TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth Friday, March 7, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,853
APC unveils plans for better Nigeria From Adamu Abuh and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja HE All Progressives ConT gress (APC) yesterday unveiled its Code of Ethics to guide the party’s activities, an event which marked the highpoint of the party’s first national summit, held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. The event, which attracted most of the party’s founding fathers, also provided an avenue for its leaders to showcase what Nigerians should
expect if it forms government in 2015. But the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted, describing the roadmap as “empty and typical of all anti-democratic coalitions.” The party in its mission statement said it “considers Nigerians the nation’s greatest assets and would do everything to protect and preserve human life and dignity; would uphold a Nigeria bound by the principle of freedom, justice, peace, unity and the rule of law and was
PDP faults manifesto committed to a Nigeria that achieves its full potential and promise.” The roadmap says APC “upholds and respects every individual’s choice of faith under God”, has “no toleration for corruption and will manage the nation’s resources responsibly, with a commitment to accountability and the pursuit of the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” The party also rests on the
“foundation of democracy, fairness and pursuit of opportunity for all citizens and the pursuit of its objectives of increasing economic opportunity through a government-led and private-sector-driven economy.” It recognises “Nigeria’s strategic role on the African continent and commits to the pursuit of a foreign policy that promotes peace, security and our national interest.” Speaking at the event, former Vice President Atiku
Abubakar warned against the re-election of a PDP-led administration at the 2015 polls, saying it could usher in a civilian dictatorship. Atiku, who incidentally served under former President Olusegun Obasanjo under a PDP ticket from 1999 -2007, maintained that it behooves on Nigerians yearning for good governance to abort the reign of the PDP administration led by President Goodluck Jonathan at the 2015 polls. In his remarks, Lagos State
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola said the APC was the first party in Nigeria to take the step it was taking to lay bare what it has in store for the people. He explained that the unique thing about the exercise was that the party was making its intention known to the public at a forum other than a campaign rally, as had been the practice before now. Fashola said: “We in the APC CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Women protest Yobe killings, minister condemns attacks • Military kills 20 insurgents • 20 feared dead in fresh Benue violence From Madu Onuorah, Omotola Oloruntobi, (Abuja), Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri), Joseph Wantu (Makurdi),Msugh Ityokura (Lafia) and Bukola Ogungbe (Lagos) HEAD of this year’s International Women’s Day today, women across Nigeria, yesterday in their hundreds, were on the streets to protest the lingering insurgency in the North-East, and, in particular, the recent murder of about 59 students of the Federal Government College, Bunu Yadi, Yobe State. Also, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina, yesterday condemned the murder of children in Borno and Yobe states by insurgents. In a related development, the Defence Headquarters yesterday said that the military killed 20 Boko Haram terror-
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Executive Director, Media Concern Initiative, Olufemi-Kayode (second left); Director, Women Advocate, Abiola Akiyode; President, Centre for Change, Joe Okei-Odumakin; Initiator, Nigerian Women Mourn Walk, Laila St. Matthew Daniel and other concerned women at the Nigerian Women Mourn Walk in protest over the killing of Nigerian students in Yobe at Ikeja, Lagos... yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
Govt releases list of confab delegates, APC slots vacant From Karls Tsokar, Abuja HE Federal Government T yesterday released the full list of the 492 selected delegates to the national conference, while three assistant secretaries were also named to take care of conference proceedings, finance and administration and, media and communication, even as the All Progressives Congress (APC) slots are without nominees. A statement from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, said President Good-
luck Jonathan named Akilu Ndabawa, the former Secretary to the Presidential Committee that planned the conference, as the Assistant Secretary (AS), Conference Proceedings, while Mahmood Yakubu is the AS, Finance and Administration and James Akpandem is the AS, Media and Communication. The statement also states that “the President has also approved the release of 492 delegates to the National
Conference… shall be inaugurated on Monday, March 17, 2014 at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, at 11.00 am… All delegates are expected to attend the inauguration.”
LIST ON PAGES 3 & 4 Although the APC has up to the time of release of the list not forwarded the two slots allocated to the party and the Muslim leaders have left one slot vacant, it is not clear if the
President would nominate people to fill up the vacancies. But the APC’s Interim Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said yesterday that the party was opposed to the conference, hence did not nominate delegates for the dialogue. Top on the list of the 37 delegates under the category of elder statesmen is Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Chief Olu Falae, Ayo Banjo, Ibrahim Gambari, Peter Odili, Afe Babalola, Jubril Aminu, Ibrahim Gambari, Ike Nwachukwu, Jerry
Okun Yoruba opt to join South-West – Page 2
Gana, Daisy Danjuma, Josephine Anenih, Edwin Clark and Sambo Jinadu. Others are renowned jurist, Usman Argungu, Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu, Ambrose Okwoli, Ibrahim Bunu, Ibrahim Idah, Yerima Abdullahi, Mark Ogbole, Tanko Yakassai, Aliyu Gusau, King Alfred Diete Spiff and erstwhile Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada. Former Army chiefs include: Generals Zamani Lekwot, Alex Mshelbwala, Raji Rasaki, Group Captain Ohadomere, Rear Admiral Ehanmo and Brig.-Gen. Idada-Ikponmwen.
