S U N D A Y
E D I T I O N
‘Motor Park’ Pastors Who Take Offerings For Miracle Prayers
That ‘Reformers’ May Also Render Accounts
Why Tolling May Remain POLITICS 58
On Federal Highways
Troubles Of Lagos’ Night Markets
TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,848
Deputy Governor of Osun State, Titi Laoye-Tomori (left), former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba, mother of the bride and publisher of The Guardian, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, the couple, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Ogun State Governo, Ibikunle Amosu, and Senator Oluremi Tinubu, at the traditional marriage ceremony between Maxwell Herbert Peile and Omotuvie Alexia-Ibru, held in Lagos...yesterday.
‘Rework’ Nigeria Now, Anyaoku Tells Govt By Marcel Mbamalu, News Editor S Nigeria marks 100 years A of its corporate existence, former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has, again, called for true federalism, describing it as “the only way to progress and development.” According to him, the present structure breeds high cost of governance, tribalism and religious bigotry.
• Says Present Structure Breeds Corruption, Violence In a telephone conversation last night, Anyaoku advised the country to adopt new structure that would accommodate six regions to combat the main “impediments to progress and development.” Anyaoku, who was honoured alongside many other eminent Nigerians as part of the Centenary celebrations, told The Guardian that high
cost of governance and accentuation of religious/tribal differences in the competition for control of the centre remain two critical obstacles to Nigeria’s development. The former commonwealth Secretary observed that “the present structure compels us to expend excess amount of our revenue on administration
“No country, particularly those at the same level with Nigeria during the time of our independence, achieved the rate of their development by spending 70 percent of their revenue on administration.” Anyaoku also stressed that Nigeria mode of governance, “destabilises competition for the control of the centre by fueling our religious and
tribal differences.” He harped on the need for a constitution that gives power for development to the federating units. “We should return to the state we were during the time of independence …when the regions were so powerful that the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, chose to remain the premier of the Northern Region and sent Tafawa Balewa, his deputy, to the centre to represent him as Prime Minister.”
What Centenary Award Means To Us, By OBJ, IBB, Shonekan • Jonathan Has Restored Nigeria’s Unity, Says PDP • Edo Group Says It Is A Validation Of Injustice, Backs National Conference From Mohammed Abubakar, Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja), Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Benin City), and Ayoyinka Jegede (Uyo) ORMER Nigerian leaders Fhonoured who were on Friday night for their outstanding promotion of unity, patriotism and national development were united in describing the gesture as a tonic for a lasting unity of the country. Altogether, about six of the living past leaders were hounoured at the Banquet Hall, State House Abuja as part of the activities marking CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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2 | N EWS Sunday, March 2, 2014
Nnamani’s Return Splits Enugu PDP From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu sharp division has arisA en in the Nkanu West Local Government chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the return of the former governor of Enugu state, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, to the party. Nnamani, who on January 4, 2014, returned to the party after perfecting his registration at his Agbani ward, was on Thursday formerly received into the fold by the leadership of the party in the ward, led by Mr.Monday Ngene. But a faction of the party at the ward, led by an acting chairman Nnamani Ndubuisi, yesterday refuted reports that the former governor of the State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani has been readmitted into the party. In a communiqué issued at the end after their monthly ward meeting they stated that the purported re-admission of Dr. Nnamani did not follow due process, stressing that Ngene, who claimed he had been readmitted, was suspended from the party two weeks ago. They said that the action was null and void and of no effect as the revalidation of membership of the party in the ward was yet to commence. The communiqué dismissed as a sham, earlier meeting on February 27, 2014, in which Ngene and the former governor, with his supporters, stormed the ward office at Agbani in celebration of the former governor’s return to the party. The ward executive maintained that the former governor did not follow due process, as he did not write to the ward Secretary as required by the PDP consti-
tution. They, therefore, insisted that Dr. Nnamani was still a chieftain of the People for Democratic Change (PDC), which he formed after he left the PDP. But Ngene claimed yesterday that he remained the authentic chairman of the party, stressing that the admission of Nnamani met all requirements of the party. He said Nnamani’s readmission was sequel to the party’s membership Registration, which took place between August 2013 and January 2014. He said within the period, about 3,291 old and new members were registered
in Agbani ward, explaining that precisely on January 4, 2014, the former governor was duly registered at the ward office and issued with membership card number 0276943 duly signed by the party’s National Chairman, National Secretary, National Organising Secretary, ward chairman and ward secretary. He gave his ward number as 3259.” But rising from the meeting at the weekend, the ward executive in the communiqué insisted: “That the suspension of Mr. Ngene as PDP Chairman in Agbani ward was ratified by members of the party at
the ward level; hence, he ceased to function as ward chairman since Friday February 21, 2014 when the Local Government executive of PDP Nkanu West chapter informed the ward of his suspension, in line with Chapter X Section 57 sub- Section 3 of the PDP Constitution of 2012 (as amended). “That the purported meeting and re-admission of Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani into the party in Agbani ward is null and void as due process as stipulated in the constitution, which was not followed and cannot be re-admitted by an individual that has no authority,”
By Geoff Iyatse AIDUGURI, the capital city of Borno State, reportedly experienced fresh explosion yesterday. But while some sources linked the blast to Boko Haram, a tweet by BBC suggested that it was an airstrike initiated by Nigerian military. An online medium reported that the explosion occurred about 6:15pm in Ngomari, central Maiduguri. It was reported that the explosion caused heavy dust and smoke in the area but it could not be confirmed whether it was targeted at civilians. “There is heavy dust and smoke everywhere now and I am running home now to see if my family are safe,” an eyewitness was quoted. The explosion was said to cause panic in the city as people scampered for safety.
Boko Haram: Conflicting Signals Trail Fresh Attack The BBC tweet said the blast was targeted at Boko Haram members. It also claimed that 20 civilians were killed the airstrike though there was no clue as to whether the civilians were members of the sect. The Northeast geopolitical zone has come under severe attacks from insurgents in recent years. Earlier last week, s week, suspected members of the group killed over 29 pupils at a boarding school in Yobe.
Legislator Calls For Creation Of Displaced Persons Camps From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi HE former Speaker of Benue T State House of Assembly, Mr. David Iorhemba, has called on
Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Executive Governor, Ogun State (left); Mr. Seni Adetu, Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria; his wife, Janet; and Mr. Adekoya Adetu at the church service for the burial ceremony of Seni Adetu’s mother, Chief Mrs. Felicia Olawunmi Adetu, held at Methodist Church Nigeria Diocese Of Remo Rev Mellor Methodist Cathedral Agbowa Sagamu Ogun State on February 28, 2014.
Benue State government to set up camps for internally displaced persons so as to tackle the brewing humanitarian crises in the state. Iorhemba, who is representing Guma constituency in the state assembly, made the appeal yesterday in Daudu, Guma Local Council, while on an assessment visit of the crises areas in his constituency. He said the camps, if set up, would enable effective distribution of relief materials to the victims including healthcare. While lamenting the plight of these displaced persons, some of whom are staying under trees, in public primary schools and the Catholic mission in Daudu at the moment, the lawmaker decried the poor sanitary conditions under which they are living. Iorhemba urged the state government, through its relevant organs, to avert the possibility of an epidemic such as cholera and other water borne diseases.
Jonathan Has Restored Nigeria’s Unity, Says PDP CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 the Centenary celebrations of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday night. The occasion was the first time in recent years a collection of huge number of past leaders was witnessed. Meanwhile, the leadership of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the weekend, commended President Goodluck Jonathan for a successful Centenary Celebrations, saying the events have ushered in a new era of unity and peace in the nation. In the same vein, a United States of America (USA)-based
group, Edo United for Homeland Empowerment, has raised a strong opposition to the ongoing Nigeria’s centenary celebration, arguing that the event is “validation of the evil perpetrated against Edo people by Britain.” Still, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Dr. Godswill Akpabio, says the activities marking the centenary will not be complete without including the state in the centre of events in forthcoming anniversary. He expressed displeasure over the non-inclusion of Akwa Ibom State in the grand finale of the celebration. Those honoured at the awards’ nite included Generals Yakubu Gowon; Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Chief Ernest Shonekan. Those who received posthumous award included Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe Gen. J.T.U Aguyi Ironsi, Genera Murtala Mohammed, General
Sani Abacha, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar”Adua, and Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. Reacting to their recognitions, the former leaders said they felt honoured to so recognised and said the succeeding generations should endeavour to ensure that Nigeria remains one united entity. For Obasanjo, “The award means Nigeria is making progress. If Nigeria survived the first 100 years, it means that Nigeria has come to stay. All that needs to be done is to works sustaining its unity.” General said Buhari the award meant a lot him, noting, “To be qualified to be recognised by Nigerians is a no mean achievements. My wish for Nigeria is security.” Babangida surmised, “The award means a lot. Most of us that were awarded today, the younger generation should try to emulate us because they will drive their sources of inspiration and aspiration. According to General Abubakar, “Nigeria has come a long way and we thank God. The future generation should
try and do better than what we have done and keep this country together. Chief Shonekan on his own part said the award would spur him to continue to work for the unity and growth of the country. His words, “The award means a lot to me. It makes me feel to work harder for the unity and progress of the country.” PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement, said the party is very proud of President Jonathan for organising the events, which “not only succeeded in putting the nation on the international arena to showcase our best, but also fostered unity and genuine reconciliation among our leaders and the people. The statement reads: “The celebrations have ushered in a new era. They have rekindled the Nigerian spirit in all of us. They have revived our sense of patriotism; our inner love for one another as one people under God. “The Centenary Concert not only reminded us of our common roots, but also pointed us to our rich heritage, which
comes alive only when we combine our energies as a people. It showed we are indeed one people determined to succeed and that our divisions are as ephemeral as they are artificial. “The PDP, and indeed, all well meaning Nigerians appreciate President Jonathan for organising the centenary prayers and the awards’ nite, which for the first time in contemporary history, brought together all our living past leaders under one roof despite their differences, perceived or real. However, in a statement signed by its President, Frank Ekhator; Director of Publicity, Emmauel Okunmwendia and Secretary General, Yvonne Omolayo Omoruyi, the Edo United for Homeland Empowerment said the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates was possible because of the death in exile of Oba Ovonramwen of Benin in 1914. He was exiled after the 1897 Benin massacre. Besides, the group said the celebration of the amalgamation of Nigeria was an oppor-
tunity for some persons to enrich themselves from inflated contracts at the expense of Nigerians. “The buzz about the celebration of the amalgamation of Nigeria is a cruel joke, reminiscent of the humiliation of the Edo people during the British foray, which preceded the amalgamation. As a people, whose forbearers were brutally denied their God-given rights by being dispossessed of their naturally acquired resources, we feel betrayed, aggrieved and inflamed by the celebration,” the group protested. The group said it is not opposed “to the unity and continued corporate existence of Nigeria” but that it is against the celebration of historical event, which resulted in the decimation of an established and highly revered Edo sovereign political power and nationhood. It, however, throws its support behind the proposed national conference, noting that the search for national discovering after 100 years of existence is a justification for the dialogue.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 3
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Retirees Allege Fraud In CBN Pensions By Marcel Mbamalu
• Say Apex Bank Slashed February Entitlements By 15 percent
S the financial services sector comes to terms with sudden suspension of Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, retirees of the apex bank, yesterday, alleged that their February entitlements were slashed by15 percent. Member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) and former Vice President of the CBN Pensions Club, Mr. Augustine Awenlimobor, in a telephone conversation, however, described the action as punitive, since the measure only affected older pensioners, who had engaged the CBN in a legal battle for over 12 years, forcing the suspended gover-
nor to pay arrears two years ago. Describing the apex bank’s move as “fraudulent,” Ewenlimobor stated that the older members of the Club had renewed the fight — this time outside of the courtrooms — when they discovered that their younger colleagues, who retired after them were receiving thrice their pensions. According to him: “Along the way, we have come to know that those who retired after us on the basis of noncontributory Pension Scheme, were being paid much higher than us, about
three times, to be precise. “At first, we sought to discuss with the Director of Human Resources Department, Ms. Chizoba Mojekwu, to comply with the order of the courts to harmonise our pensions. But when she was not forthcoming, we engaged the services of a lawyer to serve the officials of the bank, who would not allow our case to sail through. The lawyer was to issue them ‘Form 48’ (a contempt of court form), which they evaded. “It is during this process that the Central Bank went ahead to slash our pensions by at least 15 percent in the
month of February 2014 instantly without prior discussion. “We view it as a punitive measure calculated to intimidate the older pensioners, since it was only the pensions of the older pensioners that were affected. The older pensioners were those seeking to enforce their rights conferred by the Law Courts, which lasted for over 12 years,” Ewenlimobor insisted. He said the members have no choice but to view the “recent action of the CBN Management as an act of pension fraud, which must be stopped with immediate effect.”
Ikorodu road by Obanikoro service lane overtaken by flood due to blocked channels after yesterday’s heavy downpour.
photo Charles Okolo
Ekiti Govt Tasks Council Chairmen On Medium Term Expenditure Framework From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, South West Bureau, Ado Ekiti) HE Ekiti State Government T has advised its council chairmen to adhere strictly to the implementation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (2014-2016) in Budget implementation. It, however, warned that any council chairman who deviated from the policy framework would be sanctioned. The State Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mr. Paul Omotoso, who handed down this warning in Ado Ekiti yesterday, said, “MTEF is not meant to make the councils the subservient of the State, but partners in development and progress. He described MTEF as a policy direction for the execution of all government’s programmes at the grassroots, saying change of government would not in way affect the operation of the document since it is supported by the 1999 constitution as amended. Omotoso, said, “it will be difficult to deviate from the policy because it is directly attached with budget imple-
mentation at the grassroots so that local councils can operate the same policies with the state government to bring development to the doorsteps of our people. “Any budget being operated at the councils must take its contents from MTEF before it can be approved by the House of Assembly. But any deviation from it will carry very serious sanction because the Kayode Fayemi-led government doesn’t joke with the
development and due process.” While presenting the document in Ado Ekiti, last week, the deputy governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, stated that the projects and programmes in the MTEF plan document were identified by each community in order of priority through the yearly town hall meetings with the governor. She added: “The success of MTEF at the state level encouraged its being cascaded to the
third tier of government. As the government closest to the people, the need for MTEF at the local government cannot be over-emphasised. It is expected to insitutionalise community-driven projects selection and budgeting process.” Adelabu commended the three councils rewarded as best IGR generated councils and urged others to step up their performance in order to boost their income.
UK-based Expert Calls For Improved Asset Mgt By Geoff Iyatse United Kingdom-based asset manager, Chidi Umeano, has reiterated the call on Nigerian government, at all levels, to show more interest in maintaining public infrastructure. He made the position at a press briefing to announce the third annual Infrastructure Asset Summit Africa, which will hold in Lagos March 31 to April 1, 2014. He said the country could only achieve its economic goals if appropriate asset management approaches, including ideal maintenance culture, are adopted. Umeano, who is also the prin-
ciple consultant of Codub Consulting, noted that the country loses enormous human and material resources because it lacks the discipline to institute proper maintenance culture. He suggested the establishment of new policy that will legally bid contractors to maintain projects they execute for a specified period. He also called on both public and private organisations to, as a matter of policy, set up asset management teams to be headed by chief executives and other top management staff. According to him, the practice will help engender a new attitude towards facility.
Though he acknowledged the existence of several facility mangers in the country, Umeano noted huge capacity gap among the practitioners. Unfortunately, he regretted, facility companies that are engaged to manage public properties are not properly scrutinised before they are brought on board. Umeano said he chose to hold the third edition of the Asset Summit Africa in Lagos because of the growing need for capacity building in the area and the call on him (by participants of previous editions held in the UK) to bring the event to Nigeria.
The subject of pension harmonisation in the CBN was object of litigation between the apex bank and its pensioners from June 1999 to June 2010. After 11 years of protracted court process, during which the CBN had, through the Court of Appeal up to the Supreme Court, challenged a 1999 Lagos High Court judgment ordering it to comply with the government circulars and White Paper in that regard, the pensioners in May 2010 finally got the apex court to order the CBN to pay the new rate and the arrears without delay. One year after, the CBN did not implement the Supreme Court judgment, even as many of the supposed beneficiaries of the judgment passed on. Subsequently, The Guardian, in early 2011, exclusively published a list of about 100 CBN retirees, who had died waiting for their entitlements since the new scheme took effect in all Federal Government parastatals, except the CBN. As the legal battle subsisted, the banking business regulator’s argument was that it could not afford it and that its pensioners were not included in the scheme. The CBN, however, extricated itself from the demise of the 100 pensioners, arguing that the deaths should, in no way, be associated with the legal tussle surrounding the pension scheme. It also explained that it took care of its senior former employees by paying their pensions as and when due. Two months after the publication (precisely on June 26, 2011), The Guardian exclusively reported four new deaths of CBN pensioners waiting for the apex bank to implement the Supreme Court Judgment. Only three of such deaths were, however, confirmed as at the time of going to press. In the new list of casualties as at the time, were Mr. R. O. Ojemoron, who died on May 26, 2011); Mr. P.A. Adeboye, May 30; and Mr. J.O. Olatosi, June 6. Subsequently, the apex bank, mid-2011, conducted a special head count of all its pensioners in all 23 branches of the apex bank, including Abuja Headquarters, for the purpose of paying the accrued arrears of pension, as well as confirming to the pensioners the new enhanced monthly pensions due to them. According to Ewenlimobor, “when it dawned on the CBN that they would have to obey the Court of the land, it was another herculean task as they dragged it for a further period of two years, during which they stated that they were taking their time to do a thorough job.” Before paying the older pensioners, the CBN held series of meetings at which they stated what they were to pay to each and every one affected. He informed that at one of the meetings be-
tween the representatives of the CBN Management Team and the representatives of CBN Pensioners Club, on the 3rd floor of the CBN Conference Hall, Lagos Office, on November, 24, 2010, the apex bank explained that the outstanding balances of the percentage increases of 150 percent, 30 percent and 142 percent granted by the Federal Government (less the arbitrary 40 percent and 60 percent respectively already paid by the CBN) would then be paid. The CBN Management further stated that the new figures arrived at would form the base period figures for the six percent upward review of 2005 and the 15 percent further upward review of 2007 to date. “It is on the basis of this that our pensions have been paid since July 2011 to January 2014,” Ewenlimobor said.
UN Expert Calls For Nigeria’s Unity, Confab By Kamal Tayo Oropo S the country celebrates A its centenary, good and inclusive governance has been identified as essential to ensuring minority rights, equality and peaceful coexistence by the United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms. Rita Izsák. Even as she threw her weight behind the National Conference. Izsak making the remark at the end of her first official visit to the country on Friday, said it will bring together a wide spectrum of the Nigerian society to hold a dialogue on many constitutional, legal, social, political and economic issues. She called for attention to be given to minority issues within the scope of the conference. She noted that in a federation where inclusive governance prevails and communities placed trust in their leadership, there are fewer communal fractures and concerns about minority rights. She said: “The exclusion of some groups, partisan politics, corruption and the reality or the perception of bias and favouritism along ethnic or religious lines, fuel distrust, suspicion and anger. Political parties must play their role in reaching across ethnic or religious divides. Government should strengthen measures to fully implement the constitutional guarantee of equality and unity in order to protect minority rights.” The UN expert urged government to enhance the capacity, training and resources of security forces in regions where violence has broken out, stressing that sustainable solutions to communal violence require more than a heightened security response alone. “Some of the tensions and conflicts that have erupted in Nigeria’s northern and ‘Middle-Belt’ States have been framed as religious or ethnic conflicts.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Glorious Day, Alex-Ibrus Celebrate Daughter’s Traditional Wedding By Nnamdi Inyama, Isaac Taiwo and Kenechukwu Ezeonejiaku HAT a day yesterday was, W when Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos may have
The couple Omotivie Alexia Ibru and Maxwell Herbert Peile
played host to one of the most memorable events in its history - the traditional wedding ceremony of Omotuvie Alexia Ibru to Maxwell Herbert Peile. The event, which attracted very important dignitaries, among them party chieftains, top government officials, captains of industry and finance was also special for another reason as the date coincided with the birthday of ‘Tuvie’s father, the late Dr. Alex Uruemu Ibru . Present were the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, his Ogun State counterpart Ibikunle Amosun, former governor of Ogun state, Aremo Segun Osoba, former governor of Lagos State Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Deputy Governor of Osun State Grace Laoye-Tomori, General Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Femi Otedola, Mr. Felix Ohiwerei, an-incoming Minister of the Federal Republic Musliu Obanikoro, first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief (Mrs.) Folake Solanke, Mr. Sam Amuka, Chief Sunny Odogwu among so many others. That the Ibru family was giving their daughter’s hand in marriage to a charming, young Briton, from Surrey both of whom met in the University in Bristol, was no
excuse for the tradition of the Urhobo in such matters to be overlooked and it was not. It thus turned out to be a harmonious mix of age-long traditional rites and the modern. Members of the two families as well as an overwhelming majority of guests turned out in traditional attire while in the cavernous section prepared for entertainment, two huge screens played back footages from the couple’s early years. The event began proper when the bride’s mother Lady Maiden Ibru announced that the day was also her late husband, Alex’s birthday and a prayer for him as well as for the traditional wedding ceremony was said by Otunba Subomi Balogun. Thereafter, Max, the bridegroom and his people, who accompanied him to seek Omotuvie’s hand in marriage were taken - step by stepthrough the rites, including being presented with kola nuts, having to explain their reason for coming, then their application for Tuvie’s hand considered and their being duly invited to formally ask for her hand in marriage. The high points of the ceremony included when Max had to identify his bride-to-be from other ladies - ‘This is definitely the lady I have been looking for,’ he declared and also when he had to be inspected by his soon-to-be mother-in-law, Lady Maiden Ibru. That it was a joining of two families - the Ibrus and Peiles – was obvious, the hundreds of other guests present
notwithstanding. Letters from Max’s parents showed how much they would have liked to be present but for circumstances beyond their control. But, they were represented by members of their family who came, an indication that it is really a joining of two families through ‘Tuvie and Max. And nothing showed that as eloquently as when Lady Maiden Ibru paid tribute to members of both families, including her son-in-law’s parents, Robin and Sylvia. She noted that Max had written to her two sons, Toke and Tive informing them of his intentions towards their sister, Tuvie and soliciting their support, a sign of his proper upbringing. She also paid tribute to others, especially, the Patriach of the Ibru dynasty, Olorogun Michael Ibru, who took her late husband, Alex under his wings like a true big brother and the others. She also had kind words for the first grand son in the Ibru dynasty Olorogun Oskar Ibru, her brother, Dr. Alexander Thomopulos and others including Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, the Hammonds and all the many others who have been like family to her and her children. In the end, the honour went to Olorogun Oskar Ibru to pray for Tuvie and Max who dutifully knelt before him as he invoked all blessings and God’s Grace for a long, happy, peaceful and fruitful marriage.
Olorogun Oscar Ibru with couple
COO of The Guardian, Dr. Alexander Thomopulos (right), mother of the bride and Publisher of The Guardian, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Olorogun Oscar Ibru, Executive Director of The Guardian, Toke Ibru and Publisher of Thisday Newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena.
Prof. Kofi Duncan (left), Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Uncle Sam Amuka-Pemu, COO of The Guardian, Alexander Thomopulos and Olorogun Oscar Ibru.
Groom’s father Wilson Andrew, the couple, Olorogun Oscar Ibru, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru and Emily Morgan.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Sunday, March 2, 2014
The couple Omotivie Alexia Ibru and Maxwell Herbert Peile
Deputy governor of Osun State Titi Laoye-Tomori (left), former Ogun State Governor Chief Segun Osoba, mother of the bride and publisher of The Guardian, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Delta State governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, the couple, former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Ogun State governor Ibikunle Amosu and Senator Oluremi Tinubu.
Executive Director of The Guardian, Tive Ibru, Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosu, mother of the bride and Publisher of The Guardian, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu and Executive Director of The Guardian, Toke Ibru.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote (left), Dr. Jim Ovia, wife of Lagos State governor Dame Abimbola Fashola and Executive Director of The Guardian Toke Ibru
Otunba Subolumi Balogun and Chief Akani Okoya
Chief Osoba (left), Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru and Gov. Uduaghan
Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House On The Rock Church and Managing Director of The Guardian, Emeka Izeze.
Pastor Adefarasin and Executive Director of The Guardian, Tive Ibru.
Editor The Guardian Newspaper, Martins Oloja and Chairman of Forte Oil, Chief Femi Otedola
Publisher Thisday Newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena and Executive Consultant of The Guardian, Lade Bonuola
6 Sunday, March 2, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Lagos Night Markets … The Good, The Bad, The Ugly By Omiko Awa AGOS is fast taking the shape of a megacity, Lcence with the state government pulling down senesstructures and erecting befitting ones. Besides this, government is also putting up modern infrastructures, expanding road networks, planting trees and creating gardens where necessary, all in an attempt to position the state for investors and its new status. But as these activities are ongoing, the population, with its demand, is on the increase, putting pressure on infrastructure, housing and the numerous companies in the state. Due to the unique settlement pattern, some workers have to set out from their homes as early as 4am to return at about 8pm or 10 pm. This group of people sometimes depend heavily on restaurants or fast food for their meals. Lagos night markets have continued to provide the necessary ingredients that would enable some of those returning late from work to cook for themselves. In some places, individuals can get virtually everything, ranging from household items to food ingredients. A survey carried out by The Guardian Cityfile reveals that night markets remain among those things that have not changed in Lagos. Indeed, they keep springing up in new locations and will for long remain with us. …Reasons For The Emergence of Night Market According to Mrs. Ekpo, a trader at the Itire Market, “night market is a child of necessity, as they enable those that leave home early and return late at night to buy food items and prepare their meals. They also serve as an avenue for those traders that sell perishable items to easily dispose off those not sold in the day market to anyone that may need them at a give away price. This is the reason some of the things we sell come cheap.” Echoing Ekpo, Mrs. Ndidi explained that the markets provide job for those whose shops were either destroyed or could not afford shops. In short, some women prefer selling only at night markets. Collaborating Ndidi’s comment, Yewande, a fishmonger, said, “I have no choice than to go for night market since my shop was demolished by local government council official sometime back. I pay as little as N50 for space to sell, so it is cheaper to sell here and the customers, mostly workers hardly have time to haggle with you. Once you give them a price they are displeased with, they leave you for another, who may be willing to sell at the desired price. So, it is like a time
bound market for you to sell your stuff or allow them to perish if they are perishable. The business is good, especially on Sundays and public holidays, when some shops do not open. But I still look forward to going back to the day market.” On why she prefers day market to the night one, she explained that more quality customers patronise the latter and are willing to pay good money for items. “One has the opportunity of selling off all wares and going back for more at the main market. But this does not exist in night market and it affects income.” For Iya Ahmed, an auxiliary hand in a private school, night market serves the purpose of making extra money. After her normal work routine, she goes to a night market to sell provisions till 10 pm before heading home to prepare for next day’s work. “I am a cleaner in a private school and I close by 2pm. After school, I go to Ijesha night market where I sell provisions. The little profit I make out of it combined with what I earn as a cleaner has enabled me to train my two children through secondary school as a single parent. It is challenging, especially during the rains, because we do not have where we can run for cover, but it is really rewarding as most of the buyers do not have time to beat the prices because they are tired, having spent long hours at their places of work. Another, interesting thing about night market is that task force or local government officials don’t harass us or confiscate our wares. Once you pay a token of N50 or N200 to the Community Development Association officials or any authority representing them, you are allowed to sell your products. “There are also other people, engaged in other activities, but who come to the market at night to sell. Besides, some day market traders still come to struggle with us for space,” she said. Speaking on the proliferation of the markets in recent times, Michael Idoko, a banker, said it is induced by the economy and the urge to make both ends meet. In Lagos, he continued, things are getting tougher with most people having a lot of bills to settle. The situation has forced many to look for alternative though legitimate means to sustain themselves and their families. Also, we cannot rule out the fact that those, whose shops were destroyed by Lagos State Government environmental task force are availing themselves the opportunity
in the markets to eke out a living.” … The Good Side Mrs. Titilayo, a career woman and patron of night markets said: “Each time I fail to do weekend bulk buying, I fall back on night markets either in my neighbourhood or those nearer my office. I always close late from work and these markets help me to prepare fresh meals, as these, days electric power is unstable. Besides, you find practically everything you get in the day markets there, and they come cheap too. I think the traders want to sell off their goods by all means, so they tend to sell them cheaper. Further more, the markets remain a veritable source of stock, as most big markets in Lagos close mainly by 5.30, which means if you cannot buy anything before then, you have to wait till the next day, but how many people have that time?” …The Bad Side Starting from 4pm in some places, night markets have contributed to heavy traffic build up in such areas as Obalende, Lawanson, Egbeda and Iyana-Ipaja among others, where traders sell their commodities by the roadside. This has constituted a nuisance to motorists and commuters alike, as they make the roads narrower, making pedestrians and motorists struggle for space. Aside this, in some areas, they occupy whole streets, thereby making them impassable to motorists at night. This may not be too good in the event of fire outbreaks or other dangers, where it would be necessary to use the roads. Another notable feature of places where these markets exist is the filth the traders usually leave behind after the night’s business. Commenting on this, Ahmed Balogun, a member of Itire Market sanitary group, said that part of the money they collect from the traders on daily basis are used for sanitary purposes. “We have cleaners that go round the streets to tidy them and also clear the gutters in places used for night markets. We ensure we keep them clean for the residents, so that they won’t have any reason to complain. It is even part of the conditions that allowed the Community Development Associations (CDA) to approve their use,” he said. But Adekunle Lawal, a resident on one of the streets near a night market said it is not just the noise from these markets that irritates him, but the smoke that comes from the various local lanterns the traders use to sell their com-
modities. … The Ugly Side According to the patrons of the market, traders sometimes take advantage of the fact that customers are often in a haste to sell some of their spoilt commodities. They capitalise on the informality of the market, especially as the traders in most cases, keep changing their positions or even locations, to sell all kinds of bad commodities. Akeem, a customer, who have been bitten by the bug of the market, recalled his experience. “I need someone to convince me that night markets sell the best of commodities. I have been cheated twice and now I have learnt my lesson. The first time I was sold an undersized pair of trousers. The trader had talked me into believing it was my size. In fact, he measured me with a fake tape and I believed him, only to get home to discover it was not really my size. When I went there the next day, he was not there. The second time, I was sold stale meat. I saw red blood on the meat, which made me thought it was still fresh and so, I bought it. But on getting home, my wife discovered that the butcher had deceived me by pouring blood on it. “Since then, I have stopped buying things there, no matter how cheap the good may be and I won’t encourage anyone to patronise them. The traders are cheats; they take advantage of the dark environment to sell all manners of bad commodities to unsuspecting buyers, ” he lamented. He added that “there are all manners of commodities ranging from pharmaceuticals to CDs, cosmetics and others, and I bet you, most of them are inferior products.” Not denying these allegations, Aduke, a fishmonger, advised buyers to always take time to observe whatever they want to buy, because some of the sellers would deliberately sell bad commodities at cheap prices, just to get back their money. “At least they bought those commodities with money and need to sell them too,” she said. Though a mixed grill of the good, the bad and the ugly, Lagos night markets have continued to exist, providing opportunity for some people to make honest living and, also providing platforms for people, especially women, who close late from work to get food stuff for their families.
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Sunday, March 2, 2014
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Abuja: Where Footbridges Serve Other Purposes Itunu Ajayi, Abuja EDESTRIANS or footbridges P are meant to make the business of highway crossing more convenient and safer for the people. They are specifically built on highways with more than two lanes so that fast moving vehicles wouldn’t knock down and kill people in their attempt to cross the road. Builders of the federal capital territory seemed to have forgotten the essentiality of these bridges and so initially, there were no footbridges in and around the city. But like most government projects, which come like an afterthought, those bridges are now springing up everywhere. However, people are already used to dashing across eight lane roads to the other side. Most people tend to ignore even the completed ones, preferring to run across the road, which has led to the death of some pedestrians, knocked down by hit and run drivers. Specifically in Area 3 Junction and Nicon Junction, dead bodies that were knocked down by vehicles are frequently spotted and just before Christmas, a man was knocked down at the federal housing junction on Airport road. Curiously, this is not enough to deter many people from embarking on this suicide mission, as they have to be compelled, more or less, to
use even the completed pedestrian bridges. In fact, barbed wire of about three kilometres long have had to be erected just to prevent people from crossing the road. And in places like the eight lane road leading to the airport, where such barbed wire cannot be used due to the peculiarity of the road, pedestrians continue to cross the roads, while those who value their lives avail themselves the use of footbridges. Currently, things have taken a new dimension, as some of the footbridges have been turned to markets of sorts, where people can purchase items ranging from shoes to tokunbo cloths, DVDs, and household appliances. Anyone wanting to fix a pot of soup after office hours is assured of getting all the ingredients, which are brought fresh from the farm by Gwari women. For instance, the footbridge at Car Wash Bus Stop along airport road is currently being shared between pedestrians and traders. Here, the traders’ target customers are people returning from work and so, their trading activities commence around 4p.m. According to some of them, they have to wait till around 5p.m before they start displaying their wares to avoid harassments from Task Force officials set up by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, whom they allege of taking bribe from
them to allow them continue trading on the bridges. Some of them also expressed their frustrations at getting shops in the markets around the city because of the exorbitant charges involved. Some of them also alleged that they were promised shops by some government agencies, when the Wuse Market was under construction and were made to pay some money towards acquiring them. But the dream of getting shops in Wuse was dashed and they were left in the cold. With a shop going for N25m, a petty trader can hardly afford a lock-up shop in the market. Also at the Utako Market, the rent for a shop is between N450, 000 to N500, 000 per annum. It is apparent the traders are fed up with the antics of the agencies and middlemen, who are forever promising them shops. So, what do they do in the early hours of the day before going to the footbridge to sell later? Many among them said they don’t do anything and only wait at home until the evening. Some of them also experience occupational hazards, as once in a while, men of the task force seize their wares thereby giving their bosses in the office the impression that they are to keep traders off the bridges. Anytime this occurs, the traders have to bail their
goods, no matter the quantity or quality of such with at least N5, 000, while they bail themselves with another N3, 000. The traders told The Guardian that bailing the goods is not even the issue, in most cases, a large number of the goods get stolen while in the custody of the Task Force because the officers usually employ delay tactics to ensure confiscated goods are not bailed the same day. This, according to the traders, would give them ample time to search through the goods and steal to their heart’s content. The traders, are however, not the only people complaining about the way men of Abuja Environmental Protection Board have been extorting money from them. Others, including taxi drivers, who park in prohibited areas to pick passengers, street traders and the ‘Araba’ drivers before the ban of mini buses in the metropolis, have all had their share of bitter experiences at the hands of Task Force officials. The Bala Mohammedled administration had, in its bid to create jobs, employ these young men to go around the city to instil discipline in people. Whether or not they are doing their job properly is another issue altogether. While this reporter was still talking to some of the traders, a pick-up van bearing men of the task force drove past and there was pandemonium everywhere. The traders
started packing their goods hurriedly, and it was at this point one of them informed that they were in the process of contributing money to give to the men of the force so they can turn a blind eye to the trading going on, which they admitted is illegal. When the traders fight for spaces on the bridges, it takes the grace of the Lord for the warring parties to escape being arrested and driven away especially if such quarrels degenerate into physical combat. Those constrained for space on the bridges have their ware displayed at the foot of the bridge. And in some cases, beggars also make their living on the bridges. Elsewhere in the city, the bridges have been abandoned because hoodlums have practically taken over the area. For instance, it would take someone with a ‘strong liver’ to use the one located at Mpape Junction. When The Guardian visited the footbridge, two men were seen on the bridge smoking and even from the foot of the bridge, the strong odour of marijuana could be perceived, as it wafted down on the evening air. Wisdom, therefore, dictates that the bridge shouldn’t be used, especially when it is dark though a few beggars could be seen at the foot of the bridge. Of all these bridges, the one that gives cause for serious concern is that in front of Gowon Barracks. As this is a military settlement, one would have expected that
there would be a high level of discipline but alas, pedestrians, including uniformed men, usually run across the road, when the bridge is just a stone throw away. Aside footbridges, which traders share with pedestrians, footbridges in the FCT are generally an eyesore. Not only are they unkempt, they are also littered with so much dirt that one needs to hold one’s breathe while using them. The ones being used by traders are at least swept before wares are displayed. One would have expected that those engaged to keep the streets clean would see to the cleanliness of the bridges. In organised societies, which the federal government is desperately copying for the dreamed Abuja mega city, footbridges are managed and kept in such a way that pedestrians are drawn to them and feel good using them. With arrays of scented flowers lining the sides, pedestrians cannot but want to utilise them and not have to hold handkerchiefs to their noses, while hurriedly walking along, as a result of the smell oozing from dirt on the bridges. It is not enough to demolish illegal structures to attain the status of a mega city, efforts should also be geared towards keeping the footbridges clean and attractive if not for the benefit of foreign visitors, at least for Nigerians to have a clean environment, where one can breathe easily.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
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Itedjere: The Teacher’s Teacher @ 70 By Sunny Awhefeada IGERIA has never been fair to her teachers. N It is for this reason that the maxim “the teacher’s reward is in heaven” remains popular. What we celebrate in Nigeria are the thieves in government, corporate organisations and traditional institutions, who continue to wreck this country. The teachers, who toil to educate the nation, are hardly remembered when national honours are bestowed. Nobody remembers them during “Man of the Year Award”. Yet they remain the greatest of nation builders. This tribute is for Dr. P. O. Itedjere, a veteran teacher, who built the nation by training many generations of pupils and students. Dr. Philip Ogimagbo Itedjere was born on February 9, 1944. Though the Itedjere family hails from Emonu-Orogun in today’s Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, he was born in far away Ilado Quarters of Erinje in Okitipupa area of the present Ondo State. The circumstance of his birth far off from his native Emonu is traced to the migratory history of the Urhobo people, who sojourned to Ikale (ukane) in search of economic prosperity, which flowed from the lush palm trees that populated the landscape. Since he was diminutive in stature he didn’t begin formal education when he ought to. However, he started accompanying his elder brother Augustine to school at an early age. When he was examined at the end of the school year, he did so well to earn a promotion into Infant II. However, his father did not let him go thinking that he was too young. The moment for the commencement of his formal education came in 1950, when he was enrolled as a pupil of St. Cyril Catholic School at Igbodigo. The School’s Headmaster was Mr. Philip Uduebor. He it was who christened the young Itedjere, Philip. Thus was born the identity of the personality called Philip Ogimagbo Itedjere.
Itedjere was a very brilliant pupil and soon he completed the academic run that was then available at St. Cyril, which had no Primary Three. The zeal for education saw him first to St. Joseph’s Catholic School at Erinje and later to Okitipupa, where he obtained the First School Leaving Certificate in 1957. Many pupils ended their formal education at that level in those days. But not Philip! He proceeded to Local Authority Secondary Modern School in Okitipupa in 1958 and obtained the Modern III Certificate, which was then a coveted possession. It is on record that 1960 was the worst year for Modern School results in the history of the Okitipupa Division. Philip was among the very few students who passed in flying colours. His academic exploit paved the way for the beginning of a lifelong career as a teacher. He started his teaching career in the school where he began western education, St. Cyril Catholic School, Igbodigo in 1961. In 1962, the quest for higher education took him to St. Augustine Teacher’s College Oye-Ekiti, where he obtained the TC III Certificate in 1963. From there he was posted to All Saints Catholic School, Aiyede in Ijebu Waterside, where he taught for nine months. He was seconded to Catholic School at Ligun on a rescue mission as government had threatened to close down the school since it had no qualified teacher. Thus, the young Philip arrived at Ligun one memorable day to resume as Headmaster and ensure that the light bequeathed to mankind by education did not go out in that community. An irony played out here as Itedjere became Head over his old Headmaster, Mr. Philip Uduebor who gave him the name Philip years back. In 1966, Philip got admitted to Delta Provincial Teachers’ College, Warri. Here the Principal, Mr. J. E. Izaga encouraged and challenged him and he not only obtained the TC II Certificate, but he finished as the best student in
Philip 1968. His days in Warri were a watershed for the direction of his future career. It was there that he met an American Peace Corps member called Mike Bales, who not only encouraged him to enrol for the GCE O/L, but also paid for it. When Philip refunded the money Bales told him to keep it, but he should reciprocate the gesture by investing in the education of others. He passed the examination. After that he was posted to Saba-Jeremi. He was to participate in an exchange programme that saw him being posted to Bernin-
Kebbi, but a homeward pull brought him to Awhire in Agbarha-Otor. It was here that he met the love of his life, Esther who was to become his wife. The portals of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka opened for Philip in 1974. He read for a Bachelor of Education degree specializing in Education/Economics. He graduated in 1974 with a Second Class Upper Division and was on the Dean’s Honours List. He, thereafter, taught at a teachers’ college in Okene now in Kogi State. Philip Itedjere took up a teaching appointment with the then College of Education, Abraka in 1978. He went on to obtain a Master’s degree in 1980 and by 1990 he bagged a doctorate from Nsukka and became Dr. Philip Itedjere. The passage of time saw the College of Education, Abraka undergoing metamorphosis and by 1992 it became an autonomous university. Dr. Itedjere was one of the doyens of the new university. By 1992, his fame, which rested on solid academic achievements had become part of the stuff myths are made. His glowing exploits wherever he had taught as a teacher remained an attraction, which drew students who knew that he was a don at Abraka. When Dr. Itedjere took a bow from the university he had risen to the rank of a Reader. Dr. Itedjere is a family man, a husband, father, grandfather and a devout Catholic. He is a great exponent of the co-operative society in Nigeria. At 70, he still looks strong and mentally alert. His voice still resonates with Latin maxims and Shakespearean quotes. His sense of history and recall is intimidating. I don’t know if he was ever a Marxist, but his white luxurious beards would have made Engels and Marx envious. This septuagenarian has paid his dues by using his talent to build people. What else can humanity do other than to wish him good health, peace, long life and prosperity! •Dr. Awhefeada wrote from the Delta State University, Abraka.
Lagos Night Markets: What Local Authorities Say CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 OLAJI Amuse-Ariyo, chairman of B Oshodi local council, speaking on night markets in his domain said, street trading is illegal in Lagos State and his administration does not encourage it or allows illegal market either. However, those you see sell at night are doing so at the fringe of places designated as market and we monitor their activities. All markets in the state close at 6pm and any of them
that flout the law would be closed. Lagos is a sensitive state and we are mindful of that. We do not encourage night markets, even though some people under disguise engage in it. But for the peculiarity of Oshodi, we make sure they do not use the streets or constitute nuisance to the public by blocking the roads or littering the whole area with filth. Nobody or group of persons could operate any market ei-
ther day or night or block the streets in any of the local councils in Lagos without the approval of the local authority, so we know what is going on in our local council. Though, these markets exist in some local councils, it must surely be under the approval of the local authority, anything outside this is illegality. Mr. Matthew, the Baba Oloja of
Ikotun market and the Mayegun of Ikotun, collaborating with AmuseAriyo said Ikotun market closes by 6pm and opens for business at 7am, the next day, but there are some traders that bring their farm produces from neighbouring states to Ikotun market; most times before they get to Ikotun, the market would have closed, so they end up selling such commodities in the evening. Traders do wait and
buy from them, aside this; we do not operate night market. According to Alhaji Makinde, a member of Ifesowopo community development, Egan, night markets are a-must-have in some parts of Lagos, especially the rural areas like Egan, where commercial activities have made most people to leave their homes early and return late at night.
Givers never lack
Body no be firewood
PHOTOS: AYODELE ADENIRAN
Sunday, March 2, 2014 9
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Who Can Lock His Good Luck? By Adidi Uyo S long as there is nobody who can lock the dam of good luck that is flowing towards him, the man, methinks, can continue to damn the consequences of his actions, no matter how deleterious you think they are on our polity, economy or body politic. When in a presidential media chat in 2012 the man said, “I do not give a damn,” in response to a question about the president declaring his assets, nobody saw that that expression was an apt shorthand for the eight-letter word, ‘impunity.’ Hey, before you take the foregoing to be a political comment, let me quickly redirect your mind by saying that you are riding on the language train, where our train of thought is never derailed from the business of exploring and savouring the greatest gift of God to man, next to life itself: Language! Hit me, if that assertion generates unnecessary heat in your mind! But to be sure, the parade has been on since the outset. Just peruse those pairs of words: ‘lock’ and ‘luck,’ ‘dam’ and ‘damn,’ ‘train’ and ‘train,’ and ‘hit’ and ‘heat.’ How do they sound to you, or how do they look? On parade, of course, are those two creatures that belong to the division of language study known as phonology, to wit, homophones and homographs. The suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by President Goodluck Jonathan is not a play. By that I mean it is not a piece of
drama written and performed for Nigerians to watch and enjoy. It is a serious matter. But did you hear the President play on the matter some days ago? The reign of Sanusi as CBN Governor is effectively over, but it would seem that the rain is still falling on the man who has been effectively reigned in by Jonathan. If this train of thought is anything to go by, what do you make of this statement: “Sanusi is still CBN governor —Jonathan?” That was the headline of a major news story in The Punch of Tuesday, February 25, 2014. President Jonathan was speaking at yet another presidential media chat the previous day, whereby, as quoted in the aforementioned story, he had said: “The CBN issue is quite unfortunate. The question is whether the President, by virtue of the Constitution, has powers to suspend the governor of the CBN and I will tell you, ‘yes!’ The President has absolute powers to suspend the CBN governor. CBN is not even defined in the Nigerian Constitution.” Say, was that a play on words or was somebody trying to play on people’s intelligence? If one understands the President’s argument properly, first he claims that ‘by virtue of the Constitution,’ the President has absolute powers to suspend the CBN governor. But he immediately adds that CBN is ‘not even defined in the Nigerian Constitution.’ If CBN is not ‘even defined’ in the Nigerian Constitution, how come the same constitution gives
the President absolute powers to suspend the CBN governor? Well, since Sanusi has decided to court more trouble by going to court, the verbal gymnastics of the President may be seen as a foretaste of the legal arguments that the public will be treated to when lawyers from both sides tackle the case before a judge. I have a lawyer friend who is always bothered to the point of discomfiture any time we have any discussion that borders on the nature of his profession. The truly learned one that he is, he would proactively try to defend himself by saying: “Look, I know that you guys always enjoy touting what everybody likes to say. Well, the law may be an ass. But I am a proud lawyer. I am not an ass, and I do not think with my arse.” We usually laugh it off, but it is a very serious matter: the public perception that our courts have helped, in no little way, to make an ass of the law. The sore point that may be made is that, when the supra-legal document of the country, the Constitution, is the veritable source of conflicting statements by the man who is supposed to be its custodian, a sore of sorts is inflicted on our system of laws. Given the President’s train of thought at his media chat, one is bound to ask, did any of his army of advisers, especially, the legal and media advisers, train him to talk that way on the programme? Of course, it is impossible to
LANGUAGE ON PARADE
programme your client to stick to certain exact words or expressions during a programme; but the concern here is: Was the question anticipated and was he trained on how to handle it with utmost dexterity? Did I hear somebody say that instead of ‘train,’ the more exact term in public relations, or to be very specific, media relations, would be ‘coach’? That’s right, ‘coach.’ Anyway, as Sanusi goes to court, his sympathisers can only wish him good luck. If he has faith, he can be sure that his fate will be in the hands of a judge who is not disposed to making an ass the law. The only problem with that prayer is that the ex-Governor is taking on a man called Goodluck. And looking at his trajectory from Otuoke to Aso Rock, one has the feeling that the man is not yet born in Nigeria who is able or willing to lock the dam of good luck that was opened for him by the General from Ota – the man who picked him up from relative obscurity and got him ensconced, ultimately, in the most prominent villa in Nigeria. If there is any lesson in the ongoing Sanusi saga, it seems to be a bitter, negative one: To the line. Instead of trying to expose people, who line their pockets with public fund, be fond of them and fall in line. My brother, air not their wrongdoing in public, for to do so is to err gravely — to your own detriment. If you can hear the sound of those words, then, you are worthy rider on the language train!
