecution case, which they agree with. They can agree that their client stole only N1 billion, instead of the N3 billion on the complaint. Will anybody agree to have stolen anything? This is what the instruction says. Sometimes, at the end of the day, people do agree because you cannot have plea bargain without agreeing to have done something wrong. That’s the first rule in plea bargain. As a matter of fact, after plea bargain, the judge will ask you whether you are aware of what you just did. You will have to answer in the affirmative that yes you are aware. In John Yusuf’s case, he agreed to having stolen more than N2 billion.  So, you can agree that the evidence says or the count says it is N10 billion. ‘No, I disagree; it’s only N1 billion.’ Even if you now agree and there’s a plea bargain, in the course of plea bargain, you will have to agree that you stole N1 billion and the judge will ask you to state it for the records. An accused must admit to committing a lower crime before entering into a plea bargain; otherwise, there is no deal.   You must CONTINUED ON PAGE 24


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ADENIRAN: It Is Uncharitable To Say Corruption Perception Is Exaggerated Executive Chairman, Campaign Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), DEBO ADENIRAN, says corruption was not recognised in Africa until the arrival of colonialism, western education and religions. In this interview with TUNDE AKINOLA, Adeniran suggest a national ideology that will specify the limit, the upper limit of material acquisition, which should be in proportion to the ability and capability of every individual or corporate entity. S the perception that Nigeria is corrupt really ICORRUPTION true? is not a native of Africa. The term became popular as far back as the 14th century during the reign of King Edward II of England (between 1307 and 1327). He was a weak king, unlike his father, Edward I, who was able to raise his head, even during the intimidation of the Scots and pride himself with truthfulness with the adoption of “keep faith” (pactum serva) as personal motto. Edward II was constantly under the influence of some designated favourities who forced him to do their bids, which was against established principles. This led to a widespread revolt led by Roger Mortimer and his brother, which forced King Edward II to recognise the independence of Scotland in 1314. He was pronounced corrupt and deposed in January 1327 and killed eight months later. What is clear is that it is the weak, lethargic and unproductive power wielder who usually perpetrates corruption. Various complexes usually overwhelm them. These include the fear or inability to prioritise his range of activities because he cannot think clearly. He is afraid of failure and does everything to pretend that he is working along the right direction. He is afraid that his opponents who observe and criticise him and work against him might defeat him. He thus deploys coercive machineries to silence the opposition. He is eternally afraid of expiration of his tenure during which his successors might discover his misdeeds in office and subject him to public scrutiny and discipline. Thus, corruption was not recognised in Africa, before the arrival of colonialism, western education and religions. The colonialists came with the Bible and the pen to deceive us into socio-cultural, political and economic enslavement. Pre-colonial Africa culture “emphasized social responsibility, job orientation, political participation as well as spiritual and moral values”. Everybody had something doing. The socio-political ideology of the old Africa was based on a crude form of Communism. Communism is the political belief that property should be equitably shared amongst all members of the society, and that people should work for the benefit of the society as a whole. The African society of the old was not stratified along privileged social classes. At a forum in Namibia recently, President Jonathan said the corruption perception of Nigeria is exaggerated. Is that true? It is uncharitable of President Jonathan to say that corruption perception of Nigeria is exaggerated. It may be a fact that Nigeria is not the most corrupt country in Africa; but it is more like equivocation for the President to state that the issue of corruption in Nigeria is exaggerated. The statement in Namibia was not the first; he actually mentioned it in one of his media chats last year when he said that Nigeria didn’t come first, second or third in the corruption rating. Also in a televised debate titled, “Africa’s Next Billion,” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January this year, he said that it was wrong for anybody to hold the belief that corruption was the cause of all the problems confronting Africa, which connotes that he doesn’t recognise corruption as the main problem in Nigeria. That is to underscore his ignorance about the situation in Nigeria, the way things are done in Nigeria. It is so unfortunate that our leaders are far detached from the realities. It is a known fact that corruption is the main reason why nothing is working in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. As a matter of fact, corruption is the biggest problem of Nigeria and the bane of development in other African countries. Every problem confronting Nigeria today has its roots in corruption. For a wise president, he should have constructed a problem tree where he would have discovered that every problem we have in Nigeria — be it on infrastructure, roads becoming death traps, hospitals that have become dying centres, educa-

tional institutions becoming havens of budding criminals in terms of cultist activities, immoral acts like prostitutions, and even the problem of insecurity, as typified by Boko Haram — are all products of corruption. It only takes a president who is neck-deep in corruption not to accept the menace as the root cause of Nigeria’s problem. If corruption is tackled head on; if our leaders stop diverting our common heritage and start using it for the common good of the Nigerian citizens, most problems in the country, including the insecurity challenges, will be solved. It is high time Mr. President stopped making excuses for corruption at every opportunity. The rate at which corruption is proliferating in the country is alarming that a right-thinking person cannot but advocate a solemn assembly to address issues germane to the menace that has become a real threat to the rights of every Nigerian. Many cases of corruption are yet to be solved by our leaders; as a matter of fact, Nigeria has become a laughing stock among the comity of nations because our leaders, past and present, have embezzled billions of dollars from our common patrimony, diverting what every Nigerian should enjoy into private coffers. Each of the leaders used his power and position to amass huge amounts of wealth, in turn denying the Nigerian citizens access to development funds and the benefits of private investments in their respective tenures. We should admit that corruption didn’t start with this regime, this regime is in itself a product of corrupt practices and there is corruption in every facet of our national life; apart from electoral corruption, there is judicial corruption, governance corruption, educational corruption; there is corruption in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Many scandals that broke out since the inception of democracy in 1999 have proven to us that our country is not having it better than it was in the

military days. Most corruption scandals that broke out since the coming of democracy are treated like nonissues in Nigeria. Siemens, Wilbross and Halliburton scandals are treated as issue of no economic significance to Nigerians, even when foreigners who perpetrated the wrongs had for long been prosecuted and punished in their home countries. Halliburton especially, has almost all those who have ruled this country and their spouses as culprits, thus donning us with a toga of corruption-tolerant nation. Out of the 80 Nigerian past and present leaders listed as having soiled their hands in the Halliburton scandal, zero percent of them (except the few small fries that were arraigned in court and have since being discharged) were prosecuted. Of the $180million Halliburton bribe money, $110 million was taken during the regime of former President Obasanjo, yet no anti-graft agency has ever queried the old soldier for either his role in that embarrassment or his role in the wastage of more than N1trillion on power project within his eight years of ruining Nigeria, all in the name of democracy. Although President Goodluck Jonathan would want the Nigerian people to believe that his government is working assiduously to combat corruption, it is clear that the government has penchant for condoning corruption without recourse to the feeling of the average Nigerian. Jonathan’s Cabinet is replete with many individuals that have been accused or indicted of corruption. The former Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah was indicted of corrupt practices over her purchase of two bulletproof cars at a whooping sum of N225million. It took persistent public outcries and pressure before the woman was relieved of her duty. Her Petroleum Ministry counterpart too, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been accused of reckless abuse of office, wastage of the nation’s

To say that Nigeria has become a laughing stock among the comity of nations is to say the least. It is noteworthy to reiterate that Nigeria does not have any good image whatsoever for anyone to launder. A situation whereby the President is protecting public servants indicted and admitting other ones that have been indicted of even murder into his cabinet and giving amnesty to unbridled corrupt elements and flirting with them both, in the private and public sector does not give Nigeria a launderable image.

resources under the guise of performing her official functions, engagement in questionable deals, connivance with some oil and gas multinationals to rob Nigeria of large chunk of money, direct stealing of the nation’s money, using her position and siphoning the nation’s earnings to foreign lands for personal interests to which the country is reported to have lost billions of dollars. So much noise has been made from various quarters, which even include that of the House of Representatives, without any significant response whatsoever. This confirmed the insinuation that there exists a clique of the “untouchables” in Jonathan’s government to which some of these people probably belong. As if that was not enough, it took the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido to expose some shenanigans being perpetrated by the cesspit of official corruption in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It was Sanusi’s revelation that forced some of the agencies under the watch of Mrs. AlisonMadueke to render some accounts that were hitherto concealed from the radar of the apex bank, albeit without being able to convince Nigerians that the money made from the sale of crude goes into the national treasury. How badly has corruption affected Nigeria’s image? To say that Nigeria has become a laughing stock among the comity of nations is to say the least. It is noteworthy to reiterate that Nigeria does not have any good image whatsoever for anyone to launder. A situation whereby the President is protecting public servants indicted and admitting other ones that have been indicted of even murder into his cabinet and giving amnesty to unbridled corrupt elements and flirting with them both, in the private and public sector does not give Nigeria a launderable image. Whatever effort Mr. President makes is just soaking the fabric of Nigeria into the muddy waters of corruption. As a matter of fact, pretending that what is wrong is right is the height of moral corruption. It just accentuates the fact that our President is a liar because everyone, the blind, deaf and dumb knows that corruption is the major problem of Nigeria. The implication is the internal strife that we have started witnessing and the aggravation of criminal activities, which is typified by insurgency in the North, militancy in the South-South, Kidnapping and brigandage in the South-East and South-West. The implication is that people would not have access to good houses, children would not have good education, certificate would no longer be worth anything, there would be hunger in the land because the country would rely on importation of food materials, because whatever incentives that should be given to farmers would have been cornered by some people; hence, people won’t go into mechanised farming. The implication is that Nigeria would become a dumping ground where used and fake products of other countries of the world would be dumped. How can Nigeria address the issue of corruption? First and foremost, we should allow the present national conference to be sovereign and everybody says what he desires and such would be authenticated by a referendum. That is the way to a peaceful resolution, so that every region would determine how it manages its economy. We have suggested there should be a national ideology; even if the conference agrees that we should remain one Nigeria, the national ideology will specify the limits, the upper limit of material acquisition, which should be in proportion to the ability and capability of every individual or corporate entity. That will now stem the unwarranted acquisition, whereas some people have unlimited properties while some people don’t have at all. This would deter people from acquiring more than is required because you know that when you get more than has been specified, you may end up in jail while government takes over whatever you have gotten via illicit means. People would not want to steal what they know they won’t enjoy it. A situation whereby people have houses in every city of the country would not arise; a situation whereby one person would have several private jets and automobiles would not occur; a situation whereby one person has several billions in foreign currencies in different banks all over the world would no longer be tolerated. Everybody would know that he has to be his brother’s keeper, because when you have so much, you would share with those who don’t have. Those who have access to big contracts won’t keep the money to themselves; they would establish institutions that would bring succour to the needs of the society. What you can keep to yourself is limited, though you can make the profit, but you should dissipate it to the social sector, this would definitely deter people from stealing.


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MELAYE: Nigerians Are All Guilty Of Corruption “The civil societies have failed; most of us are compromisers. Most of us are not even NGOs; we are Individual Non-governmental Organisations. Many are briefcase organisations. How many are protesting on the streets of Lagos, taking governors, ministers and DG of paratstals to court. How many are carrying out enlightenment programmes and campaigns. The civil societies need to become born again, because we play a critical role in service delivery, policy formulation and implementation in the country. So there is need for a serious reawaking of NGOs and civil societies and community based organisations.”

Chairman, Anti-Corruption Network and former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, in this interview with GBENGA SALAU, accuses President Jonathan of fighting corruption with kid gloves. T a forum in Namibia recently, President A Jonathan said the corruption perception of Nigeria is exaggerated. Do you agree with him? The government of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is the most corrupt in Nigeria’s history. So, you do not expect him to fight corruption, because this government romances, massages and promotes corruption. I want to say without fear or favour that since he became president, not one politically exposed person had been prosecuted and jailed; not one. A government that promotes corruption and corrupt persons cannot be seen to be against corruption. The President has openly shown his enthusiasm for corruption by failing to declare his assets publicly. We have ministers in this government that have been indicted of corruption. This is the first time in the history of this country that we have a minister of petroleum with no minister of state. During the Obasanjo’s government, that ministry had four ministers — substantive minister of petroleum, minister of state petroleum, minister of state, energy and gas besides a special adviser to the president on petroleum (Dr Rilwan Lukman). Today, there is no special adviser, special assistant. Now, we are talking about servicing of jet, missing billions. All these indictments notwithstanding, the minister remains in her seat, which proves that this government is not fighting corruption. Then, the immediate past Minister of Aviation was also indicted by the House of Representatives. Even the president set up a panel and the report by that panel indicted the minister. The President is yet to make the report public and has neither made any public statement on the issue nor prosecuted any of the ministers that were indicted. The Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) has written petitions to the ICPC and EFCC on six ministers. None of the ministers has been invited for questioning. Corruption has graduated from stealing of millions to billions, and now trillions of Naira; yet, somebody is saying corruption perception is exaggerated. In 2011, the budget for subsidy was N244 billion; yet, this government ended up spending N2.3 trillion, (over N2 trillion above the budget) and still says that corruption perception is exaggerated; some

judges of the Court of Appeal and High Courts were suspended for corruption recently, yet you say corruption is being exaggerated. The Malabu case is there, the Halliburton and Siemens cases are there. On the subsidy matter, no single person has been prosecuted. Among those who were indicted in the subsidy saga are the financiers of presidential campaigns of Goodluck Jonathan; they are the same people who go to fundraising dinners to donate billions of naira. So, the President cannot bite the fingers that feed him. How would you describe the inability of the ICPC and EFCC to do their jobs? I will not talk about the body language of the President; it is about institutional deficiency and constitutional lacuna. To start with, except we amend the power of the President to appoint the chairmen of ICPC, Code of Conduct, INEC and EFCC, these institutions will continue to be parastatals of the PDP. Therefore, the powers of the President to appoint chairmen of these

institutions need to be transferred to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) for nomination and approval by the Council of State. As long as Mr. President can wake up and appoint anybody chairman of EFCC and ICPC, they will continue to be compromised and conflict of interest will continue to play up. Thus, the problem is constitutional; and, except there is an amendment to the Act and the Constitution, it might be difficult to have a truly independent ICPC or EFCC. Does the average Nigerian not contribute to the crisis? With due respect, Nigerians are gullible people; we celebrate corruption as a people: You appoint a man, who lives in Mushin minister; six months after, he is building a mansion in Ikoyi. What the society does is to give him chieftaincy title; universities give him honorary degree. We celebrate corruption as a people. Nigerians need to realise that we must discover our mission, which is to either fulfill it or betray it. All Nigerians must decide to work on the line of creative altruism or we

ONYEKPERE: Anti-Graft Agencies Have Failed Nigerians EFCC Should Beam Searchlights On States LEAD Director, Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, in this chat on corruption, remarks that searchlight should be beamed on state and local governments. On level of corruption he incidence of corruption in Nigeria is not exaggerated. For the President who is expected to lead the fight against corruption, his mindset is understandable; every new case of reported corruption appears to be an indictment on his abilities to lead the fight against corruption. In fact, there are more cases of corruption than the few that are reported. Roles of anti-graft agencies In the present dispensation, the anti corruption agencies are playing to the gallery. They have not recorded any major achievement. They are urgently in need of reform and re-invigoration.

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However, their performance is not helped by the attitude of the courts and the legal profession. A reported case of a perpetual injunction shielding a certain officer of state from prosecution and investigation does not portray the Judiciary in good light. There are also various legal provisions that demand amendment for the effectiveness of the anti corruption struggle, which the legislature has failed, refused and neglected to amend. Every Nigerian should be part of the campaign against corruption but the government takes the lead.  Blowing the whistle makes sense if there are agencies and authorities ready and willing to follow the lead and effectively sanction the culprits. Corruption in states What has happened to the trial of the governors of the 1999-2007 classes who were accused of plundering their state resources? We need to throw more searchlights on the states and local governments and their operations. Onyekpere

perish in the darkness of destructive selfishness. In an unjust society, silence is a crime. Nigerians must start asking questions, policing the system, besides shunning the monetisation of our consciences and commercialisation of our approach. If not, we would continue to be subservient, slaves to the elites. However, the level of conscientisation is growing with the advent of social networks; things will not continue like this. We, as democratic evangelists, are preaching the gospel to Nigerians to come out of their cocoon and comfort to start protesting against ineptitude, injustice and maladministration. It is the call for Nigerians to be change agents. If Nigerians become conscious, then that is the panacea. Looking at our environment, are the civil societies playing their roles well enough in conscientising the people? The civil societies have failed; most of us are compromisers. Most of us are not even NGOs; we are Individual Non-governmental Organisations. Many are briefcase organisations. How many are protesting on the streets of Lagos, taking governors, ministers and DG of paratstals to court. How many are carrying out enlightenment programmes and campaigns. The civil societies need to become born again, because we play a critical role in service delivery, policy formulation and implementation in the country. So there is need for a serious reawaking of NGOs and Civil societies and community based organisations.


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24 Sunday, March 30, 2014

COVER

ODIACHI: We Need Homegrown Definition For Corruption In Nigeria As the debate over corruption perception of Nigeria rages, Mr. Robert Odiachi, the chairman of SIAO, a Nigerian auditing, accounting and general professional services firm, told MARCEL MBAMALU in Lagos that it is high time the nation looked inwards to rediscover itself, based on the peculiarities that daunt progress. According to him, corruption perception of Nigeria should take cognizance of its value system and bad leadership that have further impoverished citizens and put undue pressure on leaders. O you share President Jonathan’s view that corruption perception of Nigeria is exaggerated?

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Corruption perception itself answers the question. We really have to sit down as a country and define what corruption is, because the way we are structured as a nation would seem to support the fact that there is an exaggeration of that perception; certain things that we do locally, which are internationally perceived as corrupt practices, may certainly not be so. I am not supporting the President, neither am I saying that he is right in saying that it is exaggerated. But we really have to ask the president to define what corruption is to him. We saw the applicants who applied for the immigration job; was that corruption, or our way of doing business? If you know that so many people are unemployed and the state has no responsibility towards them, and then they come up with ways of survival, would you say that is corruption? If you come up to say corruption is endemic in Nigeria, you really must define what corruption really is. So, what is corruption in your own opinion? Corruption, to me, is to do that, which, ordinarily, you are not expected to do. That is to say, I will not jump the queue if I am sure there is enough for everybody on the line. But where I am certain that we don’t have enough, it will be really had to tell somebody not to jump the queue. Sop, doing what one is not expected to do is corruption, by your own definition? Yes. Can you draw the line between corruption and fraud or crime? Yes there is a major difference. Crime is doing something that is against the law. But a good law is that which is obeyed; a bad law is not obeyed. So, you must do a good law. If you ask people not to steal, you must provide for them. If you haven’t provided for them, it will be hard for them to agree with you on the law. Any other description for me is hard to understand; you cannot tell people to go to school when there is no school. So, for you to ask people to go to school, you must build the school. If you ask people what the duty of the Federal

Government is, they can’t really say. Government acknowledges that there is so much unemployment, but what are they doing? Are they giving any social services to the people? Lets face it. In the UK, they give social service to citizens; they give them accommodation; they give them (the unemployed) food. So, anybody that goes out of his way to do what is not expected is a criminal. If a guy has not eaten all day, has no where to lay his head and he picks up a piece of orange somewhere, would you want to call him a thief? Back to the immigration job stampede, the applicants reportedly paid N1000 to register for the interview, which claimed 20 lives. Won’t you call that (selling job application forms) corruption? The forms don’t cost N1000; it is corruption. And to give that magnitude of an exercise to some organisation without commensurate or proven skills also begs for an answer. We have WAEC, which is powered and have capability to do such work. They (the Nigeria Immigration Service) should have looked at that. It is a corrupted process, and it is difficult to understand the logic of 65,000 people gathering in one place. I am not saying that the company shouldn’t have been given the job, but the way and manner it was going to do the job

should have been agreed with some people. What about Nigerians and the way we do things. Is corruption exclusive to government officials? Government officials are not from another planet; they are among us. So, I am not saying government officials are corrupt. I am saying there are times we don’t do things the proper way; and, often times, it is clear why things are not done like that. Are we structured to be corrupt? If we are, then we can’t prosper without bending? Now look at that transaction (immigration job interview contract). Was it advertised? Was proper due diligence done? Did anybody look at the process through which it was going to be done? Was it approved? We have just seen a letter in the papers from the Comptroller General of Immigration to the Minister of Internal Affairs. The Comptroller General was not aware of that exercise; he read it in the newspapers as we did. He wrote a letter of objection before the incident, asking why the Ministry would be employing people for the Immigration Department and the Comptroller General was not aware. That’s corruption; it is not just money. So, we ask again: Is corruption perception of Nigeria exaggerated? No. We must, first, define what it is and who we are. If you take us to the strictest test, you would say corruption in Nigeria is rampant, but is it our way of life. Is that the way we want to do things? President Mugabe said Nigeria is corrupt because you sit in a plane and you have to bribe the pilot before he would take off. Nobody replied him. There are certain things that happen and you wonder how people are bound to react. I am not supporting corruption. I am saying that it would be tough to say that people would see that unemployment is rampant the way it is in Nigeria today (and the government has no social welfare for these guys) and to now criminalise them and expect that they won’t cut corners. To me, you can’t label those people criminals. They roam the streets all day. Does this excuse you have given on behalf of the impoverished also apply to government officials? They don’t live outside of us. If you know the amount of pressure that is being applied to a government official by his municipalities, dependants and associates, you would be sorry for him or her, because he is seen as a window of opportunity for his constituency. How much does he earn anyway? The pressures to be corrupt are heavy. Do you know how many people have come to ask me for employment? There is serious pressure. What is corruption may not necessarily be corruption in his own definition. But if you ask a Nigerian, the perception of our corruption is different from a foreigner. The way we display wealth is corruption. They say champagne is banned in other countries, but it is everywhere here in Nigeria, because it is one of the commodities under licence. So, it is tough to define corruption; you have to define it from the pinnacle to the base. That is to say to whom much is given, much is expected.

Lawyers Are Not Properly Supervised By Bar Associations — OLADELE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 admit to stealing, or if it is rape case and you want to change it from rape to maybe criminal sexual assault of lesser degree, or to something much less, you have to agree you did that thing, which you want to bargain for. Defence also has to specify the aspect of prosecution case, which he disagrees with. The whole essence is to narrow down the issues and avoid irrelevancies. So, if I’m going to bring 10 counts against somebody, and the person says he agrees with two of the 10 counts, it pays me as a prosecutor to reduce the charges to those two; then, I can ask for conviction on admission. I don’t need to prove it again because he has admitted it. Even if I waste time proving them, by the time the judge makes his decision, the person might be sentenced to 10 years on each count, and each sentence will run concurrently. The sentence I would have obtained with two counts is the same I will obtain on all the counts because they would run concurrently anyway. Sometimes, this is what motivates the prosecutor to enter into a plea bargain with the accused. But people have a wrong notion that when there is plea bargain, the person goes scot-free; there is nothing like that. He might receive a lighter sentence but he will go home empty-handed. And I think there is a suggestion by Femi Falana that the law has to be amended on the option of fine to ensure that the option of fine is increased to about 85 per cent. A lot of practitioners don’t have the practice direction and many of them get to know about

their duties when they get to the court and the judge tells them that, under the current practice direction, this is what they are supposed to do. The practice direction is something that should have been mass-produced and distributed to all the Bar Associations in the country as well as be made available to the various High Court libraries. For instance, under the new practice direction, the hearing of cases shall be scheduled on day-to-day basis as far as the schedule of the court will permit, priority given to all cases prosecuted by EFCC, ICPC or the SSS. Again, the court and the parties must prevent unwarranted and unnecessary delays accordingly not more than two adjournments shall be granted to any person on an action covered by the provision of the practice direction”, that is corruption, rape, kidnapping and terrorism. Not more than two adjournments, but what do we see today?  Many lawyers don’t even know that they are not supposed to take more than two adjournments. The defence cannot take more than two adjournments; the prosecutor cannot take more than two adjournments. And then, where a party seeks to change his lawyer, during the lifespan of a case, the court must not give that party more than two adjournments. You don’t come to court and say my Lord, ‘I’m still looking for a lawyer, I need an adjournment,’ and then the court grants you and you come back again for another adjournment and the beat goes on and on. That is a ploy to delay hearing and trial of a case. Accused persons change their lawyers

to delay hearings. I’ve read about cases where lawyers tell the court they have just taken over the case and they need adjournments to get acquainted with the case? It must not be more than two. If you have gotten adjournments two times in order to get a lawyer and the lawyer eventually appears, the lawyer might find it difficult to get additional adjournments under the new practice direction. If you have taken two adjournments before the lawyer comes in, too bad for the lawyer, he has to face the case and that is why the directives say further that court shall ensure that counsel must ensure they are present in court and are ready to proceed with their cases at all times. In the event that this proves to be impracticable, by reason of ill health or other unavoidable reasons, such lawyer must make sure that somebody of relevant experience ones to court from his chambers to represent him. So if you cannot come, you send somebody to represent you. Getting a junior lawyer to come to court and say ‘I don’t know the facts of this case; I was given the file to come and take an adjournment’ is no longer allowed. Judges are also instructed to “ensure that business of the court is taken with proper professional decorum.” So, you don’t come to court and behave as if the judge is in your pocket or you want to take over the court from the judge. For instance many lawyers, because they want to grandstand to their clients that they have what it takes to delay a case and frustrate the legal process,  they go to court with frivolous motions. In such situa-

tions, it is the duty of the court to ensure that such lawyers comply with professional decorum. So far, these are some of the things contained in the Federal High Court practice directive. If we comply with the rules and everybody knows what is expected of him or her, we are not going to have problems with expeditious hearing of cases. The defence should also know that it is the right of an accused person to have speedy trial. Lawyers should not also violate their client’s right by prolonging cases unnecessarily. Right to speedy trial is a fundamental constitutional right.  Where a lawyer begins to prolong cases maybe because he wants to collect more money from the client, it violates the accused right’s to speedy trial.  I think by the time this matter of freezing of accounts happens and lawyers know that their clients don’t have much money to spend on legal fees; they will put in more attention and make sure the case is dispensed with expeditiously. We all have roles to play; the judiciary and legislature have roles to play. Some laws must be amended. If you look at John Yusuf’s case, he was charged under the Penal Code and the provision of the code allows the judge the latitude to manipulate it. Because when the law says that two years or a fine not more than a particular amount, a corrupt judge can easily manipulate that to the advantage of the accused person. There is need to review the various laws to ensure that the penalties and punishments tally with the degree of offence committed.  In John Yusuf’s case, the judge can easily justify his action and it would be


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Sunday, March 30, 2014

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NEWSFEATURE

Ibadan Evil Forest: Not A Place For The Faint-hearted

City dwellers troop to the location of the evil activities to see things for themselves. Rescued inmate (Inset).

From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan

• Ritualists’ Den Littered With Dead Bodies, School Uniforms, Baby Wears, Underwears

HE shock and bewilderment was understandable. Ibadan, the Oyo state capital has had its share of political violence and acts of brigandage but not kidnapping or ritual. But since the sleepy community of Soka in Oluyole Local Government of Oyo state came to limelight because of the gory scene that was displayed last Saturday, many residents are yet to come to terms with the development.   Tucked in a secluded bush surrounded by already moribund companies, Soka, now dubbed an evil forest, is claimed to be home to ritualists and their agents. Their victims chained and tortured languished in agony until they meet their untimely deaths. Until two weeks ago, when an end came to their evil deeds, the ritualists, according to reports, have been in operation at the forest in the past 10 years without interference. The ‘Soka evil forest’ is certainly not a place for the faint hearted. With human parts scattered all over the place, one is confronted with an overpowering aura of fear and death and it takes a courageous person to go into the ‘den.’ Luck ran out on the ritualists after kidnapping a motorcycle operator popularly called Okada rider. The victim made a call to some of his colleagues and family members describing where he was kept. They, in turn, contacted the police, which invaded the place. By the time men of the Sanyo Police Station and ‘Operation Burst’ swooped on the place, they found the evil forest, in the heart of the sprawling city of Ibadan covered with several decomposing bodies of human beings who were unlucky to have fallen prey to these heartless ritualists. On entering the place, the scene immediately conjures the impression of a horror film as human bodies littered the place.  Only forensic experts can identify them because all that are left of most of the bodies are nothing but bones of different shapes and sizes. Ten persons, including men and women, old and young, who are believed to have been bewitched and bound with fetters, were rescued by policemen and taken to the state hospital for treatment.  It was gathered that about five more fresh bodies were evacuated to the mortuary during the week. Except those that survived, no one could determine the gender of the decomposing bodies.

tims. Some came from Kwara, Osun, Lagos, Kogi and other northern parts of the country. Although some men working as security operatives in nearby companies were arrested by the police, irate youths and some members of the community were not satisfied with police efforts’ and subsequently took up arms combing the area in search of the ritualsts. They were hostile and became violent in the process. In fact, two media men were attacked. Mr. Felix Ademola, a photojournalist with ThisDay Newspapers was rough-handled by overzealous policemen while Bayo Faleke, a presenter with Splash FM was beaten by a mob and had his car badly damaged. The visibly angry and suspicious fellows felt the current police response was rather belated given their numerous complaints before now.

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From the numerous dead bodies, school uniforms, women underwears, a pair of security boots, several pairs of shoes, baby wears to thousands of clothes littered the place, especially the big hall and the open field. As the information flowed into town, besides residents of Ibadan who wanted to have a glimpse of the spot, thousands of others from across the country whose relatives are missing had visited to see if their relative is one of the vic-

Gov. Ajimobi visits den, revokes certificate of occupancy HEN Governor Ajimobi got to the scene, W he tried to calm the crowd of angry individuals who laid siege at the place, pleading

live in the neighbourhood did not know, how then can we who live far away know? But, we thank God for exposing all these. All those who did these horrible things, God would expose them. “You have entrusted the governance of this state through your votes to us, God will use us to punish the culprits. As you say amen, God will use us to reform the state. If we would not reform it, God should deny us getting there (governorship seat). “As from today, try to be vigilant. I have learnt a lesson from this: anywhere we are, let us be very vigilant and not hesitate to report matters like this to the security agents.” His speech was however, intermittently interrupted by several voices claiming that many reports of what was going on there were made without corresponding responses from concerned authorities. Governor Ajimobi then revoked the certificate of Occupancy of the land, promising that all the victims alleged to have been hidden in an underground tunnel would be found “when we dig the whole place”. Residents in the area loudly applauded the Governor’s decision to revoke the hundreds of hectares of land. He then told the people to observe a minute silence for all the victims.

for patience and attention. He explained that the visit was to sympathise with families of those who lost their loved ones to the kidnappers, promising that the state government will get to the root of the incident. Survivors at Adeoyo Hospital He said: “The reason we came here today was because of the ugly incident. We were HE scene at the Adeoyo Hospital, Yemetu, informed that you, the residents, did not Ibadan where surviving victims were being know what was happening here. As you did treated was one of apprehension, pity and connot know, so we, too did not know. If you who cern. A crowd of sympathizers daily gathered

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outside the ward while relations trooped in from far and near in search of loved ones. One of such is the Atoyebi family from Ada, Osun state whose nephew, Wale was among the rescued victims. Nurses at the hospital said the victims are fast recuperating and expressed hope that they would be fine in due course. Meanwhile, the acting permanent secretary, Oyo State Hospital Management Board, Dr Bayo Adigun said the hospital was doing its best to rehabilitate the victims, adding that a psychiatrist had also been invited to assess them. According to him, the hospital management board was already linking the Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to render services to them as well. While assuring that none of them would die due to lack of medical care, Dr Adigun however, said that they needed extensive rehabilitation and adequate treatment. Although government has directed that the evil forest be demolished, police has halted the move saying a forensic examination must be performed on the already decomposed bodies.

Victims Recount Ordeal FTER much resistance, the hospital officials A and security men at the Adeoyo State Hospital, Ibadan, grudgingly allowed reporters few minutes to chat with the survivors from where The Guardian gathered that the ritualists capitalised on the urban renewal initiative of the Oyo state government by arresting some CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

Soka-Ibadan Forest

Echoes Of Otokoto…Clifford Orji…Okija By Geraldine Akutu

• Nigerians Condemn Loss Of Human Dignity

EcENTLY, human skulls and R parts were discovered at Soka forest, Ibadan. Some people came

The question is, where lies our morals and values? Here are the opinions of some well meaning Nigerians on this nagging issue.

out alive while others never lived to tell the story. For now, forensic experts are expected to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter. Is this enough? A lot had happened in the past with cases like Otokoto, clifford Orji, Okija shrine and others but justice had not taken its course. Ritual killers are still on the rise. On a regular basis, these killers continue to commit this evil crime against humanity.

IFY ONYEGBULE - Our morals and values have been thrown to the dogs! If we look at what is happening around the country and what is emanating from different parts, I will simply say that our morals and values have been thrown to the dogs. How do you justify the killing of another human being like yourself? How do you justify

the holding hostage young girls, force them to get pregnant and sell their babies for money? It’s crazy when I think of what happened in that Soka of a place and that may not be the only place where such a thing is happening. Until we go back to the times when there was self-trust and neighbourly love, I guess we will still continue to grope in the dark! Days were when a child is watched over and taken care of by the neighbour but that can never happen now. Husbands killing wives, wives killing husbands for very

crazy reasons, children slaying parents, siblings killing siblings and selling parts for money. Seriously, when I think about all these, it beats me and I ask myself when we got to this stage. LARRY ILOH - It is the height of moral decadence Taking another person’s life is criminal and those who indulge in this wicked act should be prosecuted without delay. As per morals, we have sold our souls to the devil; it is the height of moral decadence and such evil must be CONTINUED ON PAGE 26


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NEWSFEATURE

Echoes Of The Dead! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 exposed. But the simple fact is that such issues are moral as well as legal issues. People can do whatever concoctions or incantations they do to make money, that’s moral issues, but once it comes to killing or human parts, it turns a legal matter, and the law should be able to take care of it. So my point is, value is relative, to a degree, yes, and to a degree, you have to consider value with morality. TAIWO AKINLAMI - We live in a nation without respect for the dignity of persons Our value system is on brink of collapse. We have come to accept what is abnormal as normal and when we complain, it is treated with levity. We live in a nation without respect for the dignity of human persons. It shows in the way we treat ourselves, including our children. It shows in the fact that the security and welfare of the people is no more the primary aim of government as stated in the constitution. Murder cases go uninvestigated. Ask yourself, how many murder cases or ritual killing have been investigated, brought to a logical conclusion and the culprits brought to book? You did not need to look too far to see that our nation is gradually moving towards the state of nature where according to Thomas Hobbes, life was brutish, nasty and short. It is for a moment. My charge is that all of us need to embrace vigilance and take responsibility for our personal security. Vigilance is said to be the price of liberty. May God help us!

ing one. It raises critical question about the depth of decadence of moral and the values attached to life in our country, if at all it exists. Our nation today is suffering from total loss of value courtesy of the level of poverty created by corruption and the inability of the leadership to control and regulate the effects. Thus, the pace of our nation’s development is completely declining, resulting to fear that this situation may go to an uncontrollable climax. The question here is; what are the effects of moral profligacy to our nation’s development? The global economic meltdown is a typical example here. If I may ask, what are

the underlying structures behind this? When huge amount of money is spent recklessly or looted by the people in government, the result is the case. This cliché reminds one of the poverty situation in most developing nations of the world, where their leaders indulge in looting their nations’ treasury and not finding a means of caring for the less privileged even when funds are released by developed nations. This has resulted in unemployment for the teaming youths and school leavers, creating a big vacuum to accommodate more corrupt practices and shady deals like ritual killing by these idle youths. Most of the youths turn restive in kidnapping, assassinations, robbery

and terrorism. The problems created by our nations’ leaders contribute to neglect in the rule of law, lack of respects for human right and thus degenerating into loss of moral values and more corrupt practices eating deeper into the nations’ fabric. The time has, therefore come for government to realise the danger that is inherent in the growing rate of unemployment which is daily creating the urge to become sudden millionaires therefore resulting into horrible sacrifices of human lives like we saw recently in Ibadan. Government at all level, corporate bodies and individuals are therefore called upon to pay attention to this critical situation affecting the nation today.

JOE OKEI-ODUMAKIN – Our Nation Is Suffering From Loss Of Value Created By Poverty And Corruption The horrible discovery in Ibadan during the week is such an incidence that must concern every right thinking Nigerian, particularly those in position of authority. While ritual killing may not be described as a strange occurrence not only in Nigeria but Africa at large, the magnitude of the Ibadan incidence is an alarm- More…from ritualists

Clifford Orji Saga:

Evil In The Middle Of Lagos By Gbenga Salau HE story hit town in February 1999 T that the man, who had been hanging around the bridge by Toyota Busstop along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, was a man-eater. As the news made the rounds, there were different versions of who the man was and what he did. The spot the man used to hibernate became a Mecca of sorts, as people from different parts of the city came to see what the it looked like. The media also feasted on the issue, as many had running stories for weeks. Some people took him to be an agent of ritualists involved in the sale of human parts. There were also claims that many rich people used to come to meet him at night to buy human parts. Some people even claimed that they saw various flashy cars parked at night who are likely to be patronising him. Some said he killed his victims, and roasted them for food. When he was arrested, items found on him were a cheque for the sum of N88,000, a cell phone, women underwear and fresh and roast human parts as well as bones from the carcasses. However, after 13 years in prison, Clifford Orji, who was said to have gone completely mad, died on Friday August 17, 2013 in his sleep at age 46. Before he died, he was taken to the Yaba Psychiatric Hospital and another at Ewekoro but was rejected by both hospitals, which was why his trial could not formally commence. This was because there was no way to medically ascertain his mental status in order to try him in a law court; he was supposed to be in his right frame of mind.