Igbo seek N2.4tr compensation for violations, killings since 1966 – Page 5
E.K. Clark, not a centenary awardee devil was in PnaryRINTER’S the detail of the centecommemorative edition on Wednesday, March 5 in which elder statesman, Chief E.K. Clark, was erroneously mentioned as a centenary awardee in a comment. It has been discovered that it was Prof. J.P. Clark that got the Centenary Award. The error is regretted.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Friday, March 7, 2014
20 feared dead in fresh Benue violence CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ists during a foiled attempt by the insurgents to attack Ajiri and Mafa as well as other communities on the outskirts of Maiduguri and Dikwa in Borno State. In the same vein, the Borno State government has raised an eight-man panel to “assess and rebuild” the destroyed property at Mafa town, as over 1,000 residents have fled to Maiduguri for safety. Also, suspected herdsmen yesterday invaded some Tiv communities in Benue State, killing 20 persons. In Ekiti State, hundreds of women yesterday held a solemn procession in Ado-Ekiti to mourn the massacre of the students by Boko Haram insurgents. Spotting black and hoisting placards with different messages, the women condemned the seeming intractable killings in the North that had claimed thousands of lives. With tears rolling down the cheeks of some of the women, they prayed for the repose of the souls of the innocent stu-
dents and called on the Federal Government to find solutions to the spate of killings in northern part of the country. The protesters, comprising professional women bodies, female political leaders and other stakeholders, were led by wife of the state governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi; Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; and Commissioner for Women Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi. Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Fayemi called on Nigerian mothers to join forces in prayers for the country for an end to the Boko Haram menace and for peace to reign in every part of the country. She said: “Nigerian women have decided to speak with one voice to say enough is enough. Let’s put a stop to the killings of these innocent children; let us stop the massacre of the Lord’s anointed.” The deputy governor called for eternal vigilance by residence and enjoined them to promptly report any suspicious movement of persons or objects to law enforcement agents to nip these attacks in the bud. In Lagos, the women who chanted “All we are saying, stop the violence,” said they were particularly moved by the senseless killings of innocent children, and the abduction of 25 girls from Borno. In a speech read by one of the women leaders, Sola Alamatu, she said: “We are calling on government to quickly put in place measures to end the killings and bloodshed; to
ensure that members of the affected communities, particularly women, are included at the decision-making table; to provide adequate protection and security for citizens of Adamawa and Borno states and other places experiencing insecurity; to provide adequate compensation for victims and survivors, particularly women and girls.” The protest march, which the organisers said would continue today nationwide, was led by human rights activists, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin and Dr. Olufemi Kayode, among others. Maina, who spoke at the 2014 International Women’s Day in Abuja, added that due to the precarious situation and suffering of widows and children in these states, the ministry decided that the event slated for today would be low-keyed. “As we have seen in NorthEast Nigeria, women and children continue to be victims of violence in conflict situations, rape and domestic violence. “We are therefore using this occasion to mourn the needless killings of women and children, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states,” she said. The minister urged the traditional/religious and community leaders, youths and all Nigerians to constructively contribute in bringing this unhealthy situation to an end. She further called for the passage of Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill to ensure improved well-being of Nigerian women and respond to the challenges in main streaming gender and
women’s empowerment. Defence spokesman, Maj.Gen. Chris Olukolade, said in a statement yesterday that the terrorists had mounted ambush that would have enabled them unleash terror on the communities unchallenged but were cleared by Nigerian troops on reinforcement mission. Olukolade added: “Arms captured from the terrorists include various brands of machine guns and improvised explosive devices. Twenty insurgents died in the encounter, while own troops sustained varying degree of injuries. Also, more camps were destroyed in encounters at various forests and mountain locations around Adamawa and Borno states.” Olukolade also stated that “Defence Headquarters has noted with grave concern the inflammatory pronouncements by some highly-placed persons in government and some apparently sponsored commentators in and outside the country who have consistently given false and misleading remarks to describe the disposition of troops in the ongoing operations. It has become clear that this sustained campaign is intended to demoralise the troops and give impression that the military is overwhelmed by the terrorists group. This tendency is unfortunate to say the least. “For the avoidance of any doubt, it is hereby restated that the Nigerian military cannot by any standard be overwhelmed by the insurgents neither will the devious
antics of their sympathisers and sponsors demoralise the fighting spirit of troops. Nigerians and indeed all well-wishers are enjoined to discountenance the propaganda messages of the terrorists and their backers alleging the inability of Nigerians troops to handle the insurgency.” Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, yesterday met with members of the House of Representatives from Adamawa State at Defence Headquarters, telling them that the military “will do everything possible” to end the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. Badeh told the group led by Anthony Madwatte that the military was working to provide the right environment to enable politicians carry out their campaigns freely. The Defence chief called on all Nigerians who have useful information on the on-going war against terror to come up with it, pledging that the military would use the information in confidence without disclosing the source of the information. The panel, which is headed by the Rector of Ramat Polytechnic, Alhaji Babagana Umara, is to complete rebuilding the destroyed houses before the end of this month. Addressing Mafa people on Wednesday over last Sunday’s attacks and killings, Governor Kashim Shettima said they have no any other place to live, despite insurgents’ continued terror. An eye-witness told The Guardian that the suspected
Fulani herdsmen numbering hundred ambushed the people and burnt down their houses as well as destroyed their property. He said the marauders were also heading for Jato Aka, the home country of former Minister for Steel, Wantaregh Paul Unongo.
Okun Yoruba opt to join South-West KUN Yoruba people of KoO gi State have, after a conference in Kabba, yesterday opted to join the South West geopolitical zone of the country. Kogi is in the North Central zone. The meeting was convened to enable the Okun people articulate the common position their delegates will canvass at the National Conference which opens in Abuja on Monday. According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the Okun Yoruba people in Kogi State resolved to press for the re-adjustment of their political boundary at the National Conference to enable them join their kith and kin in the South West zone. They also reaffirmed their Yoruba culture, values and territory which, according to them, were congruent with the South West “without any natural or ecological barrier.” The special conference was convened by their umbrella socio-cultural organization, Okun Development Association, presided over by former Health Minister, Professor Eyitayo Lambo
PDP faults APC’s manifesto CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 seek to create a new future for Nigeria, a future without leaders who deprive the families that they are supposed to protect, a future where high price of food and fuel do not undermine families, where there will be jobs for all who want to work. We will do things differently through our code of ethics.” In his own remarks, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari said opposition party members realised that unless they came together, the ruling party will isolate them and destroy them one after another. He said: “We need to come together to put good governance and leadership to manage the huge resources of Nigeria.” Former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu said he was encouraged by the fact that everywhere he went, even during exile, he could only rely on his Nigerian passport. This, he said, made it imperative for him and like-minded progressives to build a truly national party which the APC is. Chief Ogbonnaya Onu on his part said the APC was a party whose time has come while Chief Audu Ogbe recalled how he and a few of his friends and political associates muted the idea of the coming together of opposition parties to form one strong party as far back as 2005. But the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa
Metuh, told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the manifesto of APC “lacks character, depth and completely addressed no issue.” Metuh also faulted the code of conduct, pointing out that the PDP was the first political party to launch its code of conduct as far back as 2006 when Senator Ahmadu Ali and Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe were the National Chairman and National Secretary of the party respectively. According to Metuh: “In 2006, the PDP launched a comprehensive code of conduct entitled ‘Survival Kit’ which contained documents such as - Desirable qualities of a member and Code of conduct for PDP aspirants and candidates. “We also have the People’s Democratic Institute, an intellectual arm of the party whose major work is the systemic research, inculcation and internalisation of democratic ethos”, he added. He pointed out that “the manifesto was a tacit acknowledgment that the APC may be benefiting from the mayhem in some parts of Nigeria, and knows more than meets the eyes about the spate of terror attacks in the country.” According to him, “when last year in its first official outing, the leaders of the APC said terrorism in Nigeria would disappear within 100 days of APC leadership, Nigerians did ask if they knew the characters in
crime and their sponsors. APC gave silence as an answer while Nigerians kept wondering. Today, the party has released its manifesto with loud silence on the matter so that Nigerians would not raise further questions on the face behind the terrorism mask.” On job creation and war on corruption which the APC projected as cardinal on its manifesto, the PDP said the APC has no credible recipe for job creation nor has it shown the strength of character to fight corruption more than the PDP was doing at the moment. On corruption, Metuh alleged that “the leaders of the APC are the grand patrons of corruption as could be seen from the South-West APC states where a kilometre of road is awarded at N1 billion in a topography that compares nowhere to the marshy South-South and where the self-styled leader imperially superintendents the finances of six states with mind-boggling cases of corruption.” He said the spirited defence of the suspended Central Bank Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi by the APC was because the leaders of the party benefitted immensely from the regime of sleaze that took place under Sanusi.” He stated that nothing showcased the anti-democratic ambience of the APC than its inability to conduct a properly constituted congress and
convention to elect its substantive officers almost a year after formation, stating that “the strange bed-fellows have merged but the structures are refusing to integrate, hence, crisis and disagreements in its ranks.” Said he: “This disagreement played out on the high table today at the party’s summit as one of its leaders, Senator Modu Sheriff pointedly accused the leadership and organisers of excluding and marginalising a section of its founders. With persistent infighting at this cradle, how does APC hope to unify Nigerians and guarantee survival of democracy?” The PDP further said the recent opinion poll from which the APC said it derived its manifesto was a familiar product from a “political party that subsists in lies and deception. “They sponsored same in Anambra and their governorship candidate, Senator Chris Ngige, came a distant third. This is after they sponsored same in Ondo where its candidate in the governorship election, Rotimi Akeredolu, also came third.” Metuh warned that the unseen thrust of the APC manifesto was to balkanise Nigeria and cause disaffection among the people, citing the recent deportation of Nigerians from Lagos by an APC governor as what its government would do if given the power at the federal level.