A Day Of Gory Tales At The US Consulate By Adewale Adeoye VERY upsetting creation has its own odd E value. This blustery morning, it was a huge rat, hurdling in the bathroom that thankfully stirred me from a long, bottomless sleep. Time was 4am, the hour Lagos is still in slumber, but applicants seeking the US visa that day had to be on their feet. Some came with little children, some with breast-sucking infants, some on wheel chairs, some in the last days of their pregnancy, some moribund with fatal illnesses but able to trudge. Others were just punks, seeking cheap escape from the awful economy. For many Nigerians, undying impressions about US and its civil image would not come through sumptuous dinners with the Ambassador, which they are unlikely to have, but rather through the mandatory temper or idiosyncrasies of an interviewing officer, usually caged behind a steel glass, leaving visual and audio pin-holes as the only means of contact with locals. The torturing five hours experienced by this reporter revealed the nightmares Nigerians, whether rich or poor, armed or defenseless, royals and peasants go through at the U.S. embassy daily. In the past, I had had cause to go to the embassy, courtesy of the United Nations’ invitation to speak on indigenous issues and also subsequently as a guest speaker on self-determination at international Yoruba conferences, and therefore, ‘spared’ the grief. This Friday, some came from remote towns and villages, from as far as crisis-torn Yobe State to Calabar to meet the largely irreversible visa appointments. Even at this odd hour, at the office located in Lagos, overlooking a long stretch of splashing and clapping sea, sometimes mixed with the faint, harmonious chorus of crickets and frogs, hundreds of applicants already milled in the shadow of the dwindling darkness. Many had slept on the bare floor, and had their bath or defecated in the adjoining shores of the roaring sea. I thought: history is never static. The old is pregnant with the new and the new contains elements of the old. Barely 300 years ago, our forebears, who were taken into slavery against their wish, would not have imagined that their great grand children would battle, out of their own volition to seek passage to the land that degraded them and which they had detested. Those olden times, they were forcefully hurled into waiting ships, tied in beastly rolls with their lips padlocked, after red-hot iron had been driven through their lips. At gun-
point, they were coerced to quit their culture and leave behind their timeless heritage, never to be recalled. And in defiance, some had jumped into the ocean and were eaten by wild sea animals, while some were shot like chicken They must have resisted, simply because they lived a better life in their lush green tropical world, filled with contentment and a blissful chain of gleeful picturesque. The rush to US, three centuries after the slave trade, is shocking. The scene appears to capture the grim picture that Africa was a better place for her people, 300 years ago, compared with the Africa of today. The forebears had resisted, but if today, a huge plane were brought to Nigeria, seeking people to work on slave plantations in the US, from what I saw that Friday, certainly, millions would rush to be on board, voluntarily, even with stiffer chains and iron fetters. However, the encounter of many visitors at the US consulate remind them that though slavery laws have been expunged, the mindset of some consuls remains as it was four centuries ago. “What has changed is the form, not the content of slavery,” a dying applicant seeking medical attention in the US but whose visa was rejected told me that Friday. For one thing, the five-hour experience of this reporter left traces of repugnant memories of Nigerians as underdogs. It appears like a daily routine of trauma. An applicant with kids lined them up on top of a drain near the embassy, all night long, for a 6.30am appointment. Ebong came from Calabar and it was his third trip, having missed former appointments in spite of agonising all night bus travels, spanning 20 hours. Two of his cousins with three kids perished few years ago on their way for a visa appointment. As we snaked along the line, one dead beat ebony black pregnant woman was moaning through the line of largely hopeless applicants, including women, who had to be frisked by male security guards. Outside the embassy, there were no toilets and women and children were at the mercy of a dungeon-like pit, managed by thugs. A young man told of how a pregnant woman was raped near the furious beach. After 5a.m. when the start whistle for the screening was blown, a dutiful chocolate coloured lady announced the rules to applicants. A comic police guard also rolled out the “dos” and “don’ts”, which included not bringing “anointing oil” into the embassy. Let us digress a bit. In 1996, a certain Major Nya was detained by the Directorate of Military Intelligence, (DMI). His offence was that he attended a birthday party the US military attaché held for his daughter. The story came public
through Dr. Bunmi Aborisade, who had also been detained in the underground cell with the Major. Aborisade was later released after which I interviewed him in a story published in The Guardian on Sunday. A death sentence was passed on Aborisade by the then evil regime. That was what the then DMI Director told me, when he insisted I must reproduce Aborisade. Good enough, the US was eventually responsible for Aborisade’s escape and safety. So, in the past, the human rights movement in Nigeria and the US had been good. I’m not sure the situation is the same today. I have been at meetings with former US Ambassadors, where such issues were raised. Today, for hundreds of thousands of Nigerians seeking the US visa for human rights work, scientific research, ill health, human rights conferences, medicare and knowledge-driven events, securing the US visa has become as difficult as an elephant passing through the needle’s eye. But nothing could be so perplexing as the crushing questions sometimes thrown at applicants, especially terrifying questions that infringe on the privacy of the individual and the dignity of the human person. An Ekiti medical doctor at the point of death and needing medical attention abroad was denied last month, because he had “no tie” with his country. Ties are sometimes defined in economic terms, placed far above the family. Leader of the Coalition of Nigerian Right Groups (CONRIG) said his appearance was as if he passed through a “torture chamber.” At the end, the consular told him with ignominy to “go and apply for Visa lottery.” He vowed never to apply again for the US visa in his lifetime. Rasaq Olokooba of the Coalition of O’odua Self Determination Groups (COSEG) had a running battle reminding his questioner that he was going for a conference that promotes global security and his being denied a visa would amount to a classic case of betrayal against the cherished image of the US. The rules say you must have a fat account, suggesting that financial standing overrules the dignity and public reputation of the individual, a horrendous reminder of how the US appears to promote transient ethics at the expense of values that sustain humanity’s utilitarian grandeur. You should also not have a relation in the US, meaning that you largely need to deny your own, since most Nigerians have relations in the US. One applicant once said an embassy official almost hit him with her scorn, when she asked him how many children he had and he said 12.
Visa applications appear to be largely anti-children, as if every Nigerian would take their children abroad for auction or as if children do not have the right to free movement. A source said black officials at the consulate are hardly allowed to go on holidays abroad with their offspring. Another narrated how she was questioned years back over her having another child when she was yet to wean her infant. One first class Yoruba Oba told me he heard of new regulations that reject Obas submitting passports with their heads covered. But it is a taboo for an Oba or King to leave his head barren. Largely, it appears Nigerians are generally seen as dishonest people, which bruises the collective ego. All this must be hovering in the mind of a young white lady as she asked my companion, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) astonishing questions quite out of the rules on paper. Her question went something like “are you pregnant or are you expecting a baby?” Astonished, the respondent shook her head. The white lady then shot a wry smile, the kind of smirk a bank staff gives a poor customer with less than two dollars in her account. The next question could as well have been ‘when last did you have sex?” I thought. She drilled the activist, wanting to know if she had any medical ailment that she would wish to treat in the US. She was hot and flustered. She asked a couple to re-present their fingerprints, “so as to double-check.” An affectionate black lady consul had earlier taken the fingerprints. But she wanted to “double check,” as if the black staff was fly-by-night. As she ordered the retrial, a flux of contemptuous emotion clouded behind her violet eyes, hidden behind the steely glass. She went into a flippant recession, flopping through the data page of the old passport, filled with several visas, while ignoring the new passport. When she was reminded that she was not looking at the new passport, she said, trying to simulate affection: “What were you doing in the US for two months?” That was untrue. Obviously, she had not taken time to study the in and out stamps. The reporter was in the US for a few weeks, and then returned to the US again after two months for another four days. She then feigned that her question was deliberate with a tint of haughty authority. She suddenly let lose the documents, as if they were an overblown piece of cow dung. I thought she could ask her questions, but should have spared her country’s flag, and stop painting graffiti of shame and dishonour. At home, her child asked her, ‘mum, are you really pregnant?’
Sunday, March 2, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Backlash Abraham Ogbodo
08055328079 (Sms only) firstname.lastname@example.org
Light Years Away From Light R SAM Amadi, chairman of the Nigeria ElecD tricity Regulation Council (NERC) was quoted somewhere as saying the Electricity
Distribution Companies also called DISCOs do not have the capacity to distribute the power that is being generated and off loaded on the national grid. I am worried because it is damn too early in the journey to start hearing statements as these. Be that as it may, I refuse to be frustrated. In fact I want to believe that Dr Amadi was either misquoted or quoted out of context. It is also possible that it was I that got the reading wrong. Whichever, it is better not to contemplate that these DISCOs in whose hands our collective destiny lie regarding public electricity are a big mistake. It is not useful restating how the DISCOs came to be. They and the GENCOs which approximate all the generating companies were brought into the power matrix as solutions; and not to further compound the problem of electricity supply. Specifically, the DISCOs and GENCOs are to work to obliterate within the shortest possible time the sour memories of NEPA and PHCN. If they are failing in that arrangement, it means something was wrong with the processes that enthroned them as champions. Today, with 18 companies comprising 10 distribution, six generating and one each transmission and gas companies all doing the business of providing electricity in Nigeria, the task of situating the problem has become enormous. Each time something is said about the state of electricity in the country, it is all about increasing the output from some 3000 or 4000 to 10000 megawatts. Officials talk as if generation is all there is in the power equation. The same Dr. Amadi late last year had projected the attainment of 10000 megawatts by the end of the first quarter of 2014. “By our projection, we will get up to 10000 megawatts by first quarter of 2014 but the commission (Na-
HE centenary celebrations are being rounded T off and the government surely deserves some applause for staging a colourful line up of events. Contractors, suppliers and those who were signed on to render songs and do some acrobatics all deserve commendation. I do hope they were handsomely rewarded. President Jonathan also deserves thumbs up, as the centenary man. But for now, we are back to where we were on Monday last week, which is the reality of a fractured nation that is highly threatened. Last week was a nightmare for many Nigerians; I mean those who still have the capacity to feel pain. It was a most horrible attack when Boko Haram militia went to the Federal Government College, in Yobe State and killed many of our young countrymen. Boko Haram descended so low and shameless to attack defenceless and innocent Nigerians. Before that incident, the president had addressed citizens via a media chat that was not too inspiring. Mr President’s body language still does not give much damn. Good for him, but the man must realise that many of us are looking up to him for earthly hope. When he summons us to a media chat, we look forward to ‘Hard Talk’ on which way for Nigeria. The previous week, the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima was specific on issues of the military not showing capacity and superiority over Boko Haram. He added that politics was driving Boko Haram and charged politicians, including Jonathan to put politics aside and deal with the insurgency. The president had a good opportunity to address the question of politics and Boko Haram. He did not. He also did not stress the advantage the Nigerian army has over Boko Haram, which is the pep-talk and psychological booster that all of us need at this time. Instead, the President was bragging about what would happen if he were to order the military out of Borno, and whether Shettima could continue to remain in Maiduguri. That for me was not the issue. In the first place, the military is owned and put to use by the Federal Government on behalf of the entire country. States do not have own armies and at no point should the Federal Government flaunt ownership of the military. The matter at hand is that the military and all of us are losing the battle against the insurgents and whatever must be done to crush the enemies must be put on the table. Is it politics that is driving Boko Haram; can we get down to the specifics of it, with facts and figures in order to secure the Northeast; who are the politicians that have been linked and what ac-
tional Electricity Regulation Commission, NERC) prefers to expect a much lower figure of 7000” he was reported as saying. The first quarter ends in less than 30 days yet as at today, overall output stands at less than 4000 megawatts. The magic that will double that in four weeks to 7000 is not in sight everything considered. It is now clear that the road to power sufficiency was not properly charted before the journey was begun. The matter was hurriedly presented as if all the critical components of the equation were in alignment. In reality, every component stood and perhaps still stands on a different page. There was no conscious attempt to match whatever is produced at the generating end with the capacity of the DISCOs to push electricity to the final users. Thus, even if all the envisaged power plants come on stream to raise output to say 40000 megawatts, it is not going to translate to improved electricity supply in homes and offices. Both the generating and distributing ends must tie to leverage on the benefits of increased output. This is even granted that the capacity to evacuate what is generated onto the national grid system for distribution shall remain uncompromised. This disconnection between the major ends of the equation looks more like the situation on ground. Whereas government is counting its achievement in the power sector reforms with the number of new thermal stations it is able to commission, the ordinary electricity user who stands at the last point of the chain is waiting for the fanfare of commissioning ceremonies to translate to service. And he may wait for a long time or even forever for the singular reason that the facilities on ground cannot transmit and distribute what is produced. This is why people are still saying nothing has changed in spite of huge official efforts to bring electricity to date. In signing on the DISCOs,
government did not ask the critical question of what the DISCOs were bringing on board. After managing to offset the licensing fees, nothing more outside change of name was required on the part of new investors. They merely replaced the name PHCN with theirs and gladly stepped forward to inherit aging power distribution facilities including transformers some of which were acquired as far back as 1972 when the then Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) and the Niger Dam Authority (NDA) were merged to form NEPA. If it wasn’t seen as a challenge then, today, it has become a big issue delivering new wine in old bottles. The non alignment of upstream investments in the power sector with the downstream challenges is making it look as if nothing is taking place in spite of all the advertised efforts. This explanation is given not to mitigate the extent of government culpability in the power imbroglio and heap the blame on the door step of the DISCOs. In fact, it is to say that the Federal Government socalled roadmap to power reformers was badly plotted. The DISCOs were invited to chop and nobody is known to refuse free lunch offered on a platter of gold. They were not told their commitment to the cooking cauldron. More than three months down the road, we can at least tell them that they have had enough free food even if they were to be operating in Freetown and it is now time for them to make some contribution. The starting point is for the DISCOs to put themselves in a stead to distribute whatever the GENCOs are able to produce. All that the consumer hears are constraints that prevent the DISCOs from operating optimally and so-called efforts by them to come around the problems. We are tired of hearing stories. Good managers do not report efforts or tell stories; they report results. The DISCOs can generate some level of activity to inspire confidence in the consumer. They should be seen moving around street corners replacing old and over stretched transformers, poles and aluminium conductors with new ones. They are not doing this because they do not want to invest. They actually want to reap profit first and the rule which forces consumer to pay a constant N750 access fee every month irrespective of consumption is making it possible for the DISCOs to reap where they did not sew. Power, like the oil and gas, aviation and telecom sectors, is capital intensive. It is not a hall for small dancers. The DISCOs, across board, look like amateur dancers. Now their capacity to re-
SUNDAY NARRATIVE Alabi Williams email@example.com 08116759790 (Sms only)
One Week One Trouble tions have been taken by the Federal Government to bring them to book; are there sacred cows who are known to have links to the militants and is it true that the Peoples Democratic Party is romancing the situation because of 2015? These are posers the Federal Government should have the courage to address, before we continue to put tax-payers’ money to fight some enemies that are invisible to many of us, but are known to some Nigerians. Perhaps, Boko Haram members also study the body language of people in government. They must have listened to the media chat of last Monday and saw that there wasn’t much in it. They went on to rehearse and the result was their visit to Buni, Yadi in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State. The details are too gory to recount, but the most painful aspect is that the insurgents operated for many hours and those innocent students were left unprotected in a year their 100-year old country was celebrating, and under a president who is so patriotic and nationalistic he does not want to see Nigeria dismembered under his watch. We were told how the heartless scoundrels went on to lecture the female students what to do - go and get married. We do not have the luxury of further details of the insurgents ’encounter with the female students because they are not good for the ears. Meanwhile, the other time they operated in one Borno community, Boko Haram members took with them a number of teenage female students. Nobody has given any update regarding the fate of those innocent girls. So, what is so precious about this country that somebody is guarding so jealously? What is more precious than those young boys who were slaughtered for no offence of theirs and the young girls who are being violated ceaselessly without protection? No country worth that name would tolerate that nonsense, not even the tiny State of Israel.
That assault of Monday/Tuesday night did not minister some homily to somebody that Nigerians were mourning and were in no mood for any celebration. While it was not practicable to do an outright cancellation, since some foreign dignitaries had arrived for the centenary festival, nothing stopped the organisers from flying our flag at half mast, to at least, show that we feel real pain, beyond the numerous and familiar speeches of condemnation. On Wednesday, the president’s centenary speech did not betray pangs of bereavement. We had lost some young men, some of our future leaders in a manner that should make a president weep openly. He may have wept in his closet, but that is not enough. Many Nigerians who are far from Yobe have wept profusely and are still crying because no matter what, this humanity is one. And if you target innocent children anywhere, you are targeting all of us. Instead, Mr. President’s priority was that ‘Nigerians were destined by God to live together’. Does that destiny preclude those Yobe boys and those who are being killed daily in Borno, Adamawa, in the Plateau and in Southern Kaduna; and those who will be killed this week? God forbid. Hear our president; “I have often expressed the conviction that our amalgamation was not a mistake. While our union may have been inspired by considerations external to our people, I have no doubt that we are destined by God Almighty to live together as one big nation, united in diversity.” Where did God sit Mr. President to show him the destiny of Nigeria? Or, is he referring to Nigerians who are held up in the highbrow areas of Maitama and Asokoro, as those who alone are to benefit from this destiny? Come on President Jonathan, show some tact. That same Wednesday, as if to remind Nigerians that the President does not mean what he was declaring or that he was not saying the
main in the dancing hall is becoming part of the many issues in the unending power reforms in Nigeria. That is not all. Even if the DISCOs manage eventually to dance well, it does so end the problem. The new initiatives called Independent Power Plants (IPPs) which are expected to boost power output to new measures upon completion are all thermal stations. It means the plants shall depend on yet another variable – gas – to run. In the equation, the pipe network that will ensure this gas flows to fire the turbines of the thermal stations is as important as the transmission line that takes the produced electricity to substations for distribution. This is why the Nigerian Gas Company, suppliers of the gas, is in the middle of the power triangle that connects the GENCOs, DISCOs and the Canadian managed Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to a common purpose. And this component which yields to the vagaries of the turbulence in the Niger Delta where the gas is produced is by far more difficult to manage. In other words, if all ends are sealed but the gas pipes are left unattended, electricity will not flow. Some of the official explanations have been that electricity supply fluctuates as a result of disruption of gas supply lines. The GENCOs and DISCOs often paint a picture of helplessness when presenting this matter. And they cannot be faulted. The Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) which supplies the gas is a monopolist. The other is the TCN which exclusively transmits the power generated. The GENCOs and DISCOs must work with these two octopuses anyhow. If the NGC fails, it is total darkness even if the GENCOs have capacity to produce 40000 megawatts from their numerous thermal stations. It is the same if the TCN fails to put the 40000 megawatts on the grid for distribution by the DISCOs. This is the full picture that government is not presenting fully as officials keep equating generating capacity with total capacity to deliver electricity. It is needless to say that all the puzzles have not fallen in place and we are still light years away from electricity. I am really sorry to get this blunt. Meanwhile, it is in our best interest to seek or strengthen the alternatives open to us. One of the things we can do immediately is to waive duties on generators so that the stuff can become more affordable. Another is to stop all this idle talk about non remittance of $20 billion by the NNPC and beg the corporation to forget the Sanusi embarrassment and continue to work hard at ensuring the steady supply of fuel so that our generators can keep running.
truth about Nigeria, Boko Haram again visited three communities in Adamawa State. According to eye-witness accounts, they came in a convoy of 50 vehicles, killing many and setting fires to a bank, a filling station and a church. It is as if we are now being served a weekly dose of savagery attacks. Given all of that, it is in the president’s best interest to stick to what he knows and leave the details of what Nigeria would be to the proposed Confab. He should concern himself with his tenure and what happens between now and May 29 2015. He should not impose any destiny on Nigerians. The concern now is how to rescue our people from the militants. The military has said it would change tactics and that what we’re seeing are desperate acts of a retreating enemy. But an Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi was reported to have declared that if Jonathan is out of the presidency, Boko Haram will cease. That is not news and that is supposed to be politics. In a free and fair democratic environment, people should own their opinions and do whatever they like with it, provided they do not employ violence as a vehicle to drive their desires. When the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) suggested that elections might not take place in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states come 2015, based on the prevailing security situation, the opposition went up in arms. To demonstrate that Yobe was safe to hold elections, the state government went on to hold council elections, wherein the All Progressives Congress (APC) won all the council chairs. During that election, Boko Haram did not stage any attack. They did not come out to disrupt the election and as far as the state government was concerned, Yobe was very safe. That suggests the insurgents are intelligent enough to locate soft targets? How come they do not know the road to Government House, Damaturu or the way to the National Assembly, Abuja? How many politicians so far have fallen direct victim of Boko Haram? The point is that it does not make sense to kill one student of a Federal Government College because you do not like the face of one man, not to talk of fifty students and many villages rendered desolate. These and more are not talks merely for the pages of Newspapers. The Confab is the place to discuss these weighty matters. They are beyond Mr. President and they are not matters to be left for a political class that is overfed and overweight.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 11
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Outlook Africa At The Oscars By Adekeye Adebajo HE most prestigious film awards – the Oscars – with a global audience of about 40 million, will be held in Hollywood tonight (Sunday 2 March). This event has been criticised in the past for focusing too much attention on white actors, directors, and screenwriters, while ignoring the achievements of black artistes. In the last 84 years, less than four per cent of acting awards went to people of African descent. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences (Ampas) - whose 6,000 members choose Oscar winners – has also been criticised for lacking diversity, with 94 per cent of the members being white and 77 per cent male in 2012. This year has, however, been different, and could prove historic for the descendants of Africa and its Diaspora. Nigerian-Briton Chiwetel Ejiofor has been nominated for best actor; Kenya’s Lupita Nyong’o for best supporting actress; Somalia’s Barkhad Abdi for best supporting actor; Grenadian-Briton, Steve McQueen for best director (and his film 12 years A Slave for best picture); Egypt’s Jehane Noujain for best documentary; and African-American, John Ridley, for best adapted screenplay. Ejiofor and Nyong’o both starred in McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, which won nine nominations. Four black artistes have won Oscars for best male actor: American-born Bahamian, Sidney Poitier, in 1963 (Lilies of the Field); and three African Americans: Denzel Washington in 2001 (Training Day); Jamie Foxx in 2004 (Ray); and Forrest Whitaker in 2006 (The Last King of Scotland). Five African Americans have won Oscars for best supporting actress: Harrie McDaniel in 1939 (Gone with the Wind) – she had to seat on a segregated table during the award ceremony in an apartheid America; Whoopi Goldberg in 1990 (Ghost); Jennifer Hudson in 2006 (Dreamgirls); Mo’Nique in 2009 (Precious); and Octavia Spencer in 2011 (The Help). Four African Americans have won for best supporting actor: Louis Gossett, Jr. in 1992 (An Officer and a Gentleman); Denzel Washington in 1989 (Glory); Cuba Gooding, Jr. in 1996 (Jerry Maguire); and Morgan Freeman in 2004 (Million Dollar Baby). Benin’s Djimon Hounsou became the first African-born artiste to be nominated for an Oscar (best supporting actor) in 2003 He was again nominated the following year for Blood Diamond. No black director has ever won an Oscar, and only John Singleton (in 1999, for Boyz n the Hood) and Lee Daniels (in 2009, for Precious) have ever been nominated. If he were to win tonight, Steve McQueen would become not only the first black director to triumph, but his film could also become the first ever black-directed movie to win an Oscar for best picture. African American T.J. Martin is the only black director to have won an Oscar for best documentary (in 2012 for Undefeated); while Geoffrey Fletcher is the only black person to have won for best adapted screenplay (for
Precious in 2009). The South African film, Tsotsi, memorably won the Oscar for best foreign language movie in 2006. The film, 12 Years A Slave, deals with one of the most shameful episodes in American history: the 250 years of slavery in which 20 million black people perished, with the country failing spectacularly to live up to its founding ideals of liberty and justice. Even star-studded movies about the subject like “Glory” (1989), “Amistad” (1997), and “Beloved” (1998) failed dismally to attract large audiences. Slavery is a largely forgotten subject in the American imagination. This is why the surprising commercial success of Steve McQueen’s uncompromising film is so important. The movie is already being compared to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Oscar-winning Holocaust film, Schindler’s List, for its authentically haunting depiction of the “banality of evil.” 12 Years A Slave is a true autobiographical account of Solomon Northup, a black middle-class violinist and family man, who is tricked in 1841 into travelling from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York, to Washington D.C. as part of a performing circus, only to find himself sold into slavery and transported to work on three plantations in Louisiana for twelve years. The film is unrelenting in depicting the unspeakable cruelty and savagery of psychotic white plantation owners involving the lynching, whipping, and rape of black slaves. The artistic elegance of the cinematography vividly depicts the casual brutality, sheer helplessness, and monotonous tedium of plantation life. Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates, Jr. described the movie as “the best film about slavery ever made from the point of view of a slave.” Infantile African American critic, Armond White, dismissed it as “torture porn.” The fact that the slave-fuelled cotton industry enriched America’s economy has, however, never been officially acknowledged, let alone repaid. Two brilliant Oscar-deserving performances stand out in 12 Years a Slave: the Nigerian-British lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor; and Kenya’s Lupita Nyong’o as the concubine of a cruel slave-master. Ejiofor’s performance is particularly masterful in depicting the indomitable dignity and stoicism of his subject, while the suicidal Nyong’o perfectly captures the pathos of her unimaginable situation. The 36-year old Ejiofor was born in London to Nigerian parents. He witnessed the horrific death of his 39-year old father (a medical doctor) in a ghastly car accident in Nigeria at the age of 11, and the scar on his face is only the outward expression of inner scars that this melancholy, reserved, and sensitive actor still carries. As a reclusive child, Ejiofor would lock himself up in his room and read aloud Shakespeare’s plays. Having studied at British private school, Dulwich, where he acted from the age of 15, Ejiofor is highly intelligent and eloquent. He dropped out of acting
school at 19 having landed a role in Amistad, playing a slave in his first film as he would in the one that earned him an Oscar nomination. He often plays restrained and calm characters as in Dirty Pretty Things, a film that delightfully explored the life of London’s immigrant underclass, in which Ejiofor played a Nigerian doctor who drives a cab while working in a plush hotel. The workaholic Ejiofor went on to act in Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, and Spike Lee’s Inside Man. The last film also involved Denzel Washington in the lead role, with whom Ejiofor teamed up again in American Gangster. The Nigerian-Briton also masterfully played Thabo Mbeki in Endgame, and another South African politician in Gillian Slovo’s Red Dust. He has starred in 25 films in a two-decade career. Ejiofor demonstrated his versatility with a breath-taking performance of Othello that won him an Olivier – the highest British theatre acting prize – in 2007. An artiste par excellence, he talks of the “alchemy of acting” and the “brushwork” of his craft. A meticulous actor, he travelled from Nigeria across the Atlantic and to the Congo to prepare for two movie roles. It was Ejiofor’s “humanity” and “dignity” that attracted him to McQueen. The Nigerian-Briton is, however, quietly and astutely subversive and politically conscious. He played the role of martyred Congolese Pan-African leader, Patrice Lumumba, in Martiniquan Aimé Césaire’s play A Season in the Congo, a movie version in which Ejiofor will also star. The NigerianBriton’s short film, Columbite Tantalite, was also set in the Congo and exposed the exploitation of global capitalism. In playing the role of Solomon Northup, Ejiofor was reminded of his Igbo roots in eastern Nigeria, from where many of the slaves crossed the Atlantic. He at first declined to play the role out of fear of failure and self-doubt. His own parents had fled to England during the Biafran war, and Ejiofor recently starred in Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun which deals with the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970 in which one million mostly Igbos perished. The 30-year old cosmopolitan ingénue, Lupita Nyong’o, was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents (her father is the politician Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o). She spent much of her childhood in Kenya, before going to the US to attend Hampshire College and Yale School of Drama. 12 Years a Slave is amazingly her first film, a “breakout” role she landed as she was graduating from Yale. Nyong’o drew inspiration from Whoopi Goldberg’s performance in The Color Purple, noting that Goldberg “looked like me, she had hair like mine, she was dark like me.” The Kenyan always felt that she had an instinct for acting - which she describes as “mysterious and magical” - but needed the tools provided by drama school to fulfil her dream. The 28-year old Barkhad Abdi was equally nominated for an Oscar in his first
film role. Born in Somalia, he left the wartorn country at the age of seven, arriving in the American city of Minneapolis seven years later through Yemen, after his family had won the green-card lottery. He was working as a limousine driver when he auditioned for the role of a Somali pirate who hijacks an American cargo ship in Captain Phillips (with Tom Hanks in the lead role). After his Oscar nomination, Abdi’s father asked him: “What is this thing everybody is congratulating you about? You didn’t win, then why is everyone so happy?” The humble, workaholic, and sometimes prickly 44-year old Steve McQueen had a difficult childhood in a British school, where he had to deal with deep racial prejudice. He now lives in Amsterdam with his Dutch wife. After studying at London’s Chelsea College of Arts and Goldsmiths, he won Britain’s prestigious Turner prize in 1999 for his video art. He had directed two previous films before 12 Years a Slave: Hunger about an Irish prisoner on a hunger strike, and Shame about sex addiction. His outrage at the amnesia about slavery compared to the greater focus on the Jewish Holocaust, pushed him to make 12 Years a Slave. His art-house style is prominent in his Oscar-nominated movie. McQueen is currently planning a major television drama about Britain’s historically marginalised black community. Jehane Noujaim’s “The Square” became the first Egyptian film to earn an Oscar nomination, covering the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 up until events that led to the ousting of Mohammed Morsi last year. The documentary unfolds mainly through the eyes of three protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Finally, beside 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley’s other screenplays have included Red Tails, All is By My Side, and Three Kings. The Golden Globe-winning 12 Years a Slave faces stiff competition from Gravity and American Hustle; Ejiofor will be competing against Golden Globe winner, Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club); Nyong’o will have to get past Golden Globe winner, Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle); Abdi will have to outshine Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer’s Club) and Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave); McQueen will have to defeat Mexican, Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity); while Ridley will have to overcome Spike Jonze (Her). Oscarologist, Mark Kermode of The Guardian, dismissed the Oscars as “an essentially frivolous sideshow, the petty foibles and prejudices of which have little or nothing to do with the art of great movie-making.” Tinseltown certainly knows how to put on a show and razzmatazz is synonymous with Hollywood. For one night, however, the hope is that substance will triumph over shallowness, and that at least three out of the six children of Africa and its Diaspora will come away with golden statuettes tonight. Dr. Adebajo is Executive Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, South Africa.
By Obe Ess
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Editorial Poverty Alleviation The Wrong Way T
HE recent warning by the Lagos State Government to politicians, philanthropists and other affluent members of society to stop donating motorcycles and tricycles to people, as supposed means of poverty alleviation and employment is really timely and commendable. It has appropriately challenged a disgraceful, even insulting practice that has gradually become the norm in most communities across the country. Commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders are on the increase because a mindset has over time been built that it is a lucrative trade thus making people jettison quest for real skills and making governments too lazy in dealing appropriately with challenges of transportation on one hand and unemployment on the other. Just embarrassingly, the donation of motorcycles and tricycles has become a veritable means of grassroots mobilisation, especially, by politicians, who give little thought to the sustainability of such an empowerment strategy. Such donations may give succour to the recipients in the short-run; it is nevertheless, unsustainable, especially, if the beneficiaries lack appropriate skills for self-employment. There is need, therefore, for the well-to-do in all communities to collaborate with governments in finding a lasting solution to the issue of poverty and mass unemployment, especially, among the youths. Half measures or mere tokenism such as buying motorcycles or tricycles for people will not solve the problem. It could actually aggravate it instead. In the case of Lagos State, Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa, who issued the warning, explained that those vehicles were even at variance with the transportation master plan of the government. He suggested that rather than purchase multiple motorcycles and tricycles, the benevolent Nigerians should instead team up with government in its mass transit policy by pooling resources together to invest in public transport-related empowerment and wealth creation programme. He stressed that government will not condone the menace of motorcycles and tricycles, especially, in restricted streets. But Opeifa did not state how this approach would benefit the targeted recipients. Without doubt, the practice of donating motorcycles and tricycles under the guise of empowerment is not good enough. Politicians are the guilty lot and they don’t seem to appreciate the negative impact of this gesture. What seem to matter are the short-term benefits. Granted that the gesture provides short-term employment; it is despairing for people to wait for donations of vehicles as the only means of survival. Empowerment doesn’t amount to tokenism but teaching them skills that would be useful to them for the rest of their lives? It is needless to donate, say, in a rural community, hundreds of such motorcycles to folks, whose immediate need is not transportation. Given the bad roads, wear and tear coupled with poor maintenance, within six months or so, the vessels would collapse, and the recipients would be back to square one. Against this backdrop, there are smatter ways of empowering people. They could be given training through which they acquire skills that would in turn create wealth and employment. Acquisition of skills is better and is sustainable while tokenism is counterproductive. In a way, it would seem a deliberate attempt to eternally pauperise the people. Skills such as plumbing, carpentry, hairdressing, bakery, dressmaking, masonry, bead making, are in high demand. Youths who have no opportunity to further their education after secondary school should learn these trades and many may in turn become employers of labour. This promotes self-actualisation more than being motorcycle and tricycle drivers. Philanthropists and politicians should look out for youths that have one skill or the other and support them to set up their own businesses. There are thousands of youths who have acquired needed skills but lack the financial capacity to set up their businesses. People with skills should be trained. The technical schools, which have been neglected for so long should be revived to provide the platform for acquiring lifelong skills. Nothing is wrong with people giving or receiving donations but there is the need to re-orientate the people on sustainability. Yes, there is the hindrance to these propositions such as lack of electricity and infrastructure, but this remains only a challenge to the extent that the government has not fully surmounted it. One viable option is for the people to come together and form cooperatives to gain access to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) finance. The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), was created in 2003, to promote the development of micro, small and medium enterprises. But the agency has not lived up to expectation. The same applies to the micro finance banks, licensed to leverage small businesses but have become a huge disappointment. There is need, therefore, to reconfigure the SMEs to meet emerging realities as small and medium scale enterprises form the bedrock of any economy. And all empowerment schemes by government and private bodies or individuals should be rooted in this reality.
Fashola’s World-Class LASU Lagos State Governor SsaidIR:Babatunde Raji Fashola he wants to turn LASU into a world-class University. Can you please ask him for who? Who stands to benefit from it? The rich or the poor? Definitely, not the poor. The poor cannot afford N350, 000 tuition fee. The rich will not send their children to public universities;
they would rather prefer local private or foreign universities. Who then stands to benefit from this proposed world-class institution? The result will be a drastic decline in student population, which is already manifesting. In the pre-fee hike era, a class in the Faculty of Law e.g. 200 level had about 150 students but today, the
Faculty of Law has only 15, 100 level students and 25, 200 level students. We cannot allow this deterioration to continue, we must not allow the ruling elite to continue to deprive children of the poor their right to affordable (if not free) university education. • Ewebiyi James, Lagos.
Stop Misleading Global Community! The first time I came StionIR: to know that falsificaof historical facts by those in power is responsible for the inability of the international community to know the truth and address it as such was when I met a South Sudanese in Leipzig, Germany, in 2009 or so. He said ordinary Sudanese people saw themselves as a people, north-south, Arabs/Africans, and this reflected in the level at which they inter-marry. He himself was a mixed blood. He saw that the international community was subjected to a kind of invincible ignorance by what it is fed with by those in power. Imagine what even South Sudanese people are doing to themselves, based on the leadership deficit we are talking about! I also
came to know, through some other life experiences that many of those called “diplomats” are usually among the most easily compromised human beings; they rarely tell the truth as it is; they are rarely straightforward; they are made to feel fine by those in power. Luru and ashapa are too kinds of soup in Yorubaland. Whenever people want to lump issues together, to create confusion, the Yoruba will say, don’t mix-up luru with ashapa. That is what President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) and his supporters are doing trying to lump the Boko Haram of the killed Muhammed Yusuf (2009) with the political Boko Haram that emerged in 2011 after GEJ was pronounced the win-
ner of the presidential election. Until the Boko Haram of Yusuf was provoked by some of his fellow Muslims in 2009, the group was in seclusion, as peaceful as monks. The seclusion was actually what some Muslims saw as satanic, whereas the group wanted a life away from the corruption which, in their view, Western literacy imported. You may agree with boko haram (book corruption) if you know the extent our oil wealth is stolen through paper work fraud. But today’s Boko Haram is not Yusuf’s Boko Haram; the current one is out to fight political disorder. Nigeria must mend its cracked political wall. •Pius Abioje, University of Ilorin.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 13
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Global Food Waste Sets Back Fight against Poverty
FG Begins lifting Of easter Pilgrims
By Fabian Odum OOd losses and wastes occurring in both developed and developing countries have become stumbling block to poverty reduction, a target so pursued by various world development agencies. essentially, there is loss or waste of between 25-33 per cent of the one billion metric tonne world’s food production, according to the most recent edition of the World Bank’s quarterly Food Price Watch. Ironically, while the developed countries account for 56
From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu ederal Government yesterday commenced the lifting of easter pilgrims from the Southeast to Israel at the akanu Ibiam International airport, enugu. The first batch of 187 pilgrims from anambra State were lifted aboard an atlasJet airbus from the airport as part of the four-batch 700 pilgrims involved in the journey. Performing the flag off ceremony on behalf of the Federal Government, anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, said the development has ended the stress suffered by pilgrims from the zone going to the holy land through abuja, Port Harcourt and lagos airports. He stated that President Goodluck Jonathan had in his desire to address the marginalisation of the zone, approved the lifting of pilgrimage from enugu for the southeast, stressing that it would go a long way in impacting to the economy of the zone. Commending the gesture Obi urged the pilgrims to pray for the peace of the country, especially anambra State as it embarks on its transition, saying that should the incoming administration work the way his outgoing regime has worked, anambra would be number one in africa.
per cent of the food waste, developing nations follow closely with only 12 notches down at 44 per cent. In a graphic presentation, the report released at the weekend, which cited FaO and World resources Institute, indicates that developing regions like africa and asia have high undernourishment indices. The loss estimates to 400 to 500 calories per person, per day in africa and asia, and as much as 1,520 calories in the developed world. President, World Bank
Group, Jim Yong Kim said, “The amount of food wasted and lost globally is shameful. Millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night, and yet millions of tons of food end up in trashcans or spoiled on the way to market. We have to tackle this problem in every country in order to improve food security and to end poverty.” The report added, “In addition to their impact on food insecurity, food loss and waste cause huge economic, energy, and natural resource inefficiencies and have
poverty implications.” But it proffers potential solutions to prevent food loss and waste such as ‘changing agricultural production techniques, making large investments in transport and storage infrastructure and changing consumer and commercial behavior. The Food Price Watch reported that global food prices declined by three per cent over the last quarter but remain close to historical peaks, driven by record-setting harvests in wheat, maize and rice, increased supplies, and
Nigeria, Israel Seal Pact To Boost agriculture, research From Joke Falaju, Abuja IGerIaN and Israeli govN ernment on Friday in abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost knowledge transfer in micro irrigation farming, horticulture, livestock production, aquaculture, mechanisation and sustainable land management. The MoU signed between the Minister of agriculture and rural development, dr. akinwumi adesina and his Israeli counterpart, Yain Shamir, was to facilitate the management and adoption of improved modern technology to boost agriculture production in the country. In his remark, adesina noted that Nigeria is ready to tap into the huge knowledge resources that enabled Israel with a meagre resource to feed themselves and even export, compare to Nigeria with huge resource and is barely self-sufficient in food production. He said “it is interesting to note that about three to four per cent of Israelis are able to
feed their country and still provide for export, even though the country is located in the desert, it has been able to overcome the challenge posed by the hash climatic condition compared to Nigeria with enough natural resources and about 70 per cent of the population engage in farming and we are still struggling to feed ourselves.” Speaking at the signing of the MoU, the minister stressed the need for partnership with the government in the area of drip irrigation technology, adding that only three per cent of arable land is irrigated in Nigeria because the cost of irrigation is quite high given the cost of constructing dams. adesina, however, said the government is focusing more on providing small-scale irrigation system that would enable farmers to farm all year round. He informed that the nation is ready to benefit from Israeli experience in the area of horticulture, especially the greenhouse practice.
atijere Indigenes To Meet In lagos TIJere Indigenes, lagos a Chapter, holds general meeting today, Sunday, March 2 by 12 at agbonifo Crescent, Unity Bus Stop, Unity estate, egbeda Idimu road, lagos. The meeting, which will be presided by Chief (Mrs.) lola ejagbomo
agbonifo, the host, will feature traditional dance, drama and other theatrics. The special guest is Oba Olumide edema (JP), The Molokun of atijere land while Chief (Mrs). dupe edegbami Ikuomola, Chief (Mrs.) Bisi Iwajuomo will be among the dignitaries
adenuga Gets entrepreneurship award HaIrMaN of Globacom, gle for Nigeria’s IndependC dr. Mike adenuga, has ence/Pioneer been honoured by Presi- Political leaders, Pioneers in dent Goodluck Jonathan for his outstanding entrepreneurial exploit. adenuga was bestowed with the prestigious Accomplished Contemporary Entrepreneur at the grand finale of the celebration of the country’s centenary anniversary held in abuja Friday. The President described adenuga as a distinguished entrepreneur and renowned employer of labour. Ninety-nine other eminent Nigerians were honored at the event in various categories, including Contributors to the Making of Nigeria, Heroes of the Strug-
Professional Callings/Careers, Pioneers in Commerce and Industry, Promoters of democracy in Nigeria and Heroes in Global Sports Competition. adenuga, who is also the Chairman of the Mike adenuga Group, has been previously recognised for his exploits in business, his commitment to philanthropy and local capacity building. He has made indelible marks in strategic sectors such as oil/gas, telecommunications, aviation, banking and real estate, making him one of the most versatile african entrepreneurs.
The Minister noted that the bilateral agreement also covers the development of agro industrial town in rural areas, so, as to facilitate the provision of infrastructure and building of small towns to encourage young farmers in agribusiness and discourage rural urban migration. Shamir earlier in his remark stressed the need to invest more funds into research and development, saying it was through research that Israel was able to transform its desert land into green.
He said, “to ensure increased food supply, more money should be invested in research development, because it was through research that we were able to make our desert land green and we are willing to share with Nigeria.” Shamir noted that they are entering into the partnership to foster friendship and cooperation, saying Israel is willing to take part in the completion and implementation of agriculture transformation agenda, and make Nigeria benefit from her ex-
stronger global stocks. It said domestic prices showed large variations across countries, as is typical, whereas stable prices continue among a number of regions, while mixed trends are evident in east and South asia as a result of seasonal factors, procurement policies, and localised production shortfalls. The Bank’s Food Price Index in January 2014 was 11 per cent lower than a year ago and 18 per cent below the alltime peak in august 2012. “However, prices over the last quarter declined by only half the amount of the previous quarter (June-October 2013). Wheat prices, notably declined by 15 per cent this quarter, reversing previously seen increases (especially in October 2013), and the price of internationally traded maize fell by two per cent, extending the consecutive price decline to nine months,” the Food Price Watch said. The report lists the economic, environmental, natural resources, and poverty implications of food loss and waste and recommends engineering and policy interventions in developing and developed countries to tackle this growing issue.
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Sunday, March 2, 2014
HealTH Eye Can See Programme Targets 2,000 Blind Patients In 2014 Paul Adunwoke
He blind and visually impaired members of SePlaT’s host communities would have cause to smile as Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc., operators of the NPDC/SePlaT joint venture returns with the third edition of its ‘eye Can See’ programme. The programme, a key component of SePlaT’s Corporate Social Investment is a health-focused commu-
nity engagement initiative, which, focuses on bringing free, qualitative and comprehensive eye care to members of its host communities. The programme has reached over 4,000 people and will extend to another 2,000 this year. a statement released by the company noted that “SePlaT will continue to prosecute far-reaching community engagement initiatives in our host communities because we believe in im-
proving the quality of life of the average Nigerian, especially those in our communities. “a blind man is a burden and we are committed to relieving members of our host community of that burden with such a laudable initiative as this which empower them by impacting positively on their health and wellbeing.” The 2014 edition of the ‘eye Can See’
programme kicked off at Okpe Hall Sapele on February 27, 2014 and will last for three weeks across 42 communities in Delta and edo States. like in previous years, seasoned opticians/ophthalmologists and consultants, who will treat and perform surgical operations on those requiring it, will support the programme. There will be a follow-up check on patients that had surgery two weeks after the end of the programme.
Consequences Of Glossophobia By Passy Amaraegbu
ale couldn’t come to terms with the fact that W after all his labour and sacrifice to secure the prominent and profitable contract with the state ministry of agriculture, he still lost the opportunity. afterall his company had all the relevant expertise and experience. among the three companies that bidded for the contract, his company was the least expensive. Truly everything was working in their favour until the final session where each company had to defend their quotations, capacity, expertise and experience to execute the supply of fertilizer to the farmers in the 25 local governments area of the state. This was the undoing of the company. adio, the leader of special agroservices limited, a subsidiary of Wale consortium who handled the final presentation ended up with a mediocre performance. It was unlike him. The reason was obvious. Five minutes Opthamological Surgeon, Dr. L. Isaiah; Chairman (left), Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Delta State Chapter, Dr. Omo Ogoja; General Manager, Health, Safety, Security and Environment of Seto the time of presentation, adio received a text plat, Mr. Bryte Oghor; General Manager Corporate Affairs & New Business Development of Seplat, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku and Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Mrs. Esther Icha at the opening message that his father was in coma. ceremony of SEPLAT’s ‘Eye Can See’ Programme in Sapele…yesterday. Of course, from that moment, adio, lost his composure and confidence. The impact of that bad news was so evident that, he was nervous and uncoordinated during the final presentation of the M.D., and Dr. Harold Henning Jr., M.D., will contact. The result was that agroservices limited, By Kamal Tayo Oropo which means “the house for women,” has perform surgeries at the new hospital and lost the contract. been nicknamed “the Pleasure Hospital,” He world’s first clitoral repair hospital Consequently, one of the disadvantages of public also train other surgeons to do it. since the surgery “will restore their dignity for victims of Female Genital Mutilation speaking anxiety (PSa) is loss of opportunities. “The goal is to help as many victims as as women as well as their ability to experi(FGM), located in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina possible have this surgery, which will also The loss can be in the area of business or career, ence physical pleasure, which was taken Faso, will open on Thursday, March 7, acpolitics or governance, academics or intellectual help discourage the barbaric practice of from them against their will.” cording to a statement released by the USadvantage, personal or public endeavour. One FGM,” Gary said. “When its effects can be explaining how the idea of the hospital based, nonprofit organisation Clitoraid. other peculiar area of regrettable loss of opportusurgically reversed for free, what would be came about, Gary said: “after spiritual Chantal Compaore, First lady of Burkina nity is in academics when final year students are the point? leader Maitreya Rael heard about a clitoral Faso, will preside at the ceremony. required to defend their theses or dissertations. Nigeria in the past had the highest abrepair procedure developed by Dr. Pierre The hospital was built with donated funds Those who stumble and fumble here compound solute number of cases of FGM in the Foldes in France, he launched Clitoraid and and through the efforts of worldwide volworld amounting for about one quarter of their own problems. Some are required to repeat the idea of building clinics that offer free unteers. the defence after correction or return to the field the estimated 115-130 million circumcised “Having Chantal Compaore’s support and surgery for FGM victims. after the United to begin a fresh research. women in the world. Nations adopted a resolution banning FGM, presence on March 7 is such a wonderful Ordinarily most women think that every male The practice is founded in traditional bethere’s been universal agreement that it’s a way to celebrate this opening!” said Clifind it easy to relate or talk with them. This is far liefs and societal pressure to conform. Naviolation of human rights and the integrity toraid Communications Director Nadine tions, including Nigeria, in the last decade from the truth. a significant percentage of the of individuals. and eliminating FGM is esGary. “She has been a steadfast voice recognised the practice as harmful to chil- male folk struggle with glossophobia when relatsential for women’s health, so governments against the horrors of FGM, and we’re honing and discussing with the female folk –at least at dren and women and have embarked on must keep passing laws against it. But Rael ored that she will be there.” the initial stage. Imagine that the fear of chatting corrective measures, aimed at addressing Gary said hundreds of women are already realised that it’s also important to repair up a lady will deny a man the opportunity of meetthe end of the practice openly and enerthe damage already caused to living vicon Clitoraid’s waiting list to have the suring his heart- throb or wife to be. getically, through the formulation of politims. This hospital is the result of his vigery, which will be free for any woman who Personal distress is yet another consequence of cies, programmes, legislation and sion.” wants it. PSa. This distress affects both the body and mind. behavioral change that has currently imGary said Clitoraid volunteer surgeons “Their wait is almost over,” Gary said. She at the realm of the mind, such psychological pact reduction in prevalence. said the new facility, called “the Kamkaso,” from the United States, Dr. Marci Bowers, symptoms like; worry, anxiety, fear, flight, mental agitation, sometimes confusion, clogging of thoughts and their likes may set in. These will precipitate physiological and somatic distresses such as body trembling, dilation of the pupils, sweatBy Moji Solanke Of course, given a choice between manag- learn how to heal and find healing by this ing, fast breathing, heart palpitation and even in method, spoke of how long standing illing an illness ad infinitum, or healing it HeSe days, it is becoming more and more some cases fever. The victim experiences panic atnesses were permanently healed. completely, everyone would opt for healcommon to hear how many individuals The desire to be free of a chronic illness re- tack which leads to flight or fight. are learning to live with a variety of diseases. ing. So, is it right to settle for second best, at this juncture, both the physiological and psymoves the skepticism of trying out a new or should not every individual at least inThese ailments are usually managed with immunity of the victim has been brochological one form of therapy or another, but the indi- vestigate the possibility of permanent heal- method. It makes good sense to consider ken down. What began as fear of uncertainty and the merits of a system, which continues to ing, regardless of the name or nature of a vidual is expected to deal with, and live with the unknown has degenerated into a serious and prove its efficacy, and has withstood the disease? Mary Baker eddy, a religious the ailment, for the rest of their lives. Often complex health problem. test of time. eddy offers this spiritual, yet the medical verdict of such ailments is ‘treat- thinker and Christian healer, born in the Glossophobia also negatively impacts on the selfscientific and practical, method of healing United States of america in the nineteenth able but not curable’. and in cases where the of the individual. First, it creates an inherworth to every sincere seeker who desires healing, diagnosis also reveals that the disease is not century, suffered for the better part of the loss of self-confidence in one’s ability psychic ent rather than having to learn to live with less first 45 years of her life from several ailpotentially terminal, or life threatening, to perform a specific task such as public speaking. than sound health. ments. She railed against having to cope there has been a sigh of relief and even a It must become apparent to everyone that Unfortunately, this can (and does) spread to the sense of gratitude. Then follows a regimen of with, or constantly manage the myriad ailPSa sickness cannot be the legitimate status of inability to handle other functions. again, ments, which assailed her, for the rest of treatment, to be adhered to strictly, often on predisposes the victim to public negative evaluathe man made in the image and likeness of a daily basis, in a bid to manage the effects of her life. So she investigated the different tion (esteem). Together, the loss of personal cona perfect, benevolent and loving Creator. types of treatment available during her the illness, and keep the untoward sympfidence and negative evaluation by other people Therefore, choosing healing over the unday, in the hope of finding permanent toms under tight control. Indeed there is work against the personality of the victim. The rehealing. Finally in 1866, she discovered the ending management of a disease is sensicertainly something to be said for this sult is the exacerbation of inferiority complex and ble, even if the requirements include progress in medical therapy; and physicians science of spiritual healing, and set forth neurotic tendencies in the individual. In the next becoming more spiritually aware, through the rules in a book she titled ‘Science and and medical researchers would be quick to edition, we consider the possible remedies. Till study of God’s Word and exercising faith, Health with key to the Scriptures’. For the point out, and rightfully so, the many indithen, cheers! rather merely talking faith. next forty five years, she proved the efficacy viduals, whose quality of life has benefited of this system of healing in her own experifrom treatment that manages health probDr. Passy Amaraegbu, A clinical psychologist lives in Lagos. firstname.lastname@example.org ence, and in the lives of others. She was lems. email@example.com completely healed. Many who came to
World’s 1st Clitoral Repair Hospital For FGM Victims Opens T
Managing Illness Or Healing It?