Ibadan Forest Of Horror were mentally deranged and that they were being taken hawkers under the pretext care of in the den by some that they violated the enviSamaritans. ronmental law even though One of the nurses said the they did not have the survivors were responding to authority of the government treatment. According to her: to do so. “They have improved tremenOne of the survivors, Nafiu dously since they were Shittu said he was selling his brought in. When they herbal medicine at Agodi arrived, they smelled awfully. Gate when some men Some of us had to bathe and swooped on him and forced wash them while some him into a waiting car. “I was Samaritans donated clothes sitting somewhere at the to them. Agodi Gate area of Ibadan when some people just “You know their case is swooped on me and rushed peculiar. If we should cut the me into a vehicle. I had been hair now and anybody comes in that place for four around to claim anyone of months. In the forest, we them, and they asked where might not be given food for the hair is, what do you want a whole week. People were us to tell them?” dying,” he said.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

Another victim, Mrs. Titi Adeniyi, nee Dokpesi, said she was picked up in front of her house and forced into a waiting vehicle but later found herself in the evil forest. She said: “I am from the compound of the late Baba Awolowo of Oke Bola in Ibadan. Some people came and kidnapped me while I was sitting in front of our house. Nobody was around then. My people were in Lagos. They said I was wanted somewhere and that they came to arrest me. They then took me away in their vehicle. Later, I found myself in that forest”. Also, Mr. Wale Atoyebi from Ada in Osun state, also confirmed he was kidnapped. All the victims denied the claims that they

Arrest

HE police said it has begun T a murder probe of the incident and assured that no stone would be left unturned in unraveling the identity of the culprits. Police spokesperson, Olabisi Ilobanafor said six persons including five men who claimed to be security guards were arrested from the building beside the evil forest said to belong to Black Horse Plastic Company. About six guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons were also recovered from the house. One of the suspects said he was brought to the building by one Gbadamosi to watch over the inmates. He further disclosed that Gbadamosi used to bring people who were dirty looking, while “we would shave their heads.”

ATM cards was not lucky as he was thoroughly beaten and set on fire after they discovered what was in his possession.

to be used as a dumping ground for miscreants and homeless people so as to get them off the streets to boost the beautification agenda of the present administration. The AP alleged that a conAPC, Accord bicker over kidnappers’ den tractor was given the job to take miscreants and people Residents onslaught adjudged to be unstable THE All Progressives on “mad men” away from the streets in line Congress (APC) in the State with the urban renewal has called on well-meaning INCE the news of the evil project of the government. Nigerians to prevail on forest broke out, Ibadan Accord Party to stop capitalis- It added that what hapresidents have launched ing on the fresh blood of the pened at Soka area was the attack on mad people in the dead to gain cheap political handiwork of the present metropolis as they see them popularity. administration, saying as merely disguising. instead of finding face-savThe Accord Party has At the last count, about six described as crocodile tears ing devices such as demoliof such people have been tion of the place, governthe reaction of Governor apprehended while one was Abiola Ajimobi, over the ment should admit that it not so lucky as he was burnt recovery of corpses and vicwas the beautification agenby irate mob in Oke Ado da that worked negatively tims at the evil forest. area of the city. for the people. The APC in a statement by While one mad man was its interim publicity secreapprehended at the Reactions tary in the state, Dauda Moshood Abiola Way on Kolawole said from the testiRing Road with five human monies of the kidnapped vicOMMUNITY members tongues another was arrest- tims, it was obvious that the who spoke on condition ed around Adeoyo State den had been in existence for of anonymity said the vicHospital Road with a price almost 10 years, a period the tims were not mad, but had list for human parts. gone through starvation, party said covered the time The suspect, who was said of Senator Rashidi Ladoja as which may take a long time to have disguised as a mad governor, adding that it was for them to be reintegrated man gave himself away the security consciousness of into the society. when he attempted to pick the government that led to Concerned members of the his phone. Some curious public also wondered how the discovery of the den. onlookers swooped on the such a heinous crime could While warning the Accord suspect and after a thorParty faithful masterminding go on for so long in the state ough search, found on him the campaign, especially for- capital without the culprits were three phones and a being caught. mer Secretary to the State price list for human parts. They appealed to the govGovernment, Mr Dele The prompt intervention of Adigun, to desist from seek- ernment to intensify patrol the police however saved in the ing political relevance, the the suspect from being APC said the state had left the neighbourhood as the comlynched by the irate mob era of politicians hoodwink- munity had become endanwho had milled around gered with what was discoving the people by manufachim. But another suspect ered. turing lies and falsehood. caught in Oke Ado area with The AP had accused the state Already, residents are agisome foreign currencies government of providing the tated and aggressive; accus(dollars), a gun and several property over two years ago ing the police of complacency, it is only a matter of time before they “explode.” The police spokesperson however appealed to the people not to take laws into their hands by manhandling suspected ritualists assuring that the command would get to the root of the matter.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

27

NEWSFEATURE

OKIJA: Ogwugwu Shrines Still Hold The Aces... From Chuks Collins, Awka N excursion to the sleepy town of Okija, A Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State would convince the visitor that the residents are still active and dogged. The town, which has produced many leading lights in chosen careers, is known in the country, not just for its infamous shrines of ‘justice,’ but also for other good reasons. But one thing that stands out is that the famous eerie Ogwugwu shrines have continued to wax strong. Contrary to what the world was made to believe in 2004 that the central shrine’s forest of a million demons and corpses had been cleared, it still stands. It has remained active and continued to receive more corpses till date. And the adherents have continued to attract new followers. More mansions have already sprung up within the neighbourhood. At least, more than 50 per cent of the commercial motorcycles operating in the town, especially those at the Madonna University junction, are owned by most of the Ogwugwu priests. It is such that anyone who disembarks at that bus stop always has these motorcyclists to contend with. They would make offers of the different shrines and priests’ names to choose from. They are said to be earning high commissions from the priests at the end of each day, depending on the number of customers (clients) each cyclist brought. In addition to the very popular Ogwugwu

Akpu, there is the splinter Ogwugwu Idigo, Ogwugwu Isiula — are domiciled in one village (Ubahu Ezike). Today, according to one octogenarian, young men who failed to make it in corporate world, simply returned home and out of greed set up an Ogwugwu shrine in their father’s compounds. “Before now, we had and knew only Ogwugwu Akpu. They have polluted things. And apparently in an effort to circumvent the established principles of the Ogwugwu, these boys have also gone abroad to bring home all manner of deities. Today you have deities from every part of the world in Okija’.” Another native, who also declined to give his name, said the people (he described as contractor priests) normally take their clients out to the forest of corpses in the wee hours of the day, from around midnight to about 3am. After literally crawling under the 500-metre swampy narrow path (lined on both sides with new and old fully dressed corpses of men and women from all parts of the world that were at various stages of decomposition) one naturally accepts anything they put foward to eat, sign or do. The man said that it is the prayers of citizens for government to read between the lines and weed out persons scandalising Ogwugwu, and then turn the area into an acceptable tourists’ centre for the world, researchers and historians.

A survivor of the Ibadan forest horror

Anambra People Want Investigation Reopened From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka INE years after the horror, where several skulls, bones, decomposing corpses, were found in a large expanse of forest at Okija, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra state, there has not been concrete update from the Nigeria Police, which took over the investigation about the persons alleged to have been involved in the awful acts. Even former IG, Tafa Balogun, led a delegation of several officers and men to the scene and took exhibits, including what was believed to be list names of visitors to the shrine. When The Guardian called at the Anambra State Police Command headquarters, a top officer only replied that he knew nothing about the Okija episode, arguing that he was not around then. He directed the reporter to the state CID for any investigation. At the department, top police officers also claimed that they were not at the station then and, therefore, could not give any information. A high-ranking officer explained that no murder case could continue after seven years, disclosing that the file should have been moved to Abuja. However, an Awka publisher, Mr. Ogechukwu Ezeajughi, said that the fact that nothing has been done by the Police after promising to unravel the identities of persons behind the evil act at Okija is a reflection of government’s attitude to issues that concern citizens. “That the Police or other bureaucratic arms of government have not issued statement of public concern is

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•Task Police On Disclosure Of Shrine Membership List abject negligence,” he said. “It is not only this issue, but other incidents of gruesome killings across the country. The case should not be closed like that; the Police should go back to their files and uncover the misery men behind the shrine. It could be that failure to sort out the perpetrators of the crime is the outcome of what happened at Ibadan recently where ritualists littered a compound with human parts including skulls, bones, and clothings “, Ezeajughi said. He advised all the agencies and authority concerned to take Nigerians away from voodoism by embarking on series of sensitization, teaching and re-orientating minds of people from cultural impediment that predisposes them to believe that they could get their problems solved through rituals. In her contribution, a lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who do not want to be named, declared: “It is condemnable that the incident that happened several years ago is still unresolved and without clue, ditto murder of several politicians, businessmen and even lecturers. I condemn the Okija shrine saga in its totality. Police must wake up and speak. “It is human life that is involved, and anybody, including the Police, could be a victim.  We are expecting comments from the police”, she said. Mr. Amaechi Okeke, who is a Minister at the Redeemed

Christian Church of God, Awka, is of the opinion that corruption is the basic problem. According to him, Nigerians have witnessed related cases like murder of former Attorney General, Chief Bola Ige, and up till now the Police have not told Nigerians, who murdered the Minister. “For Okija, the Federal Government and the Police have not treated the matter fairly. They should constitute a private investigative agency to do the job for Nigerians as we have lost confidence in the Police.” Commenting on the incident, Engr. Iyke Onuora, a building contractor, said, “Keeping silence till now does nobody good. It has been the normal trend to abandon sensitive issues. Look at the case of Revd King, nothing is being heard about his case. It could be that the Police have been settled. “In Nigeria, criminals are released back into their communities to continue with their criminal activities and it becomes business as usual. “I am sure the practice continues today and people still patronise them, while Police close their eyes and look the other way. In fact, the Police have failed us, while criminals are on the loose. May be, an ‘order from the above’ has scuttled the investigation; the matter is as good as closed. If the culprits were exposed to the public, I believe it would do a lot of good to Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general.”

Activity at one of the Okija Shrines

1996 Otokoto Saga In Retrospect From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri N 1996, a man was found Ibeing with the head of a human on the streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital. That incident birthed the Otokoto saga. It happened during the military administration of Col. Tanko Zubairu (rtd.). During that era, those whose, who were suspected to have acquired illicit wealth had their properties burnt. How did it start? Around September, one Innocent Ekeanyanwu and others were returning in a taxi, from a tiny village in Ikeduru, Imo State, between the boundary of Ikeduru and Owerri North. Policemen on duty demanded to search the booth of the vehicle, to their surprise, they spotted a human head, carefully wrapped in a bag. A close look at the fresh human head indicated that the head was gushing out blood, which implied the act was committed not long ago. Quickly, the entire occupants were arrested until Ekeanyanwu accepted he was the owner of the bag. His arrest was effected and was subsequently taken to the state police command in Owerri for investigation. Soon, the prime suspect made more revelations. He indicated that one chief (elder brother to the then Minister of Science and Technology), had

sent him to bring a fresh head of a little boy for ritual purposes. The demand, according to the then suspect, was in connivance with the owner of the now rested “Otokoto Hotel” located in Amakohia, along Orlu Road, Owerri, Chief Vincent Duru. Not satisfied, further revelations were made, discovering that the headless body of the boy was buried in the premises of the hotel. Ekenanyanwu led the police to the ground in the hotel were the headless body was actually exhumed. The crowd also noticed when Ekenanyanwu displayed the human head that tears were flowing down the chick, indicative that the small boy must have been strangled and might have cried before he was murdered by the ritualists. It turned out, from the confessions of Ekenanyanwu, that the head was that of 11 -year- old Master Ikechukwu Okonkwo, a little groundnut hawker and a primary one pupil within the environ. Okonkwo had been sent by his parents to hawk when his captor held him and cut off his head. Unfortunately, Ekenyanwu died in detention, distorting further investigation. But before then, the deceased had unearthed how he was sent by one Unogu to bring human parts to him. Unogu was then a successful Lagos-based businessman. The same period, one Duru’s

son, Obidiozo, and others had been terrorising some residents of Imo State, kidnapping people and demanding ransom before they gained freedom. There was a three-day protest, which led to the burning of houses of those felt to have indulged in such acts. Some of the homes included the biggest and popular super market located then in the highbrow Ikenegbu Layout, Piano Super market, homes of a monarch, Dr. Onuegwu Nwoke, Zeb Philips, and several others. In unearthing the issues, the state government set up an investigation panel headed by the then Chief Judge of the state, Paul Onumajulu. Public hearing was done and the recommendation included that those fingered be prosecuted while the houses burnt were confiscated. Otokoto and Piano Super market premises were given to the police. The burnt debris of the structures was demolished and new structures erected by the Police. Duru, Unogu and five others were sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme in Owerri after years of trial. They were later taken to Port Harcourt for execution. After then, Owerri began to witness some form of sanity, while the state government took care of the family of the little lad, Okonkwo.


28 Sunday, March 30, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

NEWSFEATURE A New Space Paradigm… The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) recently established the Centre for Atmospheric Research (C.A.R.) at Anyigba, Kogi State. In his first official interview, as acting director, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, Professor of Space Physics at Federal University of Technology, Akure, discusses the ambitious research agenda of NASRDA’s seventh Activity Centre, with J.K. OBATALA. About the Centre. HE Centre for Atmospheric Research is committed to the atmospheric sciences and to investigating the space environment. Our research also encompasses the basic space sciences, as they affect Nigeria’s economic, scientific and strategic interests. In that case, what is the difference between your centre and the Centre for Basic Space Science, at Nsukka? Yes. Our centre was actually carved out of CBSS. We took part of their mandate and incorporated some additional objectives. The erstwhile Centre for Basic Space Science is now committed to “Astronomy,” “Astrophysics,” “Cosmology” and “The Origin Of Life”. You used the term “erstwhile”. What is the former CBSS called now? It’s still the “Centre for Basic Space Science”. But I’m optimistic that, in the future, the name will be changed, to reflect its new mandate. The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) presently has six Activity Centres. Does that mean the Centre for Atmospheric Research (C.A.R.) is going to be the seventh? It’s already the seventh. We have the executive mandate, approving the centre. What are your research priorities? Well, for now, we have five major projects— which we have already begun to execute. We intend to do internationally competitive research. We’re already involved in atmospheric studies. This particular programme focuses on the lower atmosphere. This is the region that affects the dynamics of climate change. We are trying to understand the physics of the climate change problem. We’ve deployed equipment at 18 locations, around the country. These monitoring stations are measuring variations in temperature, chemistry, pressure and other elements of the troposphere… Are you referring to magnetometers? Or is this something different? It’s something different. These devises are primarily automated weather stations, which monitor the lower atmosphere. We have one rain reader. What is a “rain reader”? As the name implies, it measures the rain. You can study the effects of rain on radio wave propagation. Rain affects satellite television signals. When it’s raining, the DSTV signal, for example, is not clear... C.A.R is also doing research in the upper atmosphere. We’re taking measurements of the ionosphere—which extends from about 60 km to an altitude more than 1000 km.      This region is critically important for all types of communication that use radio wavelength. It either refracts or reflects radio waves, and therefore affects the quality of long distance transmissions. We monitor the space environment as well. This is the region where our satellites are orbiting. The instruments we use for this research include the magnetometer, which you mentioned earlier, the iono-sound and some Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receivers.       These instruments monitor space weather, which occurs in the region that affects satellite transmissions to Earth. Take the GSM signals your cell-phone receives, for example. They are affected by the space weather. So too, are airline navigation systems. Seconds are important in aviation. A mistake that lasts for a second, when an aircraft is in flight, can lead to massive destruction. When you talk of “national security,” the space environment is also very important. So we are likewise involved in microgravity studies and human space technology. What does this entail? We’re trying to study the effect of microgravity on biological systems. When we say “biological systems,” this includes laboratory cultures. We want to send them into space, to see if they will behave differently. Our research thus impinges on agriculture. We plan to raise seedlings and send them into space. Will they behave the same way in space as on Earth? What will happen to seedlings raised in space, once they have been returned to Earth? In space the force of gravity is comparatively weak. That is why it’s called “microgravity” condition—“micro” meaning “small”. So we are now

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NASRDA’s C.A.R Will Image The Ionosphere And Send Experiments Into Orbit

Prof. Rabiu getting involved with international bodies, to set up experiments that will mimic conditions in space. That way, even at the University of Abuja laboratory, we can perform experiments under simulated microgravity conditions. We have perfected our logistics. We’re waiting for funding to get the facilities… What do you mean when you say, “We have perfected our logistics”? We have drawn up the proposals. We know where to get the facilities. They are not so expensive. We have already mobilized some Nigerian scientists, who can do this experiment. We also have international collaborators that are ready to work with us. Who are they? We have a good working relationship with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese Manned Space Agency... The Malaysian Space Agency (ANGKASA) is ready to work with us; and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs is also interested. We want to create improved food variety, through this particular project. If you want to improve the quality of yam, for example, you can do so. This may sound funny—because the people in the industrialized countries would not take yam into space! After all, it’s not their staple food. This project also has implications for vaccine and drug research. We want to see if we can improve on our treatment of diseases... What is the connection between “microgravity” and “diseases”? Some of the drugs and vaccines we buy were developed in vacuum chambers that simulate microgravity conditions—because they cannot be made under normal surface conditions, here on Earth. We will observe the performance of certain medical products under microgravity conditions. We want to see whether they’ll be improvements or not. Microgravity is a physical condition. It’s a phenomenon in physics—just like temperature. In the laboratory, for example, some drugs cannot be produced at room temperature. So they put the drugs in an oven and the

PHOTO: J.K. OBATALA temperature gets high. They perform the experiment and then bring them out for analysis. What we want to do is very similar. We’re just changing the physical conditions to study the effects. Are you only going to simulate microgravity in the laboratory? Or do you plan to send experiments into space? Both. What we want to do now, at our level— since Nigeria doesn’t have an astronaut—is use simulators to create the conditions of outer space in the laboratory. We want to develop to a certain level…Do experiments and run tests. Then, when the time comes, we’ll have our experiments launched into space… Are you actually planning for that? Yes. All countries with orbiting space stations are open to collaboration, through the “Human Space Technology Initiative” programme. C.A.R. is involved with that programme. We therefore have the privilege of packaging experiments, for those agencies to carry into space for us. They’ll perform the experiments in orbit, and return the results to us…    A truly independent nation cannot continue to use other people’s rockets to launch its experiments, satellites and astronauts into space. What do you think about that? You know, it’s step by step. In our 14 years of running a Space Agency, we have achieved so much. The space programme is an evolving system. It’s a very dynamic system. So Nigeria will get to the level, where we can run our own manned space pprogramme. I think we are working towards it. We just need to master the technology. That is the first thing we need to do. It took China many years, to launch an astronaut into space.  I think I read somewhere, that they began training their astronauts in cardboard boxes, painted to look like space capsules! Yes. And now they are doing very fine. They have their own space station. They do space education—reaching out to people on Earth from their station. They teach lessons from orbit. Sincerely, there is nothing that is impossible. It simply takes determination—the will to suc-

ceed. I think the Nigerian Space Agency is headed in the right direction. Even if we are wobbling, we’ll wobble through: And we will get there someday! What is “space weather”. Space weather defines the physical conditions in the outer space environment and their effect on technology and its associated processes. When we say, “space environment,” we are referring to altitudes 300 km, and higher, in the direction of the Sun, heading into deep space… Because most satellites are located in that region of space, you need to know the conditions there at all times. You need to know the temperature of the solar wind, the movement of the wind and its speed. You also need data on magnetic fields in the area. The “solar wind” is much different from earthly winds? Yes. What goes on in the troposphere, here on Earth, is the common weather that we discuss in our everyday conversations. It involves the climatic system, weather phenomena such as rain, snow, storms, hurricane, etc. But that only affects the region between Earth’s surface and about 10 km up. Does your mandate include the study of cosmic rays, since there are atmospheric phenomena associated with them? Yes. We’ll be looking at the effects of cosmic rays. When the Sun is not active and we see some atmospheric effects—especially in the night—we can sometimes attribute them to cosmic rays. But we don’t have data on which to build a theory that explains the extent of bombardment over Nigeria and its effect on our climate, atmospheric chemistry, biological systems, etc. Speaking of cosmic rays, Namibia came out on top recently, in a global competition to host a telescope array designed to study cosmic rays— as an indirect means of investigating gamma rays, which do not reach Earth. It’s called the Cherenkov Telescope Array. That’s interesting. But there are actually some things that Nigeria is involved in, that do not include Namibia. I can tell you, for example, that…we are going to have an all-sky imager installed in Nigeria, this year. This is a big multi-million yen project (the yen being Japan’s monetary unit). It’s a big money project that is going to be totally supported by the Japanese. What is an “all sky imager”? It’s used to study conditions in the ionosphere. The imager is an optical camera. It will record the state of the ionosphere every night and provide a continuous stream of data. This will enable us to measure irregularities in the ionosphere…and know what is going to affect our satellite—what happens to the signals. In short, we’ll be able to characterize the ionosphere over Nigeria. This will help us to develop a stable communication system in our country. The data from Nigeria will be the first of its kind in the whole of Africa... Who exactly are you collaborating with in Japan? We are working with the University of Nagoya. They have a Solar Terrestrial Environmental Laboratory (STEL). So a Nigerian, Dr. Kayode Falayi, underwent training there for two months. Are you going to be sending balloons up into the atmosphere, and that type of thing? Yes, when we are fully funded. We are already planning our first balloon flight, to study the atmosphere. There are engineers, at NASRDA headquarters, who are collaborating with the C. A. R on that. Getting back to this “all-sky imager”: Is it a telescope or a large camera—something like a Schmidt? It’s a kind of camera, really. But it focuses on the ionosphere, whereas the Schmidt peers into deep space. The imager will bounce a laser beam (a stream of highly coherent and polar-


TheGuardian

Sunday, March 30, 2014 29

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian WORD POWER GAME Rasp a) tool b) grate c) file d) scrape Meander a) wander b) roam c) amble d) wind Pummel a) beat b) thump c) bash d) pound Cocky a) smug b) arrogant c) brash d) boastful Nervous a) anxious b) worried c) edgy d) jumpy Croon a) sing b) serenade c) hum d) chant Sarcastic a) ironic b) mocking c) cynical d) sardonic Wrench a) tug b) jerk c) yank d) pull Mellow a) smooth b) placid c) relax d) warm Drool a) salivate b) dribble c) slaver d) slobber Vent a) opening b) outlet c) escape d) expel

POEM My Mother Wow! Mother, you treat me like a king I always feel happy by your side I wouldn’t be in school if not for you Every child likes you; so, tell me how do you do it? By magic or by your caring heart? You always try to vote for me, even when I am abused You are like butterfly in my eyes You always cheer me up when I am sad You look after me like an eagle You are my eyes when I am blind You make me have fun I thank you for caring so much for me By Raymond Odiong Ocean Crest School, Lekki

Green House students of CharisMartin International Schools, Gbaga Estate, Ijede Road, Ikorodu, Lagos during their match past in inter-house sports competition held... last week. PHOTO: ’SEUN OLANIYI

Sunshine Sammy’s World Of Words

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FIEF Holds Cross-country Race O better equip its students T and pupils mentally and physically for academic work, FIEF Academy held its annual cross-country race in Lagos recently. The students ran from the front gate of their school through two major streets around Okota area and back to the school. At the end, Sadiq Oladebo emerged the overall winner of the race. He also came first among the boys, while Abdulwasi Salaudeen and Abubakar Sayfuldin came second and third respectively. Among the girls, Akindele Samiah was first, while Muhammed Shaba khadijah and Aderipoko Fatimah came second and third respectively. Sharing his experience, Sadiq said he enjoyed himself though he got tired after the

race. He said what aided him was the fact that he had an idea of what it takes to win long races. “This is the third time I am participating in the cross country race. The first time I came second, the second time, I came first beating students that came first to the second position and now I came first again,” he said. On her part, Samiah said it was her biggest dream, as she would continue to remember that it was in her final year that she came first in the cross country organised by her school. “This is not my first time of participating though in the other instances I have been second and third,” she said. Mrs. Mariam Mansur Williams, head of the school said the cross-country race is

ISOLA Olusola resides in Aguda, Surulere and sent in 10 new words that start with the letter H to share with you and Sunshine Sammy, who loves learning and sharing new interesting, educative words. You can also be part of the fun by contributing fresh words.

usually organised to flag off the annual inter-house sport. She said that the positive feedbacks from the students had made the school to continue the programme. “You can see that the kids are so happy and they always look forward to this and all of them always want to be part of it because it is fun,” she said. Sheilk Mansur Williams, the school’s proprietor said the programme was introduced for fitness and mental stability besides exposing them to what cross-country race is all about. “In Islam, sport is one activity the prophet said we should be concerned about and participate in. He demonstrated it with his family.” — Gbenga Salau

Hinder Helpless Hue Highlight Hiatus

Please send your contributions to: The Junior Guardian Desk Rutam House P.M.B 1217 Oshodi Or kikelola_oyebola@yahoo.ca

Hireling Hoarse Hype Harsh Humble

SOLUTIONS TO BRAIN TEASER (24) AROMATIC FORFEIT

HAGGARD MORIBUND

INEDIBLE LEVITY

DISASTER PLACARD

ISSUES

Johnny And His Teacher UMMER vacation ended and little Johnny returned to school. Two days later, his teacher phoned his mother to tell her that Johnny was misbehaving. “Wait a minute,” she said. “I had Johnny with me for three months and I never called you once when he misbehaved!”

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A cross-section of Marzwell School pupils at the third biennial inter-house sports in Lagos. COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA

Mathematical Problem The teacher came up with a good problem.

“Suppose,” she asked the students, “there were a dozen sheep and six of them jumped over a fence. How many wouttld be left?” “None,” answered little Deji. “None? Deji, you don’t know your arithmetic. “Teacher, you don’t know your sheep,” replied Deji. “When one goes, they all go!”

By Olalekan Bakare olalemany@yahoo.com


30 Sunday, March 30, 2014

THE GUARDIAN

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NATIONAL CONFERENCE

NATIONAL CONFAB: Nigeria On A Delicate Balance By Godini G. Darah HE dramatic and rambunctious ebullience witnessed so far at the National Conference in Abuja is a familiar and typical signature tune of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Every moment at the venue has been marked by exuberant display of abundant energy and improvisational ingenuity. All delegates are keenly aware that the events are being telecast live, thanks to the miracles and wonders of electronic communication. The semiotics of the contributions and interventions is influenced by this knowledge. With only a few microphones available, whoever gets the chairman’s permission to speak tends to exploit all the resources of rhetorical ostentation to be heard and noticed by the myriad constituencies and stakeholders awaiting the outcome of the confab. This background explains some of the grandiloquent gesticulations and verbal effluvia at every sitting. Verily, verily, these attributes are in our character. Nigerians, being tropicalised Homo sapiens of Planet Earth, are a people of robust performance, theatre, and ornate speech. For us, to speak and act pugnaciously is to be human and free. To be sure, Nigeria is the only country in Africa, and perhaps the world, that still possesses these cultural assets of vivacious orality and atavistic communication. Nigeria is host to about 600 of Africa’s 1,500 languages. Unlike in other parts of the world, Nigeria’s motley languages are still alive and growing. Every one of these tongues claims to be an autonomous nation or nationality. Each and every one of these groupings has interests and agendas to pursue and defend. Given this anthropology of linguistic and ethnonational plurality, it is to be expected that a gathering such as the National Conference is bound to be a microcosm of the larger society, where tongues and territories differ yet they are all bound in their pursuit of the good life, freedom, shared experience, and vision of power to be preeminent and authoritative. Yet, the babel voices are neither bedlam nor confusion. Rather, they are a measure of dialectics and democratic vitality. Consider the demographic and class formations of the 492 delegates. Those who have raised doubts about the quotient of credibility because the delegates were not chosen through popular franchise or election are not altogether infallible. Even if elections were held to identify the conferees, our experience of such electoral rituals does not offer iron-cast comfort that the victors would have superior credentials than the ones paraded in the National Conference. With the selection process adopted by the Federal Government, most of the horizontal and vertical spectrums and layers of the Nigerian society are represented at the confab. Here are some indices of the geometry and architecture of the representation. From the echelon of monarchical and royal institutions, there are paramount rulers, princes and princesses, principalities, and potentates of ancient and newfound kingdoms. There is a formidable legion of elder statesmen/women, active and retired generals, warlords, and militants of ethno-national and religious militias. There are eggheads of multiple disciplines such as professors, researchers, lawyers, engineers, bankers, investors, inventors, profiteers, compradors, traders, architects, dreamers, and futurologists. On every row of seats, you find priests, prophets, poets, acolytes, and devotees of various religious sects and beliefs in their flowing and resplendent robes. Visible and voluble, too, are political juggernauts and “caterpillars” such as former presidential candidates, senators, legislators, ministers, ambassadors, former governors, those aspiring to be governors, local council chieftains, and sundry others with political ambitions. There are women, womanists, and feminists of varied ideological outlook, besides humanists, and activists of social and environmental justice. Ideologues and crusaders of diverse jeremiads abound. Ideological avatars include Marxists, communists, socialists, social democrats, centrists, capitalists, plutocrats, proletariats, revolutionaries, and utopians. Though their number is small, representatives of the physically challenged have been articulate and audacious in their contributions and vision of a more caring Nigeria. Perhaps the most vociferous constituency is that of the restive and jobless youth, the largest demographic segment of the Nigerian population, some of who think that they are hapless victims of the “sins” of their parents and older generations. The conference is Nigeria’s premier global media event; therefore, there is unimpeded access for all media organs and personnel. Their visibility is enhanced and ennobled by the presence of veteran journalists, proprietors of media conglomerates, and news agencies of various capacities and ages. The images and views the media project to the world are recycled and narrated with folkloric

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eloquence in recreation centres, clubs, drinking parlours, private homes, motor parks, places of worship, mass transit systems, barbing and hairdressing salons, and “pepper soup joints”. In other words, the National Conference is taking place simultaneously in multi-media formats and venues throughout the world. The delegates are acutely conscious of these facts; therefore, they cannot afford to fail in the enterprise because if they do, the conference is bound to continue in other forms and instruments beyond the control of the delegates and Nigeria. But the National Conference has its task served in delectable cocktails by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He did so in the inauguration address to the delegates on Monday, March 17. In his own words, the “conference is…to table our thoughts and positions on issues, and make recommendations that will advance our togetherness. “The issues” he adds “range from form of government, structure of government, devolution of powers, revenue sharing, resource control, state creation, state police and fiscal federalism, to citizenship, gender equality and children’s rights…” He charged the delegates to “patriotically articulate and synthetise our people’s thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria, forge the broadest possible national consensus in support of those recommendations, and strive to ensure that they are given the legal and constitutional backing to shape the present and the future of our beloved fatherland” (my emphasis). Proactive thinking is evident in much of the address. In the paragraphs cited above, President Jonathan anticipated future controversy about the legitimacy of the confab’s recommendations, hence the phrase, “to ensure that they are given the legal and constitutional backing...” He invoked the supremacy of the people by warning that the “power we hold is, without question, in trust for the people. Sovereignty belongs to the people. Their voices must be heard and factored into every decision we take on their behalf.” Much of media hoopla has been made about the so-called irreconcilable differences and antagonism among sections of the conference. For the vast majority of the delegates, these howlers are phantoms invented by some of the media interpreters in the service of disguised and sinister agendas. Or share unwillingness to comprehend the profundity of issues at stake. Yet, the President was aware that deliberate misinterpretation would be generated around the conference project. In the address, he laid stress on “commitment, diligence, perseverance and patriotic vision…in order to evolve more inclusive societies in which every citizen is a proud…stakeholder”. The connotative ambience of inclusiveness echoes in the refrain of the word, “consensus,” which features four times in the body of the address. Embodied in the semantic density of “consensus” are analogous terms such as cooperation, mutual understanding, equalitarian ethics, and historic compromise. These ennobling and sublime thoughts that distinguish the address are sadly ignored in many oral and written accounts of the inauguration event and subsequent sittings of the conference. Some of the reports are inundated with sensational and less than accurate digest of news and happenings. Self-aggrandising posturing of some delegates has fed some media with negative percep-

tions about the serious business in the hallowed chambers. But we are taking all in stride knowing that theatrics and histrionics are inherent in the public performance of most Nigerians, especially in the domain of politics. Having heard the ornate words of the president and his impassioned delivery, the plenary sessions took off in an auspicious milieu. Minor and routine matters of etiquette and administrative expediency were first handled, but not without the proverbial tensions and suspicions. The urbane demeanour of Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi and Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, chairman and deputy chairman respectively, smoothened the early phases of exchanges and interventions. Understandably, the lean secretariat headed by the conference secretary, Dr. Valerie-Janette Azinge, experienced initial hiccups in managing the surge of demands from the eminent personalities of intimidating pedigree and credentials. Things gradually got into rhythmic groove, yet there are sparks of grumbles here and there. We inched our way into more murky waters, as the debate on the conference procedure rules got under way. Apparently, the template had been cloned from another Nigerian legislative system. We were to debate the procedure rules, amend, endorse, replace or reject them. This is a cardinal principle of the autonomy of the conference. Verbal thunder and lightning were anticipated, as most delegates are seasoned administrators and professional board members with microscopic eyes for errors and booby traps. Contrary to popular expectation, we covered much of the 28-page document without the roof of the chamber coming down. Nearly all of the 15 Orders listed were read, debated, scrutinised, criticised, anatomised, and dissected for semantic accuracy, elegance of wording and phrasing, and intendment and implications. Gender insensitive words like “he”, “him”, “his” without the balancing antonyms of “she” and “her,” were corrected following protests by female delegates. Good progress was made, thanks to the diligent application of the magic formula of consensus. Recall its pre-eminent echoes in President Jonathan’s address. We surged on with gusto until we encountered Order IV (4) and Order XII (4e) in which the vexatious phrase of “three-quarter majority” featured. This procedural harness relates to having a vote count in a situation, where consensus cannot be obtained to resolve differences. This apparently innocuous phrase ignited the latent volcano that nearly shredded the decorum and tranquillity of the conference. Chairman Kutigi foresaw that tempers could flare up with this barb-wired hurdle. Several times, the high table engaged in pleasant gambits to defer and deflect attention from the matter. The dividing line was sharp and provocative. On the one hand are delegates, who consider the three-quarter criterion, as too forbidding and difficult to attain. On the other hand, there are those, who argue that the unorthodox innovation is necessary to checkmate militant advocates and avatars of radical reforms in the structure of government and the political economy of federalism. The first group could not be persuaded that the three-quarter quotient was good for the conference, while twothirds is the norm in all national and corporate decision-making processes. For example, to win an election, a Nigerian contestant for president

or governor is required to win 25 per cent in twothirds of states or local government areas. In most legislative events, a simple majority of those present and voting is adopted. In fact, Order VII (4) of the conference procedure rules stipulates a “vote of two-thirds” to suspend any portion of the rules. Applying two systems of voting in the same procedure rules raises doubt of fairness and transparency in the business of the conference. On the first day of the debate, no rapprochement could be reached. The matter was deferred. Next day, a more politically explosive deadlock developed. The leadership of the conference secured a truce of sorts, when Chairman Kutigi sought the approval of delegates to convene a 49-member caucus of elder statesmen/women and respected leaders of the six geo-political zones to deliberate and resolve the impasse. The request was granted to the relief of those who feared a premature rupture of the conference calendar. The caucus report given on Wednesday, March 26, confirmed that discussions were still inconclusive. More time was needed to mediate ideological and sectional differences. Conference had to adjourn till next Monday to allow the deus ex machina of consensus to intervene and defang the debacle satisfactorily. A major crisis has been averted, thanks to sagacious handling by the conference leadership and tolerance of the conferees. But the scenario points to a foretaste of possible clashes in the days ahead, especially when substantial issues adumbrated in the President’s speech are tabled for debate. Yet, we left for recess last week with stubborn and audacious hope. Like President Jonathan, we are fortified by the confidence that all thorny issues will be mollified through consensus and compromise. This optimism is anchored on the knowledge that Nigeria is endowed with enormous reservoir of mediatory power. All the major conflicts and disputes on the African continent have benefitted from Nigeria’s bountiful bequests in this regard. For 50 years, Nigeria has been the emeritus peacemaker in Africa. Our troops and peacemakers were in the Congo in 1960, Tanzania in 1964, and Southern Africa from 1975-1994. Nigeria’s military and petro-dollar power quelled the political conflagration in Chad Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast. We did the same in the Sudan and helped South Sudan to attain sovereign nationhood a few years ago. Nigerian peacekeepers have been engaged in theatres of conflicts in countries outside of Africa. Among the delegates in the conference are soldiers, police officers, ambassadors, and civil servants that participated in these international engagements that have made the world more pacific and liveable. Why is it that we are unable to apply the same verve and ingenuity in resolving socio-political conflicts amongst ourselves? This gigantic enigma must be tackled and tamed at this conference. We know that it will not be an easy task, as the witchcraft of the homestead is more tenacious and intractable to subdue. But with the proud legacy of mediation I outlined above, the esteemed delegates have no choice but to overcome all obstacles and treacheries. Indeed, Nelson Mandela was dead right: for Nigeria, as it was for South Africa, it is a long, long walk to freedom.