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Friday, March 7, 2014
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
Friday, March 7, 2014
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OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
TO BE CONTINUED
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Friday, March 7, 2014 NEWS | 5
Igbo seek N2.4tr compensation for violations, killings since 1966 From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu unjustifiable LLEGING A killings of their people, rights violations, atrocities, denials and other injustices against them by the Nigerian nation since 1966, the Ndigbo yesterday demanded from the Federal Government the sum of N2.4 trillion as reparation and restitution. It threatened to sue the Federal Government at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should it continue to pay deaf ears to the issue, adding that injustices against Ndigbo had continued even in the presadministration. ent Though the zone described as “incalculable” the loss in the death of millions of Ndigbo killed during the Nigerian Civil War and on other occasions, it noted that the amount is meant to cushion the sufferings the zone was passing through, stressing that each of the five South-East states would receive a token of N400 billion from the sum as compensation, as well as Delta State, for the benefit of Anioma area. First Republic Minister of Aviation and Chairman, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Reparation Committee, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, who addressed Enugu, in newsmen lamented that about 15 years after the organisation sent a petition to the Oputa Panel for reparation and appropriate restitution for the crimes against the Igbo, government had yet refused to address the raised. issues “Having waited for 15 years, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on May 25,
2013, set up a reparation and restitution committee to dust up the petition and revisit the issue,” Amaechi said. “The organisation has had cause to reflect on the long chain of injustices, atrocities and deprivation, which have been inflicted on the Igbo over the years in respect of which there seems to be no end. “These are taking place in a country which great Igbo sons and daughters spearheaded its founding. The spirits of millions of Igbo men, women and children who have been unjustly murdered over the years are crying for justice. It is
incalculable to put a price on the death of millions of Ndigbo, who were killed in the Civil War and are still being killed by Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria.” Flanked by other members of the committee, including Chief Ralph Obioha, Prof. Uche Azikiwe and Dr. Zed Chukwujama, among others, Amechi said the killings dated back to March 31, 1953, when Chief Tony Enahoro, at the House of Representatives, moved a motion for Nigeria’s independence, following which over 300 Igbo in Kano, Kaduna and Zaria were killed
and their property destroyed. He added: “In January 1966, some officers in the Nigerian Army organised a coup d’etat and overthrew the government of nationalists and founding fathers of the federation. A carefully planned pogrom and genocide was unleashed on the Igbo mainly in the North. On May 29, 1966, they commenced what they called ‘Araba’ test riots, which lasted seven agonising days, when hundreds of Igbo were killed. “On July 29, 1966, what was termed ‘counter-revolution and ethnic cleansing’, which
began with the heartless killing of Maj.-Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi and over 300 military officers and men of Igbo origin, escalated into the massacre of unsuspecting Igbo civilians – men, women and children – in many northern towns on a scale unprecedented in any part of the world, even more gruesome than the killing of the Jews. “This forced hundreds of thousands of Igbo to flee back to the East, abandoning all their property in the North. As many of them were received at Enugu Airport and rail station, most arrived with
broken limbs, some with eyes plucked, some with severed arms and one body without a head.” Amaechi continued: “At Benue River at Makurdi, soldiers stopped trains evacuating Igbo to the East, picked them out – men, women and children – shot them and threw their bodies into the river. Some of the children were thrown alive into the river. Official figures estimated that 50,000 Igbo were killed in this operation, which lasted many days.”
Reps session on State House budget defence shielded from public From Terhemba Daka, Abuja HE 2014 Budget Defence T session for the State House was yesterday shielded from public glare when the team appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties. Contrary to parliamentary practice the session, which normally takes place in the full glare of members of the media, curiously turned out to be a private affair between the Nado Karibo-led committee and the State House delegation. Newsmen, who had thronged the venue to cover the session were at first excused by the committee, under the pretext that it (the committee) was to hold a private meeting with the team from the Presidency. But when the journalists were readmitted into the venue af-
• NPC needs N17b for 2016 census, says its chairman • Minister explains N100b vote for constituency projects ter about 25 minutes, the session did not last up to five minutes. Meanwhile, about N17 billion is needed for the 2016 census to be conducted successfully, Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Eze Duru-Iheoma, has said. Duru-Iheoma spoke yesterday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Population for the 2014 budget defence session, which held at the National Assembly. According to him, the amount would be used for various purposes including additional registration centres, which would gulp about N5 billion and construction of ICT centres across the 36
states would gulp N5.7 billion. “Our states’ offices were rented. We need to develop them and have them fully equipped with ICT. We suggested N5.7 billion for this. We have the mandate of 2016, and we don’t intend to postpone it even by one day,” he said. He said, however, that the Budget Office allocated the sum of N203 million for that purpose. He explained that for this year’s budget alone, the commission requested the sum of N34.566 billion, out of which N17 billion of it was meant for 2016 head-count. But he said only N6.2 billion was approved by the budget office for the commission as 2014 budget. “With all the things we need,
the N203 million given will not even scratch them on the face, and appealed to the committee to intervene on the matter,” he said. The committee said it would do all it could to intervene where necessary. Responding to a question demanding what the commission was doing to complete the construction of its head office in Abuja, Duru-Iheoma explained that it was the commission’s desire to see to it that the head office was completed before 2016 census, as it would not want to organise such an important assignment in a temporary structure. “You need to come to our office and see how things are. Directors are in cubicles, while national commissioners don’t even have offices. We appeal to you to intervene on
this so that we can have it completed before the census,” he said. The NPC chairman had earlier told the lawmakers that out of the N1.5 billion approved for capital projects in the 2013 budget, only N834 million was released, representing 55.65 per cent, while the recurrent had 99 per cent implementation, with N374 million released. But members of the committee raised concern about the N75 million budgeted for construction of the commission’s state offices last year and in 2012. The commission’s director of finance explained that because the N75 million would not be enough to expend on one state office, the management decided to spend it across offices in the states by constructing perimeter
TheGuardianon Saturday Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 2014
Issues & Politics
Otunba Lai Oyeduntan, Chairman of Osun Schools Infrastructure Development Committee speaks on the rehabilitation/redesignation of schools in the state and the controversy it has generated. He dismisses allegations that Governor Rauf Aregbesola plans to Islamise Osun State.