Sunday, March 2, 2014
P/17 SPECIALREPORT P/23 BIZAGRO P/39 CBN/NNPC: Between LASU: The Waning Glory CADP Fish Farmersâ€™ Autonomy And Accountability Products For US Market Of An Institution
REWANE: Inspiring Youths To Reach For Greater Heights
Sunday, March 2, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
REWANE:Inspiring Youths To Reach For Greater Heights By Gbenga Salau HOUGH she was far away in the United States of America, yet Misan Rewane never forgot the challenges confronting many Nigerians and by extension, West African youths. And this was why one bright day in 2012, Misan and three of her mates, all of them students of African Harvard Business School (HBS) sat in the Harvard Innovation Lab to brainstorm on what was priority on their mind — how to address the disenfranchisement of African youths back home. It was during that discussion that Misan got the idea that crystallised into what is today known as the West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE). Going down memory lane, she recalls: “In 2012, four African Harvard Business School (HBS) students, which included me, discussed passionately on ways to address the disenfranchisement of African youths back home. “The seeds that were planted that fateful day grew over the next year to become West Africa Vocational Education (W.A.V.E). Interestingly, three out of the four initiators of the outfit, namely Karan Chopra, Bryan Mezue and Misan won the HBS New Venture Competition Runner-Up prize in April 2013 and continue to serve as co-founders of the organisation. The first of many projects, WAVE Hospitality Academy, was launched in August 2013 and was designed to focus on the training and placement of unemployed youths in the hospitality and retail industry.” She explains that the firm is a vertically integrated vocational training model that seeks to empower many West African youths with industry-relevant employability skills that can transform their mind-set and access to employment opportunities, thereby enhancing their social mobility, while broadening employer access to the best-suited young talent for their job opportunities. Since that small beginning, Misan informs that WAVE has evolved from the stage of an ordinary idea into a reality that has been impacting positively on the lives and potentials of disadvantaged West African youth. With this, they are also enabled to move higher and better their lot in life, such that when opportunities come, they not only recognise them, but also make the best of them through their innate abilities. “WAVE provides self-motivated youth with the requisite skills employers want, teaches them how to stand out professionally by inculcating a mindset of continuous improvement and places them in paid technical apprenticeships in highgrowth industries, where they earn while they learn.” To date, Misan says WAVE has trained 24 unemployed youths and placed 80 per cent of them in frontline hospitality and retail jobs with an average starting salary of N35, 000. “We will complete our third batch of training at the end of February this year and aim to place 75 per cent of our 20 trainees in similar jobs. WAVE was recently selected to join the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation’s portfolio of social enterprises, an award that will provide significant start-up funding over the next three years. “We have recruited a stellar team of remarkably passionate professionals that now head admissions, development, operations and apprenticeship coordination. “The main challenge we face is that of the people risk, which comes from the fact that WAVE’s product is its people. Posttraining WAVE trainees may be placed in organisations that do not empower them to exhibit the skills learned or in very difficult work environments. It is then up to us to help them navigate these difficult situations and also empower them to work hard despite the workplace conditions.” So, what is the over all aim? Has the venture been really rewarding? She answers in the affirmative. The positive feedback they have been receiving from employers and customers that come in contact with the trainees and are pleasantly surprised at the superior quality of their customer service, serves as a pointer. “Although these trainees had no prior hospitality experience, they have been well equipped with 150 hours of training to develop their problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, customer service and teamwork skills.” This is, however, not something new to her, as she has always had a passion for helping people, particularly the youths, to develop their full potentials. “My affinity to the education sector stems from its potentials and ability to help young people articulate and achieve their dreams and transcend their socio-economic circumstances. As a result, my motivation is sustained by the great need among Nigerian youth and the great opportunity in the midst of such need,” she says. But beyond the passion, what prepared her for the task, she explains, has to do with the relevant experience she has gathered in the past. “After earning an Economics degree from Stanford University, I worked in the area of management consulting with The Monitor Group in New York and London on a wide spectrum of projects in both the private and public sectors. “After that, I worked as a volunteer consultant for TechnoServe in Cote d’Ivoire, where I helped launch a business plan competition for aspiring Ivoirian entrepreneurs with promising business ideas. I later returned to Nigeria to work with the Centre for Public Alternatives, a public policy thinktank based in Lagos, where I completed my NYSC. “In 2011, I was fortunate to win a 7Up Bottling Companysponsored scholarship to attend the Harvard Business School for my MBA. This was a dream come true. I viewed my time at Harvard as a transition phase into fulltime social entrepreneurship in the education and youth development space that I had always been passionate about but had never had the
courage to leap into full time. “I spent the summer of 2012 interning with the Bridge International Academies— a network of low-cost private schools serving 80,000 low-income children across Kenya – to investigate how that model could be replicated in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda. Inspired by such models, and armed with several years of experience dealing with the youth development challenge inherited from the failing education system in Nigeria, I came full circle back to the country to launch West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE) “I am also co-founder of The IMPACT Initiative, an 8-year-old youth development non-profit focused on academic and career guidance for senior secondary and university students, as well as Designing Futures, an education incubator that supports education entrepreneurs.”
It shouldn’t come so much as a surprise the fact of Misan’s keen interest in the education and development of youths. Hers is a family of people that incline towards education and also delight in it. “I came from a family of educationists. My grandfathers ran educational institutions, one of which was a premier secondary school and the other, a remand school for juvenile delinquents,” she says. This, also perhaps explains her strong desire to be a teacher, while growing up. “From the age of six, I wanted to be a teacher though my parents did not encourage me along that line of thinking. “They have, however, slowly come to realise that my passion for developing young people isn’t going away anytime soon.” Has her family been supportive then? “As apprehension gave way to gradual acceptance, my family and friends have been
overwhelmingly supportive with their time, talents and resources – everything from donations to access to their networks to volunteering in the classroom and agreeing to be used as scapegoats for some of our case study videos. “My parents, particularly, have been very encouraging and accommodating of my workaholism. I guess they know I inherited it from them! Friends and relatives have also excused my long silences and delayed responses to emails and for this I am grateful,” she says. What advice does she have for young people wanting to start their own business? “I enjoin aspiring young entrepreneurs to dream big and start small. They should find a gap in the market, quantify the market opportunity as best as possible and then develop a compelling value proposition (why should I buy your product or service?) and a financially sus-
tainable business model. “Most importantly, they should test all the assumptions behind their models by piloting their ideas, rather than delving fully with large sums of investor capital. Most angel investors would happily give half a million naira to pilot innovative ideas and generate profit at unit level than give the N10m to build the entire business in one go. What is the firm’s projection? Says she: “By 2019, WAVE’s aim is to train 25,000 unemployed West African youth (living on less than $4 per day) annually, having cumulatively trained 50,000 youths in marketable skills to reach their true potentials and placed them in stable jobs. “Big dream, right? But we started small, with our first training class being only 12 people. So once again, I say dream big, start small.”
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
SANUSI SAGA: No Absolute Autonomy For CBN, NNPC By Marcel Mbamalu, News Editor S allegations of fraud and non-remittance of official revenues rage on, legislators, lawyers, economists, bankers and others are asking if it still makes good sense allowing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to remain on their own in the name of autonomy. President Goodluck Jonathan, two weeks ago, suspended CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, over what the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which looked into his 2012 accounts, saw as questionable costs he incurred in running the apex bank. The suspension has since stirred controversy on corporate governance and cost of running strategic agencies of government like the CBN. Reeling out several cases of infractions in 2012 alone, the FRC, in its investigative report to the Presidency, alleged that CBN wrote off some N3.5bn loan for staff and spent N1.3bn on private bodyguards. Unless it begins to run as commercial venture in line with some reasonable portions of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), almost stuck in the National Assembly now, the NNPC is another very worrisome example of how not to be financially autonomous, according to lawmakers and economic analysts. While the CBN, under Sanusi, is being accused (by the FRC) of “financial recklessness” and “misconduct”, the NNPC has been under fire for non-remittance of oil proceeds. The suspended CBN governor revealed that much. The Corporation supposedly spent N2.023 trillion ($12.78 billion) in 2012 as cost of operations and budgeted N2.1 trillion ($13.48 billion) for 2013, representing almost half of the N4.9 trillion federal budget for that year. These jaw-breaking ‘money figures,’ the expenditure of which has remained subject of public controversy, indicate the cost borne by taxpayers in running the operations of these two important agencies. They also raise serious concerns about the so-called autonomy (financial or otherwise) for both entities. Recall that, Sanusi, having insisted on CBN’s independence, based on the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) and the CBN
• So ‘Reformers’ Can Render Accounts Act (he actually won that argument against NASS in 2012), was quoted as saying that the apex bank would not subject itself to the Appropriation Act of the National Assembly. He also said the Presidency would need two-third majority of the NASS to either suspend or fire him. The other time, the Senate attempted to review the CBN Act and the BOFIA but appeared to have succumbed to sentiments. The Bill, at the time, sought a review of the BOFIA to whittle down the powers of the CBN. The bill, which passed the Second Reading stage in the House of Representatives, and passed through the Committee Stage to Public Hearing at the Senate, sought to cut down the power of the apex bank and curtail its independence by subjecting some of its functions (including budgeting) to legislative approvals. Among other recommendations, the “dead” Bill provided for appointment of a person, other than the CBN Governor, as Chairman and the exclusion of deputy governors and directors as members of the bank’s Board of Directors. It also sought to divest, from the Board, the power to consider and approve the annual budgets of the CBN. The sponsors of the Bill also wanted to enhance transparency and entrench the principle of checks and balances in the administration and operations of the CBN. The Bill, which sought to tame the apex bank, had dwelled on the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, which mandates all Federal Government agencies, like the CBN, to submit their budgets to National Assembly. Section 21 (1-3) of the Act states: “The government corporations and agencies and government-owned companies listed in the Schedule to this Act (in this Act referred to as ‘the corporations’) shall, not later than six months from the commencement of this Act and every three financial years thereafter and not later than the end of the second quarter of every year, cause to be prepared and
submitted to the Minister their schedule estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next three financial years. “Each of the bodies referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall submit to the Minister not later than the end of August in each financial year; a) An annual budget derived from the estimates submitted in pursuance of sub-section (1) of this section and b) Projected operating surplus which shall be prepared in line with acceptable accounting practices. But the public hearing by the Senate Committee on the BOFIA suffered serious setbacks, as the lawmakers chickened out. In what appeared a deft move to scuttle it, there was (rumour of) “minor” reshuffle of committee chairmanship positions, which also affected the substantive unit steering the public hearing. Senator Bassey Otu (Cross River South) was reportedly moved to the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, while Senator Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna North) was allegedly appointed Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance in replacement of Otu. The Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions had called for memoranda from the public before the changes took place five days to the D-day. It was then gathered that the “banking committees” in both Chambers of the National Assembly were under pressure ahead of the proposed public hearing, a situation Senators and House of Representatives members were neither ready to deny nor confirm. While Governor Sanusi, in his usual style, spoke vehemently against moves to compromise the powers of the CBN, the Deputy Governor of the bank on Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, at a two-day Nigeria Development and Finance Forum (NDFF) held at the Guoman Hotels in London, argued that curtailing CBN’s power would impede the growth of the financial system and
weaken the regulator’s ability to act fast to save the sector in the event of crisis. “The position is that we have had series of discussions with a number of parties involved in the process and the Central Bank is preparing to submit a formal position on the issues raised in the draft bill,” Moghalu said. “We will send a formal position articulating reasons why leaving the CBN’s power as it is for now is in the best interest of Nigeria and the management of the financial system.” He expressed confidence that ongoing discussions would lead to an improved relationship, with the CBN briefing the Assembly more frequently. The banking regulator also held informal discussions with concerned individuals and interest groups on the matter with a view to garnering more support, and this yielded visible results. For instance, the CBN Pensioners Club, an umbrella body for all retirees of the bank, which only recently resolved its legal disputes over delayed pension arrears accruing from the Harmonised Pension Scheme of the Federal Government, backed the apex bank on the proposed BOFIA and CBN Act review. In an “open letter to the National Assembly,” at the time, a copy of which was made available to The Guardian, the pensioners urged the Senate President, David Mark, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to consider the “merits and demerits of the actions,” before taking a full plunge. According to the document, jointly signed by the club’s President, Chief Abidoye Akinlade, First National Vice President, Alhaji Musiliu Soetan, and General Secretary, Sam Ahirhima, the pensioners emphasised the need to protect the system. “Indeed, CBN’s contemporaries the world over, notably the Federal Reserve Bank, the Bank of England, Deutsche Bundes Bank, etc., usually enjoy reasonable autonomy, hence they remain strong always to perform their supervisory and other statutory functions,” the pensioners said. “The Lawmakers should not throw away the CONTINUED ON PAGE 19
18 Sunday, March 2, 2014
COVER From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja
CBN/NNPC: Between Autonomy And Accountability
HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Acts are essential documents in considering the purported unremitted funds by NNPC and the suspension of CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, on grounds of alleged financial misconduct brought against him. This is a very terse area of discourse given the fact that no issues of autonomy of the CBN or the NNPC have been submitted to any court of law for adjudication. It is, therefore, safe to say there is little or nothing on that subject matter in our jurisprudence to rely upon in dealing with the matter. Undoubtedly, the CBN Act 2007 consolidates all powers in respect of consideration and approval of the apex bank’s budget on its board as opposed to the provision of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, which places demand on the CBN to submit its budget for consideration and approval to the National Assembly. Section 1 (3) of the CBN Act secures the independence of the bank thus: “In order to facilitate the achievement of its mandate under this Act and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, and in line with the objective of promoting stability and continuity in economic management, the Bank shall be an independent body in the discharge of its functions.” In other to reinforce the bank’s independence, the Act further provides under section 6 (1) thus: “There shall be for the Bank a board of directors which shall be responsible for the policy and general administration of the affairs and business of the Bank. Section 6 (2) says “The Board shall consist of a (CBN) Governor who shall be the Chairman” and 6 (3) provides thus: “The Board shall be responsible for the consideration and approval of the annual budget of the Bank.” When these provisions are considered together, it become as clear as crystal the fact that the power of the regulator is immense and derived from its fiscal independence. Again, the CBN governor is also the chairman of the CBN board, the body responsible for considering and approving the annual budget of the apex bank; the only federal parastatal whose board is headed by its chief executive officer, so to speak; and whose annual budget is not subject to the consideration and approval of the National Assembly. The senate had sought to subordinate the CBN Act to the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, which provided that all Federal Government agencies, including the CBN should submit their budgets to be included in the Appropriation Bill to be submitted to the National Assembly. Section 21 (13) of the Act states: “The government corporations and agencies and governmentowned companies listed in the Schedule to this Act (in this Act referred to as ‘the corporations’) shall, not later than six months from the commencement of this Act and every three financial years thereafter and not later than the end of the second quarter of every year, cause to be prepared and submitted to the Minister their schedule estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next three financial years. “Each of the bodies referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall submit to the Minister not later than the end of August in each financial year; a) An annual budget derived from the estimates submitted in pursuance of subsection(1) of this section and b) Projected operating surplus which shall be prepared in line with acceptable accounting practices. The Fiscal Responsibility Act is at a collision course with the CBN Act, but cannot be superior to it. In such conflicting circumstance, only the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended can override all others laws or Acts. And indeed, the 1999 constitution clearly insists on accountability and probity without prejudice to the CBN Act, which seemingly confers on any reckless Governor of CBN a brazen authority to spend money without equanimity. The allegations brought against Sanusi remain a source of concern and make a strong case for the tinkering with the CBN Act to whittle the Governor’s powers with regard to spending without checks and balances.
Little wonder, President Jonathan issued a query, which covered a whooping 22 issues bordering on massive fraud at the bank, to the governor on May 6, 2013. The query of the bank’s account, which its auditors, Ernst and Young, passed without officially signing it, covers issues such as investment of a huge amount of money in an Islamic bank in Malaysia without any guarantee of its generating returns. Others are write-off of about N3.5 billion CBN staff housing loan and the donation of about N1billion to APC to open up offices across the country. The donations were reportedly given under the special access item in the account. The query also touched other issues such as refusal of the apex bank to consolidate in its account the N1trillion debt owed by the Asset Management Company (AMCON) and the non-disclosure of the total liabilities through the bond floated by the company. The governor was also asked to explain
Today, Sanusi cries wolf that he is being victimised for exposing fraud at the NNPC. And it’s a persuasive claim given the fact that the President did not act on the query since last year until the Governor made that claim which would embarrass any government. Should the governor just be shoved aside? Was he just blabbing? Is there any truth in the claim of unremitted fund? Should he not have studied the books well enough before raising such claims? Already, the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) seemed to have thrown his weight behind NNPC’s claim that the purported unremitted fund claimed by Sanusi came from his misunderstanding of the modus operandi which allows the corporation to defray cost. Last Thursday, Adoke, had told the senate that the corporation, was empowered by the NNPC Act to remit only to the Federation Account its net earnings after deducting cost of its operations. In the legal opinion, he presented at the resumed public hearing of Senate Committee on Finance on the alleged unremitted $20bn oil revenue, Adoke said that NNPC was generally under an obligation to remit its revenue from the upstream petroleum operations into the Federation Account. Adoke’s legal opinion on the controversial unremitted oil money by the NNPC was in response to the invitation by the Senate Committee on Finance, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi investigating the alleged missing $20bn. The AGF explained that in determining the issue of oil revenue remittance to the Federation Account, NNPC, by virtue of Section 7 (4) of the NNPC Act, could defray all expenses incurred in the course of its business in the upstream operations. He said: “I am of the considered view that NNPC is generally under an obligation to remit its revenue from the upstream petroleum operations into the Federation Account.” This is however dependent on the definition of ‘revenue’ within the meaning and intendment of Section 162(10) (c) 0f the Constitution. “I am also of the considered view that the NNPC can by virtue of Section 7(4) of the NNPC Act defray all expenses the discrepancies noted in the 2012 account incurred in the course of its business in regarding the Nigerian Security Printing and the upstream operations. Consequently, Minting Company, a subsidiary of the apex what NNPC is required to pay into the bank. Other issues include the controversial Federation Account is the ‘net revenue’ as donations made by the CBN to some higher opposed to the ‘gross revenue. This posiinstitutions in the country, which investigation is further reinforced by the decision tions revealed were inflated in the bank’s of the Supreme Court in A.G. Ogun State books. For example, while the Bayero & Ors v. A.G. Federation (2002) 18 N.W.L.R University Kano (BUK) was said to have col(Nigeria Weekly Law Report) (Part 798) lected N4billion, the school authorities 232 at 284, where the Court recognised claimed it got only N1billion. The apex bank’s similar provisions as the ones contained account became suspicious when the goverin Section 7 (4) of the NNPC Act in the nor refused to submit it to the Financial Public Enterprises (Privatization and Reporting Council (FRC), the body with the Commercialisation) Act, Cap P.38, LFN mandate to ascertain the compliance of com- 2004 i.e. Section 20 thereof. “I am therepanies with accounting standards, and the fore of the respectful view that only the International Financial Reporting Standards net revenue from upstream petroleum (IFRS). Rather than submit it to the body, operations of the NPDC should be paid Sanusi requested for seven years’ grace for the into the Federation Account by the NNPC. CBN to comply with FRC stipulations. In other words, NPDC is required to pay Although the scrutiny of CBN’s account isn’t only what amounts to the dividend of its new, the bank has always thrown the card of crude oil proceeds to NNPC (as its holdautonomy to shield itself from close inspecing company) and the NNPC will in turn tion. pay that into the Federation Account.” Whichever way the argument swings, one thing is clear and this is an increasing need for a genuine audit of NNPC and CBN Accounts as no statute, Act, or law could ever have been couched in a manner as to make some persons above the law in such a manner that they would not be called to question. It could never have been in the minds of the drafters of the CBN and NNPC Acts to make provisions for autonomy of both agencies as a tool to encourage fiscal irresponsibility and escape the consequences thereof.
Whichever way the argument swings, one thing is clear and this is an increasing need for a genuine audit of NNPC and CBN Accounts as no statute, Act, or law could ever have been couched in a manner as to make some persons above the law in such a manner that they would not be called to question. It could never have been in the minds of the drafters of the CBN and NNPC Acts to make provisions for autonomy of both agencies as a tool to encourage fiscal irresponsibility and escape the consequences thereof.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 19
COVER By Chijioke Nelson HE nation’s apex financial institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was mandated by the 1958 Act of Parliament, as amended in 1991, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2007, to exercise overall control and administration of the monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government. These are to ensure monetary and price stability; issue legal tender currency in Nigeria; maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency; promote a sound financial system in Nigeria; and act as Banker and provide economic and financial advice to the Federal Government. Consequently, the bank is charged with the responsibility of administering the Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Act (1991) as amended, with the sole aim of ensuring high standards of banking practice and financial stability through its surveillance activities, as well as the promotion of an efficient payment system. In addition to its core functions, CBN has over the years performed some major developmental functions, focused on all the key sectors of the Nigerian economy (financial, agricultural and industrial sectors). Overall, these mandates are carried out by the bank through its various departments, led by the Governor. The first person to run the CBN was Roy Pentelow Fenton, the only expatriate that served the nation in that capacity. He was appointed on July 24, 1958 and left office on July 24, 1963, preparatory to Nigeria’s emergence as a republic. This was evidently, the early days of CBN as an establishment. He was followed by the Late Alhaji Aliyu MaiBornu, who served from July 25, 1963 to July 22, 1967- a four-year tenure. Born in 1919, he passed through the Kaduna College in 1938. In 1942, he qualified as an English Language Teacher. Later he proceeded to Bristol University to study Economics. In 1957, he served with the Northern Nigeria Public Service as an Administrative Officer; CBN in 1959 as an Assistant Secretary, later the Deputy Secretary and Secretary; before his appointment as Deputy Governor in 1962. He was
CBN In History the first indigenous Governor of the bank in 1963. Dr. Clement Nyong Isong took over from him in August 15, 1967 and retired in September 22, 1975. He was the first two-term governor in the history of CBN. Isong was a banker and politician, who manned the affairs of the apex bank during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon, the civil war and post-civil war years. The former governor of Cross River State (1979–1983), Isong was born on April 20, 1920 in Eket, Akwa Ibom State. He studied at University College, Ibadan, Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, USA and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where he obtained a Ph.D. in Economics. Mallam Adamu Ciroma was next. Born on November 20, 1934, at Potiskum, Yobe State, he served from 1975 to 1977. He passed through the Barewa College in Zaria for his secondary education in 1950. After obtaining his A Levels in 1957, he proceeded to the University of Ibadan and obtained a degree in History. Evidently served under the military regime of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. Ciroma was followed by Ola O. Vincent, from June 28, 1977 until June 28, 1982, partly preparing for the handover of Obasanjo to civilian rule and the tenure of President Shehu Shagari. An elder statesman and respected opinion leader, Vincent’s views on critical national issues were highly valued. He was appointed a Vice President at the African Development Bank, Abidjan, Cote D’ivoire between 1966 and 1973. Born on May 16, 1925, in Lagos, he attended CMS Grammar School, Lagos; the Administrative Staff College in England; and the University of Manchester. From June 28, 1982 to September 30, 1993, the Late Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed served as the Governor of CBN. Ahmed was the second two-
term governor of CBN and the last to date. Born on October 31, 1940, in Jama’are, Bauchi State, he was incorporated into the military regime of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to the end of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s junta, supporting the Structural Adjustment Programme of Prof. Sam Aluko during the years. He had his early education in Jama’are and Bauchi before proceeding to Barewa College Zaria, in 1955. He graduated from South West London College in 1972 after a stint at the Nigeria College, (University of Ife) in 1961. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered and Certified Accountants (FCCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants (FAC) In 1993, Dr. Paul Agbai Ogwuma was appointed as the governor of CBN until May 29, 1999, during the military regime of General Sani Abacha and absolved by General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s short stay in office. Ogwuma was born on April 24, 1932. The banker studied at New Bethel College, Onitsha; Bradford Institute of Technology and Bradford University, both in, United Kingdom. Controversy over his role in facilitating the massive looting of the nation’s treasury by Abacha has remained till date. Chief Joseph Oladele Sanusi followed Ogwuma from 1999 and left office on May 29, 2004. Sanusi was born on September 24, 1938 in Ogbagi-Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria. He attended South-West London College and Kingston College of Technology, England and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in England. He became a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1969 and a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Bankers in 1987. Sanusi joined CBN in 1966 as a Deputy Manager, rose to Departmental Director in 1977, appointed the first Chief
Executive of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1978. He later became Executive Director, Monetary and Banking Policy, CBN; later Deputy Governor; Managing Director and Chief Executive of United Bank for Africa; and First Bank of Nigeria. In May 1999 he was brought out of retirement and appointed the Governor of CBN. The Banking Consolidation was the popular reform policy of the Prof. Chukwuma C. Soludo, who mounted the leadership of CBN in 2004 to May 29, 2009. Beside, he made strong case for the redenomination of the Naira at par with the dollar but failed due to political reasons and misgivings heaped on the initiative. Soludo was born on July 28, 1960, and hails from Aguata, Anambra State. An alumnus of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with a first class degree in Economics, he also undertook his post-graduate and doctorate degrees in Economics from the same University. Soludo had post-doctoral training in The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC; University of Cambridge, UK, as Smuts Research Fellow and Fellow of the Wolfson College; the UN Economic Commission for Africa as a Post-Doctoral Fellow; University of Warwick as a Visiting scholar and Visiting Research Scholar at Center for African Economies, University of Oxford (with funding by the Rhodes committee). He also worked at the World Bank. At last, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was appointed on March 6, 2009, but resumed in June 2009, with the hot Banking Reforms agenda, which he sustained the campaign till his suspension from office, few months away from retirement. Perhaps the most popular, controversial and criticized governor of the bank, he was born on July 31, 1961, to a technocrat and the grandson of a former Emir of Kano and Islamic Scholar, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi. He passed through the King’s College, Lagos and proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for a degree in Economics and did course work for Master of Science degree in Economics with distinction in Monetary Policy in 1983. He has traversed many financial institutions.
Enter Emefiele: The Man Who ‘Would Do No Wrong’ By Marcel Mbamalu EIN Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor-designate, has no choice! He must deliver on the mandate; not after enjoying the privilege of having quietly watched the ‘movie’ of the Mallam Lamido Sanusi’s achievements, on one hand, and missteps on the other. Besides, his name — EMEFIELE (‘do not wrong’) — appears to say it all; it appears he was, from birth, forewarned to tread with caution. Of course, nothing in his records — past and present — suggests he plans to do so. Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, with the appointment of the embattled CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, in 2009, charted a new path, which his predecessor, President Goodluck Jonathan appears to follow. When it was becoming clear that erstwhile apex bank governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, was not going to be reappointed for a second
term in office, by the new president, many an analyst beamed searchlights on the academia, government bureaucracy and the Diaspora, as was formerly the case. But then, Yar’Adua was quietly desirous of carving a niche and toeing a different path away from the controversy trailing his election under the tutelage of his political father and former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The late president opted for the banking hall for a ‘risk officer’. Sanusi, a career banker, came with an avalanche of reforms and unconventional approach in relating with his political masters; and, for five years, he engaged his ‘paymasters’ on a free-forall with his whistle-blowing philosophy, which endeared him to many Nigerians but kept him out of favour with the Presidency. The controversy surrounding Sanusi’s five-year tenure notwithstanding, Jonathan still thinks that a better solution lies in the banking hall, this time in the man with a quieter disposition at the Zenith Bank Plc. If the Senate gives him the needed bow, Emefiele will, in the next three months,
No Absolute Autonomy For CBN, NNPC CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 baby with the bath water in the interest of all and sundry. The current CBN Act should be allowed to operate as it is now.” Nonetheless, Jones Onyeyiri, the House Committee Chairman on Banking, where the Bill had passed the Second Reading and ready for the Committee Stage, told The Guardian on telephone that the CBN would not act in isolation of other economies. “We will look at what obtains in other climes and bring it to bear in Nigeria, considering our own peculiarities. We will do a thorough job,” he said. Onyeyiri said although the lower chamber was not in a hurry, “it is also not under any form of pressure regarding the bill. “The committee will consider whether or not, it is necessary to amend the Bill in such a way that it tampers with the composition of the Board,” he said. Onyeyiri, however, noted that the outcome of a future public hearing would be key to what finally becomes of the bill. “Basically, we’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution, which says that sovereignty belongs to the people on whose behalf we are
there as representatives,” he said. He said although the Senate is already at the public hearing stage, the House wants to be “a little bit more thorough.” Similarly, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, has told lawmakers that the NNPC was empowered by the NNPC Act to remit only to the Federation Account its net earnings after deducting cost of its operations. Consequently, what NNPC is required to pay into the Federation Account is the ‘net revenue’ as opposed to the ‘gross revenue (financial autonomy). Yet, the NNPC and the CBN are together enmeshed in ‘allegations’ of fraudulent operations, raising serious questions about their continued autonomy. On the trail of these controversies are salient questions bordering on continued autonomy for both agencies: Should regulators or ‘reformers’ be made to render accounts to Nigerians? Should the annual expenditure proposal of the CBN and NNPC now be subject to NASS budget approval? Should there be specific limits of annual expenditure for both agencies? In the case of the apex bank, should the gover-
take over the mantle of leadership from Dr. Sarah Alade, the acting CBN governor (if Sanusi’s suspension lives that long). He will, in the next five years or more (if unlike his predecessor, he finds favour with power equation), ‘reign” over the affairs of Nigeria’s financial services sector, calling the shots for his colleague chief executives. For five years, Sanusi held sway in manner to cut the banks to size, after the initial sack of bank executives and takeover of the money houses in such a manner that forced surviving ones to fall in line, taking orders from the CBN almost on daily basis. It is however, doubtful whether the gentle ‘Zenith’ banker would toe similar path of controversy, considering his quiet mien. Yet, his power of delivery is not in doubt, given his achievements at the bank, which, by virtually all standards, has remained among the top three in the country and has pioneered new vistas in banking technology. The KPMG recently rated Zenith as the most customer-focused bank. As at March last year, Zenith Bank’s total assets grew to $17.9 billion (from $16.8 billion in 2012). The also bank recorded a profit of N28 billion the same year, under Emefiele. Considering his academic/professional back-
ground and career path in banking, Emefiele would have little problem with banking supervision and managing Nigeria’s monetary policy framework. He has been in the management team of Zenith Bank since its inception and was Deputy Managing Director since 2001. Before commencing his banking career, he lectured Finance and Insurance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and University of Port Harcourt, respectively. He is also an alumnus of Executive Education at Stanford University, Harvard University (2004) and Wharton Graduate Schools of Business (2005). Mr. Emefiele holds a B.Sc Degree in 1984 and an MBA Degree in Finance in 1986, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Apart from being the chief executive officer and group managing director at Zenith Bank, Emefiele had served as director, member of Executive Committee, member of Board Credit Committee, member of staff matters, Finance & General Purpose Committee, member of Board Risk Management Committee, member of Management Global Credit Committee, member of Risk Management Committee, member of Assets & Liabilities Committee and member of Information Technology (IT) Steering Committee, among others.
20/ Sunday, March 2, 2014
Autonomy For CBN, NNPC: A Mixed Bag From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
ADDLED with strategic functions, certain agencies of government (like the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation), no doubt, need some form of autonomy (independence) to operate optimally. Apart from the CBN and the NNPC, other key agencies that currently enjoy autonomy in Nigeria include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and, of course, the Judiciary. Yet, in Africa and other less advanced nations — where desperation, greed, and corruption, power abuse and impunity abound— there is need to strike a reasonable balance to shield the country and its citizens. Faced with this challenge, therefore, Nigeria’s Senate, in 2012, set out to tackle the issues as they affect the CBN, which was at the time throttling dangerously across all sectors of the economy. The hallowed chamber, however, succumbed to sentiments and chickened out disappointingly. Arguments have been made to stress the importance of CBN’s independence, even as issues of alleged abuse of such independence were raised. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had severally made cases in support of the need to allow the apex bank retain its current autonomy. This is because it feared that if CBN’s power to manage the monetary policy and price stability is taken away, the Nigerian economy could suffer. Other international organisations, particularly the World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are also strong supporters of independence of the CBN. The support comes from their belief in intrinsic merits of increased independence as they relate to increased transparency in policy-formulation process. Some economists had, at a workshop in Abuja, unanimously opposed a move to subject annual budgets of the CBN to legislative appropriation
due to the uncertainty and delicate nature of monetary operations of apex banks. In his presentation titled, “Central Bank Autonomy, Accountability and Governance: Issues, Challenges and Options,” Ademola Oyejide, an Emeritus Professor of University of Ibadan, stressed that the concept of CBN autonomy became an issue due to the spiral inflationary trend of the 1970 and 1980s in the United Sates and Western European market economies. The renowned professor of Economics stated that central bank autonomy, therefore, became not only theoretically desirable but has practically proved to be an effective mechanism of ensuring price stability or low inflationary macro-economic management in the face of fiscal rascality being exhibited by political authorities. He warned that ensuring an autonomous CBN is even more imperative, considering its developmental function, as a central bank of a developing economy. Oyejide, however, acknowledged several roles that have become irrelevant for the CBN to continue with, if it is truly autonomous in monetary policy-making process. He advised that the apex bank must be shielded from political interference, urging government to strengthen the country’s development institutions to be able to carry out development roles effectively. Oyejide was not alone in his assertion, as other contributors like Joe Umoh, also a professor of Economics, said that in underdeveloped countries, like Nigeria, the CBN cannot afford to neglect its role of, for instance, ensuring that the economy is driven towards encouraging full employment level; more so, given the high level of youth unemployment in the country. However, this autonomy has been put to question as issues of its alleged abuse remain in the front burner. Aside the controversies over CBN’s autonomy, debate over continued financial independence for the national oil company has been raging in
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had severally made cases in support of the need to allow the apex bank retain its current autonomy. This is because it feared that if CBN’s power to manage the monetary policy and price stability is taken away, the Nigerian economy could suffer.
different circles, especially the National Assembly. For instance, Senator Babajide Omoworare recently threw up a challenge to ascertain, once and for all, whether the Presidency, through the NNPC, actually spends up to N700 million daily to subsidise kerosene. Dakuku Peterside, who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), had, at a forum in Lagos, claimed that government had spent N643 billion on kerosene subsidy between 2010 and 2012 fiscal years. That figure, however, rose to N700 million per day in 2013, based on the figures supplied by Omoworare in his motion: ‘Urgent Need To Stop N700 million A Day Illegal Kerosene Subsidy,’ which was robustly debated at a recent Plenary. In both instances, the lawmakers have fingered the NNPC as sole importer/recipient of kerosene and its attendant subsidy. Omoworare’s motion noted that, “less than 10 percent of Nigerians benefit from this heartless massive scheme that drains the nation’s treasury, more than the double aggregate annual budget for education, health, roads, security and agricultural sectors, while majority of our populace wallow in abject poverty at the expense of this few, mindless rich cabal network.” Debating the motion, however, his colleagues toed a different path when, rather than grant his prayer that the subsidy be stopped forthwith, pending resolution of its legal status, some senators pointedly called for scrapping of the subsidy scheme altogether. They argued that the common people on the streets, for whom the regime was conceived in the first place, aren’t enjoying the subsidy. Some senators even urged President Goodluck Jonathan to remove the contentious subsidy on all petroleum products, including petrol, as it favours only a few privileged Nigerians and the elite. This argument resonated with Chairman of the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), senator Paulker Emmanuel, who shocked his colleagues with a declaration that his colleagues in the chamber and a certain class of Nigerians should not cry foul over the subsidy as they do not deserve to enjoy its benefits. Speaking further on the issue, Paulker disclosed that contrary to reports, NNPC was not the sole importer of kerosene and by extension, not the sole beneficiary of the subsidy regime. He stated that some independent marketers are still involved in importing kerosene and drawing the attached subsidy. Paulker only stopped short of naming names at the session but however noted that it would be very difficult to budget for subsidy because consumption is not static. His words: “I support this motion but with a heavy heart. What we should know is that the scandal of our subsidy starts from our wharf...You’ll agree with me Mr. President, that both yourself and all of us in this chamber don’t deserve petroleum products to be subsidised for us. The fact of the matter is that some classes of Nigerians don’t deserve to enjoy the subsidy. In fact, those clamouring for the masses are even the ones wrecking the economy. “If the ordinary man deserves for PMS (petrol) to be subsidised for them, you and I don’t deserve to get subsidy and that’s the truth. The consumption of kerosene is not static; there are differentials and there’s need to carefully scrutinize the subsidy regime. If a woman cooks four pots of soup on Monday and she cooks only two on Tuesday, the kerosene she would use can never be the same. “If that’s the case, then, it’s not easy to appropriate for subsidy. What I believe we should do is to stop the illegal deductions and the implication is that kerosene should not even go into the market. It’s erroneous to say that only NNPC brings in kerosene into the country...independent marketers also bring it in.” As panacea to deregulation Paulker canvassed an improved public transport system across the country. If that is done, he posits that that would help cushion deregulation as well as ease the burden on the common man. To the Chairman of the Committee on Works, senator Ayogu Eze, “the whole issue of subsidy is akin to having a bull in a china shop.” He urged the Senate to “stop a few people from collecting it.” Senator Isa Galaudu, however, argued that
kerosene could actually be cheaper than petrol if left to the forces of demand and supply. Although senator Bukola Saraki stated that “both the finance minister and the petroleum resources minister admitted before the finance committee that there was no approval and appropriation to incur this expenditure,” Senator Makarfi noted that the confusion over the subsidy on kerosene actually emanated from the chambers of the National Assembly. He informed his colleagues that in different resolutions, the House of Representatives and the Senate gave conflicting directives on kerosene subsidy. “One of the documents submitted by the NNPC to support kerosene subsidy was a motion by the House of Representatives that they should sell kerosene at N50 per litre and there’s another from the Senate that they shouldn’t sell at N50 per litre.” He further disclosed that there are expenditures NNPC incurs on behalf of government, which must be defrayed at source. This did not resonate with Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), who pointedly told his colleagues that the powers of the National Assembly to appropriate was very clear; so also, the power of oversight over the Executive, which he said was “at the core of legislative responsibility.” According to Ndoma-Egba, having abdicated its constitutional responsibility to oversight the executive arm of government through spelt-out constitutional provisions, the same Legislature cannot now cry foul when such lacuna are exploited. “If somebody spends without pointing it out, then, it means the National Assembly is complicit,” submitted the Senate Leader, reminding his colleagues that, “this is a call to duty.” Rounding off the debate, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, reiterated that the Senate was “actually on the right path in asking the right questions on the funds.” Rather than accede to Omoworare’s single prayer in the motion, the chamber directed the finance committee to unravel the status of the kerosene subsidy in its investigations of an alleged unremitted $49.8 billion crude oil proceeds. However, specific cases had been made regarding the need to allow the NNPC some level of independence in carrying out its operations. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) questioned what it considered a slow pace in transforming the NNPC into a viable independent commercial entity in the mould of other National Oil Companies (NOCs). While canvassing an accelerated efforts, PENGASSAN explained that the seeming laid-back approach in the planned modification of the business activities of NNPC may not be unconnected with undue political influence exerted on the Corporation, which it said had become a compromised socio-political means for satisfying greed in government circles. National President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, in a presentation, said: “NNPC, no doubt has the same potential as Saudi Aramco, PETRONAS, Sanagol, Petrobras, Statoil and other globally competitive and well ranked national oil companies within and outside the membership of OPEC. The only difference is that NNPC is being unduly influenced and politically interfered with and that rather explains why its financial, managerial, technical and commercial decisions are easily compromised, making it difficult to determine clear parameters to evaluate it in its present form.” Ogun added: “NNPC has to be genuinely and convincingly transformed into self-determined and self-accounting commercially oriented and globally competitive national oil company for it to be rightly benchmarked. It should be on the transformation course now while the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is in the offing.” According to Ogun, the Corporation should forthwith enjoy its corporate independence to allow it identify or determine clear-cut business plans and strategies with measurable targets like other global NOCs. He said: “The refineries under a transformed NNPC will be focused primarily on economic benefits while meeting the nation’s social interest. The retail outlets is the added strength and opportunity that gives NNPC the competitive edge for downstream activities; time to bring NNPC to imbibe the culture, orientation and strategy for efficient business and competitiveness and to reposition the refineries in the manner that will woo investors into strategic partnering model as intended is now.”
Sunday, March 2, 2014
How CBN Got It Wrong, By Asiodu Chief Philip Asiodu, the former Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources and former Adviser to President Shehu Shagari on Economic Matters, speaks with CHIJIOKE IREMEKA on desired changes in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, the political system and the public service, among others. As an elder statesman and economist, what are the urgent changes you would like to see in Nigeria’s monetary policy framework and the CBN Act? NE would have hoped that, with the declared determination of President Goodluck Jonathan in pursuant of Vision 20: 20 20 and elaborate 2010-2013 implementation Plan, later subsumed in Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda 20112015, the country would be returning to planning and discipline in allocation and utilisation of resources. It was hoped that it would also provide a context for issue-oriented debates among political parties enabling them to offer to the people a choice of who can best implement the plans and take them to a brighter future. Or it would provide a clear context in which the public service would be challenged to help the incumbent governments of the day to deliver; other implementation plans, 2014-2017 and 2018-2021, were to follow. Unfortunately, the allocations in the 2012 and 2013 budget were very short of the plan’s provisions. There is yet no serious attempt to re-allocate resources in accordance with the plan. Indeed, a study of sectorial capital allotment will show about 25 to 30 per cent allocation to the productive and infrastructure sector. What is very important is to pray that God gives us divine intervention so that the people, who lead us will do the right thing, redefine what it takes to occupy a political office and holding it. It must be moved away from self-aggrandisement and embezzlement, which are in the long run unsustainable as the generation of greater percentage will fall. We must go back to the thrust of the First Republic, which expressed general welfare, farm settlement scheme, industrial centres for the people and job creation. At the present, none of the political parties is articulating this and we are referring to vision 20: 2020 and Transformation Agenda. But, until the politics of this country is redefined to serve the purpose of people in the state, you will continue to have instability and people
•Sanusi Has No Business Donating Billions Of Naira • ‘Let’s Wait For Forensic Report On NNPC’ will lose confidence and credibility. But once you have good and credible leaders, and people’s confidence increases, and they have good and conducive environment, the economy will grow, and trading, continuous marketing and others. Once we do not have a system, where sanctions are being applied, then there will be chaos everywhere. Following the suspension of CBN governor, what are the major changes you want the incoming governor to effect? It’s not major changes in CBN that we are talking about. The CBN structures are all right and they have been pursuing their mandate of budgetary policies for long. What has happened recently between CBN and NNPC is a corporate disagreement, whether some funds have been properly accounted for or not. Now the Governor is suspended based on the report made earlier on. This has been happening. In the olden days, this thing would have been settled quietly and reconciled without anybody getting the wind of it because the emphasis then was on the collective responsibility of the ministries of government, where the success of one Ministry is the success of the others. So, side-by-side, the CBN Governor was suspended and these are the questions that arose. Things are happening. Before, perhaps, it is not the role of the CBN (governor) to announce certain money to Ministry of Education or Agriculture but this started long ago and such ultra-vires behaviour should have been ironed out or queried. I am afraid, and not very happy at the timing of what has happened. The man has two months to go. In the normal administration, he would have started preparing his retirement papers and things will be done. Dramatising every little crisis to create national crises is not the way to manage government affairs. Recently, the NASS made a move to review the powers allocated to the CBN governor as well as CBN’s autonomy, which they dropped afterwards, do you subscribe to re-visiting that move? That is what I referred to. Autonomy is autonomy in managing the monetary policy of the country, preventing instability and managing the devaluation of the Naira. For instance, it’s the role of the Ministry of Agriculture to do the planning for agri-
culture; and the Ministry of Education for education. They are to make proposals for their budgets. Normally, it’s not the role of CBN to do or announce that CBN is giving N200 billion to support agriculture or N300 billion to support education. What we are talking about is going back to planning. With planning, this would have been defended and well managed. We must go back to that orderly governance. What is your take on the reduction of the powers allocated to the CBN Governor for proper check and balances? What are the powers you want to reduce? That’s not a question. There are no issues with the present CBN Act. Nobody would
say that CBN is not structured the way it should be. If the Minister of Aviation tomorrow announces that he is voting N300 billion to education, is that power or no power? You have to look at your role and know what should be done. As they are, the laws are all right. The implementation, monetary regulation and management are different matters and they are matters of competence. Secondly, when you do things, timing is very important so that you don’t send wrong signal to outsiders. Also another issue is non-remittance of oil proceeds by the NNPC. What is your position on this? What has been proved about it? I don’t answer theoretical questions. They said they are doing forensic auditing and investigation, won’t you wait for the result to be out before drawing conclusions. We have to wait until the forensic report is out.
Common IT Platforms Will Bring Transparency To Revenue Collection — Apampa CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 So, is this about the Nigerian attitude which tends to dodge doing things right using the excuse that all the perfect laws needed must be in place first for things to be done properly? The notion that we must have all perfect laws in place to do things properly is a ruse. It is a strategy that we use to sidetrack people from real issues. I don’t think attitude alone is at the heart of the problem. We have a political economy problem, which is that the way leaders emerge in Nigeria is through enormous power, enormous wealth or a combination of both. It is that nucleus that throws up leadership in Nigeria; it is not principles, attitude or any of those things. At the end of the day, if you are going to emerge even as CBN governor, I am sure there are people you have to lobby. Those who are lobbied and agree to be lobbied do not do so for free. There are always quid pro quos; and things that would have to be traded. That is the nature of our political economy in Nigeria. In other countries, they are thinking of how to help the downtrodden, they are looking for equality, so they are egalitarian societies. Some are looking at how to conserve the commonwealth. For example the Scandinavian countries talk about common pool resources; but in Nigeria, the primary ethos of our political economy is about the configuration that is able to wrest power. It is the combination of business, politics, religion, traditional authorities, and unions. It is that configuration that takes over power and determines the direction of state policy.