•Professor Darah is Delta State Delegate to the National Conference


Sunday, March 30, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

31

PERSPECTIVES

Buhari

Tinubu

Onu

Challenges APC Should Overcome Before Congresses By Comrade Mashood Erubami FTER 14 years of groping in the dark for good governance in Nigeria, the All Progressive Congress (APC), in a deliberate attempt to find appropriate answers to the lingering problems forged a merger, the first of its kind in the history of Nigeria. The merger emerged from a coalition of the Action Congress Of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress For Progressives Change (CPC). Each party contributed a letter of its former name to form the new party and this is quite reflective in the Acronym of APC adopted for the party. Since the party receive the nod to be, from the nations electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 31 July 2013, many sceptics had held on to the assumption that the party would face the difficult task of holding itself together because of the amalgamation of strange bedfellows, forgetting that the strength of the party lies in its diversity. This is forgetting that political parties in the country have tried to build alliances which did not work in the past, but this time around, the APC used the experiences of the failed attempts as a guide to form a merger, which appears to be succeeding and has now turned to be the albatross of the ruling party. However, apart from the visible success of the merger, serious works still need to be done to ensure that unity of the members results from its diversities, which require that certain concrete actions must be taken in good faith to allow collective interest of stakeholders to support the welding together of the interests of those who came together to form the party, rather than allow individual interests to prevail against the collective. The idea of merger among the three dominant opposition parties became instructive because Nigerians needed to be presented with choices and options. Hence the need for a new political dynamic that could allow the APC to come on board to represent the interests of the largely despaired in the society. It is in this regard that the APC can offer a robust and constructive opposition that can stand up for the poor and failing businesses in the country. However, if the APC will transform from opposition party to a ruling party come 2015, it must be seen to be practicing full internal democracy. The APC must make internal democracy its watchword as the only instrument that can hold its members, who some commentators call “strange bedfellows” together. This is because, among the three parties that are involved in the merger, the ACN is noted for not usually using primaries to select its candidates for political offices, even though its approach could nonetheless be democratic and constitutional at the end. The selection of ACN candidates has always been informed by certain paradigms that take into consideration factors which are built on consensus, political equity and winning by popular votes. In using this approach guided by the criterion listed above, the ACN has in the

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past yielded position for opposition candidates how and who they want to govern them to end to emerge to replace its own candidates, which their long years of profound hunger, poverty and have won political offices for the party ultimate- seemingly endless hopelessness as there will be ly. no room to procrastinate and find excuses for The cases of Senator Adeseun and Hon Mikail, in failure of government in the future; no more the Southwest, who were poached from the PDP imposition of candidates and election of imposto represent ACN at the federal level, are cases in tors into political offices. point in this regard. The same approach was The existence of the APC will open a new window experimented in arriving at the merger of the of opportunities for credible people who will three parties to form the APC. The ANPP is prestand out in politics to clean its assumed dirtiness, dominantly northern based; APGA is based in setting a new process for recruiting good and the East, while the CPC is northern based and the courageous leaders who are imbued with characACN predominating in the Southwest. ter and integrity. These parties have operated separately for years, What will remain to be done however, is how to but having discovered that that the course of manage the successes of the APC against the view governance was not positively affecting the lives that no other party can emerge to stop the moveof the electorate and that only a few political ment of the PDP in the next 60 years and to defuse hawks in the ruling PDP are feeding on the com- the notion that there is something fundamental monwealth to the detriment of the greatest in the approach of the ACN not using primaries number of Nigerians, they have decided to come for the selection of candidates; though we hold together in the interest of the impoverished that what worked in the past might not be appromajority, to liberate the commonwealth from priate in the current dispensation. the hands of its hijackers. Their aim is to redirect The APC today, as a matter of philosophy, must governance to serve the cause of the people and set the pace and begin to practice internal democto improve the welfare of the people in a secured racy, which must become the cornerstone of its environment, thereby fulfilling the primary obli- ideology, in order to be able to wedge the parties gation of government to the people. in the merger together, especially now that it is No doubt, the existence of a virile opposition approaching its congresses in few weeks to come, working with a truly Independent Electoral having recently concluded the registration of Commission like the INEC will end the era of members with a good margin of success. electoral impunity, help recruit courageous, The next stage will be how to select the ward leadcredible and legitimate leaders who possess the ers and other leaders to the state and national capacity to run a government that will correct offices. Any member emerging to occupy any the anomalies in the economy, redefine the state political seat should emerge through the popular of the Nation, engage the hands of millions of votes of the people in order to create peaceful youths through revolutionary transformation of atmosphere for competitive contest. the rural environment, and ultimately entrench Expectations are that APC would be further hope for welfare and security among the people. engrossed in serious insurmountable crisis, To ensure transformation in government and because there have been reported misunderrestore hope for hopeless Nigerians, the existing standing in some states chapters of the party, fidelity among the merging parties must be especially in the North, which is seen as a bad strengthened and sustained by ensuring that omen. there should be no sacred cows, no favoured and This may seem so, but the ongoing crisis should disfavoured members. The party must resist the be seen as a transient development that accomtemptation of taking decisions at nocturnal panies any new democratic creation. It is normal meetings of a few senior members in their for people to be reluctant to respond to change. homes. Some people before the merger never envisaged Every eventual candidate should emerge that they would swerve positions or that the through an open and credible primary. No can- majority in the merger might have to contend didate should be influenced to step down for with the minority. others with trivial reasons. With these in place, There is therefore the need for the merging parthe legal existence of the APC will make it possi- ties to understand themselves before final fusion. ble for Nigerians to make up their minds about The ACN, where it predominates has to expect

To ensure transformation in government and restore hope for hopeless Nigerians, the existing fidelity among the merging parties must be strengthened and sustained by ensuring that there should be no sacred cows, no favoured and disfavoured members. The party must resist the temptation of taking decisions at nocturnal meetings of a few senior members in their homes. Every eventual candidate should emerge through an open and credible primary. No candidate should be influenced to step down for others with trivial reasons

that there were CPC and ANPP partners that need to be carried along unlike before and that the idea of winners taking all has to be discarded. The harmonization of state and local government structures across the country needs to be handled carefully by interim national leaders to help prevent implosion in the party. In organising the new political movement, in the sharing of amenities and welfare programs, the major parties must not be oblivious of the needs of the minority and the fact that they also belong. The minority must be assured that their fears would be assuaged without arrogance. What might seem to be a crisis now is only that of confidence, normal distrust and suspicion and once the fears of parties involved are allayed, sceptics will be surprised. In unity lies the strength of the merging parties. Everybody needs to be on board the party with less personal ambition so as not to sacrifice good governance that Nigerians are looking forward to for personal ambition. Loyalty to the party, discipline and commitment to serve the people should be the watchword of members joining the merger so as to ensure that the APC occupies its rightful position in the government in 2015 at all levels. All said, members, old and new must be very careful not to play into the hands of ‘enemies’, so as not to allow them say “we told you before.” Members from the merging parties must know that they will profit much when they hold tight to the principle of internal democracy, the only way to stay together sustainably. There must not be discrimination among the leadership and followership and they must all know that they are no more in their old parties, that the new party the APC is newly and jointly formed to make qualitative change in the politics and lives of Nigerians. Decisions at all times must be reached democratically, so that whoever loses out in any decision will be satisfied that he or she has had his say. There should be no imposition of any favoured candidate; every member should be treated equally as members of the same political family. Everything should be democratically considered before decisions are taken, unless it is collectively agreed to be put to a vote. There will be peace and harmony in the party if every emerging candidate is allowed to test his or her popularity among others through the popular choice of the people without imposing the “step down option” Old members either from the ACN, ANPP or CPC should understand that the major opposition to the merger is the ruling party and that it will try anything under the sun to break the new found solidarity. To maintain the good chance the APC has with the suffering masses and to win the coming 2015 elections, members must join hands tightly. Erubami, former chair of Nigeria’s Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) is president and convenor of the Nigeria Voters Assembly.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

32 Sunday, March 30, 2014

IBRUCENTRE

Corruption: What Role For Religious Leaders? Recently, a former Nigerian President, in a statement credited to him, called on Christians to join politics. According to him, “Politics should not be for the ungodly.” This statement has generated more controversy than the solution it was seeking to proffer in the sense that no ‘ungodly’ man has ever presided over the affairs of this country. Right from inception, those that have ruled this nation have always claimed to be ‘godly’ being either Christians or Muslims. But as can be seen, they have all been responsible for the mess the nation has found itself. Perhaps, if ‘ungodly’ people had been allowed to rule, maybe the level of corruption witnessed today would have been reduced to the barest minimum. If Christians and Muslims leaders have failed to emancipate the country from moral decadence and corruption, should we then say that the churches and mosques have failed to produce good leaders or role models? What should be the role of religious organisations in producing good leaders and role models? Some of the religious leaders, who spoke on the issue, told CHRIS IREKAMBA, GBENGA AKINFENWA and KENECHUKWU EZEONYEJIAKU that the church and mosque have tried to inculcate moral discipline in their members, but that the whole responsibility lies with the individual and not with religious organisations.

‘Traditional Religion Should Take The Centre Stage In Selecting Leaders’ HE role of traditionalists in T the emergence or selection of leaders in the society, especially elective offices is very important, but it has been jettisoned because it would easily expose corrupt officials. Our leaders are aware that through traditional religion, the truth is always known and that is why the practice of choosing leaders through tradition has been sidelined because of their unbridled thirst for money. In the olden days, when an individual was about to be enthroned, the Ifa oracle would be consulted to choose leaders, who would be responsible and active to positively impact on the people. But today, selection of traditional leaders, chiefs and political office holders is based on the highest bidder. If political office holders are mandated to take oath before the deities that they would not steal money, they’ll be checked because they know that the repercussion is instant death. If we want sanity in the communities and our country, traditional religion practices should be enforced to make oaths, which entail the use of symbols

(Dr. Sefiu Arifayo Faleye, Aseda Onifa of Arigbajo and Atokun of Owuland) such as gun, cutlass or other implements. If this is done, our society would be okay, but our leaders won’t allow this because they know if they misbehave, they’ll be exposed. The side effect of taking oath with the Bible or Quran may take some time but the repercussion of taking oath through god of thunder is instant. Nigerian leaders are not afraid of embezzling because the oaths have become a routine exercise, which have no effect on them, but if traditional religion is allowed to take the centre stage in the selection of leaders in Nigeria, we would use Ifa, which is the father of all, Ogun, Sango or any other deities.

‘The Man That Proposed Anti-gay Bill Is A Member Of Foursquare Church, He Has Acted As An Ambassador’ HE church is the salt and T light of the nation. The purpose of God is that anyone bearing the name of Christ should be an ambassador for God or for Christ. So, the role of the church in producing right calibre of leadership cannot be overstated. For example, the man who proposed the Antigay Bill is a member of Foursquare Church and as far as I am concerned, he has acted as an ambassador, as a light. Can you imagine if this nation has got to the point, where Nigerians accept same-sex marriage? That would have been very disastrous for the morale of upcoming ones in this nation. But the church produced that right kind of leadership at that level who was able to say ‘no, this thing is wrong.’ And as God would have it, President Jonathan accepted but other nations of the world are not happy about it. So, in

(Rev. Ikechukwu Ugbaja, National Secretary, Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria) that aspect, the church has fulfilled its role in producing the right kind of leadership. And we have pockets of people like that, who in their various duty posts, have shown light in their little way and I know that by God’s grace as the nation keeps emerging, things will be better.

‘Church Has Endeavoured To Train Members In Line With Christ’s Teachings’

‘Religion Teaches Honesty And Avoidance Of Corruption, Yet Some People Do The Opposite’

HE Church and its leaders T have in many ways endeavoured to train leaders in line

T is the role of religious orIersganisations or religious leadto teach their followers the

with Christ’s teachings, but they have a choice to adhere to the teachings of the Church as directed by Jesus Christ or not. Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that the corruption and moral decadence being experienced in this country today is not as a result of the church not producing good leadership or lacking in godly counseling, rather it is a sign of end-time. The world will continue to witness more of the social debauchery till the end comes. We have been forewarned by the Scripture that we are in the last times, the worse times, perilous times, full of sins and trouble, a time when leaders, notwithstanding the level of godly teaching received, will still engage in covetousness, pride, blasphemy, ungodliness, treachery and become lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. People will fall from one sin to another, and proceed

idea that we are here in this world to do the will of our Creator, the One, who not only created us, but also created the world in which we found ourselves. It only makes sense, therefore, that we follow His guidance first as to how we behave; deal with ourselves, our neighbours and the environment in relation to Him, especially because at the end of the day each and everyone of us is going back to Him to give account of our stewardship. That is the central teaching of religion. The issue of accountability is emphasised very strongly in the Qur’an and the idea of life after death, which begins right at the time the person makes his or her exit from this world. Whatever we teach our children or the students at whatever level should be related to God. For example, we teach them geography, the evolution of the earth, rotation of the earth, but we do not go further to ask them, who put that law that makes the earth rotate and revolve. There is an alternation between the day and the night; could these laws have come into existence without a Supreme Being putting it in order? These are things that can make people realise that whatever they do in this world must be related to their Creator by way of showing gratitude to Him and also by way of being conscious that at the

(Pastor Lazarus Muoka, General Overseer, The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries) from one degree of wickedness to another. (2 Tim 3: 1-5) There is nothing the church can do in this situation than to continue to pray for good leadership for the country at every point in time. However, nobody can dictate to God what He is to do and how He is to do it. The Church leaders have the belief that every leadership allowed by God is good and should be supported, because all things happen according to His dictate, for He is the Almighty God and by Him all things consist. (Col. 1:17)

‘Many Of Our Leaders Want To Do Well, But Problem Is Godfathers In Nigerian Politics’ Y belief is that politics is M for everybody and anybody who is interested may get involved in it, irrespective of religion. I also believe that some righteous people could change when they get there. The difference is what the Bible says that when the righteous is in power, the people rejoice. This is because the righteous person fears God and sees himself/herself as a servant of the masses. He/she will be willing to do the will of the people. He will not be a leader but a servant of all. These are the qualities we need in anybody aspiring for political leadership in Nigeria at this time. Nigeria is still undergoing the process of producing God-fearing leaders (many of our leaders who want to behave well find it difficult because of the so-called godfathers in Nigerian politics). I know a time will come in this country, when we shall see a new Nigeria with new leaders emerging, and

‘A Corrupt Society Produces A Corrupt Leader’ HE activities of many politiT cians have led many people into concluding that politics is “dirty, devilish and meant for crooks, cheats and liars.” But the abuse of something does not negate its use. Cardinal Francis Arinze clearly pointed it out that “if the politician takes and gives bribe, assassinates other people’s characters and takes people’s lives, exploits men and women and embezzles public funds, then, it is the politician and not politics itself that is dirty.” Here, he made a clear distinction between politics and politicians. Man by nature is a political being and as a gregarious being, every interaction among human beings has political undertone. But here, we are talking of partisan politics and politicians. Coming to the role of the church in producing good leaders and role models, the church has from the beginning struggled to produce good leaders and form people, who are good and who can as well, take up leadership in many countries. For instance, when Europe was in darkness, it was the church that showed it the light and brought it to what it is now. (Rev. Dare Ajiboye, General Secretary/CEO, The Bible Society of Nigeria) And it was because of good

(Dr. Adewale Adeyeye, World Leadership Programme of End-time Generals (Rescue Team International) our country will become the best that God wants it to be. That is why the World Leadership Programme of Endtime Generals was commissioned to raise new leaders. My belief is that when good leadership is enthroned in the church, our politics will change and Nigeria will be better.

‘Church Should Teach Their Members How To Live Godly Lives Of Contentment’ HAT is politics? By my own W definition, sacrosanct politics is the process of canvassing for the supports and votes of people by an individual or a political party with the aim of achieving stated objective(s). Who is a Christian? A Christian is not somebody who carries the title of pastor, bishop, deacon, etc.  Some churches today are assemblage of people (confirmed unbelievers, regenerated individuals, pretenders, etc.) with varying motives, needs and objectives, but uni-

fied with the universal gathering with outward purpose of worshipping God. Give me 10 genuine Christians and introduce them to Nigerian politics, you will be lucky to have one, who will still remain a Christian six months after.  Yes, Christians should participate in politics by praying and raising godly families and church members, who can in the nearest future become God-fearing politicians.  “True” Christians do not possess the competences required

to play Nigerian politics today. The most so-called Christians you talked about in Nigerian politics are census data Christians and not Biblical Christians. No Christian will be involved in blood shedding or corrupt practices in an attempt to achieve selfish ambition.  The role of the Church in producing good leaders is to lead by example as Christ did.  The Church is supposed to be the light and salt of the world. The Church should also teach their members about how to live godly lives of contentment.   

(Professor Dawud O. S. Noibi, Executive Secretary/CEO Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN) end of the day, they are going to give account of their stewardship. If people bear this in mind, this country will be much better than the way it is today. If they acquire wealth fraudulently, they are going to pay back on the day of resurrection. It is one thing to claim to be a Muslim or a Christian. It is quite a different thing to live a life of a Muslim or a true life of a Christian. It is unfortunate that those who have misruled this country claimed to be Muslims or Christians; it is on the basis of that, that we tend to judge religion itself and not these individuals. And every Muslim including Christians believe that no religion teaches corruption, violence and dishonesty. Now, if religion teaches honesty and avoidance of corruption and what have you and yet some people who claim to be religious do exactly the opposite, do you then blame religion? It is those people that should be blamed.

(Rev. Fr. Dr. Benjamin Chibueze Udeh, Head of Christian Religious Studies Department, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Anambra State) leaders, people prepared and trained by the church that they were able to do that. The abundance of corruption and moral decadence in the country most often, does not come from the leader. Remember, the leader comes from the society and the society influences the leader just as the leader influences the society. A corrupt society produces a corrupt leader; a morally, orderly and well-organised society will produce a morally and orderly people. The church makes effort to change the wrong attitude in the society by teaching the lay faithful to avoid all that will degrade the society.


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IBRUCENTRE

Sunday School All Season Thanksgiving Memory Verse: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” I Thessalonians 5:18. Bible Passage: Psalm 95:1-11. Introduction …And Nabal answered...’ who is David? Shall I take my bread and my water and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men I know not.’ 1 Sam 25:11. The world of the Nabals always revolves round themselves. Their entitlement — mindsets believe everything and everyone exists to serve only them. God Is The Source Psalm 95:1-5 God is the source of all things. He created them all (Ps. 24:1-2). Without God we can do nothing (Deut. 8:18; I Chro. 29:11-12;

... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye

James 1:17). We neglect this fundamental truth at great peril. This includes: • Conflict with God: We think life is about what we acquire or receive, while God says it’s about what we give (Luke 12:15; Pr. 11:24; Acts 20:35). • Fear: If God is my provider then I can rest. If not, then my provision depends on self-effort rather than divine provision (Zeph.3: 5). • Ungratefulness: If I am my provider, then why should I thank anybody? “A self-made man worships himself and his possessions” (See Luke 12:16-20). God is my Shepherd. His care for me is unique (Matt. 10:29-31). He even has a special name reserved for me known only to the two of us (Rev. 2:17). Thanksgiving: A Choice (vs. 7-11).

Thankful people: • Choose to focus on the positives and not the negatives of life. • Find a way to turn negatives into positives. They realise that God really does cause all things to work together for good. The furnace may be uncomfortable but the product is beautiful (Rom. 8:28; Job 23:10). • Look for the best in the world around them. Often, you find exactly what you are looking for (Ps.8: 3-4; Ps. 19:1-3). • Are grateful for what they have and do not focus on what they want (Rom. 1:18-23). Conclusion If we can count our blessings and name them one by one, it will surprise us what the Lord has done. And He will always do more. You have a choice.

Getting Ready For The Son Of Man Matt 24: 43-44 says, “But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” EADINESS is an act of vigilance, which R every man with the intention of achieving success must be prepared to abide in order to arrive at the desired result. In Christendom, watchfulness must be the stock in trade of everyone striving to make heaven because the hour and the time the trumpet shall sound for rapture is not known. So, in our preparedness for the kingdom of God and the rapture, which is the second coming of the Son of Man, the Bible admonishes us to be ready at all times. To watch for Christ’s coming, is to maintain that temper of mind, which we

would be willing that our Lord should find us in. We know we have but a little time to live and after it judgment, but nobody knows the time fixed for it. Our Lord will be happy with those that shall be found ready, but very dreadful to those that choose the world for their portion in this life. Matt. 24:36-39 says, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” In the above verses, our Saviour declares that the world’s final dissolution on the last day, would be much like the destruction of the old world. They were eating

and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. That is, wholly given up to sensuality and debauchery, and did not know of the floods coming until it swept them away. The reason sinners are drowned in sensuality is because they do not believe the certainty, or consider the proximity of an approaching judgment. To such as are inapprehensive of time of their death and judgment of God, evils will surely meet them suddenly. But to such that are prepared, having in mind to render account of stewardship, death is never sudden. Matt 25:1-5 and 13 says, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept… 13 Watch

“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts.  From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see His invisible qualities His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God”Rom.1: 18-20. ODOM and Gomorrah Sassociated are two cities in the Bible with evil. They

were cities of the plain or valley (Genesis 13:12). There were five cities located in the valley of Siddim (i.e., the Salt Sea). Sodom became known as the supreme example of a wicked city. “…The Lord told Abraham, “I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are extremely evil and that everything they do is wicked.  I am going down to see whether or not these reports are true. Then I will know.”Gen.18: 2021. The people were known as notorious sinners. One of Sodom’s most notable sins was sexual perversion, especially homosexuality. One time, Lot offered his virgin

daughters to the men of Sodom to turn their attention away from his heavenly visitors. This is an indication of the demoralising influence of the city. The Nigerian society is already tending towards sexual perversion and the resultant effect is God’s anger on the land. The only way of escape is to repent and forsake this wicked act. The evil of Sodom and Gomorrah was so great the Lord determined to destroy the cities. Abraham pleaded for mercy for them if 10 righteous men could be found (18:20-33). The two heavenly visitors, who went from Abraham to Sodom,

Cleric Attributes Immigration Tragedy To Leadership Deficiency By Ijeoma Opara EAD, Wind and Fire H Christian Ministry, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, Prophet Azibuke Okoro has said that lack of priority by the leadership at the helm of affairs was the cause of the recent Immigration recruitment tragedy. At the head office of the Church in Lagos, the man of God lamented that if the leadership had set its priority right, the stampede of youths that applied for the exercise could have been averted. He added that the

tragedy was a circumstance of the wickedness of the nation, saying, “God revealed that He will soon destroy the wicked in Nigeria.” Said he: “The stampede of the applicants on March 15, is part of the impunity we are talking about. If the nation had set its priority well, Nigeria will not have been in such mess.”     While also lamenting poor power supply in the country, he said God told him that He has exhausted His grace on Nigeria and will soon take action against the

By Pastor Lazarus Muoka therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” The knowledge seeking for attention in the above verses is that the bridegroom represents the Son of man, while the time of the marriage is the coming to judgment; the tarrying is the long and unknown period between His ascension and His return; the virgins represent the waiting church; the wise virgins represent the church members who are always ready, those that are born again whose lights are shining; the oil in their vessels is the means by which their light is supplied.

Challenges Of Life (4)

God’s Anger At Sin (1) By S.K. Abiara

Living Waters

wicked. “The wind has already blown and God said His grace is expired on Nigeria. He said I should tell all Nigerians to engage in prayers incessantly and forsake their evil ways.” He said God revealed: “He will move into Nigeria with His strong hand. The wicked people have provoked me to anger with their sacrifices of innocent blood. Whenever God servants hear the noise of battle and turbulent, they should not panic because I’ll protect them.”

found Lot sitting at the gate of Sodom. They revealed God’s intentions to him, and persuaded Lot, his wife, and two daughters to flee the city. Then the Lord rained brimstone (related to sulfur) and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. “That evening the two angels came to the entrance of the city of Sodom, and Lot was sitting there as they arrived. When he saw them, he stood up to meet them. Then he welcomed them and bowed low to the ground… at last they went home with him. As they were preparing to retire for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out so we can have sex with them.” Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. “Stand back!” they shouted. “Who do you think you are? We let you settle among us, and now you are trying to tell us what to do! We’ll treat you far worse than those other men!” And they lunged at Lot and began breaking down the door. But the two angels reached out and pulled Lot in and bolted the door. Then they blinded the men of Sodom so they couldn’t find the doorway”Gen.19: 1-11. Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide. skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.u k

By Gabriel Agbo RAYER is just what you need now to get out of that situation. I mean a sincere, word-based and sustained petition to heaven. Challenges of life call for prayers. Even if you have been praying before, now you must increase your spiritual firepower. And this is exactly what I do. When I’m praying and the situation seems to get tougher, I increase the level and duration of my prayer, until I have my breakthrough. That’s what is called PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens). Yes, it can sometimes get tougher, rougher and confusing as you pray, but don’t give up. Pray until you see that your desire, freedom and vision come to pass. Please let’s go back to King Jehoshaphat’s prayer. He started by praising and magnifying the name of God. Yes, that is the right place to start. If you want to always have touch to God’s heart and power, learn how to praise Him. He dwells and manifests in the praises of His people.   The most powerful people I have seen both in the Bible and in the contemporary church are simply those that have mastered the art of praise. When you praise God, you endear yourself to Him and receive His grace, presence and power. When you praise God, you unleash His indisputable sovereignty over all creation and circumstances. When you praise Him, you automatically render Satan, his evil hosts and all your adversaries powerless and confused. Space will not allow me to elaborate on these as will be found in my

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monumental war manual— book called Power of Midnight Prayer. Just look at David. Through praise he became a man after God’s heart and the most powerful king of Israel. God gave him an everlasting throne and an honour to be the progenitor of the Messiah. And he told us that the secret is thanksgiving, praise, worship, sacrifice and humility. In fact, he said that he would enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. That’s correct! Praise will open the doors and gates of heaven, and God’s heart any day any time. Jehoshaphat told God that He is most powerful, almighty, dependable and consistent. He called Him the ruler, the king of all the kingdom of all the earth. Wow! Can you beat that? Yes, though there was an imminent danger, he still took time to praise, worship and eulogise Jehovah – the God of Israel. No wonder God refused to disappoint him. There are people that God cannot disappoint. Even when He is not prepared to do a thing, because of them He will act. True! Or you can go and ask Prophet Samuel. It was not time for rains to come and he told Israel so, but still went ahead to call forth the rain and God had no choice than to honour Him. And immediately the rain came with great wind and thunderstorms. He honours those that honour Him! A praise and worship monger will move the hands of God even at odd times. Rev Agbo is a minister with the Assemblies of God Nigeria. gabrielagbo@yahoo.com


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34 | Sunday, March 30, 2014

IBRUCENTRE Springs Of Wisdom

Running The Race Of Life By Gabriel Osu VERY endeavour in life comes with E its rules and regulations. Every profession has a standard set for prospec-

does not come easy. There would be obstacles on our path. There would be pains and sorrows and often we may feel like giving up. However, we can find consolation in the words of our Saviour in John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So we have an assurance that as we journey on in life, we shall triumph, no matter what comes our way. Even if the earth quakes, we shall not be afraid because God is with us. But this assurance comes with a caveat. While we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus shed on the Cross of Calvary, it is not a license to live reckless lives. We are called to live like Christ who emptied Himself that we may be saved. Hebrew 12:1, sheds light into how we should live our life: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that

hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” What is the race marked out for us? It is the race for eternal life, which Jesus has won for us. But we can only claim it when we identify with Christ by obeying the commandments of God. And so, everyday of our life, we must try to shun sin and other distractions that may want to come against us winning in this race of life. Ecclesiastes 9: 11, “I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skilful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.” Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.

tive adherents. In order to be inducted, or allowed to practice, you would be required to satisfy some basic requirements, and having undergone the requisite training, you would then be tested in some form of examination in order to know how well you have absorbed the things learnt. If you are found competent, you would be issued a professional certificate and thereafter admitted into the profession. This simple analogy also applies to our race for the kingdom of God. Just as we have some rules guiding us in the physical, so also we have in the spiritual. We are not here by accident. Though we may not have any vivid recollection of who we were before we found ourselves here on planet earth, we can, through the word of God and the revelations of the Holy Spirit, understand the purpose of our being here. We are created to know, love, and serve God with all our hearts and to love our neighbours as ourselves. We are spirits with a soul and living in a body. One day, that spirit would leave the body and go back to God. Thus, by being conscious of this fact, we fortify our spirit and soul for the battles of life. Our life is a journey, which started the minute we were conceived; to terminate the minute we take our final breath. The final laurel that awaits us is eternal life. We should never forget this fact. No matter our success here, if we fail to fortify our spirit for eternity, then all would have been in vain. But becoming a winner General Superintendent, Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi (left), General Secretary/CEO, Bible in the spiritual sense Society of Nigeria, Rev. Dare Ajiboye and Church/PR Manager, Bible Society of Nigeria, Mr. Samuel Sanusi, during

a courtesy visit by the Bible Society of Nigeria to Pastor Kumuyi in Ayobo, Lagos… on March 22, 2014.

Free At Last (2) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka OD had to warn Pharaoh G seven times before he agreed to let the children of Israel go. God sent various plagues to Egypt but Pharaoh remained stubbornly insistent and would not let them go. In the same way, God may have allowed a multitude of things to happen to your enemies but they may still be refusing to let you go. At the end of the day, the only language that Pharaoh understood was death; not the death of others, because even the death of his own son did not move him. It was only his own death that caused him to stop harassing the children of Israel. The word ‘Pharaoh’ means so many things: “son of the sun,” “mouth of the sun” or “the destroyer”, someone who spoils and scatters in the spiritual realm. The witches and wizards in your environment and your household are your present day Pharaohs. Their end shall be sudden death, quick and decisive. Household witch-

craft, which represents your Pharaoh of today, does not want to die. They get stronger by the day because they feed on human blood and they use it as tonic. We must, therefore, not have mercy on our enemies because we are in a life and death battle with them. When we are at war, we do not send food to our enemies. Yet many of us, out of sentiments and emotion, are still feeding those that want to destroy us just because they happen to be members of our family. What does Pharaoh represent? • Pharaoh represents hardened enemies. God had to afflict Pharaoh’s people with ten plagues before He allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt and even then, he stilled pursued them. • Pharaoh represents a strong man, leading armies against children of God. He represents the enemies designed to capture people and bring them back into bondage; those who are insulting and defying God, say-

ing, “Who is the Lord? What can He do?” •Pharaoh represents stubborn pursuers; those that employ sorcerers and magicians to work against people. •Pharaoh represents arrogant enemies; they are so bold they feel no one can touch them. •Pharaoh represents those that draw power from the sun, moon and from waters and they use it against children of God, to destroy their destinies. •Pharaoh represents an aggressor that refuses to be flexible. Once they have decided what they want, they do not negotiate and they go after it without wavering. •Pharaoh represents hardened slave masters; they just want to make people their slaves. • Pharaoh represents raging enemies who are very aggressive. • Pharaoh represents spiritual exploiters; those that use other people’s labour for their own advancement. • When they decide someone will not move ahead,

they do everything to ensure that the person does not progress. You need to identify your Pharaoh. It is important that you know who your enemy is so you can fight against them. The issue of deliverance and battling against witchcraft powers is not guesswork. You must find out the root of your problems, the person behind your problems and the power behind your problems. It is only an ignorant soldier that will shoot against what he does not know. You must, therefore, do all you can to discover who your enemy is. Your Pharaoh could be a power, a spirit or a principality or power, disguised as a human being. Once you identify your Pharaoh, ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to wage war against him. Use every weapon that you have available against him, until your Pharaoh dies. Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com

By Pastor W. F. Kumuyi

How Do You Weigh Before God? (2) ANY people today, have one thing in common with M King Belshazzar of ancient Babylon: they have no thought or consciousness of the existence of the true God. Like Belshazzar, they sin freely without thinking of God’s law or God’s judgment. Yet that did not hinder God from weighing or evaluating Belshazzar’s acts of infidelity, immorality and profanity. Those who claim to be atheists deny the existence of God and live without any thought of divine judgment. When they are weighed in God’s divine balance, they will be found not only wanting but also worthless. Belshazzar was a sensual man, addicted to fleshly pleasures. Wine, women and wealth were all he cared for. While the flesh was nourished and satiated, the soul was famished and defiled. He was a king but in heaven’s evaluation, the influence of his kingdom was worthless. Graceless, worldly sinners live for the flesh without making any positive impact on the world. “Let us eat and drink,” is their whole purpose of living. Their lives will soon be weighed in the balance and they will be found not only wanting but also worthless. King Belshazzar was selfish and self-centred. He was forgetful of God’s judgment on proud and arrogant father, King Nebuchadnezzar. As he was forgetful of the past, he was negligent of present duties and nonchalant about the future. His heart was deadened, his mind was darkened, his senses were dulled, his understanding was dimmed and when he was weighed in the balances he was not only found wanting but also worthless. The dishonest man, the intemperate man, the fraudulent man, the corrupt man, the selfdeluded man, the gambler, the swindler and the drunk will soon be weighed in the divine balance of righteousness and truth. They will all be found, not only wanting but also worthless. The man or woman that lives as if there is no God in heaven to inspect his or her conduct, as if there is no judgment bar at which we must one day appear, says, ‘give me riches, honour, pleasure, fashion, health, friends and longlife, that is all I care for’. Like Belshazzar, each one of such people will soon be weighed in the balances and be found wanting and worthless. What a day that would be. Belshazzar was not merely an individual sinner; he was a royal sinner, an influential sinner and a seductive, enticing sinner. He led “a thousand of his lords”, “his princes, his wives and his concubines” into the sin of idolatry, sacrilege, profanity, infidelity, irreverence, blasphemy and perversion. Apostates and seducers are not content or satisfied to sin and dishonour God all alone by themselves; they must drag others into sin with them. To sin against God is bad and terrible enough to earn anyone eternal punishment; but to lead others to sin against God is worse and its damnation is greater and more terrifying. God knows those who, like Jeroboam, another King in Israel, cause others to sin and when weighed in the balance will be found worse than wanting. The damnation of Jeroboam was irreversible because he not only sinned against God, but “he made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 14:16; 15:26,34; 16:13,26; 21:22; 22:52; 2 Kings 10:29,31; 13:2; 14:24; 15:9,18,24,28; 23:15). When sinners are weighed in God’s balance of righteous commandments they are found wanting and condemned. When seducers, tempters and temptresses, who lead others to sin, are weighed in God’s balance, they will be found worse and worthy of “greater condemnation”. There are those who do not merely sin, “they do evil with both hands earnestly” (Micah 7:3). There are those, who “sit in Moses’ seat”, who “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, who neither go in, neither suffer them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:2,13). These are worse than ordinary sinners and they “shall receive the greater damnation” (Matthew 23:14). These influential apostates make those they influence “two-fold more the child of hell than” themselves “how can they escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:15, 33). All those who “deny the faith” and then labour to destroy the faith of others (2 Timothy 2:17,18) will be weighed on the day of judgment and found worse than infidels. And, “it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for” them (Matthew 10:15; 11:24; Jude 7). What shall be the final verdict on each of us on the final day? When the secrets of men are brought before God and weighed in His just and righteous balance shall we be found wanting, worthless? We can come to Christ today and trust Him to atone for all our moral deficiencies and be clothed in His righteousness. Only then shall we be weighed and found worthy of life eternal in glory with Jesus Christ. References: Daniel 5:27,5,6,22,23; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3; Matthew 10:37,38; Hebrews 10:37-39; Daniel 5:27,18-24; Psalm 62:9; 1 Kings 16:25,26; 2 Chronicles 33:9-11; 2 Kings 21:9-18; Jeremiah 7:26-28; 16:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:13; Luke 11:15-26; Hebrews 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22; and Revelation 2:20-23. (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).


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IBRUCENTRE By Ernest onuoha

‘…Woman, behold thy son…son, behold thy mother,’ Jh 19:26-27.

From The rector

S Christians all over the world today celeA brate the Mothering Sunday in honour of our mothers, one critical question that should Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-otor not elude God’s people is: how do we treat our mothers? Mothers bear the brunt of the family and do so with joy and commitment. Sometimes, life may not have been too fair to most of them because those that are supposed to attend to them often fail them at critical moments. We hope this year’s celebration will re-awaken the consciences of people, both Christians and nonChristians alike to adore and provide for mothers. Before Jesus paid the supreme price on the cross of Calvary, He had time to think deeply about His earthly mother Mary, her welfare, joy and sustenance. This led Him to hand over the mother to a trusted and beloved disciple named John. Yes, this event is one of the major highlights during the seven words on the cross but it goes beyond the cross particularly, as we weigh the import against this occasion of the Mothering Sunday. Our attitude to mothers is very essential and Jesus’ action to His mother quietly teaches us to appreciate our mothers. By using John, it be-

How Do We Treat Our Mothers? comes an archetypal of an imagery that suggests that people ought to look after mothers in all ramifications. What is a home or society without a mother? The Bible speaks adoringly of her: ‘she seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her

household are clothed in scarlet,’ Prov. 31:13-21. Two recent events, although in the negative, brought out clearly some painful treatment being meted to our mothers. First was an action by a vigilante group in a section of Nigeria, where it was reported that a woman and her two daughters stole pepper in the market. One is not too happy that this woman and the two daughters were involved in stealing pepper, maybe to reveal their poverty level. But one is greatly disturbed by what followed as a form of punishment. The woman and her two daughters had pepper inserted into their private parts and one of the daughters died as a result of such mindless action. One may ask, is that a good way to handle our mothers? Secondly, in the same country, a cultist was reported to have attempted raping a pastor’s

wife. He nearly succeeded save that the woman resisted with her last drop of blood. According to the source, the rapist inflicted several machete cuts on her in revenge for not having his way. Thereafter, the woman passed on before being taken to the hospital. We may ask again, is that a good way of treating our mothers? What a shame! Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org

Women, Leadership And The Change We Need By Taiwo odukoya LL over the world, social A and cultural factors have inhibited many women’s leadership aspirations. This has been replicated to a large

extent in Nigeria. Resultantly, women are deliberately excluded from leadership in public and private spaces. The truth is, at creation the phrase “It is not good…” indicated man’s inability to accomplish

Couples Tasked On Forgiveness By Bisi Alabi Williams HRISTIAN couples have been urged to learn the act of forgiving one another and acknowledge wrongdoing when they err. Bishop Stephen Ogundipe of Christ Revival Assembly, Ketu, Lagos gave the charge at the weekend in his message during the church’s Couple’s week. Said he: “Any marriage that will succeed must pass through trials and a marriage that is not tested is no marriage. Unless a marriage is tested severally by the great Architect that ordained it, that marriage cannot withstand the test of time. Any marriage that will last must first be tried. If a marriage is built on a bed of roses, it will wither when the scourging heat of the sun touches it.” He noted that for any marriage to survive the test of time, both couples must be determined to make it work. It is such determination that will help the marriage to withstand all the pressures and challenges that will arise. “The first thing to note is that a good marriage must be built

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on Christ. The couple must be prayerful, tolerant and patient. That is the only way to overcome all the challenges and problems that will come their way. That is why it is important for both partners to be open to each other. They must learn to communicate with each other. They must learn to discuss their problems, learn from one another, criticise and encourage one another. Above all, they must share their dreams and aspirations and help each other in everyway possible else, that marriage will not work,” he said. He advised Christian couples to learn to let go, as they will not enjoy the full benefits and blessings of marriage, the Lord has promised His children. He explained that although marriage is not a bed of roses, its benefits could be enjoyed to the fullest if carefully handled. On why many marriages are failing today, he said it is because of lack of commitment first to God and to the partner concerned, infidelity, pride, lack of faith and prayerlessness. He enjoined Christians to always pray for each other, saying, “Prayer is the key, which changes things.”