Persisting Fuel Scarcity Compounding Nigerians’ Ordeal Despite assurances and promises by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to assuage the sufferings of Nigerians by making fuel available, the situation has not improved in many states nationwide. Nigerians sleep and spend hours in filling stations, while those who can afford it resort to buying from the black market at exorbitant cost. The experiences are terrible, dehumanising and frustrating…
Love & Life True confession: ‘I had an affair with my wife’s married sister.’
The regular sections…
These and many more in The Guardian tomorrow. Book your copies now!
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6 | NEWS Friday, March 7, 2014
Anambra laments fresh attacks on Aguleri oil facility From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka. NAMBRA State government has condemned the recent attack and destruction of Orient Petroleum facility at Aguleri-Otu area in the state. It would be recalled that the border communities in Anambra and Kogi states since the inauguration of the oil field by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012. In a statement issued from the office of the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, the government expressed regret that the attack came when efforts were in progress to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the border communities. “Anambra authorities are in direct contact with the highest authorities in Kogi State on the matter with a view to identifying those behind this nefarious act. Anambra and Kogi governments were collaborating to identify the perpetrators of the attack and bring them to book,” the statement said.
Kwara to establish child rights clubs in schools WARA State government K said it would establish child rights clubs in primary
Lecture on electoral process to hold in Lagos HE Lagos State chapter of the Alumni Association of the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru (AANI), is to hold a public policy lecture on March 11, 2014 at the Grand Ballroom, Eko Hotel and suite, Victoria Island, Lagos. Chairman, Planning Committee, Muyiwa Odejayi told newsmen yesterday that the theme for the lecture is “Building Credible Electoral Process for Democratic Sustainability.” He said former President, Olusegun Obasanjo will be the chairman of the occasion, while the Governor of Lagos State, Bababtunde Fashola will be the keynote speaker. He added that distinguished scholar and foremost constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagey will be the lead speaker. Other dignitaries to deliver lectures includes the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega and Senator Kamal Akin Odunsi.
Uduaghan takes ‘Delta Beyond Oil’ message to U.S HE Delta State Governor, T Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan has taken the message of ‘Delta Beyond Oil’ to the United States to solicit the support of foreign partners and institutions for the initiative. Scheduled to speak at the Roosevelt Public Policy Institute in New York on “Perspectives on Sustainable Development in Delta State: Delta Beyond Oil” on March 7, 2014, Uduaghan has remained a strong advocate for diversification of the state’s economy for sustainable development.
Chairman of the book presentation, Sen. Ike Nwachukwu (left); wife of the author, Dr. Nnema Orji, author of the book, Prof. Herbert Orji and Chief Presenter and former Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Aigboje AIG-Imuokhuede, at the presentation of a book titled: Platinum Essays in the Philosophy of Applied Economics of Development in Lagos yesterday.
Why Benue can’t sustain current salary structure, by Suswam From Msugh Ityokura (Lafia) and Joseph Wantu (Makurdi) OVERNOR Gabriel Suswam yesterday expressed regret implementing the new minimum wage structure, which he claims is now difficult to sustain due to dwindling monthly allocation to Benue State. Suswam, who signed the 2014 appropriation bill into law at the Banquet Hall in the Government House was moody as he told lawmakers that the primary school pupils have remained at home in the last four months because his government has not been able to meet their demands. Suswam said, “ I implemented the new minimum wage to civil servants thinking that the excess crude oil money that was coming would continue. With the way things are now, there is no way the government can sustain this, so
• Raises panel to review pay we have to review the workers salary. “At the time of the agitation for the implementation of the new minimum wage by labour, we were having excess crude oil constantly that made me to approve the salary structure brought to me which is one of the highest in the country.” Explaining further, the governor said, “for instance, before the new minimum wage, permanent secretaries and directors were receiving N150,000 and N50,000 respectively but with the new minimum wage, the salary jumped to N400,000 and N150,000 respectively. “As our financial position stands now, there is no way we can sustain that salary structure, so we are going to scale down the salary of workers or else, every activity of
government will be brought to a halt because right now, the wage bill of the state civil servant is N2.8billion while the average allocation to the state since last year stands at N3.2billion, including VAT. “The agitation of primary school teachers in the state is to have their salary to be at par with the civil servant and when we computed the wage bill, it jumped to N1.8billion. If we add that to the wage bill of local government workers in the state, which is N1.95 billion, then we are talking of about N4 billion while what accrues to local government areas in the state is a little over N3 billion monthly, including VAT,” he said. The state government has set up a technical committee comprising assistant directors to permanent secretaries to review the workers salaries
downward so as to accommodate primary school teachers. It was learnt that political office holders’ salaries will be slashed too. Addressing journalists at the Government House yesterday, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. David Salifu and the Head of Service, Terna Ahua also explained that the salary review became necessary due to the recent shortfall in excess crude resources and the dwindling funds from the federal government allocation. “Government can no longer pay what it accepted to pay initially due to the shortfall in Excess crude resources and argumentation funds from the Federal Government to the state. So far, negotiations are going on and there is a broad agreement by workers that government should set up technical committee to look into the situation.”
‘Ekiti Assembly’s call for Jonathan’s impeachment is self-serving’ From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti HE recent call by the Ekiti State House of Assembly for impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged deduction from statutory allocation has provoked the ire of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant and former Afenifere spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, who accused Governor Kayode Fayemi of inciting the lawmakers against the president. Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it would begin from today the distribution of 657,256 Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) in Ekiti State. The governorship election in the state holds on June 21. For prospective voters to collect their PVC, the government declared Friday (today) a public holiday to enable civ-
• INEC distributes voter’s cards il servants perform their civic responsibilities. The distribution of the card holds between March 7 and 9. Adeyeye, who described the call by the All Progressives Congress (APC) members in House of Assembly as puerile and self-serving, berated them “for allowing themselves to be drawn into the arena of childishness.” “I felt so embarrassed as an Ekiti man when I read the news in the newspapers because impeachment of the president does not concern any state House of Assembly,” he said. In a statement he personally signed and made available to journalists yesterday, Adeyeye accused Fayemi of inciting the lawmakers against Jonathan with false
accusations. The lawmakers had explained that President Jonathan deserved to be impeached for allegedly deducting over N480 million from the revenue accruable to the state. They claimed that the deduction is having adverse effects on the state economy. Adeyeye, who accused Fayemi and the APC lawmakers of playing to the gallery, said, “President Jonathan is not the chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), and RMAFC holds monthly meetings with state commissioners of Finance before sharing allocations to the Federal Government, states and local councils. “It is the same way that Eki-
ti State gets it allocation that other states and the Federal Government get their own. Therefore, if there was any deduction of N480 million as alleged by Fayemi and his assembly men, shouldn’t complaints have been made to RMAFC instead of advertising their ignorance by calling for the president’s impeachment? And isn’t Fayemi a member of the Council of State where he can raise issues bordering on any illegal deduction from the revenue accruable to Ekiti State? “Most importantly, what could N480 million have done to the development of Ekiti State that the N25 billion bond wasted on irrelevant projects, out of which N5 billion is being kept for the June 21, 2014 governorship election would not have done?”
and secondary schools in the 16 local councils. The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajiya Ramat Abaya, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Ilorin. She said the clubs would ensure that children in the state learn about their fundamental human rights. According to Abaya, the establishment of the clubs would be in partnership with various stakeholders and organisations like the Social Development Agency, nongovernmental organisations, as well as ministries, departments and agencies. The commissioner said that ``the clubs will be established with the aim of teaching, creating awareness and sensitising children on issues bordering on their fundamental human rights. ``As voiceless, ignorant and vulnerable members of the society, such clubs will give children the opportunity to speak out on issues that affect them.’’ She added that as future leaders, children needed protection and direction for the overall development of the country. ``They require special care and protection, hence the urgent need for the establishment of the child rights club and consequently a Child Rights Law,’’ she noted.