In terms of the corruption we are seeing that, sometimes, even people who have the right attitude have to either resign or submit to the dictates of this configuration because it is a powerful institutional force that is pulling the whole country in a certain direction. It is not easy to just relegate the problem to attitude. It is more than attitude, and I think that was what Sanusi was alluding to when he was talking about the vested interests. Unfortunately, if he went on with his own thesis, he would have come to the kind of outcome he is facing. Except the people, a good size of them rejects this configuration, then you cannot change it. It is external events that damage the interest of those who are in control of the system that would force them to rethink and to adjust it. Otherwise, it has to be a mass demonstration of power from the people to have any change in the system. The other thing is that political competition amongst them is about who holds on to that centre, and they do so at the expense of others. I can put it this way; it is about holding the cow of the state steady, while it is being milked by your group, and the rest of them are ensuring that no one else can come anywhere near that cow. As such, political competition is about how to displace the people who are at the cow, how to throw them out so that the next group can now be there. Unfortunately, this creates a syndrome where people think it will soon be their turn; so, we are all surging from behind and below to also reach above. And people would feel they are getting close to the top, and that they should keep their heads low because they think it is almost their turn to share in the jackpot. Many people therefore keep quiet about corruption, so
long as they are seeing bits and pieces come through. The feeling is that it is a matter of time, and they too will soon get a taste, at some level or the other, but unfortunately that further entrenches the system. Again it will have to come to a point when people say enough is enough before you can change things. It is an interesting imagery you use about holding the cow of the state steady for milking; but with the kind of humongous amounts of money declared missing, aren’t they going to milk this cow to death? We have two schools of thought. Some Nigerians say: if with all the milking that has been going on, the cow hasn’t died, then that thing can never finish, and ‘it will soon be my turn.’ Some others say: this cow must be so dried up by now that there is nothing left for future generations. I am hoping that by the next elections, Nigerians will choose based on those two schools of thought. Those, who say we have done enough damage to our collective commonwealth, and it is now time for us to get some development and some things in place versus those who say it is business as usual, let’s follow the status quo and continue what we are doing because we actually like this system as it is. It is then we will start to get to ‘issue politics,’ and let people choose on the basis of issues because this is the political question of our time. Should we continue to allow everything to be destroyed or should we intervene as a people, raise our voices and choose a different path of development for our country? That is why I say it is in our hands; it is when the people say so that corruption actually stops. Until the people raise their voices, it will continue.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
APAMPA: CBN, NNPC Not Immune To Financial Probe Soji Apampa is the Executive Director of the Integrity Organisation Ltd, a civil society group at the forefront of promoting integrity in both governance and business. In this interview with ARMSFREE AJANAKU he proffers a diagnosis of the transparency deficits in some of Nigeria’s revenue generating institutions. He goes on to assert that the Nigerian people must act, if they want an end to the current system of graft and corruption stunting the nation’s progress. Looking at the controversy about the $20 billion missing oil money, as well as the allegations against Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, what do these say about institutions like the CBN and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which seem to have so much cash to throw around with no limits or control? E can’t help the fact that NNPC, as the national oil company, will have a lot of receipts. Also, we can’t help the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria will end up with a lot of money; it is the nation’s banker, and the money ought to end up there. But what we can help is the accountability of those institutions and that is what we should be concerned about. In the case of the NNPC, it is a big problem when, an organisation that is receiving the receipts is unable to keep it in a transparent manner. That is a major problem for the federation. Of course, it was not designed to be so by the present people who occupy the offices at the NNPC; they didn’t create this situation. The NNPC has been opaque for many years. So, the issue here is not about apportioning blame to them, but the activities that have happened under their watch have brought it to our notice that it is high time something was done about that problem. Other revenue generating agencies have accounts under the Accountant General’s office, where these monies are paid. I know that NNPC would not agree readily to that because it does have expenditures to make as well. Rather than just make off-the-cuff comments about it, I think there is need for a proper study to be done about how greater transparency can be brought to the receipts. Even under the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) you are supposed to publish what you pay, and publish what you receive. I am not sure that the NNPC is fully compliant with the NEITI requirements, because if it is, then we should not have the current opacity that we have. It then looks like even though we have NEITI, it is not sufficient to bring about the transparency and the accountability we should have. Also, if you look at the ways the appointments to the leadership of these organisations have been made, especially the NNPC, you will know that it is a very political position, and there is a reason why it is political. It is so because, usually, those who are running the country want to be able to do things, which are not necessarily supposed to see the light of the day. We have to understand that it is part of the ways the politics is being run. But having said that, we need to change this system. For the Central Bank, it does publish, but this is the first time that we are having a query issued to the audited statements of the Central Bank of Nigeria. I certainly haven’t heard of it ever being done. We will, therefore, have to find ways to see how far the processes within the CBN are about the individuals there, and how far these are about the politicisation of the CBN itself, and the office of the governor, quite apart from the political issues that have come up in the last few days, resulting in the need for all of these queries, and also the behaviours and the pattern of expenditure that invited the query in the first place. There is serious need for review, both at the NNPC and at the CBN. But we shouldn’t stop there, because that may be the trigger point for us to look at how our revenue generating institutions are managed. I say so because, even under the subsidy probe last year, you will hear the Petroleum Products
Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) saying one thing, and the NNPC, and the CBN saying another, and at the end, everything does not tally. I dare say that if you were to ask the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), CBN, and NNPC about how much oil is pumped, and how much Nigeria receives for the oil, I don’t think you will get the same figures. I think it is even almost impossible to get the same figures, even on historical transactions. And that is very easily dealt with by having a common system, the right Information Technology systems that are a common platform to give you one view of the truth, so that as a transaction is happening anywhere, you are seeing it everywhere, and you are seeing the same figures. That is what we need, and that is the way to go forward, because if the Ministry of Finance is seeing that NNPC has signed certain contracts, and therefore so and so amount is available, and the Accountant General sees that, he doesn’t need anybody to go out and verify, he knows exactly what is where, and there is one common point of accountability. With this kind of system, which is called an Enterprise Resource Planning system, we will move forward. Most countries have it, and even the World Bank and the UN run on such a system. It is high time the Nigerian government implemented such a system. There is a project, which the Nigerian government has put in place. I am not sure how far the Terms of Reference go, but I doubt that it extends to the NNPC and the rest of them. But we need a government-wide, system-wide platform that helps record the receipts in one place, and everyone else is able to track it. That is how to deal with the transparency issues. And this system will be domiciled at the Ministry of Finance? It doesn’t matter where it is domiciled. It is like saying my bank account is domiciled in Lagos, but we know you can access your account from anywhere, so long as you have the profile and the clearance. So, for anyone who has the profile and the clearance, those are the people who will have access. These sorts of systems also have audit trails; so, even if it is domiciled in the NNPC, and anybody changes anything, the system will tell you who logged in, what they did when they logged in, what they changed, what was there before they did the change and what it looked like after they made the change. The point is that they can never delete that audit
trail. So, there are systems all over the world that can do these, and if we really want to get to the transparency levels that are required, these are the kinds of system we need to start implementing as a country to improve the level of transparency in our finances. Institutions like the CBN and the NNPC will readily point to the enabling laws, the Acts establishing them, and they tend to talk about autonomy; what is the place of autonomy, especially when we are talking about transparency? Autonomy is autonomy of decision-making. Autonomy does not mean a lack of accountability. Autonomy doesn’t mean you are not accountable, it just means that there is no one forcing you to take certain types of decisions, and that you can arrive at your own conclusions without being coerced by anybody, and without fearing anybody in the process. That is different from asking if your decision-making process is transparent? They are two separate things, so you can be autonomous and be transparent. You can be autonomous and be accountable. What we need to have are the systems that will allow these institutions to be autonomous and transparent. However, let me come back to the autonomy question; why should the NNPC be autonomous; what for? There is no reason for the NNPC to be autonomous because it is just a revenue generating agency. In fact, the NNPC should not even exist as a government entity; it should be privatized. It should be out there competing in the market place like its peers, and therefore its role should be properly defined, and what it is bringing back should be very clear. It will have a board, and people who look over what it is doing , such that it will have to account for every penny it receives, it would have to publish its own statements . That is the direction many oil companies that were formerly nationally owned are going. But for the CBN, it is important in certain respects that it remains autonomous. It is very important that people who have political interests are not the ones deciding who becomes CBN governor and what policies are done because you know that then, the institution would cater for private interest, rather than the public good or interest. The tendency is that we would want to shield the CBN as much as possible from political interference. That is very important; otherwise, the economy will be skewed in favor of certain individuals. Even without talking about
autonomy, some individuals are able to buy the government policy they need. Powerful individuals are able to do it. If I borrow Sanusi’s own words, “vested interests” are able to do so. Those are vested private interests, but if you want something like anti-corruption to work in the public interest, you need it to be autonomous to a very great degree. I think it is important that we preserve the autonomy of the CBN. In the case of the NNPC, we should tell ourselves whether NNPC is in the best to provide those services or whether there are market players who can more efficiently play those roles. That brings us to the PIB, which is currently locked in the mill of the legislative process; does it contain sufficient provisions to tackle the transparency deficits in an institution like the NNPC? In its current form, if you look at the powers that the document will confer upon the Minister of Petroleum Resources, you should be scarred of the PIB. If you look at the confusion that the document will cause among host communities, you wouldn’t endorse it. For example, it says it will hold host communities responsible for infrastructure that is domiciled in the area. So host community B hates host community A, and in the thick of the night to go and damage stuff, so that host community A has to pay, and host community B is watching and laughing. What do you think would happen? There would be lots of tit for tats. I am not sure we have thought through the consequences of all of these things. Also, there is an argument made by many analysts that the PIB is going to make investments very difficult. There are two sides; some are arguing that because there is no PIB right now, it is difficult for investors to come in, others are arguing that if we implement it as it is, long-term investment will be very difficult to justify in the oil and gas sector. What I am trying to say is that there are many stakeholders who will not be satisfied with this PIB, and I am not surprised that it is not making much progress. It is such a huge document trying to be all things to all men, yet really not satisfying any. But the other argument is that it has some nuggets of transparency, the power of the minister notwithstanding… But can you have one without the other? I ask because if it pushes for transparency, but there is the possibility that a person could act as a despot, do you think you will then get the transparency that the Act is promising? Let’s not go by conjecture, let’s go by actual scenarios. We have a Bureau for Public Procurement in place; what about all of the institutions that were supposed to have been set up around that Bill? They were never put in place; we just have the Bill, but the rest of the institutions were not inaugurated. It then means you can have the whole PIB passed, and have only half of it; we have a Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, how many people have been able to secure access to information based on the FoI Act? We in this organisation (Integrity) for example have written several times to the National Assembly on their own budgets, even budgets that have been passed, and they dribbled us. We wrote also to the Ministry of Trade and Investment to ask about the deal that was done on biofuels worth Two Billion Euros in January 2012 till today, no response, except that they told us in the end that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) contains propriety information, and as such, we cannot see it. Till today, has anybody heard anything about this Two Billion Euro? It is gone. The thing is that we like to speak in billions. Even though we have an Act, we are unable to make it effective; so, if we have a PIB that is there and we say it has these transparency measures, it doesn’t mean we will get transparency. We have the EFCC and ICPC Acts, but has corruption reduced because of these? It doesn’t translate to such in Nigeria unfortunately; I am not advocating that we shouldn’t have laws, I am saying it will be naïve of us to think that by having something like the PIB, we will get the outcome we want; it does not necessarily lead to the outcome.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
LASU students carrying placard
LASU: The Waning Glory Of An Institution He said, “the portal was closed and re-opened several times, but still, some students were AGOS State University (LASU), Ojo, which negligent and failed to pay and register. The used to be listed among the best stateissue is beyond the closure of the portal beowned universities in the country, is now cause I witnessed what happened. The quesrated among Nigerian universities with a high tion is, do we really want a new LASU? What record of crises and closures. we have done is to instill discipline in the stuIn 2011, a committee was set up by the state dents.” government to fashion out ways to improve the school’s facilities and move it forward. After, the committee’s deliberations, tuition fees Grouse of Academic Staff were reviewed upwards, which angered the AKING a closer look at the school and its students, who then let hell loose and went on recent student protests, you do not need rampage. By that increment, medical students an Obafunwa or a LASUite, as the students were to pay N350, 000; education, N197, 000 call themselves, to announce to the world that while management sciences/law and others the school is plagued by a plethora of probN250, 000. As if the school had not had enough doses of lems. And speaking to The Guardian on some of the challenges, a senior lecturer, who chose crises, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, on January 17, ordered that the school’s to remain anonymous so as to avoid victimisation, which now reigns supreme in the portal should close registration. Not taking this lightly, the students on January 22, began school, offered insight into the school’s myriad of problems. another protest to make the VC and his lieuAccording to the don, “the school authority tenants reverse the decision. is no longer giving premium to academic acAccording to Atkin Davies, a student in the arts and humanities, “the protest was peaceful tivities such as promoting staff who are due and as at when due. The authorities are using because we only carried placards, we did not self-drawn rules and always changing the set even sing and some of us even knelt down to plead for mercy to enable the remaining 1,292 up rules. For example, senior lecturers constitute about 35 per cent in most of the departstudents to register for the second semester exam. We were pleading for leniency because it ments, but they have been denied promotion, was barely two weeks we had resumed and stu- and this, to a very large extent, has affected their work or input in bringing up the students needed time to settle down or sort out dents as expected. You can imagine, senior things. The examination notice was short; in lecturers, who are already in the associate profact, they did not consider those of us whose fessor level are debarred, which has made lecparents had to run around to complete our turers, who cannot tolerate this to leave for school fees. “The protest degenerated to something else, other universities while others are also joining the staff force on man-know-man basis. when the VC and other management staff He continued, “another challenge is the issue snubbed us; they should have talked to us to calm our nerves, even if they were to lie to us; of high school fees, which new students are asked to pay. This increase has actually made but that didn’t happen, instead they drove some of the student to leave LASU for other away giving the devil-may-care impression.” universities. The truth of the matter is LASU Going by what happened in the school, the school fee is now higher than fees charged in way the students reacted, the VC, Prof. Obaso many private universities across the counfunwa has been quoted as saying the issue is try, and to add salt to injuries, these private beyond the closure of the portal.
By Omiko Awa
schools are even better equipped in terms of infrastructure and staff motivation.” How has this then affected the school? “As you can see, enrolment and internally generated revenue that would be used to run the school have dropped. In fact, students’ enrolment from Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is now less; a department is noted to have just a student in the 100 level. Does that not sound bad for a school that once had students from different parts of the world? In fact, LASU is no longer for the poor and the common citizens; it is now for the children of the rich, which is entirely not good for the country. Education should be affordable and available to all,” he said. Comparing the new lecturers to those that had left the school, the don noted that the new ones are not more qualified or better than those that had left the school. LASU, he said, until recently, paraded the highest number of qualified dons among institutions set up about the same time with it, despite its relative young age then, it was noted for academic excellence; just mention the discipline, you will find a qualified don, but all of that is now a thing of the past. Chief among these problems is the indigenisation policy indirectly applied at the top administrative level. It is believed that the school authorities would rather allow the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a non-indigene, especially those not from the western part of the country to pilot its affairs as head. This, many lecturers have said should be removed to make the university attract better staff. In its admission process, the school allocates 40 per cent to Lagos State, 40 per cent to products of the state’s secondary schools and the remaining 20 per cent to students from different parts of the country, making it a bit liberal for a state-owned and financed school. Taking critics on this, another lecturer, who also chose to remain anonymous, said the policy has been misrepresented. “Every state has a quota system mechanism built into its adminis-
trative set up just like the Nigerian community has the Federal Character Commission. But the truth is, if the state funds the university, it then means it must see to the educational and social development of its citizens before others. I do not subscribe to the opinion that if a scholar is qualified to head certain position and because he is not an indigene he will not be promoted. I contend that if two people contest for a position, irrespective of state of origin, the better person should be given the position, especially in an academic environment like ours. This enhances academic quality, but this may not be the same at the administrative section because I know those in administration may not want to be registrar if they are not indigenes.”
Part Time Issue OULD the lecturers not present this to the state government?
“There is an on-going dialogue between government and the school authority and I am sure things, especially the high fees will be reviewed downwards for the good of all and with time other aspects will be visited. We also hope to rejig the School of Part Time (LASU-SPTS) and its numerous satellite campuses. “LASU-SPTS was established with the motive of equipping and training manpower for Lagos State and the many companies within and outside the state, but the system began to rot as it progressed. Though the system has been bastardised, it should be noted that it has actually produced skilled personnel who, after studying for the first degree, moved to other universities for the second and finally PhD. We are winding it up because of its shortcomings or challenges. We hope to replace it with the Distance Learning System (DLS) to enhance quality and, of course, reposition it for wider outreach,” he said.
24 Sunday, March 2, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
OLUKOGA: Stakeholders Should Come Together To Salvage The School The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Education, Otunba Fatai Olukoga, in this chat with GBENGA SALAU, spoke on the crisis in Lagos State University (LASU). He is optimistic that the lingering crisis is about being resolved once and for all. Why is LASU enmeshed in crisis? HAT happened recently was just a crisis that should not have been, if the students were disciplined. What happened? They asked for portal to be opened. We all know that when a student enters a university, the day he enters, he must register courses he will do. And that is the case in any university. It is usually opened for two weeks. The essence of portal is to have proper record of courses that a student will attend their classes, and thereafter, sit for examinations. But in the case of LASU, it has been the habit of the students to be asking for the portal to be opened and re-opened, and I think, there must be a stop to this. Students must know why they are in school. In the case of what happened, this portal was opened two times, from March last year to July, when Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) went on strike. When they called off their strike, it was also re-opened for one week for the students to register. Out of about 12,800 students, 11,000 students complied, with the balance of 1,800, not doing so. How can the students who resisted start fighting and destroying things? It shows lack of discipline and taking laws into their hands. What they did is really uncalled for, and there must be a stop to all these actions that should not be attributed to those called students. Students are supposed to be in school so that they could be impacted morally and academically, and become useful to themselves and the society when they come out. So, they must go there to face their studies and not involved in any acts of hooliganism and cultism. Having said that, even if you told the management that they should please, then the management said, it cannot be opened, you have missed this session, the right thing to know is that you will still use the money you have paid to do your examination the next session. That shows you are not being asked to pay twice. It is just for you to pay for lateness. I know in some universities, if you will pay the school fees late, you will be charged 10 per cent of the school fees, which is not the case in LASU. Probably, this is what management of LASU should learn to do now. If you open your portal and give specific date for them to register, and the students fail to do so within the period, anybody coming, thereafter, if you must open the portal, should pay Olukoga some percentage as fine. The first set of students has resumed, and the others would be reWhat happened that day was really not called for. It is just like suming on March 10; yet there are many unresolved issues with touts rioting, if you visit the place, you will see the mess, many the various unions? offices were broken; colleagues who were writing exams were It would be resolved once, and for all, the way we are going. disturbed. Some of them came in mask; used heavy equip- There is a committee of the House of Assembly looking into it ments to bang on doors to get it opened, computers were de- now; it has called on the management and the unions to say their stroyed. I mean, are these students or touts? own views. The problem with LASU is that one group is being inLooking at what triggered the protest, not having access to the cited against another. The promotion you talked about, the issue portal, and the amount of damage, both did not correlate. has been resolved and when it was said that, no promotion, no vaCould this not be a product of concealed anger? cancy, it is the norm. If there is no vacancy, you cannot move. And Well, some said that the school fees are too high, which I do not that is why the idea of national and financial came up; you will believe. When the government took a decision on school fees, it still get your promotion as at when due. puts a cushion effect on those coming in, by giving them some- The positions of LASU-ASUU are just rumours, nobody has been thing back. We have a list of about 1,300 students that were paid disengaged, even those on temporary appointment because of back between N80,000 and N100,000 even to N200,000, for the way they came in, we are already looking into their case. The those in Law and Marine Engineering. They were paid back and governing council has given the directive that they should be rethe old students were told to continue paying the old rate of called for interview, which is ongoing, and it is just to normalise N25,000 and N35,000. things. And they felt that the ways they were doing things, should This issue then was dragged on, we went to the House of As- be the way it is done. There must be a level of discipline in any orsembly, the executive stated its own side of the issue. The gov- ganisation, and this is what the LASU-ASUU is resisting. I have not ernor, thereafter, went to LASU when he was doing his 2400 seen where you antagonise your employer. I noticed one or two days in office in a programme called, Town and Gown. He also members of LASU-ASUU going on air, saying they are fighting for explained the reason for the hike in fees. And the thing is, if you reduction in school fees. Are they not part of management? Are want value for money and quality education, you must pay they not part of the decision? When there was a crisis in 2010, govsomething and that is the case in LASU. Even if the school fee is ernment was asked to set up a visitation panel, that panel went high, they are still getting it back in the form of bursaries and there; discussed with them and they all agreed that the right scholarship. At the time they were paying N25,000 and N35000, things should be done. So, the government had to come out with Lagos State indigenes were taking back that sum as bursary a white paper. They were part and parcel of the decisions from award. So, when this school fee was also increased, the bursary the beginning. The government did not wake up one day to inaward was increased from N35,000 to N50,000, 100,000 and crease LASU’s fees, there was a process. N200,000 depending on where the student falls in, and you They were complaining that the number of students is dewill be given the Bursary Award. And the first set who came in creasing, but is it not better to handle fewer students than a large 2012, were all paid in 2013. It was published in The Guardian number of students, who do not have space to sit, and their lecNewspapers. The school brought the list of the affected, they all turers not knowing who their students are? When you talk about lined up at the scholarship board in Agege to collect their qualitative education, you have lesser students in the class, commoney back. Did they tell their parents that they got the money fortable, learning in a good atmosphere and that is what is hapback? pening now in LASU. But some lecturers are not happy about So, if you are a brilliant student, there is the likelihood that that. They know that with a larger class, they get more money you will not pay anything at all because you are getting schol- from the handouts being sold. arship that would have taken care of everything. If you are not ASUU claimed that their promotion is now being tied to the numa brilliant student, and just on bursary award as an indigene or ber of students and departments with very low students would resident of Lagos State, who has lived for more than 180 days, be delisted? you will get a bursary award. So, no matter what, you will have That is not true. Promotion is not tied to the number of students, something that will cushion it. but the level of personal development of the lecturers, which is in The first one that we did was published in the newspaper; it their employment handbook. If a lecturer comes in with a maswas to allow the parents to know that we fulfilled our promise. ter’s degree, there is the number of years to improve, contribute We promised that with the increment in school fees, there is to journals, if not, how do you get promoted? going to be a cushioning effect. The claim that departments with fewer students would be disLooking at the school fees increment and the bursary incre- engaged is not true. What we are saying is that LASU should be a ment, they tend not to be at par. Also, bearing in mind that not specialise institution. As LASU is good in Law, Medicine and Enmany state universities charge as high as that? gineering, let us face that. We have other institutions, Adeniran That state universities are not as high as LASU, I do not know Ogunsanya College of Education, those who want education where you got the information from, because as far as I am con- courses, should go there. If you complete an NCE and want a Bsc cerned, all these parameters were looked at before we arrived at Edacation, there could be an affiliation programme with LASU. those figures. When there are more students coming in for Law, Engineering
and Medicine, but less students coming in for Islamic Studies, Yoruba, won’t you collapse and use the lecturers where they are needed? This is what is going on, it is just a matter of arranging things in perfect order. If you are a lecturer and not fully utilised, you can move on to another department where you will be fully utilised. But this was not the case before the increment? If you look at LASU’s admission in the last five years, you will notice that this has been the case. The increment was just two years; the intake has been low. It is like the lecturers love situations where they will be going about doing nothing. Now, we want to have those who are serious and working at the same time giving quality education to their students. There is also the issue of external students not getting their results and certificates? When you find out, it is either they have not completed their programme or have not adhered to regulations. Some students believe that going to the university is just to write exams not going into their profile to check where they have references. And this has caused a lot of backlog, but many of the certificates have been signed. During last year’s convocation ceremony, almost 10,000 certificates were signed. So, you have to look at the proprietors of those external centres; are they adhering to regulations? They are not submitting the examination papers and records of students to the main campus, yet they want the students to be given certificates. Last year, during the 17th convocation ceremonies, many got their certificates, which is the first time LASU will be doing that. Also, the Senate recently approved that the university be reopened and that students should come in batches, but they said no. And the Senate is the only organ of the university saddled with this responsibility, yet they are kicking against this decision. You should also note that government is threading cautiously on the issue of our tertiary institutions because they have their own autonomy. Yes, government gives them subvention and ensures that the money meant for capital project is judiciously used. That is the extent the government can interfere. And government is trying to avoid being accused of interfering in its activities. Looking into the history of LASU, one would feel something is wrong with the unions. During the period of late Akesode, they said, no, he must go, Akesode left. When Leigh came, he was able to manoeuvre, even then, there were resistant. After Leigh, Hussein came, at the end of four years, they kicked him out. Hussein left; there was interim government by Prof Olatunji Bello. After her, Obafunwa came; now it is Obafunwa must go, then something must be wrong with the stakeholders. What do you think is wrong with the stakeholders? My reply is as good as yours. Why is that everybody that comes in, by one way you get him out by force or violence? Are we saying that all these administrators that are being kicked out are not good? What then is the way forward? The unions and management should come together and salvage the institution; none can be all in all.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 25
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
‘Community’ School Go Awry By Kamal Tayo Oropo HE Lagos State University (LASU) was established in 1984 as a multi-campus, non residential university. Thirty years on, has the university manifested the dream and aspirations of its founding fathers? Main objective of the institution is to meet the peculiar educational needs of the state, in terms of providing facilities for learning, and giving instruction and training in such branches of knowledge as the university may desire to enable students obtain the advantage of liberal education. The university, like many others in the world over, was established to promote, by research and other means, the advancement of knowledge and its practical application to social, cultural, economic, scientific and technological problems. LASU is also expected to meet the specific manpower needs of the state, serve as a creative custodian, promoter and propagator of the state’s social and cultural heritage and resources as well as to undertake undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Law, Arts and Social Sciences, Education, Science, Engineering, Technology and Environmental Design and Medical Science. Other objectives include, to enhance the educational opportunities of Lagos State indigenes by admitting students in the following percentages; Lagos State indigines - 40 per cent, products of the Lagos State’s School system - 40 per cent and other Nigerian citizens who are students - 20 per cent . However, and most instructively, one of the main reasons for its establishment is to provide “ready access for citizens of the state in particular to higher education, regardless of social origin or income.” How this particular objective will be met under the regime of high tuition fees has become the major challenge confronting LASU. As part of effort to shift the burden of funding the institution and expanding its resource base, the Bola Tinubu administration, in March 2002, introduced the School of Part-Time Studies, called LASUSPTS. Prior to the establishment of the School of Part-Time, LASU had operated various PartTime programmes in the various departments, using the facilities in the university, which quickly ran into trouble waters as allegations of abuse of privileges were leveled against the operators. The School of Part Time became the best alternative in an attempt to streamline and standardise the operations of these pro-
grammes. This period also coincided with the Federal Government’s directive on the closure of the Satellite campuses throughout the country. Hence, a committee was established. The school also became a challenge for the Fashola-led administration, which was uncomfortable with the quality of education being offered. The governor, eventually, wielded the big stick by ordering closure of the part time schools. But something must be done in the area of funding. Enter the regime of increase in tuition fees. While it is true that the present tuition fees, as high as it may sound, may not be able to successfully run the institution, no university in the world can truly be run and sustained exclusively through tuition fees. The total money being paid by students, in a year, according to the government, can only run LASU for three months, staff salaries inclusive. For example, to train a medical student in a year, government purportedly spends over N800, 000 but the students pay N348, 750. With this kind of scenario in mind, it appears the government is spending heavily to fund the institution. However, that, in itself, is not peculiar to the government. Governments world-wide spend heavily to train middle-level skilled working class for future development of the society; at least until that institution attains strong footing and can independently attract research foundations, grants and aids from the private sector. Lagos funding, in this regard, is not expected to be an exception as the very idea that prompted the establishment of the university by the populist Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande Second Republic administration was the dire need to provide an alternative to the oversought University of Lagos. Accordingly, the Lagos State University Law (1984) states that one of the objectives of the university shall be to provide access for citizens of Lagos State to higher education regardless of social status or income. But while University of Lagos fees has largely seen relatively low increases, LASU, which is a non-residential institution, has become the most expensive public varsity in the country. What makes LASU tuition fees hike most worrisome is the percentage of the increase by the both Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration and his successor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. Tinubu’s government inherited tuition fees of about N500 (five hundred naira) and within the eight years of the administration, the fees rose steadily to about N25, 000 (5000 percent increase), which Fashola government inher-
ited. Keeping pace with his immediate predecessor, the Fashola-led government jerked up the fees to as much as about N350, 000, representing about 1400 per cent increase. Recently, and as part of the fallout of its faceoff with the state government, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (LASU Chapter) declared: “Our union demands the downward review of the LASU school fees regime to enable LASU compete favourably with other public universities and make tertiary education affordable to the down-trodden. LASU is now the most expensive public university in Nigeria and this has made us unattractive to applicants.” With fees between N350, 000 (Medicine), N250, 000 (Management Sciences/Law) and N197, 000 (Education), the union argued that the tuition fee has placed education “beyond the reach of the average Lagosian and Nigerians in general. This contradicts the founding father’s vision and purpose for establishing the university.” However, if the words of the state Commissioner for Budget, Ben Akabueze, which represent the thinking of the government, those yearning for a downward review of the tuition fees may have to wait for a very long time; at least till the end of the Fashola’s tenure. Speaking on 2014 appropriation for LASU, Akabueze declared that students should not expect to pay N25, 000 as tuition because “quality tertiary education cannot be cheap,” even as he stressed. “LASU is not funded by the tuition fees paid by the students.” He continued, “It is not possible in today’s world to get quality tertiary education at N25, 000. Many Nigerians pay more than that to fund their children’s education at the primary education level. Governments around the world spend more money funding basic education than tertiary education. This is to create platform for more people to be educated. “We have N9.2 billion that would be spent on LASU in 2014. Out of the N9.2 billion, N2.6 is for capital expenditure while N6.6 billion is for recurrent expenditure.” Many, however, disagree with the state government’s position. They argue that the state government, under Jakande, had demonstrated capacity to expand basic education while running tuition-free regime at the tertiary level, including the Lagos Polytechnic and the movement to the per-
manent site of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education. They note that no administration after that of Jakande has been able to make a telling impact on primary and secondary education. Indeed, funding the university may have nothing to do with availability or lack of requisite fund as much as regime’s philosophy and priority. While education seemingly formed the centerpiece of the Jakande’s administration, same may not be said of the regime’s successors; Tinubu’s and Fashola’s inclusive. The Jakande administration inherited a secondary school education system where pupils and students attended classes in batches of morning, afternoon and evening. Seeing that this system, borne out of inadequate schooling facilities, was unhelpful towards quality education, the government embarked on massive construction of new schools all over the state. Unlike the Tinubu’s administration that divested itself from the responsibilities of running a chunk of primary and secondary schools in the state when the administration returned missionary schools acquired by the state as well as Fashola’s administration, which most conveniently inherited and sustained, the policy, the Jakande administration was fully in charge of over 90 per cent of primary and secondary schools in the state. This, according to analysts, is a point to ponder, considering, especially that the Jakande government operated a considerable relative lean budget while equally faced with huge development challenges; including affordable shelter and almost free medical care, construction of the state secretariat, the state House of Assembly complex, the Lagos television, the Lekki-Epe expressway and so on. When asked recently, against the backdrop of LASU current tuition hike and if he still thinks that free education at all levels of education is possible, the 84 year old former governor said: “Yes, I am very sure that this country can and should provide free education at all levels. Nigeria has the resources.” Instructively, he stressed that he wishes to be remembered for the large number of men and women who would not have achieved their greatness in life but for the free education programme of his administration “and as part of my selfless service to all.”
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Solidarity Not Forever From Students By Daniel Anazia ROM its inception in 1983, and eventual take off in 1984, all the seven substantive vice chancellors of LASU — Professors Afolabi Olumide, Jadesola Akande (late), Enitan Bababunmi, Fatiu Akesode (late), Abisogun Leigh and Abdul Lateef Hussein — have, one way or the other, tasted the wrath of the unions in the school, especially the students’ body. Even former National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary, Professor Peter Okebukola, who acted as VC in 1996, also felt the heat. Now, the incumbent, Professor Oladapo Obafunwa, a forensic pathologist, is having his own baptism of fire. The Guardian investigation gathered that the Students Union Government (SUG), from the regime of Lookman Amolegbe (1990) to Wale Okuniyi (1992/1993), from Ibisomi Idowu (1994) to Bruno (1996), Akin Babalola (1997), Tunde Salau (2001) and Adedeji Gbenga Justice (AGP Justice) 2002, have always embraced welfare as the cardinal programme. One time General Secretary of the students’ union, and now, a lecturer in the institution, Abiodun Fatai (aka Baresi), told The Guardian, “it is within the context of this gallant stride that LASU attained its structural development and improved students’ welfare.” He said, “the students’ union has been effec- Obafunwa, VC, LASU tive in tackling tyranny in LASU, raising, at various times, issues that bother on welfare of students and improved university system.” He added, “it is worthy of note that LASU students’ union from inception has a pedigree and reputation for virile, robust leadership in terms of their articulation of issues. Yes, they are militant, but they are very reasonable. Its followership has been very consistent in pursuit of lofty ideals as well as having basic understanding of mass based agitation. That is why the students’ union overtime has been very active in the discharge and defense of its lawful interests.” The former students’ union scribe argued, “apart from the fact that there is no point paying for what you don’t enjoy, LASU students have continued to wage tireless battle against the state government and the school authority to ensure that education is a right and not a privilege to be sold to the elites, who have looted the treasury. His words: “As a result of the uncompromising stance of the students’ union leaderships, they have expelled activists, sponsored schism and all, proscribed the union.”
Students And Their Grouse Hussein Akande (Late) commence in other schools, they could still time, and he would have been alive. But the buy change of institution form and swap to same school authority used N700, 000 to reHE Guardian gathered that G.C.E ‘98’ was another schools.” one of the many issues that led to stuvive a senate member, who slumped at the Justice explained that the agitation redents’ union’s demonstration under Ayo senate chamber during one of their sitAdewale (now Chairman Amuwo Odofin Local sulted in the shutting down of the school. tings.” “We took the matter to the governor’s office According to Justice, between 1992 and Council), raising moral and legal views over in Alausa, but we were surprised the gover- 2002, the union was purportedly banned the school management policy that year. Speaking on the matter, former president of nor and the state government remained un- and about 40 students (23 of them student’s the union, Adedeji Gbenga Justice, noted that concerned at first,” he said. union leaders and activists) were framed up the genesis of the issue was the October as cultists and rusticated. This rendered the 1998/99 admissions, where some students ad- SAP ’93 And The Death Of Kunle Sonowo future of many bleak. mitted that year were to forfeit their admis“The case of Lookman Amolegbe, a 500 sion on the ground that they came in through EYOND the internal issues with school level law (final year) student and then stuGCE result of 1998. dents’ union president in 1994, are typical management, the students also Justice said, “this was after the students had protested government’s anti-economic examples. He was framed up for examinapaid all the required fees and levy to the and social policies, and one of them was the tion malpractice and rusticated without beschool. The students’ union saw it as an injus- Ibrahim Badamsi Babangida’s Structural Ad- ing given fair hearing. He got reinstated 10 tice and protested. And the issue raised by the justment Programme (SAP) in 1993, which re- years after an almost unending adjournunion at the time was that by contract, the ment. Also, Bruno another president of the sulted in the shooting of Kunle Sonowo, a brochure did not specify that those with GCE 100 Level Biochemistry student by trigger union was framed up and incarcerated in ‘98 should not seek admission. Also, the prison for six months,” he stated. happy Nigeria Police force. school authority did not publicise it in any According to Justice, “LASU, as a university Justice noted that the refusal of the state media, whether print or electronic as well as in Nigeria, is part of the National Association government to react to the general crisis in the various billboards in the school. of Nigerian Students (NANS), and while wait- and state of unrest on campus often make Moreso, the school authority did not stop the students attempt to mobilise for oning for directives in 1993, from NANS nathem when they were paying the mandatory tional executive, after thorough deliberation ward movement to the seat of power in fees, not until the admissions process was al- to join other students’ unions and moveAlausa, with a view to finding solution to most completed.” ments in the protest against the Structural their problems. He added, “the school authority took the de- Adjustment Programme (SAP), Kunle cision when it found out that those admitted Sonowo, a 100 level Biochemistry student The Cult Wars And Security Challenges were more than the infrastructure available was killed by a trigger-happy policeman and and the only way to remedy the problem was many others injured.” ECURITY challenges and cult activities in to devise that scheme. That is one of the reaHe noted that most university manageLASU are also major issues that have sons the student’s union and some of us that ment take pleasure in calling the Police to constantly confronted the citadel of are stakeholders have continued to warn the brutalise and dislodge students rather than learning. The Guardian gathered that since school management not to admit more than listen to their opinion whenever they are the regime of Dele Farotimi and Idowu Ibiwhat they could cater for. protesting. “The refusal of the school author- somi in 1994, insecurity within campus, es“The fact of the issue, and our argument was ity and the state government at the time to pecially at the Ojo, has assumed a great that, since LASU is withdrawing their admislend a hand to the recuperation of Kunle dimension, to the extent that cult related sion, the management should return the stu- Sonowo, led to his eventual death after 11 activities have been displayed in the open dents’ money, so that they could go elsewhere days of groaning in pains as a result of the with effrontery. or wait for another year, and most possibly, bullets that lodged in his brain. Only N500, According to Abiodun, “the union at some that since admissions was yet, or about, to 000 was required for his operation at the point gave them a frontal reprisal attack
during Ibisomi’s regime, but that only made the union to be vulnerable as the cult boys later grew in number to deal with the union leadership with all sort of sophisticated weapons.” Asked if it is part of the duties of the students’ union to ensure on campus security of life and properties as well as condusive academic environment, Abiodun said, “Yes,” but adding, “attempts by the union leaders to do this was met with stiffer opposition from the cult boys.” “Suffice to say, the union has constantly condemned the ineffective security network in the campuses (especially Ojo and Epe),” he said. In a bid to stem the tide of cultism and cult clashes in the school, then Vice Chancellor, Prof Abisogun Leigh, in November 2004, hosted a peace meeting at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos all the cult groups in the school. Though four members from each group were invited, they turned out in their numbers. Also, only seven out of all the groups turned up for the meeting while others sent in their representatives. Despite this measure, the rivalry between the two opposing groups in the school — Black Axe (Aye) and Eiye confraternities continued with the recent killing of a fast rising hip hop star, Olaniya Damilola, popularly known as Damoche, a 200 level Banking and Finance student, believed to be a member of the Eiye fraternity. In a reprisal attack, another student simply identified as Kabiru, alleged to be a member of the Black Axe Fraternity (Aye), whose group was suspected to have killed Damoche, was slain at Abeokuta Street in Okokomaiko, when a gang of cultists invaded the area, which is said to be home to some members of the rival group.
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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Junior Guardian Caleb Hosts JAMB Computer Based Test Training Seminar For Students ALEB University Lagos in conC junction with JAMB hosted not less than 2,000 students in Caleb College CMD road. The event titled: “JAMB Computer Based Test Training Seminar” held in several batches for the senior secondary schools. Three students of various secondary schools in Lagos came for the training. The highlight of the training was centered on how to take computer based test, the benefits of CBT and question and answer from the students. The students were taken through a step by step process of the CBT exams and were taught how to answer questions and save answers correctly by Mr. Olukayode Dada, Head of Exam Unit, JAMB. In recounting her experience at the event, a student of Providence Height Secondary School said before partaking in the seminar, she had been scared of the exam. “I heard about mass failure from past candidates that took the CBT exams, their performance was not encouraging, but with the seminar, my fears have been calmed.” Opaniyi Jadesola of Total High College, Ikorodu said she was happy the seminar came up. She also affirmed that the CBT will help curb exam malpractices.
The Vice Chancellor, Caleb University, Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju in his words said that “the CBT is a welcome development. It will definitely improve in the years to come and will be globally competitive. The CBT helps curb exam malpractices as the questions are varied from one candidate to another. CBT allows every student to stand on his/her own work.” He explained that it would be a step at a time; maybe regionally, the urban areas would be covered first, then the rural area. He said he was sure the management of JAMB is working to make CBT possible and sustained. Prof. Samuel Daramola, the Dean Students Affairs, Caleb University in his closing remarks congratulated and thanked the various schools that attended the seminar. He further charged the teachers of various schools to go back and spread the ecompliance word, teach the need for ICT in educating and empowering the coming generation. He also said that secondary schools should create an ICT educational environment to students as individuals, parents and a nation at large and this will benefit the country.
WORD POWER GAME Crumble a) dissolve b) shake c) pull d) beat Negotiate a) use b) sell c) take d) change Relish a) enjoyment b) like c) cool d) nice Wanton a) dangerous b) excessive c) clear d) fast Rancid a) loud b) reeking c) down d) lovely Taut a) stretched b) light c) long d) same Sanitise a) disinfect b) spray c) bold d) dirty Dainty a) small b) delicate c) brave d) dark Dross a) rubbish b) terrible c) close d) bad
Sunshine Sammy’s World Of Words IMPE Adekoya from Lagos B sent these following words, as part of her contribution to Sunshine Sammy. Sammy is always delighted, when she shares new words with others. You too can join in the fun by sending 10 more words starting with the letter G Grand Gear Grace
Gout Gruesome Gallant Gallop Grant Grab Garrulous
Cross section of students at the seminar
POEM Love Love, the key to life Brighter than gold A piece of music playing in my heart A reddish heart that makes everyone love another Love is beautiful It makes everybody sing and dance Love is flying in the air Love makes a bad relationship a good one It makes us happy all the time Love is happiness Love is joy Love is great A rain of reddish flowers Love cannot be broken A beautiful ray of sunshine Love makes life beautiful
SOLUTIONS TO BRAIN TEASER (20) DISPOSAL CABBAGE
By Rhoda Okehmuokho Ocean Crest School Lekki
Please send your contributions to: The Junior Guardian Desk Rutam House P.M.B. 1217 Oshodi Or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kolawole Adebiyi of Red House (left); Ijeoma Ezechukwu of Blue House (centre) and Tolu Samson of Green House displaying their trophies at the Beehive School Inter-House Sports Competiition at the school sports ground in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos... last week.
Pupils of Trinity Foundation School, Ofada, Ogun State with a wax model of Whoopi Goldberg at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum during their visit to the United Kingdom COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA
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HEALTHCARE: Regulators, HMOs find common ground for Delivery
Dr. Kola Owoka Chairman, HMCAN
ESPITE its dream of securing universal access to adequate and affordable healthcare in order to improve the health status of Nigerians, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is yet to enjoy good support from relevant stakeholders. It goes without saying that the inadequate programmes designed to address the numerous health problems in Nigeria have led to little improvement in the nation’s health status. Experts are of the opinion that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to which the country is committed to achieve by 2015, remain to be seen. Sadly, the issue of equity, accessibility, affordability, effectiveness and efficiency, which are the overall policy objectives of the revised National Health Policy are still persistent. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was conceived primarily to avoid a situation where patients cannot get treatment based on lack of cash. The scheme was first mooted in 1962 when the late Dr. Moses Majekodunmi was Minister of Health, but it did not become reality until General Abdulsalami Abubakar signed NHIS into law in 1999 and former President Olusegun Obasanjo finally gave it a nod, few years later. Speaking in Abuja, at a stakeholder meeting between the newly appointed Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Olufemi Thomas, the Chairman of the Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), Dr. Kola Owoka, who is also the Managing
Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Hon. Minister of Health
Director/Chief Executive Officer, United Healthcare Services Limited, expressed concern over the inability of NHIS to cover up to 5% of the target population since its inception which has created an increasing need for introspection and paradigm shift. According to the Chairman of HMCAN, “the goals of universal coverage are to cover at least 90% of the population by prepayment and risk pooling schemes and to put in place social assistance and social safety nets (subsidy) for those who cannot contribute. Therefore, there must be innovative financing to increase resources for healthcare including the 1% expected from the Federation Accounts as prescribed in the National Health Bill to boost the resources available for healthcare financing in the country”. In his words, Owoka stressed the “need for urgent enactment of the new NHIS Act currently before the National Assembly as the appropriate legislation that will make it compulsory to get all public and private sectors to subscribe to health insurance schemes by changing “may” to “shall” in the NHIS Act, CAP 35 of May 1999, to make it mandatory”. The Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN) is the umbrella body of Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) in Nigeria comprising of professionals and experts in the field of health insurance. As key players in the sub-sector, Owoka was of the opinion that “many of us have experiences of lessons-learned and best practice highlights from different countries, and therefore, capable of taking the business of health insurance to greater
heights in the country. Since health insurance is the only thing we do, we have a lot of practical and theoretical ideas to share”. He further advocated “regular meetings to rub minds” with the new helmsman at NHIS and urged the body to support training and re-training of NHIS staff so they can have full capacity to regulate and apply necessary penalty to defaulters instead of generalizing and blaming all HMOs for inadequacies of only a few entities”. Other area of concern to HMCAN is the Nigerian health indicators which the association wants NHIS to “have a look at the different groups of mortality and take up reduction of anyone of them countrywide – pregnant women, children under one year, children under five years and adults above forty years. This will definitely improve the national health indices”, Owoka added. In his response, Dr. Olufemi Thomas assured the members of HMCAN of a new era whereby NHIS as an agency of government will “deploy its full regulatory role and ensure transparency and accountability in its statutory activities”. He also believed that “the collaboration with all stakeholders will start yielding the desired positive results within the shortest time possible”. The NHIS has a vision of covering every Nigerian by 2015. The economy will
Dr, Femi Thomas, Executive Secretary, NHIS
Dr, Segun Ogundimu, M.D. Clearline Ltd.
benefit tremendously from this. Without a healthy workforce, productivity will be hampered. If this 2015 vision is realised, every Nigerian, rich or poor, will be covered. But there are several obstacles. One of them, according to keen stakeholders is the need to mobilize Nigerians to enroll because it is important that every citizen is covered in the scheme.
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Dr. Leke Oshunniyi, MD/CEO, Multishield Limited IHMS: DELIVERING THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS TO NIGERIANS HMS is a national Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) established in 2001 to provide Social Health Insurance cover to individuals and groups under the National Health Insurance scheme and private health insurance services to interested individuals and groups. It is owned by medical practitioners and Institutional investors. It is one of the most capitalized HMOs in Nigeria. IHMS utilizes a network of over 1,00 healthcare providers including general practitioners, specialists, clinics, hospitals and diagnostic centres spread all over Nigeria. The company operates from fully computerized zonal offices in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Yola, Owerri and Enugu with over 120,000 registered members including private individuals, corporate orgazations, schools, and public institutions. According to Dr. Chidi Ukandu, Chief Operating Officer, “IHMS’ mission is to deliver the highest level of health and wellness to our customers while our vision is to be the preferred provider of integrated and quality healthcare solutions in Nigeria. we have been able to realize this by the support from a select group of primary, secondary, tertiary and ancillary healthcare providers’ covering all states of the country”. He explained that “with a management team made up of highly qualified professionals in the fields of Clinical medicine, Healthcare Management, Insurance, Finance, Marketing and ICT, IHMS’ processes are automated with the latest and most effective ICT tools. All these provide us with the necessary leverage to meet the needs of our customers”. Speaking further on the edge the company has in the sector, Dr. Ukandu said “the IHMS Health Plan is highly flexible and hence does not impose services you do not need on you. You may therefore add Optional Benefits to any of the main plans you purchase. However, he noted that “optional benefits cannot be bought on a standalone basis. We can also customize a health plan for your organization if any of the main plans do not meet your requirements. Our products are so priced to ensure that a member receives a comprehensive scope of health services for a relatively moderate sum”. The NHIS has a vision of covering every Nigerian by 2015. The economy will benefit tremendously from this. Without a healthy workforce, productivity will be hampered. If this 2015 vision is realised, every Nigerian, rich or poor, will be covered. But there are several obstacles. What are these obstacle
Dr. Ladi Awosika, C.E.O., Total Health Trust Ltd.
and how can the scheme overcome them? IHMS offers a wide bouquet of value laden health financing,
management and delivery services that are designed to meet the needs of organizations, groups and individuals.
Dr. Chidi Ukandu, COO, International Health Management Services Ltd. The company products include: Private Pre-Paid Managed Health Care Plans (The IHMS Corporate Health Plan);
Dr. Peter Oriavwote, MD, Salus Trust Ltd.
Third-party Health Administration Plans; NHIS Social Health Insurance Plans; Worksite Clinic Management servic-
es; Health Promotion and Wellness Programmes; and, International Health Insurance and Evacuation Plans.
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ROYAL EXCHANGE HEALTHCARE LIMITED – PROVIDING STRESS FREE ACCESS TO QUALITY MEDICARE OYAL Exchange Healthcare Limited is a nationally accredited Health Maintenance Organization providing financial intermediation within the health industry; thus acting as a fulcrum between the enrollees and healthcare providers, the latter, selected purely on quality of their services. Royal Exchange Healthcare is also a member of the Royal Exchange Group, established in 1921 with a credible track record of over 90 years of outstanding performance in the Insurance Industry. Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited (REHL) primary function is the design of medical health plans that are both flexible and accommodating. Our provider network also covers the four corners of Nigeria and
through rigorous and continuous quality auditing; we strive to ensure the highest possible standards in medical services from our network. We utilize the principle of risk pooling and managed care in controlling and hedging risks associated with our business. In performing these functions, the risk bearing responsibility and its innovative management techniques have been the distinguishing factor of the Royal Exchange Healthcare brand in the health insurance industry. Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited (REHL) will, in the long term, create a one-stop health solution for its stakeholders. In a bid to bring quality healthcare within the reach of everyone, Royal Exchange Healthcare has established offices in all geo-politico zone in Nigeria and still expanding.
Established in 2006, Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited is managed by seasoned professionals from the managed care industry led by Dr. Chiedu Pius Ofulue. Dr. Ofulue is Managing Director/ CEO, Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited. He brings with him a great wealth of experience in the medical and the health insurance industry. A graduate of the University of Ibadan and an alumnus of the Lagos Business School (AMP 14), Dr. Ofulue was CEO of Managed Healthcare Services before his appointment as Group Practice Manager at Critical Rescue International (CRI). He has been Managing Director of Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited since its inception. ROYAL EXCHANGE HEALTHCARE SCHEME Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited facilitates stress-free
CLEARLINE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED: THRIVING ON A ROBUST PROVIDER NETWORK FOR QUALITY HEALTHCARE DELIVERY LEARLINE International Limited is a Health Maintenance Organisation duly registered in Nigeria and accredited with the NHIS. We offer our clients access to healthcare services provided by third party healthcare providers through our range of Private Health Plans and the NHIS Plans offered under the Federal Government Social Health Insurance Scheme. To deliver on our quality objective to our clients, we have built a robust provider network through partnership with primary, secondary and tertiary health infrastructure providers who share our commitment to quality. Clearline International Limited healthcare infrastructure delivers the following facilities: A growing network of wellequipped primary healthcare facilities A network of first class secondary and tertiary facilities with emergency stabilization capabilities A retained network of renowned specialist consultants in diverse fields of medicine – Pediatrics, Dentistry, Cardiology Gynaecology, Opthalmology, Gymnasia, Dietetics etc. Access to basic and advanced life support ambulances strategically located in major cities for speedy dispatch A 24 hour customer service platform A comprehensive and unrestricted drug formulary and pharmacy benefits International Health Plans The current scale of our operation is national. We envisage that with ongoing efforts to upgrade our operational infrastructure and marketing operations in particular, we are achieving substantial growth in enrollee number and spread. WHY CLEARLINE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED? Clearline Limited offers our clients the following: Competent and highly skilled professionals to co-ordinate and administer all healthcare needs, under the Preventive, Protective, Promotive and Curative methods. Our healthcare service is delivered through a network of first class primary and tertiary healthcare facilities and health care professionals
Clearline offers individuals, organizations and groups a complete range of healthcare services – local road transport ambulance services for emergencies, access to a network of primary and tertiary health care facilities, stand-alone emergency offshore evacuation plans and international healthcare services; and clinic management services All our private health plans offer emergency road transport evacuations and stabilization as a standard service Our primary objective is to provide our clients convenient access to our network providers offering Preventive, Promotive, Protective and Curative care. The emphasis is on prevention which is cheaper of
all cares from the stand point of illness. We continue to identify and recruit more providers to our network to ensure that our clients have a provider within a short distance from their location Clearline International Limited administers a strict quality control system that guarantees high quality service on our network Our 24 hour customer service platform ensures that our clients have access to healthcare services round the clock Clearline International Limited offers free Health Management programmes to our clients for management of chronic diseases and disease prevention as a value added service
HMCAN: DOING ALL THAT IS LAWFUL DRIVE HEALTH INSURANCE IN NIGERIA TO GREATER HEIGHT HE Health & Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN) was inaugurated in March 1998. HMCAN is the umbrella body of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in Nigeria, licensed operators of the National Health Insurance Scheme. Since inception, no less distinguished professionals like Professor A.B. Odutola, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya and Dr. Ladi Okuboyejo have served the Association at various times as Chairman. Currently, the Chairman of the Association is Dr. Kola Owoka. The Association which started with eight member-HMOs has risen to twenty one financial members as at date, with many more HMOs at various staged of joining the Association. As a result of the emerging relevance of the Association, HMCAN was represented at the public hearing on the NHIS on February 24, 2000 by the House of Representatives’ committee on Health. According to Mrs. Ngozi Uba, Executive Secretary of the association, “our central goal is to come together as a unit and drive health insurance in Nigeria to greater height. HMCAN is therefore poised to restoring moral codes and standards in the industry. Our members have promoted the managed care concept of healthcare financing as the most viable means of funding a sustainable healthcare delivery system. Our members are actively involved in the development
of the private market”. She explained further that “HMCAN members also served in various committees that led to the launching of the National Health Insurance Scheme in 2005 the former President His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo”. Thus, HMCAN has continued assiduously to promote health insurance in Nigeria and consciously encouraging every HMO in Nigeria to become a member of the Association in order to realize the collective vision which is the: “provision of quality & affordable healthcare delivery for all Nigerians and foreigners residing in Nigeria”. One of the major objectives of HMCAN is to act as consultative interface and clearing house for purposes of review and coordination as necessary, all initiatives on health insurance, and managed health care from the private sector for presentation to government. The association also protects, promotes and advances the common interest of members transacting health insurance and health management business in all its ramification in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Furthermore, apart from taking all such lawful measures as necessary to defend and advance the interest of members in all matters concerning actions or proposed actions on health insurance and managed health care by any government or other lawful authorities, HMCAN formulates and maintains standards and codes of conduct for self-regulation of members and encourages the attainment of appropriate professional and ethical practice in members.
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While the association acts as a forum for arbitration on or for settling disputes between members of the Association or members and other parties, HMCAN educates members and the general public by sponsoring research, publica-
tions, public communication programmes and initiatives, conferences, seminars and training programmes towards better understanding and acceptance of health insurance and managed health care. Lastly, it is worthy of note that
the association engages in all such lawful activities either along or in collaboration with other institutions, bodies or individuals for the propagation of health insurance and managed health care in Nigeria.
HEALTHCARE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED: PROMOTING GREATER ACCESS TO COMPLETE HEALTH SERVICES EALTHCARE International was established in 1997 as a solution to the healthcare needs of Nigerians. To address a number of multidimensional problems in the Nigerian Health Sector, health schemes that finance and deliver affordable, effective and high quality care were needed. Thus, decision to set up a formidable health insurance company by the company’s shareholders was borne out of the genuine concern for the well being of Nigerians and to contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria as a whole; as only a healthy people can achieve the desired economic growth in the country. According to the Managing Director, Dr. Tosin Awosika, “the emergence of Healthcare International as a Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO) turned the pages of history positively as it rolled out its private health insurance plans designed to cater for the healthcare needs of both individuals and corporate organizations. Our company commenced full operations in 1999 the same year the Act
establishing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was signed into law. Healthcare International provides services to 24 government ministries and parastatals. From a few private organizations in 1999 when it commenced full operations, Healthcare International now works with over 400 private organizations enrolled under our different Private Health Insurance Also, from a handful of enrollees in 1999, our company now has over 500,000 enrollees on different health plans being serviced by over 3,000 accredited health care providers”. He stressed that “the uniqueness of our company has to do with its services through several of our health plans is greater access by our enrollees to specialist care. Unlike many HMOs that restrict access to specialists because of cost, Healthcare International’s enrollees have greater access to specialists whenever it is required. This policy helps to reduce the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes etc. on Nigerians. Suffice to say that, this helps to promote trust in the health insurance industry and invariably its development”. In line with the aspirations of the UN regarding MDGs, Com-
munity Health Insurance is a primary focus at Healthcare International. Our company has a good track record of taking affordable healthcare services to the people at the grassroots. Some of the notable communities are; Ere Ijesha community in Osun State; Lagos Island community, Obalende Children Scheme (in partnership with an NGO – Mercy Cross); Obio, Mbodo Aluu and Rumukwurushi (in Rivers State); Anua (in Akwa Ibom) etc. Healthcare International is also handsomely engaged with notable trade associations nationwide to take care of the health needs of their members. Awosika explained that “the adage that says that ‘the world is a global’ village simply means that peoples of the world can correlate easily through information technology systems. For Nigerians that need to travel for business and other purposes, we provide international health cover. Through our reputable partner in the UK, our enrollees that require treatment abroad can be evacuated to the country of their choice for treatment. Also, travelers can take advantage of our unique international plans when they travel overseas”.