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18) all without adequate input from the woman. Could this be the gap in most governments, particularly in Nigeria? History attests to the formidable role women have played in public and private leadership across the world. Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of Britain at a time when the government was considering declaring a state of emergency and she ushered in stability. Golda Meir was Israel’s first female Prime Minister and led it successfully through a period of war and heightened tensions. Other women that have held key leadership positions globally include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Angela Merkel, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton. All these women and numerous others have made significant contributions to their countries. I think it is time we came to practical terms with women’s capacity for leadership. In their 2011 research, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman noted that “at all levels, women were rated higher in 12 of the 16 competencies that go into outstanding leadership, and two of the traits where women outscored men to the highest degree— taking initiative and driving for results—have long been

thought of as particularly male strengths.” According to a 2009 article published in the Boston Globe, a growing number of consultants and corporate leaders have devised a new strategy to boost the bottom line, one that departs from the standard productivity route: put more women in charge. A 2007 McKinsey and Company study also showed that European firms with the highest proportion of women in power saw their stock value climb by 64 per cent over two years, compared with an average of 47 per cent. No wonder all through the ages, women have provided a more refined leadership during turbulent times. And these are indeed turbulent times. We need the women. It was Carl Wilkens, speaking of Rwanda’s recovery from the 1994 genocide that said: “One of the things you can point to in the recovery is women. A lot of people ask, ‘How do you get accountability?’ ‘How do you fight corruption?’ And I say ‘Women.’ Additionally, nations like Liberia, Central African Republic, Malawi and Sierra Leone emphasise the fact that societies cannot embark on sustainable nation building or rebuilding without adequate input from women. Women’s empowerment

should be a priority for all nations. Now this is not saying there won’t be one or two women in government or the private sector that would be guilty of corruption or incompetence, but rather that women, in general terms, possess an undeniable capacity for leadership. And there is a strong business case for this. The World Economic Forum’s 2013 Global Gender Gap Report shows that some of the most competitive countries in the world, like Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark are also some of the countries that have consistently created an environment for the active participation of women in private and public life. According to the report, women account for one half of every country’s potential talent base. And as a result, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it utilises its women. Our nation needs confident and brave men, who will encourage competent women to share in the burden of leadership. The current administration deserves credit for its inclusion of women in key leadership positions, but it is important that more women are given opportunities to demonstrate their capacity for leadership. Women in leadership should be given more than tokenistic roles. We need them to max-

imise their God-given potential and we need them to do it now. Policy makers at all levels must seize the imperative to ensure the widespread education of the girl child and to safeguard the health of the same. Women entrepreneurs must be given wings to soar on all fronts. We must deliberately ensure the widespread participation of women in political leadership and pull down all barriers in their way. This must be done not just because it is politically correct, but as a matter of national survival and development. Nigeria has a great future! Pastor Taiwo is the Senior Pastor of The Fountain of Life Church. He can be reached on pastortaiwo@tfolc.org

Nigeria Will Be Stronger After National Confab, Says Meduoye S the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria A holds its International Conference for Ministers and Leaders in April, the General Overseer of the church, Rev. Felix Meduoye has called on Nigerians to be patient with the conference delegates, as they discharge their responsibilities. He said this at a press conference recently to announce the yearly programme, organised by the church for all segments of its workforce ranging from general overseers, district overseers, zonal superintendents, pastors, evangelists, teachers, church leaders to council members and workers, holding on April 14 to 19, 2014 at Foursquare Camp, Ajebo, Ogun State. Meduoye, who spoke through the church’s National Secretary, Rev. Ikechukwu Ugbaja, commended President Jonathan for convening the National Conference. He noted that for Nigeri-

ans to have agreed to come to a roundtable means the country would come out stronger after the conference. Said he: “I believe if they will all agree to dialogue, I think something can come out of it. The fact that we agree to come to a roundtable is a positive step forward. There are so many things that have happened in between that have brought us to a stage, where we are now ready to talk. We have undergone some negative and very harsh experiences, as a country. “I think this is the right time for the dialogue or for the conference of nationalities, probably the previous ones we had was not the right time. That is also how God works. There is time for everything. I am one of those that believe Nigeria will come up stronger after the conference.” Meduoye, who spoke on other national issues,

ruled out followership as the main problem of the country. “The problem we have sincerely is not that of followership, but of leadership and that is how God operates. If we follow through the histories of the Bible, for instance, when God wanted to deliver the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt, He needed a leader that could be used to bring about a change and transformation at that time from what they were facing. So, He picked Moses. That has been God’s system of doing things. He focuses on leaders and doesn’t go by formulas, committees or followership. He just picks a leader and invests in him, as well as brings about a change through that leader. “We also see it in the history of Israel. God chose Saul, a leader as the first king of Israel. Saul was a leader, but he could not impact on his society.

God chose David, whom He called a man after His own heart. David was a leader that God found very stable in bringing about transformation to Israel and today he is a reference point in the history of Israel. So, God always goes for a leader because He knows when you get the right kind of leadership every other thing falls in place. “In Nigeria, our problem has always been the right leadership. You can even see what is happening in Lagos State, though I’m not saying all is perfect in the state. But there is somebody at the helm of affairs, who is focused and has good ideas. He knows where he is going and you can feel the impact in the state. But, we can’t say exactly the same thing in other states. So, I would rather think the emphasis should be on correct leadership.”


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Business Delayed Ministerial Consent Threatens $1.55bn ConocoPhillips Acquisition Deal

By Marcel Mbamalu ANDO Plc’s 15-month quest to acquire the O Nigerian businesses of ConocoPhilips, a multinational oil firm, may have been concluded; yet, the ‘closure’ depends on whether, or not, the ‘seller’ secures the needed rubber stamp from the Federal Government. The $1.55 billion deal still awaits official approval from the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in line with the provision of the Petroleum Act of 1969. The Act states: “Prior consent of the Minister of Petroleum Resources is obtained before the assignment of any right, power or interest in an oil prospecting license or oil mining lease.” To ensure that ownership is being transferred to a reputable company with sufficient knowledge, experience and financial resources to work the license or lease, the Petroleum Act empowers the Minster to conduct due diligence and rubber-stamp the deal if satisfied that the required conditions have been met. Consequent upon the above requirement, ConocoPhillips, two months ago, submitted an application to the petroleum minister, seeking official consent to divest its Nigerian assets to the indigenous oil company. Oando Plc, on the other hand, has completed all financial commitments regarding the acquisition. Closure of the ConocoPhillips deal remains subject to satisfaction of specific conditions, including approval from the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources. The duration for closing a transaction of this magnitude is reflective of the required due diligence that must be effected. This was the case in similar high-value transactions, including COP’s sale of its Algerian business units to Pertamina for $1.75 billion, and its interests in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (Kashagan) to KazMunayGas (KMG) for approximately $5.4 billion.  Both transactions took approximately one year to complete. To soothe its shareholders, Oando would, more than anything else, need an accelerated rubber stamp of the COP transaction in Nigeria.

Already, the seemingly lengthy acquisition deal has taken some bite off its share price at the stock exchange. Should the Minister decide to withhold consent for too long, it could force a cancellation of the deal with far-reaching consequences for government upstream policy in oil and gas; it could, for instance, compel the indigenous oil firm to abandon the deal and forfeit its deposits, defeating the very essence of the Nigerian Content Law in encouraging indigenous participation upstream. After signing the $1.55 billion pact to acquire ConocoPhilips’ Nigerian businesses, through its subsidiary Oando Energy Resources, the oil firm, in the course of 2012/13, raised funds, through a cocktail of sources, to finance the strategic acquisition that promises to strengthen its upstream operations. Having made an initial deposit of $450 million, it raised a combination of equity and debt ($200m from a special placement of two billion shares, $100 million from sale of subsidiary East Horizon Gas Company, and $800m debt from financial institutions) to secure financing towards the COP acquisition. A reversal of the process, having gone this far, would unsettle the company’s operations and put it in an asymmetrical position with its own shareholders. On the other hand, a successful acquisition will not only provide significant growth in size and scale for Oando as an indigenous oil firm, but also strengthen its position in the upstream sector, making it one of the largest indigenous producers in Nigeria. The company currently has a portfolio of 10 assets within Nigeria, through the OER, and produces 4,500 barrels of crude oil per day from two producing fields. The COP acquisition will, therefore, take its daily output to some 50,000 barrels per day from six producing fields. Seplat, another indigenous producer, says it also targets 60, 000 barrels per day as it seeks to expand its operations. Going by the sheer size of the acquisition deal, there is no doubt that more avenues for em-

ployment will be created, even as the pact signposts Foreign Direct Investment through strategic partnerships. It also has potentials for increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the economy, standing as model platform for future divestments. A successful ConocoPhilips acquisition will specifically boost investor confidence in indigenous Nigerian companies, as the deal shows the ability of indigenous oil firms to close transactions of this magnitude ($1.66 billion). By adequately securing all the funding, Oando Energy Resources has demonstrated that it enjoys the confidence of its investors and lenders; truth is that no local company has been involved in a transaction of this size. With proof that indigenous companies can secure substantial funding for asset acquisitions, potential investors will, therefore, see that Nigeria is primed for investing, and government is willing to implement policies, which could enhance the fiscal environment. The transaction will also have a significant impact on indigenous companies’ share of total Nigerian oil production, which is currently less than 10 percent. It is hoped that future similar transactions will enable the Federal Government achieve its objective of increased local content with national daily output surpassing projected numbers by 2015. ConcoPhilips’ onshore assets — OMLs 60, 61, 62 and 63 — are located in the onshore Niger Delta basin and have a long history of proven production. According to the multinational oil firm, its share of production in 2011was 19,000 bbl/d of oil and 157 MMcf/d of gas. Petrenel’s preliminary estimates of proved, plus probable, reserves for the onshore assets are 94 MMbbls of oil & condensate and 0.7 trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) of sales gas (213 MMboe) (gross to OER). The economically recoverable best estimate contingent resources are estimated to be 73 MMbbls of oil and condensate and 0.75 Tcf of sales gas (198 MMboe) (gross to OER). The NAOC JV supplies 19.72 percent of the

feed gas utilised by the NLNG plant or approximately 85 percent of the NAOC JV natural gas sales under a long-term contract based on a net back-pricing formula. The remainder of the gas is sold to a petrochemical producer and an independent power producer under long-term contracts. In addition, some of the gas is utilised as fuel gas in the Kwale-Okpai IPP. Finally, NGLs are sold to a petrochemical producer under a long-term contract. The Kwale-Okpai IPP plant supplies power under a long-term contract to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. COP’s Offshore Assets include OML 131 and OPLL 214. The OML 131 is a large deepwater offshore block located in a prolific area about 70km south of the Niger Delta coastline and covering 1,204km2 at water depths ranging between 500 and 1,200 meters. It has two oil and gas discoveries and six large untested prospects. It is expected that the Chota field in OML 131 will be unitised with the Bolia field in OML 135 operated by Shell. The other offshore asset — OPL 214 — is a large deepwater offshore license covering 2,586km2 in the prolific central part of the offshore Niger Delta. The area is approximately 110km from the coastline at water depths ranging between 800 and 1,800 meters. Located close to large discoveries (Bonga, Nsiko, and Agbami), a commercial discovery has been made on this asset and all work obligations have been fulfilled, according to information posted on the company’s website. It is anticipated that OPL 214 will be converted into an OML for an initial period of 20 years. It holds four oil and gas discoveries, including the Uge field discovered in 2005. A handful of Nigerian oil firms, including Oando and Seplat Plc, have found new strengths in upstream operations, due, partly to the implementation of the Nigerian Content Law and foreign partnerships, helping them to find leverage in new wave of divestments by International Oil Companies (IOCs), including

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 | 37

BUSINESS Market Capitalisation Appreciates By 1.43 Per Cent By Geoff Iyatse HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) T market capitalisation increased by 1.43 per cent, last week, to close at N12.313 trillion. The All-Share Index also rose by 1.43 per cent to close at 38331.78 points. All market indices appreciated during the week, with the exception of the banking sector. A turnover of 1.870 billion shares, worth N26.811 billion, were traded in 21,632 deals in contrast to 1.391 billion shares valued at N19.414 billion that exchanged hands the previous week. The Financial Services Industry (measured by volume) led the activity chart with 1.510 billion shares valued at

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N10.709 billion traded in 12,306 deals. Hence, the sector contributed 80.77 per cent and 39.94 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The services industry followed with a turnover of 122.728 million shares, worth N99.818 million, were traded in 468 deals, while the consumer goods industry came third in the activity chart. Investors in the sector traded with 84.494 million shares worth N13.618 billion in 3,593 deals. Royal Exchange Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, measured by volume, led trading, accounting for 620.522 million shares worth N2.567 billion in 883 deals. The three stocks con-

tributed 33.19 per cent and 9.57 per cent to market volume and value respectively. Thirty-nine equities appreciated during the week, in contrast to 19 stocks that moved up the preceding week. Thirty-six equities depreciated in prices, as against 56 that suffered loss the previous week, while 123 equities remained unchanged. In terms of percentage, Learn Africa Plc led the gainers table, advancing by 19.87 per cent. It was closely followed by University Press Plc and Ashaka Cement Plc. With a negative performance of 13.79 per cent, Oasis Insurance Plc led the losers, followed by Airline Services and Logistics Plc and Zenith International Bank Plc.

Evans Medical Offers 500m Rights Issue By Wole Oyebade vANS Medical Plc has concluded E plans to roll out about half a billion ordinary shares of the company beginning from April 10, 2014. The Rights Issue of 486,472,800 ordinary shares of 50k each is offered at N2.50k to existing shareholders at a ratio of one ordinary share for every share currently held. At a recent board meeting, where the details were finalised, Chairman of Evans Medical Plc, Ademola Edu commended the stakeholders, especially the issuing houses, Meristem Securities limited and Skye Financial Services limited, for a painstaking effort. Edu also thanked the regulators: Nigerian Stock Exchange and Securities and Exchange Commission

$1.55bn Acquisition Deal

for a thorough job culminating in the holding of the Completion Board Meeting. Confirming that arrangements for the Rights Issue of 486,472,800 Ordinary Shares of 50K each by Meristem Securities Limited and Skye Financial Limited on behalf of Evans Medical Plc have been concluded, Cautious Services Limited, Secretary to Evans Medical Plc, presented to the meeting letters of consents from all parties and stakeholders to the rights issue. Following the presentation of all necessary documentation for the Rights Issue and acceptance by all parties involved, all stakeholders at the meeting endorsed copies of the presented documents, therefore setting the Rights Issue on offer between April 10, 2014 and May 21, 2014.

the company and KI to provide for an extension of that bridge financing until March 31, 2012 to allow the company time to secure financing. KOv had the option, until the end of March 2012, to participate for a 20 percent shareholding interest in Neconde (an effective nine-percent participating interest in OML 42) for an aggregate price, assuming a close of the KOv acquisition on 31 March 2012, of approximately $162.5 million. This price comprised 31.96 percent of the cash portion of the purchase price of $435 million and 31.96 percent of the interest charges related to $150 million of Neconde debt financing from April 28, 2011 until the closing date plus $19 million of additional costs, most of which relate to the bridge financing arrangement with KI. The expected impact of a successful COP acquisition to Oando’s upstream operations, as well as the ugly tales of other acquisition attempts that went awry, should really make the company wary of delayed approval and possible disappointment by the Petroleum Ministry. Even ConcoPhilips in the line of due process, would also want quicker resolution, especially as Oando says the remainder of the fund is ready for disbursement. Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu, was quoted as saying that his company “embodies a multifaceted approach in spite of our origins as a predominantly downstream company; and the successful acquisition of COP Nigerian assets is part of our diversification strategy into the higher margin upstream. We aim to maintain our dominant positioning in the MidStream and Downstream sectors but see this acquisition as holding unprecedented opportunities for the business.” Minister Alison-Madueke still holds all the aces, Wale Tinubu’s strategy for Oando

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Chevron. Just like the Oando’s bid for COP, Seplat had, in 2010, acquired three oil blocks from Shell. The company successfully bought SPDC’s Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 4, 38 and 41; even as it put in bids for Chevron’s 40 percent equity in the gas-rich OMLs 53, 52 and 55 in the eastern onshore on-stream resulting in current production of ap- tance of KOv, further commissioned RPS, to unNiger Delta basin. dertake a much more extensive study of OML proximately 15,000 bopd. Seplat’s relative smooth sail with the Shell Shell’s sale of OML 42 to Neconde was a two-year 42, and prepare a Competent Persons Report deal was an isolated case, as IOCs’ (ongoing) (CPR) on the asset. acquisition process, with the purchase closing divestments in Nigeria have witnessed proThe purchase of OML 42 by Neconde was comsubstantively in 2012; The bridge financing tracted closure. Some previous efforts, other arrangement between Kulczyk Oil (KOv) and its pleted for a purchase price, subject to closing than Seplat’s, have been “murkier” and major shareholder was extended until 31 March adjustments, of $585 million. Of this amount, lengthier than Oando’s. The difference is that, 2012 to provide the company sufficient time to se- $435 million was paid by consortium partners while Seplat simply bought some oil blocks as equity contributions to Neconde with KI cure financing. from Shell, Oando’s deal entails purchase of a On May 6, 2011 the company announced that it paying for the potential share of KOv pursuant multinational’s entire country operations. had joined the Neconde consortium as a 20 per- to the bridge financing arrangement. The reThe lengthy process, analysts say, is stalling cent shareholder and that Neconde had entered maining $150 million of the total purchase indigenous capacity build, which needs govprice was funded through Neconde debt fiinto various agreements on April 29, 2011 with ernment support; yet, it would appear that nancing. SPDC Nigeria, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources — which Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (together, the In order to facilitate the participation of KOv often finds own reasons for delaying consent “Sellers”), to acquire (the Transaction), the Sellers’ in the Neconde consortium, Kulczyk Invest— takes its time to conduct due diligence on cumulative 45 percent participating interest in ments SA (“KI”), the major shareholder of the such transactions. For instance, in 2011, the OML 42 — a large license containing previously- Company, provided bridge financing in repetroleum minister identified blocks 30 and spect of the company’s share of Neconde’s acdiscovered oil fields in the Niger Delta area. 34 (the operatorship of which was being The remaining 55 percent participating interest quisition costs of OML 42. KI and the Company sought at the time by Elcrest, another indige- was held by the NNPC, which was advised to trans- agreed that until such time as the company nous oil firm) as too strategic to be ‘released’ fer the interest to the Nigerian Petroleum Devel- raised funds to repay KI, the shares of Neconde due to the gas reserves they held. She exallocated to KOv would be held in trust for KI. It opment Company (NPDC), who would operate plained that the gas was strategic to the coun- the block. was further agreed, in anticipation, that the actry’s power programme. When Neconde began the evaluation process in quisition would have closed prior to the end of Elcrest’s transaction for Shell’s OML 40, early 2011, it engaged RPS, an independent engi- October 2011, that if the company had not which has proven and probable reserves (2P) neering firm, to do an estimate of the remaining raised funds to repay KI for its bridge financing of 225.7 million barrels of oil equivalent (and recoverable oil resources based on the material prior to October 31, 2011 the trust arrangement potentials to produce 10,000 barrels per day), that had been made available by the sellers up un- between KI and the company would terminate was not smooth. Having emerged successful til that point. Details of RPS estimates were pub- and KI would become fully entitled (legally and from the tender that featured many other beneficially) to the company’s shares in lished by the company in a press release dated bidders for OML 40, Elcrest (a special purpose May 6, 2011. Neconde, with the technical assisNeconde. An agreement was reached between vehicle formed as a joint venture between Eland Oil & Gas Limited and Starcrest Nigeria Energy Limited) was selected by Shell and its partners to execute a Purchase Sale Agreement (PSA) and an Agreement for Assignment (AFA). That was after Elcrest had paid $154 million to acquire their interests in the block. Shell, the operator of the block, in line with Clause 19 First Schedule of the Petroleum Act and Clause 19.1.1 of the Joint Operating Agreement for OML 40, wrote to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the then group managing director of NNPC, Mr. Austen Oniwon, seeking their consent to assign the 45 percent to Elcrest. But the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which has 55 per cent stake and the operatorship, said it would neither let go of its preemptive rights nor forfeit operatorship status to Elcrest. Apart from holding Shell’s 45 percent, Elcrest needed the operatorship. Another case of lengthy divestment process showed in the sale of OML 42, an 814-squarekilometre lease originally awarded in 1962. Initial production commenced in 1969 and aggregate production from the five fields discovered within OML 42 reached a peak of approximately 250,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (“boepd”) in the 1970’s. Production, which was primarily oil, continued until the first part of 2005, when the producing fields were shut-in due to security issues in the Niger Delta area. Production at the time of the shut-in was more than 50,000 barrels of oil per day (“bopd”) and more than 80 million cubic feet per day (“MMcf/d”) of natural gas. The sales process for OML 42 started in Executive Director (Finance), Standard Chartered Bank, Yemi Owolabi (left); Executive Director (Client Coverage), Remi Oni; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, late 2010 and, during the first part of 2011, one Standard Chartered, Bola Adesola; Chief Executive Officer (Africa), Standard Chartered Bank, Diana Layfield and Head of Consumer Banking, West Africa, Carol Oyedeji; of the fields within the license area was put

Threatened By Bureaucracy

at the Nigeria Economic Summit 2014 held in Lagos.


38 | Sunday March 30, 2014

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BUSINESSAGRO FAO, Stakeholders Urge Sustainable Fisheries At Lagos Workshop By Fabian Odum and Paul Adunwoke

T

HE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is making a push for sustainable fisheries among participating countries Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon in a regional workshop held in Lagos during the week. The meeting, which centred on the appraisal of the Shrimp Fisheries Management plans using Ecosystem Approach for Fisheries Management (EAF-Nansen Project) aims at consolidating its economic impact. FAO Co-coordinator, Dr. Kwame Koranteng said the project is important given the amount of wealth generated from shrimp fisheries and the contribution of the fisheries sub-sector to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the participating countries. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, represented by the Acting Director of Fisheries in the Ministry, Mrs. Folake Areola noted, in a keynote address that the fisheries sub-sector through the on-going Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Jonathan administration contributes immensely to the Nigerian economy. Odusote said, to respond to the need for a practical implementation of the Principles of Sustainable Development, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the FAO had developed as her cardinal objective, the use of the Ecosystem Approach to fisheries management (EAF -Nansen project). She added that given that the objective of the workshop is to ascertain the existence, size and practicality of the shrimp fisheries implementation plans of each participating country, the Workshop came at the right time. In his presentation, the EAF-Nansen project Co-

coordinator Dr. Kwame Koranteng said the project is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation, adding that it assists quite a number of African countries. Koranteng added that since the inception of the tenure of the present government in Nigeria, the project has been assisting the three participating countries and four countries in the western central Africa, which include Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic, to work on various aspects of fisheries including the drawing up and implementation of a sustainable shrimp fisheries management strategy. The four-day workshop, according to Kwame, looks at the management blue print for each

country’s fisheries in order to ascertain the problem areas, advance possible solutions while providing opportunity for learning and cross-fertilization of ideas among the participating states. Mrs. Oluyemisi Oloruntuyi, Programme Manager -’Developing World Fisheries Program’ of the United Kingdom-based Marine Stewardship Council, called for the certification of shrimp products from these countries, which is a worthy goal of the workshop. “The idea of certification is centered on being able to talk about your fisheries in a way that indicates its amount of sustainability and this is becoming increasingly important around the

world”, Oloruntuyi said. She affirmed that certification is necessary for participating countries, who interact with consumers at global level since this would see the products attract better prices and get acceptability in the export market. Mr. Joseph Overo, President, Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) called for increase safety at sea if the planning and certification processes would be nicely executed. In line with that and as incentive to put the programme in shape, he said government would step up effort to make the sea safe for trawlers to work.

NASME Partners FIIRO For Skills Acquisition, Trainings By Paul Adunwoke

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O strengthen and develop small and medium scale enterprises in the country, and create jobs, the Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) has partnered with Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) on skill acquisition trainings. Towards this, members of NASME led by the Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of the Association, Mr. Ladi Alade said the visit was an avenue for its members to acquire skills from the institute through training. Members of NASME toured different departments to see for themselves the equipment and technologies available. The Director General, FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo, who was represented by her deputy Dr. Patrick Irabor said the institute has long standing relationship with NASME over the years and was ready to partner with it to enhance development of that sector of the Nigeria economy. She noted that SMEs offers a much higher opportunity for job and wealth creation particularly for teeming youths who are unemployed. “We are all aware of the recent development surrounding ill-fated recruitment in various parts of the country by the Nigeria Immigration Service that resulted into the loss of precious lives of some of our youths.” FIIRO has technologies for cassava flour production, instant pounded yam flour production, bread and confectionery baking, soy snacks, and fufu flour production from Cassava. Others include edible mushroom production, fruit juice production from Nigeria fruits, zobo drinks production and preservation, palm wine bottling and preservation as well as smoked fish production, Cassava starch production, kunu drink production and preservation, essential oil extraction from lemongrass among others. “The reality on ground, therefore is for both government and the private sector to close ranks and confront the challenge in a holistic manner. Government has to continue to create the enabling environment for business to thrive, particularly in the SME sector that is saddled with the burden of creating and sustaining the Nigeria brands. The institute has been doing its best over the years within the limits of the resources available to it.” Elemo said that the visit affords opportunity to further interaction and to bridge any gap that may exit between the two parties in terms of interfacing to support the growth of the sector.

Sustainable fishery is key to certification and bigger export market

IITA, Partners To Train Farmers In N2Africa Project From Murtala Muhammed, Kano HE International Institute of Tropical T Agriculture IITA and its technical partners have concluded plans to boost human capacity for 550,000 farmers in N2Africa project in four Northern states for the next five years. The participating states are Kano, Kaduna, Niger and Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The N2Africa initiative is targeted at large scale research and development project focused on putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers growing legume crops including cowpea, groundnut and soybeans in Africa. Satisfied with the first phase implementation of nitrogen in Africa a project that lasted for years, the Bill and Melinda Gate foundation still commits over 25 million dollars through a grant for plant production systems program currently ongoing in Wageningen University, Netherlands. The scientific agricultural input research and improved variety program is being powered by IITA, Wageningen University, CIAT-TSBF and agricultural institutes drawn from Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. At the lunch of the N2Africa project held at IITA office in Kano, the world coordinator of N2Africa project Prof. Ken Giller explained that the phase 2 project would shift attention towards providing improved technologies to more than 225 thousand smallholder farmers through a large scale value added input. Ken said the project is designed to provide farmers with improved varieties like cowpea, soybean and groundnut, capable of producing multiple tons per hectic. The Professor of Plant Production system from Wageningen University, maintained the project would identify niches for targeting nitrogen-fixing legumes and tested multi-purpose legumes to provide food, animal feed and improved

soil fertility. On the envisaged challenges Prof. Ken posited that the management of the technologies and insufficiency in the varieties and improved seeds, which might be difficult to get in the local market might prove difficult. IITA Director, East Africa region, Bernard Vanlauwe emphasised the two global target of N2Africa initiative in Nigeria, which was to intensify legumes system in Nigeria as well as ensuring sustainable supply of improved seeds in the country.

Head of IITA office in Kano, Dr Alpha Yahya Kamara reassured the N2Africa is expanding to cover more local communities in the states including the federal capital territory. Kamara said the program would ensure enhance ecosystem and ventilated environment, food security and create more job opportunity for farmers. He said dissemination of technologies would be extended to 140 private partners and federal government agencies to drive the initiative that would last four years.

Kigali Hosts Policymakers On Nutritious Foods tious food crops that provide more vitamin A, zinc, or iron. These crops – already being HE second global conference on biofortifi- grown by more than a million farmers – have cation, which holds in Kigali, Rwanda will been conventionally bred. They include cassaestablish new pathways for nutritious foods va, maize and orange sweet potato for vitaglobally. min A; beans and pearl millet for iron; and With the theme, ‘Getting Nutritious Foods to rice and wheat for zinc. People,’ more than 275 high-level stakeholders Studies have shown that these new varieties from government, business and civil society do provide nutritional benefits to consumers. will rub minds at this groundbreaking event “We’re just beginning to scratch the surduring which Nigeria’s Minister of face...we want to increase access to these Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. nutritious crops as quickly as possible. Now is Akinwunmi Adesina would be giving the the time to bring partners together to figure keynote address, according to a release from out how we do this together,” says Howarth HarvestPlus. Bouis, the Director of HarvestPlus. The three-day conference will commence on The conference is being hosted by the March 31, 2014. Government of Rwanda. More than 500,000 Nearly one in three people globally suffers Rwandan farmers have already planted new from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals varieties of beans that are rich in iron. These such as vitamin A, zinc and iron in the diet. new iron beans also yield many more tons This condition – known as hidden hunger – per hectare than the local varieties, and the increases the risk of stunting, anemia, blind- surplus can be shared or sold. ness, infectious diseases, and even death. The invitation-only consultation will be Women and children are especially vulneralivestreamed and moderated by Jeff ble. Koinange, an award-winning Kenyan journalHarvestPlus, a global program to improve ist and past Chief Anchor for Africa for Arise nutrition and public health, has worked with Television and CNN Senior Africa partners to develop new varieties of nutriCorrespondent.

By Fabian Odum

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MaRK ZUCKERBERG

10 Things You Should Know About Your Few Jobs

SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014 TWO WORDS /40

UPGRaDE YOU Darey Looses Cool On TV as Nigerian Idol Commences Nail Biting Top 30 Rounds T has been a hard-won batIthirty tle to make it to the top for the Nigerian Idol contestants who have struggled with exhaustion, nerves and against thousands of other hopefuls also looking for their ticket to fame and stardom. The 10 of the Top 30 contestants selected had to battle it with stellar and impressive performances for an opportunity to win the hearts of both the judges and the viewers at home. Performing songs from international artistes such as Rihanna, Pharrell, Tyrese, Justin Timberlake, Jill scott, Usher Raymond, sam sparrow, Labrinth, Emeli sandé and avicii, the first group of 10 had four golden tickets recipient from the audition phase. as the first episode of this year’s Etisalat and Pepsi sponsored music reality show, began last sunday, with showcasing of the first 10group of the Top 30 contestants, multi-talented entertainer and R&B act, Darey artalade, could not hold his feelings as he lashed out at a contestant, Royal George after a woeful performance. George, a contestant from Benin performed Rihanna’s all time hit song, Diamonds. aside from having pitch

Mimiko, Lays Foundation stone For aaUa ssaNU CMs secretariat Complex University considered the initiative laudable, progressive HE Vice Chancellor, and deserving of all the supadekunle ajasin University, port. The VC described staff akungba-akoko, Ondo state, unionism as a very noble platProf. Femi Mimiko, had laid the form for ensuring mainfoundation stone of the streaming of issues relating to secretariat Complex of the welfare of members. Institution’s senior staff He, however, expressed conassociation of Nigerian cern that “the mistake we Universities (ssaNU) have often made is that when Cooperative Multipurpose we talk of welfare, we tend to society (CMs). see it from the perspective of Mimiko at the ceremony what the next guy or the next expressed delight at the devel- agency is giving or intends to opment, and said the give to us; therefore, so many

stories By Daniel anazia

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people, when they get into unionism, regard it as a battle ground and erroneously see it as a forum to fight management or government,” he stated. The VC eulogized the leadership of the ssaNU CMs for coming up with such initiative directed at using the resources and the resourcefulness of the union and its member to advance the welfare of the totality of its membership. He also, expressed the hope

that the project would be completed on time, saying, “I am delighted that this is a quick follow-up to the very successful experimentation represented by the CMs of the academic staff Union of Universities (asUU). after this, some other cooperatives will make request for land so that we can have more of this in place.” Mimiko, charged ssaNU CMs to make the project attain global standard that would stand the test of time. “as I

have often said, universities are going-concerns. They do not go bankrupt. so, when you build for a University, you must build with hundreds of years in mind and not just for tomorrow,” he added. He said all hands must be on deck to develop the university, while calling for the cooperation of the private sector operator, including cooperative formations, societies and clubs, to improve the infrastructure landscape of the university.

Analyst, Youth Market Segment, Michael Nwoseh, and Analyst Events, Martina Ogbebor (r), both of Etisalat Nigeria presenting laptop computers to Muolukwu Ifeanyi and Mercy Nnaemeka both students of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Anambra State which they won during the Etisalat Cliqfest at the Institution on Thursday

CONTINUED ON PAGE 40 CAREER /27

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President Commends Jamb For The Introduction Of CBT Exam REsIDENT Jonathan has givP en the Joint admission Matriculation Board (JaMB)

according to the Public Relations Officer, JaMB, Mr. Fabian Benjamin who in a statethumbs up for the introduction ment in abuja on Wednesday of the computer based test night, disclosed the president (CBT) for the conduct of the dropped the hint at The Unified Teritary Matriculation Netherlands (Holland), when he Exam (UTME). He also commet with the officials of the mended board’s effort in com- country’s examination body, bating examination malpracwhich is otherwise called CITO tice in the education system in and JaMB. general.

The president pointed out that his administration places much premium on qualitative education, expansion of access and making the sector a model among comity of great nations. Fabian also promised that the JaMB has enough centres to conduct the Computer Based Test, and congestion

won’t be a problem in the forth coming UTME. He went further to stressed the need for closer collaboration with the CITO, which he said has garnered over 10 years experience in the conduct of e-testing and other forms of electronic innovations in the administration of public examinations. The Registrar of JaMB,

Professor Dibu Ojerinde, in his remark, while briefing the President at the gathering noted that the collaboration has put JaMB in a better position to administer the test, saying, “though the experience has not been without challenges but the Board is poised to confront the challenges frontally and convert the seemingly challenges to opportunities.”


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TWO WORDS

Ukinebo Dare

Caleb University students with Group Managing Director, Verdant Zeal Group,Tunji Olugbodi (middle) during Verdant Zeal 2014 Innovention Series in Lagos...on Tuesday

Beat FM, Hennessy Kick Off Search For Nigeria’s Hottest Rapper Today Stories By Daniel Anazia IGERIA’S leading urbane radio station, The Beat FM, has announced the kick off of a new hip hop show to discover and promote budding rappers in the Nigerian entertainment scene. Produced in partnership with premium cognac brand, Hennessy, the show will select the hottest rappers in town, who will battle for bragging rights as the hottest rapper in Nigeria. “The VS Class” which kicks off from April 10, addresses various Hip-Hop conversations including Hennessy’s image as HipHop’s number one spirit as well as the celebration of hip-hop, both in the local and international entertainment indus-

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Introduces ‘The VS Class’ Show tries. Along with selecting the next MI or Jay Z, among the rap contenders, the show will also feature some of Nigeria’s rap icons who have marked their names in the hearts of many. Programmes Director at the Beat FM, Olisa Adibua said, “The VS Class is the first of its kind in Nigeria. Apart from having conversations on the growth of HipHop in the Nigerian entertainment scene, we are also searching to promote young rappers by giving them a platform where they can develop their talents to the maximum. The hottest rapper from this competition is definitely in for a treat.” Sponsored by Hennessy, the

show will feature two episodes in 2014 and have guest judges including veteran rappers and DJs in the Nigerian music industry. It will also honour rap icons in the Nigerian rap scene. These rappers will be placed on The VS Class Wall of Fame. The auditions for the hunt kicks off today, up and coming rappers can register now by sending ‘Hennessy’ and their names to the code 39405. This qualifies them to take part in the auditions, which will hold at the Beat 99.9 studio, 27, Keffi Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Indomie Rewards Winners At Spelling Bee Competition In a release made available to The Guardian, Master N reinforcing its unalloyed Olabanji Ebun, an SS2 student support for the growth of of Army Senior Secondary education, Dufil Prima Foods School, Onigbongbo, Ikeja Plc, makers of Indomie Instant came tops, and got a cash Noodles has once again partprize of N250,000; Miss Azeez nered the Lagos State govern- Blessing of Kele Balogun ment in sponsoring the 2014 Senior College, Ibeshe, Spelling Bee Competition. Igbogbo Bayekun, who placed This year’s event, which was second received N150,000; held in Alausa, Lagos produced while Master Macaulay Elijah three winners between a total was given N100,000 for of 60 primary and secondary emerging third. school students drawn from 20 According to Public Local Governments (LGs) and Relation/Events Manager, 37 Local Council Development Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Tope Areas (LCDAs) of the state. Ashiwaju, “Indomie’s support

By Gbenga Salau

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Darey Looses Cool On TV CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 issues, he also made a mess with the lyrics of the song. “That was a royal mess,” said disappointed Darey. “Messy lyrics, pitch issues, you know you didn’t do well,” he added. Only three of the acts in the group were able to impress the judges. When asked to sum up his experience for the day, Darey said, “Evelle, Daniel Buba and Elvis Jay, were the three contestants that did it for me tonight.” “Unfortunately, the judges don’t get to decide which contestants have to go on to the next stage, only the votes of

viewers at home will determine who goes home or stays back to battle for the most coveted Idol crown,” he added. Hosted by On-Air Personality, Ill Rymz; judges for this season remain, Afrobeat performer, Dede Mabiaku, Darey Art Alade and international conscious singer, Nneka Egbuna. The show is aired on Saturday and Sunday’s on NTA, STV, HIP TV, CRBC Calabar, DRTV Warri and Various Startimes Channels.

for education in the country is a long standing one because as a brand, we believe a nation can only be great when the system that produces its leaders is qualitative. This is the second time we will be sponsoring the Lagos State Spelling Bee Competition which does not only upgrade the reading habits of students but also promotes healthy competition among them. We can assure our numerous consumers that this event will by no means be the last,” he said while highlighting the rationale behind the event.