Benue commissioner dies From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi HE Benue State Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr. Conrad Wergba, is dead. Wergba, who hailed from Ushongo Local Council, had served the state government in various capacities under governors George Akume and Gabriel Suswam. Special Adviser to Governor Suswam on Media and Public Affairs, Dr. Cletus Akwaya said Wergba died in a hospital in India. He could not disclosed the nature of the illness that claimed the life of the commissioner.
10 Nasarawa commissioners set to dump APC From Msugh Ityokura, Lafia OLLOWING Tuesday’s defection of the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dameshi Barau Luka, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 10 commissioners in the state are also set to dump the APC for PDP. The commissioners are those said to be loyal to the deputy governor. The Guardian gathered that the ten commissioners have vowed to remain loyal to Luka and as such have perfected plans to pitch tent with the PDP where it is hoped the deputy governor would actualise his guber ambition come 2015. One of the commissioners, who spoke with The Guardian in confidence, expressed reservations with the manner in which the state is being run, berating the governor for the woes of the APC in the state.
Friday, March 7, 2014 nEWS | 7
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New police, defence ministers assume duty HE new Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Abduljelili Adesiyan, yesterday assumed duty in the ministry. Adesiyan was among 11 ministers sworn-in by President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday shortly before the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the new minister was received by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. James Obiegbu, the InspectorGeneral of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar and other senior officials of the ministry. Adesiyan did not address the staff, as he made straight to his office. It was learnt that the minister wanted to be briefed before addressing the staff. Similarly, the newlysworn in Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has assumed duties in Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan had directed them to assume duty immediately.
NIS to secure borders, arrests 251 ‘dangerous’ illegal aliens in Benue From Karls Tsokar (Abuja) Joseph Wantu (Makurdi) HE nigeria Immigration T Service (nIS) has put together modalities to strengthen security at the borders as 2015 elections draw near. The Comptroller General of nIS, David Parradang, said yesterday during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja that the need to secure the country’s borders against illegal immigrants could not be ignored considering that such people have continued to threaten the security of the nation. He said in 2013 alone, 158,840 foreigners were denied entry to nigeria, while 106,739 nigerians were stopped from leaving the country and also 7,390 nigerians were deported from
foreign countries. While reiterating that a database for non-nigerians would be ready soon, Parradang said the nIS has since “the beginning of the insurgency in north-East lost 37 officers to the Boko Haram sect. We are, therefore, leaving no stone unturned to stop illegal immigrants” who have been fomenting trouble in the country. Also, the nIS yesterday arrested 251 illegal immigrants in Makurdi, the Benue State capital. While parading the suspects in Makurdi, the state Controller of nIS, Thomas Bagobiri, said the Service was determined and will not relax on its task of fishing out all illegal immigrants in the state. “We are aware of the insecuri-
ty in the country and the state. We would not allow foreigners to disturb the peace and unity of our dear citizens. After serious investigations, we embarked on the operation around 3:00 a.m. today, and 251 of them were arrested. We are going to interrogate them to establish their nationality status and whether they are foreigners and have resident permit. “These people are very dangerous; one of my officers was shot at Wadata area while trying to arrest the suspects, but his condition is not too bad. For them to have shot at us and injured one of my men means that these people are dangerous. Bagobiri said after the investigation, those found wanting would be deported to
their respected countries. According to him, one of the suspects is legally permitted to live in nigeria, but because his activities are against the laws of the land, the Service will hand him over to the Police for onward prosecution. While stating that the nIS would investigate the landlords and other people housing the suspects, as well as punish those found wanting, he appealed to nigerians, especially the people of the state, to go about their normal activities and report any suspicious person to the service for onward investigation. “As nigerians, love your country and do not harbour illegal people in your houses; report them for the law to
take its cause, but failure to do so such citizens would be sanctioned if found wanting. “Some of these suspects were arrested with cutlasses, axes, charms, live ammunitions, and other dangerous weapons,” he intimated. The Guardian, in a chat with one of the suspects, Bashiru Idrisu, who claimed to be an indigene of Katsina State, said he does “wheelbarrow business. “I came to Benue last week to carry out my business. I am from Buro Local Council of Katsina State. But this morning, I was sleeping in my house at Wurukun when the Immigration officers came and arrested us. We did not do anything and we are yet to be informed of our offence”.
Businessman to spend 20 years in jail for drug trafficking By Bertram Nwannekanma ORTY-YEAR-OLD Lagos busiFMgbeike, nessman, Matthew was yesterday sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment by a Federal High Court in Lagos for drug trafficking. Justice Ibrahim Buba handed the sentence to the convict after he pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of importing a restricted narcotic, otherwise identified as heroine. The sentence, the judge said, was without option of fine and shall start running from May 31, 2013. “Following the plea of the
accused, he is hereby found guilty and convicted as charged. The convict is not a first time offender, as he had been previously convicted by a court of law. “He is not remorseful and, therefore, deserves no mercy. The convict is hereby sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment without option of fine. His sentence shall start running from May 31, 2013,” the judge said. Mgbeike was first arraigned on December 9, 2010 and was granted bail in the sum of n1 million with one surety in like sum after he had pleaded
‘not guilty.’ He jumped his bail and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest on April 10, 2013. However, sometime in May 2013, he was arrested by officers of the national Drug Law Enforcement Agency (nDLEA) for a similar offence and was arraigned on May 24, 2013, before another judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, under the name, Aliu Aminu. During his subsequent arraignment, the convict pleaded guilty to the onecount charge preferred against him and Justice Idris had on May 31, 2013, convict-
ed and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. But the accused, who is already serving his three-year jail term, was yesterday produced before Justice Buba to continue his trial for which he had earlier jumped bail. When the case was called yesterday, the accused informed the court that he was changing his initial plea and is now pleading guilty to the charge. Following his plea, Justice Buba sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment without option of fine. The prosecuting counsel,
Emmanuel Vembe, had informed the court that the convict was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed Airport on October 17, 2010. According to him, about 3.150 kilogrammes of heroine was recovered from the convict during the inward clearance of passengers on board a Qatar Airline flight from Dubai. The offence, he said, contravenes the provisions of Sections 11 (a) of the nDLEA Act, Cap n30 Laws of the Federation, 2004 and attracts up to life imprisonment.
TheGuardian SUnDAY, March 9, 2014 POLITICS
‘Docility Won’t Give Igbos The Presidency; They Must Fight For It’ nEWSFEATURE LIFE AFTER SPILLAGE:
The Guerilla Warfare Of Boko Haram
Ijegun Imore Remains Endangered Terrain BUSInESS
SURE-P: Slush Fund In States, How Much Have Been Squandered?