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Dr. Chiedu Ofulue MD/CEO, Royal Exchange Healthcare Ltd. MULTISHIELD LIMITED: A LEADING MARKET BRAND IN THE HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT HERE is considerable evidence globally that the
Dr. Tosin Awosika MD, Healthcare Int’l
quality of health services being offered to people can best be guaranteed when there is a third-party financing and management system in place that enables a pool-
ing of resources and medical expertise. This system of ensuring delivery and receipt of qualitative healthcare is provided by Multishield, a company that has a fully paid
Barr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Uba, Secretary, HMCAN
Dr. Mohammed Basheer, Vice Chairman, HMCAN up share capital of four hundred million naira with AIICO Insurance PLC as the major shareholder. According to the Dr. Leke Oshunniyi, Managing Direc-
tor/Chief Executive Officer, “Multishield was one of the first few pioneer Health Maintenance Organisations accredited to operate and provide comprehensive healthcare to Nigerians including Federal and State Government employees, following the successful rating by Agusto & Co, which was commissioned by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)”. He said that “the mission of the company is to satisfy and delight our customers, people, providers, shareholders, and other stakeholders by delivering value through quality health services managed by a highly motivated and well rewarded team of high-performing individuals under an environment of excellence, trust and cordiality while attaining and maintaining profitability in the short to medium term”. For a pre-paid premium, subscribers to Multishield health plan are assured of access to healthcare when and where required. All Multishield health plans incorporate preventive healthcare services. The plans therefore afford the following benefits: To Subscribers • Peace of mind for you and your family • Budget able medical expenditure • Access to quality health care services at all times • Protect families, income earners and employers from the financial hardship of huge medical bills
• Ensure equitable distribution of healthcare costs • Maintain high standard of healthcare delivery services • Provision for emergency medical services anywhere in Nigeria • Greater value for money spent To Organizations • General improvement of the physical and mental health of everyone. • Removal of virtually all abuse from the healthcare delivery system • Budget able medical expenditure • Removal of the need to employ staff to supervise healthcare delivery and vetting of bills • Opportunity for the company to concentrate on core business activities • Greater value for money spent Speaking on the Managed Healthcare System which ensures availability of funds for the improvement of the health sector, for the benefit of all, Dr. Oshunniyi stressed that “the Multishield vision is to be a leading market brand in the healthcare management (and HMO) business with operations in every geopolitical zone of Nigeria within the next five years. We will be distinguished as a company that always exceeds the expectations of our customers, people, providers, shareholders and other stakeholders. We will continuously improve our business towards greater excellence and profitability.
ROYAL EXCHANGE HEALTHCARE LIMITED – PROVIDING STRESS FREE ACCESS TO QUALITY MEDICARE
of France. We provide short and medium term healthcare cover for travelers to Schengen countries, other parts of Europe and the world over. With this product now within your reach, the days of experiencing Visa difficulties are over. EMPLOYMENT-RELATED MEDICAL SCREENING Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited also facilitates employment-related medical screening for new and existing staff. In collaboration with our healthcare providers, we bring these services to you at highly discounted cost. MANAGEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL & SITE CLINICS We staff and manage worksite clinics. This is done through our doctors and nurses. The manufacturing and construction sectors are major beneficiaries of this product. The product caters for all forms of worksite injuries. Evacuation to closest or appropriate secondary care facilities also comes with this package. Others include Third Party Administration (TPA) and Medical Tourism.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 access to quality healthcare at very affordable premium. Our presence in all major towns and cities across Nigeria coupled with a large bouquet of services to choose from you are guaranteed peace of mind whenever you need Medicare anywhere in Nigeria. INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE In partnership with BUPA International of the UK, Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited also facilitate International Healthcare Insurance. With over 7,000 hospitals across the globe, you are sure of accessing care wherever and whenever without hassles or any difficulty. TRAVEL INSURANCE Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited is in the business of Travel Insurance maintains strategic partnership with Inter-Partner Assistance (IPA)
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ATEDO PETERSIDE: My Thoughts On ‘Fraud’ Allegations In CBN, NNPC words like “fraud” and “misrepresentation” were used freely. They also recommended that strong action be taken against the CBN governor and ALL the Deputy governors. FRC attacked an entire institution (CBN) + its Board with reference to CBN’s 2012 accounts. Please note that the 07 June 2013 letter was issued by FRC in response to CBN’s earlier response to its query; • About three months later, CBN writes to Mr. President drawing attention to revenue shortfalls and NNPC’s failure to credit the Federation Account with all the monies that it was supposed to. If there is a shortfall, then there is a problem. whether it is N49bn, N10bn or N20bn is not the issue. Even N1bn is a serious problem; • Item 2) above later becomes public knowldon’t know if anything is true or edge before item 1), but both allegations false. what I do know is that in a Presidential system, various aides and subsist. They were always both going to end up in the public space in whatever order pressure groups try and pull the because there are no secrets in Nigeria; President towards the direction that • Like CBN did when queried by FRC, NNPC they believe is best. Is that not why came up with supposed explanations of they even have lobbyists in where the money went. NOI and others washington DC? called for a forensic audit to determine One does not have to jump on the whether NNPC’s claims/explanations can rooftops and sound populist every time in order to be branded “patriot- withstand proper scrutiny; • Last week, Mr. President suspends CBN ic”. Some times the true patriots are governor citing Item 1) above; those who apply pressure where it • Conspiracy theorists have been at work matters most - and some times on some issues, that might be in private. from the first day. FRC has given some of The facts of the matter are clear and us, who are on the boards of companies are all now in the public domain and I that publish financial statements, sleepless nights because we are forced to comply list some of them sequentially:with their cumbersome dictates. we have • On 07 June 2013, the Financial no choice because they are empowered by Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) law as some kind of financial watchdog. wrote to the President. This was a FRC was also clearly giving CBN “hell”. why damning and vitriolic attack where
were they “after CBN”? Conspiracy theorists have the “answers”. I don’t. Some Conspiracy theorists argue that the CBN governor was suspended because he blew the whistle on NNPC, while others argue that CBN only blew the whistle on NNPC in order to distract attention from their own travails with FRC. I do not care about conspiracy theorists. At the end of the day, two things must happen:A) NNPC’s assertions must be subjected to a proper forensic audit; and B) CBN must provide satisfactory answers to FRC’s queries. If CBN does (B) above successfully, then they (FRC) must be made to tender a public apology to CBN and it’s Board and “heads must roll” in FRC and the governor should be recalled from suspension. That he said publicly that he would not go back is irrelevant. If NNPC “fails” its forensic audit, then all relevant heads around there must also roll. That is my position in private and in public. I felt “liberated” to make this comment because the President has now named his nominee to replace governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the end of his tenure. Accordingly, people can no longer say:- “Atedo is saying all this because he wants to be CBN governor”. I speak because I want my country to improve. “
Chairman of the Stanbic IBTC, Atedo N A Peterside is the first bank chairman to speak publicly on the suspension of Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. In a statement made available to MARCEL MBAMALU, he called for urgent forensic audit of the accounts of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as satisfactory answers on the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) queries regarding the apex bank’s 2012 accounts:
TOTAL HEALTH TRUST: HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS WITH WORLD CLASS SERVICES HE healthcare industry worldwide is dynamic and complex. The stringent and constantly evolving legislative and regulatory requirements pose tough challenges for funders and administrators of healthcare. Healthcare products and options continue to become more complex increasing the need for health insurance service providers to be dynamic and constantly develop innovative products. with a full understanding of all the above and other challenges facing the industry, the key strength of Total Health Trust Limited (THT), supported by Liberty Health of South Africa, is hinged on committed team work, skills and ability to adapt to the peculiarities of a nascent market and developing environment. THT prides itself in presenting business organizations in Nigeria world class health insurance solutions which ensure that their employees enjoy the rich Benefits offered through a wide range of Healthcare products and services.2. THT OVERVIEw THT, one of Nigeria’s leading Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) was founded in 1997 and commenced operations in the year to June, 1998. It is a leading health maintenance organization (“HMO”) in the emerging managed care and
health insurance sector of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. with over 300,000members or subscribers (about12%ofthe estimated population of the organized private sector with medical insurance coverage). THT is one of the largest HMOs in the Country. The Company is registered as
a national HMO under the National Health Insurance Scheme (“NHIS”) as HMO/02, accredited to provide private pre- paid and national health insurance schemes. The company now provides caretoover200private corporate clients and Federal Public Officers of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of
Education, Ministry of Environment and Nigeria Police, among others. THT’s success as a leading HMO in Nigeria resulted in an investment through a 51%equity acquisition by Liberty Holdings of South Africa, through Liberty Health Holdings, a panAfrican health insurance
service provider with operations in 12 African countries. The investment by Liberty Health Holdings brought in improved administration capacity, technology and expertise to support and augment THT’s proven experience in this area. Another key development resulting from the investment was the intro-
duction of an innovative and unique fee for service health insurance product, Liberty BLUE Health Insurance, with options ranging from local cover to worldwide cover, which complement the Managed Care Plans traditionally offered by THT.
SALUS TRUST: A CATALYST FOR CHANGING THE HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SYSTEM IN NIGERIA OLLOwINg the launching of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by the Federal government of Nigeria in 2005, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) established a National health Maintenance Organisation (HMO). According to Dr. Peter Oriavwote, the HMO (Salus Trust) was established “as a recognition of the need for the Church to actively participate in the healthcare delivery system in order to continue the healing mission of Christ, as well as, sustain this same mission as begun by our fore fathers in faith”. On May, 2007, Salus Trust was duly incorporated. The company was licensed by NHIS in 2008 as a National HMO. The inaugural Board of Directors had Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere as Chairman while Mr. Vincent Okocha was appointed MD/CEO, he quickly constituted a high-powered and skilled management team which commenced formal business in January, 2009. Dr. Oriavwote stressed fur-
ther that Salus Trust is “guided by its core values which are ‘Trust’, ‘Respect’, ‘Integrity’, and ‘Compassion’”. He said the key objectives of the company are “to become an innovative centre, a catalyst for changing the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria, and to bring healthcare services closer to those currently excluded for one reason or the other. Hence, we act by the tenets of our motto ‘the HMO with a heart’”. Salus Trust has over the past five years adopted international best practices in areas of corporate governance and leveraged on its solid Catholic ownership and endorsement to grow its clientele and provider network base and has successfully retained its key business relationships. It is also important to note that in its short existence, the company has built a reputable brand name through product differentiation and focused strategies”. Salus Trust has adopted a vertical integration strategy. Presently, the company has over 300 healthcare facilities
in its network of care providers. Carving a market niche for itself, in year 2012, Salus Trust enrolled over 10,000 subscribers both in the Catholic market segment and corporate business/schools nationwide, outside the formal sector, since inception. The company offers clients savings-in terms of convenience, flexibility and costs. The company is currently in partnership with AIICO Insurance Plc., leading insurance company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in providing Overseas Travel Health Insurance for regular overseas travelers and Christians/Moslems going on pilgrimages. The company is also in direct partnership with VERITAS Travel Agency Limited (another agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria), in the area of marketing of Salus Trust Overseas Travel Health Insurance. Other strategic alliances with non-governmental organizations and foreign partners are in the pipeline.
UNITED HEALTHCARE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED: AN EYE ON TOTAL QUALITY SERVICE NITED Health Care is a limited liability company inaugurated in January, 2000 and registered solely as a Health Maintenance Organisation. The company is accredited to function as a private Health Insurance company and for participation in the NHIS. According to Dr. Kola Owoka, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, ”United Healthcare International’s quality service is based on a trilogy model of quality assurance to ensure total quality management. The trilogy model entails setting standards, monitoring and measuring of standard processes and, continuous and sustained improvement in standards”. He explained further that “management of utilization is a staple of managed care in which HMO sends a utilization management Nurse to the hospital or house of an enrollee in order to obtain more detailed and timely information and more
actively manage the case. The Nurse may do a nutritional assessment, observe compliance with prescribed medication and notify simple interventions that could solve problems later such as providing an inexpensive bath that made to prevent the enrollee from slipping in the tub and breaking a hip”. As a health services company that has an eye on total quality service, Owoka said his HMO also provides “second opinion on any topic on health so that the enrollee will know more about their diseases. One of the prospective utilization management is Demand Management. This is intended to influence the future demand for medical services such that enrollees do not wait until they fall sick but try to prevent it by having access to preventive services; being supplied with medical advice manuals for use at home; and, HMOs providing around-the-clock nurse advice line so that enrollees, by calling a toll-free number, can access trained nurse 24 hours a day and 7 days a week”.
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Challenges Of NNPC Autonomy: The PIB perspective From Collins Olayinka (Abuja)
hE 2012 version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which is presently before the National Assembly, does not include firm steps to put the proposed National Oil Company (NOC) on a path of sustainable financing. The bill is silent on how Nigerian National Oil Company (NNOC) and National Gas Company (NGC) would fund their operations, even though the current joint-venture financing problems were an initial motive behind the PIB. It is presumed that the national oil companies would retain some unknown portion of revenues they generate, while National Petroleum Assets Management Corporation (NPAMC) would hold back “such monies . . . as it receives in the course of operations” in an unspecified “fund” (121). It is pertinent to note that this section is ‘responsible’ for the confusion that has been created at public hearings by the National Assembly on whether, or not, the NNPC is empowered to deduct ‘operational costs’ or first pay all its earnings into the Federation Account and then get its operational costs back from the same government. Indeed, the provision is a reproduction of the present Section 7 (4) (b) of the NNPC Act of 1977, which states inter alia: “Such moneys as may be received by the Corporation in the course of its operations or in relation to the exercise by the Corporation of any of its functions under this Act, and from such fund there shall be defrayed all expenses incurred by the
Corporation.” Though industry operators believe the provision could help ease chronic joint-venture funding constraints, but whether “such monies” refers to revenues or profits, and in what amounts, is not spelled out, nor are any management constraints placed on the fund. According to the bill, NPAMC’s retained earnings would also be supplemented by “such sums as may be made available by the Government” to help defray costs (Section 121 of PIB). This could mean annual budgetary allocations, though again the text is not explicit and government-backed loans are another option. Some language suggests government funding would cease after two years (122), for reasons unknown. The bill does not say whether appropriations to NNOC or NGC would continue after it becomes law - a critical omission, since some years will likely pass before either entity can source affordable loans or access capital markets. The confusion also reverberated in the KPMG’s 2011 review of NNPC operations, which also found billions of Naira in payments to third parties on the government’s behalf, many bearing no rational relationship to NOC operations. NNPC’s lack of a clear commercial mandate inhibits strategic planning, increases operating costs and undermines the corporation’s bottom line. Nearly all of its dozenplus subsidiaries run at a loss. Downstream operations are the biggest cost and debt centre, due
largely to poor management, low investment and NNPC’s quasi-fiscal participation in domestic fuel subsidies. Meanwhile, conflicting roles lead to sub-optimal asset management and conflicts of interest. For instance, in the sale of crude oil to the nation’s four refineries, NNPC acts as regulator, buyer and government commercial agent. NNPC also manages the government’s stake in Nigeria’s oil operations as a parastatal organised under the presidency, rendering it unaccountable to any shareholders in a purely commercial sense. As custodians of government policy and resources, NOCs tend to serve more non-commercial goals than private oil companies. This can further the national interest, but non-commercial activities must be clearly defined and delimited in a government’s strategic outlook for its NOC. Otherwise, the NOC can face a vague and overwhelming set of objectives that steers resources away from it. On transparency and public accountability, the challenge remains that NNPC discloses very little about its finances and operations. Indeed, its budgets and audits are treated as state secrets, as are information about subsidiary earnings and financial transfers between NNPC and the government. Even though more than half of public revenues flow through the corporation, the National Assembly and Auditor-General of the Federation claim they struggle to get full information from NNPC, as do the other agencies charged with
overseeing oil revenue management. Therefore, no strong legal or policy framework forces NNPC to share information with other stakeholders, and its corporate culture may encourage secrecy. It is viewed by industry operators that mandatory performance reviews, whether in the form of audits or other public reporting, can enforce critical discipline that enhances NNPC performance. Public reporting is particularly important in states like Nigeria, where government institutions face capacity constraints and risks of elite capture. Providing the legal perspective during the public hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance on the alleged unremitted $20 billion oil revenue hearings at the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, said the NNPC was empowered by the NNPC Act to remit only to the federation account its net earnings after deducting cost of its operations. he said the NNPC was generally under an obligation to remit its revenue from the upstream petroleum operations into the Federation Account. The AGF’s legal opinion was in response to the invitation by the Senate committee, led by Ahmed Makarfi, investigating the alleged missing $20 billion. Adoke explained that, in determining the issue of oil revenue remittance to the Federation Account, the NNPC, by virtue of Section 7 (4) of the NNPC Act, could defray all
expenses incurred in the course of its business in the upstream operations. his words: “I am of the considered view that NNPC is generally under an obligation to remit its revenue from the upstream petroleum operations into the federation account. This is however dependent on the definition of ‘revenue’ within the meaning and intendment of Section 162(10) (c) 0f the Constitution. I am also of the considered view that the NNPC can by virtue of Section 7(4) of the NNPC Act defray all expenses incurred in the course of its business in the upstream operations. Consequently, what NNPC is required to pay into the federation account is the ‘net revenue’ as opposed to the ‘gross revenue.’ “This position is further reinforced by the decision of the Supreme Court in A.G. Ogun State & Ors v. A.G. Federation (2002) 18 N.W.L.R (Nigeria Weekly Law Report) (Part 798) 232 at 284, where the court recognized similar provisions as the ones contained in Section 7 (4) of the NNPC Act in the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialization) Act, Cap P.38, LFN 2004 i.e. Section 20 thereof. I am therefore of the respectful view that only the net revenue from upstream petroleum operations of the NPDC should be paid into the federation account by the NNPC. In other words, NPDC is required to pay only what amounts to the dividend of its crude oil proceeds to NNPC (as its holding company) and the NNPC will in turn pay that into the federation account.”
ABBEY: Let’s Shun Politics In Selecting Those To Run CBN, NNPC • We Need Strict Compliance To CBN Act, Not Amendment Magnus Abbey, who chairs the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), told AZIMAZI MOMOH JIMOH, that the CBN Act does not require further amendment. hAT legislative measures would you advise should be taken to boost transparency in the management of funds by the NNPC? First of all, one needs to say quite clearly that there is nothing new in these allegations against the NNPC. Stories about the NNPC have been in the public domain for several decades. What shocks people now is the volume of transactions. For example, people have talked about subsidy; yet, subsidy isn’t a new subject to Nigerians; it has been there for quite some time. But the issue of subsidy became central when the volumes and money involved moved from N500 billion to over N2 trillion and still counting. Nigerians should realise that the very structure of the NNPC itself and the way NNPC conducts business is a problem that needs to be solved. And I think part of that realisation is what prompted the efforts that are now being made to restructure the petroleum sector and take away political interference. If you look at similar oil companies —national or state-owned — across the globe, a lot of them have become success stories. For example, you talk of oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Malaysia; they are state-owned oil companies that have become very successful international businesses. But our own NNPC has continued to wallow in one controversy or the other. It cannot function effectively; it is not cost effective; it is inefficient and constitutes a drain on the economy. The structure of the company itself is a problem. The continued interference of politicians in running the Corporation itself is a problem, because when we begin to put politics into everything, then, efficiency, value and even the quality of persons that we hire to do these things also become a problem. Over the years, the quality and independence of the personnel of the NNPC has been falling. This has resulted in a situation that is totally unmanageable and that is why people are talking about these things. But these issues have been on the table; there is nothing we say about the NNPC that is entirely new. The solution is for us to stop the things that we are doing, which we know are not right. I think that this is where we are now. Do you see anything wrong with the structure of the NNPC as it is today and what would you say concerning the vexed issue of subsidy? We have exchanged legal and political correspondences with the NNPC on these issues. The whole issue of how the NNPC budget is handled needs to be seriously considered; and we are dealing with that. It is not something that is new. At a point, we threatened to go to court with the NNPC, and we are still in the process of working out some of these challenges. What everybody must remember is that the NNPC has been
carrying out these practices in this manner for years. Its funds are not subject to the same appropriation process to which funds for other ministries are subjected. And we have been talking about that. As representatives of the Nigerian people, we have tried to bring these issues to the fore to reconsider the way we deal with our energy reserves and the opportunities that are being lost. But when we say these things, people interpret them politically. Yet, they are not political, because these issues predate our politics. As a country and people of conscience, we need to come together and solve this problem once and for all. The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is one of such efforts being made to try to bring change to the sector. We still notice some tendencies to keep some measure of political control over our own revenue. From the figures that are flying around now, I gather that we are spending close to N700 million per day subsidising kerosene. And, as a Senator
Our own NNPC continues to wallow in one controversy or the order. It cannot function effectively; it is not cost effective; it is inefficient and constitutes a drain on the economy. The structure of the company itself is a problem.
who is always at home listening to the people to know what their problems are, I say to myself: “I have not seen a poor man whose biggest problem is kerosene.” So, if you carry this money everyday and you say you want to help Nigerians, I doubt if their first request will be kerosene. They have problems of healthcare; they have problems of the quality of transportation; they have problems with the quality of education; they have problems with food. Kerosene, to my mind, is one of the most insignificant problems that they have. We all know that this kerosene subsidy is not getting to anybody. Nobody buys kerosene for N50. This is simply another question of: who is fooling whom? So, as far as I am concerned, there is no subsidy on kerosene and money spent on it is a waste. Do you subscribe to the call for an amendment of the CBN Act to check possible recurrence of what the Financial Reporting Council described as misdeeds of the suspended CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi? At this point and in this particular circumstance, there is no need to amend the CBN Act. There is nothing that is happening that the Act did not envisage. The Act envisaged that you might have a CBN governor, who could do things that are wrong. And that is why there is a provision in the Act that where such things happen, that evidence should be submitted to the Senate with a request that he should be relieved. The Senate will collate those facts and if, in its collective wisdom, the two-thirds majority of Senators agree with the President, the CBN governor will be removed. So, there is nothing happening now that is not envisaged by the CBN Act. What is happening now that is not envisaged by the Act is a situation where any politician regardless of his status can unilaterally on his own remove the governor of the CBN from office —whether you call it suspension, removal or interdiction — by whatever means. That is the particular evil that the Act sought to cure. It envisages that where it becomes necessary to deal with the CBN in such a way, it should be done by more than one head; by series of heads coming together to achieve that. So, there is no situation that has arisen currently that the current CBN Act did not envisage or could not cure. What happens in this country is that we tend to read the laws to suit what we want to do. When we have made up our minds to do something, we interpret the law to achieve it. So, what is happening now is not different from what the Act envisages and enough safeguards were put in the Act to protect the interest of the CBN and the independence of the bank as well as the collective interest of the Nigerian people. And the truth of the matter is that, if we do not want to obey the law, there is no kind of amendment that we will make that will make any difference. If we amend the law in this direction today and those who do not want to obey it want to go in the opposite direction, they will still do what they want to do and then call us to amend it again to suit what they want to do. What is important is that those in positions of authority should adhere to the spirit and letter of the law, even when it does not suit their purpose
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CADP Fish Farmers’ Products For US Market By Fabian Odum he Post harvest Commercial Fish Processors T in Lagos, with the support of the Cooperative and Agro-allied Multi-purpose Society (CAMS) is to export its smoked fish to the USA following recent breakthrough in product development and marketing. The fish processors, who have enjoyed the cooperation of the Lagos Sate Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP), hitherto, have shown potentials at various exhibitions attended in Lagos. On the achievement, Mr. Tunde Sanni of Tee ess Integrated Farms Ltd said before the CADP intervention, CAMS produced 150kg of locally smoked fish per week with excess load of charcoal and the negative health implications and barrier to the international market. As would be expected from traditional smoked fish, the deleterious impact of the smoke cannot be ignored but according to Sanni, “the farmers were assisted with improved fish processing/smoking kiln that increased production level to 300kg per batch. This has helped to reduce the smoke level to internationally acceptable standards.” encouraged by this development, the Cooperative has purchased an additional smoking kiln to boost production, which has increased to 800kg per batch, Sanni said. he revealed the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), working in partnership with Nigerian export Promotion Council has received samples of fish from the processing plant for laboratory testing and has certified the product fit for export to the US with FDA Food Facility Registration No: 1248378216. With the intervention of CADP and working with experts and consultants from the US, the processors have come out with packages for filleted and whole smoked fish of international standards with relevant products and bar codes that enhance its competitiveness and protection while establishing its corporate
identity in the market place. The processors have also benefited from road intervention of the CADP that has enhanced accessibility and linkage to local markets and communities. The processors are currently working towards upgrading other processing equipment to meet international requirements for further certifications and benefits. A statement from CADP said the work of
he All Seasons Agro-Allied T Development Initiative (ASAADI), a NonGovernmental Organisation has facilitated the distribution of over 4,000 yam seedlings to farmers displaced by the 2012 flooding in Anegbette in etsako Central, edo State. The principal donor of the yam seedlings, Mr. Theophilus Sado, said that the donation of the yam seedlings is to assist the
farmers to get back their livelihood following the destruction of their farmland and property by the flood. In their response, the beneficiaries thanked ASAADI and Sado for coming to their aid. The farmers promised to extend the goodwill to other farmers. Sado also paid the enrolment fees of all the Senior Secondary School (SS3) students of Anegbette Secondary School because of the economic downturn of
their parents occasioned by the flooding. The students promised to put in their best and not let the non-governmental organization (NGO) down. Anegbette is one of the communities that were submerged by flood two years ago, with their entire farmland destroyed in the process. The destruction done by the 2012 flood is one of the reasons that spurred ASAADI to facilitate the amelioration of the plights of the Anegbette farmers.
FG, Israel Signs MoU On Agric Cooperation The Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the State of Israel on agricultural cooperation at the weekend, according to NAN report. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwuni Adesina, said Nigeria was ready to learn from the Israeli experience. he noted Nigeria-Israeli relations dated back to the 1960s and that Israel played a key role in the development of sub Saharan Africa, including Nigeria. The minister said that Nigeria had become a multi-milliondollar export market for Israel, adding that more than 50 Israeli private companies were operating in the country. Adesina said Nigeria would benefit in the area of livestock, mechanisation, horticulture, irrigation, fisheries, research, land management, restructuring rural areas and training of personnel, among others.
and certification of the smoked fish from Nigeria is a testimony to the healthful campaign and processing that the CADP has embarked upon while partnering with farmers. he however stated that the programme would continue to work in partnership with investors in the three value chains of aquaculture, rice and poultry to enhance productivity and guarantee sustainable food security for the country.
Director Community Development Services, Oyo State Ministry of Women and Community Development, Mrs. Christie Poopola, left, Zonal Manager, Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Alhj. Loquman Oladapo, Director West Africa, Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), Dr. Asiedu Robert, Deputy Director International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Ylva Hillbur and Project Manager, (YIIFSWA), Dr. Norbert Maroya at the Celebration of PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM Yam Day at IITA, Ibadan at the weekend
Succour For Flood-Displaced Farmers In edo By Olawunmi Ojo
these processors is bound to enhance the fulfilment of the programme’s objective of increasing production capacity and entering the international market in a short while. The State Project Coordinator of the Lagos State Commercial Agriculture Development Project, Mr. Kehinde Ogunyinka has lauded the achievement, describing it as a bold step in the right direction. Ogunyinka stated that the US FDA approval
Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr Yair Shamir, said he considered the country’s contribution to Nigeria’s agriculture as a ``missionary act.’’ he said Israel was not as rich in resources as Nigeria as about half of the country had been taken over by desert. he said they worked very
hard, invested in research to revolutionalise agriculture in the country after their return from exile. Shamir said this century was Africa’s century, stressing the need for Nigeria, as the leader of the continent, to generate fresh ideas and take its rightful position at the centre.
Kebbi Cassava Growers Obtain N22.6M Loan he Nigeria Cassava Growers T Association, Kebbi chapter has secured N22.6 million loan for its members in Zuru and Yauri emirates in the state. The Chairman of the association, Alhaji hussaini Abdullahi said that each member would receive N150,000. Abdullahi said the loan would boost commercial production of the crop. he said N58.5 million had been disbursed to members of
the association in Gwandu and Argungu emirates, adding that the beneficiaries were expected to settle the loan either in cash or with farm produce. Meanwhile, the state government has commenced the process of reviving the moribund cassava processing plant in Birnin Kebbi to enable it produce pellets, chips, industrial starch and flour for domestic and international markets.
Minister Inaugurates Nigeria Agribusiness Group’s executive Leadership Team By Fabian Odum he Minister of Agriculture T and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has inaugurated the executive Leadership Team of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group in Abuja as a platform for articulating a purpose-driven vision for the sector in tandem with the goals of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). In a release signed by the Ministry’s Director of Information and Protocol, Tony Ohaeri, the team is also expected to partner with Government to make farming and allied industries more attractive, secure and profitable as well as create jobs and wealth for Nigerians. The comprises of small, medium and large scale investors in agriculture, food processing, input marketing, equipment manufacturing/manufacturers’ representatives and vendors among others. The team’s Protem President, Alhj. Sani Dangote, who is also the President of Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association (FeRSAN) said, “With the inauguration of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group and the resolve by Government to engage it in fruitful partnership under the current leadership of the Agric sector, the era of policy inconsistency and interagency duplicity and infighting should be over.”
Dangote also lauded the working document put together by the Ministry, promising that the group will study it, confer with other sectors yet to join the group, with a view to arriving at a consensus opinion and advice to Government on modalities for addressing grey areas and on the way forward for Nigerian agribusinesses, the release said. he lauded the Government’s move to institutionally partner agribusinesses as a remarkable development for which this administration will be remembered as creators of jobs for our teaming youths and wealth for investors in agribusiness. Adesina said to constructively engage agribusinesses, in order to realise the goals of creating jobs, increase food security, reduce poverty and create wealth as means of addressing challenges, it commissioned a study to focus on them. The study indicated that 72 per cent of agribusinesses sampled identified poor/lack of infrastructure as a major disincentive to agribusiness in the country; financing (56 per cent); supply security—assurance of getting feedstock in the right quantity, quality and price— (55 per cent); sustainability/predictability of Government regulations,
tax and policies (53 per cent). Other concerns identified in the study were poor quality of human capital (45 per cent), security of lives and property (39 per cent), land (24 per cent) and government co-ordination (19 per cent). The Minister said based on this evidence-based data, the Ministry was already addressing the top four concerns head-on through the development of the Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZ), which are expected to add an additional N1.4 trillion to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A number of multinational investors are bringing in various sums in investment in agricultural produce processing. An SCPZ was launched late January 2014 in Alape, Kogi State, with five others to be commissioned in Niger, Kano, enugu/Anambra, Lagos and Rivers State in the year. however, difficulty in accessing land is being addressed in partnership with State and local governments. The Ministry and the German Development Bank (KFW) and the Federal Ministry of Finance have also established a Fund for Agricultural Financing (FAFIN), a private equity and quasi-equity and debt fund, which will deploy $100 million in long-term finance to agribusiness. FAFIN provide financing of between $2 and $5 million to qualifying agribusinesses.
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40 Sunday, March 2, 2014
Motor Park Evangelism: Where ‘Men Of God’ Take Offering For Miracle Prayers There is no hard and fast rule about propagating the gospel, provided the pastor or evangelist has experienced a new birth in Christ because you cannot give what you don’t have. If that condition is fulfilled, then one is qualified to follow what the scripture says in Marks 16:15 that “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature…” This portion of the Bible may have provided a cover for every child of God to disseminate the good news to every creature. But there is a new dimension, which preachers or evangelists at various motor parks have introduced. For instance, passengers in Lagos and those travelling to such places as Makurdi, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lokoja, Onitsha and Owerri among others are likely to see, on board luxury or mini-buses, well dressed men and women, armed with the Bible preaching and pleading to allow them pray before the start of the journey. Sometimes, these preachers are also passengers in the same vehicle. But after such prayers, envelopes are then distributed to passengers, urging them to assist so that the work of God can progress. But the questions are: why are preachers demanding money from passengers after giving them the Word? Is it Biblical? Is it in tandem with what the Bible says that “freely you have received; freely give.” CHRIS IREKAMBA and PAUL ADUNWOKE spoke with those concerned and some clerics on the issue. Corporation (NBC) placed a ban on the broadcasting of miracles on TV (and radio) stations in Nigeria. These are the people who abuse the gospel and it’s really affecting the gospel in our nation. Now, they’ve started bus offering and very soon the government will say ‘stop preaching even on the streets’ and all because of people abusing the gospel.
‘People Give Me Envelopes Containing N2, 000, N3, 000 And N5, 000’ (Remy Ositadima King, Pastor with Kingdom Voice Assembly, Abuelegba, Lagos) HAVE been evangelising and praying for longdistance travellers for five years now. They include those going to Makurdi, Abuja, Lokoja, Onitsha and Owerri among others. Basically, travellers need protection on the highways because there are a lot of evil on the roads. People cannot just jump inside vehicles and say they are travelling. Even if we don’t pray in vehicles, passengers should pray in their houses first and then at the park with our corporate prayers, where we commit the journey into the hands of God for safety of the passengers. For me, the experience has been so amazing and we always have testimonies every day. One thing that surprises me is that there is no vehicle we pray for that gets involved in road mishaps. I have not recorded any accident since I started this ministry and people are demanding for more prayers. The ministry is of God, and if He calls you, He will surely provide for your needs. Basically, we don’t demand for seed sowing and offerings, but people appreciate us on their own with anything they have. Sometimes, based on divine instructions, people volunteer offering, which we refuse to collect, as God has warned us against such. There are equally some evil people in the vehicles, coming to steal, kill and destroy. Most times they bribe us, but God instructs us not to collect it because they are evil. But did his general overseer ask him to collect offering in the bus work assigned to him by Church management? It is what the Spirit directed and that is why we do not demand for money from the passengers because we are doing the work of God. Although some people might demand for money after prayer, I don’t. Such people are not for God. They are rather after their stomach and that is the problem, which we have been trying our possible best to tackle by flushing them out of the parks. I have a ministry called Kingdom Voice Outreach Ministry in Abule-egba, Lagos. Some passengers see us as touts and beggars but we are not. We are doing the work of God, which we have been assigned to do; so they should listen and cooperate with us. They should receive the prayer even if they are not Christians, as God doesn’t discriminate. People preaching at parks and those desiring to do so should leave material things alone, as the Lord that called you must surely provide for your needs. I use myself as an example. Sometimes people from nowhere come to sow a seed even when we did not demand for it, giving me envelopes containing as much as N2, 000, N3, 000 and N5, 000.
‘Preaching Inside Buses Is Not Good, Much Less Asking For Money’
disturbing your neighbour? If it were to be in the church or an assembly, it would have been a different thing. The trouble with us in Nigeria is that we condone a lot of evil under the pretence that we are doing God’s work. This should not be tolerated. This is one of the reasons we have proliferation of churches today. Government cannot be licensing churches; it’s outside its jurisdiction. Those really doing the work of God are not being given licence. Yet we have big organisations like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslims have theirs. Why can’t these bodies be allowed to license churches and mosques? Then you have those killing their fellow human beings in the name of religion. A hungry man can take the Bible and begin to interpret it. The Bible has three different types of interpretations and every line there has its own interpretation. Recently, the Lagos State government legislated on smoking. Before now, everybody had been shouting ‘don’t smoke.’ After seeing the danger involved in smoking, action is now being taken. Whoever goes against it will be caught. Same thing will happen to all these people going about in buses and motor parks disturbing the peace of the people in the name of preaching the gospel and when they legislate against it people will say the government is bad. Of course, they will say it is because he is a Muslim governor, which to me, is rubbish. What is good is good and what is bad is bad. Let us all condemn it. Very soon, you will begin to have them in schools like what is happening in Osun State. The governor started well, but now he is spoiling his good name. What right has he to be dictating on uniforms? Though what he is doing in the state is good, but is he the owner of schools? It’s just like the role Chief Lateef Jakande, former Lagos State governor, played in the area of schools. We don’t like peace in this country. Somebody left his house quietly after praying to God and right there in the bus; a co-passenger stood up and started shouting on top of his/her voice. They will soon start bringing loud speakers to the buses and motor parks to preach. Who asked you to print tracts or flyers to distribute to people? If you have such money, why not use it to help your church?
(His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, Archbishop Emeritus of Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos) DON’T think it is biblical. You mean after preaching the word of God, they ask people for money. Are they beggars? What people don’t know is that offering is done freely. For example, if you go to mosques on Fridays, you will see the poor and not too poor sitting around and the Quran says you can give charity to help such people. It is not by compulsion. The Quran doesn’t ask them to give by force, but some of them are now making it look like it is compulsory. It is not written in the scriptures or even in the Quran that you must give. Nobody asks anyone to go to the marketplace or inside buses or motor parks to preach in the first place. What if in the process of asking for support they kill you, what are you going to say? We have to be very careful. Because you are preaching the gospel doesn’t mean you should go about disturbing the peace of others. The Bible says out of the abundance of the mind the mouth speaks. The first thing is to make sure you love your neighbour. You can preach the gospel anywhere, but what matters is the action, which people want to see, not the Pharisee’s kind of life. If you say you believe in God and you are killing your neighbour, it is a contradiction. Action speaks louder than voice. I don’t write it on my forehead that I’m Catholic; it’s my action that people want to see. Why should anyone go inside buses, where people are thinking of their businesses and dare to disturb them with preaching, after which they are asked for money? Even the idea of preaching inside the bus is not good. Did our Lord Jesus Christ go to people’s houses or buses with the mind of disturbing them? He never did and the apostles never did so. People’s mind is always focused on where they are going and some inside that bus might probably be saying their prayers and then someone starts disturbing. If government now decides to act, they will say government is against religion. It is getting too much. That is the kind of thing I expect journalists to be discussing on the pages of newspapers. Before coming with your preaching, were the people not protected or guided by God? Shakespeare said the devil also quotes the scriptures whenever he likes. When people are travelling, they must have already communicated or prayed to their God before setting out. Are you the one to remind them of their responsibility? My grouse is that after disturbing people’s peace, you now ask them to help you with money. Did they solicit your preaching and prayers in the first instance? And which ministry or work of God are they referring to? They should also define the work of God because it means a lot. Each and every one of us is supposed to do the work of God through the work we do. Is disturbing your neighbour part of that? Did God say you should go about
ture.’ The word of God says ‘they will bring offering to my house,’ but the bus is not an altar, it is a public place, where there are Muslims, Christians and even people of other faiths. So, it’s not a place to receive offering. It makes us appear foolish in the eyes of others, who are not of the same faith with us. Even if there is a reason to do that, there are those that will abuse it. Criminals can also take advantage of it and begin to act in that manner and the Christian body won’t know the real Christians. And in the name of God they will begin to commit atrocities. If someone is sent to preach the gospel, he or she must belong to a church. So, it is the house of God that they should take the offering and not that anyone should collect such on the street or in a public place. Those doing it should rather project their churches. People can then go there and give their offerings. If such preachers are not from any church, then they are abusing the Christian body. It is not nice at all. It brings shame to the work and one day Christianity will be a mockery because the Bible says the mockers shall come at the last days. They are part of the mockers we are talking about. They are like people that forge miracles. They too have joined this group of people and they are the mockers of the gospel. What they are doing is for personal gain or money. Jude warns against such things and that those that do such things do so because of the money they are going to receive, not that they are actually preaching the gospel. After preaching, you should refer people to where they should worship. Whenever Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke comes here, he usually refers people to the church after the programme. Looking at it biblically, the word of God says they should make ‘my house glorious.’ Isaiah 60:7 says, All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you: they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, ... The Lord will make his temple more glorious than ever. He said it should be offered at the altar. So the Bible is very clear on where offering should be directed. And in Leviticus, the Bible says you should bring the sacrifice to where the Lord has chosen. If you bring it to the ‘It Is Not Biblical To Collect Offering house of the Lord, God will bless you. People In Public Places’ should be bold to ask them, which church they (Prophet Samuel Donald Nwankwo, founder, Daycome from and if they name it, they should ask light Dominion Ministry, Isheri Oshun, Lagos) if their General Overseers authorise them to reHE word of God has a foundation and offerceive offering in the bus. With such questions, I ings are to be received at the altar. The Lord think they will be discouraged. told the children of Israel to bring their offerings In fact, no general overseer will ask them to do to a place He instructed them and that place is it, which means those engaging in such acts do the altar of God. If there is reason for someone to so on their own. People should discourage be kind to people they should be, but it isn’t wise them and tell them that offering should be for anyone to ask for offering in the bus or at given at the altar, because if this is allowed to motor parks. Doing so in those places is bringing continue, it will get to the point when governthe name of the Christian body to reproach. The ment will intervene, which will affect the innobus is not an altar; it is the world. God said ‘go cent. Remember that it was because of this into the world and preach the gospel to all crea- similar thing that the National Broadcasting
‘They Move From One Motor Park To Another’ (Livinus Obong, coordinator of one of the motor parks) HE pastors do not stay in one motor park. We only see them when the vehicle is filled up and about to move; that is when they come to pray for passengers. They move from one motor park to the other and we allow them to pray for the people because they preach the word of God.
‘They Distribute Envelopes To Passengers, We Return Them Empty’ (Emmanuel Nathaniel, one of the passengers) OWING of seed or giving of offering is a willing donation. Nobody forces you to give offering. Sometimes they distribute envelopes to passengers, which are returned empty. Sometimes, they also share prayer books for sale and if you like, you buy.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 | 41
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Sunday School God Can Use You Too Memory Verse: “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none,” - Ezekiel 22:30. Bible Passage: Romans 8:28-39. Introduction God is still looking for vessels to use. Vessels that are weak, despised and overlooked. Vessels considered unusable. When He uses such vessels everyone will concede that this is indeed the finger of God. Requirements God’s requirements include: • Faithfulness – Lk. 19:17; I Cor. 4:2; Jer. 5:1. • Availability – Ezek. 22:30. • Obedience – Deut. 28: 1-14; Prov.13:13; Eccl. 12:13-14. • Being Teachable – Jn. 14:23; Matt. 10:24. Hindrances • What are the hindrances?
... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye
• Faithfulness is degraded by – Sin, impatience, prayerlessness. • Availability – is reduced by, competing demands of work, family and others. • Teachable – is impacted negatively by pride (‘an attitude of I know it all.’) • Obedience – is hindered by hard heartedness and pride. God is no respecter of person(s) and is sovereign. He will use whosoever He pleases. Consider some of His vessels; • Moses: fearful (Ex. 2:14), had low self-esteem. (Ex.3:11), stammered (Ex. 4:10, Num. 12: 6-8) • Gideon: a doubter (Judges 6:11-13; Judg. 6:36-40), also had low self-esteem (Judg. 6:14-15, Judg. 7:19-25). • David: was least in his father’s house (1 Sam.17:14a; 16:11-12), became an adulterer (2 Sam.11:2-4), murderer (2 Sam 11:14-17, 1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:21). • Zacchaeus: enriched by corruption (Lk. 19:2), short in stature (Lk. 19:3, Luke 19:5; 9), an extortionist.
Transformation Through Christ HERE is too much noise in our society T today about transformation, as an agenda for all human development. Many people have posited that a better social and economic stability in this country could only be achieved through transformation. In fact, restructuring, reorganisation and modification are ongoing in several sectors of the government, as a proof of consent to the new order. While we applaud the introduction of this nomenclature in our developmental lexicon, we need to draw our attention to the fact that physical transformation cannot sustain the desired human economic and social revolution of our generation. The only transformation that could uphold any endeavour that will advance mankind is the one championed by God Almighty, for we know the physical reality is a product of spiritual reality.
Jn 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” From the above, we can understand that our Lord Jesus Christ made all things and all things derived their existence from Him. He is the Creator, as well as the Sustainer of the universe. Any endeavour that receives not His blessing is destined to fail. For the work of transformation must comply with the tenet of the Scripture. Psalms 127:1 says, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Except the Lord takes preeminence in all human endeavours, men will labour in vain. If the Lord is not with them their designs will prove failures. So was it with
the Babel builders, they said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower” and the Lord returned their words into their own bosoms, saying, “Go to, let us go down and there confound their language.” In vain they toiled, for the Lord’s face was against them. All who have ever laboured without Him come under the same sentence. Intelligent, intellectualism and physical strength are instruments of vanity unless the Lord be the Master builder. But when Solomon resolved to build a house for the Lord, matters were very different, for all things united under God to aid him. Even the heathen were at his beck and call that he might erect a temple for the Lord his God. In the same manner God blessed him in the erection of his own palace. Without God we are nothing and can do nothing, thus without Him our transformation will be in vain. Ambitious men have built great houses, but like the baseless fabric of a vision, no one could tell
The Word Of God And Prayer By S.K Abiara LESSED be the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, who has given us His word of life. He is worthy of our praise for the precious opportunity to share the truth in His word through this medium. I am sure of one thing, that is, the forerunner of any miracle by God is His word. If there is any great expectation you have, it will be established through God’s word. “He (God) spoke and they were healed – snatched from the door of death” - Psalm 107:20. In a nutshell, anytime you are opportune to hear or read the word of God, you can activate it by taking the necessary step required of you. That is where the miracle lies. On the other hand, you can make God’s word ineffective in your case if you refuse to act accordingly. If you are in the group of the former you are wise but if it is
latter, you are a fool so says the Lord Jesus, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on a solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds and floods came and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash” - Matt. 7:2427. Meaning that you cannot just afford to hear and read God’s word without allowing it to impact your life. It will result in tragedy. Brethren, the truth I am led to share with you this week is, ‘God will not do everything for you. No matter how long you can pray and fast, that would not change God. He will not take up your personal responsibility for you. At the same time you cannot do the
Living Waters By Pastor Lazarus Muoka today where once they stood. So, except we abide in Him there will be no meaningful transformation. Jn 15:4-5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” The whole history of the world has demonstrated that fruitfulness is only found in union with Christ. So also good transformation could only be actualised, when we surrender ourselves to Him. This is because we cannot appreciate the physical transformation without the transformation of the heart/soul. As the branch, however, good in itself, cannot bear fruit from itself, and cannot be supported than it continues in union with the parent stock, neither can we, unless we abide in our Creator.
Double Portion Anointing (1) part of God for Him. I am not against being prayerful and self-denial through fasting, rather it is better to be sensitive, while you do that spiritual exercise, as the Bible recommends, “Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you…” Matt. 26:41. However, you must be more sensitive to the word of God. A lot of people can pray, fast and even have the grace to go on marathon vigils. Unfortunately, they are just zealous with little or no knowledge of what the Word of God says about them and their situations. While some know the Word but refused to obey it but continued in prayer, as if it will cover for their disobedience. Basically, when you pray you are simply talking to your Heavenly Father. Like your children or friends engage you or you engage them in conversations. Unfortunately, many people
By Seyi Ogunorunyinka,
He said: “God told me to convey the message to Nigerians. I had a dream 19 years ago, in which I saw vehicles loaded with large number of people and there was a river behind the vehicle and as the vehicle was moving along the line, it began to sink into the river. Upon reaching the bottom, it stood still and couldn’t move forward or backward anymore. “And God told me that the vehicle was Nigeria, that is the killings, bombings and destructions of property worth millions of naira and God has said if Nigeria wants to come out of that river, Nigerians should
KINGS 2 gives us the account of Elijah, when he was being called up to heaven. At that time, Elijah had many sons but surprisingly, Elisha was the only one of these sons, who persisted in following him to the end, to ensure that he would receive the double portion of Elijah’s anointing. Many obstacles were placed in Elisha’s way, but because God was on his side, he was able to attain that which he was seeking. The first obstacle that Elisha came across was when Elijah told him to stay in Gilgal because the Lord had sent him to Bethel. 2 Kings 2:1 states “But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel.” Gilgal is the location, where the children of Israel encountered hindrance on their way to the Promised Land. It is also the place of religious activities with no power. There are a lot of places like that in the world today, where religious activities take place but nothing is happening. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:5 to avoid all those that have a form of godliness but deny the power of God. We should not stay in our comfort zones where nothing is happening, but move to a place of fire because that is where God is. Elisha’s second obstacle, which we can see in 2 Kings 2:4, took place in Bethel. There, Elijah told him to wait because God had sent him to Jericho; again,
tend to monopolise the conversation, so they fail woefully at that level and prayer becomes a burden and uninteresting. Some rush into prayer and rush out. Proper and constant meditation on the word of God will ignite your prayer like a fire in the bush during the dry season. Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide. email@example.com
Cleric Advises Jonathan To Declare Three Days Fasting And Prayer By Paul Adunwoke HE founder of Christ Church of Grace, Ajangbadi, Lagos; Prophet Cornelius Adetunbi, has advised President Jonathan to declare three days fasting and prayer for Nigerians. This, he said, will help Nigerians to overcome all their challenges, and stand strong as one nation. The Prophet, who was at The Guardian’s corporate headquarters, said the prayer will work, when observed with Psalm 51 on the first day, Psalm 126 for second day and Psalm 136 for third day.
• Peter: slept at time of prayer (Matt. 26:37-44), denied Christ thrice (Mk. 14:66-72, Matt. 16:16-19, Lk. 22:31-32; Acts 2:40-41; 3:6-8). Rewards God always rewards – Matt. 6:3-4; Rom. 8:28-32; Ps.118:6-7; Matt. 10:39; John 3:16b. • The just – Deut. 25:15. • Faithful workers – 2 Chro.15:7; Jer. 31:16. • The righteous – Ps.58:11. • Sacrificial Christ – like service – Matt.19:27-29. Matt.25:34-40; Luke 14:13-14. • Those awaiting incorruptible crowns. – I Cor.9:25; Righteousness - 2 Tim.4:8; Life – Jms. 1:12; Rev.2:10; Glory - I Peter 5: 4. • Overcomers – Rev.2:7, 17. Conclusion We need to die to self-interest (Jn. 12:24-26). Yield to Him completely. God can discern every motive (Heb. 4:13; Ps 33:13-15). Serve Him with sincerity and press on in dedication and commitment Phil.3: 12-14.
seek Him in repentance. They should read Acts 3:19 and Joshua 3:3-10. Everyone needs repentance and from house to house, after which if God answers our prayer, the vehicle will come out of the river and we can develop. God is not happy with the killings, lawlessness, hunger, sufferings, impunity and such others in Nigeria. Let us seek forgiveness by declaring three days fasting and prayers. “Some parents, who are supposed to send their children to school do not have money and the children are doing conductors and touts because there is no money.”