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UPGRADE YOU

Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition fee is very high. I am Uki Dare, C.E.O of Poise’ Graduate Finishing Academy, mother of two and wife of one. I will share with you lessons I have learnt from my experiences around transforming from a young lady with big dreams to a young C.E.O with massive goals. I won’t bore you with long prose and philosophical arguments I promise to be real and answer all your questions in just TWO WORDS. Hello wonderful people, Are there things about you that work against you? Do you want to be an Engineer but hate mathematics? Are you passionate about public speaking and holding yourself back because you find yourself tongue-tied whenever you have to face a crowd? Do you wish your friends would give you a break because you are just being yourself and they keep complaining that you are too harsh? Let’s talk about what to do when ‘being yourself’ is causing you problems. When I was younger, there was something my dad told me over and over until it became a part of me. Infact he still says it till this day: “Your nurture and not your nature determines your destiny.” Let me explain it with a personal story. Way back when I was in Secondary School, I did something that made me understand this quote perfectly. I was a science student who wanted to be an engineer just like my dad. There was only one little problem, its name was Mathematics. I really wanted to pass it. I felt I was trying so hard, but somehow I just seemed to remain average. I could get an easy 90% in English or Biology, but a I felt like a C in Mathematics could only come by prayer and fasting. I had to choose between my desire to become an engineer or the fact that mathematics wasn’t computing in my head. Luckily for me one of our teachers said something to the class one day “If you want to pass a course, just call it your best course and you will pass it.” It didn’t make sense at the time. My favorite course was English because I found it so easy, then at a time it was Physics because I loved to discover how things worked, but Mathematics?! No way! Anyway, I decided to try it. I started telling my friends Mathematics was my best course and something interesting happened. I realized that in order for it to be true, I needed to read it more. Usually I would spend more time reading my favorite course before even touching others so (reluctantly at first) I started reading Mathematics more and paying more attention to it. In short, by the time I was in SS2, I had become so good at Mathematics and fallen so much in love with it that I chose Further Mathematics as an elective and everyone who has seen my A1 in SSCE Mathematics finds it hard to believe that I once thought I was not cut out to pass Maths. That experience taught me a valuable lesson: “You can excel at something you were once horrible at because, all things are learnable.” Your nature refers to your natural instincts, your default behavior, things that you can do automatically and easily e.t.c While your nurture refers to the traits that you learn along the way either on purpose, by accident or because you were forced to. What I learnt was that I did not have to be a victim of my own nature or a slave to my instincts. If you pick up your phone and look at it right now, I can guarantee you that it is very different from the way it was when you bought it. Something has changed. Maybe it’s the case, ringtone, display pictures, apps or wall paper. Sometimes it goes on silent, sometimes on vibrate e.t.c If you will adjust and upgrade your phone to fit what you need, how much more important is it to adjust and upgrade your traits so they can work for you. I know they say a leopard never changes its spots, but you are human. Get ready to be the best you can be, and don’t let yourself hold you back. If you are a public speaker on the inside but scared of crowds on the outside, get some public speaking training. If you are too self-conscious to fulfill your dream of being a model, go and do some confidence building activities. If the fear of an aptitude test won’t let you apply for a job you really want get a lesson teacher if you have to. A lot of people say they can’t be good at something because it is not in line with their passion. I say, you don’t have to like something to be good at it. Imagine a man drowning, do you think he will say: “It’s okay for me to drown since I never liked swimming anyway.”? No. He doesn’t care about liking swimming at that point, he just wants to live. So please, teach yourself be good at the things you need to be good at. Love the things that you love being good at, when the two overlap, that’s bliss but in the meantime: If your nature is standing between you and your desired future…Nurture You If it is difficult…Do It If fear is holding you back…Overcome it I know that changing our attitudes, learning new skills and overcoming our fears can be an uphill task, but in life we can only choose between excuses and results, we cannot have both. Don’t let your nature stand in your way… UPGRADE YOU Is there anything you need to re-evaluate? Let’s talk about it. Write me at uki@poisenigeria.org or post a comment on the Poise’ Graduate Finishing Academy blog poisegfs.blogspot.com

uki@poisenigeria.org


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EMPOWERNIGERIA

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CASE STUDY GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURAL LEADER performance. He holds more than a quarter of its stock and retains 57 percent control of the voting shares. On May 19, 2012—a day after the IPO— Zuckerberg wed his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. About 100 people gathered at the couple’s Palo Alto, California home. The guests thought they were there to celebrate Chan’s graduation from medical school, but instead they witnessed Zuckerberg and Chan exchange vows. In May 2013, Facebook made the Fortune 500 list for the first time—making Zuckerberg, at the age of 28, the youngest CEO on the list.

Guide to Personal Development

MARk ZUCkERBERG

King Of Social Media ARk ELLIOT ZUCkERBERG was born on May 14, 1984, in White Plains, New York, into a comfortable, well-educated family, and raised in the nearby village of Dobbs Ferry. His father, Edward Zuckerberg, ran a dental practice attached to the family’s home. His mother, karen, worked as a psychiatrist before the birth of the couple’s four children—Mark, Randi, Donna and Arielle. Zuckerberg developed an interest in computers at an early age. At a young age of twelve, he used Atari BASIC to create a messaging program he named “Zucknet.” His father used the program in his dental office, so that the receptionist could inform him of a new patient without yelling across the room. The family also used Zucknet to communicate within the house. Together with his friends, he also created computer games just for fun. To keep up with Mark’s growing interest in computers, his parents hired private computer tutor David Newman to come to the house once a week and work with Mark. Newman later told reporters that it was hard to stay ahead of the prodigy, who began taking graduate courses at nearby Mercy College around this same time. Zuckerberg later studied at Phillips Exeter Academy, an exclusive preparatory school in New Hampshire. There he showed talent in fencing, becoming the captain of the school’s team. He also excelled in literature, earning a diploma in classics. Yet Zuckerberg remained fascinated by computers, and continued to work on developing new programs. While still in high school, he created an early version of the music software Pandora, which he called Synapse. Several companies—including AOL and Microsoft—expressed an interest in buying the software, and hiring the teenager before graduation. He declined the offers. After graduating from Exeter in 2002, Zuckerberg enrolled at Harvard University. By his sophomore year at the Ivy League institution, he had developed a reputation as the go-to software developer on campus. It was at that time that he built a program called CourseMatch, which helped students choose their classes based on the course selec-

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By Nicholas Okoye

nokoye@empowernigeria.com

tions of other users. He also invented Facemash, which compared the pictures of two students on campus and allowed users to vote on which one was more attractive. The program became wildly popular, but was later shut down by the school administration after it was deemed inappropriate. Based on the buzz of his previous projects, three of his fellow students—Divya Narendra, and twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss—sought him out to work on an idea for a social networking site they called Harvard Connection. This site was designed to use information from Harvard’s student networks in order to create a dating site for the Harvard elite. Zuckerberg agreed to help with the project, but soon dropped out to work on his own social networking site with friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin. Zuckerberg and his friends created a site that allowed users to create their own profiles, upload photos, and communicate with other users. The group ran the site—first called The Facebook—out of a dorm room at Harvard until June 2004. After his sophomore year, Zuckerberg dropped out of college to devote himself to Facebook full time, moving the company to Palo Alto, California. By the end of 2004, Facebook had 1 million users. In 2005, Zuckerberg’s enterprise received a huge boost from the venture capital firm Accel Partners. Accel invested $12.7 million into the network, which at the time was open only to Ivy League students. Zuckerberg’s company then granted access to other colleges, high school and international schools, pushing the site’s membership to more than 5.5 million users by December 2005. The site then began attracting the interest of other companies, who wanted to advertise with the popular social hub. Not wanting to sell out, Zuckerberg turned down offers from companies such as Yahoo! and MTV Networks. Instead, he focused on expanding the site, opening up his project to outside developers and adding more features. Zuckerberg seemed to be going nowhere but up, however in 2006, the business mogul faced his first big hurdle. The creators of Harvard Connection claimed that Zuckerberg stole their idea,

and insisted the software developer needed to pay for their business losses. Zuckerberg maintained that the ideas were based on two very different types of social networks but, after lawyers searched Zuckerberg’s records; incriminating Instant Messages revealed that Zuckerberg may have intentionally stolen the intellectual property of Harvard Connection and offered Facebook users’ private information to his friends. Zuckerberg later apologized for the incriminating messages, saying he regretted them. Although an initial settlement of $65 million was reached between the two parties, the legal dispute over the matter continued well into 2011, after Narendra and the Winklevosses claimed they were misled in regards to the value of their stock. Yet Zuckerberg and Facebook continued to succeed, in spite of the criticism. Time magazine named him Person of the Year in 2010, and Vanity Fair placed him at the top of their New Establishment list. Forbes also ranked Zuckerberg at No. 35—beating out Apple CEO Steve Jobs—on its “400” list, estimating his net worth to be $6.9 billion. Since amassing his sizeable fortune, Zuckerberg has used his millions to fund a variety of philanthropic causes. The most notable examples came in 2010. In September of that year, he donated $100 million to save the failing Newark Public Schools system in New Jersey. Then, in December 2010, Zuckerberg signed the “Giving Pledge”, promising to donate at least 50 percent of his wealth to charity over the course of his lifetime. Other Giving Pledge members include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and George Lucas. After his donation, Zuckerberg called on other young, wealthy entrepreneurs to follow suit. Zuckerberg made two major life changes in May 2012. Facebook had its initial public offering, which raised $16 billion, making it the biggest internet IPO in history. How Zuckerberg’s company will handle this influx of cash remains to be seen. But Zuckerberg may be looking at more acquisitions. He personally negotiated the company deal to buy Instragram the previous month. After the initial success of the IPO, the Facebook stock price dropped somewhat in the early days of trading. But Zuckerberg is expected to weather any ups and downs in his company’s market

Mastery Of Greed T

HE ABILITY to master Greed has become Nigeria’s undoing. We have people who just cannot stop accumulating wealth, and it goes on and on until they drop dead. Many Nigerian public officials or former civil servants have died leaving behind millions and millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts because they refused to stop accumulating and they refused to share the knowledge with even their wives. So the money is lost after they are gone. And then the question remains what was it all for? General Sani Abacha died with billions of dollars in banks all over the world, his family have not been able to enjoy the money because Governments from Europe to the United States are just waiting for them to make withdrawals so they can launch another case against them as if there are not so many already in the courts of Europe and the United States. So what was it all for? Nothing. In order for you to attain peak performance and that is what I am teaching you have to understand how to master your Greed. Greed means that you will accumulate wealth that you will not need. Or you will buy cars that you do not need. I have several friends that own Private Jets, and I get it. If you have worked hard and your Oil block is producing, or your product is in the hands of every Nigerian, or every Oil company wants to do business with you, then you deserve a Private Jet. However I cannot understand the people that buy two private Jets then they buy three private Jets and then some people in Nigeria I understand own four private Jets. And now even Pastors of the Christian faith are trying to out do the business men and the politicians in owning Private Jets. Greed is an evil that you must deliver yourself from as it frees you up to focus on what is truly important and guess what, you decide what is truly important and not anyone else.


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National Development Strategy Series debt meant that the Nations of the third World were put into a tight jacket which ultimately meant that they were being controlled and dictated to from Nations far away who did not care to understand the needs of the people in question. NICHOLAS OKOYE, Founder EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative,

FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO PILLAR TWO : ACCESS TO CAPITAL Paper 4 HAVE broken down the need to raise capital into two broad categories. And in discussing these categories I have provided you with the history of the third world debt which in effect redefined the development of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. National Development cannot be separated from the flow of capital and how capital is treated in the short, mid and long term. Our development is only just starting and this is due largely to many factors, first being the fact that we really could not have made any progress if we still had the Paris Club breathing down our neck. Secondly we are living and operating a democracy, it is not perfect but it is much better than a military dictatorship or a tyranny. We have been able to create a new middle class and we are growing at an unprecedented scale which means that sooner or later we will be on the path to greatness as nation and this can only be exciting for every Nigerian.

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The Debt Trap Projects

again costing millions and millions of dollars. However the size of the plant meant that in order for the plant to break even you needed to have a certain minimum quantity of bananas boxed every year. The sad thing is that the minimum number of bananas needed to make the Plant break even, and I am not talking about making profit yet, but in order to break even, the quantity of bananas needed exceeded the entire output of bananas in the entire Somalia. So even if you could get all the bananas in Somalia to the plant and even that would take some doing, but say you could get all the bananas to the plant and boxed them and sold them you could not even break even as the plant was far too big. It was never used and it formed part of the external debt of Somalia. A very peculiar case in point was the Fish freezing plant built by the Norwegian Government for the people and the Government of Kenya. The Plant was built with a total investment of one billion dollars, and it was targeted at supporting the common people of the Turkana tribe. The investment was celebrated around the world and the western world congratulated themselves on a major poverty alleviation initiative which will transform the lives of the Turkana people of rural Kenya. The loan was issued, the plant was built, and it was commissioned and celebrated by the Western World and the Norwegian Government. After ribbon cutting, all the champagne, and the parties were over the reality starting to set in. one billion dollars had been invested, one billion dollars had been spent or so we were told, and the plant stood large and majestic over the land scape of the Turkana people land, a Fish freezing plant to freeze all the fish the Turkana people could possibly fish. However, wait a minute there was a problem, a big hairy mighty problem, the Turkana people of Kenya do not fish, they raise goats. So who was this one billion dollar plant really built for? So I am being made to believe that nobody in Norway bothered to conduct a feasibility study?

Sometimes I take a deeper look at the projects that were used to take on this huge debt that gave rise to the third World debt crisis, I do that because you can always hear the arguments on the other side that the fault is that of the African people who took the loans and not the western Bankers who gave the loan. People like to say why did the African Leaders take the loans and put their NATIONS into this crisis, they put the blame squarely at the foot-steps of the Dictatorships that ruled Africa at that time. And I agree with them, the dictatorships must take their fair share of the blame, however if you take a deeper look at the projects in question you cannot but feel that there was more going on than just the fact that the dictatorships were being selfish and greedy. Billions of dollars were spent on white elephant projects which could never have gotten approval for credit if there wasn’t something else at play here. For instance in Senegal the loans borrowed from the United States Banks that were transferred to the United States Government was supposedly used to build Silos for peasant farmers. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars were borrowed and used to build these Silos. However the funny thing is that the location of the Silos were hundreds of miles away from the farm lands of Senegal. So the peasant farmers could never access the Silos and he Silos were never used. Hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted. And the loans formed part of the debt of Senegal in which it had to pay very heavy penalties and heavy repayment deadlines over the years. In Tanzania in the 1980s, the Canadian Government funded a fully automated modern bakery which also cost millions of dollars, however nobody stopped to think where the Y THE END of the 1980s Africa had a total of flour was going to come from to bake the over 3000 of these dead or dying state bread. The plant was never used. In Somalia owned enterprises which were performing at the Italian Government funded one of the scandalous levels, ranking up more debt and largest banana boxing plants in the world wasting state resources. And even after the

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Third World Debt Crisis Continued So our Nation fell into a debt trap which was consistent with many Africa Nations and third World Nations all over the World. The third World debt crisis which I have given a detailed account off in paper 2 and paper 3, had a devastating effect on the development of Africa and Nigeria in particular. It prevented our development for many years and it also throw Africa into an orgy of violence, war, death and destruction. Who cannot link the many years of fighting, civil war, insurgency, warlords etc. which pledged Africa in the 1980s to the terrible economic conditions experienced on the continent? And we now know that those hash economic conditions were as a direct result of the debt trap and the structural adjustment programs which further pushed the Nations of Africa and the Third World into a vicious circle of debt, destruction, unemployment and underdevelopment. In fact the 1980s have been termed the lost decade for Africa. This is largely due to the third world debt crisis. I told you in paper 3 that third world debt grew from less than $100 billion in 1970 to $600 billion in 1980. However by 1990, which is the period from 1980 to 1990 (the 80s) the third world debt grew to an unprecedented $1,600 billion or $1.6 trillion USD. And saddest part of the growth is that over 70% of the debt was penalties and moratorium interest. We also know that even though the billions borrowed were either stolen or put into projects that did not benefit the people for which the loans were borrowed in the first place, the ballooning of the

extensive debt crisis continued to cripple Africa, the aid offered by the western Nations were equally pledged with cronyism. According to a 1995 study of foreign aid carried out by the Freedom Support Coalition chaired by Congressman Dave Nagle noted that 80% of the US foreign aid and bilateral loans is spent back in the United States on buying food, equipment, expertise and services. In addition the study found out that 95% of the procurement done by the USAID for its US assisted aid programs went to firms that only did business with the USAID. These firms which the study termed “inside the beltway firms” (the beltway is the highway called 495 that circles the Washington DC city), were usually staffed and owned by former staff of the USAID.

Milling Machines (Wet or Dry)

MILLING machine is a tool that mills flat and irregularly shaped surfaces for them to become straight. It can also perform drilling, gear and thread cutting, boring and slotting operations which are usually handled on machine tools that are designed specifically for these particular operations. A milling machine is used for carving and drilling into raw products to create shapes and nearly finished products. They can drill holes, add threads for bolts or make precise shapes out of any solid material. They come in two basic forms the horizontal and vertical, which refers to the orientation of the main spindle. A milling machine is among the most versatile machine tools we have in existence. It performs thread and gear cutting, boring, drilling and slotting operations which are usually handled on machine tools designed for these specific operations. Milling machines can as well be used for a variety of sophisticated cutting operations. Milling machines come in sizes ranging from small to those requiring warehouse space to operate. Using a wide range of tools, milling machines carve and drill into raw products to create shapes and nearly finished products. They can drill holes, add threads for bolts or make precise shapes out of any solid material. Older machines relied on the machinist for precision. Modern machines are controlled by computers to make very precise parts.

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To find out about this and other business ideas, visit our showroom at W2, THE ARENA Army Shopping complex, Bolade Bustop, Oshodi, Lagos. You could also contact our sales representative at +234 1 277 1388 OR Email us on info@empowernigeria.com

Nicholas Brady was a former Senator from New Jersey and then he served as Treasury Secretary (Minister of Finance) to the United States under the Administration of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. He was the inventor of the so called “Brady Bonds” which converted South American Debt owed to many United States Banks into bonds that are backed by the United States Government.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 47

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LAFETE

YOUTHMAGAZINE

MOVIEDOM By Shaibu Husseini The Long, Tortuous Road To Half Of A Yellow Sun, By Sadiku

say it demonstrates that it is possible to make a high quality production in Nigeria with the appropriEWANDE Sadiku, the finance and ate budget and technical input. investment expert who raised Managing Director of Filmone funds for the production of the Distributors, Kene Mkparu, has much anticipated big budget flick, assured that the film will be availHalf of a Yellow Sun, fought hard to able in all cinemas across the counhold back tears on Tuesday as she try from April 25. told the story of how she ‘struggled to raise about $10 million ’ for the Transerve Limited production of the film adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s success- Introduces ‘Job Alert’ Antiful book. Sadiku, head of Stanbic Piracy Device IBTC Capital, who is not new to raising funds for projects as she is OPULAR Nollywood actor and reputed to have raised funds in Chairman of the Governing excesses of one billion dollars for Board of the National Institute investors started her presentation for Hospitality and Tourism well at the special press preview of Studies, Kanayo O. Kanayo, (KOK), the film hosted by Shareman has called for the establishment of Media, the Nigerian producer of an Intellectual Property Police in the film, and FilmOne Distribution, the mould of the Economic and the Nigerian distributor of the fea- Financial Crimes Commission ture film. She spoke of how fore(EFCC), to help fight piracy in the most publisher, Muktar Bakare, country. KOK, as the actor is fondly talked her into being interested in called, spoke at the formal unveilraising funds for the film; how she ing ceremony of Job Alert considered the initial $8 million Management System (JAMS), a pace budget a ‘piece of cake’ considering setting anti piracy Optical Disc that she has raised bigger sums, Software that monitors the produchow she had to be trained in the tion and distribution of all prodarea of film financing because she ucts and services from the compalater discovered that it was a ‘whole ny to all the customers in Nigeria new and difficult area’ even more and the rest of the world. JAMS was demanding than raising funds for introduced by Transerve Disc other projects and how she found Technologies, reputed to be the time, considering that she had a biggest producer of audio and demanding ‘8am to 5pm’ job, to video CDs, DVDs and other digital raise funds for a project that she products in West Africa. According later bought into because of its to KOK, “piracy constitutes intellecprospects. But as her introductory tual terrorism; it is more deadly speech walked towards the point than HIV and AIDS,” the actor also when actual fund raising began, decried the lack of quality in recent Sadiku, quite articulate and confi- Nigerian home movies, putting dent reached for the handkerchief blame on the activities of pirates, in her handbag twice. She mopped whom, he said, have taken over the up tears that rolled down as she show from producers, starving spoke of how she got ‘cold shoulthem of remuneration. KOK comders’ from people who ordinarily mended the management of would have given her funds with- Transerve Disc Technologies out baiting an eye-lid. “But they Limited; a company, which spedidn’t understand what investcialises in the replication of discs, ment in a movie was all about. It for introducing the anti-piracy was a hard sell for most of them,” device, which he said, will help to she said, in between sobs. But even- curb piracy to a barest minimum. tually, the funds were raised, the Earlier the Chairman of the compacast and crew arrived Calabar to ny, Cyprian Orakpo, said the mechshoot and in months the producanism, which comes in the form of tion was ready. “If anybody had job alert, is to help alert right owntold me during the fund raising ers on every order placed on their effort that we will get to this point jobs. Orakpo also said: “the Job Alert (the point of watching the movie can help curb piracy in the sense play out on the big screen) I would that if you are a content owner and say it’s a lie. But our faith in God you bring your job to Transerve and and believe in the project was what we register it with your data, and saw us through,’’ Sadiku said, have a record that this is the owner adding ‘’I want us to see this projof this work; you are alerted on ect as our own. If it succeeds, we all every order placed on that job. You take the credit. I mean for the first are given opportunity to checktime in our history as a nation, a mate pirates from the source; if Nigerian story that was funded pirates should forge your authority wholly from here screened at the letter, and pretend that they are the Toronto International Film Festival. owners of the work, when they That for me is very huge.’’ Indeed it come to us, the moment we schedis huge. But apart from screening ule this work, you will receive an at the Toronto International Film alert telling you that your work has Festival (TIFF) in Canada to great been scheduled at Transerve and applause, the film has also been that you have 12 hours to get back premiered in Europe at the BFI to us or else, we will take it that you London Film Festival, London. It authorized it.” The Director was released in cinemas in General, Nigeria Copyright Australia on March 27 and it will be Commission (NCC), Afam Ezekude, released in all Nigerian cinemas on commended the company and notFriday, April 25. The Nigerian preed that the commission is also miere is sponsored by Etisalat, the doing its best to stamp out piracy Wheatbaker Hotel and Arik Air. A in the country, despite low funding. film adaptation of the internation- Accomplished filmmaker al bestselling novel by Adichie, and Mahmood Ali-Balogun, President of directed by the Nigerian playthe Motion Picture Distributors of wright, Biyi Bandele, Half of a Yellow Nigeria (MOPIDON), Gabriel Sun was shot in the Tinapa Studios Onyiyechi Okoye, aka Igwe Gabosky in Calabar and in various locations and some major stakeholders in in Cross Rivers State. The visually the entertainment industry, includbeautiful and fairly well helmed ing Director-General, Nigerian film stars the BAFTA Award-winCopyright Commission (NCC), Mr. ning and Oscar-nominated actor, Afam Ezekude, Ms. Patricia Bala , Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Director-General of the National and BAFTA Award-winning actor Film and Video Censors Board Thandie Newton in leading roles. (NFVCB) and Chairman of Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, Copyright Society Of Nigeria O. C. Ukeje, and Zack Orji led the (COSON) Mr. Tony Okoroji were supporting cast of the epic love sto- among the dignitaries who attendry. Some critics that the special ed the press conference and prodpress preview attracted lauded the uct launch, which held at the technical quality of the film. They Golden Tulip in Festac Town, Lagos.

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Dizzy

I Rememeber Dizzie Gillespie By Benson Idonije HE last time I heard Dizzy Gillespie, one of the pioneers of modern jazz trumpeting in actual performance was in 1989. The venue was the National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos under the auspices of Jazz Club Of Nigeria in collaboration with the American State Department. Dizzy Gillespie performed with a quintet that also featured his long time friend and musical associate, James Moody, the saxophonist whose improvisational concept on the classic I’m in the mood for love appears to have relegated the song itself to the background, having enthroned Moody’s mood for love, the ‘vocalese’ as a preferred alternative and melody. I also travelled with the band to Benin City where Dizzy Gillespie performed at the University of Benin. Despite the demonstrated lack of appreciation by the students (who were apparently not jazz enthusiasts), Dizzy put up his best, swinging like has not happened before and reaching out with brilliant middle and upper registers while also coming across in his usual characteristic manner, with the combination of humour and light entertainment even as he acknowledged the seriousness of the art form with strict adherence to prescribed chord structures. Actually, between 1960 and1990, I listened to almost every recorded material by the trumpet legend, discovering as my favourite, Diz and Bird, the album he recorded with Charlie Parker for Vogue records in the 50s. I however listened recently to the reissue of the live recording of his memorable performance at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival which has the potential for competing with Diz and Bird as a preferred favourite. The Monterey Jazz Festival featured him on trumpet; James Moody, tenor saxophone; Kenny Barron, piano; Christopher White, bass; Rudy Collins, drums; Big Black, conga. The band’s choice of material coupled with the assembly of brilliant musicians inspired Dizzy Gillespie as he blew his horn and took brilliant solos of interminably long choruses interspersed with the laughter- provoking jokes and humour for which

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he was reputed: This was Dizzy the comedian – good time Diz – lapping up the good humoured adulation of the crowd from the Fairgrounds Stage at Monterey. But as always in a Dizzy atmosphere, with high quality sidemen like Moody and Barron, there were musical nuggets of great value to be unearthed between the moments when he put on the comedian’s mask. For this gig, Dizzy had extended his normal quintet by adding conga drummer Big Black. We all know of Dizzy’s infatuation with the tall hand drums which he frequenly played himself later in his career to give his lip some respite. But from the recording point of view, it was not a helpful move, as the constant clattering combined with Collins’ mushy cymbal sound in ensemble passages tend to obscure the detail of what was going on. Of course, live festival recordings rarely produce faultless results: capturing the spirit of the occasion is often the sole aim. We get a droll dose of this in the track, Comedy Sketch where Dizzy adlibs some stand-up exchanges with the bass player. White (the bassist) mocks his leader’s singing of the calypso –tinged Poor Joe and objects to being called Whitey. “You sensitive or something?” Inquires Dizzy jocularly, as the audience falls about. Whatever the bassist’s skin tone, he certainly shows some chops with his solo in Night in Tunisia, a nicely complex recreation of the familiar Dizzy Gillespie original which gets my vote as top track. Moody is significant here on both flute and tenor saxophone, giving a small band an extra tone of voice.— with warm solos and thematic contributions to the ensemble sound. In Ungawa, Big Black comes forward with a lengthy conga solo, slapping his way firmly into the equation with some amazingly intricate passages and ending with that rarely heard thing – congas playing like the piano. Throughout, in solos and leading the ensemble, Dizzy displays that total mastery of the middle and upper registers which must have led many to believe, quite wrongly, that the trumpet is an easy blow. At the piano, Barron plays with his trade mark exuberance and finesse, leading one to hunt around for some of his solo and trio recordings from a few decades lat-

er. Overall, this recording offers a good sample of Dizzy’s unique mix of virtuosity and entertainment. But naturally, to assess his contribution to jazz, you need to go further back in time: Dizzy Gillespie’s contribution to jazz is huge, profound and enormous. One of the greatest trumpeters of all time, Dizzy was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead; and it was not until Jon Faddis’ emergence in the 70s that Dizzy’s style was successfully recreated. Somehow Gillespie could make any wrong note fit; and harmonically, he was ahead of everyone in the 1940s, including Charlie Parker. Unlike Parker, Dizzy was an enthusiastic teacher who wrote down his musical innovations and was eager to explain them to the next generation thereby ensuring that bebop would eventually become the foundation of jazz. Dizzy Gillespie was also one of the key founders of Afro- Cuban (or Latin) jazz, adding Chano Pozo’s conga to his orchestra in 1947 and utilizing complex poly rhythms early on. The leader of two of the finest big bands in jazz history, Gillespie differed from many in the bop generation by being a masterful showman who could make his music seem both accessible and fun to the audience. With his puffed-out cheeks, bent trumpet (which occurred by accident in the 1950s when a dancer tripped over his horn) and quick wit, Dizzy was a colourful figure to watch. A natural comedian, he was also a superb scat singer and occasionally played Latin percussion for the fun of it; but it was his trumpet playing and leadership abilities that made him into a jazz giant. I remember Dizzy his trumpet, his comedy, his beret, his goatee! Some of his albums of note include, Dizzy Gillespie with Charlie Christian, It happened one night, Dizzy Gillespie and His Band, Bebop Entersi Sweden, Live At Carnegie Hall, Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach in Paris, Dizzy’s Diamonds, Swing Low Sweet Cardillac, Dizzy Gillespie Quintet In Europe, Dizzy Gillespie at Newport, Something new, Something old, Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie Goes Hollywood among many others.


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48 Sunday, March 30, 2014

YOUTHMAGAZINE LAFETE With Nightingale of the Swamp, Asagba Navigates History On Stage By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi N what could easily be described as an exotic rendering of Nigeria’s centenary celebrations, graduating students of the Theatre Arts programme at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), recently, premiered Prof. Austin Asagba’s latest literary offering, Centenary Blues: Nightingale of the Swamp. Performed at the Theatre Hall, Ekehuan campus of the university, the dance drama depicts Nigeria as a country with diverse, yet interacting elements, and was the ultimate performance for the 2012/2013 session at the Department of Theatre Arts and Mass Communication. Set in pre-independent southern Nigeria, it traces the defining moments of Nigeria’s history, highlighting the contacts with the British, the atrocious slave trade, and deeprooted conflict of interests, especially in choosing leaders. It opens with a dancing, humanoid nightingale, in an exotic scene, engulfed in celebrations, and where, later, a goddess charges her subjects, who are a collection of different communities, to elect ‘a man, at a time,’ if they be desirous of peace and tranquility. Then it spirals into the dark phases of history, when these subjects do not heed the advice of their god. This culminates in a devastating war among the communities, which spells their fall from grace. But the goddess, after she was consulted and appeased, comes to their rescue and avails them of the beauty and bliss of the nightingale, a reunion and redemption of sorts. The vitality that permeates passes off so many colours, so much life, and so much essence that would leave one smiling at the thought of the continued existence of the A scene from the play entity, Nigeria. War songs rent the air in memorable scenes, featuring strong faced, that, with the Centenary blues and the plays war-ready warriors, evoking a shared mem- that will follow; we’re trying to revive the traory. They chant, ready for battle. In the dition, the culture of play performances in wake of inter-ethnic wars, colonialists step in with their drinks and mirrors, deceiving the people out of their able-bodied men and fertile daughters. At intervals in the piece, burps of celeHE famous Igbo Ikeji Festival is being posibration grip the stage and stomps of danctioned to take the global appreciation of ing herald the coming of the Nightingale, Nigerian arts and culture to a new height. The who serenades her subjects and the audi- organisers, already, have rolled out plans to ence together. She is the guardian of the make this year’s fiesta the most memorable people of the creeks and swamps, a forgiv- one. The big time festival, which is now gaining, compassionate god. Her goodwill and ing international attention, is billed to hold in benevolence wraps up the play in foreApril this year. telling note, urging the audience to Ikeji festival is a long held tradition passed embrace peace. down through the ancestry of the Religion, especially the connection to and Arondizougu clan, whose forebears were origreverence for ancestral deity, takes ceninally from Arochukwu in Abia State . It is purtrestage in the dance piece that interroported that Mazi Izuogu, the founder of the gates the intimate human trait. Also, the clan hails from there. deceit of the colonialist in exchanging It is ayearly festival of all the Aro kingdom humans with mirrors and drinks is equally spread alongside the South eastern part of treated, casting the mind back to the dark Nigeria. Arondizougu autonomous communipages of history. ty, as it is called, has the largest concentration Directed by Moses Ugochukwu, a graduat- of Aron settlers and elements, which makes it ing student, and spiced with delicious the preferred hub for propagating Aron culdancing all through, the play is an enter- ture and tradition. taining piece of art. It mirrors Nigeria’s var- It is an home coming ceremony and gatheried cultural offering from the Niger delta ing of the Aron descendants from home and such as Isoko, Ijaw and Urhobo ethnic the Diaspora to give thanks to God for making groups, portraying the richness and vibran- them see the New Year, Ikeji. cy of the people. It is an eight day festival of merriment and Asagba, a renowned theatre arts don, spectacular display of masquerades coming said, after the production, “the play is an out in their glamour to thrill the ever teeming attempt to capture as well as reflect on our crowd that converge on the village to witness journey so far, and hopefully see how we the occasion. Of high interest amongst the can march forward,” According to him, “it’s masquerades is the Pericoma, a masquerade for our leaders to see the journey and the known for its acrobatic displays and prowess. pain and the trauma, to see our gaps in It is multi cultural, multi racial and cuts terms of our living strategy, how the differ- across all gender. Ikeji festival literally transent communities can live together as one forms the serene scene of village life to a comunder one leadership. And that leadership mercial hub driving a swamp of tourists, should provide inspiration; it should pro- researchers, fun seekers, businesses and vide a footpath for the country to grow.” brands to one location for eight days. Asked why the play featured majorly eth- Speaking at a pre festival gathering, the nic groups in the Niger delta, Asagba spokespersons — Mazi Christian Okoha Okoro explained: “Sampling the ethnic groups - President General, Arondizuogu Patriotic from the Niger delta is symbolic. The Niger Union and Mazi Chimezie Nwankwo , Delta is symbolic of the country Nigeria. Secretary of town union — pointed out that The communities you find there represent Nigeria’s “strong culture is one of the great the country. We cannot capture all the attributes that has kept Nigeria strong. We are tribes in the country for the fact that we committed to further promoting Nigerian have various communities. However, the culture and this year’s Ikeji festival provides varied ethnic nationalities show that the an unparallel platform to do so.” country is made up of loads of them. They The first four days of the festival, the Eke, are a representation of that vast and varied Oye, Afor and Nkwo are also named after the country called Nigeria.” four native market days of Igbo culture. He promised that UNIBEN is working to On the Eke, everybody turns up in the marrevive the lull in theatre performances in ket to buy and stock up the homes in preparaBenin City, conceding that artists in the tion for the next day, Oye in which all the livecity for some time have not been “very pro- stock bought on the Eke are killed and made ductive.” ready for merriment and feasting on the afor According to him, “we want to believe

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Benin City. I am sure UNIBEN has the kind of assure you there will be more producmanpower and expertise to use the theatre as tions.” a mirror of society and to entertain people. I

Ikeji Festival To Revive Nigerian Culture, Set To Thrill T

and Nkwo days. This merriment and feasting spans the remaining four days as visitors and dwellers alike go about from home to home participating in the feast. Eze Kosman Ndubuisi Kanu and Eze Oliver Dike, two of the prominent rulers, have indicated their readiness for the festival. There are a number of prominent Nigerians from that area, including: Mazi Phillip Obioha, Director, Computer Warehouse; Mazi Chinedu Okpareke, Sahara Energy; Chief Ngozi Mbadiwe, and Onyeka Onwenu, Director, Centre for Women Development, Chief Dr MI Okoro, M I Okoro and Associates, Engr. Ik Okoro, Director, Standards Organisation of Nigeria

On each of these eight days, the masquerades come out and tour the village in a long procession of enthusiasts singing their praises as they thrill and put on spectacular displays. They later on converge on the market square before calling it a day but the merriment proceeds into the wee hours of the day. With adequate security in place for lives and properties, and the highly hospitable nature of the Aron people, Ikeji festival has become a festival of international repute and if managed for its inherent opportunities, a huge source of income from tourism.

Yoruba Movie Awards Hold Today In Ibadan MIDST fun, excitement and glamour, the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards (YMAA) will hold today at the prestigious Civic Centre, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State. The award is a celebration of creativity in the Yoruba movie industry and a date never to be missed in the entertainment calendar of the country. The award will honour and celebrate creativity and distinguished movie actors and producers who propagate the Yoruba culture and race globally through their works. According to Tunde Oshinibosi aka Laface, YMAA executive producer, the event will kick off at 5pm with the stars dazzling on the creatively designed Yoruba red carpet. The main event will begin at 7pm prompt. The awards’ categories include Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Supporting Actor in a Leading Role, Supporting Actress in a Leading Role, Best Marketer, Best Comedy Act, Best Comedy Film, Most Promising Actor, and Most Promising Actress. Others are Achievement in Cinematography, Achievement in Directing, Best Crossover Act, Best Musician in an Acting Role, Best Picture, Achievement in Editing, and Best Cultural Movie. Laface further stated that the honours category would celebrate movie greats like the late Kola Ogunmola, the late Duro Ladipo, Adebayo Faleti, Lanre Hassan, and Professor Akinwunmi Ishola. He said: “All nominees are advised to encourage their numerous fans to log on

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Oshinibosi and vote at www.ymaawards.com and follow the voting instructions carefully. A carefully selected YMAA jury committee made up credible and distinguished individuals will also be set up to oversee the final nomination process.”


Sunday, March 30, 2014 49

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CSRFiles Digest TM


50 Sunday, March 30, 2014

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Birthdays ODEYEMI, Chief (Dr.) John Agboola, the Obasewa of Ife and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria will be 75 on Friday. He was born in Ile-Ife on 4th April 1939, finished Elementary Education at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, Ile-Ife in 1954 and later trained as Higher Elementary Teacher at St. Leo’s College, Abeokuta between 1956 and December 1959. In 1965 and 1966, as a student on Sandwich course in Accounting at The College of Commerce & Technology, Wednesbury, Staffordshire England, he won the Rubbery Owen Prize, for the “Most Distinguished Student of the Year”; and “Outstanding Performance of the Year” respectively. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive of JKN Limited and JAO Investment Company Limited. He also serves currently on the board of Emzor Pharmaceutical Ltd, Kinley Securities Ltd – Stockbrokers and Cutler Hammer Nigeria Limited. He served on the Board of a number of other companies and he was the Chairman of Ecobank Nigeria Ltd from September 2006 to March 2010; Chairman Refuge Insurance Company Limited and Obafemi Awolowo University Investment Company Limited from January 2007 to December 2012. He was a member of the National Political Reform Conference February – July 2005; Member of the National Privatization Council (Bureau of Public Enterprise), October 2004 – October 2006; Member of the Committee on

Odeyemi

Oshiomhole

Johnson-Kanu

The Assessment and Monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals – June 2005 – October 2006 and was founding Member of the Governing Board of UNESCO Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was honoured by the Federal Government of Nigeria as Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) 2005; by Osun State government with the State Distinguished Merit Award for Philanthropy and Community Development in 2007 and by the IleIfe Community with Distinguished Merit Award in 2008. He was given a Merit Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in 2005; Awarded Doctor of Science in Business Administration (Honoris Causa) by Obafemi Awolowo University Ife in December, 2007, among others.