It’s simply revealing. Don’t miss it!
IBRU: Oath-taking: Is It Biblical? The Guardian On Sunday is new, fresher, bolder; a delight to behold and more importantly, reader-friendly! Book a copy today.
n the search for peace in northeastern nigeria, half measures, it would seem, have failed. But the alternative, which includes total declaration of emergency rule and full-scale military offensive, has far-reaching implications. This is the dilemma; and, as the Boko Haram Islamic sect pushes the Military to its limits, The Guardian serves you an exclusive of what stakeholders say on the way forward in the war against terror in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other neighbouring states on Sunday. Keep a date with us!
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Friday, March 7, 2014
Wedding between Prof. Wale Omole’s daughter, Titilade and Olaoluwa Agboola at Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja, on 1st March, 2014
The couple, Olaoluwa and Titilade cutting the wedding cake.
Prof. Wale Omole (right) presenting Titilade to the officiating ministers during her wedding with Olaoluwa Agboola.
Groom’s mother, Folake Agboola (left), father of the Bride, Prof. Wale Omole, the couple, Olaoluwa and Titilade, Bride’s mother, Sade Omole and Rev. Supo Onajide
The couple, Olaoluwa and Titilade Agboola with Lawuyi family.
Dr. Tunji Braithwaite (left); Prof. Wale Omole and Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi.
Clement Olowokande (left); Muyiwa Kupoluyi and Prof. Wale and Sade Omole.
Deputy Governor of Osun State, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori (left) with mother of the bride, Mrs. Sade Omole.
Couple with officiating ministers.
Chief Olu Akinkugbe (left); bride’s parent, Sade and Wale Omole with Chief Janet Akinkugbe.
Chief Tunde Aluko (left) and Mr. Ayo Oni.
Prof. Wale Omole (middle) with members of the Governing Council, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH). PHOTOS: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
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Friday, March 7, 2014
WorldReport Malawi jet sale paid arms debts ALAWI used $15 million M raised from the sale of its presidential jet to clear debts to
Immigrants at the Centre for Temporary Stay of Immigrants (CETI) in Melilla during a visit of Spain’s Interior Minister…yesterday. Police stopped more than 1,600 migrants trying to cross the border from Morocco into the Spanish territory of Ceuta on Tuesday. PHOTO: AFP
European leaders weigh sanctions against Moscow USSIA will face sanctions over its military incursion R in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula unless it withdraws its troops or engages in credible talks to defuse the situation, European leaders said. “We need to send a very clear message to the Russian government that what has happened is unacceptable and should have consequences,” British Prime Minister,David Cameron said as he arrived at an emergency meeting of the bloc’s 28 leaders in Brussels. But leaders appeared divided between nations close to Russia’s borders and some western economic powerhouses — notably Germany — that were taking a more dovish line. “Whether (sanctions) will come into force depends also on how the diplomatic process progresses,” German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said, noting that foreign ministers including United States Secretary of State, John Kerry and Russia’s Sergey Lavrov were holding talks again in Rome yesterday. “Russia today is dangerous,” insisted Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, warning Moscow is seeking to expand its borders. “After Ukraine will be Moldova, and after Moldova will be different countries.” Among initial sanctions Moscow could face are the suspension of talks on visa liberalization and an economic agreement. More drastic steps like asset freezes and travel bans on Russian officials were unlikely to be adopted, not least because of Europe’s close economic ties with Russia. The United States has already suspended talks on an investment treaty and threatened further steps. NATO on Wednesday suspended most of its meetings with Russian officials, halting military cooperation and deciding to review all aspects of its relationship with Moscow. “We cannot go back to business as usual,” Merkel said. Poland, Lithuania and other eastern European countries
• Crimea votes to join Russia, ignites Ukraine crisis closer to Russia’s borders pushed for a strong and united EU response including meaningful sanctions, but Germany, the Netherlands and others preferred defusing the crisis through diplomacy without alienating Moscow. “We should do everything to give the route of de-escalation a chance and if we come to the conclusion today or the next 24, 48, 72 hours that de-escalation is not an option then obviously sanctions are back on the table,” Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte said. Russia is Europe’s thirdlargest trading partner and its biggest gas and oil supplier. EU exports to Russia in 2012 totaled 123 billion euros ($170 billion), and European banks have about 200 billion euros in outstanding loans to Russia. Cameron, Merkel, French President, Francois Hollande and Polish Prime, Minister Donald Tusk held initial talks to coordinate their strategy before the summit. The 28 leaders then opened their meeting with talks with Ukraine’s new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “This is not just the UkrainianRussian crisis, this is the crisis in Europe,” Yatsenyuk said at a meeting earlier Thursday with European Parliament leaders. The EU proposed a $15 billion aid package for Ukraine Wednesday. The U.S. has so far pledged $1 billion and is working on a more comprehensive package, in coordination with the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Meanwhile, Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia yesterday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula. The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by Russian forces, formally
under Moscow’s rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to seek ways to pressure Russia to back down adiation. The Crimean parliament voted unanimously “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation”. The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea military base in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. He said all state property would be “nationalized” and the Russian ruble could be adopted. The announcement, which diplomats said could not have been made without Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval, raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War. Russia stocks fell and the ruble weakened further after the news. Far from seeking a diplomatic way out, Putin appears to have chosen to create facts on the ground before the West can agree on more than token action against him. EU leaders had been set to warn but not sanction Russia over its military intervention after Moscow rebuffed Western diplomatic efforts to persuade it to pull forces in Crimea, with a population of about 2 million, back to their bases. It was not immediately clear what impact the Crimean moves would have. European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso said in a Twitter message: “We stand by a united and inclusive #Ukraine.” French President, Francois Hollande told reporters on arrival at the summit: “There will be the strongest possible pressure on Russia to begin lowering the tension and in the pressure there is, of course, eventual recourse to sanctions.”
an arms group, not to partly buy food for the poor as President Joyce Banda claimed, the finance minister admitted. “Actually, no single kwacha came to Malawi,” said Maxwell Mkwezalamba, confirming speculation that the central bank had not received the funds. With her administration under a graft scandal cloud, Banda on Tuesday had declared: “It was me who said let’s sell the jet and the cabinet agreed three things to benefit Malawi... to buy maize, buy military equipment such as patrol boats and pay for peacekeeping mission in the DRC,” the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some of the “money was also used to buy medicine and fertiliser which was loaned to farmers”, she told reporters. But Mkwezalamba said the funds were used to pay Malawi’s debts after the jet was sold to a subsidiary of South African arms firm Paramount Group, Africa’s largest private defence firm, on July 29 last year. “The Malawi government owed Paramount Group $19.2 million in respect of military equipment and asked the buyer of the jet to channel the money to the group as debt repayment after seeking legal ad-
vice from the attorney general.” It was agreed that the subsidiary that bought the jet, Bohnox Enterprises Limited of the Virgin Islands, instead pay Paramount “part of the arrears” owed. Funds were then re-allocated to the Malawi defence force to buy the maize, medical drugs and military equipment. Fears had been raised that the jet sale proceeds may have been embezzled.