Elisha refused to stay and insisted on accompanying Elijah. Abraham and Jacob were both at Bethel and Saul lost all he had at Bethel. Bethel could be called a place of major decisions; it is a place, where you wrestle with God, where you yield yourself and die to your own desires. It is a place of complete consecration. When you consecrate yourself, you set yourself apart onto the Most High God. The third obstacle can be seen in 2 Kings 2:6, in Jericho. Again Elijah asked Elisha to remain in Jericho and wait for him but Elisha refused. Jericho is the place, where Joshua met with the captain of the Lord of hosts. Therefore, Jericho is a place of warfare against the devil and a place of spiritual opposition. It is a place of conflict, where you fight and to fight the enemy successfully, you need the power of God. In 2 Kings 2:7, for the fourth obstacle, Elijah and Elisha stood by the banks of the river Jordan, being watched by 50 other sons of Elijah from a distance. There was no discernible way of crossing the river, but Elisha still remained by Elijah’s side. Because he was so close to him, he was able to observe how Elijah struck the river with his mantle so that it parted and they were able to cross on dry land. Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmai l.com
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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
IBRUCENTRE Springs Of Wisdom
I Shall Not Die (4) By Gabriel Agbo
“…This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and three days from now you will get out of bed and go to the Temple of the LORD.” 2 Kings 20:5 THOUGHT you would have Ithebeen dancing by now. Read above verse again. Hezekiah’s case was an exceptional divine intervention in the Bible, as yours has also become. Now, people have in the past bluntly refused to bow to the very powerful hands of death. They have either postponed or totally cancelled the experience. Yes, it is appointed
unto man to die, but what we are saying here is that Christians should not die untimely, suddenly, shamefully and without fulfilling all that God has for them. That is it! Even when God told Hezekiah that he should prepare to die, the man ‘refused’. Wow! Truly, there is nothing your relationship with God cannot achieve. With God all things are possible! The king was very sick and Prophet Isaiah was sent to go and deliver the death bomb to him, but before the man of God left the palace, within minutes, God sent him back to go and cancel the first message, “tell him that he will not die again!” My God! As you read this mes-
sage, I say that you will not die now! There are people that God cannot ignore in this life. True! You are coming out of that situation in the mighty name of Jesus! Let’s just read the story. It is very interesting: “About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: ‘this is what the LORD says: Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’ When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, ‘Remember, O LORD, how I have always tried to be faithful to you and do what is pleasing in
your sight.’ Then he broke down and wept bitterly. But before Isaiah had left the middle courtyard, this message came to him from the LORD: GO BACK to Hezekiah…” 2 Kings 20:1-10. This man was able to change this ‘death bomb’ because of his consistent and total relationship with God. Even when he took over from a wicked and ungodly predecessor at a young age of 25, he made the decision to follow the God of Israel wholeheartedly. He also sanitised Israel of satanic worship, re-opened the temple, encouraged the priest, pursued justice and fought for God and Israel. Now, tell me why God would not change the impossible because of him? Sure, your relationship with God is always like a deposit that you will readily, without fail, draw from at the time of need or emergency. This man, through his faithfulness and prayer forced God to add more years to his time and also, more importantly, received a son that succeed him. Rev. Agbo is a minister with the Assemblies of God Nigeria. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lekki Central Mosque Gets New Chief Imam By Kamal Tayo Oropo Primate of the Evangelical Church of Yahweh Worldwide, Theophilus Oluwasanu Olabayo (middle) flanked by Constituent Assembly member, Abuja, Honourable Babatunde Ereola (left) at a colloquium to mark the 68th birthday of Primate Theophilus Oluwasanu Olabayo in Lagos… on Monday, February 24, 2014.
Connect To God This Lenten Season By Gabriel Osu HIS week Wednesday, T March 5, Christians all over the world will be marking the Ash Wednesday. It is a day that signifies the commencement of the Lenten season, a 40-day period that leads to Easter Sunday, the day Christ rose from the dead. Because of the significance of this day, I have thought it wise to reflect once again on the need for us as humans to connect to our creator if we hope to live a rewarding life. We all need electricity to power most of our household appliances. With the help of electricity, we can power our television sets, listen to the radio, iron our clothes and be assured of cold drink. At night, electricity helps to power our bulbs and ensure that the air is fully regulated for pleasant effect either through the air-conditioner or electric fan. Electricity is very essential to everyday life. It is the process of generating electrical power from other sources of primary energy. The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday. His basic method is still used
today: electricity is generated by the movement of a loop of wire, or disc of copper between the poles of a magnet. The importance of electricity cannot be over-emphasised. When in full usage, it helps to create job opportunities for small and medium scale enterprises and also buoy our economy. When the power generation of any country is low, like is the case with Nigeria, the economy suffers and the citizens are uneasy. Even when power is on, you cannot have access to except you plunge into the socket, which serves as a conduit pipe for the power to circulate effectively. Just as we need electric power in our daily activities, so also we need to plunge into the biggest source of all powers in heaven and on earth if we want to be assured of quality living. Who is the source of this power? He is God Almighty who has made Himself available to all mankind through His son Jesus Christ. Last week, the whole world came together to celebrate his birthday in the manger- a re-enactment of a worldwide significant event that occurred over 2000 years ago. And over the years, humanity has come to acknowledge the fact that Christ remains the
source of the ultimate power. He is the beginning and the end and without Him there was nothing made that was made. For years now, the Nigerian government has been battling to find solution to the lingering power failure in the country. It has spent billions of naira and even in dollar without any corresponding benefit. And so the citizens continue to wallop in darkness, waiting hopeless for the day that adequate power supply will become a reality in this part of the clime. Meanwhile, in other parts of the developed world, electricity is part of life. It is available almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What an irony! Christ is the main source of life. In Him we have life and have it abundantly. A life that is lived outside of Him is a counterfeit life. It is filled with much sorrows and disappointments. The way may look very rosy and inviting but on the long run, it leads to damnation. So many people today claim they can give your true happiness. Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos
HE Lekki Muslim Ummah T (LEMU) has appointed Sheik Ridwanullah Kayode Jamiu as the new Chief Imam of Lekki Central Mosque in Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, Lagos. The appointment, according to a statement, takes effect from March 1, this year. Explaining the rationale behind the appointment, LEMU President, Engineer Yunus Adeniji Raji, said Sheik Jamiu was adjudged a suitable candidate by a distinguished panel of interviewers by virtue of his exceptional brilliance, erudition, and deep knowledge of Islamic theology. Born 34 years ago in Ilorin, Kwara State, Sheik Jamiu is a cerebral lawyer and an adroit Islamic scholar, who has memorised the whole Qur’an. He bagged a L.L.B degree in Islamic/Common Law from the University of Ilorin in 2007, and has already submitted his dissertation for the L.L.M degree at Bayero University, Kano, where he did his Master’s degree programme. The new Chief Imam had earlier obtained a Hifzul-Qur’an (Qur’anic Memorization) Certificate from his father’s Arabic school, Jami’udeen Islamic & Arabic Institute, Isale Asa, Ilorin in 2003, and a Diploma in Arabic and Islamic Education from Ahmadu Bello Univesity, Zaria in 2001. For his primary school education, he attended St. John’s African School, Maraba, Ilorin, between 1986 and 1991, and had his secondary school education at Government Day Secondary School, Fate, Ilorin, between 1991 and 1997.
By Pastor W. F. Kumuyi
How Christ Gives Meaning To God’s Law
HEbulk of the problems people confront in life is as a result of igT norance. They don’t know, and so are seemingly unaffected by all that is happening around them. But some have been thoroughly misled by people who think they know best, but are themselves wallowing in ignorance. It is like the blind leading the blind. This was why the Lord Jesus Christ spent a good part of His ministry on earth providing the right interpretation of the scriptures. He knew all too well the grievous harm wrong interpretation can cause in the lives of people. It can lead not only to deception and licentious living, but also to spiritual, physical and even eternal death. A wrong interpretation of the scripture is akin to offering a bottle of poison, wrongfully labeled as food drink, to an unsuspecting person. The harm that is certain to follow can only be imagined, regardless of the drinker’s ignorance or innocence. So is the wrong interpretation and application of the scriptures. The Lord has a full grasp of scriptures as evidenced by His Sermon on the Mount and interactions with Jewish religious authorities Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians - in the course of His earthly ministry. He interpreted the divine laws accurately, sometimes, to the astonishment of the seemingly learned Jewish ecclesiastical authorities, whose understanding was limited, pecuniary-driven, and self-serving. They concentrated on the letter of the law and missed the spirit of the Word. By their interpretation, they appeared righteous before men and saw themselves as good enough for the Kingdom of God. Uninspired and unenlightened by the Spirit of God, they failed to realise that “God’s commandment is exceeding broad.” Jesus Christ the Son of God came to open our eyes and give us a proper and perfect understanding of the scriptures. Several times, He prefixed His statements by saying, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time… But I say unto you...” Christ’s authoritative interpretation of God’s laws which, at times, astounded His worst critics, shows that He was not a mere teacher. He was, as Nicodemus rightly noted, the “Teacher come from God”. He was not a mere man. He was the Man sent from God. He was not a mere expounder of the law; He was taught by God, the Father. He was not a mere prophet. He was the Prophet with the full and final word on all matters of life and godliness. He is infinitely greater than all teachers of the past, the present and the future. He is the Son of God interpreting the law of God as it was in God’s heart. He taught the timeless truth of God’s Word with eternal, not superficial insight. His interpretation is valid for all people in all ages. He still speaks, even now, with divine authority, and everything He says is of eternal importance to us. Hence, we should not trifle with His Word, or treat it with the same levity with which we handle the words of our fellow men. His commandments are not meant as killjoy to us, but to help us maintain a balanced life of integrity and fulfillment, as we obey them diligently. A reading through the scriptures would show that there are specific sins condemned by God in the Old Testament. But the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount comes as a warning that God is not about to condone such vices in the New Testament, in our age. They include the sin of murder, occasioned by anger, greed or jealousy. He commands us to shun anger, bad temper, murder, with uncommon selfless attitude, rather than with eye service, as many religious people did in the Old Testament times. One of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill”, like all other moral laws, was in effect before the Law of Moses. Centuries before God wrote the law and gave it to Moses to teach the Israelites, murder was already a great sin that earned offenders severe punishment. In all societies, even among heathen tribes, murder was condemned and punished. This law, which had been written in the heart and conscience of men since the time of creation, is still in effect today. It was given before the Old Covenant and the abolition of the Old Covenant has not cancelled this law. Neither civilisation nor the New Covenant cancels the law. The dispensation of grace, the age of love, does not excuse or condone the sin of murder or any other sin for that matter. The New Testament still condemns murder in clear terms. The age of enlightenment does not lessen the punishment of murderers; it increases it. The religious leaders of Israel– Pharisees and scribes– were shallow and superficial in their understanding of the law of God. Shallow understanding of God’s Word dulls and deadens the conscience. Superficial interpretation of God’s Word makes the guilty think that he is godly and qualified for heaven. Such limited understanding of Scripture is deceptive, dangerous and damns the souls of men. Christ came to give us the full revelation of God’s mind. He came to reveal the standard interpretation to which all men shall be judged when they stand before the impartial Judge of heaven and earth. “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” God judges the outward act of sin, but He does not stop there. He searches the heart and sees the thought and the motive behind the act. Angry temper often leads to acts of violence. Anger, hatred and evil intention cause great problems in the society, hurting others and leading to murder and destruction of property. To be free from condemnation, we must be free from both outward sin and hidden sin– the evil in the heart. Self-effort or personal struggles against anger and bad temper are not effective enough to keep you free from such vicious behaviour. References: Psalm 119:96; Matthew 5:21,22, 27,28,31,32-34,38,39,43,44; John 3:2; Deuteronomy 18:18,19; Acts 3:22,23; Matthew 5:21; Exodus 20:13; Genesis 4:8-15; 9:5,6; Exodus 21:12-14; Leviticus 24:21; Numbers 35:12,1625, 30,31; Galatians 5:19-21 Genesis 4:5-8, 1 John 3:12-15; Esther 3:5,6; Genesis 49:5-7; 1 Samuel 20:30-33; Proverbs 19:19; 27:3,4; 22:24,25; Galatians 5:16, 22-26; James 3:2; Proverbs 16:32; 25:28; 19:11; Psalm 37:7-9; Ecclesiastes 7:8,9; Romans 12:17-21; Colossians 3:8-15; Ephesians 4:30-32. All scriptures are from King James Version of the Bible.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 |43
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IBRUCENTRE By Ernest Onuoha Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour,’ Ex. 20v16. HE just concluded Church of Nigeria Standing T Committee Meeting held at St James Cathedral Ibadan from 17 to 22 February, 2014 deliberated on the theme: ‘Thou shall not bear false witness.’ The Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit guided Bishops, Clergy and delegate through this theme and urged all to ensure that they are vehicles of truth and not falsehood wherever they find themselves. I think no time is better than now to address this all-important ninth commandment of the Lord. For we live in an era whether in government or the religious circle, where most persons thrive in falsehood, which includes giving a wrong testimony about others (slander and libel), age falsification, certificate forgery and indulgence in the use of false scales in business transactions among others. The Lord God is interested in dynamic human relationships and that is why through Moses, He said to His people Israel not to bear false witness against one another. For Him, if such is not checked, innocent people may suffer untold injury and more importantly, justice may be perverted. Neighbours are expected to live at peace with one another. It is unfortunate that even among those who profess to be Christians, there are some that over-indulge in false witnessing. Some such people could be found in some law courts in Nigeria, where they go under oath and claim with the Bible in one hand to give nothing but the truth. Yet, at the end of their testimony, they end up contradicting themselves by being agents of falsehood and false witnessing. It is not surprising that the Lord Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Owo, Rt Rev. Joseph Oladunjoye
From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor
Keeping The Ninth Commandment was irked while preaching in the opening Holy Communion service at the just concluded Church of Nigeria Standing Committee meeting held at Saint James Cathedral Ibadan recommended that judges of the Nigerian courts should be bold enough not only to prosecute liars or false witnesses but to execute them if found culpable. The above stand by Bishop Oladunjoye may seem harsh but if we consider the damage done by false witnessing, we may be tempted to agree with him. However, the scripture made it abundantly clear that God the creator hates false witnessing and the prophet Zechariah captured it thus: ‘…this is what you must do: tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord,’ Zechariah 8v16-17.
Pathways students receive prayer from the Rector, Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, Ven. Ernest Onuoha (right), during the students’ visit to the centre recently. They were led by Mrs Wanda Ibru.
Daystar Produces 397 Young Entrepreneurs AVING been properly H trained and skillfully equipped in 11 different vocations, a total of 397 Nigerian youths have graduated from the Daystar Skill Acquisition programme, organised by Daystar Christian Centre, Oregun Lagos on Friday, February 14, 2014. Keeping to its vision of raising role models in the society, Daystar Christian Centre held a memorable graduation ceremony for the 13th set of the Daystar Skill Acquisition Programme (DSAP) at the church’s main auditorium, Plot A3C, Ikosi Road, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos. It was a joy-filled day, as the graduating students leapt up in happiness, having been empowered with new skills in different crafts such as Makeup, Photography, WebDesign, Graphics, Sewing, Generator Repairs, Shoemaking, Beads-making, Cakemaking and Pastries, among others.
Speaking to the graduating students, Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Rev. Sam Adeyemi, represented by the church’s Chief Operating Officer, Pastor Kenny Folarin, urged them to make the best of their newly acquired skills toward adding great value to Nigeria and the world generally. “The skills you have learnt here can take you to places you never expected if put to good use. The money you’re looking for is in meeting people’s needs, and it is skill acquisition that helps us to solve people’s problems,” he said. Folarin also challenged the participants to strive to be the best. “Please don’t underestimate the skills you’ve acquired, as there are millionaires globally, who live on what you’ve learnt,” he concluded. He also appreciated the entire DSAP team and facilitators, as led by Pastor Bolutife Aje and Mrs. Toyin Olusola, for
investing their time in building people. Sharing her DSAP experience, Bukola Oyedokun, one of the Makeup Class graduands, said the impact of the training was beyond her expectations. “Although I’m not a member of Daystar, I came around to learn makeup because of my love for it, and I was literally blown away at what I was able to learn and do within two weeks. It’s been an empowering experience and may God continue to bless this church.” Daystar Skill Acquisition Programme (DSAP) is one of the initiatives of Daystar Christian Centre geared towards empowering people with practical trainings and skills to build lasting brands and maximise their potentials in God. The training runs thrice every year— February, June and October. DSAP has trained over 4000 entrepreneurs since inception.
James the elder would wish to counsel believers thus: ‘for in many things we all stumble. If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. Now if we put the horses’ bridles into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also…But the tongue
can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison,’ James 3v2ff. Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org
Ahmadiyya Commissions Central Mosques In Ado Ekiti And Ibereko By Bisi Alabi Williams HE Ahmadiyya Muslim JaT maat Nigeria has commissioned two renovated mosques in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State and Ibereko, Badagry in Lagos State. The mosque in Ado Ekiti, which over the years had been used by the Ekiti State government for its activities due to the strategic location and the soul inspiring lectures that come out of the mosques during the usual Friday jumaat services. Most government officials always prayed at the mosque. Col. Muhammad Bawa, former Military Administrator of Ekiti State also used the mosque severally for state functions. Impressed by the spiritual activities and relevance of the mosque to the state and its people, the First Lady of Ekiti State, Bisi Fayemi, who was present at the opening ceremony of the mosque, showed her appreciation by contributing funds towards the renovation of the mosque.
According to her, it was in recognition of the peaceful sermons at the mosque and the prevailing peaceful coexistence between the sect members and other religious sects in the state that informed her action. Similarly, the Amir, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Dr. Mashood Fasola, appreciated the love and understanding shown by the Governor, his wife, government functionaries as well as the people of Ekiti State to the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in the state. He used the opportunity to inform the general public on the essence of Islam as a religion of peace and the unique place of the mosque in any society as a centre of knowledge, moral and spiritual sanctuary for all. Other dignitaries at the occasion include the secretary to the state government, who represented Governor Fayemi, top government officials, members of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat from Lagos and surrounding states officials, who joined the Amir on the auspicious occasion.
Similarly, the Ahmadiyya mosque at Ibereko, Badagry in Lagos State was also commissioned by the Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. The mosque building was rebuilt by Alhaji Abdul Fatai Shokunbi, Chief Executive, Farm Embassy Suites, Ibereko. The mosque, inaugurated in the early 1990s, was built to the ground floor level, when Alhaji Shokunbi took over. According to Shokunbi, his prayers, regarding the progress of his business, were answered after praying at the Ahmadiyya mosque, hence the need to rebuild it. Amir thanked him for his act of goodwill and kindness (ibadah), reminding him that he that builds a mosque for Almighty Allah will be highly rewarded in the hereafter. Dr. Fasola went round the business premises of Alhaji Shokunbi and prayed for the growth of his business. He prayed Allah to bless Shokunbi, the business and all affiliated with the project.
Seraphs Install Ebahor As Baba Aladura By Ijeoma Opara , Michael Erebi Ebahor, now to be ordained Baba Aladura of The Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim, do hereby swear before the Almighty God and His people in this holy place, that I will lead to the best of my knowledge and ability and faithfully execute my duties, I pledge this by the Almighty God.” With this sacred oath before a jubilant congregation, the 83year-old Ebahor, was last Saturday, installed the Supreme Head and Baba Aladura of The Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim at St Moses Orimomade Cathedral, Egbe, Lagos. St Moses Orimolade Tunolase, who joined the Saints Triumphant in 1933, founded the church in 1925. Leading a retinue of Baba Aladuras to the spirit-filled event, the Supreme Head of the C & S Unification Church of Nigeria, His Most Eminence Abel Olujimi Akinsanya, praised the elders of the church for allowing the Holy Spirit guide them in choosing their leader, which he noted, was de-
void of rancour . He also enjoined the new Baba Aladura to see to the take off of Moses Orimolade University (MOU) at Omu Aran, Kwara State, which has been partially approved by the Nigerian University Commission (NUC). He said the determination of the church to ensure commencement of the university by October 2014 should be given utmost priority by the new Baba Aladura and all Seraphs worldwide. Following his installation, two elders of the church, David Ojo and Godwin Okulaja were installed as Vice Baba Aladura of the Church, while Elder Kola Odunsi, the Secretary General of the Holy Order, was ordained Superintendent General. Ebahor, in his speech, charged all Seraphs to do away with evil vices and focus on winning souls for Christ. “I admonish you to do away with Prophets of Baal, who engage in rituals, sacrifices, slaughtering of rams, docks and blood spilling, which were never part of the doctrine of this Holy Order. “This is the time to redouble our efforts in reaching out to those, who have not accepted
Jesus Christ and evangelise to the nooks and crannies of the world,” he said. In his message to Nigeria, he condemned the level of corruption in the country and high unemployment rate among youths. He, however, urged government at all levels, to rule the country with the fear of God. On the forthcoming general elections, the spiritual leader said: “Let us pray for peace and ask God to give us political leaders that will address multifacets challenges that are threatening the corporate existence of the country”. . He also urged the government to address the killing of Christians in the North by the Boko Haram sect through meaningful dialogue and rehabilitation. Ebahor, however, commended the initiative of the federal government for signing into law the anti-gay marriage bill. Said he: “Marriage is a sacred institution ordained by God, and is between a man and a woman. Any strange doctrine in the name of modernisation, which recognises same sex marriage marital union between man and animals should be condemned.”
Weird Campus Life
MONDAYS–FRIDAYS IN THE GUARDIAN
SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014
Adesoye College Offa, Acquires MKS PETSS For Enhance Students’ Performance By Daniel Anazia OLLOWING an agreement between FKnowledge the management of Mobile Solutions (MKS) and the Adesoye College, Offa, in a bid to improve learning and performance of it students, the College recently acquired the MKS mobile educational solution tablet, Personal Education Tablet for Secondary Schools (PETSS). At the presentation ceremony which was held at the College, the Chief Executive Officer of MKS, Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf, said the presentation/visit is in line with the commitment of his company to support all the schools that buy into the vision by making PETSS avilable to their students. “We are commited to providing them with the necessary wherewithal to enable the effective use of the unique solution provided by MKS. We are here
to thank the management of Adesoye College for being the first educational institution to buy into the vision and making the product available to her students. This is the first phase of the project and we are here to officially make the first delivery of the products which they ordered for.” According to Yusuf, efforts to enhance the availability of the product to students nationwide are beginning to yield positive results with state governments, agencies, major public and private sector players with stake in the education sector increasingly coming on board. He said, “the vision of MKS in creating the solution is the desire to see to the improvement in the performance of students in WASCE substantially. Our goal is to ensure that the 70 percent failure rate in WAEC results released recently is reduced,” he said. While welcoming the MKS team, the
Proprietor of Adesoye College, Chief Oluwagbemiga Adesoye, commended them for coming up with such innovative product, with the aim of making learning easier and more convenient for students. He advised the students to make good use of the tablets in the overall interest of improving their performance as they prepare for the different examinations. Adesoye said that the mobile tablet is a tool meant to make learning convenient for both the students and their instructors, which they have gladly and swiftly key into. “Education in itself is never static, it is progressive. What we were doing, probably ten years ago is no more obtainable these days. You can see that having a personal computer as a learning tool did not even exist for most of us. What we had were textbooks. But now, people are having studies online, with lots of edu-
cational material,” he said. He added, “We are now in the age of internet. Now, we have androids and tablets. It does tell you that as long as the world keeps moving and technology keeps growing, we are going to have different methods of delivering education. It is wonderful because technology is a tool that can be used in medicine, transportation and other aspects of lives.” “PETSS is definitely going to make learning easier for them. And once it is easier, you find out that their rate of assimilation would improve. It is not every time that you want to stare at text and look at black and white print. It is good to have things that can talk to you, things that shows you how to learn in a graphical form. And because you carry it around, it becomes part of you just like the case of the mobile phone. You don’t feel like you are carrying a burden.”
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Bridging The Gap Between Overseas, Nigerian Education From Oludare Richards, Abuja AVING been professionally involved in H the educational consulting and ICT related field for 10 years now, Adedayo has helped to facilitate the education of over 5,000 Nigerian students in different universities outside the country — Asia, Europe and America in the last six years. Representing various foreign tertiary institutions as education consultant, his consulting firm has provided enabling channels for
Nigerian students to study abroad. He says: “I studied abroad too, and if you must be told, there’s a huge difference between studying in Nigeria and overseas. Though, we do have a fantastic schooling system in Nigeria, especially our high school system that is better than some developed countries maintain. The major area where development is needed is the tertiary education system.” He firmly believes that the education system in Nigeria can get better if improve-
ments in terms of infrastructural development and provision of adequate up-todate equipments and educational training tools are incorporated into schools. Adedayo adds: “Though, it is good to study both at home abroad, the one overseas exposes you to so much infrastructural facilities that are lacking in here.” While showing his preference to overseas’ study, Adedayo says it is a whole difCONTNUED FROM PAGE 45
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FIIRO, Lancaster University Signs MOU On Post Graduate Studies By Paul Adunwoke S part of its commitment to A research and offering ideal industrial solutions to national industrial needs, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Lancaster University, United Kingdom to enable the staff of the institution study for their doctorate degree (PhD) in the university. According to the Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Gloria elemo, Lancaster University, will be training staff of the institute on critical areas of research, especially in waste management and recycling. This would help the institute in capacity building of staff. elemo, mad this known during 3rd distinguished lecture series, titled ‘Sustainable Waste Management, the
Africa Situation and The Need for Simple and Innovative Interventions, which held at the institute Headquarters, in Oshodi Lagos. “The need for capacity building in research institute cannot be over emphasized, we need to have researchers with PhD that can do perfect research and make research more meaningful. There are a lot of new innovations, and new areas of interest are very critical,” she said. She added, “Capacity building is a major instrument for research at the institute; we make sure that we link with a major University outside the country so that we can share ideas related to area of research. We want Lancaster University to come in and see what we are doing, so that they can partake in taking our staff into a good programme that would make it easier and cheaper for PhD in very
Dangote To Partner Kano State University On Agriculture By Daniel Anazia He Chancellor of Kano T University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has promised to partner the university in the area of integrated agriculture. This was known while receiving the institution’s new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Shehu Alhaji Musa. Dangote said that already, he has directed the Dangote Academy to enter into dialogue with the authorities of the university with a view to col-
laborating in agricultural endeavours including sugar cane farming, fisheries, forestry management and poultry. He added that the move will enable youths to become self-employed in agriculture areas highlighted. He directed the release of N100 million to the university, and promised to construct an industrial borehole with reticulation in the school, provide a generator, recruit professors for the institution, open channels of co-operation and collaborations
between the university and other organisations, both within and outside Nigeria. He also promised to help in the area of staff accommodation. Presenting the new VC, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of the institution, Prof. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, said the new VC is an agricultural economist and an academic of high repute who has done a lot for education.
critical areas.” According to the DG, the PhD programme would help staff have more knowledge about waste management and recycling of the waste. “Waste management is a very serious area when you come to area of research. We look at waste generation, in fact it could be industrial raw materials and could be more generated than other raw materials,” she said. Speaking on behalf of Lancaster University, Professor Kirk Semple said, the PhD programme, will help to mitigate brain drain phenomena in the institute. “The MOU will help FIIRO staff come to Lancaster University, get PhD and return back to Nigerian. We have a situation where the students can spend their first year in FIIRO, come to Lancaster on their second year and then return to FIIRO again for the final year and we are prepared for a lot of intellectual practices because it is a three-year project.”
“Average doesn’t win award” – Mavi Isibor, Group C.e.O, Poise Nigeria N MY VIeW, there is no reason to be normal. The problem with being normal is that normal is normal and most of the time, it is average, regular and unremarkable. Sometimes being good enough is not enough, you need to be abnormal. Please let me explain with a personal experience:
Tina returned from her interview so excited. It had gone very well, so well in fact, better than she expected. She went over all the questions that the members of the panel had asked her and she knew she answered them well. I can testify to that because I was on the panel, we interviewed about 27 people that day. Tina knew she answered us well because she downloaded an interview skills manual from the internet and when she cross checked after the interview, she was proud of how close to the manual her answers were. She followed the format perfectly, she used the rights words and so on, “Lucky me!” she thought, she shut down her
He youth market has been identiT fied as a strategic market to engage with by telecommunications firms hoping to leapfrog its market share. This is because, while the developed world’s population may be graying, on the African continent, it is a young and growing population. According to a document made available by Tnsrms’ Regional Director, West Africa for Digital, Technology and Telecoms, Seyi Adeoye, it listed 12 factors that will shape the telcos space in 2014. Adesoye noted that besides focusing on the youth market, ease of connection and call clarity are core motivator drivers to Nigerians because it is not just about having loads of freebies that cannot be enjoyed or paying lower call rates which delivers ‘negative’ experience. “The developed world’s population may be graying, but on the African continent it is young and growing in country-sized bounds. By 2016, Nigeria’s population will expand by the equivalent of adding Romania to the country. The youth market remains a present strategic base and a future growth segment for the operators,” Adesoye stated.
Access N2.6bn FG Allocation For Capital Projects Universities for alleged constant violation of the extant rules and operational He National Universities guidelines for part-time and sandwich Commission (NUC) has lifted the ban programmes by some universities. In placed on the Federal University of April, 2013, it issued a comprehensive Technology, Owerri (FUTO) part-time guideline for conducting part-time and programmes and approved the of 17 sandwich programmes in the Nigerian programmes with effect from October University system. 7, 2013. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. C.C It will be recalled that the Asiabiaka, in a dated May 22, 2013, and Commission in March 2012, placed a with the number moratorium on admission into partFUT/VC/GeN.80C/VOL.III/323, sought for time programmes in Nigerian the Commission’s approval for the
By Daniel Anazia
By Daniel Anazia
computer, “I am so sure they will pick me.” While Tina was reveling in her great performance at home, the other interviewers and I were going over our scoring of all the candidates. We were discussing and trying to decide on which 5 to call back and our conversation sounded a little like this: Panelist A: “Most of them sounded the same to me. I am looking at the names and the CVs and I am struggling to even remember half of the things they said.” Everyone nodded. Panelist C: “What about that Emeka guy?” Panelist A: “Yes! The one that said he ran an NGO while in school.” Everyone smiled, and comments like “I liked him”, “sounds intelligent”, “I recommend him” flowed. Panelist B: “There was also that girl that spoke so passionately, what was her name?” Panelist C: “Ah! I cannot forget that one, Bola, she seems to have so much drive. I think she will bring new life to her department if we choose her.” Panelist A: “She is chosen already, no contest. Let us call those two back add any three of the others that got high scores, just pick any three. Let’s see them next
He added, “Overall, 16-29 years old Nigerians account for over 50 per cent of the lower value telecom customer segments, same for the mid value segment and about a third of the high customer segment. The key idea is to co-create, align and reflect aspirations of this enthusiastic customer segment while offering services and products within their value frame.” Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. “Bearing in mind Nigeria’s mobile phone penetration, which stands at well above 80 per cent, with over 120 million subscribers, the mobile is pretty much a part of the Nigerians’ lives. It is no surprise that app will continue to grow in popularity,” he said. “Apps are indicators of consumer interests and offer marketing opportunities for brands. New apps in the UK for ‘smart homes’ enable users to remote control their home, such as the Hive Active Heating app from British Gas. A UK budget hotel chain, Premier Inn, recently revealed a new app allowing guests to control lighting and entertainment through their mobile phone.”
NUC Lifts Ban On FUTO Part-Time Programmes, 5,075 Matriculates
Get Weird.. Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition fee is very high...
Youth Market Key To Telecoms Operators’
“Why are your own things always different.” When you discover what is different/weird about you and you learn how to sell it, then that is true packaging. Someone could be ashamed of the fact that he sold pure water, recharge cards or even food in school but if he learns week.” how to package it, then it becomes an Panelist C: “Please there was a girl named edge that makes people admire his Someone Chioma, she shouldn’t fall into the others resilience. might be a scatter brain who always foro. She got high scores but her explicit gets where they keep things. You just dressing will put people in trouble” might be chosen as a perfect marketer Panelist B :“Yes, but we also have to take for a company that sells Key Holders that intelligent funny one who said he with SIM Cards in them. Whatever it is was selling pure water in school and still about you that makes you feel weird: came out with a 2:1.” If it is good: Embrace It Panelist A: ”I almost forgot him, great! Add him as well. Does anyone remember You don’t want to stand out for bad perany other person that stood out? For good formance so, if it is bad: Overcome It oh! Not the one that wore jeans and was If it is neither good nor bad: Enhance It saying he could not remember what the vacancy is for because he sent is CV to so When you are done: Package it many places.” To be abnormal can also mean ABOVe Everyone roared with laughter and the NORMAL. So, in all you do, feel free to folsession ended. low the guidelines, don’t break the rules The sad truth is that I do not know Tina. but please, embrace your individuality Her name could have been Titi or even and don’t be afraid to Tope. She is a representative of all those …GET WEIRD who scored high but blended into the crowd because they followed good PS: Please do not throw away your preparatory guidelines to the point of losing their manuals for interview skills, you only need to individuality. Though they did well, learn how to let your personality shine through. I they were all grouped together as ‘the also teach interview skills (with a twist) at Poise’ others’. Graduate Finishing Academy so feel free to stop ‘Get Weird’ is not saying that you by if you want some tips. email@example.com should just be weird for the sake of being weird. I am not saying that you should be different just for the sake of being different. Just embrace the things about you that make people say
University to continue to run 22 programmes on part-time basis in five Schools of the University, including School of Management Technology, School of Science, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology. Life Campus gathered the approved 17 programmes include, Financial Management Technology (PGD & MBA), Informational Management Technology (PGD & MBA), Project Management Technology (PGD & MBA), Transport Management Technology (PGD & MBA); Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Geosciences, Mathematics, Statistics and Physics. Others are Agricultural economics, Agric. Sciences (Animal Science, Soil Science & Crop Science & Tech), Agricultural extension, Maritime Management Technology, Information Management Technology, Project Management Technology and Transport Management Technology
Closing The Gap Between Overseas, Nigerian Education CONTNUED FROM PAGE 44 ferent experience in itself, to this end, he encourages Nigerians who can afford it to study abroad. “education is not the only benefit,” he says, “there are so much things to learn outside the classroom.” He gives an example of the ASUU strike as phenomena, you won’t get to experience in developed countries. He says a foreign colleague had once asked him: “Do you mean that ‘when strikes like this happen, the whole schooling system just shuts down?’ They just don’t understand. This is a whole system, I mean, it’s like having hospitals shut while you have patients on life support systems. education is a lifestyle too.” Adedayo expressed displeasure at the state of the higher institutions quality of education, infrastructures and amenities. He said: “I recall the mechanical engineering department of a school I once visited around 1994 before I travelled; a laboratory that had suffered deterioration, between then and now, has known no improvements, I mean it is only worse now”.
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Birthdays OBASANJO, Chief Mathew Olusegun Okikiola Aremu, farmer, politician, former president and head of the military junta will be 77 on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. He was born on March 5, 1937 in Ibogun, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State and attended Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta from 1952-56 and later attended the following military trainings: Mons Officers Cadet School, Aldershot, England; Royal College of Military Engineering, Chatham, England; School of Survey, Newbury, England; Indian Defence Staff College; Indian Army School of Engineering, Poona and Royal College of Defence in the Nigerian Army in 1958. He was a second Lieutenant, 1959; Lieutenant, 1960; member of the Nigerian contingent of the United Nations Force in the Congo, 1960; Commander of the Nigerian Army Engineering Unit, 1963; Captain, 1963;
Major, 1965; Lt. Col, 1967; Commander, Ibadan Garrison, 1967-69; Colonel, 1969; General Officer Commanding, Third Engineering Corps, 1970-75; Brigadier, 1972; Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Nigerian Army, 1975-76; member/Chairman, Supreme Military Council
(SMC), 1976-79; Lt-Gen., 1976; Head of State and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, 1976-79; General, Nigerian Army, 1979. He also served as Federal Commissioner of Works and Housing from January to July 1975. He contested and won the 1999 Presidential election on the platform
of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was reelected in 2007. He was also the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of PDP till 2012 when he voluntarily retired. He is the Balogun of Owuland. BALOGUN, Otunba Michael Subomi, lawyer, banker, ad-
ministrator and philanthropist will be 80 on Sunday, March 9, 2014. He was born in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State and attended Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos and later read law in England. He was a Principal counsel and secretary with Nigerian Industrial Development Bank Limited, executive director, ICON Securities Limited. He started the first Nigerian fully owned Merchant Bank (now First City Monument Bank) in 1982. Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). He is the Asiwaju of Ijebu Christian; he is fondly referred to as the baron of the Nigerian Capital Market. He holds traditional titles of Otunba Tunwase of Ijebu Christian. NDOMA-EGBA, Senator Victor (SAN), politician and legal practitioner will be 54 on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Born on March 8, 1956 in Ikom, Cross River State, he graduated from the University of Lagos and Calabar, where he obtained the LL.B
and LL.M degrees respectively. He was at the Irish Development Institute, Shanon, Ireland for a programme in Export Processing Zones Administration and Stamford University, Palo Alto, USA and Harvard University, Cambridge for the Executive Education Programme. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in July 1978 and was in active practice specialising in civil and commercial law litigation, and arbitration. He was the Chairman of the Calabar Bar, President of the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Body of Benchers. He was elected to represent River Central in 2003 in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and was re-elected in 2007, he was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 2004. He was Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs and was the deputy Senate Leader. Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Abolaji Osime, CEO, Global International College (middle) with the representatives of UK universities; Christopher Cagney University of Hull, Peter Muncey University of Surrey, SSimon Forster, University of Northumbria, Dan Entwistle University of Essex, University of Hull.
Chairman, Board of Directors, Senior Citizens Care Foundation, SCCF, Prince Adesumbo Ajibola (left); Former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, Excellence Award Recipient/Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; and his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, during the Award Ceremony by the SCCF on the governor, in Ado-Ekiti... on Thursday.
Eze Samuel Udoh (left), Eze Ndigbo of Idimu and Eze Peter Umeh, Eze Ndigbo of Mushin during the annual thanksgiving service of the Igbo speaking community and Ohanaeze in Mushin in Lagos... last week
General Manager Marketing, UAC Foods Limited, Mrs Joan Ihekwaba (left), Executive Director, Corporate Services, UAC of Nigeria Plc, Joe Dada, Managing Director/CEO, UAC Foods Limited, Dr, Tawanda Mushuku and the Chairman, Scientific and Technical Committee of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) Dr. Bartholomew Brai with Isaac Victor of Providence School, Agege and Angel Snipes of Glory Crown International School, Ijesha during the launch of the new Gala Tinkies held in Lagos... on Thursday.
Mr. James Olotu, CEO, NDPHC (left), Dr. Sam Amadi, Chairman, NERC, Mr. Eyo Ekpo, Commissioner for Rates and Market Competition, NERC and Mr. Rumundaka Wonodi, CEO, NBET at a seminar on ‘The Nigerian Power Sector — What next after Privatization?’
National President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Rotimi Oladele (5th left), former National PRO, Aramide Tola Noibi with colleagues/committee chairmen at the Lagos State Chapter February 2014 meeting of the Institute of Public Relations at Yaba, Lagos.
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FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO
National Development Strategy
NICHOLAS OKOYE, Founder EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative,
Nicholas Okoye’s The Nine Pillars of National Development
Pillar One: Government Policy (paper 5)
EDUCATION E KNOW that our education is presently in a mess. We need a visionary leader at the helm of affairs in this sector to save Nigeria from the slide. Please let us stop appointing Politicians to the Education portfolio, it too important a job to be left in the hands of someone that wants to be compensated for political support. As I said in paper 4 on Government Policy as one of my Pillar’s of National Development, our civil servants and middle class are spending $10 to $12 billion dollars on educating their children aboard. This means that as we are spending over N3 trillion naira on Civil servant benefits and allowances, our Civil servants are spending this money on schools fees in foreign schools and in the process boosting the economies of countries around the world from the UK, to the USA, to Ghana, to Cyprus. How can we expect our Political leaders to really build a society of our dreams when we, the Nigerian people ourselves are not cooperating? We are spending all our money aboard and then we complain, that Nigeria is not working. How can it work? When we prefer to educate our children aboard, we prefer to drink and eat food grown and flown in from aboard, we love luxury goods, and we are presently the second largest Champagne drinking society in the World. Second only to France where the product is made. We glorify spending on very expensive lifestyles all channeled to suppliers and manufacturers that are based aboard. So there is something that is fundamentally wrong with our society and so what do we do?
National Education Policy: we need a reorientation as a Nation. Nigerians need to love and be proud of their country. And the Education Ministry will need to come with up with a new curriculum that gives our children a National Pride that makes them to love their country. We
also need to build some of the best schools in the world right here in Nigeria. And why can’t we do that? Our people have all the money in Word, what do our oil and gas moguls, telecommunications giants, banking tycoons do with all their money? After you have bought the Private Jet, the homes in Monaco, LA and Miami, the 100ft Yachts, what next? We need to start making commitments and investing in the future of our Country and we can do that by recreating the Education sector so that first of all we educate our best brains in country in some of the best schools in the world. And I do not mean the most expensive schools in the world either. I always wonder why some of our Pentecostal churches would build some very good schools but make the school fees unaffordable and unattainable for their members.
and to create a job for themselves? We really need to look at the curriculum all over again. The Education leaders have been so preoccupied with changing the time we send in school from 6-5-4 to 6-3-3-4 that they have completely forgotten that the content of what we are teaching our children is outdated and needs a complete redesign that would train an army of achievers that would drive Nigeria forward to compete with Nations around the World for the future. I must congratulate the “Nigeria Education Research and Development Council” for only recently introducing a new focus on Trade and Entrepreneurship and introducing the 39 new subjects at the secondary school level which includes photography, salesmanship, painting, interior decorating, this is help but we need to do more.
National University Curriculum: So what is the Nigerian curriculum designed to achieve? When did we last do a review of the curriculum in Nigeria? I speak to children that have schooled in Nigeria all the time and I find it scandalous that many of them are not taught the Nigeria history as it should be. Why? Maybe we are so used to sweeping the dirt under the carpet we believe that we can build a Nation on lies and pretense. Our children are not taught about the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, the hurt and the lessons of the past and the blood that was shred for Nigeria in that period. Anyone that is not taught the past is bound to repeat the mistakes of the past. How many Nigerian children know our heros? How many Nigerian class rooms have pictures of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Belewa, Hebert Macurly, Alvan Ikoku, Obafemi Awolowo?
Education systems and Infrastructure: I know you have seen those adverts in the newspapers when a State Governor wants to praise himself on building a new school he shows off the buildings of the school and calls it the model school. I have seen Imo State, Rivers State and other states do this. I have equally seen the adverts from private schools showing off the beautiful buildings that have been built for the children. However I must call their attention to the fact that buildings do not constitute an education policy neither do they teach children. We need to teach our children the right content for us to get them on the right path to building a true Nation. We must get the content right first and this means that we need committed teachers working with a world class curriculum that puts our Nation on a new level for development and progress. In my opinion you cannot build infrastructure for Education without teachers. We must first focus on teachers and make it a great profession and get some of the best minds to become teachers then we
What is the true design of our present curriculum? Are we teaching our children to be workers and to look for a job or to be entrepreneurs
ple, which has been used to produce minced meat, filling etc. The producer puts the minced food into a funnel, which is placed on the top of the grinder. From there the material goes on a horizontal screw conveyor. This screw conveyor, which can be powered by a hand wheel or an electric motor, squashes and partially mixes the food. At the end of the screw conveyor there is a knife installed directly in front of the fixed hole plate. At this opening the minced meat comes out of the machine. The fineness of the meat depends on the size of the holes of the plate.
Education Finance Reform: this is one of the most difficult subjects in today’s Nigerian educational system. I will offer solutions here because I know that it is a big issue and is a major drawback to development of our education system. I will deal with this subject next week as it is a key to the successful development and redesigning of our education system in Nigeria.
Covenant-University-Ota Buildings ar not content
MEAT MINCER or meat grinder is a kitchen appliance for fine chopping (‘mincing’) of, or mixing of raw or cooked meat, fish, vegetables or similar food. It replaces tools like the mincing knife or grater, for exam-
are on our way to getting things right. If we have all the beautiful buildings in the World and we do not have teachers then we have failed woefully. And we need part time nonworking teachers volunteers as well. We need to get successful people that are in industry to go back to the class room for a month, a week or even a weekend to teach and inspire our children. We need to have parents’ mentorship programs that will support the teachers to get our children more interested in entrepreneurship as we know the jobs required for our population of young people are not being created by the economy. I will gladly be the first volunteer if the State or Federal Ministry of Education would organize such a program. In any case with the new curriculum on Entrepreneurship starting from the secondary school level, schools will need the partnership and support of industry to get the message across.
unit can be mixed different kinds of meat (for example beef or pork) with each other homogeneously By changing the hole plate it is also pos- and/or can be mixed the meat sible to produce breadcrumbs or fill with additives, like salt or spices, sausage casing. After the drop from the before grinding it. Without such a retainer, it is possible to change the mixer unit, the additives must be hole plate. By removing the fixing mixed into the meat after grindscrew the grinder can be disassembled ing it, which adversely affects the completely for cleaning. Besides the taste and appearance of most domestic manually or motor operated grinders, there are also grinders for butchery (table- or shop-grinders for example) and for the food industry. Some large machines are able to produce several tons per hour. A basic optional feature for larger grinders is the mixer unit. With this
products. Minced meat is an important ingredient in some specialties such as Coconut Rice, Meat balls, Hamburgers, Sandwiches, Meatloaves, etc. Meat mincers are unbelievably affordable. They are small and very portable. They could be used in places like restaurants, hotels, fast foods, clubs, suya joints, Food carts and even at home. A meat mincer is an equipment you should not even think twice about acquiring, due to its efficiency and portability. Know any hotel owners or food store owners, they would really appreciate it if you told them about the meat mincer. To find out more about this and other business ideas, visit our virtual showroom at www.empowernigeria.com, or contact our sales rep at 01 2771388
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GuIDe TO PeRSONAL DeVeLOPMeNT
GLOBAL eNTRePReNeuRAL LeADeR
By NICHOLAS OKOYE, EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative,
More on Accurate Thinking
TALKeD about making decisions in your life that are based on facts and I told you that over the years in a man or a woman’s life we are filled with all kinds of sayings and information which is totally inaccurate and based on myths, lies and non-truths. However we sadly make life changing decision based on this inaccurate information and in many cases we ruin our lives, our relationships and even our business. I gave you some examples yesterday and here are a few more.
Multitasking. The myth and a load of rubbish. I am so sure there are many of you who go to job interviews and say that their ability to multitask is a big strength. I have seen it on many resumes from people who should know better. Well if the truth be told then I will tell you here and now, that multitasking is such a killer to peak performance and remarkable achievement, that nobody that truly succeeds in life accepts multitasking as a quality to have. Here is a question if doing one thing to save your life is and it is the most important thing to do why would anybody think of doing something else at that same time? How would you like it if you were on a plane and you peeped into the cockpit to say hello to the pilot and you heard him say that he is going to use this flight, your flight to test out his multitasking skills. He would fly the plane, speak to his ten year old kid who needs help with his homework, and he would give his sister marriage tips over the phone all while flying you from Lagos to Abuja. Well the chances are you will run off that flight there and then. Consider your son is going into surgery, and the doctor says he is the multitasking champion, and that while operating on your son, he will be giving directions to a doctor in India on a complicated heart procedure, and at the same time he will dictate a comprehension to his personal assistant for a medical speech he is going to give in a week’s time. What would you do to the doctor? What would you think of that hospital? Well the truth is that as we all agree pilots and doctors require all the concentration in the world to get their jobs done each and every time, then why don’t we apply the same standards to our own work. Please get rid of the multitasking guide and practice focus instead, you will get all the results in world with focus. As for multitasking you will just about get a few things done but none of them will be done well, and you will never be truly great at anything, to be outstanding and exceptional you will need to focus, forget the multitasking.
ARBARA CORCORAN is an American businesswoman, consultant, investor, speaker, author and TV personality. She is the owner of a $5 billion a year business ‘The Corcoran Group’. Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and twenty jobs by the time she turned twenty-three. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. Corcoran was born on 10th March 1949 in edgewater, New Jersey. She studied at St. Thomas Aquinas College and in 1971
Only the Smart succeed. Another Myth and this is so not true. And what people did not know is that it isn’t the smart people that rule the world of business or even politics it is the creative people. If you have all the knowledge in the world and all smartness in the world, but do not know how or when or where to apply your knowledge then you will not go very far. This is why our smart professors, inventors, software developers, scientists, patent holders, lecturers always end up working for entrepreneurs. The only edge the entrepreneur has over the very smart people is his or her CReATIVITY. And that is why I teach creativity, it is the key to succeeding with remarkable achievements. When you apply creativity to knowledge you will be unstoppable. More on Accurate thinking next week.
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attained a degree in education. After she graduated, she tried teaching for almost a year however she clearly wanted something greater; Corcoran wanted to be her own boss. After working at almost 20 odd jobs, that included waitressing, she decided to start her own business. So she took a $1000 loan from her wealthy boyfriend at that time and used that to co-create a business in real estate which she called ‘The Corcoran Group’. By mid 1970s Barbara Corcoran started publishing ‘The Corcoran Report’ that featured real estate data developments. Later on her boyfriend eloped with her secretary but left Corcoran with a thriving business and no regrets whatsoever. Corcoran had laudable entrepreneurial skills as she managed to turn a $1000 into billions. In 2001, the real estate mogul sold part of her real estate company to NRT LLC for seventy million dollars. Corcoran has mentioned several times that she was not a straight A student in high school or college but using her innate entrepreneurial talents she made it to the top. After she sold her company her worth as a real estate expert increased even more and she emerged in the New York real estate scene as a prominent personality. Corcoran is also a well-known media person; she appears in the famous NBC show NBC TODAY as a real estate contributor. She hosts CNBC’s “The Millionaire Broker with Barbara Corcoran”. She is also a columnist for ‘The Daily Review’, ‘More Magazine’, ‘Red Book’ and writes a weekly column in the ‘New York Daily News’. Corcoran has also appeared in many other TV shows as a guest including ‘Larry King Live’. She is often invited to real estate events as a business speaker. Corcoran is also a business consultants; she provides consultancy through television production business called ‘Barbara Corcoran Inc.’ She is a ‘Shark Investor’ in the hit NBC series ‘Shark Tank’ in which she invests in the start-ups and businesses of new entrepreneurs and in exchange for that she gets a percentage equity of that company. In the first season of the show, the 8 businesses that Corcoran invested turned out to be very successful. Corcoran’s entrepreneurial spirit is appreciable. She has also penned many books. These business books are best-selling in the market as they provide a lot of education related to business as well as entertainment. Barbara Corcoran is a very inspiring motivational speaker. She has an inspirational attitude towards life which has a great influence for young businessmen and businesswomen. Currently, she lives in New York City along with her husband and two children.