Born on April 4, 1953 at Iyanmoh, near Auchi in Edo State. After his secondary education, he obtained a job with Arewa Textile Company, where he was elected union secretary. He became full time trade union organisers in 1975. He then studied at Risking College, Oxford in the United Kingdom where he mapped in economics and industrial relations. He also attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru. In 1982, he was appointed General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, a union with over 75,000 workers. After democracy was restored in 1999, he became president of the Nigerian Labour Congress. The textile union elected him for a second term as general secretary, while he continued as president of the NLC. He represented African workers for two terms on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), serving on the committee on Freedom of Association. He was also a member of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of

Free Trade Unions. In April 2007, he ran for governor of Edo State under the Action Congress Party, which later transformed to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) now All Progressives Congress (APC), with which his Labour Party had entered a strategic alliance. Oserheinmen Osunbor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner. However, the party contested the election in the court of law and on March 20, 2008, an Edo election tribunal nullified the election and declared him winner. On November 11, 2008, a Federal Appeal Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State upheld the ruling of the state’s elections petition’s tribunal, declaring Oshiomhole as the authentic governor of Edo State. He recontested and won his second term in office.

OSHIOMHOLE, Adams Aliu, politician, social critic, administrator, former president of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Executive Governor of Edo State will be 61 on Friday, April 4, 2013.

JOHNSON-KANU, philanthropist was 56 on Friday, March 28, 2014. She was born to the family of Elder Robertson Okorie Sunday and Elder Mrs. Comfort Okorie-Sunday of Arochukwu Local Government area of Abia state started her primary education at St

Charles Primary School, Nkalagu after which she proceeded to Holy Child Girls Secondary School, Abakaliki for her secondary education and got admitted into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1974 from where she obtained the Bachelor of Science in Zoology in 1978. From 1982 to 1983 she attended the University of London and obtained the Master’s Degree in Science Education. Thereafter, she worked as the Science Teacher in Biology and Integrated Science at the Science Tutorial College, Jos from 1992 to 1999; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University International Secondary School as the Guidance Counseling & Science Teacher in Integrated Science between 2000 and 2008 and became the Chief Examiner in Biology Paper 2 for the National Examinations Council (NECO) from 2001 to 2008. She is a woman of integrity, a creative person and a mentor, who have passion in the education of young ones most especially the female gender. Her professional skills cut across Leadership, Motivational & Inspiration Speaking, Fundraising and Coordination of youth programs She is the Chairman & Chief Executive of Citadel Education International Ltd, Rosefield Travel, Tours and Guide Ltd, Global Women Study Centre and Founder of Citadel International Noble Foundation. She is also the Director, African/Women Studies Centre of Helena Kaushik Women’s PG College; Matron, Drug Free Club; Matron, AHIP ISS (from 2001 to 2008); State Coordinator of the Counseling Association of Nigeria (CAS-

SON) from 2002 to 2004 and the Founder of Health Education and Environment Projects from 2007 to date. As a crusader of women and youth empowerment, she served at different times on voluntary capacity meritoriously and diligently in several Charities and NGOs among which are as the Implementation Team Leader of Save the Children (May 2002); Participant, Adolescent Health Information Systems (January 2002); Participant, UNFDP Workshop for Counselors (June 2002); Procurement Team Leader, Women in Nigeria (2002 to 2007); Facilitator, Faith Based AIDS Awareness (November to December 2004); Founder and Fundraiser, Widows Empowerment Initiative (2005 to 2007); Supervisor, Baseline Survey of Households and Health Facilities for NEHSI/CIDA (May to June 2006) and Facilitator, National Institute of Culture Orientation (June 2006).

Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa,

Event • The Worshippers Assembly International (Am Alive in Christ) will today hold its thanksgiving service to mark the one-week programme tagged: Success is my Birthright 2014, with the theme: Time of Release at the church auditorium at 5, Lagos Street, Off Karounwi Avenue, by Adedeji BusStop, Ijesha Rd, S/lere, Lagos. Dr. O.C Ezekiel will be the guest speaker, while Rev. Michael A. Onwuka is the host.

Past International Director, Lion Club International, Mr. HOD Lawa (left), the Guest Speaker, Wale Samuel; Multiple District Chairperson, Prof. Adesokan Ayoade; Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Segun Awonusi; and National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, who represented the UN Resident Coordinator during the 36th Annual Lions Day with UN, held in Lagos at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.

Chief Executive Officer, Information Management Resources Nigeria Ltd, Sunday Madudu; Business Development Manager, Mrs Peggy Bello-Osagie; CEO, Budelak Technologies, Olubunmi Akinmboni; CEO, hSenid Business Solutions, Sri Lanka, Sampath Jayasundara; and Sales Manager, Sri Lanka, East and West Africa, Shanaz Sheriff, during a trade visit by hSenid team to Nigeria, in Lagos.

Fab-5 Project Manager, Dare Amokeodo, 1st runner up Most Valuable Player, Lukman Badmus, Most Valuable Player, Ramon Habeeb, Managing Director, Sportvision, Deji Tinubu, 2nd runner up Most Valuable Player, Alabi Adams during the Fab 5 football competition sponsored by Indomine Noodles in Lagos.

Delta State Commissioner for Education (Basic and Primary), Prof. Patrick Mobuoghare (middle), Commissioner for Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Dr. Henry Ofa (left) and Chairman/CEO, Rexona International School, Oghara, Andrew Mayor, during an inspection of the school.

First Vice-Presiden, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Anthony Nzom (right); President, Alhaji Sakirudeen Labode; Vice-Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Prof. Muhammed Mainoma; and David Fitzgerald of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland, at two-day training workshop on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) held at the university in Keffi... on Tuesday.

Quasin Ilyas Ishola (3rd left) and his wife, former Kasali Rashidat Ibilola and other sibblings at their NIkkah ceremony at Ojomu Central Mosque, Ajiran, Ajah, Lagos... last week.


52 Sunday, March 30, 2014

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TheGuardian

Sunday, March 30, 2014 53

www.ngrguardiannews.com

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Denying Corruption To Boost Corruption ORRUPTION in Nigeria, says Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, is grossly over-exaggerated. This is now his standard response to the question concerned Nigerians ask him whenever he travels. At no point did I ever think that Mr. Jonathan would seek to sustain this colour-coating of the situation in Nigeria, but last week in Namibia he did, telling Nigerians in Windhoek that corruption in Nigeria has been blown out of proportion. “Corruption is everywhere,” he argued, but is over-celebrated in Nigeria, with the result that Nigerians are “stigmatised”. He has pushed this denial philosophy for about two years now, and it is time to examine what he really means. According to Mr. Jonathan, it is the exaggeration - not the corruption - that is taking its toll on the image of the country. He said nothing about how corruption is under-developing Nigeria. During his visit to South Africa in May 2013, he actually called critics of corruption the most corrupt. In his arrogant view, the problem is not the corruption: it is those who talk about it. In April 2013, he made the same claim at the presidential power reform transactions signing ceremony at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, just days after a report of the United States Department of State accused officials and agencies of his government officials of frequently engaging in massive acts of corruption. “People should watch how we have been conducting government business,” he bragged. “We have been bringing down the issues of corruption gradually.” It is the same government that never responds to Freedom of Information requests. A government that is afraid to answer questions on funds recovered from foreign governments. Mr. Jonathan’s latest campaign to deflect attention from his Augean stables comes as Jan Eliason, the United Nations Number Two man, last week chose Abuja to lament that over $50 billion is being siphoned from Africa every year. Mr. Jonathan’s Namibia statement also comes, as it emerges that two UN Special

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Rapporteurs sent a letter to him in November 2013 demanding accountability for a total of $51billion in Nigeria’s power sector in the past 10 years. In the letter, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona; and the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Ms. Raquel Rolnik, demanded answers for alleged mismanagement of $3.5bn annually in the sector, as well as another $16bn meant for improving electricity. It is difficult to tell if Mr. Jonathan has read that letter yet. Actually, it is difficult to tell if he has read much of the information emerging about the definition or depth of the depravity we call corruption in Nigeria. Put more starkly, it is difficult to tell if Mr. Jonathan truly understands what is meant by corruption; some people think it is corruption only when a policeman is secretly videotaped fleecing a motorist of N20. As difficult as it may be to conceptualize, the combination of a job that perhaps leaves the incumbent feeling he does not need to read; the ruler’s refusal to probe widespread allegations of corruption and his ‘inability’ to see actual persons taking horrifying sums away in Ghana-Must-Go bags, may lead to a certain comfort that Nigeria’s corruption is minor. Think about it, then: Siemens would not qualify as corruption. Not Wilbros. Not Halliburton. Nothing emerging in half a dozen startling Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC reports in the past 15 years would qualify as corruption. The missing $20 billion that is at the heart of the Central Bank crisis: exaggeration. The 2013 American government report of “massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption” at all levels of the Nigerian government and the security forces? That would be hearsay. When the Jonathan administration authorizes an illegal transfer of N155 billion to convicted former oil minister and money-launderer Etete: over-exaggeration. When Jonathan fires the EFCC chairperson who is widely accused of an alarming abuse of office but does not probe her:

irrelevant. The Ministry of Aviation mess in which Oduah allegedly purchased two cars for a lavish N255million: that would not be corruption. When she is let go without being probed, that would be exaggeration. Reports year after year that the Minister of Petroleum Resources has committed corrupt acts, including renting or buying executive jets: exaggeration. Allegations in various publications that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice enriched himself: hearsay. The growing human rights abuses throughout the country, including arbitrary arrests, misuse of the police, abuse of the press and extra-judicial killings: not corruption. The continuing lavishing of public funds on the extravagant lifestyle of top officials of the presidency and their families, the continuing purchase of executive jets: over-exaggeration. The two trillion naira stolen in the fuel subsidy scheme: that would be over-exaggeration. The N100 billion ravaged from the Police Pension Fund: a rumour. The preponderance of discredited and corrupt people at the highest levels of his administration: exaggeration. The $67 billion that former World Bank Africa chief, Oby Ezekwesili, accused the administrations of Mr. Jonathan and his predecessor Umar Yar’Adua of squandering in the foreign reserve and Excess Crude Account: exaggeration. When the Nigerian government pardons convicted looter and money-launderer Alams: irrelevant. When a foreign government invites the President of Nigeria and the country’s chief legal officer to claim for their country a $700,000 Maryland mansion and a Massachusetts investment account worth about $400,000 and they refuse, probably because the assets had belonged to Alamieyeseigha: exaggeration. When Adokie announces he will lead Nigeria’s claim of the new $458 million Abacha loot recently cornered by the U.S.: that would represent Nigeria at her brightest. When the President says he will never publicly declare his assets: that would show he is combating corruption.

sonala.olumhense@gmail.com Twitter: @Sonala.Olumhense

Nonetheless, in September 2012, Mr. Jonathan said at a conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management that he would fight corruption and associated vices until they were “exterminated.” Apparently he was referring only to minor corruption flares. But in September 2013 as he opened the 54th Nigerian Economic Society conference in Abuja, he did declare he personally knew a lot of corrupt persons, just as he had said he knew Boko Haram personnel in his cabinet. “When you talk about corruption,” he said, “the private sector is involved. The public sector is involved; even the individuals including other societies, [but] I wouldn’t want to mention names so that I will not be attacked.” In other societies, such an un-presidential capitulation would be considered to be cowardice, not courage, in the face of corruption. In Mr. Jonathan’s Nigeria, it is proof corruption is inconsequential. As a man who was himself indicted for false declaration of assets in 2006, Jonathan’s claims of exaggeration remind the world no matter what he thinks - he has an unpaid debt: something to hide, but now, the power to hide it. What those claims do not hide is that Jonathan’s future - personal or political - is already clearly defined. Should he enter the 2015 presidential race, he will have to run on his record. That would include having to explain his corruption theory, including in live debates, persuasively. And should he choose not to run, he must be prepared to explain to History for the rest of his life the same garbled gaffe, with no place to hide.

The Age Of Job Scams By Cosmas Odoemena LAWYER relative of mine got a short message service, sms, recently inviting her for a job aptitude test somewhere in Yaba, Lagos. But she could not remember sending an application to such a place. She told me about it, and I told her to call one of the phone numbers in the sms sent to her, which she did. But a gruff voice answered her. The fellow could not say who they were, or what the organisation was about and sounded unintelligent. Later, the person turned round to say he was only “a clerk” who did “not know much.” I told my relative to disregard it, that it was a scam. Then, a thought came into my mind to google that address on the net. It turned out to be one of those job scammers, just like I figured. A few days after that one, she received another job invitation through sms, this time in one eatery at Mushin! Needless to say that when we googled, it was still some other job scammers. I am pretty sure other people have received this sort of unsolicited sms. The unemployment situation in the country has driven people to use devilish ways to survive, among the usual ones being armed robbery and kidnapping; now, enter job scamming. Job scammers fleece unwary and desperate job hunters of the little money they have, with the ploy of offering them non-existent jobs. Perhaps, they hack into the database of big organisations, including that of government to get the phone numbers of job applicants. Another way again is through some of those so-called job websites that you send your Curriculum Vitae, CVs to.

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A University of Exeter study on why people easily fall victims of scams concluded that a “lack of emotional control” by the victim could make them impulsive - a degree of isolation, either by living alone or by not sharing their decision with others, (which suggests that they are partly aware that the offer is fundamentally suspect), a history of being scammed (some 10% to 20 % of the population is deemed vulnerable to scams because they are serial victims), being vulnerable to certain psychological triggers such as the building of relationships, usually through phone calls, with apparently obliging people (who end up being scammers). The study also stated that people with a resistance to such frauds “often discard scams virtually unread”. In contrast, victims can pour over the offer, feeling uneasy but not acting on those hunches that tell them to walk away. Now, there are certain things that will warn you that your dream job is a scam: When they quickly reply your email enquiry telling you they have received your resume when you didn’t even send it; when they fail to list a specific location for the job, in other words, you cannot find where the job is; when they list a salary that is too good to be true; when the post is a government job, be even more wary. You will also find the postings written in bad English or misspellings. Fake jobs usually have no job contact information. A real job with quality will tell you who to contact by e-mail with a website. Be wary of a job link that directs you to another site. Be equally wary of a job member-

ship site that asks you to register. When you get to the so-called job interview venues, they ask you to pay at least N1000 as “processing fee”. Consider that amount for all the people who will be there. And they organise it almost every Saturday! But you don’t really have to be a victim of this scam if you answer no to the question: Did you apply to this organisation? If you are not sure, find out about the organisation. If curiosity then leads you to the place, when they ask you for money, they have given themselves away. Don’t just say anything. At worst, excuse yourself to the loo. Just go back home, quietly. At least the lesson would have been learnt in not-toohard way. Remember, you have wasted your transport fare, which, based on your situation, you may not have. Though they have not robbed you of your money, they have robbed you of something equally precious: Time. And time they say is money. (You might have stayed home to watch the English Premier League!) Usually, when they are through with the “job test” they tell you they will get back to you in due course “if you are successful”. You will never hear from them again. They cannot get back to you, or anyone else, because they can’t give what they don’t have. They don’t even have a job themselves! This is how Nigerians show wickedness to fellow Nigerians. But it is a crying shame that even government, lately, through the Nigeria Immigration Service, is also into this kind of scam! •Dr Odoemena, medical practitioner, is based in Lagos.


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Mr. Trouble’s Agonies With Filling Pipes, Leaking Pipes T

WO pipes, A and B, can fill a tank in ten hours, and twelve hours, respectively, while a third pipe C, can empty the full tank in twenty hours. If all the three pipes operate simultaneously, that is at the same material time, in how many hours will the tank be filled? If the tanks were to be increased in size that they can only be filled by Pipe A in ten years and by Pipe B in twelve years, and Pipe C can empty the full tank in twenty years, what happens when all the pipes are working simultaneously, filling and leaking together? Alaba, the child genius assistant of Mr. Trouble, the one who educated himself reading through his Uncle’s locked library breezed into his boss’s office and said seven and a half hours or seven and a half years as the case may be. Mr. Trouble thanked Alaba and returned to his work of researching what he was calling doubledipping in the Nigerian state system. Alaba coughed and Mr. Trouble came away from the work he was doing. What is it, Alaba? Mr. Trouble stood away from his desk, folded his hands over his chest and confronted his over-grown and over-bearing assistant. Wetin? Imagine Pipe A and Pipe B working assiduously, filling the Nigerian Tank. At the same time, two Pipes, not just one, are busy leaking the tank, Pipe C1 and Pipe C2, what then? Will the tank ever be filled? Assistants are supposed to simplify the work of their bosses, not further complicate them. All I

said to you was that there is a system whereby the Naija system has two pipes filling the tank while two other pipes are leaking the same tank. I want to know when the tank will be filled. You might as well ask if the tank will ever be filled, interjected Alaba. There must be something left even if there were so many pipes leaking the tank, something to stay in the tank. Oh yes, mud, silt, fine-fine sand-sand, left behind, but is that what you think should fill the tank? You complicate matters. Let me explain what I mean and do not take me back to Lacombe’s Upper Standard! I am silent sir, and I listen and obey. We have a ministry of agriculture with a minister and a permanent secretary and we set up operation feed the nation with a chairman and a managing director. Who should be feeding the nation if not the ministry of agriculture? We have a ministry of information with a minister and a permanent secretary and we set up a mass mobilization organisation or a national orientation agency with a chairman and a director general. Or we have a ministry of Niger Delta affair with a minister and a permanent secretary and a Niger Delta Development Commission with a chairman, a managing director and commissioners from each of the oil producing states of the country. With Pipes A and B filling and Pipes C1 and C2 leaking when will the Naija tank be full? Or

when would it be empty? Alaba looked at his boss and felt that there was more to Mr. Trouble than he was letting on. What brought these thoughts to your mind, Mr. Trouble? After all . . . Once again, Alaba interjected. Afterall, nothing. What are you thinking about? It is not difficult to calculate how soon Naija will burst. The Americans have done their own sums and they have revealed their own answer. We can do our own calculations and reveal our own figure as well. But we are working for more than mere mathematical calculations. We are looking for what is believable and resolvable. So, what is it? The minute the military bowed out in 1999, everybody and their uncle had been asking for a national conference. That was long before I would come to travel in this great African country of mine. I gently made the point then that there was a national assembly that was being paid to talk about Naijeria and suggest constitutional changes. Why would you wish to pick out or elect or select another set up people to do the same thing? I was told to go wash my mouth and how those in the house of assembly and in senate were all thieves and rogues who could not be trusted with anything as sacred as a constitution. But would the membership not improve over the years, with younger and younger people coming into the house and bringing with them new

dreams for Naija? Oh no, said everybody. The younger ones are even worse than their fathers, being able to add technological expertise to their thieving capabilities. We must choose new people. And these new people, they would be angels, abi? Never mind but we need a national conference and we need new people to lead it. So, we now have 483 people or so people doing what 469 or so people are doing at the national assembly. We have not added the members of the state houses of assembly. So, the leaking pipes are complete and double, just as the filling pipes. All the contradictions and the contradistinctions of the country have been accounted for in terms of geo-political zones, federal character, royal fatherhood and motherhood (hopefully) and any other willing comers. In spite of the fact that these royal fathers and mothers have multiplied a hundred fold in the last twenty years, in spite of the fact that this is a federal republic, where titles do not matter, we have far more crowned heads in the country than ever before, never mind the shape and colourfulness of the crowns! You know what Mr. Trouble? There is a simple answer. And there is a simple method to deal with the madness. Some people suggest we turn off the filling pipes first of all. Then there would be nothing for the leaking pipes to leak. Not true. Leaking pipes are part and parcel of all organisations, all coming together, etc etc. Others suggest we turn off the leaking pipes first of all. That will not do. To achieve any visible result, we must turn off both the filling pipes and the leaking pipes the same time. That way everything stops. Finish.

Prof. Catherine Acholonu Was Here! By Patrick Oguejiofor T was at the Department of English and Literature of the elitist Abuja-based Nigerian Nile Turkish University that the news was first broken to me. The news of the tragedy came through the poet and scholar, Professor Chimalum Nwankwo. The news that our own dear Professor Catherine Obianuju Acholonu (nee Olumba) has joined Okigbo, Munonye, Ekwensi and recently, Achebe was hard to swallow. I just would not accept it. Not even after reading it on the Internet. It was only after I have called the daughter, Mrs Nneka Egbuna (nee Acholonu) that reality began to dawn on me. ‘My God, where were you when this happened?’ was all I could mutter. My first meeting with Professor Acholonu was through her works. First, I read her poem ‘Will they let Him?’ which was dedicated to the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. The poem appeared in the now-rested Sunday Concord around the year 1986. Next, I read her article, ‘The Forgotten Classic’, a critical review of John Munonye’s novel The Oil Man of Obange, which was published in the African Literature Today. Then I began to devour her numerous books including Earth Unchained among others. My first face-to-face encounter with her was a landmark in my life. That was in the year 2007. The Association of Nigerian Authors, Abuja Chapter, had organized a literary lecture at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja. The celebrated Okigbo scholar, Professor Chukwuma Azuonye was the guest lecturer. The writing of the legendary Nigerian poet who died fighting at the Nsukka battlefront during the Nigeria-Biafra war was the theme of the lecture. The lecture was a forerunner to the First Christopher Okigbo International Conference billed to be hosted later in the year in faraway America. The lecture was wellattended by the cream of Abuja literary community including Professor Ihechukwu Madubuike, Dr Seyi Adigun, Dr Emman Shehu (then ANA Abuja Chair) including this writer who helped to put up the event. At the memorable event, Professor Azuonye engrossed us with the life and work of the immortal poet who will be resurrected at Hazard University later in the year. We were happy to learn from

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JAW JAW By Didi Onu

Azuonye that Okigbo was highly rated in the west and is considered among the five greatest poets writing in the English language. We also looked forward to the event in Boston where the 40th anniversary of the death of the poet will be marked by critics, poets, family, friends, musicians and literary enthusiasts from all over the world. I remember the lively interaction session during which guests gave their views on Okigbo and asked questions about his creative style. Professor Acholonu complained that Okigbo has this habit of hiding his meanings in order to be deliberately obscure. But she praised Okigbo as a great poet, unsurpassed by any African poet. My second meeting with Acholonu was at Boston, Massachusetts in the United States of America during the First Christopher Okigbo International Conference at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and at Harvard University. Both universities had co-hosted the event. I will never forget those three days of my life. For the first time I met great literary masters: Chinua Achebe, Denis Brutus, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda, Gerald Moore, Abiola Irele, J. C. Echeruo, the late Dubem Okafor and many others. I also had the rare opportunity of meeting with some close relations of the legendary poet. Professor Acholonu and I spent several sessions talking about everything literature ranging from Okigbo’s life to his writings as well as her research works and findings. We had become close. Professor Catherine Acholonu was like the biblical lamp on a hill that cannot be hidden. It is easy to single her out in a crowd. She was an intellectual soldier ready to do battle with critics and always held her readers and listeners spell-bound with her intellectual prowess and courage. I cannot forget the day I went with her to print some documents at a business centre somewhere at Area 11, Abuja. We were talking about her work, The Gram Code of Africa Adam. She was labouring to convince me that the Igbo were the first human beings on earth! As she talked, I realized that everyone inside the office there – both staff and customers had stopped everything they were doing and were enthralled by her argument. She was such a most remarkable character that no one can afford to ignore. One of the elements that attracted me to her was her very strong views on Okigbo. And Okigbo was my hero. Acholonu believed

that Okigbo was not just a poet-prophet but was also a deity! She strongly believed her own views, some of which are clearly controversial. But she was at all times ready to defend practically all her controversial views with convincing arguments backed with her research findings. She was a distinguished scholar who never stopped calling for the re-evaluation of history in the light of her own research and findings. For example, she had tried to prove through research that the Garden of Eden may have been located in Africa. Naturally many did not agree with some of her views. But nobody got tired of listening to her. We had become friends since returning from the Okigbo conference and we met several times in Abuja where she ran her Catherine Acholonu Research Centre, promoting her feminist ideology and scholarship. The last we met was shortly after the publication of her last major work, They Lived Before Adam. The work was co-authored with an Indian. Her daughter, Nneka also contributed as a resource person to this immense but highly controversial work. She had paid me a visit at the National Judicial Council at the Supreme Court Complex where I was temporarily relocated following renovation work at the Federal Judicial Service Commission. But our plan to organize a public presentation of They Lived Before Adam did not work out due to several challenges at that time. Thereafter, we lost communication after series of meetings. I did not hear from her for a long time, not knowing she had taken ill. Then the news came that she had passed on after a long battle with illness at a private hospital at Abuja. Professor Acholonu was an intellectual genius of extraordinary energy and commitment to the cause she believed in. She was not content reducing her research findings to writing. She put a lot of energy promoting and defending them, asking people to believe them. I believe that time and history will be fair to her. The entire Abuja literary community will definitely miss her. Like Okigbo, Acholonu will never die. She has effectively immortalized herself not through her children but through the immense literary and academic works she left behind, which will forever remind the world that one Professor Catherine Obianuju Acholonu (nee Lazarus Olumba) was here. • Oguejiofor is the author of Sin of the Father and other novels.


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POLITICS countdown to ekiti 2014 governorship

Ekiti 2014: Fayose Dwarfs Olubolade, Others From Muyiwa Adeyemi (head south west Bureau Ado ekiti) HEN the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr W Ayodele Fayose returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in October 2011, some members of the party believed he came back as “a prodigal son,” having realised that he could not achieve his political ambition outside the PDP. Indeed, his sojourn to the Labour Party (LP) was a political misadventure that got him demystified, because he did not only lose an election to become a senator in April 2011 to the first time contestant, Babafemi Ojudu, but all the candidates he fielded lost woefully to candidates of then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Fayose explained that he was betrayed by the ACN, which has now become All Progressive Congress (APC), as he allegedly worked with the party during the governorship re-run election of 2009 to defeat Governor Segun Oni of the PDP. Fayose expected the ACN to compensate him with just a seat at the Senate, but the party denied having any of such alliance with him. Fayose is certainly bitter with the APC elements. He has a political score to settle with them. And, the time has finally come, to have his pound of flesh or suffer another defeat. As soon as he returned to the PDP he began to plot how to gain control of the party machinery, which used to be under Segun Oni, who had just been removed from office as governor of the state via an Appeal Court judgment. And the opportunity came in March 18, 2012 when Ekiti State PDP held its congress. Fayose and Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, who was the Police Affairs Minister went into an alliance to defeat Oni’s men and installed the Makanjuola Ogundipe-led executive with 318 votes to defeat Akin Omole who scored 310. When all efforts to reconcile the groups failed, Omole quit the party. He is currently the chairman of the Labour Party (LP) in Ekiti state. But not too long after Olubolade and Fayose had taken control of the party machinery, a conflict of interests began to manifest among the executive members. The chairman of the party, Ogundipe clearly gave himself out as Olubolade’s loyalist, while the secretary, Tope Aluko and the publicity secretary Pastor Kola Oluwawole are known as diehard-supporters of Fayose. While the infighting continued among the executive members on who between Olubolade and Fayose should have the last word on the direction the party should go, party members were also divided on who of the two men should emerge as the governorship candidate of the party.  With the assurance that the chairman of the party was loyal to him, Olubolade went back to Abuja to face his ministerial assignment, while

Fayose

Fayose was on ground to supplant all loyalists of Oni from the executive of the party at the Council and Ward levels. As Fayose was traversing the wards to change the structure, Olubolade and Ogundipe thought he was doing it in the interest of the party, but unknown to them, Fayose was installing his loyalists in all those strategic administrative organs of the party at the grassroots. Except in a few councils in the Southern senatorial districts where an aspirant like Prince Dayo Adeyeye resisted him, Fayose was almost in total control of the members that would constitute the delegates who voted in the last governorship primary election of the party. So by July last year, when President Goodluck Jonathan advised 33 aspirants to the office of governor to consider the consensus option in picking a candidate, Fayose was in a very comfortable position to say no to that. Reason: he knew he was already in control of about 65 per cent of those that will constitute the delegates for the primary election. For Olubolade, the President’s advice is an order, which must be carried out to the letter, even as he knew that that was the only option through which he could emerge as the candidate of the party. He was aware that Fayose had cornered party members at grassroots. While Olubolade is elitist and cosmopolitan,

having to his advantage a brilliant carrier in the military, Fayose has shown more brinkmanship in the game of party politics. He had done his calculations long ago. Apart from Adeyeye who also laboured to build a solid structure within the party, some of the other aspirants never prepared for the primaries. They relied on the President to “anoint” any one of them and “settled” the losers in the spirit of reconciliation. One of the aspirants and former deputy governor of the state, chief Abiodun Aluko, after the primaries had been won and lost, confessed that they had only five days to prepare because they believed a candidate would emerge through consensus, unkown to them that Fayose had planned for it in the last two years. Immediately the party announced that there would be a congress and primary, some of them already knew result. Few days to the primary, after the Senator Ndoma Egba committee had screened the aspirants and cleared 14 of them, a meeting was held at the Abuja residence of Chief Bode George, where 13 aspirants, excluding Fayose signed an agreement that consensus option should be adopted. Obviously playing a smart one on them, Fayose did not arrive the venue of the meeting which started around 8.30 pm, but arrived at midnight after the agreement had been signed. He refused to sign it.

He said; “Signing Consensus agreement is like signing off my right. They all know that I did not believe in it.” Also at the meeting were Southwest leaders of the party, including Chief of Staff to the President, Gen. Jones Arogbofa. Many thought that meeting would have produced a consensus aspirant to face Fayose at the primaries, but all them seemed not to agree, instead, they relied on the President to pronounce one of them as candidate. But that presidential pronouncement never came. When the PDP Ward Congress Committee set up by the National Working Committee of the Party arrived Ado Ekiti to conduct the Ward Congresses that Saturday, they still meet a stiff opposition from pro-consensus team, whose foot soldiers held up members of the committee and voting materials inside the vehicle for several hours. The protesters said the President told them there wouldn’t be primary and they would not allow the congress to hold. By 12.30 pm, the police dispersed them and materials were distributed for the congress. There were allegations of voting materials being hijacked by supporters of an aspirant; it was observed that congresses did not hold in five local councils, but the party leadership accepted the result of the congresses and went ahead to conduct the primaries. The Great Eagle Hall, venue of the event was like a battlefield between the pro-consensus advocates and the police. Tear-gas canisters were fired at them when they surged towards the gate of the venue, and among them was Olubolade, who had to be whisked away in an open pick up van to escape being lynched. Declaring Fayose the winner, former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili, who headed the committee that conducted the primary said; “I think you have seen that the process for the conduct of this primary is transparent. I think you are all satisfied with the process,” and the delegates chorused “yes.” “Having scored the highest number of votes, Peter Ayodele Fayose is hereby declared the winner,” the pronouncement elicited a loud ovation from the delegates. Odili clarified that the conduct of the primary was not unconnected with the resolve of President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu to reposition the party and deepen internal democracy in the party. Olubolade and other aspirants boycotted the primary and the chairman of the party went into hiding and switched off his phones. With the ratification of Fayose’s election by the NWC of the party on Wednesday, the pro-consensus group might have reached the end of the road, with the option to submit themselves to the reconciliation process of the party. But that seems not to be the case as some of them have vowed to fight on. 

Continuous Voter Registration Not Spectacular In Ekiti, Osun – TMG RIOR to the Ekiti and Osun conP tinuous voter registration exercises, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) issued a statement calling on the good people of Ekiti and Osun states to go out en masse to register and verify their registration status before the June 21 and August 9 Governorship elections that will take place in both states. Having keenly observed the CVR exercise in the two states, TMG said the CVR conducted in Ekiti and Osun were not spectacular and demands that the coming elections in the two states be conducted with greater preparedness and seriousness. Although the two states have set the pace by virtue of the excitement noticed on the part of potential voters, including the elderly to exercise their civic responsibilities, all cannot be said to be well with the conduct of this important pre-election exercise, going by TMG observations. Observations

Summary of the reports from the observers indicated that while turnout was very encouraging on the weekend it was quite low during weekdays. The process was reportedly fraught with inadequate materials/Direct Data Capture Machines to accommodate the relatively huge numbers of voters that came out to register especially during the weekend Highpoints TMG commends the level of sensitization in Ekiti and Osun state, which it considered much better than witnessed in Anambra CVR exercise. INEC and NOA were on radio and television daily sensitizing people and creating awareness even as jingles were been aired alongside. TMG said it is pleasantly surprised at the relatively high level of participation by the elderly in the CVR process in Ekiti State. It also feels this development might well be connected with the monthly welfare policy of the state govern-

ment for the elderly, which must have rekindled their interest in the political process. TMG commends the relatively consistent deployment of INEC officials as well as the early opening, which enabled timely accreditation. Security deployment is commendable, as security personnel were seen in all registration centres. While the direct data capture machines were observed to have been supplied to all registration centres, it was observed that the number of DDC systems deployed were inadequate due to the huge turnout of registrants during the weekend and the last day of the exercise. Low-points        There were reported incidents of intimidation and harassment at some registration centres by party supporters, which resulted in the disruption of the process in part of Ila LGA of Osun state and Emure LGA of Ekiti state.         Although three political party

agents on average were present in registration centres observed, the number is still poor compared to the number of political parties in the state.             TMG decries reported instances of people obviously less than 18 years of age being permitted to register.               There were reported cases of fingers of registrants not being marked with indelible ink in few registration centres which could lead to multiple registrations.         A few incidents of registration centres running out of materials during the day were reported. This led to early closure of centres before 5:00pm. Recommendations • TMG believes that by issuing the CVR guideline at least seven days ahead of the exercise, INEC satisfied the constitutional requirements.  • Although TMG observers did not report incidences of officials not knowing how to operate the regis-

tration machines, it is necessary to train handlers of the machines on how to manipulate them should they malfunction. • INEC should establish a simple and transparent procedure that will allow citizens to make corrections to the voter lists, as well as an effective procedure to redress complaints; • Again, TMG appeals on the need for INEC to collect registration and turnout data disaggregated by gender to allow relevant groups have more information to help the process; • For the umpteenth time, TMG is concerned at the very small numbers of party agents deployed to registration units/centres – indicating that political parties are yet to appreciate the value of observing the CVR process. • TMG recommends that INEC should not cluster registration centres, but should rather use existing PUs for better coverage and easy identification.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

56 Sunday, March 30, 2014

GRASSROOTS UROMI NASARAWA Stops Edo Monarch Tempers Still High After Inconclusive Council Poll Court From Church Encroachment By Gbenga Akinfenwa

HE dust is yet to settle after last week’s council election in Nasarawa State. If the threat by the State House of Assembly comes through, the state attorney general and commissioner for justice, Innocent Lagi, may be the first casualty of the uproar that trailed the election. The embattled commissioner was accused of scaling a wall in a desperate attempt to serve court notice meant to prevent chairman of the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC), Dr. Abdullahi Modibo, from appearing before the legislators. Its been tales of claims and counter-claims by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over who won majority council seats. While the PDP alleged that it won in 11 out of the 13 councils, the APC claimed it won eight, with five councils cancelled due to irregularities. A source said the state government holds the view that the election was rigged in some areas by the PDP with the help of security men, especially the military and decided to do a stock taking of what transpired, which was responsible for the initial delay in announcing the result and the subsequent declaration of poll in five council areas as inconclusive. Even with what was released, the election appeared to be a departure from the winnertakes-all syndrome that characterize council election in 24 states, where ruling parties in the states dominate the elections. According to the result announced last Sunday night, APC won in six local government areas (Awe, Doma, Wamba, Karu, Toto, and Lafia), while PDP dominated in four (Kokona, Keffi, Keana and Nasarawa Eggon). Election in three local governments, Nasarawa, Obi and Akwanga were declared inconclusive by the electoral commission. It was gathered that in Akwanga, the local government of the Deputy Governor, Damishi Luka, who recently defected from the APC to PDP, and Obi, where NASIEC declared as inconclusive, PDP was initially declared winner by their respective returning officers. But the electoral commission’s boss, Modibbo, overruled the returning officers, saying the elections were inconclusive, declaring that elections would be held in

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four wards in Akwanga and in three wards in Obi. He said; “The Akwanga LGA result was declared inconclusive, owing to the fact that results from the four wards of Andaha, Gudi, Akwanga-West and Akwanga-East were still pending. The four affected wards in Akwanga have a voting strength of over 30,000. Therefore, there will be no justification in declaring a winner without the results from those wards. “In the case of Nasarawa LGA, Returning Officers for six electoral wards absconded, thereby leaving the commission with no option than to declare the election inconclusive. In Obi LGA, elections are still pending in three wards, and fresh elections will be conducted in the affected wards,’’ Mr. Modibbo said. One of those who reacted to the controversial election is the minister of information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who said the elections were marred by irregularities. Maku accused the NSIEC of colluding with the ruling APC in the state to subvert the will of the people.  According to a statement signed by Maku’s Press Secretary, Joseph Mutah, the minister described as unfortunate the situation where Presiding and Returning Officers chose to disappear from the polling centres where the PDP won without announcing the results. Another dimension to this is the call for the removal of the

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City N Edo State High Court in Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Council has restrained the Onogie of Uromi, HRH Zaiki Anslem Eidenogie from further trespass on a land said to belong to the Anglican Church in Uromi. The order is to subsist pending the determination of the substantive suit and it also restrained “servants, agents or privies of the defendant from entering and/or in any away trespassing on the said land.” The trial judge, Justice V. O. A. Oviawe issued the order after listening to arguments of counsel to both parties on an ex parte application filed on behalf of the church by G. O. Giwa-Amu Esq. The Diocese of Esan, Angli-

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state attorney general and commissioner for justice, Innocent Lagi by the State House of Assembly on Tuesday after he was arrested and whisked away by the Police for scaling the fence of the State House of Assembly to serve a court order. He was on a mission to serve the Legislators with a court injunction restraining the House from summoning the chairmen of NASIEC and his commissioners to appear before them. He was however not allowed to enter the premises by security officials and decided to jump the fence, which led to his arrest by security operatives.