Banda’s administration is under scrutiny after government was rocked by a $30 million graft scandal — the biggest financial scandal in the country’s history. A damning audit last month revealed that corrupt officials had stolen at least that $30 million from state coffers — the equivalent of more than one percent of GDP in one of the world’s poorest countries. The theft occurred over six months last year.
Tunisia lifts emergency rule since 2011 uprising UNISIA has lifted a state of T emergency three years after it was imposed, in a largely symbolic move to show security is improving in the North African state, Reuters reported. Since the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat, Zine ElAbidine Ben Ali, Tunisian security forces have been battling militants from the hard-line Islamist movement Ansar al-Sharia, one of the radical groups to emerge after Ben Ali’s fall. “The President of the Republic issued a decree to lift the state of emergency beginning on March 5, 2014,” a statement from the presidency said yesterday. The state of emergency had kept security forces on alert
across the country and given troops and police authority to intervene in protests. Troops have arrested dozens of militants and killed others during raids over the past few months. It has also affected tourism, which is a major part of Tunisia’s economy. Almost 7 million tourists came to the country in 2010, a few months before the uprising. Last year, that was down to about 6 million in 2012. Attracting more tourists will help Tunisia to stabilize its economy. Then it can carry out reforms demanded by international lenders, who want to see the state reduce its budget deficit and trim public spending.
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10 | Friday, March 7, 2014
Politics Use autonomy groups to tackle Boko Haram, says Fasehun Two major issues are gaining the attention of the government and most people in the country. They are the Boko Haram insurgency and the scheduled National Conference. Dr Frederick Fasehun, founder and national president of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) is one of those Nigerians who have continued to reflect, ponder and postulate solutions to them. Fielding questions from Abiodun Fanoro, the elder statesman urged President Goodluck Jonathan to change his tactics and strategies in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency. He also spoke on the Yoruba agenda for the National Conference. . OW that it seems all methods and strategies N to end the Boko Haram insurgency have been exhausted, how could the national conference come to the rescue? I don’t think all methods have been exhausted. If I were President Jonathan, I would convene a summit of all the self-determination groups in the country. From the OPC to MASSOB (Movement for a Sovereign State of Biafra), to many of such groups the Police have tagged militia; wherever they may exist in the country. The main agenda at the summit would be how do we solve the Boko Haram insurgency. I would challenge them to give the country a solution to the problem from their own perspective, as self-determination groups, who are familiar with the clamour for self-autonomy. I don’t want to believe that there are no self-determination groups that can speak directly with Boko Haram. Don’t forget that members of Boko Haram are not faceless; they are human beings who also engage in activities other fellow beings engage in. They have friends and associates in other groups outside their territory, whom they share feelings and affection with. If the ethnic militia and self-determination groups are challenged to take on Boko Haram, I am of the view that they are likely to achieve results. After all, all these groups have common founding goal. Where Boko Haram is different is its violent method that is taking a terrorist posture. Is your inspiration that self-determination groups could succeed where others had failed drawn from the successful mediatory role you played between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta militants? Yes, because when the Niger Delta militancy Fasehun got to its peak, many, including top Federal Government officials, had lost hope that the no way trying to undermine their position as matter could be resolved without the declara- our revered leaders. tion of a full-scale war. However, I need to explain what led to conWhen some of us suggested to the govern- vening the Pan-Yoruba Agenda (Conference). It ment the option of using the leadership of was borne out of the fact that the various presome self-determination groups to reach the liminary meetings held to draw up the Yoruba militants, some government officials were cyn- position and the final one held at the Ishara ical. After a lot of consideration, government re- home of Pa Olanihun Ajayi, completely shut luctantly acceded to the option, which later out all the Yoruba self-determination groups. turned out to be the magic wand. We are not being hostile, but we feel that the You may not know but the militants accepted larger Yoruba interest would not be adequately our intervention because they had more confi- served if the self-determination groups that dence in us. They were convinced that we started the agitation for a national conference would not betray them at any point, even if our should be shut out when formulating the intervention did not succeed. Yoruba agenda for the conference. My position is in line with the Yoruba adage, Most of the groups that attended the Panwhich says, Omo ina lanran sina (meaning, it is Yoruba Agenda held last week in Lagos had the person that is fire-resistant that is sent to long been in the forefront of the agitation for a face or quench fire). national conference. So, they felt estranged Don’t forget that they say birds of the same when they were left out in all the various feather flock together. It worked successfully in preparatory meetings that took place before the Niger Delta. Therefore, there is no reason the Ishara meeting and the Ishara meeting itthis approach could not work for Boko Haram. self. After many exploratory visits to the creeks, I am one of those who started the agitation for spanning weeks, we were able to get to the lead- a Sovereign National Conference for Nigeria; ership (of the militants) whom we had useful yet, I was not invited to any of the meetings, to talks with. They saw reasons and agreed to express my views whether it would be accepted speak with the Federal Government. or not. It really surprised me that I could be left So, if the strategy was applied in the Niger out. Delta and it proved successful, why wouldn’t it It goes to say that if the likes of Chief Gani work in the North? Like the Niger Delta, ele- Fawehinmi, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Alao Akaments involved in the insurgency are human Bashorun and those in their category were beings and fellow Nigerians, who could be alive, they would have been equally left out just made reasonable. as they treated me. Recently, you brought together about 37 Considering your standing in Yoruba land, esYoruba groups in a forum titled, Pan-Yoruba pecially as the founder and national president Agenda for 2014 National Conference, after the of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), don’t you Yoruba, under the leadership of Afenifere, had think there’s more to your not being invited to concluded preparations and had formulated the larger Yoruba gatherings? positions to take to the conference. Are you not I must be very honest with you; I don’t know working at cross-purposes with the Yoruba? why I was not invited and nobody has given me We are never working at cross-purposes with reason for why I was shut out. our fathers and leaders in Afenifere nor is it true Could it be as a result of your alleged acting for that we are ganging up against them. We are in President Goodluck Jonathan, and against the
interests of the Yoruba? It may be as a result of this rumour and wrong impression. It may also not be as a result of that. As I said, I don’t know the reason I was excluded. Yes, I have heard the rumour, but nobody has ever been bold enough to confront me and put the allegation to my face. If anybody could come out to accuse me of working against the interests of the Yoruba, then that person does not know whom the Yoruba people are and what their interests are. I have, all my life, been working for the interests of the Yoruba people. I took the risk to found the OPC, to advance the interests and aspirations of the Yoruba. I had spent months and years in detention without being convicted, all in advancing the interests of my people. So, whoever says I have been working against the interests of the Yoruba people, that people, I am sure, cannot define the interests of the Yoruba people. Taking a critical look at the convening of a meeting of 37 Yoruba groups, didn’t that truly look rebellious? No, no, no, there is nothing like that. We have only acted in good faith. To show that we acted in good faith, the meeting made it clear that earlier Yoruba meetings at Ibadan, Ile-Ife and Ishara were welcomed and that the (Yoruba) leaders should ensure the harmonisation of the resolutions reached at these meetings. If held without malice, would the conveners turn the communiqué to the mainstream Yoruba leaders who met in Ishara? Already, we have had a press conference after the parley; it is, therefore, expected that these (Yoruba) leaders would have read some of our points in the newspapers. As I said, we are not hostile to our elders and leaders. It is in Yoruba culture to respect our