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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion Dear Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala (2) THANK you for acknowledging my article published last week. I trouble you with this follow-up only because of the dangerous debris left behind by your Special Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu. First, on the “Abacha loot” recovery, let it be clear that my advocacy concerning Nigeria’s “recovered” funds is neither new, nor limited to your story. In “Whatever Happened to the Abacha Loot?” (June 22, 2008), I wrote, “The national interest would be well served by a transparent picture of what has actually happened…The indications are that some of the funds recovered from the man and his family may have been restolen, or misused.” In terms of numbers, my case is that Nigeria seems to have recovered between $2 and $3b from Abacha. You say $500 million. I know that the realistic number is mine because that is what the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), under Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, reported in 2006. In a statement in London in November of that year, Mr. Ribadu stated that “Abacha “took over $6 billion from Nigeria,” and that $2 billion had been recovered during his term of office. He repeated that figure that same month during the 12th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Guatemala. In Dakar at the 2nd Annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa, just three months ago, Mr. Ribadu repeated the claim that Nigeria recovered $2 billion. Nobody has ever challenged him. It is also significant, Madam, that one year before Ribadu went on record about the $2 billion recovery for the first time, you said the same thing. The event was a press conference in September 2005 in Switzerland. Up till that point, Nigeria had recovered “about $2 billion total of assets,” you said. Nonetheless, the $2 billion recovered in the Abacha hunt that was referred to by Mr. Ribadu and your good self in 2005 and 2006 is without prejudice to the $700 million that former Finance Minister Michael Ani said in November 1998 had been recovered from Abacha. Ani described $1.3bn in illegal withdrawals discovered to have been made by a National Security Adviser. To that adviser
belongs one of the sadder chapters of the loot recovery story. At the end of 1998, Abdussalam Abubakar said the government had recovered $1 billion from the Abacha family and another $250 million from the security adviser. When Obasanjo became president, at least $500 million more was recovered from the officer in 2000. The foregoing might explain why you said in a speech after you left the Obasanjo government, “General Abacha looted about $3-5 billion from the Nigerian treasury in truckloads of cash in foreign currencies, in traveler’s checks and other means.” My point is: much more than $500 million was recovered from Abacha, some of them before, and some of them in-between your tenures as Minister of Finance. Perhaps you refer only to $500m because the specific subject of your September 2005 Switzerland press conference was $458 million, which you said Nigeria had recovered. That $500m is supported somewhat by an account of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Bank, which said at the launch of the Stolen Asset Recovery in September 2007 that Nigeria had recovered a total of $505.5 million from the Swiss government. On that occasion, at which you were present, it was also stated that up to $800m had been recovered from Abacha domestically. Before all that, in November 2003, you personally announced that Nigeria had recovered $149 million from the Island of Jersey. In case you may have forgotten, you clarified that the $149 million was not part of a $618 million trip you had just made to Switzerland at that time. Nonetheless, in December 2006, La Declaration de Berne, a Swiss humanitarian body, alleged that Switzerland had repatriated $700 million to Nigeria, but alleged irregularities in Nigeria’s use of the money, claiming $200 million was unaccounted for. That $700m figure seems to be in harmony with the statement made by Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria at a press conference three months ago, during which he gave that figure as what his country returned to Nigeria. Similarly, on 10 March 2008, the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other
Related Offences Commission (ICPC) announced at a joint press conference they had recovered “over N600 billion” in five years. That sum seems somewhat conservative, but a lot more than $500 million of it came from Abacha. Here are a few thoughts: • In May 2000, Luxembourg confirmed it had found and frozen $630 million in eight bank accounts in a private bank, in the names of the Abachas, awaiting Nigeria’s claim. • In August 2000, Nigeria asked Liechtenstein to help recover 100m British pounds. • In October 2001, a British High Court asked the government ahead to help Nigeria trace over $1bn in Abacha loot. • In May 2002, President Obasanjo struck a deal with the Abachas under which the government was to recover about $1.2 billion. • In February 2010, the British Government announced in Abuja it would repatriate 43 million pounds recovered from the offshore accounts of various Nigerian officials. Some of these happened when you were not in the government, I know, but we are not talking about your personal life. The point is that as a people, we cannot move forward unless there is true and full transparency. Where is all the money? Your over-reaching spokesman illustrates my point. “On the NNPC oil accounts issue…Dr Okonjo-Iweala has called for an independent forensic audit to establish the facts of any unaccounted for money and ensure that every Naira that is owed the treasury is returned to the Federation Account…the fundamental problem of determining the facts as a basis for action must still be tackled. Is there room for more action on corruption? Of course, the answer can only be yes. But action is needed to achieve change. Talk is cheap, action is crucial.” Exactly, Madame Minister, let us have a forensic independent audit. But may I propose three productive caveats to your government? The audit must be international; cover the NNPC and the recovered funds; and date from 1999. This is the only scenario that can guarantee that the full story will be told. Let me illustrate the depth of our depravity with a graphic example made by Ribadu in 2009 to the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. “Mr. D.S.P.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Sonala.Olumhense
Alamieyeseigha, governor of oil rich Bayelsa State. He had four properties in London valued at about £10 million, plus another property in Cape Town valued at $1.2 million. £1 million cash was found in his bedroom at his apartment in London. £2 million was restrained at the Royal Bank of Scotland in London and over $240 million in Nigeria. This is in addition to bank accounts traced to Cyprus, Denmark, USA and the Bahamas.” This is the kleptocracy in which Nigerian leaders have stolen over $380bn since independence, as the same Ribadu told the BBC in 2006. Yet, that Alamieyeseigha, like others, has been pardoned by your government. This is why we will never get real answers by putting your “independent” audit in the hands of a pre-programmed Abuja panel. Finally, you bristle at my reference to the issue of the recurrent budget. You say I have no moral authority to comment on the matter. So let us talk about moral authority. Following your negotiations of Nigeria’s foreign debt with the Paris Club in 2006, Audu Ogbeh, a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, publicly said that one “top member” of your government had walked away with a personal fee of N60 billion. I had expected that President Obasanjo or you would be outraged, and challenge the allegation, but nobody ever has. I would have defended my father’s name. I repeat my support of your campaign finance proposal, in principle. But a cafeteria approach to reform never works, and your forensic audit is bound to be eaten alive in the all-purpose impunity and kleptocracy that currently masquerades as governance. The answer is banging on the front door.
Where Olumhense Goofed On Okonjo-Iweala By Paul Nwabuikwu HE problem I have with Mr Sonala Olumhense’s articles on the Coordinating Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the general absence of verified facts and the basing of opinions on gross inaccuracies. For instance, Mr Olumhense writes that $2.5 billion of Abacha money was recovered during Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s time as Finance Minister under President Obasanjo and that the money disappeared, implying some involvement in the disappearance by the Minister. This is absolutely false. First, the amount recovered was $500 million, not $2.5 billion. The recovered amount was channeled into rural projects and programmes as per the agreement with the Swiss government which repatriated the funds. A combined team of Nigerian and Swiss NGOs with the World Bank later verified the use of this money on the ground in the projects cited and they certified the money had been accurately utilized. The World Bank had written about this in a 2007-2008 Handbook on stolen Asset Recovery where the case was cited as a best practice example of how to deploy returned proceeds of looted assets. Readers of Mr Olumhense would benefit more if his passionate writings on Dr Okonjo-Iweala are supported by a bit more research as opposed to sweeping, unverified statements. A second inaccuracy in Mr Olumhense’s article is the claim that NEEDS was to be the last reform agenda of Nigeria. Who on earth made such a claim? The idea that a country needs one magical reform strategy to take care of all current and future challenges is strange. It simply doesn’t make sense. Every country continues to reform as circumstances change – the name may change but the process of reform is and should be continuous. President Obama is currently reforming the health and immigration systems in America. The United States, like many other countries, has never stopped reforming. Why should Nigeria? I suppose I should thank Mr Olumhense for finding something positive in anything Dr Okonjo-Iweala has said, as he
did on her comments on corruption in her TedxEuston talk. But if he listened to the talk carefully, he would have noted that most of the examples of political corruption were from Nigeria. But unlike some of those that talk about corruption, Okonjo-Iweala has not stopped at talking. The clean-up of the fraud in the subsidy payments regime to oil marketers for which she paid a heavy personal price in the form of the abduction of her mother by paid kidnappers in November 2012 is one clear example. The sole demand of the kidnappers for the first three days of the abduction was that the minister should resign and leave the country for spearheading the clean-up. Her 83-year old mother was held for five days and it was only the intervention of the Almighty God in answer to the prayers of well-meaning Nigerians that brought her back, alive. Where was Mr Olumhense at this time? How can he claim that this woman is not at the forefront of the fight against corruption? Thank God her mother is stil alive to tell her traumatic tale and nobody should make light of that sacrifice. Another example is the clean-up of the pension fraud with the establishment now of a new institution under the Federal Ministry of Finance – the Pension Transition Administration Department to ensure that pensioners under the old defined benefits scheme are not defrauded anymore. The department is a practical response to an issue that many of us feel very strongly about – the terrible experience that many senior citizens have to go through just to collect their pensions - and serious work is going on to ensure the fixing of this long-standing problem in a sustainable way. On the NNPC oil accounts issue, Mr Olumhense seems to have forgotten that Dr Okonjo-Iweala has called for an independent forensic audit to establish the facts of any unaccounted for money and ensure that every Naira that is owed the treasury is returned to the Federation Account. This is the best way to proceed, given the conflicting claims by Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the NNPC. After all the
speeches and comments like that of Mr Olumhense, the fundamental problem of determining the facts as a basis for action must still be tackled. Is there room for more action on corruption? Of course the answer can only be yes. But action is needed to achieve change. Talk is cheap, action is crucial. Mr Olumhemse is entitled to his opinion of the status of the Transformation Agenda but his failure to say anything about visible achievements in roads, rail, power privatization, agriculture and job creation programmes like YOUWIN speaks volumes about the bias and lack of balance in his comments. Of course the foundation of a mortgage housing programme for the country, a project with profound positive implications for the overall economic development of the country is beneath Mr Olumhense’s gaze as a professional critic. Like many Okonjo-Iweala critics, he is too angry to see anything good in whatever she does. Their minds – and eyes – are shut to any possibility of any positive contribution. As the minister has always maintained, we face serious challenges at so many levels as a country. But that is precisely why progress should be recognized so that it will act as a beacon for more work to achieve more progress. A climate of total and complete hopelessness, like the one which commentators like Mr Olumhense are working so hard to achieve, is not in the interest of any Nigerian. Finally, on the issue of the recurrent budget, the Minister has publicly explained the origin of the present imbalance between recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure. The huge salary increase of 53% and attendant pension increases awarded to public servants in 2010 is the major factor. Unfortunately, for Mr Olumhense, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was not in office then. Was Mr Olumhense a columnist then? I believe so. Since he is so passionate about the high recurrent expenditure, he should avail us of his critical analysis of what transpired at that time. If he said nothing then, then he has no moral authority now to lay blame where it does not belong. • Nwabuikwu is Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance.
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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Opinion Trouble In South Africa HIS is how Mr. Trouble ended being the Presidential Candidate of all the political parties of South Africa. The manifestoes of the parties say everything. The African National Congress is the most timid. The party knows that it will win the election come May 2014. So, it cannot make any actionable electoral promises. Already some people are old enough to remember that it once promised everybody in South Africa ‘life more abundant’. Ask the fellows who place burning tyres and freshly cut wood on the high ways how abundant their cups are. The only challenge of the ANC is the presidential candidate. When it was rumoured on the internet and the clouds that Mr. Trouble knows a thing or two about presidents, he was invited to Rainbow Nation to work his magic and let the rain of abundance fall on all sundry. He brought his side kick (who sometimes kick for real) Alaba with. Trouble and Alaba asked the ANC not to pick them up at the airport. They would rather be picked up by the airport gang (a gang?) that picks Nigerians thinking that all of them are packed brim-full of dollars. That way they hope to make dramatic entry into Gangster’s Paradise (really Gauteng Province that is). But you know why Mr. Trouble does not want to be picked up by any of the political parties that have voted for him to be their presidential candidate. The offer from the Democratic Alliance was not easy to accept. But Trouble unifies everybody and it was in the name of that unity that Mr. Trouble accepted to be their presidential candidate without being a member of their party. The D.A’s manifesto is closer to that of the ANC than it is to the other political parties. After all they govern the Western Cape and they can be insulted for concentrating on making Black the latest White. This is a pretty difficult thing to do.
Imagine seeing Black men and women reading books under the shade of trees. Or think of Black men and women walking their dogs and picking up its you know what on the grass in consideration for the feelings of the neighbours. How can that happen? But after Trouble had thought it forwards and thought of it backwards, he accepted the offer. Alaba laughed when he first heard of Agang as the name of a political party. He said that the South Africans know how to name things. Everybody knows that every political party is a gang with gang agenda and gang mentality and gang awards. Yet everybody gives them fancy names like Congress of the People, Economic Freedom Fighters and the PanAfrican Congress. Gang is a Gang. Period. Their invitation to Trouble to represent them came through the DA. Then it was withdrawn and resubmitted through the Holomisa’s gang. Anyway, once more, Trouble accepted to be the presidential candidate of Agang. Agang’s manifesto is full of promises not even a bigger gang could fulfil. Every gang that has broken away from the ANC has always begun by being more extreme in its radicalism than the parent gang. The Pan-African Congress broke away and entered history through the Sharpville Massacre (March 1960). Thereafter, it entered the democratic parliament with few members until there was only one person representing them in that august assemblage. Then, in recent memory, before the last elections, the Congress of the People broke away from the ANC. They could not choose a leader which was why they asked Mr Trouble from Nigeria to be their presidential candidate. More recently, something even more radical than
radical, so radical Julius Malema wakes up at nights sweating, wondering how far to the left of his bed he was sleeping and falling off! He did not forget that the ANC got to where it is today as the ones with their gang in charge by reclaiming the centre of the bed. And there is the little matter of tax being rumoured against the commander of this new breakaway gang from the ancient gang, the Economic Freedom Fighters. Julius did visit T.B. but he did not neglect to have a chat with Trouble and pick him as the presidential candidate of the EFF. What happens next is the real miracle of South Africa. Only Trouble and his assistant who functions sometimes as his boss could fix it. Mr. Trouble must have a joint meeting with each of the leaders of the gangs and then with the gang leaders all together. There was need to speak with one voice on a number of issues. For instance, Protests. Are protests good? One gang thinks it is not good because it could lead to the coming together of another political gang. There must be a limit to gangs and so, protests must be limited to expressions of joy on Mandela Remembrance Days to come. Another gang thinks that protesters, never mind protests, have their use. Ours is a democratic country and so, other than periodic voting, protesters show the world that we too
have it within us to be democratic and modern and global. Some gangs have no clue but wonder if the protesters are not already choosing their ministries in the new government that would follow when the government is overthrown by street protests. That will never happen in Africa. Why not? Alaba wanted to know. Mandela happened in Africa. Okay, maybe he is just a once in a century occurrence but he happened. So, miracles can happen. There one day, gone the following, pursued by his former police orderlies! All the gang leaders met Trouble and they thrashed out the details of the fake gang warfare that would be the free and fair election later. As Trouble was leaving the ANC headquarters where the meeting was held, Alaba whispered to his Oga Patapata that he was wanted in Egypt. Then Alaba said he was wanted in the Central African Republic. And then, the Nigerian High Commissioner came to Trouble to say that Nigeria would insist on its right to have the first and last claim on Trouble. South Africa should go and look for their own Trouble. This is Nigeria’s Trouble. But we are all Africans. We should keep our Trouble especially since he is the only one that we all have. Kole Omotoso Akure, Naijiria
The Bizarre Counsel Of Mohammed Adoke By Emmanuel Nwosu PPEARING before the Senate Committee on Finance on February 20, 2014, on the matter of short remittance of revenues to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as alleged by Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria up to that date, the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) was quoted as counseling that the provision of Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which requires all revenues to be remitted to the Federation Account, does not preclude the deduction of NNPC’s expenditure or cost of business and that what the NNPC is required to pay into the Federation Account is the net revenue as opposed to the gross revenue it received. By this counsel, it should be clear that the Attorney-General, who should rather be gearing up to prosecute the offenders, is more interested in shielding them. In the cabal system, which has prevailed in Nigeria since the end of the Civil War, members of government are sworn to protect one another against the people of Nigeria. But Sections 150 and 174 of the Constitution make it the mind of the Constitution that the Attorney-General should be the watchdog of the State and not a fraternal member of the Executive branch. His membership of the Executive Council must be for the purpose of seeing through the government and acting as a referee and not for the purpose of fraternization. This duality is enshrined in Section 150, which provides that: “there shall be an Attorney-General of the Federation who shall be the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and a Minister of the Government of the Federation”. The two roles: “Chief Law Officer of the Federation” as distinct from “Minister of the Government of the Federation” must be underlined. Note also
JAW JAW By Didi Onu
that the office is so strategic that the Constitution provides for it even though it leaves the rest of Executive offices at the discretion of the President. The Attorney-General is, therefore, primus inter pares, incomparable to other ministers and not a lackey of the Executive. Unfortunately, for Nigeria, most of her AttorneysGenerals have subordinated their role as Chief Law Officers to that of Minister of Justice, as the current Attorney-General has done in this counsel - a predicament which vindicates those clamouring for separation into two offices of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Now, the Nigerian Constitution is unequivocal in Section 162 that: ‘The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation . . . ‘. Taken together with all other laws relating to fiscal mobilization and allocation of revenues, this provision simply means that all revenues must register in the Federation Account first before they can go out to the federal government, states and local governments, on the basis of approved revenue sharing formulae and to other entities (including the revenue collectors) on the basis of approved budgets. Otherwise, consider for a moment what would happen to the national treasury if every revenue agency of government were to deduct expenses and/or create reserves at its discretion, upfront and only remits a balance of its receipts to the Federation Account. Adoke’s counsel would mean that the tail should wag the dog and not the other way round. The Constitution could never have intended to leave the State at the mercy of its operators! It is a recipe for disaster in a polity overwhelmed by corrupt tendencies even when operators are under the closest watch. It is shameful enough that the accounts of the NNPC seem to be in a shambles. In fact, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi claims that they
have not been audited for the last five years. The same NNPC is unable to check rampant theft, pipeline vandalism, misappropriation of crude allocations and other forms of product loss. The same NNPC did not learn from the petrol subsidy saga of 2012 and continued with kerosene subsidy that it knew full well was not getting to the masses, against an alleged Presidential directive and without even doing anything to improve delivery. It was expedient to wait for the gazette of the President’s written directive on the withdrawal of the subsidy before compliance but it was not exigent to seek Presidential approval before withholding revenues or deducting ‘operating costs’ upfront! These instances of laxity and selfishness indicate that the NNPC is obdurate and has scant regard for rules. To enjoy the protection of the AttorneyGeneral (who is even blaming the whistle-blower over allegations he should be investigating and prosecuting for the State) in so doing is alarming. It is like adding insult to injury to the people of Nigeria to whom both the NNPC and the funds actually belong. Where is the hope? Needless to add, Adoke’s counsel is not worth the time of the Senate Committee on Finance. This incident provides a justification for the separation of the offices of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. There is also the urgent need to set up a judicial panel to probe the myriad of incidents in the putrid oil sector as much as there is to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law as the springboard for overhauling the oil sector’s structure and operations once again. The delay in the passage of the PIB is indicting of our legislators who are supposed to be the most direct representatives of the people. It is one of those issues making their patriotism highly suspect. For the President, Nigerians are watching and talking about what he would now do in comparison to the fate that has befallen former CBN Governor. Nwosu wrote from Lagos.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 55
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI
Around and about...
Igbinedion Endorses Imasuen’s Invasion 1897
resources. But I am glad you people are documenting history. You people must be praised. In my own case (a film about him), I HE movie director and produc- would like you to say it as it is, and er, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, not sweeten it.” Similarly, recently visited Benin City to gar- Igbinedion expressed his commitner support for the forthcoming ment to deepening the cultural release of his epic film, Invasion values of his people. To this end, 1897, scheduled for October. The he promised to fund a committee film is based on the historical that would help resuscitate Edo invasion of Benin City in 1897 by arts and culture, as a driving vehithe British forces. At the visit to cle for development. However, the the sprawling GRA home of Esama Esama lamented the inability of of Benin, Chief Gabriel Osawaru well meaning Benin citizens to Igbinedion, were some members press for reparation of stolen of cast and crew of the flick, Benin artifacts. He asked, “The including the lead actor, who bronze the whites left behind, played Oba Ovonranmwen where are they? When some of Nogbaisi -Pastor Mike Omoregbe, these people are hungry, they sell another member of cast Nosa the artifacts in their custody. I Ehimema, the screenwriter, Osa help to buy from some of them to Elis and others. preserve them. The entire state Imasuen, who would be making doesn’t have as much bronze as I his second historic film on ancient have in my private museum. If I Benin kingdom after Adesuwa, tell you how much I have spent on told the Esama that while starting artifacts you will open your mouth out as a filmmaker, he had told in wonder. There’s nothing in the himself that he would make three Benin Museum,” he said. films on the lives of three important personalities of the Binis – Oba Ovonramwen for ‘resisting AMAA Okays 65 Feature the imperialist British’, the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, the Films For Next Stage great Pentecostal preacher for FTER the first and second levels ‘transforming the Benin generally of screening for the films that regarded as a ‘city of blood’ to the city of God’ and one on Okada man were entered for the 2014 edition (Igbinedion), a modern-day hero of the African Movie Academy Awards, 65 movies have crossed from Benin. the hurdles to the third level of The filmmaker informed the screening, which will start today High Chief that the film was in post-production, noting, “it’s a sto- in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. According to a statement from the ry that will reposition the Edo man globally and to tell the world College of Screeners, it received a that the Europeans were not fair total number of 428 films from Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, South in their dealings with the Benin Africa (topped the list of submispeople. The history of Benin is a vibrant one. The Igun people, the sions), Algeria, Togo, Gambia, Sudan, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali, people that created the bronze works that the British carted away Senegal, Uganda, Congo, Zimbabwe, Chad, Cameroun, are still there. The exhibition of such works can still be done to lift Liberia, Malawi, Togo, Benin the value of the guild. That is why Republic, Egypt, Morocco, and we seek your endorsement for this from Diaspora like the US, UK, Venezuela, Mexico, Trinidad and film”. On his part, Igbinedion thanked Tobago, Brazil, Peru, Netherlands. Imasuen and his team for the visit We also received films came from and assured of his support. “I have Africans living abroad from such countries as China, US, United the greatest respect for you. All over the world and on AfricaMagic, Kingdom, France and Netherlands. Igbo, Yoruba and now Hausa films The College also said 24 animahave dominated. But we that own tions,174 short films,20 Diaspora the culture lag behind because of features, 10 Diaspora documenlack of coordination, not that we taries,50 African documentaries and 180 feature films were don’t have people in Benin. We Binis must be able to harness our received.
Tiwa Savage at the Loud in Naija concert
A Peep Into MTN’s Entertainment Mileston NATION of over 150 million popuA lation, 75 per cent of whom are young people and a work force, which averages eight-work-hour daily sure needs some form of entertainment to be continuously productive and happy. That’s Nigeria: a nation that is blessed with notable entertainers – actors, musicians and dramatists. These enviable constellations of extraordinarily gifted Nigerians belong not just to the obvious industries, but also, to an industry that can be best described in whatever terms akin to wellness. Imagine an audience of 10,000 people attending an evening concert, sweating it out to live music and comedy. The first thing that comes to the mind of the uninitiated is the rhythm of the dances, the familiarity of the lyrics and the popularity of the artist, or sometime the enviable attendance. However, what is most often ignored is the fact that those sweaty faces, busy dancing away ‘the-worldso-real’, are characters with a past, a present and future. Among them are husbands who had just been nagged by discontented wives, the unmarried with anxiety as the next birthday approaches, the unemployed; those who hate their jobs and seek an escapist experience or students who are in a rush to get the best out of this
season of freedom and independence. Maybe a good scriptwriter with an imaginative mind would understand what has just been described. In essence, the gloom surrounding each person is momentarily thrown overboard giving way to the serenity of live music – of absolute bliss, denial and abandonment. As well, there are those whose purpose and passions are inextricably attached to such lively moments. There is the Rock and Roll that peels the years away backward and makes an elderly woman in her late 40s or early 50s young again. The pop music and rhythm and blues do make a great evening for young men and women who treasure the time. Sincerely, there is a benevolent act in providing entertainment. Innovatively entertaining the nation is MTN, Nigeria’s ICT and telecommunications service provider. Be it on-ground at live concerts or in the digital space, the company is doing tremendously great in ensuring the larger section of the society, either in cities or distant towns, get access to mobile services that provide musical downloads and a feel of digital possibility on such platforms as ‘Callertunez’ and Songstar. At live concerts in Ibadan, Abuja, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Lagos, Calabar and other cities, live performances by the brand ambassadors such as Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, KCEE,
Chidinma, Sound Sultan and Don Jazzy at MTN Loud in Naija musical tour have been known to help the youth get as close as possible to the musical superstars. These concerts have also helped improve indigenous artistes’ profiles as the era of the dominance of foreign lyrics continues fade. You needed to be at the Valentine Rave party on February 14 to experience the new standard set by the telecommunications company for entertaining the youth. The turnout was amazing. The organisation was perfect. As Nigeria’s top DJs like Jimmy Jatt, Neptune amongst others set turn their tables ablaze with a mix of pops and raps, asides live performances by Tiwa Savage and American Mario Winans, the audience was enchanted and a rhythmic bliss engulfed the convention hall at Eko Hotel. This is it. The entertainment industry is a big contributor to a country’s GDP if well harnessed. Countries like the US, India, China and Nigeria have gained an edge over other countries in this regards. MTN, in its own way is further helping the nation tap the great residue of her talent base, unexplored, such that Nigeria can gain further advantage by providing an effective and secure distribution platform for movies and songs such that the profits from such original work do not end up in the hands of pirates or fakers.
Mo Abudu: Telling Alternative African Stories Stories by Gregory Austin Nwakunor O be the proud owner of a fullfledged cable TV channel in the south of Nigeria that can boast of massive funding from the United States and Cross River governments and has top celebrities strutting their stuff on it, is the stuff of legends. And for Mo Abudu, it gets no better than this. In a society where women have been for long sidelined, the creative genius of Mo sticks out among her peers — male or female — like the hairs of a porcupine and her sass and entrepreneurial prowess are undoubtedly reasons why she is often labelled the ‘African Oprah’. For years, Moments with Mo has been the standout interview TV programming that bested its’ competition across the continent and stood the test of time, getting better like fine wine. With guests so diverse from Hilary Clinton to F.W. De Klerk and Rio Ferdinand, the show has continued to wax strong and the reputation of the self-taught show host is soaring still, like a hyperactive eagle. However, it was on July 1, 2013 that the London-born Ondo native took the biggest step of her life yet. Her brainchild, Ebony Life Television, described as “Africa’s first global
black multi-broadcast entertainment network” launched to popular acclaim and so far, remains the ‘freshest thing’ on TV, with its array of unique programming geared to keep viewers glued to their seats – figuratively, of course – and perpetually entertained. Mo’s landmark achievement is all the more magnified when one looks back at the trail and sees the failure of even bigger names. A lot of entrepreneurs have put their hand to the plough but have been consumed in the ensuing labour and intricate complexity of the labyrinth that is the Nigerian music industry. She has trodden where even angels fear to and the price for risk-taking is success. In deciding to site her multi-million naira studio at Tinapa, Calabar, she chose to move away from the noisome pestilence prevalent in Lagos and explore the potentials of the South. Her action will open up the resort even more and earn millions of naira in tourism revenue for the state. Also, striking while the iron was hot and launching without further ado was commendable and has launched her on the path of all-time greatness. Often described as Africa’s answer to Oprah Winfrey, perhaps she could
eclipse the world’ richest black woman as the most successful female media entrepreneur, especially as the ratings of Ms. Winfrey’s channels continue to plummet. And she has armed herself with the right team too. From Ebuka ObiUchendu to Dolapo Oni, Oreka Godis and Lamide Akintobi, the new channel is beaming the voice of Generation-X to the world, wittingly or unwittingly and this is primarily why it will attract many young people to its fan base. In fact, the excitement is building. The Tiwa and Banky Show is the first of its’ kind in all of Africa and will continue to attract viewers to the channel. Who doesn’t want to watch two loved celebrities trade wit while they anchor a talk show with their ilk? No really, who doesn’t? African writers and professionals are forever clamouring for a voice to tell African stories and push the message of positivity from “the dark continent”. In providing a medium to do this with the accompaniment of friendly faces and made-in-Africa-forAfrica brains, Mosunmola Abudu has sent a clear message to the West: “Everything you think you know about Africa is about to change.” And greatness has decided to pay her a visit.
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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
NEWSFEATURE Fuzzy Logic And Artificial Intelligence…
Exploring The Hi-Tech World Of Augustine Esogbue By J.K. Obatala HE professor sat fiddling with a cheap, offbrand cellular phone, as I placed the recorder on a small table in front of him. “I paid N3,500 for this,” he allowed, hoarsely — sensing my amazement. “I have a new Nokia phone at home. But it has lots of features; and I haven’t figured out how to operate it yet”. The room, a luxuriant suite at Four Points By Sheraton, on Lekki Peninsular, is dimly lit — causing the old engineer, in his grey, iridescent suit, to appear faint and silhouette-like. Glistening on his breast pocket, was a blue and gold “Space Shuttle” emblem. The irony is hard to miss. Augustine O. Esogbue, Professor Emeritus at Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”), is a renowned theorist of intelligent control systems and a master of the new “fuzzy” Mathematics, on which much of his pioneering work is based. As head of AESO Systems International, a consulting firm, Esogbue can afford the best phone; and he has spent a lifetime designing far more complex contrivances — including satellite retrieval systems and intelligent control programmes with a wide variety of strategic, industrial and space applications. Esogbue achieved celebrity status in 2003, after the second U.S. Space Shuttle disaster, when he became the first non-white member of the reconstituted Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Now, in this dim, dusky setting, the soft-spoken and delicately built Ika Igbo, from Delta State, was revisiting and assessing seminal events: Poking around in a menagerie that encompasses fuzzy mathematics, artificial intelligence and the implications of ASAP for the future of his fatherland. “Everybody marveled at the appointment,” he recalls, “and rightfully so. It was a powerful and prestigious position. ASAP is, after all, an organ of the world’s greatest space agency. Still, it didn’t just come from out of the blue. Lots of water had passed under the bridge — lots of things had happened”. A lot had indeed happened: Much of it at Georgia Tech’s groundbreaking Intelligent Systems and Controls Laboratory, which Esogbue established with a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF funded his laboratory, he avers, because “our research was completely different from what my colleagues were doing. We were developing a control system, with electrical engineering input. No one else even mentioned the word ‘control’. They just talked about optimization, etc.” The Foundation’s condition was that, a research project had to show real world utility. Stated simply, “There had to be a private organization in the U.S.A., with a problem which your proposal addresses in a practical manner. They must believe your research can solve their problem”. As it happened, the gargantuan Electric Power Research Institute — to which power agencies around the world subscribe — was tackling the hydra of instability. “Electric power systems are notoriously unstable,” the professor notes, “and they were looking for a solution to this perennial control problem”. Esogbue’s proposal was among just 21 NSF funded. He and his team first studied various failed controllers. They then designed a series of innovative programmes — incorporating, successively, classical (i.e., conventional) methods, fuzzy logic and finally hitting pay-dirt with intelligent control. “Control” refers to the capacity of a programmed computer to regulate a particular activity or process. It can be the behaviour of a mechanical robot, the flight of a space probe, drone or guided missile, the operation of a water reservoir or, as in this instance, the output of an electrical power plant. The problem is that, all of these processes and activities will sooner or later develop anomalies — confronting the computer with challenges it has not been programmed to meet. Not even the most brilliant engineer can anticipate every possible eventuality. “That’s where fuzzy logic and intelligent programming come in,” Esogbue explains. “They endow the spacecraft, mechanical robot, plant control room or what-have-you with artificial intelligence. The controller can then think for itself. It can meet unanticipated challenges.” In philosophical terms, fuzzy logic is a mathematical system in which truth is fractional and imprecise — i.e., it can have any value on a continuum from “0” to “1”. As Esogbue puts it, “fuzzy is the mathematics of vagueness and inexactness”. The example he cites, is that of a driver who is told to stop at a precise distance from the vehicle in front of him — say, 36.06 inches. “But how is he
going to do it,” Esogbue muses, “unless his vehicle is equipped with radar or sonar? Even then, stopping at exactly 36.06 inches would be a challenge!” The professor insists that a more reasonable instruction would be, simply, “Stop before you get too close”. Humans, he observes, do well with imprecise commands. “These kinds of instructions are usually embedded in our culture. Every culture has some parallel to these linguistic variables”. Fuzzy set theory is credited to Lofti A. Zadeh, a U.S. mathematician and artificial intelligence researcher who published a seminal paper in 1965. Eight years later, the Russianborn Azerbaijani followed up with a second influential paper, detailing Fuzzy logic. “Before anyone knew it,” Esogbue recounts, “the British were using fuzzy dynamics to control power houses and the Japanese were using it in their electronics industry. It helped Japan to catch up with the West in control systems. When I went there in the 1990s, ‘fuzzy’ was the best known English word”. Fuzzy systems are smooth and they don’t impose rigid categories. Before Zadeh’s work, for example, lights had to be either on or off. But now, there are electrical switches that will enable you to make your lights bright, dim or in between. High speed trains and fast elevators can stop quickly, without jerking. Esogbue did his doctoral work, in Systems Engineering and Operations Research, under the eminent Richard Earnest Bellman — an engineer and mathematician who had worked on the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos and was holding professorships in three disciplines at the University of Southern California. Bellman and Zadeh (a professor at the University of California, Berkeley) were friends and Esogbue soaked up influences from both. Among other things, Bellman had developed a mathematical alternative to classical, nonresponsive controls programming. He called it “dynamic” programming. “Dynamic,” Esogbue says, “means ‘active’ and ‘engaged’”. He explains that Bellman’s concept of controls involves more than just static, programmed responses to classical situations — problems engineers are able to anticipate (and programme solutions to) because they are predictable. Says Esogbue, “Bellman pointed to ways dynamic control systems could be used in spacecraft. This was an important departure, because spacecraft encounter many uncertainties on their missions, which designers cannot foresee. These can become obstacles to the probe reaching its goal”. Up until his retirement in 2010, Esogbue sought to build and improve on Bellman’s dynamic programming theory — going beyond “dynamic” programming to intelligent controls systems, which are capable of formulating solutions to new problems, by drawing on past experience. Esogbue: “We define intelligence as the abil-
ity to learn from experience. If a cat sits on a hot stove, for example, he will never make that mistake again — because he has been burned once! Likewise, an intelligent controls system will learn from its mistakes and adjust automatically”. Self-correction” is the sine qua non of intelligent control theory. If, for instance, a space probe veers off its programmed path, it has to detect the error and correct its own mistake — because instructions from mission control, millions of km away on Earth, may either be delayed by distance or cut off entirely. “A truly intelligent controller,” he insists, “must be able to either return the probe to its original path or chart another course to the target. Engineers call this the ‘optimum path problem’. It is the single greatest challenge to controls theory”. In 1968, Case Western Reserve University, a prestigious private institution in Ohio, took Esogbue on as an assistant professor — partly because of his work in dynamic programming and partly because of his association with Bellman. The Systems Research Centre, where Esogbue was detailed, had been grappling with a resource allocation problem for the U.S. Army. From this challenge, came the now famous Technical Paper 120, C.W.R. 1970, which thrust Esogbue into the global spotlight. “We developed this algorithm, this set of rules,” Esogbue recounts, “for solving the problem, which was published under the title, ‘Dynamic Programming and Fuzzy Allocation Processes’. Researchers around the world accessed the paper”. The president of Rumania — then a socialist, Eastern Bloc country — was a systems theorist; and Esogbue learned, to his surprise, that Rumania was using his algorithm for solving its plethora of allocation problems. The young scholar thus found himself in Bucharest, at a World Congress On Information Communication Technology, where he was the centre of attention. “They had not known I was black,” he chuckles. “A German delegate even asked for my autograph, because he’d never seen a black mathematician before!” The funding of Esogbue’s Intelligent Systems and Controls Laboratory, in 1988, was a professional watershed. It enabled him to branch out from fuzzy sets and dynamic programming and incorporate neural networks and reinforcement learning theories. His lab at Georgia Tech solved a succession of control systems conundrums, not least among them being the stabilization problem of the Electric Power Research Institute. “But we were still looking around for more funds,” he says, “and more difficult problems to solve”. In the mean time, engineers at NASA’s Ames Space Research Centre, at Palo Alto
PHOTOS: J.K. OBATALA
California, were genuflecting under the burdensome responsibility of developing a retrieval system for orbiting satellites. Reports Esogbue, “The idea, was to keep the satellite under control until it was brought down safely. They were using what we call the ‘tethered satellite’. Classical programming could not even get it into Earth atmosphere, before engineers lost control”. Researchers and students at the Georgia Tech lab, drew up and submitted a proposal, with Esogbue’s “intelligent control” concept as its central feature. Not only was it approved, but NASA also “renewed funding three times, based on our positive results”. Esogbue’s appointment to NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel then, did not come from out of the Blue. It was the culmination, the end product, of a logical sequence of events — not all of which have been recounted here. The professor is pensive. He now speaks less of exploits in his far-away abode, of 50 years, than of the fatherland. True, Nigeria is far from building a complex machine like the Space Shuttle. He believes, nevertheless, that there are lessons to be learned. Nigeria can, and should, start to appreciate the importance of large scale integrated systems: “We’re developing space and nuclear energy programmes, which cannot be approached myopically. You have to take the long view — and think holistically”. Nothing illustrates the need for integrated systems management, he laments, more than the unfortunate conflict between NigComSat and its parent body, the National Space Research and Development Agency. “Above all else,” Esogbue avers, rising tiredly, “Nigerians must learn to tackle complex and daunting problems, with the same confidence, integrity and resoluteness that ASAP- members approached the post-Columbia safety problem”. Despite a long hard day, the old engineer insists on seeing me off. We enter the lift; and the glass cage descends swiftly, then glides to a halt — a “fuzzy” leitmotif, of sorts. The hotel lobby is a luminous counterpoint to Esogbue’s dusky suite. But the ambiance dulls again, as we walk towards the roadside, where shadowy drivers loiter in dim light. I point to the planet Jupiter, beaming brightly overhead. Casting a cursory glance, the engineer grunts indifferently — and extends a well-kept hand. As we shake, my eyes shift furtively to the Space Shuttle logo, gleaming faintly in the soft radiance of
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Sunday, March 2, 2014 57
Residents On The Run Over Incessant Attacks From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi OLLOWING series of attacks on Adeke community, a suburb of Makurdi, Benue State by Fulani herdsmen, residents of the community, including its monarch, Chief Iorbee Ladan have fled the area for fear of being killed. Penultimate Friday’s attack was the fifth in the series of orgy of violence that had rocked the area in the last four weeks. The attackers, which invaded the area, were shooting sporadically, leading to pandemonium that forced residents to flee the area. A resident of the area, Uche, told The Guardian that Fulani herdsmen, numbering 50, who invaded the community, attacked the monarch’s palace, shooting sporadically, but he escaped by the whiskers. It was learnt that though the monarch immediately escaped through the fence, one of his neighbours, identified as Anthony Chukwu, was not so lucky as he was shot dead in the attack. Another resident of the community that preferred anonymity said the attackers invaded the area around 7pm on the fateful day shooting from different directions which made the residents to flee, while those returning home after the day’s work had to retreat back to town to pass the night. The Guardian went round the adjourning communities and observed that many people had deserted the community, while others with no relatives in town passed the night at public places like the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat and primary schools around Idemekpe. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Dan Ezeala, who confirmed the incident, told The Guardian that more security operatives would be deplored to the area. True to his statement, a swift move was taken by the police to quell the crisis. The Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG Operations, Michael Zoukumo was immediately deployed to Benue State, following Governor Gabriel Suswam’s visit to President Goodluck Jonathan on the di-
BENUE mension of crisis in the state. A visit to the area penultimate Saturday showed the presence of stern-looking soldiers and policemen stationed in different areas within the community. After touring some of the affected areas, Zoukumor assured the people of the state that the police would tackle the issue of constant attacks by Fulani mercenaries in the state. While briefing journalists in Makurdi, he noted that the police authority was worried by incessant attacks on the people and has come on factfinding mission to resolve the issue. The DIG assured that the authority would deploy more men and arms to the State to contain the crisis, positing that with what he has seen, the crisis does not defy solution. “The Inspector General of Police, Alhaji M. D Abubakar is moved by the constant crises between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state; so, he has directed me to come on a fact-finding mission; and, having gone round and met with stakeholders and state government, the problem does not defy solution,
Suswam we are gong to solve the problem”, the DIG assured. While calling on the warring factions to sheath their swords and adopt dialogue, Zoukumor said, “what we need is cooperation from the
public because safety of lives and property is a collective responsibility of everybody.” He promised that the police would continue to live up to its responsibility to protect lives and property.
Government Moves To Reduce Deaths On Highways By Gbenga Akinfenwa GUN State government O has reiterated its commitment to the well being of its people by ensuring safety of lives and property, especially in reducing deaths on the highway. The State’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, gave this assurance in Abeokuta, the state capital, while declaring open a oneday training programme on Life-saving skills organised by the State Ambulance Services, in partnership with KBL Healthcare Limited for commercial motor drivers. He said the decision to organise the programme for drivers was informed by the realisation that they were usually the first set of people to reach accident scenes and if exposed to some trainings on how to administer first aid treatment, they would be empowered to render assistance before arrival of ambulance personnel. “Since commercial drivers constitute a vital and major force to reckon with in our road transport system, especially with their high vulnerability to accident, it is important that they are given a special prominence in any design aimed at reducing the menace on our roads”. Speaking on the theme: “Anyone Can Save An Accident Victim”, Dr. Soyinka noted that the need to properly educate commercial
Community Lauds Church Over Repairs Of Road By Gbenga Akinfenwa ESIDENTS of Temidire and adjoining streets in Sango, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area in Ogun State, have commended the Foursquare Gospel Church, Sango-Ota District for rehabilitating the 1.3Km Adebayo Adebambo Crescent Road, Temidire and Abioro Junction that have been in bad state for several years. Temidire Street, a link road to a chain of streets connecting the area to the expressway, has remained impassable due to its dilapidated state. It has been a terrible experience for residents and visitors commuting in and out of the area. The dilapidated state of the road with potholes and blocked drainage for years had scared motorists, commercial motorcycle riders,
SANGO popularly called Okada and traders, among others away. The worst hit was the canal side, which had been impassable for four years, all petition of the Community Development Association (CDA) to government yielded no result, hence the church recently rose to the occasion to rehabilitate the road. When the church embarked on the rehabilitation mission, it was jubilation galore for residents, who applauded the move, seen as a gesture to alleviate their suffering. The critical portions of the road were leveled and the entire road graded to the delight of residents. The Abioro junction, a link to Ijoko road, formerly waterlogged, which had been
near impassable is now in good state. The District Overseer of the Church, Rev. Ayomide Abraham, who spoke to The Guardian, while supervising the project, described the church’s effort as a strategic partnership with government, adding that government should see it as a longing of the heart of the people of the area to see that things are better. He noted that the sum of N500, 000 budgeted for the project was contributed by church and people living in the area, saying government should take over from where the church stopped because there is limit to what it can do. The cleric stated that the Abioro junction was a spot, where armed robbers hijack cars and also rob people at night, adding that with the
intervention such act would be controlled. “It would be too pedestrian for me to say the church is rehabilitating the road because of our members. Everybody, including Muslims, use the road. In fairness to the Muslims, when we were working on the major road, they came to my house to pray for me as a pastor. “They were there on the road to encourage us. So, it is not about the church alone but the church is impacting the community. It is a kind of social responsibility to the community.” He appealed to both the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Authority and the Ogun State Governments to take over from where the church has stopped and make the road more motorable for the residents of the community.
Monarch Flays Govt Over Poor State of Roads
By Gbenga Akinfenwa
HE traditional ruler of Lisa T town in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, High Chief Najeem Oladele Odugbemi, has decried government’s neglect of road maintenance in his domain. He said unless Federal Government comes to their rescue, his community may be completely cut off from the state, even as erosion gradually takes over their lands. Oladele who spoke with Journalists in his palace, disclosed that unless government quickly intervenes,
LISA COMMUNITY relatives of those who died in the Bellview plane crash may find it difficult to come and pray for their departed ones, especially during the annual memorial thanksgiving. To him, the Federal Government has abandoned them to their fate since the arcade was built by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to come to their aid by ensuring that the roads
are in good condition, while the arcade should be renovated to attract tourists for revenue generation. The monarch, who thanked the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led government over his efforts in his ‘Mission to Rebuild’ Ogun state, noted that his government should also extend that mission to communities like Lisa so that everybody, both young and old, male and female, rich and poor will feel the impact of his administration. He also urged the governor
to establish more agro-allied industries, so as to provide employments for the teeming youths who he sadly noted, have taken to drugs and alcohol as means of escape from the reality of the menace. Chief Oladele called on the three tiers of government to support his little efforts in trying to make Lisa community habitable for his subjects. “In this community, there is no single government establishment, we have no school,
no hospital, no good roads, no water, and no security. But, to the glory of God, and through my efforts, we now have a health centre, we also have a standard police station that is near completion. Some organisations have also donated boreholes and other items to the community,” he said. He appealed to government at all levels to come and participate in the venture of making Lisa a great community in Ogun State and in Nigeria.
OGUN drivers on processes of resuscitating and assisting accident victims cannot be over emphasised. In his contributions, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Daisi Odeniyi, stated that human errors such as lack of awareness, poor judgment and recklessness among others, were responsible for many road traffic accidents, and expressed the optimism that the programme would help address them and reduce accident rates. He, therefore, implored participants to take advantage of the training, urging them to always obey traffic rules as government was embarking on massive road construction and expansion. Managing Director, KBL Healthcare, Mr. Timothy Adediji, said that the desire of his organisation to help reduce the 1.5 million deaths that resulted from road accidents across the country made it possible for it to collaborate with government to organise the programme.