Before Lagi’s arrival, Chairman of the commission, Dr. Abdullahi Modibo, and five other commissioners had responded to questions raised by members on the conduct of the local government election. The NASIEC boss admitted to the House that he erred by failing to announce results from Obi and Akwanga local government areas, which were already declared by the respective returning officers as having been won by PDP candidates. He was therefore directed to go and make proper announcement of the results from the affected areas.

TAKEHOLDERS in Eket FedSIbom eral Constituency of Akwa State have ordered the former member representing the area in the House of Representatives, Mr. Eseme Eyiboh to withdraw all lawsuits instituted by him against the incumbent, Barrister Bassey Dan-Abia Jnr. Leaders of the constituency, including the council chairmen of Eket, Esit Eket and Onna, their PDP chapter chairmen, traditional rulers, and leaders of women and youth groups took turns to call on Eyiboh to vacate all legal proceedings against Dan-Abia Jnr. They stated their position recently in Eket during the

AKWA-IBOM constituency briefing and empowerment programme organised by Dan-Abia Jnr. According to them, the people of the area unanimously voted for Dan-Abia Jnr. both at the 2011 PDP primary and the general election, and as such their former representative has no moral or legal justification to challenge that mandate in court. Special Assistant to Governor Godswill Akpabio on Project Monitoring, Mr. Emmanuel Mbong threatened that he would ask the people of the constituency to rise up against Eyiboh if he fails to stop further legal action against the representative of

the area. Mbong said the people of Eket Federal Constituency are very satisfied with the quality of representation provided by Dan-Abia Jnr, adding, “Barrister Bassey Dan-Abia has wiped away past tears left behind by the past representative”. “I would personally ask the people to rise up against him (Eseme Eyiboh) if he continues in pursuing cases against our representative. We would socially, traditionally and politically ostracize him if he refuses to back down. “The court cases are distracting our representative and we don’t want him (DanAbia Jnr) to be unnecessarily distracted. We sent him to be

PSSDC To Promote Excellence In Public Service By Tunde Akinola a bid to foster professionalism in administrative services in Lagos State public service, Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC), Magodo, has organised a three-day course, to sensitise officers in the administrative cadre to brace up for the chal-

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our mouth, eyes and ears in Abuja and he has made us proud so far,” he said. Speaking earlier, the House of Representative member, Dan-Abia said despite efforts by his predecessor to terminate his mandate in court he had achieved so much within a space of one year and seven months in the House of Representatives. According to him, he has carried out empowerment programmes for his constituents, sponsored seven bills, provided four solar energy powered-industrial boreholes, completed and equipped an ICT centre as well as embarked on road projects in various communities in the Federal Constituency.

OGUN WEST Monarch Decries Neglect Of Ogun West By Gbenga Akinfenwa HE Olu of Imasayi, Oba T Gbadebo Idowu has condemned government’s marginalisation of Ogun West Senatorial District in the political configuration of the state. The monarch disclosed this in an address to the senator representing the Senatorial District, Akin Odunsi, when he paid him a visit during a tour of some of his con-

OGUN stituency projects and empowerment of unemployed graduates in the area According to the Oba, “Truth must be told that the people of Ogun West today are nothing but a spare tyre and it is quite unfortunate this is the situation we have found ourselves. A spare tyre is usually not the best tyre out of the four in a car, be-

cause it can be replaced at the next destination by the car owner.” He lamented that for several years, the area had been neglected by successive administrations in the state, describing it as ‘pathetic’. Idowu, who had earlier recalled his long friendship with the visiting senator in the private sector, however urged Odunsi to facilitate the electrification of three rural communities in his domain.

Responding, the lawmaker stated that the issue of marginalisation of Ogun West can only be addressed if the political leaders speak with one voice and agree to imbibe the spirit of give and take. He added that though the 2014 budget had been passed, but he would ensure that one of the villages in the area, would be lightened up before the year. At Ayetoro, 22 unemployed

can Communion had taken the monarch to court for alleged trespass on its land. The church in suit number, HCU/1/2014, prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the monarch, his servants, agents or privies from entering and/or in anyway trespassing and interfering with the claimant’s entire land in dispute. The Church also demanded the sum of N5 million as damages for the trespass on the land which it said measured 3735.678 square meters, situated along the junction of Uromi/Ubiaja Road and Ojomon Street, Uromi. Hearing on the substantive suit is to commence on May 5, 2014.

MAGODO

EKET Stakeholders Task Eyiboh On Lawsuits From Ayoyinka Jegede, Uyo

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graduates were empowered by Odunsi through a programme –Eazybiz Entrepreneur Scheme, in conjunction with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), which trained the youths The former Advertising executive in a media chat with journalists promised more intervention. Earlier, the senator had a stopover at Sawonjo village where he inspected a Modern Rice Mill built for women in the area.

LAGOS lenges of professional human resource management. Speaking at the opening ceremony of a Human Resource Management Course for Administrative Officers in the State Public Service, Director-General, PSSDC, Mrs. Olubunmi Fabamwo described the human capital as the most complex of all resources to manage in an organisation. She noted that all organisations have personnel function, called the human resource function, which is one of the most critical management functions. According to her, in most organisations, the function is usually peopled by specialists, who perform both line and staff roles. “Although there are human resource agencies like the Civil Service Commission and the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions within the service, the bulk of human resource activities are performed by Administrative Officers who are representatives of these agencies in MDAs. “Although, there has been no serious attempt to transform personnel management function to that of human resource management in public services nationwide, it must however be said that the Lagos State Public Service has already started to move in this direction. To this end, there have been various initiatives including the one currently with the DFID-SPARC, which culminated in the recently held Human Resource Induction programme and the inauguration of Human Resource champions in the State Public Service,” she said. She urged stakeholders to key into this change process that seeks to promote excellence in the service.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 | 57

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POLITICS

ONDO: A Season Of Political Re-engineering From Niyi Bello, Akure NDO State has become so central to all the contending political forces because of its strategic position as “a foot in the door” for both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Peoples Congress (APC). Ondo is the last frontier to be conquered for the APC to have total control of the zone. For the PDP, it is still a friendly state, even though now in the coffers of the Labour Party (LP). An unwary observer may think because there is no governorship election in the state next year, political activities should be in the low ebb, but the reality on ground is that a great deal of political maneuverings is going on that are fast changing the state’s political landscape. In fact, the 2015 state and national legislative elections in the state would not only decide the outcome of the 2017 governorship poll because the party that controls the house is most likely going to produce the next governor, but also determine how the second half of the second term of incumbent governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko plays out. Although many believe that the politically sagacious Mimiko would be able to work with an assembly of opposition lawmakers as he did when he was Mimiko inaugurated five years ago and faced a LP to the detriment of its own. mostly PDP legislators who later The PDP in state had been trudging decamped to his Labour Party (LP) to on despite the fact that all the major give him the control lever, the same may not be the outcome in the event political office holders, whose influence can keep the party machinery of the governor’s party losing the running, were curiously appointed house next year. A rehearsal of what could happen if from the fold of the opposition or through direct lobby of the state govthe LP were to lose its majority strength in the Assembly and were the ernor. One of the major points raised by forpendulum to swing to the side of a mer President Olusegun Obasanjo in hostile opposition was played out his controversial open letter to his sucwhen the governor presented this year’s budget to the lawmakers on the cessor, President Goodluck Jonathan, was the allegation that the latter did last working day of last year. Even though they were said to be suf- not provide the needed encourageficiently informed of the presentation ment and support to the candidates of the PDP, preferring to provide same by the executive, two-third of the house membership stayed away from for opposition candidates to feather the chamber and some of them were his nest of personal ambition. Obasanjo stated in the letter that seen within the complex discussing many PDP leaders and supporters non-legislative matters in groups including himself were “disappointed under the trees while the governor in the double game you were allegedly presented the fiscal bill, the most important annual event in the assem- playing in support of party’s gubernatorial candidates in some states where bly, to only nine of the 26-member you surreptitiously supported nonhouse. The lawmakers’ hostile posture even PDP candidates against PDP in though all of them except one belong exchange for promise or act of those to Mimiko’s LP, is seen as a reflection of non-PDP governors supporting you for your election in the past or for the one the new direction that the state poliyou are yet to formally declare. tics is taking, where the ruling party “If you as leader of the party cannot has allegedly lost considerable influence and goodwill particularly among be seen to be loyal to the PDP in support of the candidates of the party and the grassroots from where the party drew its strength when it was formed the interest of such candidates have to be sacrificed on the alter of you pertowards the end of 2006. sonal and political interest, then good The waning influence of the LP is seen by many as self-inflicted, as mem- luck to the party and I will also say, as I bers have been thrown into total disar- have had occasions to say in the past, good luck to Goodluck.” ray, which reflected in the non-holding of ward meetings after the October 12, 2012 gubernatorial election victory, apart from the fact that government seemed to have gone on recess in terms of delivery of dividends of democracy to the people since the commencement of the second term. On one hand of the emerging scenario is a new opposition platform made up of disgruntled elements from both the PDP and the APC, who are said to be getting together to form formidable opposition, which from all indications, would give Mimiko and the LP a run for their money. If the returns of the last election where Mimiko won with only about 42 percent of total votes cast is anything to go by, the strength of the combined opposition of both the PDP and APC could defeat the ruling party in the next electoral contest but as they say, politics is not a straight game that could be predicted with certainty. A new appearance in the calculation is a refurbished PDP, which for many years had become an orphan abandoned by both its Abuja headquarters and the Presidency, which allegedly Sheba preferred to deal with Mimiko and the

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The former president, who specifically mentioned Ondo and Anambra states where the Presidency was quick to congratulate the winners from the opposing parties even while his own party’s candidates were crying foul and preparing to seek legal redress, went further to say that the development had contributed to the waning influence of the ruling party. Although the president in his reply to the Obasanjo letter said the allegations of anti-party activities against him was “misdirected, hugely hypocritical and unfortunate as I relate with all governors irrespective of political party affiliations and have not worked against the interest of the PDP by not influencing the electoral process in favour of our party,” recent moves indicate that the Presidency may, as a result of the Obasanjo allegation, be turning a new leaf. Because of the waning influence of the LP and the refusal of Mimiko to join the PDP formally, the new script at the Presidency, desirous of winning Ondo for Jonathan in 2015, now favours the strengthening of its political platform at the state level. The presidency was said to be impressed by the performance of the PDP in the last governorship election, where the party came second and held tenaciously to its southern stronghold. Sources disclosed to The Guardian said the presidency is already shopping for a new Man Friday, from whichever political platform, who

Elegbeleye

would be acceptable enough among the political class to act as a check to the APC and possess the aura to win the state for the PDP. When asked if Mimiko’s joining the PDP could put an end to the search for the new man, a top party chieftain said; “the governor can no longer join us. It is too late in the day. With what is happening in the state today, he doesn’t seem to possess that political might any longer.” It was learnt that the impending cabinet reshuffle being planned by the presidency would be the launch pad for the party to come back into political reckoning since the occupant of the ministerial slot from the state, a technocrat in the person of Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has not contributed anything to the president’s political fortune. The appointment of Johnson, who was said to have been nominated by Mimiko was vehemently opposed by the state PDP, which argued back then that as a party that had just lost governorship power, a strong politician is needed to be the rallying point for the party’s unity. Former Nigerian Ambassador to Greece and Australia, Professor Olu Agbi, in a statement where he called for the appointment of a PDP man as minister, recalled that it was the late former governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu as the Aviation Minister and later Power and Steel, who became the rallying point that the party needed to win the state in 2003 and warned that picking a non-politician would spell doom for the party. With 2015 around the corner, that argument seems to have found favour with Abuja, which is said to be considering appointing a politician-minister to drive the support for Jonathan’s second term ambition. This is buoyed by the recent appointment of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a grassroots politician and former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana who is believed to have been brought to the Federal cabinet to shore up the strength of the PDP in Lagos, a state that had remained elusive to the PDP since the commencement of the current democratic experiment. On the list of those in contention is former Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Dr. Pius Olakunle Osunyikanmi, who now heads the Directorate of the Technical Aids Corps, Gbenga Elegbeleye, the Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and Abayomi Sheba, a member the board of the Federal Character Commission (FCC). While both Elegbeleye and Sheba, who is said to be nursing senatorial ambition, were members of the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP, Osunyikanmi got to Abuja on the ticket of the working relationship between the presidency and Mimiko after serving Akure as Special Adviser

Osunyikanmi

and later as commissioner for education. As the DG of TAC, however, Osunyikanmi, who is in his early forties and represents the new face of politics with a lot of admirers from across all the political divides, has introduced innovations to the almost moribund system of deploying Nigerian experts to assist countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions tackle their manpower shortages. A well-connected grassroots politician, Osunyikanmi also has a large following across the state, a fact that was said to have made two former Senators in the state to present him to the president as the only politician capable of winning the state for Jonathan. The comparatively youthful politician is however said to be too heady and independent-minded to hold the position, which many observers believe needed to be occupied by a man who can “play politics in the Nigerian way of mixing deceits, halftruths and facts together.” Elegbeleye, who like Sheba, once represented the state at the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP, is said to be putting together a massive structure across the state on which he hopes to contest the next governorship election, perhaps flying the PDP flag. The greatest point the NSC boss has working for him, apart from the fact that he now dispenses favour to all and sundry to soften the ground, is that he hails from Akoko in Ondo North Senatorial District, which some pundits believe should be given the opportunity to produce the next governor. However, his ambition could be bogged down from within the PDP because he is alleged to be among those who, because of selfish interests, abandoned their platform to work for Mimiko and his LP during the last governorship poll and the low electoral strength of his Akoko area compared to others in the state. For Sheba, a former journalist who was drawn into politics through the influence of his late mother, a community leader in his native Ode-Irele in the southern district, by contesting and winning a seat at the lower House in 1999, after which he served as the State Liaison Officer in Abuja, the strength is in his robust following particularly among Ikale youths. He is however believed to be unknown outside his area and his ambition to go to the Senate could be truncated by Agboola Ajayi, also a former member of the lower House in the neighboring Ilaje-Ese-Odo constituency, who like Sheba, is also a diehard member of the PDP. Sheba’s other weakness, stakeholders say, is that he is honest to a fault.


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THE GUARDIAN

www.ngrguardiannews.com

POLITICS From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba VEN before the sounding of the bugle for the formal commencement of the 2015 Delta State governorship race, the ambition of former Speaker Victor Onyekachi Ochei, one of the frontrunners may have gone with the wind if the events surrounding his recent removal from the number three position in the state are of consequence. When members of the Delta State House of Assembly convened in the state capital of Asaba last Tuesday March 18, it was quite obvious that it was game over for Ochei’s almost three years stint as Speaker. Although the legislators had accused Ochei of high-handedness and not being transparent in the handling of the affairs of the House, especially in the spending of money and execution of capital projects, but a close source begged to sharply differ. He said that the move, which smacked of a simple case of giving a dog a bad name in a desperate bid to march it to the gallows, might have had the blessings of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Leadership of the party, which include the state chairman, chief Peter Nwaoboshi, pioneer Speaker of the House and special adviser to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan on Legislative Matters, Mr. Emmanuel Okoro, former deputy Speaker and currently commissioner for works, Mr. Funkekeme Solomon, as well as the senior political adviser to the governor, chief Ighoyota Amori and a host others were present at the chambers to witness the democratic drama. The source solemnly swore that plot to remove the former Speaker, may also not be unconnected with his governorship ambition for 2015, as the removal may have been aimed at whittling his influence. He said: “The strategy is a total deconstruction of Ochei. Once he is removed as Speaker and becomes an ordinary legislator, then it will be very difficult for him to carry on with his governorship campaign. It is an attempt to whittle down his advantage over the other aspirants.” He said that some of the former Speaker’s political foes seemed to be very uncomfortable with his intimidating profile as Speaker, which they feared could give him advantage when the PDP begins to shop for a governorship candidate.   The source also dismissed other allegations, including Ochei’s secret romancing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with a view to picking the main opposition party’s governorship ticket should his ambition under the PDP not fall through.   Faced with a fait accompli as about 27 out of the 29 member House had reportedly signed the impeachment notice, the Onicha Olona, Aniocha North Council born Speaker had no alternative but to throw in the towel to prevent what would have been a disgraceful end. Without much ado, Ochei announced his intention to quit, giving his personal resolve to pave way for a new leadership in a letter dated March 18, 2014 and addressed to deputy Speaker Basil Ganagana, which he promptly read out on the floor. A subdued Ochei, who was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the fifth session of the House on June 7, 2011 hoped that the new leadership would take the state and the House to a higher level. The former Speaker wrote: “I wish to thank all those, numerous and many who made my tour of duty a pleasant affair further. To you my esteemed colleagues, I remained grateful for your love and camaraderie we shared while it lasted.” Mr. Peter Onwusanya (Oshimili South) was elected the new Speaker. Like a gripping melodrama, news of the exSpeaker’s resignation had filtered into town during the weekend before his resignation. In fact, Ochei was expected to call it quits on Monday

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Like a gripping melodrama, news of the ex-Speaker’s resignation had filtered into town during the weekend before his resignation. In fact, Ochei was expected to call it quits on Monday March 17, but for the fact that the House does not normally sit on Mondays. Not one to give in easily, the embattled lawmaker was said to have made a last minute contact with the political juggernauts in a determined bid to save his job, but when the legislators sat on that fateful Tuesday, it was obvious going by the mood of his fellow lawmakers that the engineer cum politician had reached the end of the road

Uduaghan

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SLIPPERY ROAD TO DELTA 2015: Ochei, Former Speaker Crashes Before Blast Of Whistle March 17, but for the fact that the House does not normally sit on Mondays. Not one to give in easily, the embattled lawmaker was said to have made a last minute contact with the political juggernauts in a determined bid to save his job, but when the legislators sat on that fateful Tuesday, it was obvious going by the mood of his fellow lawmakers that the engineer cum politician had reached the end of the road. Even though Ochei was with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan the day before during the governor’s signing of the 2014 budget, it was quite obvious that his time was up as his aides had reportedly packed his things and theirs out of the offices at the Assembly complex. With the noticeable absence of Ochei at the plenary session, which lasted about 45 minutes, Ganagana, who took charge before the emergence of Onwusanya promptly declared the exalted seat vacant, while the deputy Majority Leader, Mr. Johnson Erijo (Isoko South II) proceeded to nominate Onwusanya as Speaker and was seconded by former Speaker Sam Obi (Ika North East). As events unraveled in the chambers, there was a heavy presence of security operatives outside the sprawling complex on Okpanam Road, apparently to pre-empt any security breach as a result of wide speculation that the faithful followers of the former Speaker may cause trouble. There was strict restriction of movement in and out of the premises, while visitors, including journalists were thoroughly frisked before been admitted into the chambers. Not one to shy away from controversy, foremost Ijaw leader, chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark had gone on the offensive last year when he openly chided the ex-Speaker, whose company Davnotch handles the state’s Independent Power Plant (IPP) project at Oghara, of swindling the state of a whooping N27 billion. And for that stinging allegation, Clark had warned Ochei not to join the governorship race in 2015 until he succeeds in washing his hands clean from what he insisted was a colossal fraud. The former Speaker took time to deny involvement in any corrupt activities, saying that the fact of the matter will soon come to the open. He referred to Clark affectionately as “his elder statesman,” insisting that he was no longer involved in the project execution but conceded that he once had “interest” in the firm constructing the plant and was sure that the project had reached its advance stage. Ochei said that it was not true that the project site had been abandoned, overgrown with

weeds and with nothing on ground to show for the huge money expended so far on it. According to him, the missing N27 billion was concocted to discredit Uduaghan, whose blueprint for the development of the state had impacted positively on the people of the state. He added: “It takes a lot of time, resources and energy to complete. By the time the project comes on stream, the fact will speak for itself.” He said time would vindicate him on whether he actually embezzled the IPP money, saying; “people should not expect a project of such magnitude which should not be politicized to be completed within a short space.” Ochei was no doubt on a collision course with Mrs. Nkem Okwuofu, the chairman of the Delta State Local Government Commission on November 3, when he pointedly accused her of having a hand in an assassination plot at rustic Obomkpa, Aniocha North Local Council of the state. Both belong to the PDP and are from the same local council. The root of the acrimony could be traced to a routine familiarization and thank-you tour by Ochei to his home constituency. He had just arrived at the venue of the ceremony and was busy pumping hands with some political faithful at the Eke Market Square when a big bang was heard and its attendant smoke from behind threw the crowd into pandemonium. There was a bedlam as people ran helter-skelter Ochei was however saved by divine intervention when the cannon which reportedly flew towards the direction of the Speaker’s seat on the front row, was however blocked by the rows of carefully arranged chairs. When the dust cleared, a young lady was however writhing in deep agony, as her bones were broken. Miss Perpetual Damasus was not as lucky as the lethal Improvised Explosive Device (IED) critically injured her. She was placed on admission at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara where she was rushed for treatment by a team of orthopedic surgeons. When he set out on that sunny Friday afternoon of November 3, to Obomkpa, garnering support for his governorship ambition in 2015 was actually at the heart of the tour. He never bargained for the big bang considering the fact that Obomkpa and Onicha Olona, Ochei’s hometown are part of Ezechima clan with a common ancestry. He had expected the community to welcome him with open hands, being one of them, but the explosion which he firmly believed was an attempt to assassinate him was like a hit from behind and so couldn’t just let the matter lie low. It couldn’t have been an accidental cannon discharge. He reasoned that some sinister

local politicians who didn’t wish him well probably had a hand in the deed. The firing of ceremonial cannons during burials, political rallies, festivals, birthdays of important dignitaries and other important occasions are common occurrences in the southern part of the country, but they are always far way from the scene of the ceremonies. Curiously, the cannon blast at Obomkpa was just a few metres away from the venue of the rally. Determined to get to the root of the explosion, the police quizzed a prominent female politician from the village, Mrs. Okwuofu. Three days after the blast, Mrs. Okwuofu was detained at the State Police headquarters in Asaba on November 6, for several hours and later granted bail on self-recognition after the police obtained her statement over her alleged role in the blast. Mrs. Okwuofu reasoned that her problem with Ochei had to do with her perceived support for Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in the 2015 governorship race, a position which runs contrary to the ambition of Ochei, who was also warming up. She vehemently denied supporting Okowa, insisting that both the Senator and the Speaker are his political children and that it was even premature to start campaign, considering the fact that 2015 was still some light political years away. Mrs. Okwuofu, a former commissioner of Culture and Tourism had told reporters shortly after she was released that she was not at the venue of the rally where the blast took place and so couldn’t have a hand in the blast which severely injured one person. The lady politician said that as a matter of fact she doesn’t support any aspirant as she is a “Mother of Government” and had had cause to tell anybody who cared to listen that she was neutral and ready to support anybody from Anioma who clinched the party’s ticket in the forthcoming governorship election. As an apostle of power shift, her only concern was an Anioma governor. It doesn’t matter where the governor comes from in Aniomaland. She said: “I was not at the venue of the blast. I only heard that it was a cannon blast. I was invited by the police, which accused me of attempted murder. The violence being perpetrated by Boko Haram has not reached Obomkpa and I pray it will not get there.” It is still hazy where Ochei goes from here in 2015, considering that the three-time lawmaker is not keen on going back to the House in Asaba. One may not be too far from the truth to conclude that his governorship ambition crashed even before it took off. He seems to be the first casualty of the race to Government House, Asaba.


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Sunday, March 30,

59

POLITICS

NIGER DELTA: The NDDC Missing Link By Chigachi Eke

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” (First South African democratically elected President Nelson Mandela justifying his interventionist policy). OST-APARTHEID South Africa’s and postP military Niger Delta’s interventions are minority biased. Whereas the former is largely successful in its dual approach of entrepreneurial and infrastructural development that produced self-reliance from previously disadvantaged groups, this cannot be said of the latter that leaned heavily on infrastructure and human capital. This discrepancy calls for serious investigation. South African Definition Intervention in South Africa is conditioned by the definition given oppression by Steve Bantu Biko. A true Fanonian scholar, he engaged apartheid as mental, political and economic; effectively responding accordingly. First, to cure blacks of their crippling inferiority which centuries of white racism instilled in them, he insisted that they must be segregated from the white dominant culture that perpetuated teacher/pupil, powerful/powerless stratifications. His Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), taught that political emancipation must begin with mental emancipation. The day blacks could take their own independent decision without looking up to whites for approval, that day would see him (Biko) embrace racial integration. When brute force could no longer sustain apartheid, what its architects did was to carve out “independent Homelands” called Bantustans for blacks. Biko’s second intervention was political by rejecting same. His political party, Black Peoples Convention, BPC, discredited “Bantustan Chiefs” like Kaizer Matanzima, Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Lucas Mangope who embraced this arrangement. He was for the liberation of the entire South Africa and not just the austere parts called Bantustans. His politics saved black solidarity from fragmentation as he urged blacks to fight as one discriminated group and not separately as Shangans, pedis, Sothos, etc. Thirdly, and this is the bedrock of postapartheid interventionism, Biko established the Black Community Programmes, BCP, to nurture a black economy through self-help. BCP was his response to economic apartheid that saw to it that whites would always remain rich with job reservation while to be born black was to be born poor however one’s education. BCP ran the Zanempilo Community Health Care, since some of his lieutenants like Mamphela Ramphele were medical doctors. His death in September 1977 stalled BCP but the idea of an economically self-reliant black man had caught on. Dual Intervention By 1994 when apartheid fell, South Africa was bogged with structural imbalance. Black lives were precarious with low literacy and high mortality rates. Homeless and landless, it was in commerce that they registered their lowest, as black economy did not exist. The implication is that numeric majority blacks were economic minority. In the other extremity where white South Africans making up 13percent of the population. This group owned and controlled 91percent of the economy including mines, real estate, farms and industry. Not only were they privileged, but they were opposed to policies capable of eroding their privileges. Whereas blacks articulated change with a note of urgency, whites favoured gradualism. What the tripartite-alliance government of the African National Congress (ANC) Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Communist Party of South Africa did was to scale down the struggle to economy and infrastructure; since mental emancipation was achieved with democracy. ANC came up with a two-pronged intervention called

Jonathan

Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). If RDP concerned itself with infrastructure, BEE would create a brand new black economy by regulating what happened in corporate South Africa. ANC rightly saw “man,” rather than “infrastructure,” as agent of change hence the earlier this entity became self-reliant the better for development. Man must be given the ways and means to help him climb out of man-made poverty; only then would the infrastructure built for him endure. Abandoning him to his fate after education/training was dangerous as no structure before such an entity would last. BEE holds our interest for the very reason that it wrought the magic. Note the wording of the 2001 BEE Commission Report, page 2, “(BEE) aimed at redressing the imbalance of the past by seeking to substantially and equitably transfer and confer ownership, management and control of South Africa’s financial and economic resources to the majority of the citizens. It seeks to ensure broader and meaningful participation in the economy of black people to achieve sustainable development and prosperity.” In the all-out-war against poverty, BEE enforces the principles of (1) resource ownership reflecting the demographics with majority blacks holding majority share; (2) management and control of private and public sectors must also reflect the demographics and gender with 40 percent of all recruitments reserved for women; (3) preferential procurement for blacks, and (4) financing of

black entrepreneurs. BEE did not reinvent the wheel to make blacks business owners. All that it did was to simply “transfer” and “confer” ownership of existing multinationals to blacks historically excluded from corporate South Africa. That was how black industrialists like the Cyril Ramaphosas and Tokyo Sexhwales emerged. Intervention in Situ One, BEE ordered MTN South Africa to sell specific shares exclusively to black South Africans in 2007 as an empowerment measure. MTN immediately complied. Cleaners, civil servants, nannies went to the nearest post office and directly bought MTN shares. Four years after, a share worth four thousand rands (R4000), (equivalent of N80, 000), yielded a profit of twenty-four thousand rands (R24, 000), (equivalent N480, 000), which the owner could cash over the counter or plough back into his share. Two, in March 2008 the Suid-Afrikaanse Steenkool en Olie (South African Coal and Oil), Sasol, willfully “released” in excess of $3 billion in shares, equivalent of its 10 percent total shares, to “Sasol employees, black South Africans and other previously disadvantage group,” according to TIME September 15 2008. This was in atonement for its past misdeed as the energy behemoth that converts charcoal to fuel was the strongest pillar of apartheid. TIME enthuses that the “finance deal will allow buyers to own shares by putting down a small deposit, and since the shares are being sold below market price, they will offer immediate return. The aim is to create 100,000 to 200,000 new shares. The Transformation has

The lopsided intervention owes much to the presentation made before the Willinks Minority Commission of 1957. What the then leaders of the region were asking for was for infrastructure and limited political space in which to actualize other possibilities. No consideration was given to the buoyant local economy destroyed by colonial concessionaires like George Goldie who stopped indigenous merchants from exporting directly to Europe. Sir Henry Willinks recommended Special Areas for massive infrastructure while rejecting the political demand for COR State. This led to the creation of the Niger Delta Development Board by 1959 Order in Council (Amendment No. 2). Subsequent interventions very much followed this 1959 pattern till the advent of NDDC in 2001

been so complete…that Sasol’s past connections to apartheid are now irrelevant.” Three, in South Africa today there is something called the RDP house. It is built and given to blacks free. I mean, F-R-E-E. All that a citizen had to do is to apply for an RDP house with his/her national identity card at the Department of Local Government and Housing. The waiting period varies from three months to two years. The Niger Delta Missing Link IF RDP is the equivalent of our Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), we must agree that we have no BEE. This omission is largely responsible for the poverty and frustration in the region. In articulating NDDC, it is not unusual for even its most ardent advocate to attack its lack-luster performance, but that is wrong. NDDC was conceived and designed for infrastructure and manpower development only. It was not armed to return the ownership and control of corporate Niger Delta, distinct from corporate Nigeria, back to the indigenes historically excluded from the petro economy. Neither was it meant to finance local entrepreneurs. “Human capacity building” is only a halfway house as we have seen welltrained indigenes still queuing for employment. Without a legislated preferential recruitment/procurement, a Doctorate holder will still remain redundant. Where are the thousands trained by NDDC in skills acquisition? They simply returned to the NDDC gates to torment visitors for lunch money as returnof-the-repressed, since no extension programme placed them in their own workshops. The Niger Delta has more engineers than pre-World War 11 Europe. The bellyache is the machinery and capital to launch them into productivity. Stating the Problem The lopsided intervention owes much to the presentation made before the Willinks Minority Commission of 1957. What the then leaders of the region were asking for was for infrastructure and limited political space in which to actualize other possibilities. No consideration was given to the buoyant local economy destroyed by colonial concessionaires like George Goldie who stopped indigenous merchants from exporting directly to Europe. Sir Henry Willinks recommended Special Areas for massive infrastructure while rejecting the political demand for COR State. This led to the creation of the Niger Delta Development Board by 1959 Order in Council (Amendment No. 2). Subsequent interventions very much followed this 1959 pattern till the advent of NDDC in 2001. But we must work within two self-standing facts. One, the Niger Delta ethnic groups are political minority; meaning that democracy works in reverse for them. In response to this aberration they have been known to prefer “remedial” dictatorship to “winner-take-all” democracy that has no space for them. To make democracy meaningful to their peculiarity, we must adopt a redefinition that casts them as the regional majority. This point is important if resource ownership/control and recruitment in the public and private sectors within the region must reflect the demographics. Two, they are also economic minority on the periphery of an exclusive majority dominated economy. Chika Onyeani’s “Capitalist Nigger” establishes the link between economic dependency and political domination, as only an economically free entity can be politically free. If their political agitation undermines the more fundamental economy then we must think outside the box to halt an inevitable drift back to obscurity after Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency. The Niger Delta problem, therefore, can be broken into political marginalization, economic underdevelopment and poor infrastructure/human capital. Whereas the presidency of Jonathan, to some extent, addresses the political question and infrastructure/human capital receiving attention from NDDC; little is done to develop an economy one can truly call Niger Deltan, like the Pearl River Delta economy in China.


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60 | Sunday, March 30, 2014

POLITICS

Ajibola Extols Fayemi’s Welfarist Programmes From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) ORMER Judge of International Court of Justice (ICJ) Hague, Prince Bola Ajibola recently led a delegation of Senior Citizens Care Foundation (SCCF) to Ekiti State to monitor the Social Security Scheme, one of the major welfare programmes for the senior citizens, introduced by Governor Kayode Fayemi. The state government, in the last three years, pays monthly stipend of N5,000 to N20,000 indigent elderly in the state, but the figure rose to 25,000 last year. Besides, Soup Kitchen was introduced to give free food to weak senior citizens, who also enjoy free medical care from public hospitals in the state. The eminent Jurist who turned 80 on March 22 said he had read much about the scheme but still thought it was impossible for any state government to faithfully implement the scheme as being reported. His pessimism was further predicated on the situation in two or three other states that implemented the scheme for one or two months only to stop it because of what they described as “dwindling resources of the state.” But the case in Ekiti is different. Like the Biblical Queen of Sheba who heard the fame of King Solomon and left her territory to visit him only to confess that less than half of Solomon’s wealth and accomplishments was reported, the OwuEgba born Prince did not only marvel about Fayemi’s consistency in faithfully implementing the programme, but his organisation honoured Fayemi with an Excellence award. Members of SCCF delegation that visited Ekiti included, its executive director, Mr Jide Taiwo, Engineer Stanley Da-Sylva, Tony Awe, Ms Moyo Aganga, the executive adviser of the organisation Barrister Gbolahan Gbadamosi and former director general of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Aremo Taiwo Alimi. Ajibola said: “I thought all we were reading or hearing were media hype, but I can see for myself now and I believe something good is happening here.” The former attorney general of the Federation and minster of justice, who joined Fayemi to pay the February stipend to the elderly in Odemo Hall in Ikere Ekiti, was emotional when he saw

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the old men and women praying for the governor and all organisations that care for the weak bones at their old age. Ajibola could not but describe Fayemi as the only person he had seen in Nigeria that has implemented welfare programmes for the weak and the vulnerable like the late Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. To Ajibola, the social security scheme for the elderly in Ekiti was genuine from the heart that caters for the people and it is the first in West Africa, “unique and historic.” The award, he said, is in recognition of Fayemi’s pioneering efforts in social security scheme for elderly citizens in Ekiti state. Ajibola who described the Fayemi administration as one with “great foresight” to have initiated the scheme asserted that with the implementation of the scheme in the state, it is apparent that it is “do-able” and must be replicated in all states of the federation. He recalled that it was Chief Awolowo who pioneered social safety programmes in Nigeria; saying that “for the first time in the history of the country, aside Awolowo, Fayemi is the only person whom we can call a welfarist.” He said that the scheme is not a political gimmick but a welfarist approach to governance. Ajibola, who disclosed that he was visiting the state for the first time described the scheme as a good example of how government should care for all its citizens. “You have a government with foresight, a government that helps, that has compassion. We have seen it and we are surprised because we never knew the scheme is this great. I am very happy to see these elderly citizens in good health. You might not really know the benefit of this scheme but this is indeed remarkable. “We have seen it that it is do-able and it can be done. This is not politics, this is not campaign, this is not an electioneering affair, this is a show of welfarism genuinely practised in Ekiti State. Ajibola said; “This is one of the happiest days in my life at 80. Britain has been doing it immediately after the World War 11 and they have not stopped it and that is one of the reasons, that

Victor Izegbu is a professor of urological surgery and a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He commented on the ongoing Confab to select journalists in Lagos recently. GBENGA AKINFENWA reports. Regionalisation EGIONALISATION is the way forward. The way we are running our federal system is unimaginable, where power is concentrated at the centre and the regions have no power, is somehow embarrassing and unacceptable. The fact that at the end of the month various governors go to the centre to collect money and then go back to their states to start spending the money is not normal. They must know how to generate income in their states. My strong recommendation is that there is need to change the system of federalism we are operating in this country. Power must shift from the centre to the regions and this would transform this country. We should try to incorporate the United States system into Nigeria, where the state governments are very strong and they generate income through taxes and other means within their states; their police are managed locally. Those are the issues that we face in this country that need to be changed. State of the nation We have moved forward compared to where we were eight years ago, but I strongly believe we can do better. I believe that within a little while, epileptic power supply will be a thing of the past. So, I strongly believe that the privatisation of the power sector is a major success of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, because public institutions are very inefficient, it should have been privatised ages ago. Although it may not be evident now, but if you understand how the sector works, it would take time before customers start enjoying the dividends of privatisation of the sector. We had over 50 years of colonial rule; what was the position of our education 12 years before the independent? There was no University in Nigeria; there were very few secondary schools. Having handed over in 1960, we ran into crisis and three years after, we had the Military regime and a terrible civil war. We have just started a proper democratic process within the last 16 years because I can’t imagine any military regime being successful. To be able to judge our performance as a nation, we should be able to wait for at least 20 years of civilian rule being managed by Nigerians. Security challenges If you ask people about the causes of the insurgency in the northeast I can assure you that nobody knows the reason behind the attacks. There are rumours making rounds that politicians are the sponsors, while some would say it’s the local warlords. We need outside help mainly from the West, which comprises of Europe and America to curtail the sect; the same way they curtailed Iraq with grassroots intelligence gathering. The killing of innocent children should not be swept under

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the national confab to adopt the model. “It is important that people must enjoy the benefit, which ought to be given them by any government. We have a lot of poor people and the benefit must be spread to everybody. Things must go round and it must be done every time. “Very soon, we are likely to have social security that will cater for even the elders and the unemployed in Nigeria, it is important that government should care for everyone, including their education, health care services, and should be in right direction. We have seen it happening in Ekiti State, there is a gap to be filled and it is being filled at the moment. I am very happy because the government is giving them the immediate support that they should have in order to exist, in order to take care for their health and their families. Governor Fayemi said government is established to benefit the people and lift up the weak and vulnerable in the society. According to him, the scheme is an idea whose time has come and it is a crucial part of his administration’s objective of banishing poverty from the state. He said it is borne out of the devotion to the Yoruba culture of social justice, which “prescribes that the strong in the society must cater for the weak and the elderly in the great cycle of life. “We have taken appropriate measures to institutionalize the initiative in perpetuity so that administrations coming after us would not be able to undo our legacy. In this regard, we have Fayemi signed into law the Social a Security law 2012, nation is enjoying peace. I believe it is possible which makes it compulsory for government to also here in Nigeria, in fact, it is sine qua non to sustain the programme regardless of the politimake both the elderly and unemployed youths cal affiliation of the government of the day. Old age is not a crime and treasured members of happy in this country.” society should not be made to suffer while Ajibola, whose foundation gave Fayemi the 2013 Senior Citizen Care Foundation Excellence going through the normal course of life,” he said. Award, said that he would personally write to On the award bestowed on him by the Senior the national conference to include social secuCitizens Care Foundation, Fayemi said he is not rity scheme in their agenda as one of the best solutions to the insecurity problem in Nigeria. disposed to receiving awards from quarters he cannot vouch for, but he obliged the FoundaAccording to Ajibola, “we have some states in tion because of the impeccable character of Nigeria implementing some welfare proPrince Ajibola, who is the leader of the delegagrammes, but Ekiti model is exemplary, I am overwhelmed with what we saw and I will write tion.

IZEGBU: Confab Should Focus On Regionalism, Resource Control the carpet; something drastic has to be employed to curtail them. On Delta State politics There should be a new focus in Delta State, so, I feel that the time is right to break away with the past and go with the future. So many people have approached me saying the PDP governors are not doing too well, compared to opposition party governors like Adams Oshiomole of Edo State, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state, and you’ll find it difficult to defend yourself, because they have huge impact in their various states holistically. If you observe this set of impacting people, they are new generation in Nigerian politics like myself. I strongly believe that what we need to do in Delta State is to change our direction by taking bold step, giving somebody like myself, who has not been part of the corrupt system and with a brand new visionary ideas a trial. This was what they did with Peter Obi from Anambra, he had no political experience, but he totally transformed Anambra. If the people of Anambra State can do that, I think the people of Delta State too should emulate that as well. I have great vision on how I intend to transform Delta state. I intend to set up an economic team that will generate new in-

come generation ideas, industrialisation of the 25 local government areas, massive employment opportunities for our youths and adults as well. It will be a brand new method of governance. I had to travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Singapore to study how they develop their country. My plan is to have a 50-year plan, which we would run with. Delta State is a complex state, because we have five major ethnic groups with different backgrounds, which makes uniformity difficult. So, the complex administrative set up is the major problem, the ability to solve it is a step forward. We can learn from other states like Lagos and Anambra, maybe my predecessors have not thought of it, but we can now cooperate with even the non-PDP states, to learn from what they are doing. That is the kind of new direction I am foreseeing. This will bring about quick and radical development in our economy. In any developing state, Dubai for example, they have a 50year plan for the city. Its going to be something that will happen over two to three generations, which will equally stand as a master plan for how the state will go. If we want to be an industrialised state for example, we will set out a master plan on how to achieve it. So, any reasonable economy would have such, generation after generation will grow with the plan but the immediate need for Nigeria is power supply and jobs. I have been actively involved in politics for two years and one of the major things that bother me is poverty, the level of poverty in Nigeria is so endemic. There is so much poverty in Nigeria. An average Nigerian is desperate to earn a living but lacks the opportunity. The ordinary man on the street begs for money and the people who want to be elected knows what they want, so they go around giving them money, which is not the proper way to empower them. So, once they have been given money, they vote for the man because he gave them money or they even refuse to vote him because he didn’t give them money, which turns out to be a vicious circle. As far as I am concerned, each of these people should explain to us how they got these monies. There is need to convince the electorate about accepting money, that is not good for them. They need to be empowered so that they can have long-term benefits like being educated and getting favourable jobs. The first thing is to provide adequate level of education so that our youth can be employable. Education at the primary, secondary and tertiary level as well as technical education is of great importance to the power sector and the oil and gas sector of the country. We need to transform Delta State into Agrobusiness destination. We need to have large-scale agriculture and small-scale farming.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 61

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FOREIGNNEWS EGYPTIAN CRISIS

Election Commission HQ Under Young Detainees Allege Torture Attack By Taliban B AFGHANISTAN Afghan special forces have killed all four attackers, according to police. The attack comes a week before presidential elections which the Taliban have vowed to disrupt. Insurgents in the Afghan capital targeted a building housing foreign aid workers on Friday. Police chief of Kabul General Zahir told the BBC “We are now clearing

ALIBAN insurgents have T attacked the headquarters of the Afghan election commission in Kabul, a week before the presidential election. Gunmen broke into a nearby building, disguised as women, and fired at the election commission with automatic weapons.

rooms. Afghan special forces are firing room to room,” adding that “I think all of the attackers are killed.” That claim could not be independently verified. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid has confirmed to the BBC that the militant group was behind the attack.

RUTAL beatings, sexual abuse, and electric shocks are being carried out on detainees, including teenage children, in Egypt, according to testimonies gathered by the BBC. As many as 20,000 people are estimated to have been held since last July in a sweeping clampdown on dissent. A growing number are now emerging from police stations and prisons with serious allegations of torture. The claims are denied by the military-backed interim government. Electrocuted OR 15-year old Ahmed Abdel Fattah, the trouble began on 24 January, when his fondness for his mobile phone cost him his freedom. He was using the phone to film a protest march near his home in Sharqiya Province, north of Cairo. “I was curious,” he said. “Why shouldn’t I film something that I see every night on TV?” When some local thugs tried to steal the phone he refused to hand it over, so they handed him over to the police. The softly-spoken and neatly dressed teenager says that was the start of 34 days of torture at a local police station. “They electrocuted me in sensitive places like my spine, here and here on my arms, and in sensitive areas like between my legs,” he said, gesturing to the areas. “And when they electrocuted me I used to fall down on the ground, and I could not stand up. At the same time they were beating me. And sometimes they would throw water to increase the voltage.” Ahmed said he got special attention from the police –– in spite of his youth –– because he was suspected of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. “They wanted me to be afraid,” he said. “They thought I would have a lot to confess to. Of course I am not from the Brotherhood at all.

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Systematic Torture ANY of those who emerge from detention are too frightened to speak, but we have tracked down other detainees who provided detailed and credible testimony about a range of severe abuses. Their accounts cannot be independently verified but they tally with reports from leading human rights groups who say that there is widespread torture and brutality in detention. “Egypt has gone back to the systematic torture of the Mubarak era,” said Gamal Eid, of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. “There is more torture now because there are more people being arrested. What’s different is that the proportion of barbaric torture is higher.” Yassin Mohammed says he is proof of that. The slight 19-year-old is a seasoned democracy campaigner. He was arrested in central Cairo in January and held for 42 days. He told the BBC he had decided to speak out for the sake of others who are still being tortured. His account of being electrocuted was punctuated by pauses and a troubled nervous laugh.

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The President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama speaks at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Fundation in Yamoussoukro… yesterday at a summit of the 15-nation PHOTO: AFP regional bloc ECOWAS. John Dramani Mahama has been elected the new head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Chinese, Australian Ships Draw Blank In Flight MH370 Search CHINESE and an Australian ship A have failed to identify remains from the missing Malaysia Airlines

flight after their first day in a new search area. The two ships retrieved objects from the Indian Ocean but none was confirmed to be from missing flight MH370, Australia’s maritime authority said. Chinese aircraft also flew over the

MALAYSIA area, north-east of the previous zone, and have spotted more objects. The airliner disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 and Australia’s HMAS Success “reported they have retrieved a number of objects from the ocean

but so far no objects confirmed to be related to MH370 have been recovered”, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said late yesterday. Eight aircraft also took part in the operation. One Chinese plane reported spotting spotted three orange, white and red objects floating in the sea.

Voters In second Round Of Presidential Poll OTING was held yesterday in V Slovakia for a new president in a tight run-off between Prime Minister Robert Fico and independent challenger Andrej Kiska. Polling stations opened at 06:00 GMT and are due to close at 21:00 GMT. In the first round, Mr Fico cap-

SLOVAKIA tured 28.2 percent of the vote, finishing narrowly ahead of Mr Kiska, who scored 24 percent. If Fico wins, his social-democratic Smer party, which won legislative polls in 2012, will have full control of

both parliament and the presidency. The results of the vote are expected within hours after the polls close. Analysts predict a close contest between PM Robert Fico and philanthropist and political newcomer Kiska.

Anti-Government Protesters March In Bangkok HOUSANDS of anti-government T protesters have resumed demonstrations in Thailand demanding

Bangkok. It was the first major protest rally to take place since a Thai Large crowds carrying Thai flags court ruled the 2 February genthe resignation of Prime Minister marched along several routes from eral election invalid. Yingluck Shinawatra. the main park in the capital of Until recently, Thailand had seen an ease in tensions since anti-government demonstrations began four months ago. US Secretary of State John Kerry is Anti-government activists RUSSIA trying to set up talks with Russian want Prime Minister Yingluck Lavrov. Sergei Minister Foreign OSCOW has no intention of to step down and the political Reports say Mr Kerry was flying sending troops into Ukraine, system to be reformed. home yesterday from the Middle Russian Foreign Minister Sergei At the height of the demonEast when he abruptly changed Lavrov has said. strations, which began in November, protesters shut His comments came after the US travel plans. He instructed his plane to fly to down key road junctions in and Russian presidents discussed Paris, where he is expected to meet Bangkok and blockaded gova possible diplomatic solution to Mr Lavrov early next week. ernment ministries. the crisis. Tensions over Ukraine rose followYesterday’s demonstrators, led The US-backed plan calls for by protest leader Suthep Russia to halt to its military build- ing the overthrow of pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Thaugsuban, marched from up on the border with Ukraine and withdraw its troops in Crimea Yanukovych in February, following Bangkok’s Lumpini Park along months of street protests. six different routes through the to their bases. city centre.]

THAILAND

Moscow Vows No Invasion Of Ukraine

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Culled From BBC


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sports Wading Through The Slippery, Unpredictable By Adeyinka Adedipe ANAGING a team has never been a job to relish. Those at the helms are saddled with great responsibilities and are aware of the fact that the job is result-driven. Even when such administrators get the desired results, that does not guarantee their jobs; as they could fired unceremoniously, leaving them to ponder their next move. This has led football pundits to conclude that there are two sets of coaches - those that have just been sacked and those waiting to be fired. Taking a look at this scenario, former Chelsea boss, Roberto Di Matteo readily comes to mind. The Italian was sacked few months after he won the Champions League in 2012 as an interim coach, because, according to the English press, he could never win over the club owner, Roman Abramovich. No one would have thought that a coach who delivered the priceless Champions League trophy would be booted out few months into a new season. The bottom line with Di Matteo is that Abramovich was never wholly convinced that he was the right man to coach Chelsea and mould the team in the flamboyant way in which he dreams they would play. Abramovich, unsure of appointing the Italian as interim head coach when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked, initially toyed with the notion of employing Rafael Benítez, who he perceived as a disciplinarian, on a short-term basis. He certainly never expected Di Matteo to win the Champions League and earn a contract. But Abramovich was persuaded to go with Di Matteo, partly because of his record at the club as a player and the esteem in, which the supporters and players held him. The other option had been Gianfranco Zola. Though he got a permanent two-year deal after the Champions League triumph, Di Matteo never shook off the interim tag until he was finally edged out. That is the lot of coaches all around the world.

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Action from the Nigeria Premier League

This season, 31 coaches have been sacked in England across the divisions, with the Premier League accounting for eightRene Meulensteen (Fulham), Michael Laudrup (Swansea City), Malky Mackay (Cardiff, City), Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Clarke (West Bromwich Albion), Martin Jol (Fulham) and Paolo Di Canio (Sunderland). Many others are under pressure as the owners of the Premier League clubs look for ways to preserve their teams’ stay in the elite division and get their chunk of the television right, which increases every season due to the popularity the league enjoys all over the world. Some former players who wished to remain coaches in England were back in the classroom at the middle of this month to update their knowledge of the round leather game at the Pro-license course organised by the FA. Notable names like Gary Neville, Chris Powell, Wayne Burnett, Ryan Giggs, Graham Kavanagh, Stéphane Henchoz were all there and they all agreed that the course has uplifted their knowledge of the game. It is the same story in all other leagues in Europe with coaches getting fired or given ultimatum to either perform or quit their positions. With this prevailing confusion in the football world, it is surprising to see former internationals taking up jobs in the sector after quitting the beautiful game that brought them fame and fortune. The achievement of these players during their playing days is quickly rubbished when they fail as administrators, while those who succeed are hailed to high heavens. Those who take to coaching face the pressure more, while those who find themselves in other administrative jobs are less susceptible to the burden of work. While there are no clear cut formula for success as a coach or football administrator, the structures at European clubsides give an inkling that former players who go into football administration get the tutelage at their clubs. The success of the

likes of Pep Guardiola, Johan Cruyff, Karl Heinze Rummenigge, Jupp Heynckes and Franck Rijkaard among many others, attest to this fact. The bittersweet tale is the same for some former Eagles’ players who told The Guardian their experiences as football administrators. Segun Odegbami (MON), who won the African Nations Cup (AFCON) on home soil in 1980 and earned himself the nickname Mathematical, due to his dexterity with the ball, quickly realised that it took more than skills to weather through the stormy nature of football administration. After quitting Shooting Stars in 1984, he was named the manager of the club, but he knew he wouldn’t have anything to do with coaching. He explains: “I knew for sure what I was not going to do after my football career - be a coach. “I had prepared myself to be in one aspect of the sport business or another even before I stopped playing. As a player, I was also into sports equipment merchandising, and operated a sports lounge and bar in Ibadan.  “I later met a friend in the United Kingdom (UK) on one of my trips and he introduced me to the full scope of opportunities in the sports business consultancy, marketing, media, publications, facilities, tourism, events and athletes management.

“Administration came automatically when I was made

manager of Shooting Stars FC the moment I retired from football. That was my baptism into football administration.  I later became a member of the NFA board on two occasions. Twenty years later, I was appointed administrator of Gateway Football Club.  He continued: “My experiences on both occasions, pleasant as they were because of my closeness once again to the game, were nightmarish because of the intrigues and depth of corruption I discovered were embedded in the game. I had to experience and live with them in order to survive (not succeed).”  The former Eagles captain noted that football administration was not a conducive place for anyone who upholds high moral standards. “Football administration is not the best place for any one that has morality issues. One must be ready to be mired in some of the ugliest and dirtiest practices in order to succeed. “The sobriquet, ‘Mathematical’, derived from the description of my performances on the field of play was captured by a radio commentator who was a master of the usage of the English Language. He would turn an ordinary football match into an exciting spectacle for listeners on radio that used to be the main medium in the early days of my football career. “It was just a name that did not reflect, as far as I know, in my daily life outside football,” he noted. Christian Chukwu, who captained the Eagles to win the 1980 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), admitted that it wasn’t easy when he went into coaching after an illustrious playing career. “I must confess that it wasn’t easy in the beginning, but after some time it started going well and what I learnt as a player came in handy. According to Chukwu, a former Eagles’ coach, the most difficult aspect of coaching is reading the game and


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World Of Football Management making the right changes, saying, “It might not be easy for someone who has not played before to quickly have a grasp of the technique.” Speaking on the challenges he faced as a coach, the former Rangers of Enugu defender and coach said passing the tactics to the players could be difficult, while the welfare of the players is also paramount. “Coaching is all about training, but looking after the welfare of the players is also important, so that you can get the best from them. It is difficult to get the best out of players when their welfare is not taken care of.” For Chukwu, coaching at a club is more difficult than leading the national team. “A national team coach can call in players who are in top shape, but at club level, you do all the job - coaching, dishing out the tactics, as well as, playing the role of a psychologist. And it becomes more difficult to lift the spirits of players if they are not paid. “In the national team you don’t need to teach them how to play, but all you need do is to prepare the team tactically and ensure they play to instruction. And you wait to assemble them when next they come back for another game.” Chukwu, who also coached Kenyan national team, said coaching, an amateur side, Anambra State Environmental Sanitation Agency (ASESA) to prominence has been the most challenging job so far. “I had to bring the team from the lower rung of football to the big stage. The organisation did not have money, we kept pleading with the boys to play. When you coach a team like this, you will succeed anywhere.” Former General Manager of Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Mutiu Adepoju said it was difficult for him initially when he got to Shooting Stars upon his return to Nigeria after playing in Europe. But as soon as he got to work, Adepoju popularly called the Headmaster, knew it was more difficult to be an administrator, as he had to put in 20 hours of work daily. “In Nigeria, it is very challenging to run a club unlike in Europe where the environment aids your success. Facilities are also not in place to move the game forward in the country.” The former Real Sociedad midfielder said his romance with Shooting Stars was rosy at the beginning, but soon went sour when individuals who knew little or nothing about football took over. “I was the General Manager, but was later made the Team Manager and also ended up on the sideline when the coach was sacked.” For Garba Lawal, going into football management is fantastic. The Kaduna United team manager noted that going into management gave him more opportunity to be part of the game. “I feel comfortable working with the young players that I have. Now that I administer the team, it is difficult to play, but I am always with them and sometimes train with them to keep fit. Lawal, popularly called Chindo, said the only thing that keeps him going is the will to succeed. “Getting good results is the challenge for me. Nobody wants to lose but win. Another thing is that you must feel happy when you are doing your job and knowing that you will eventually leave. “Currently, I have no problem with the players, the government has confidence in me, that was why they brought me in and I don’t have any fear. All I need do is deliver on my promise. Former Eagles resilient midfielder, Emeka Ezeugo, said moving into football

Chukwu

Odegbami

Adepoju

Ezeugo

Lawal

Babangida

Amoo

management was a natural progression for him, but lamented his fate at Abia Warriors, where he was sacked after two months without overseeing a league game. “I have been in football all my life. Moving into management is a progression. I have played under so many club presidents, chairmen and coaches and I also studied sports management, which are prerequisites that would make one succeed. “In Nigeria, it could be a harrowing experience to manage a club because anything goes. People who have no business running football hold sway. So, it is difficult to institute order. “I am in Abia Warriors, I didn’t even play a league game before I was fired. That can only happen in Nigeria. I was barred from recruiting players, which was strange to me. As a coach, it is difficult to build a structure in a team because you are not in a position to make decisions. “What happened in Warriors was crazy and unbelievable. When you see a lot of professionals who are abroad giving back to their country, you wonder why it is not happening here,” Ezeugo lamented. Fatai Amoo, popularly called Arsenal said his foray into coaching was not planned. He described it as divine intervention after spending his entire playing career at First Bank Football Club. “I had wanted to go back to the bank after quitting the game, but province played a part in my becoming a coach. If not I would have left for a bigger team. The bank appreciated my loyalty when we won the Lagos FA Cup and the Financial Institution Cup in 1987 for the first time. The management elevated me to the position of a player/coach and sent me to Brazil for a coaching course. “For me, there are so many challenges, but it is difficult trying to take a team to the next level with financial difficulties staring you in the face. I enjoyed coaching in First Bank and Julius Berger FC, because they gave players what they promised, which also came at the right time. They believe in me and knew that one will deliver. Another challenge was working with rookies, but I am happy if they are talented. I am also pleased to have worked with players who have become successful in the society.” He continued: “In all honesty, it is at Shooting Stars of Ibadan where I worked on three occasions yhat I had serious issues. Even when I had good players, they were being owed and I constantly had to beg players to play. Football comes from the mind, so when you have to beg players before they can lace their boots, it become a serious issue.” Chairman of FC Taraba, Tijani Babangida said he wasn’t new to football management having passed through a lot of tutelage while playing in Europe. The former Ajax dashing winger said it was good that most of the players go into training and coaching at the end of their career. He said: “There are problems in managing a team, so becoming a club chairman will give me the opportunity to bridge the gap between the team and the government of Taraba. “The most important thing for me is knowing how to deal with the coaches to get results. We got promoted to the Premier League, which I think has been very good for the team generally. “I try to share my vision with the entire team and that is to take FC Taraba to the highest level even with our low budget. We also talk to the players on professionalism and how to take their careers to the next level.”


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CAF Confederations Cup

Egwuekwe’s Arrival Boosts Warri Wolves in Battle of tunisia By Gowon Akpodonor UPEr Eagles defender and captain of Warri Wolves Azubuike Sof yesterday, Egwuekwe breezed into the team’s camp in the early hours promising to do everything possible to help Wolves beat CA Bizertin of tunisia in today’s make or mar encounter. it is a second leg match the Nigerians must win or at worst, get a score draw to progress, having been forced to a goalless draw at home last week. A newly wedded Egwuekwe and another player, Josiah Maduabuchi, arrived Bizerte, and were received with big celebration by their teammates and club officials. the towering Super Eagles defender could not travel with the rest of the team on Wednesday, while Maduabuchi was left behind due to paper works. the duo have been training in Lagos under one of the coaches. Egwuekwe was full of joy for making the trip and vowed to use his experience to guide the team to victory today. Meanwhile, Warri Wolves has promise to make Nigeria proud by beating their host in today’s game. one of the coaches, Sam okpodu said on arrival in tunisia that Wolves have what it takes to turn around the results against the tunisians, adding that the players are physiologically ready for the battle.

Customs Begins title Defence, As Maritime Cup Soccer tourney Kicks off EFENDiNG champions, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) D Football Club, will take on Dominion Divine Clearing and Forwarding Agency (DDCFA) in the opening match of the

6th Ships and Ports Maritime Cup competition tomorrow. Customs was seeded in Group C and will play alongside Nigerian Shippers’ Council and DDCFA. Micura Stevedoring Service, who won the competition in 2009, was seeded in Group A and is expected to slug it out with Sifax Group and African Circle for the two quarterfinal tickets from that group. Group B has Nigerian Navy, new entrant, Apapa Bulk terminal Limited (ABtL) and 2013 third place winners, ENL Consortium Nigeria Limited, just as the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), APM terminals Apapa Limited and Mickey Excellency Clearing Agency, will slug it out in Group D. the opening ceremony of this year’s competition will take place  on Monday  morning at the Nigeria institute of Sports (NiS) Pitch, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. All the matches will hold from March 31st to April 10th, 2014, and will be officiated by accredited licensed referees under the Lagos State referees Association. Coordinator of the competition, Miss Eucharia okoli, said adequate arrangements and security measures have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free competition. the Annual Maritime Cup competition, otherwise known as the Ships and Ports Soccer Challenge, was instituted in 2009 to encourage healthy recreation and rekindle the spirit of friendship and camaraderie among operators and regulators in the maritime industry. Nigerian Navy won the first edition in 2009, while Micura Stevedoring Services Limited won the second edition, held in March 2010. the third, fourth and fifth editions were won by Nigeria Customs Service. the sixth in the series of the competition, holding this year, attracted notable firms and government agencies operating in the shipping sector. the competition will feature 12 teams playing in four groups.

Valdes Career Ends At Barca

Stoke City’s Nigerian striker, Peter Odemwingie (right) scores against Aston Villa in yesterday’s English Premier League at Villa Park in Birmingham, England. Photo: AFP

Title Dream Shattered, As Chelsea Fumble

HELSEA’S hopes of winning iCtor Valdes will undergo surgery in Germany tomorrow to V repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament that has brought a Cthe Premier League title were hit as they fell to a surpremature end to his Barcelona career. the 32-year-old goalkeeper, who has long planned to leave the Nou Camp at the end of his contract in June, fell awkwardly while saving a free-kick in the 22nd minute of Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Celta Vigo on Wednesday night. Valdes could be seen crying as he left the pitch on a cart and Barca later confirmed he had suffered an ACL tear in his right knee, which typically takes at least six months to heal. the injury has ruled the Spain international out of the World Cup and is certain to complicate his search for a new club. the surgery will take place at the same Augsburg clinic where real Madrid forward Jese underwent knee ligament reconstruction last week after he suffered an identical injury in a Champions League match with Schalke. A Barcelona statement confirmed: “According to the club’s medical services, Victor Valdes will undergo surgery on his ACL in Augsburg, Germany, tomorrow, March 31. “the surgeons that will conduct the operation are Ulrich Boenisch and ricard Pruna. After the surgery, FC Barcelona will issue a medical report with the results of the operation.” Meanwhile, Barcelona have agreed a deal to sign sought-after Croatia teenager Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb.

prise defeat against a battling Crystal Palace side at Selhurst Park. But it was a good day for Manchester United at the old trafford. Wayne rooney scored twice as the red Devils fought back to beat Aston Villa after a fly-by protest by fans calling for manager David Moyes to be sacked. A plane carrying an antiMoyes banner was booed by some home fans as it flew over old trafford in the second minute. Crystal Palace took the lead when Blues captain John terry headed into his own net following Joel Ward’s cross. Home goalkeeper Julian

• Rooney Strikes Brace For United, Osaze Scores

Speroni twice denied Eden Hazard and terry also wasted a chance to level, heading over. Cameron Jerome nearly made it 2-0 but hit the post as Palace secured a vital win in their bid to avoid relegation. Chelsea still hold a one-point advantage at the top of the Premier League, but will lose top spot if Manchester City win at Arsenal in the late game on Saturday. Palace’s victory, their first in six matches, moves tony Pulis’s side six points clear of the bottom three. At the old trafford, Ashley Westwood’s curling free-kick put Villa ahead but rooney quickly headed United level, then scored from the spot

Published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, rutam House, isolo, Lagos tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotline Lagos: 7736351, Abuja: 07098513445 All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. (iSSN No 0189-5125) Editor: E-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com ABrAHAM oBoMEYoMA oGBoDo • A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation •ABC

after Leandro Bacuna fouled Juan Mata. Mata slotted home a third before Javier Hernandez made it 4-1 in injury time. Villa striker Christian Benteke missed two good second-half chances but, crucially for their under-pressure manager, United were convincing winners and Moyes enjoyed a very public show of support. the aerial message organised by disgruntled United fans read “Wrong one - Moyes out”, but it was not well received by supporters inside the ground when it appeared overhead. Stoke City remain on course to achieve their best points total in the Premier League after a hard-working victory over Hull at the Britannia Stadium. Hull’s Liam rosenior had the best chance of the first half, but could not find the target with a free header.

After the break, Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic pulled off a superb save to deny David Meyler, after the ball took a deflection en route. And Peter odemwingie’s welltaken goal was enough to give Stoke the win. Southampton leapfrogged Newcastle in the Premier League as goals from England World Cup hopefuls Jay rodriguez, rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana secured a dominant win. the persistent rodriguez missed several chances prior to turning home Lambert’s unselfish cross from close range.

Premiership Results Man Utd 4 - 1 Aston Villa Crystal Palace 1 - 0 Chelsea Southampton 4 - 0 Newcastle Stoke 1 - 0 Hull Swansea 3 - 0 Norwich West Brom 3 - 3 Cardiff


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NATIONAL CONFERENCE

NATIONAL CONFAB: Nigeria On A Delicate Balance By Godini G. Darah HE dramatic and rambunctious ebullience witnessed so far at the National Conference in Abuja is a familiar and typical signature tune of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Every moment at the venue has been marked by exuberant display of abundant energy and improvisational ingenuity. All delegates are keenly aware that the events are being telecast live, thanks to the miracles and wonders of electronic communication. The semiotics of the contributions and interventions is influenced by this knowledge. With only a few microphones available, whoever gets the chairman’s permission to speak tends to exploit all the resources of rhetorical ostentation to be heard and noticed by the myriad constituencies and stakeholders awaiting the outcome of the confab. This background explains some of the grandiloquent gesticulations and verbal effluvia at every sitting. Verily, verily, these attributes are in our character. Nigerians, being tropicalised Homo sapiens of Planet Earth, are a people of robust performance, theatre, and ornate speech. For us, to speak and act pugnaciously is to be human and free. To be sure, Nigeria is the only country in Africa, and perhaps the world, that still possesses these cultural assets of vivacious orality and atavistic communication. Nigeria is host to about 600 of Africa’s 1,500 languages. Unlike in other parts of the world, Nigeria’s motley languages are still alive and growing. Every one of these tongues claims to be an autonomous nation or nationality. Each and every one of these groupings has interests and agendas to pursue and defend. Given this anthropology of linguistic and ethnonational plurality, it is to be expected that a gathering such as the National Conference is bound to be a microcosm of the larger society, where tongues and territories differ yet they are all bound in their pursuit of the good life, freedom, shared experience, and vision of power to be preeminent and authoritative. Yet, the babel voices are neither bedlam nor confusion. Rather, they are a measure of dialectics and democratic vitality. Consider the demographic and class formations of the 492 delegates. Those who have raised doubts about the quotient of credibility because the delegates were not chosen through popular franchise or election are not altogether infallible. Even if elections were held to identify the conferees, our experience of such electoral rituals does not offer iron-cast comfort that the victors would have superior credentials than the ones paraded in the National Conference. With the selection process adopted by the Federal Government, most of the horizontal and vertical spectrums and layers of the Nigerian society are represented at the confab. Here are some indices of the geometry and architecture of the representation. From the echelon of monarchical and royal institutions, there are paramount rulers, princes and princesses, principalities, and potentates of ancient and newfound kingdoms. There is a formidable legion of elder statesmen/women, active and retired generals, warlords, and militants of ethno-national and religious militias. There are eggheads of multiple disciplines such as professors, researchers, lawyers, engineers, bankers, investors, inventors, profiteers, compradors, traders, architects, dreamers, and futurologists. On every row of seats, you find priests, prophets, poets, acolytes, and devotees of various religious sects and beliefs in their flowing and resplendent robes. Visible and voluble, too, are political juggernauts and “caterpillars” such as former presidential candidates, senators, legislators, ministers, ambassadors, former governors, those aspiring to be governors, local council chieftains, and sundry others with political ambitions. There are women, womanists, and feminists of varied ideological outlook, besides humanists, and activists of social and environmental justice. Ideologues and crusaders of diverse jeremiads abound. Ideological avatars include Marxists, communists, socialists, social democrats, centrists, capitalists, plutocrats, proletariats, revolutionaries, and utopians. Though their number is small, representatives of the physically challenged have been articulate and audacious in their contributions and vision of a more caring Nigeria. Perhaps the most vociferous constituency is that of the restive and jobless youth, the largest demographic segment of the Nigerian population, some of who think that they are hapless victims of the “sins” of their parents and older generations. The conference is Nigeria’s premier global media event; therefore, there is unimpeded access for all media organs and personnel. Their visibility is enhanced and ennobled by the presence of veteran journalists, proprietors of media conglomerates, and news agencies of various capacities and ages. The images and views the media project to the world are recycled and narrated with folkloric

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eloquence in recreation centres, clubs, drinking parlours, private homes, motor parks, places of worship, mass transit systems, barbing and hairdressing salons, and “pepper soup joints”. In other words, the National Conference is taking place simultaneously in multi-media formats and venues throughout the world. The delegates are acutely conscious of these facts; therefore, they cannot afford to fail in the enterprise because if they do, the conference is bound to continue in other forms and instruments beyond the control of the delegates and Nigeria. But the National Conference has its task served in delectable cocktails by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He did so in the inauguration address to the delegates on Monday, March 17. In his own words, the “conference is…to table our thoughts and positions on issues, and make recommendations that will advance our togetherness. “The issues” he adds “range from form of government, structure of government, devolution of powers, revenue sharing, resource control, state creation, state police and fiscal federalism, to citizenship, gender equality and children’s rights…” He charged the delegates to “patriotically articulate and synthetise our people’s thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria, forge the broadest possible national consensus in support of those recommendations, and strive to ensure that they are given the legal and constitutional backing to shape the present and the future of our beloved fatherland” (my emphasis). Proactive thinking is evident in much of the address. In the paragraphs cited above, President Jonathan anticipated future controversy about the legitimacy of the confab’s recommendations, hence the phrase, “to ensure that they are given the legal and constitutional backing...” He invoked the supremacy of the people by warning that the “power we hold is, without question, in trust for the people. Sovereignty belongs to the people. Their voices must be heard and factored into every decision we take on their behalf.” Much of media hoopla has been made about the so-called irreconcilable differences and antagonism among sections of the conference. For the vast majority of the delegates, these howlers are phantoms invented by some of the media interpreters in the service of disguised and sinister agendas. Or share unwillingness to comprehend the profundity of issues at stake. Yet, the President was aware that deliberate misinterpretation would be generated around the conference project. In the address, he laid stress on “commitment, diligence, perseverance and patriotic vision…in order to evolve more inclusive societies in which every citizen is a proud…stakeholder”. The connotative ambience of inclusiveness echoes in the refrain of the word, “consensus,” which features four times in the body of the address. Embodied in the semantic density of “consensus” are analogous terms such as cooperation, mutual understanding, equalitarian ethics, and historic compromise. These ennobling and sublime thoughts that distinguish the address are sadly ignored in many oral and written accounts of the inauguration event and subsequent sittings of the conference. Some of the reports are inundated with sensational and less than accurate digest of news and happenings. Self-aggrandising posturing of some delegates has fed some media with negative percep-

tions about the serious business in the hallowed chambers. But we are taking all in stride knowing that theatrics and histrionics are inherent in the public performance of most Nigerians, especially in the domain of politics. Having heard the ornate words of the president and his impassioned delivery, the plenary sessions took off in an auspicious milieu. Minor and routine matters of etiquette and administrative expediency were first handled, but not without the proverbial tensions and suspicions. The urbane demeanour of Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi and Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, chairman and deputy chairman respectively, smoothened the early phases of exchanges and interventions. Understandably, the lean secretariat headed by the conference secretary, Dr. Valerie-Janette Azinge, experienced initial hiccups in managing the surge of demands from the eminent personalities of intimidating pedigree and credentials. Things gradually got into rhythmic groove, yet there are sparks of grumbles here and there. We inched our way into more murky waters, as the debate on the conference procedure rules got under way. Apparently, the template had been cloned from another Nigerian legislative system. We were to debate the procedure rules, amend, endorse, replace or reject them. This is a cardinal principle of the autonomy of the conference. Verbal thunder and lightning were anticipated, as most delegates are seasoned administrators and professional board members with microscopic eyes for errors and booby traps. Contrary to popular expectation, we covered much of the 28-page document without the roof of the chamber coming down. Nearly all of the 15 Orders listed were read, debated, scrutinised, criticised, anatomised, and dissected for semantic accuracy, elegance of wording and phrasing, and intendment and implications. Gender insensitive words like “he”, “him”, “his” without the balancing antonyms of “she” and “her,” were corrected following protests by female delegates. Good progress was made, thanks to the diligent application of the magic formula of consensus. Recall its pre-eminent echoes in President Jonathan’s address. We surged on with gusto until we encountered Order IV (4) and Order XII (4e) in which the vexatious phrase of “three-quarter majority” featured. This procedural harness relates to having a vote count in a situation, where consensus cannot be obtained to resolve differences. This apparently innocuous phrase ignited the latent volcano that nearly shredded the decorum and tranquillity of the conference. Chairman Kutigi foresaw that tempers could flare up with this barb-wired hurdle. Several times, the high table engaged in pleasant gambits to defer and deflect attention from the matter. The dividing line was sharp and provocative. On the one hand are delegates, who consider the three-quarter criterion, as too forbidding and difficult to attain. On the other hand, there are those, who argue that the unorthodox innovation is necessary to checkmate militant advocates and avatars of radical reforms in the structure of government and the political economy of federalism. The first group could not be persuaded that the three-quarter quotient was good for the conference, while twothirds is the norm in all national and corporate decision-making processes. For example, to win an election, a Nigerian contestant for president

or governor is required to win 25 per cent in twothirds of states or local government areas. In most legislative events, a simple majority of those present and voting is adopted. In fact, Order VII (4) of the conference procedure rules stipulates a “vote of two-thirds” to suspend any portion of the rules. Applying two systems of voting in the same procedure rules raises doubt of fairness and transparency in the business of the conference. On the first day of the debate, no rapprochement could be reached. The matter was deferred. Next day, a more politically explosive deadlock developed. The leadership of the conference secured a truce of sorts, when Chairman Kutigi sought the approval of delegates to convene a 49-member caucus of elder statesmen/women and respected leaders of the six geo-political zones to deliberate and resolve the impasse. The request was granted to the relief of those who feared a premature rupture of the conference calendar. The caucus report given on Wednesday, March 26, confirmed that discussions were still inconclusive. More time was needed to mediate ideological and sectional differences. Conference had to adjourn till next Monday to allow the deus ex machina of consensus to intervene and defang the debacle satisfactorily. A major crisis has been averted, thanks to sagacious handling by the conference leadership and tolerance of the conferees. But the scenario points to a foretaste of possible clashes in the days ahead, especially when substantial issues adumbrated in the President’s speech are tabled for debate. Yet, we left for recess last week with stubborn and audacious hope. Like President Jonathan, we are fortified by the confidence that all thorny issues will be mollified through consensus and compromise. This optimism is anchored on the knowledge that Nigeria is endowed with enormous reservoir of mediatory power. All the major conflicts and disputes on the African continent have benefitted from Nigeria’s bountiful bequests in this regard. For 50 years, Nigeria has been the emeritus peacemaker in Africa. Our troops and peacemakers were in the Congo in 1960, Tanzania in 1964, and Southern Africa from 1975-1994. Nigeria’s military and petro-dollar power quelled the political conflagration in Chad Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast. We did the same in the Sudan and helped South Sudan to attain sovereign nationhood a few years ago. Nigerian peacekeepers have been engaged in theatres of conflicts in countries outside of Africa. Among the delegates in the conference are soldiers, police officers, ambassadors, and civil servants that participated in these international engagements that have made the world more pacific and liveable. Why is it that we are unable to apply the same verve and ingenuity in resolving socio-political conflicts amongst ourselves? This gigantic enigma must be tackled and tamed at this conference. We know that it will not be an easy task, as the witchcraft of the homestead is more tenacious and intractable to subdue. But with the proud legacy of mediation I outlined above, the esteemed delegates have no choice but to overcome all obstacles and treacheries. Indeed, Nelson Mandela was dead right: for Nigeria, as it was for South Africa, it is a long, long walk to freedom.

•Professor Darah is Delta State Delegate to the National Conference

Sun 30 Mar 2014  

The Guardian Nigeria