Ajimobi To Upgrade Araromi Spare Parts Market OYO By Gbenga Akinfenwa S part of his administraA tion’s commitment to alleviating the plight of traders and artisans in Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi has promised to upgrade the facilities of the Araromi spare parts market, Agodi Gate, Ibadan. He has also announced an interest-free loan of N50 million for traders and artisans at the market. The governor, who made the announcement during his recent visit to the market, reiterated his administration’s commitment to make life meaningful to the people at the grassroots. As part of his rehabilitation’s plan, he revealed that the bridge linking the market with the adjoining Onipasan area would soon be rehabilitated to ease movement of goods. He added that a wellequipped clinic would be built in the market to provide medical services for the traders as part of his administration’s healthcare delivery programme. The governor urged leaders of the market to set up a committee to work with the officials of State government to ensure equitable disbursement of the loan. Ajimobi also appealed to those who are yet to benefit from the interest-free loan to exercise patience, as they would be taken care of. He called on the people of the state to continue to support his administration in implementing its laudable projects. In his remarks, the Aare Oja (Leader) of the market, Mr. Gade Orodele, assured the governor of the support and cooperation of the traders and artisans as well as commitment to his second-term bid.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
58 | Sunday, March 2, 2014
ONOLEMEMEN:Tolling Is One Of The Things We Need To Gu Mr. Mike Oziegbe Onolememen is the Minister of Works. A chartered Architect and professional construction manager, spoke with ARMSFREE AJANAKU on state of the federal roads and what must be done to sustain the current effort by the government to rehabilitate them. Rehabilitation of the Benin-Shagamu Road started in 1987 and almost 25 years down the line, we are still on it; the Ore-Benin axis is now so bad. When will the road be delivered? VEN if a road were to be completed today, what we call routine maintenance on the road starts immediately. There are always a number of activities, even on a good road because that is international best practice. But in the case of the Benin-Ore Road, in 1987, I was also living in Lagos, and I used the road quite often. There had been intermittent work on that road, and from the onset, those were just palliative repairs or if you like, maintenance works at the time. But precisely at about 2009, major rehabilitation contracts were awarded on the road and because the Ministry of Works had very paltry budgetary provisions, the contracts were segmented. In other words, the ministry’s policy at the time was to target the most impacted parts of the road, so it was like an ad hoc approach. It wasn’t until 2011 when we came in that we decided to take a holistic look at the road and strategise to rehabilitate the entire stretch of that road from Benin up to Shagamu, and that has been ongoing. From time to time, we are also hampered, but one of the things we set out to do in 2011 when we came, was to ensure that the subsisting contracts we inherited were quickly finished. The alignment you talked about from Benin to Ofosu were the sections we inherited, and we have since completed that. We also awarded another one from Ofosu to Ore, which has also been completed. Just before that was completed, as part of our desire to get the entire stretch rehabilitated, we awarded a third section of the road, which is from Ore to Ajebandele. In fact, if you have travelled that road in recent times, you would discover it has been ongoing, and it is going on well. The final section of the road, which is from Ajebandele to Shagamu was introduced into 2014 budget, which means the final stretch of the road will certainly be awarded this year, and by the time the third section is being completed, we estimate that the Ogun State section, which used to be the very good part of the road that has now deteriorated, is the section four we want to award now and I want to assure you that the government and President are committed to commissioning the full alignment, that is from Benin to Shagamu, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure that is done. Only this morning (Thursday February 20), the contractor working on the road, the MD of RCC was with me and it was one of the projects we discussed the ways and means to go about them, particularly the way we can guarantee sustainable funding of the last section, once it is awarded. I want to assure that government is very determined. Before now, paucity of funds was the problem, however since 2012, the project has also benefitted from enhanced funding, as a result of funds from the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P). Because of those kind of funds, and some other funds we are trying to access, I want assure you that the entire corridor would be rehabilitated because it is the government’s desire. The road is in a swampy area, which means there is a problem with the terrain. Now that you are rehabilitating it, what considerations have you taken to factor this in? One of the things we did when we came in was to tinker with the Highways Department because we believed that we needed to have a full-fledged department of geotechnics, materials and control. The road was a case in point and we had to re-evaluate the design of the pavement, and at the end of the laboratory experimentation we conducted on the nature of the soil in that particular alignment, we found out that in the area you described, there were stretches that had geotechnical problems that ordinary pavement design cannot address. We now came up with a new pavement design for those sections. This design took into cognisance the water level of the area. So, apart from the sub grade, we introduced and retained the crushed stone base part of the design, and we now introduced a macadam section of it, so as to be able to deal with the issue of underground water coming up. After the macadam, we now had the bitumen cause and the base cause, and this has taken care of the problem on that alignment, so we can with all
Explaining some points on federal highways
certainty now announce that the road will last longer than it has been doing because we have been able to address that problem scientifically. It is one thing to have budgetary allocations and another to have the funds released. Even with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway reconstruction, there have been questions about how much exactly it is going to cost, and when will the project be completed? First of all, the issue of funding is germane. It is a major challenge because often times, budget provisions are made, but in terms of releases, the provisions are not matched. A point in case was last year when we had a budget of N141 billion for highway projects in the ministry, but at the end of the day, we received only N65 billion. Usually, that is the problem. But what we have done differently this time around is that we have also been able to tap into non-budgetary sources of funds. One of the first things we did when we came on board in 2011, was to quickly institute a road sector reform committee in order to take a holistic look at our road sector and our road development programme, and look at how they could be properly carried out and funded in line with international best practices. Although the recommendations of that committee, which includes the setting up of a Roads Authority and the creation of a road fund that can also help to fill the funding gap in road
development projects and programme, we have since been implementing most of their recommendations by looking towards the private sector and other non-budgetary sources of finance for our road development projects. We are looking at private finance initiatives, enhanced collaboration with multilateral and development agencies around the world. A point in case is that of the Federal Road Development Project, where the World Bank had to put down about $330 million that has led to the effective rehabilitation of the NigerianCameroun transport corridor from Enugu through Abakaliki to Mbok, through Ogoja Junction to Ikom and Mfam. That entire corridor was made possible by tapping the World Bank and Africa Development Bank funds. Also, last year, we were part of the President’s trip to China and we hope the trip will also yield another $285 million into our road development programme. Beyond that, since 2012, we have also been recipients of enhancing funding from the SURE-P fund, and more importantly, we are also working with the private sector on some public private partnership scheme. The major one we are handling now in that respect is the Second Niger Bridge; the financial architecture has just been finalised, which is why we are preparing for the ground breaking for the Second Niger Bridge in a couple of weeks from now. Looking at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which
One of the things we did when we came in was to tinker with the Highways Department because we believed that we needed to have a full-fledged department of geotechnics, materials and control. The road was a case in point and we had to re-evaluate the design of the pavement, and at the end of the laboratory experimentation we conducted on the nature of the soil in that particular alignment, we found out that in the area you described, there were stretches that had geotechnical problems that ordinary pavement design cannot address. We now came up with a new pavement design for those sections. This design took into cognisance the water level of the area.
you asked a pointed question on, that project is designed to cost N167 billion. If you recall, the project has been awarded to two contractors in two sections— Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd. handling Section 1, from Lagos to Shagamu interchange and RCC Nigeria Ltd. handling Section 2, from Shagamu interchange to Ibadan. The financial architecture we designed for that particular project remains the same, as approved by the Federal Executive Council at the time. What we said was that the Federal Government was going to contribute about N50 billion into the common purse. From the 2014 budget alone, we are contributing N25 billion, and the final N25 billion, which will now form the total of the Federal Government commitment to the project will be part of the 2015 budget. But beyond that, the outstanding money, which total almost N120 billion is being raised through a private finance initiative and that was how the project was approved. The private finance initiative involves as our fund arranger, the Infrastructure Bank, and of course, you have credible agencies such as the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, who are also part of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for that. There are so many private sector agencies, including banks and financial institutions that have already indicated interest in putting the money down. We are finalising on that, and that is how we are going to realise that project. It is part of tapping into private sector resources to implement critical infrastructure projects of government that are germane to running our nation’s economy. If you look at the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, it is a major economic arterial route. For government, doing that road is not just a social service, it is also an economic service, and because it is an economic route, it can benefit from private sector investment, which can be recouped, even from the critical infrastructure itself. There is no going back on that. I visited the road project about two weeks ago, and good progress is being made. From the interaction I had with one of the contractors this morning, they are upbeat that with the financial architecture we have in place, particularly the off budget sources, they could deliver that road in three years, as against the four years that was provided for in the budget, based on expected revenue from government. In 2011, the President promised to work on the roads in Damaturu, but it seems that the Federal Government is doing nothing there; rather, work has been going on at Nguru road instead of Damaturu. Then there is the Kotangora Sokoto route, which is very bad, and there are even complaints by the traditional rulers that the Federal government has neglected them. Why are these roads not given attention? First, let me say it is not true that we are not working on Damaturu road. If you recall, one of the major flagship projects of the ministry is the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri road, which traverses Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno States. The section four of that road is entirely in Yobe, from Potiskum to Damaturu, while the section 5 is from Damaturu to Maiduguri. In fact, it was one of the projects I happened to have visited when the President came to Borno State. One of the major challenges we have had on that project is the insurgency in that part of the country. Recently, I was going through our end of year report to see the progress we have recorded on most of the sections. The percentage of progress we recorded on the Abuja-Lokoja road ought to be about the same percentage we should have recorded on the Kano-Maiduguri road. But if you go there now, you will see that we have recorded appreciable progress in the first three sections; that is sections one, two and three. But sections four and five, which border on Yobe and Borno States have not been able to record as much success because of insurgent activities in those particular alignment. In fact, we have had a case in which one of our contractors lost about eight foreign workers on section two. It is no longer a secret that Setraco Nigeria Ltd. lost some foreign workers on that section. They were abducted and not from the project site, but the insurgents broke into the camp office and residence, and abducted them from their flats. They have even shown video clips of two of them that have been murdered. We don’t know what has happened to the remaining six up till now. It was quite demoralizing, because the company was making the most progress on that alignment and had to stop. It took some time to sit them down and talk to them before they eventually went back to site towards the end of last year and commenced construction work again. True, we are working on the Nguru road, it is, however, not true that we are not working on
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u arantee The Sustainable Maintenance Of Federal Highways the Damaturu road. Work has since resumed on both sections, that is, from Potiskum to Damaturu and from Damaturu to Maiduguri. The work is not progressing as much we would want, but different categories of staff of the construction companies are refusing to go there because of the activities of insurgents in that part of the country. It is an unfortunate development, and it is our hope that the issue would be brought to rest soon. Once the security situation improves in that part of the country, we would be able to wrap up construction activities on those sections. With the PPP you talked about, does it mean you are introducing tollgates on Lagos- Ibadan Expressway? As a government, we have decided that it is only economical route on which private sector resources have been deployed in completing those roads that we will reintroduce toll plazas, and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is one of them. Tolling is part of international best practice because when you borrow money from the private sector to do a project, it should pay back for that infrastructure. That is why we do the
outline and final business case studies, which have all proved that the road is viable, and that based on the traffic flow, the investors would be able to recoup their money. Otherwise, the private sector won’t put money down on these roads. It is one of the things we need to do in order to guarantee the sustainable maintenance of federal highways across the country. And this is not new in Nigeria; even in those days, when the Nigerian government had to use its funds to undertake major dual carriage way projects, at the end, they establish toll plazas, at least to guarantee the maintenance of those roads, even if it was not geared towards recouping the investment. But it was the governance structure that did not go very well. If it had been well administered, and funds from the toll plazas were put into something similar to what we are now trying to create, there would have been a pool of funds for the redevelopment of federal highways. It was the lack of such fund that led to the dilapidation we witnessed on the highways. It was so because the paltry budgetary provisions could not sustain the maintenance work on the highways, talk less of
The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, no doubt, is the most important arterial route in this country because first, it provides access to the two sea ports of Lagos, and it is common knowledge that 51 per cent of economic activities in Nigeria start and end in Lagos... Bi-Courtney was given the time to sort itself out and get it right on that road, because the government was also mindful of ensuring that the PPP experiment succeeds, so as to encourage others to come on board. Unfortunately, however, that was not to be because at the time we came in, the concession agreement had virtually failed though we tried to revive it. We gave them enough time— six months to nine months and even one year, to at least encourage them to get it right. But it was clear to us at the end of about three years after the agreement was signed, that the concessionaire was not in a position to actually implement the agreement.
developing new alignments or expanding existing ones. So why did it take the Federal Government so long before eventually deciding to do something concrete about the road? The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, no doubt, is the most important arterial route in this country because first, it provides access to the two sea ports of Lagos, and it is common knowledge that 51 per cent of economic activities in Nigeria start and end in Lagos. For that reason alone, it is a major and an important dual carriageway that brings people from all over Nigeria to Lagos. It is not as if it took government so long to do something concrete about the road. If you recall, in 2009, the Federal Government entered into partnership with Bi-Courtney under the public private partnership for that road to be rehabilitated and expanded in accordance with the concession agreement at the time. Bi-Courtney was given the time to sort itself out and get it right on that road, because the government was also mindful of ensuring that the PPP experiment succeeds, so as to encourage others to come on board. Unfortunately, however, that was not to be because at the time we came in, the concession agreement had virtually failed though we tried to revive it. We gave them enough time— six months to nine months and even one year, to at least encourage them to get it right. But it was clear to us at the end of about three years after the agreement was signed, that the concessionaire was not in a position to actually implement the agreement. So, government in its wisdom decided to take over the road, particularly as a result of outcry from citizens over the daily carnage on the road, and more importantly because there was no visible sign that something was being done on the road. In fact, I remember visiting the road when I just came on board, and the concessionaire at the time had made a presentation alleging that an asphalt plant had been installed in Shagamu by the interchange. But I decided to go the site unannounced, and on getting there, there was nothing on the ground. At that point, we knew that something was really amiss. Even after that, we tried to encourage the concessionaire to see whether it could get it right. It went to various parts of the world, but nobody was willing to put money down. It was, therefore, clear to us at the time that they will not be able to handle the project. So, government in its wisdom decided to terminate the concession. Following the termination, government then decided to construct the road by taking the lead, and that is exactly what we are doing. You are aware that construction work has commenced on that site, and both sections are recording appreciable progress of work. If you look at the LagosShagamu interchange section, you will see that the contractor there is working on about 15km stretch of road diversion with rough asphalt so as to have the entire right of way open to it for unfettered construction activities. That is the Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd section. As for the Ibadan section, RCC is doing very well, and they have a different approach, which is also working, and they are moving faster than expected. So, it is our hope that the two sections will be completed before the 48 months period. Like I said, the MD of RCC working on the Ibadan section actually confirmed to me today that having reviewed the work, they believe they will be able to complete it in 36 months. Talking about the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) there are a number of young Nigerian graduates one would have expected to be engaged to do FERMA’s work. But the way I see FERMA now, it appears like an agency to create job for the boys, while young Nigerian engineer graduates wallow in joblessness… FERMA has been in existence since about 2002, and its law was revised in 2005. FERMA has a direct labour unit component, where quite a number of Nigerians have been employed within the past one-year, under the SURE-P programme. In every local government, we have people working directly for FERMA on road maintenance. However, these people are not trained enough to embark on major maintenance works in terms of stretches of failed portions of federal roads, where asphalt overlay is needed. But we intend to develop capacity in FERMA to such an extent that in the not too distant time, FERMA operatives would be able to do all that. That is why are establishing asphalt plants for FERMA on a zonal basis, and we are also equipping them. Since we came on board, we have been able to buy about 42 FK Beckham Road Patchers for FERMA and staff are being trained, such that they can deploy to any part within their state to patch roads. This will help us do away with the practice of cutting roads and leaving them for weeks or months, a thing that has led to untimely deaths
through accidents in the past. Beyond this, in 2011, President Jonathan also approved that 500 young Nigerian engineers should be employed in the Federal Ministry of Works. That has been fully complied with, and the engineers have been deployed to several departments of the ministry, particularly in the field offices, and they are being trained on the job. Before the coming of these young people, the ministry, including FERMA was top heavy. They had been no young engineers who would take over from the senior ones, so we had many senior and middle level engineers. But because of what President Jonathan has done in that respect, we can now boast of about 500 young Nigerian engineers that are being tutored along the line and various methods of road construction and maintenance by FERMA. The need to do routine maintenance of our roads is the reason FERMA was set up. But unfortunately, we also didn’t put in place the necessary mechanisms to enable it carry out that task. As such, FERMA had to rely on the yearly budget, which most times, is not released. In fact FERMA suffered from this on a yearly basis, so it has not been able to live up to that expectation. Nevertheless, you would have noticed that since 2011, there has been an upsurge in the activities of FERMA because of the new attitude in the ministry and in FERMA, and because of the equipment we have acquired for them. Another problem is that of articulated vehicles carrying excess load plying the highways. The impact of their activities is such that even if a road is reconstructed now, within a few years, it becomes dilapidated again. What are you doing about this? We also believe that one of the banes of Nigerian roads is the excessive axle loading on the road. When the dual carriageways were first constructed during the military regimes that gave rise to the Shagari regime, we had toll plazas and weighbridges in place on some of those arterial routes. Unfortunately, with the demolition of the toll plazas, all those facilities were lost and the issue of controlling axle loading on our roads stopped. We have also recognised that one of the causes of the perennial failure on our roads, apart from construction problems or soil conditions, is the excessive axle loading on the road. We, therefore, decided in 2012 to begin a systematic programme to re-introduce weigh bridges on those roads. If you observe, on most of the roads, we have started the construction of weighbridges, and are deploying them. We have almost concluded the first set, and we hope to establish a proper governance structure for the implementation and usage of those way bridges. We believe when that comes on stream, at least we will be able to mitigate the effect of excessive axle loading on our roads. But beyond that, we have also started engaging the heavy users of the roads, mostly the cement companies, iron billet companies, bitumen companies and others to find a way of controlling their loads in the factory. We believe that will remove a percentage of excessive axle loading on our roads. But we have also discovered that there is sometimes collusion among drivers, such that even when they leave the factories with the normal weight, they stop along somewhere to reload, thereby putting on additional weight. So, we are also mapping out plans to check those excesses. The Ministry of Works appears to be working really hard, but very little of this is seen in the media; what exactly do you have to showcase for this work? When we came in 2011, the total percentage of motorable roads in Nigeria was less than 15 per cent, but in the past 30-32 months, we have been able to bring that to a 70 per cent. That is not a mean feat. Here, at the ministry, we have been able to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct a total of about 4000km of roads since 2011. And in terms of maintenance, FERMA has been able to maintain corridors within our arterial network covering about 20,000km. When you add the two, you get 24,000km out of about 35,000km of the federal road network. That translates into a whooping 70 per cent, and that is the level of improvement we have made on Nigerian roads. One thing, however, is that Nigerians that make use of these roads always attest to this fact, from north to south, and from east to west. On Kano-Kaduna and the Kano-Maiduguri roads and the need for effective culture of maintenance… If you look at the design for the Kano-Kaduna road, it was to last for 25 years, and after that, major rehabilitation ought to have taken place. CONTINUED ON PAGE 60
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POLITICS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 59 But what has happened in our system is that we have not had enough budgetary provision for us to maintain the road properly because at that point, we are supposed to remove the entire wearing course, stabilise the base course and do complete asphalt overlay on the entire stretch. In other words, we are supposed to have put on it a new wearing course. We have not been able to do that because of the cost. Ask yourself, how much is being budgeted for road works in Nigeria? For a road network of 35,000km, sometimes we receive as little as N60 to N70 billion. For years, the military did not even receive up to N10 billion for those roads. You can compare our situation with small countries like Zambia, which has a total road network of 7000km. But if you go there, you will discover that they spend on the average, about USD1billion yearly on their roads. But in Nigeria, we have about 35,000km, which is five times the road network of Zambia, and we are not able to spend 50 per cent of what the Zambians are spending on their roads. So, if you look at that, it gives you a graphic picture of why we are where we are. For the Kano-Kaduna road, the same constraints apply. What they now do is to make do with what they have to maintain the roads, and it has become a vicious circle. That is why recently, we have been in discussions, particularly regarding most of the major alignments the ministry is intervening in because we don’t want them to go back to their sorry state. We are working on an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) template of those roads, once they are completed. Particularly, for the dual carriageways, we are considering giving them out, such that we will now have designated construction companies that will be able to maintain the roads 24/7. This O&M contracts will last for a renewable period of maybe five to 10 years. In that way, we can guarantee the sustainable maintenance of the roads, and that is what obtains in most of the countries that have gotten it right, and we want to do it here too. The Kano-Maiduguri road was not awarded by the Sanni Abacha administration. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the dualisation in 2006. But if you look at the history, between 2006 and 2009, you will see that not much progress was made on the road. In some sections, we couldn’t even pay compensation and the contractor did not have access to the site. A point in case is the Kano to Wudil section. It was when we came on board that we paid compensations before we were able to open the right of way to the contractor to commence real work. But for the SURE-P enhanced funding, that road would have still been far from the level we have achieved. On the average, we have achieved about 65 per cent completion on that particular road, as at date, and we believe that if that momentum is sustained, the road has been penciled for completion by the end of 2015, just like Abuja to Lokoja, which has been slated for completion before June this year. In fact, we have set a completion deadline of April, and there are some of the contractors, who have indicated to us that they will even finish sometimes by March ending, while there are some who are lagging behind. But by June, I believe that particular stretch from Abuja to Lokoja would have been fully constructed, marked and commissioned. We have set deadlines for some of the other projects and we are working assiduously to achieve them. Basically, it all boils down to enhanced funding. If we really want to do what is being done in other countries, we should reach a level, where all of our major road contracts would be a form of annuity contract, where we know the cost, and if we say the road is going to last for four years, we divide the cost by the number of years. And then the government should ensure it makes provision on a yearly basis for what we require every year. If we have projects like that, there is no reason we shouldn’t complete them. With an arrangement like that, the contractors will work day and night. I’ll give you an example. We just completed the section of the road from Ikom to Mbok. It was one of the projects we did under collaboration with the World Bank because the bank put down money for 90 per cent of the cost, while we contributed 10 percent matching grant, which we all put in a common account, and the contractors started work. That project was handled by PW Nig Ltd. and it was completed three months before schedule. So, we have contractors that can deliver, as long as the funds are guaranteed. It is, therefore, a question of funding. You talked about the increased capacity of FERMA, but the impact of that capacity has not been felt because as we speak, some of the best federal roads, including the Benin-Asaba road are going bad, and nothing is being done to arrest this. Shouldn’t we just toll all federal highways to generate monies for their maintenance? The Federal Government cannot have such a policy to charge tolls on all federal roads for very
...Federal Government Is Committed On Road Construction And Rehabilitation obvious reasons. The government itself has a social responsibility to the people. A road network serves two purposes. Firstly, as an artery to support economic activities, such as hauling tons of cement, iron billets, bitumen and other articles. These are strictly economic activities. A road is expected to also serve social purposes, for social and national integration among different sections of the country. Government has that responsibility, and as so, cannot toll every road. However, we also believe that what the government is doing by establishing tolls on all roads on which private sector funds have been expended, is a good way of arresting some of these problems. I say so because if we are able to get the arterial routes right, and they are now able to fend for themselves and pay for their own maintenance, government resources will be freer to handle those other road projects that have social impacts in terms of national integration. The issue of state and federal roads has been a sore point in the relationship between states and the Federal Government. In Lagos for instance, the government always claim a bad road is so because it belongs to the Federal Government. What is the level of collaboration, especially in the cities? In terms of relationship between states and the Federal Government, the example of Lagos you gave is not typical. Don’t forget that Lagos was the capital of Nigeria for many years, and that is the state where the Federal Government has the highest number of roads. Remove federal roads from Lagos, what is left? Is it Ikorodu Expressway, Third Mainland Bridge, Oworoshoki-Apapa road, Hebert Macaulay Road or the Marina Road? All these are federal roads, so you now discover that many of the major federal roads in Lagos have over the years been maintained. I give it to the Lagos State government; they also do their bit because it serves their people. When we had the Council of Works meeting in Lagos in 2012, one of our resolutions was that we now want to create a radius around state capital or cities where federal roads traverse. Federal roads basically ought to connect one state to another. We are now experimenting with the issue of creating bypasses so that we are not brought into the issue of urban alignment because it is not federal government responsibility to provide urban alignment that would provide access to building and businesses. The Federal Government doesn’t collect taxes from those people. So, it is the state government that collects those taxes, so they should be able to fix those roads. And if you look at the politics of state and federal roads, you will discover that particularly during the military regime, state governments to the federal government surrendered most of these roads. So, the federal government reluctantly assumed ownership of some of them, and we know these roads in question. If you go into the Federal Highways Act, you will see the real federal roads because they are there. Legally speaking, any road that has not been gazetted as a federal road cannot really claim to be such because every federal road has a route number, which are contained as appendixes in the schedule under the Federal Highways Act of 1971. You can imagine that even as late as the Abacha regime, so many roads were still being offloaded to the Federal Government. So, the politics of state and federal roads is very dicey, but recently, one of the areas where we have had problems with the states has to do with following due process in carrying out repairs of federal roads by state governments. During the late President Yar’Adua’s administration, the Federal Government, in its wisdom, approved the guidelines for intervention by state governments on federal roads. And these guidelines are very clear— if you are a state government, you must write to the Federal Government, in fact to the President intimating him that you want to carry out repairs of so and so road. Or you could write to the Minister of Works, which will in turn inform the President. The request is evaluated, and if the road is of economic significance, and it truly connects one state to the other, more often than not, it was recommended that the President gave approval for intervention by the state government. Once such approval is granted, all the procurement processes must be in line with the Public Procurement Act at the federal level. After award of the contract, staff of the Federal Ministry of Works domiciled in that state must be part of the supervision of that road. Once a state meets these guidelines, the federal takes responsibility for refund. But what you see is that most times, some state
If we really want to do what is being done in other countries, we should reach a level, where all of our major road contracts would be a form of annuity contract, where we know the cost, and if we say the road is going to last for four years, we divide the cost by the number of years. And then the government should ensure it makes provision on a yearly basis for what we require every year. If we have projects like that, there is no reason we shouldn’t complete them. With an arrangement like that, the contractors will work day and night. governors just wake up and give contracts without our knowledge and without following the guideline. They then go to the newspaper or electronic media to say the Federal Government owes them so much billions of naira. It is akin to letting a house to a tenant and upon return from a journey one day, only for the tenant to slam you with a hefty bill of N15 billion incurred from renovation of the house, which he wants you to refund. How will you react in such a situation? Without seeking your consent as the landlord, a tenant should not go into that kind of thing. At the federal level, we have a budget, and we need to plan for our road development. And if such a project is part of our plan, why won’t we do it? There have been a number of state governments we have refunded money to in the past, such as Ekiti State Government. In November last year, about N8billion was paid out to a number of state governments as refunds for road repairs under this regime. It is an ongoing thing, but for state governments that comply with the guidelines. If you investigate, many of the states crying foul in the request for monies just did streets and urban alignments that have no bearing with the interstate traffic. These are the challenges, but we are looking into the matter by engaging with the states, and we believe that we should be able to work together, once due process is followed based on the guidelines. In terms of priorities in the 2014 budget, what projects would the ministry be focusing on? Again, because of the kind of funds we have,
we are mindful that we should put our funds on very critical projects that we want to bring either to completion or achieve substantial progress on. First on the list is the local Oweto Bridge, which was started a little over one year ago and we have already reached about 36 per cent completion. It connects Loko in Nasarawa State to Oweto in Benue. That project, when completed, will reduce travel time from Abuja to the Southeast by more than two and a half hours. So, it is a very critical project, which will be an alternative for people going to the south because sometimes when we have problems on this Lokoja Bridge over the Niger, it is like the whole country is shut down. The project is strategic because once completed, will reduce the traffic on the Abuja-Lokoja Road. The second I mentioned earlier that in a few weeks, we will be breaking the ground for the second Niger Bridge. It is also a priority project we are pursuing this year because good enough for that project, the Federal government is just expected to contribute about 30 per cent of the sum, while the Julius Berger Consortium will be responsible for the provision of 70 per cent. At the end of it, they will toll the bridge in order to recoup their funds, just like Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. So tolling will not be limited to Lagos-Ibadan alone. Also, by the time we apply the funds from the China Exim Bank on the dualisation of the KeffiMakurdi to Nightmar in Enugu, we will also toll it to enable us recoup the funds and repay the bank because that is the new template.
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Sunday, March 2, 2014
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS The AU And The Complications Of The War In South Sudan • Lessons From The Role Of Uganda, Mercenaries And Other Negative Forces By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor OING by current happenings, the role of neighbouring countries in the subversion and undermining of the sovereignty of other countries ought to be brought to the front burner in the consciousness of African continental leaders. Nigeria is almost being overwhelmed by terrorist activities in parts of the north despite having security cooperation and joint border patrols with its neighbours notably Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Intelligence reports continuously finger these neighbours as providing safe havens and harbouring cells bent on destabilising Nigeria. Curiously, even when enquiries about their faithfulness to agreements were raised, the Missions of these countries have continued to play possum. But that is for another day. Talks about subversive activities by neighbouring states have always been in the background of high stake African international politics. It is either the countries’ elite accuse their neighbours of sponsoring rebel movements against them or given cover to anti establishment gangs and sympathisers. Nigeria once accused Gabon and Côte D’Ivoire of supporting the Biafra secessionist’s cause. Morocco is accusing Algeria of sponsoring the Polisario and helping them raise themselves to the point of having a Saharawi republic. Late Ugandan President Idi Amin had cause to point accusing fingers at Tanzania as seeking a regime change in Uganda. Today however, it is Uganda that is being accused of helping with under the table means, to strengthen the hand of the rebel leaders in South Sudan, thereby attempting to make the country unstable! A summary of the findings of a think tankAfrica now, has proved to be very useful in this regard and is corroborative of earlier submissions by a body of conflict resolution experts. It is said that amid increasing regional and international sense of cautious contempt and optimism of ending the ongoing crisis in the Republic of South Sudan at the backdrop of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) The continuation of the fighting and expansion of the geographical area of military confrontations plus other dangerous complications on the ground have increased fears and concerns of the prospects of peace in South Sudan and also raised concerns over the social harmony and peaceful coexistence in South Sudan especially between parties to the ongoing fighting. Being aware of the significance of the “tribal factor” in forming and directing the current developments in the new country, fears of escalation of ethnic tensions remain logical. The most salient of those fresh threats and fears was the content of media and intelligence reports indicating involvement of African mercenaries and foreign negative
forces in the ongoing hostilities; they include the Uganda-backed M23 and Sudanese rebel and insurgent groups namely Justice and Equality Movement and Darfur rebels. The bulk of government troops fighting beside President Salva Kiir are Denka, the biggest tribe, while the bulk of his military opponents are Nuer, the second largest tribe in South Sudan; this fact add to the gravity and complexity of the situation in South Sudan. Therefore, the involvement of these external forces in the ethnic violence will only add salt to the injury and lead to more avoidable complications that threaten chances of IGAD troika to realize peace, including social peace and societal harmony, there. This point shall gain further attention if we always remember that theses African mercenary groups were established and remain functional on ethnic lines; M23 represent Tutsi, JEM represents Sudanese Zaghawa tribes while Darfur rebels represent Fur ethnicities. The involvement of Sudanese mercenaries in the civil-ethnic conflict has also raised astonishment of many observers who expected them to fight alongside the opposition rather than aligning with President Kiir. This perception, however, neglects the Ugandan role in the conflict, on one hand, and the pushy nature of these mercenaries, on the other. Reports indicate that it was the Ugandan government who directed Sudanese mercenaries to fight on the side of President Kiir. It is also important to note that key and senior leaders of Sudanese negative forces and rebels are resident in Kampala where they enjoy open support from the Ugandan Authorities. These directives were in sync with Kampala’s military intervention in South Sudan by sending a brigade besides aerial attacks on the rebels. Additionally, it was Kampala who issued the directives and facilitation to deploy M23 in the battlefields in South Sudan. Now, recent history of the Sudanese mercenaries could be discomforting. The majority of them played similar roles in Libya and in Chad, where in both cases they were accused of grave human right violations. The Ugandan intervention was not limited to the militarily side; direct deployment or by using these mercenaries as proxies; but was demonstrated in other political forms and manifestations. President Musevini, during his visit to Juba on the eve of IGAD summit, sent threatening messages to the opponents of Kiir of imminent “military defeat” if they reject IGAD initiative. Taking into account the fact that Uganda is not a member of IGAD troika, observers raised concerns that such Ugandan intervention will leave negative impacts on IGAD peace efforts, on one hand, and on stability of South Sudan on the other hand. Looking at the gravity of the humanitarian
The Ugandan intervention was not limited to the militarily side; direct deployment or by using these mercenaries as proxies; but was demonstrated in other political forms and manifestations. President Musevini, during his visit to Juba on the eve of IGAD summit, sent threatening messages to the opponents of Kiir of imminent “military defeat” if they reject IGAD initiative.
Kiir situation, what does Uganda want? Prospects of peace remain feeble in view of the current trends of the fighting. Regional and international media report stories demonstrating fearful and awful developments in South Sudan. Today, it is sufficient to state that Africa’s newest country is on the brink. Going by well-known historical antecedents, it may only survive the volcano revolting in its pot if this fact is recognised in time and necessary domestic and international actions taken. When South Sudan seceded in 2011, former deputy Minister of Culture Jok Madut Jok described his new country thus: “Our country, as it stands today, is a four-legged animal but the legs are broken.” He went further to say then, “The first leg for any government is a disciplined military. We have problems with the way our military functions today. That’s a broken leg. We have civil society; right now it is very weak. The third leg is delivery of services. It is hard to deliver security. The fourth leg is political unity. We had political unity in the days leading up to the referendum. Since the referendum, we have been having difficulties uniting our ranks. So right now the animal is standing on four crooked legs. If we do not fix these legs, the future is going to be very, very difficult.” The future is now. President Kiir may have foiled a coup allegedly orchestrated by a disgruntled faction in the army, which backs former vice president Riek Machar, but little appeared to have been done to amend the crooked legs. Machar was sacked in July when the president dismissed his entire cabinet. More than 450 people are said to have been killed since violence erupted on December 15. Thousands of people have been sheltering in United Nations buildings in Juba after fleeing their homes as the fighting began. Diplomatic watchers had predicted that Kiir woud have a hard time running the country after falling out with Machar. Both men were former rebel fighters and senior figures in the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which led South Sudan to independence after a civil war with Sudan that lasted 22 years. Before the bubble burst, Machar had denounced “dictatorial” behaviour by Kiir, revealing the bitter divisions within the SPLM. What lies at the root of the problem of South Sudan in the first instance? The president’s political opponents would point to the fact that the country’s constitution, enacted by the ruling SPLM, gives the president wide-ranging powers, including sack-
ing elected governors for the country’s 10 state governments. The President also has powers to choose his own members of parliament. Having seen Kiir use these powers, many are uncomfortable. As usual, ethnic sentiments also come to play. The Dinka, the largest and most powerful ethnic group of which Kiir belongs, have been accused by the Nuer, Machar’s tribe, of monopolising everything from politics to the army. Last February, the president ordered more than 100 army generals to retire in a bid to reorganise the military, but the move did not impress many. “Kiir is being opposed by a group led by his former vice president who think he has diverted from the party vision,” said a South Sudan journalist. There are also reports that corruption is widespread and reaches into ministerial levels. Last August, an investigation unearthed 11,000 fake names on the police payroll, with another 16,000 considered suspect, putting half the force in doubt. Allegations of corruption have raised questions on whether Kiir’s administration can ensure accountability when it comes to public spending. South Sudan is keen to have warm, fraternal relations with neighbour Sudan. Juba once accused Khartoum of backing rebel leader Yau Yau. Yet it needs Sudan’s oil pipelines to transport its crude oil, the only thing that brings big money to its coffers. The two nations have also bickered about rebel activity in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, with Sudan accusing its southern neighbour of backing the rebels there. Then of course, there is also the problem of Abiyei, the contentious enclave that straddles between South Sudan and Sudan. In October, the Dinka, with close ties to South Sudan, voted in a flawed, unofficial referendum but the Arab Misseriya, who are close to Sudan and use Abyei to graze their cattle, did not take part. Both countries did not endorse the referendum, and the Abyei question remains unresolved. Considering the shrubs that might become trees on the paths of Sudan-South Sudan relations, diplomatic watchers are thinking that it is high time the international community reminded both Kiir and Ugandan President Yoweri Musevini of the grave violation of the International laws that criminalise usage of mercenaries. Today it is Uganda that is being accused of fanning conflict in South Sudan. Tomorrow the fire fanned by another neighbourly country may be wrecking some havoc in another country, say Egypt or even Nigeria.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
62 Sunday, March 2, 2014
FOREIGNNEWS Park Warns Japan Over Comfort Women Review SOUTH KOREA OUTH Korean President Park SwillGeun-hye has warned Japan it only bring isolation on
Unidentified armed individuals with armoured vehicles block the base of the Ukrainian border guard service in Sevastopol… ysterday.
itself if it reviews a statement acknowledging its wartime use of sex slaves. She called on Japan to embrace “truth and reconciliation”. Japan apologised in 1993 to survivors of the many thousands of women who were forced into army brothels. On Friday Tokyo said it would set up a panel to review the evidence on which that apology was based. Some conservatives in Japan have claimed that the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women”, were prostitutes - something fiercely denied by the women and by Japan’s neighbours. President Park’s warning came in a speech marking the anniversary of a 1919 uprising in
Korea against Japanese colonial rule. “Historical truth is in testimony from the survivors,” she said. “Japan would only bring isolation on itself if it turns a deaf ear to their testimony and sweeps it under the rug for political benefits.” President Park urged Japan to follow the example of Germany in repenting its past wrongs so that their two countries could “move forward for a new era of co-operation, peace and prosperity”. “I hope Japan extricates itself from denial of history and starts making a new history of truth and reconciliation”, she said. Some 200,000 women in territories occupied by Japan during World War Two are estimated to have been forced to become sex slaves for troops. Many of the women came from China and Korea, but also from the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan.
11 Killed In Polio Team Attack PAKISTAN BOMB attack on a polio vacciA nation team in north-west Pakistan has killed at least 11 people, officials say. A roadside bomb went off as the police-guarded convoy drove through a village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province near the Afghan border. The attack is the latest in a series targeting polio teams in the country.
No group has claimed responsibility, but the Taliban oppose the polio schemes, which they see as a cover for international espionage. Initial reports said the convoy was struck by two separate bombs yesterday. The blasts were reportedly followed by a fierce gun battle between security forces and the militants. Officials confirmed that people wounded in the attack were taken to a nearby hospital. Some of those
Freed Spy, Gonzalez Gets Hero’s Welcome CUBA CUBAN spy released from US jail A after serving a 15-year sentence has received a hero’s welcome on his return home. Fernando Gonzalez landed on Friday in the capital, Havana, where he was greeted by Cuban President Raul Castro. State TV interrupted its programming to announce the arrival of “the hero”. Gonzalez is the second of a group of agents known as the Cuban Five to be freed. They were convicted in 2001 on charges including conspiracy. Prosecutors said the five had sought to infiltrate US military bases
and spied on Cuban exiles in Florida. “The hero of the Republic of Cuba and anti-terrorist fighter, Fernando Gonzalez, arrived in our country after completing a long and unjust sentence,” state TV announced in a special broadcast on Friday. The channel showed President Castro saluting Gonzalez at the Havana airport before giving him a long hug. Gonzalez’s wife and mother were also present. In brief remarks to the press, the freed spy thanked Cubans for their support and expressed gratitude for his return. “It’s a happiness that is difficult to describe,” he said, adding that “a piece is still missing”, referring to
injured are said to be in a critical condition. Pakistan has witnessed a campaign of violence against health workers, who militants also accuse of being part of a Western plot to sterilise Muslims. More than 40 people linked to
the vaccination programme have been killed in Pakistan since December 2012. Last month, unidentified gunmen shot dead three polio workers in the southern city of Karachi, a day after authorities began a
new nationwide vaccination drive. Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic, along with Nigeria and Afghanistan. According to the World Health Organization, Pakistan recorded 91 cases of polio last year, up from 58 in 2012.
Parliament Approves Troop Deployment In Ukraine RUSSIA USSIA’S upper house of parliaR ment has approved President Putin’s request for Russian forces to be used in Ukraine. He had asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, where many ethnic Russians live. Kiev has reacted angrily to days
of military movements in Crimea, accusing Moscow of trying to provoke the new government into an armed conflict. Interim President Olexander Turchynov has called an emergency session of his security chiefs. Russia’s Vladimir Putin submitted the request for troops “in connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine and the threat to the lives of Russian citizens”, the Kremlin said. The BBC in Moscow says it is potentially significant that the
request was for deployment in Ukraine as a whole, and not specifically for flash-points such as Crimea. The upper house went into a special session almost immediately after President Putin made the request, in what seems to have been a carefully co-ordinated series of events during the day Earlier, the lower house of parliament had urged the president to take whatever measures were necessary to “stabilise” the situation in Crimea.
Israelis Shoot Dead ‘Mentally Ill’ Woman Near Gaza Barrier HE Israeli military have shot T dead a Palestinian woman who locals say was mentally ill, near the Gaza-Israel security barrier. The area near the border is declared a no-go zone by Israel. The incident happened near the southern city of Khan Younis, late on Friday.
PALESTINE Israel says it maintains the buffer zone to prevent attacks by militants. There have been numerous shootings of Palestinians who breach the area in spite of warnings. The Israeli military said the woman was part of a group that ignored orders to leave the area, at
which point they fired at the legs of the group, hitting one. Gaza authorities and the woman’s neighbours said Amna Qdaih suffered from mental illness and they did not know why she was near the fence. Ms Qdaih’s body was found and transferred to a hospital early yesterday.
Limiting Effect Of Climate Change, By IPCC By Kamal Tayo Oropo HE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released two new Methodology Reports on Friday that were prepared by its Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI). The two reports — the 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands (Wetlands Supplement) and the 2013 Revised Supplementary Methods and Good Practice Guidance Arising from the Kyoto Protocol (KP Supplement) – were accepted at the IPCC’s 37th Session, held in Batumi, Georgia, on October 14-18, 2013. The two Methodology Reports are the latest additions to a series of TFI documents that enable countries that are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol to estimate and report their anthropogenic emissions and removals of greenhouse gases. Such information is essential to international negotiations to limit climate change. The TFI is responsible for assessing and developing inventory methods and practices, which are scientifically sound and relevant to all countries. The Wetlands Supplement extends the content of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2006 IPCC Guidelines) by filling gaps in coverage and providing updated information reflecting scientific advances, including updating emission factors. It covers inland organic soils and wetlands on mineral soils, coastal wet-
lands including mangrove forests, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows and constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment. The coverage of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on wetlands was restricted to peatlands drained and managed for peat extraction, conversion to flooded lands, and limited guidance for drained organic soils. The KP Supplement provides supplementary methods and good practice guidance for estimating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period. It revises and updates Chapter 4 of the Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (GPGLULUCF) which provides supplementary methods and good practice guidance related to LULUCF activities based on the general greenhouse gas inventory guidance provided in its other chapters and the rules governing the treatment of LULUCF activities in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The TFI was established by the IPCC in October 1998 to oversee the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme (IPCC- NGGIP). It is co-chaired by Thelma Krug of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil, and by Taka Hiraishi, of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan. Its Technical Support Unit, which is set up at IGES, is hosted by the
Government of Japan. Climate policy and global climate negotiations rely on a robust scientific foundation to produce sound results. The IPCC provides policymakers with regular assessments of climate science and its potential impacts, as well as assessments of the possibilities for mitigating climate change. The estimation of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases is one important basis for climate mitigation and the IPCC provides de facto international standards for such estimation, through highly technical work. In 2010, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) invited the IPCC to undertake further methodological work on wetlands, focusing on the rewetting and restoration of peatland, with a view to filling in the gaps in the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2006 IPCC Guidelines). In December 2011, the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC invited the IPCC to review and, if necessary, update supplementary methodologies for estimating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities, on the basis of, inter alia, Chapter 4 of IPCC’s 2003 Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (GPG-LULUCF).
Sunday, March 2, 2014 63
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Sports By Gowon Akpodonor IGERIA’S 400m star, Omeiza Akerele, was the cynosure of all N eyes seven months ago in far away Mauritius, where he rescued a gold medal for the country in the 4x400m relay final in a sensational manner on the final day of the 11th African Junior Athletics Championship. His performance at the Stade Germain Comarmond Stadium in Bambous, Mauritius, which was reminiscent of the heroic Enefiok Udo-Obong race at Sydney 2000 Olympics, took Team Nigeria to the top of the medals table. Seven months after, the junior athlete has proven that with good training and more international exposure, he has what it takes to be on the medals podium in this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He is also targeting a similar thing at Rio 2016 Olympics Games. Akerele was the revelation at the just concluded Nigeria University (NUGA) Games, where his three gold medals rescued the University of Benin (Uniben). In fact, Akerele ran a new personal best (PB) in the 400m in addition to his three gold medals. And like the scenario at the Stade Germain Comarmond Stadium in Mauritius last August, the young lad left the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), venue of the NUGA Games, a star athlete last week. He was full of smile, posting in different photographs with athletes and officials from other Universities at the end of the 400m. Before his journey to Mauritius last August, Akerele was in Team Nigeria’s U-17 team to the World Youth Athletics Championship in Ukraine. He made a great impact at that championship, running a personal best (PB) time of 47.23 seconds in the 400m. He was moved to the U-20 squad for the 11th African Junior Athletics in Mauritius and many felt it was a ‘wasted’ ticket. But he was able to prove the doubting Thomas wrong. At the NUGA Games in Ife, Akerele was in Uniben’s gold winning relay 4x100m team as well as the 4x400m, but the joy of many spectators was the way and manner he captured his individual gold in the 400m. “The NUGA Games was my first race this year,” the ever-smiling Akerele told The Guardian during the week. “I have been working hard since my last competition in Mauritius and the NUGA Games was a chance to see how far I have come in my preparation for the challenges ahead of me this year,” he said. Akerele is the son of a professor at the university of Benin. He is a student of political science in the institution. After ‘jogging’ to the finish line in the semifinal of the 400m, which he won at 48.19 seconds, Akerele felt he could do better in the final. “I felt I could go a lot faster in the finals, so, I approached the final with so much confidence. Though the opposition was much, but there was that optimism in me that I was going to run well. What I needed was to execute my race plan and thank God I did it in grand style. I was full of smile when I crossed the finish line at 46.70 seconds, which is a new personal best,” Akerele stated. The university of Benin captured six gold medals to place sixth position on the overall medals table and five of the gold medals came from athletics alone. The sixth gold came from the game of Taekwondo. The university of Port Harcourt came first with 63 gold, followed by Unilag (14 gold). The host institution (OAU) was third with 13 gold, just as Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria was fourth with nine gold medals. While Akerele won the 400m gold in a time of 46.70 seconds, his compatriot from Uniben, Oshasha Simon was second in 47.45 seconds, while Charles Ebelebe of Bayero university, Kano was third in 47.61 seconds. “I was satisfied with my performance in Ife. The athletics season is still early and there is still a lot of training to be done. I pray to be injury free and I am looking forward to running faster races, so that I can meet my set target. “Last season, my target was a 46 second, so to start the season with a personal best time of 46.70 seconds means I am on the right track. By God’s grace, by the time we have the Commonwealth Games trials in Calabar in June, my target is to be in shape for 46.01 seconds. I am actually aiming for a 45.8 in the 400m and I am sure it is very possible this season,” Akerele said. In Mauritius last year, Nigeria’s hope of winning the championship was on the boy’s 4x400m team after the South Africans and
Akerele in Nigeria’s colour in Mauritius last year
Akerele winning the 400m gold with a new personal best time of 47.23 seconds at the just concluded NUGA Games in Ife
Akerele…Golden Boy Of NUGA Games Dreams Big Ethiopians increased their pressure on Team Nigeria on the medals table. Midway into the 4x400m final, the Nigerian quartet found itself playing second fiddle to Kenya and Gambia after the third leg runner, Ugbochukwu Ottah, failed to maintain the tempo Adedamola Adeniyi and Charles Okezie had started with. But a resilient Akerele came to the rescue with a big fight on the final lap, when he chased down the Gambian athlete, Tijan Keita at the 200m curves to narrow the gap. Keita was the African youth champion at that time. With much determined push at the home stretch, Akerele changed gear overwhelming the Gambian in the process of negotiating the curve. In a manner reminiscent of the great come back by Innocent Egbunike at Nairobi ’87 All African Games in Kenya, the entire stadium was in uproar, as Akerele anchored at 3.14.50 to win the race. He became an instant hero and was carried shoulder high by Team Nigeria’s officials round the stadium. Even his opponents came to congratulate him soon after the race for his doggedness and never-say-die attitude.
Akerele powering to the finish line at the NUGA Games
He told The Guardian soon after that fate in Mauritius last year that his main target in athletics is to break Innocent Egbunike’s record in 400m, which has remained untouched since 1987. After winning the three gold medals and setting a new personal best at the NUGA Games in Ife last week, Akerele declared once again that he won’t stop until he achieve his desire in athletics. “Breaking Egbunike’s record is topmost in my mind. It is my major aim in athletics. I will do everything humanly possible to break the record. It will happen one day. “I know that breaking Egbunike’s record means I have to put in extra efforts. I am ready for the challenges ahead of me. All I need from the federal government is more competitions and sponsorship to international events. I want to say that the little experience I got at the World Youth Championship in Ukraine and the African Junior Championship in Mauritius last year added to my performance at the NUGA Games,” Akerele said. In his youth days, Egbunike made big headlines setting many records in athletics. He was a bronze medalist in the 4x400m relay at Los Angeles ’84 Olympic Games, but one of his heroic moments in Africa was in the 400m title at the 1987 All-Africa Games in Kenya, where he beat homeboy, David Kltur in a dramatic final watched by the country’s president, Daniel Arap Moi. Egbunike had a personal best of 10.15 seconds in the 100 metres in 1984, 20.42 seconds in the 200m in 1983 and 44.17 seconds in the 400 metres in 1987. To the young Akerele, that record of 44.17 seconds set by Egbunike in far back 1987 has stayed too long in Nigeria’s athletics and it is time to break it.
The NUGA Games was my first race this year. I have been working hard since my last competition in Mauritius and the NUGA Games was a chance to see how far I have come in my preparation for the challenges ahead of me this year.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Chelsea’s German striker Andre Schurrle celebrates after scoring his third goal to complete his hattrick with Chelsea’s Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard (Left) in yesterday’s English Premier League against Fulham at Craven Cottage in London. Chelsea won 3-1. Photo: AFP
Nigeria Will Stop Argentina, Says Rufai IGERIA are good enough N to stop a losing run against Argentina at the World Cup according to former star goalkeeper Peter Rufai. African champions Nigeria face the South Americans again at Brazil 2014 after they lost thrice at the World Cup to them. But ‘Dodo Mayana’ as Rufai is fondly called by his admirers told MTNFootball.com that Nigeria now have the confidence and quality to stop the two-time world champions in Brazil in June. “Argentina are favourite to win the World Cup no doubt, but I see the Eagles as tough and a team good enough to beat Argentina in Brazil,” said Rufai, who was in goal when Nigeria first lost to Argentina 2-1 at the 1994 World Cup in the USA.
Al Ahly Suffers Defeat In CAF Champions League ANZANIA League T Champions stopped eight times African champions Al Ahly of Egypt 1-0 in the first leg of the CAF Champions League tie played in the National Stadium in Dar es salaam. Fresh from winning the Africa Super Cup, the Egyptians failed to put their act together as the home side dominated proceedings.
Premiership Results Everton 1 - 0 West Ham Fulham 1 - 3 Chelsea Hull 1 - 4 Newcastle Stoke 1 - 0 Arsenal Sunderland vs West Brom Postponed
Stoke Halt Arsenal, As Chelsea Bury Fulham RSENAL fell four points A behind leaders Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title after Jonathan Walters’s penalty earned Stoke City victory. As The Gunners fans were lamenting their defeat, Andre Schurrle was busy scoring for Chelsea against bottom of the table side Fulham. He got a hat trick for the Blues yesterday. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was sent off for headbutting Hull’s David Meyler as United claimed a comfortable victory. In the game between Arsenal and Stoke City, Walters held his nerve after Laurent Koscielny was adjudged to have handled inside his area by referee Mike Jones. Arsenal were poor, with substitute Yaya Sanogo wasting a great chance to equalise deep in stoppage time. Charlie Adam was fortunate not to be sent off for treading on Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud before Walters’s goal. Chelsea pulled four points clear at the top of the Premier League after Andre Schurrle hit a hat-trick against bottom of the table side Fulham. After a goalless first half, it took the German only 16 minutes between his first and third
strikes, twice combining with Eden Hazard before being played in by Fernando Torres. Johnny Heitinga pulled one back after Darren Bent’s clip back from a corner. But Fulham are five points from safety and have not won in eight league games.
They have not won either of new manager Felix Magath’s two games in charge, and have not taken three points off a team since a 2-1 victory over West Ham on 1 January. Meanwhile, Chelsea are now unbeaten in 12 league matches since their 3-2 defeat by Stoke
in December - and moved further clear at the top of the Premier League after rivals Arsenal lost 1-0 at Stoke. Fulham have now gone 17 games without beating Chelsea, since a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage in March 2006 Chelsea manager Jose
Mourinho, who was caught on camera appearing to criticise his strikers’ lack of goals last week, left Samuel Eto’o out of the squad entirely, starting with Torres up front, but it was Schurrle who did the damage. Culled From BBC Sports
Nigeria Will Shock The World, Athletes Boast Ahead Youth Olympics In China By Gowon Akpodonor F pre-championship boast Ithing by the athletes are anyto go by, Team Nigeria may have every reason to celebrate ahead the commencement of this year’s Youth Olympic Games scheduled for Nanjing, China. The much talked about Pastor D. K. Olukoya U-18 Athletics Championship, organized by the Athletics Federation Nigeria (AFN), as selection process for the Youth Olympics was concluded at Ijebu-Ode Stadium on Friday with a majority of
the athletes expressing confident that Nigeria will be the country to beat in China. The Pastor D.K Olukoya’s championship was moved from Lagos to Ijebu-Ode by the AFN, following alleged delay by the sponsor to release fund. It was however learnt that despite the change of venue, Pastor Olukoya has agreed to foot the bills. Apart from serving as the only selection for the Youth Olympic Games in China, the AFN also used the championships to pick Nigeria’s athletes for this year’s Africa
Youth Games holding in Gaborone, Botswana in May. One of the female athletes the AFN is banking on for medals in the two competitions, Edidiong Blessing Ofonime told The Guardian after winning the 400m race that she is anxiously waiting for the Youth Olympics to commence. Ofonime from Cross River State was one of the athletes that represented Nigeria at last year’s U-17 World Youth Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine. She is still within the age limit for the Youth Olympics holding in August
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this year in China. After she won the 400m race in a time of 54.36 seconds, Ofonime said that would use the Youth Olympics in China to make up for Nigeria’s nottoo-impressive performance in Ukraine last year. Also speaking with The Guardian, jumper Edoki Fabian, who was also part of Nigeria’s contingent to Ukraine last year, said with good preparation and exposure, they will do the country proud in China. Fabian was not allowed to compete at last year’s IAAF World Youth championship in Ukraine on the ground that he was too young. Another jumper, Ejumeta David Oke also said that Team Nigeria had what it takes to shock the world in
Published on Mar 1, 2014