elders and leaders. What are some of the unique resolutions reached at the meeting? Among others, it was suggested that the national conference be presided over by a nonNigerian statesman. We suggested such international statesmen like the former U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington; former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan; South African anti-apartheid chief, Desmond Tutu; former Ghanaian leader, Jerry Rawlings; U.S. rights crusader, Jesse Jackson, etc. It is our humble view that using a reputable international personality would not only confer honour and confidence on the conference, it would also help us overcome the usual problem of ethnic mistrust. Another reason that informed this suggestion is that we believe that using a non-Nigerian, who has no stake in the outcome of the conference except in the peace and tranquillity of the people of Nigeria, would help in no small way in ensuring a dispassionate and impartial direction of activities at the conference and its final outcome. This would help to solve, from the onset, allegation of favouritism that may greet the outcome of the conference. However, this suggestion was rejected because majority of the participants were of the view that using a non-Nigerian could send the wrong signal that we are incompetent and have no confidence in ourselves. To me, it is not confidence in ourselves that is the ultimate issue, but having confidence in the final outcome of the conference. What other decisions were arrived at, at the conference? The meeting recommended that the Nigerian government should work out modalities, using our various embassies that would enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to participate in the conference. It would be shocking to know that the population of Nigerians living outside the country may be more than half of those living in the country. Among them are intellectuals, technocrats and many professionals that could also help in turning around the fortunes of the country. If we genuinely want the conference to succeed, if we truly want this country to develop, if we truly want Nigeria to move to the next level where her peers are today, we cannot afford to leave out this group of Nigerians. The meeting reviewed the three months’ duration allotted for the conference and came with the conclusion that the duration is too short. Not much could be achieved in three months. No nation can be built in three months. If we truly want to build a Nigerian nation, we should not be constrained by the element of time. Is it not baffling that we want to spend only three months to revamp the injustice, the inequality, the under-development and the marginalisation that have existed for 100 years. The injustice and complaints have over the years forced many in the union to say they want to go their own way. If we don’t want to deceive ourselves, if we don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the last 100 years, if we don’t want to build a house that would disintegrate on the spot, then there should be a rethink on the three months’ duration. It is certainly not enough. If for 100 years, these ethnic nationalities could not agree to build a nation, now we want to force them to build it in three months, it is impossible? If the choice of three months was informed by the impending 2015 general elections, there is nothing stopping us from having the conference for six months. If we couldn’t finish in six months, we can pause to have the elections, and thereafter, we would resume the conference.
Friday, March 7 , 2014 POLITICS 11
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200 observers deployed to Ekiti, Osun to study distribution of voter cards By Tunde Akinola HEAD of the distribuA tion of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) scheduled for March 7 to 9, 2014 and the continuous voters’ registration on March 12 to 19, young people and civil society activists have been deployed to observe the exercise in Ekiti and Osun states. The observers were deployed after a two-day capacity development workshop in Ado-Ekiti and Osogbo organised by Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), Youth Alliance on Constitution & Electoral Reforms (YACORE) and Partners for Electoral Reform (PER) with support from the Democratic Governance for Development Project of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP/DGD). The workshops held between March 3 to 6 at Fountain Hotel, Ado-Ekiti and Leisure Spring Hotel, Osogbo, respectively. Participants were exposed to the basic rudiments of observation and strategies for conducting effective issue-based voter education. A citizen’s mobilisation town hall meeting on the continuous voter registration and the distribution of the permanent voter cards was hosted in both states. A significant component of the capacity development workshop was the training of participants as volunteer observers dedicated to observing the distribution of the permanent voter’s card and the conduct of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in both Ekiti and Osun states. Considering that this is the first time in Nigeria’s electoral history that the permanent voter’s card will be used for the elections, it is important that citizens provide oversight on the distribution process to ensure compliance with INEC’s guidelines. The continuous voter’s registration, which is an indispensable electoral activity with direct implication on the credibility
of an election, also provides an opportunity for Nigerians to assess the commitment of INEC to deliver credible, free and fair elections. The Capacity development workshops and town hall meetings in both states also focused on building the capacity of the participants as voter education volunteers through sessions on voter education tactics and strategies, developing voter education messages and the use of new media for voter education and voter mobilization. The voter education volunteer pool, which is a project of YIAGA, YACORE and PER, is targeted at mobilising 10,000 voter education volunteers across the country to complement INEC’s mandate of conducting civic and voter education. The participants were requested to develop Getting out the Vote (GOTV) messages for the gubernatorial elections scheduled to hold in both states. The representative of the INEC Election Observation Unit and the Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC) were present at the capacity development workshops and town hall meetings to educate participants on the work of the INEC Citizens Contact Centre and on how citizens can utilize the platform for instant and up-to-date information on the elections. The participants were also encouraged to volunteer as ICCC Champions to help in publicizing the work of the ICCC and educating citizens on how to use the ICCC on the social media platform. Residents in Ekiti and Osun states were encouraged to actively participate in the collection of the permanent voter’s card billed to commence between March 7 and 9 and the continuous voter’s registration holding as from March 12 to 19. It is also important for Nigerians to be equipped with the electoral laws and INEC guidelines for an effective, active and informed participation in the electoral process for credible elections and sustenance of the nation’s democracy.
Considering that this is the first time in Nigeria’s electoral history that the permanent voter’s card will be used for the elections, it is important that citizens provide oversight on the distribution process to ensure compliance with INEC’s guidelines. The continuous voter’s registration, which is an indispensable electoral activity with direct implication on the credibility of an election, also provides an opportunity for Nigerians to assess the commitment of INEC to deliver credible, free and fair elections.
Participants at the workshop.
12 | Friday, March 7, 2014
Conscience Nurtured by Truth
FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011) Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816
Editorial Of selective law enforcement HE embargo placed by the police on political, socio-cultural and reliT gious rallies at airports may have been well-intentioned to assist in law enforcement but selective enforcement of orders run counter to the principles of fairness and equity. This does no credit to the enforcing authority especially with the political season now almost in full bloom. So, all other institutions of government that are charged with unbiased service to the country must work for the collective interest of the citizens. It is instructive that law enforcement agencies have never come off clean of allegations of abuse of authority and double standards by opposition political camps since the birth of the Nigerian nation. Such perceived manipulation of especially the police by ruling parties at the centre is seen as an entry point to impunity and has no doubt been at the heart of many crises in the country and the current persistent calls for state police. Regrettably too, the police have not done much to disabuse the minds of critics as one unfortunate incident trails another in their handling of political matters especially in the states controlled by other parties. For instance, nearly all the state governors in Nigeria today complain of being chief security officers of their states only by designation. Some have been in perennial conflict with their state police commissioners who take directives only from the Inspector-General because of the central command nature of operations. Just as well, proponents of state police structure have publicly indicated intention to pursue the agenda at the forthcoming national conference. Indeed, that forum should provide Nigerians the opportunity of determining the desirability or otherwise of the agitations and make appropriate choices. For example, the reception the other day for the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Adamu Muazu at Bauchi Airport by party members who turned up in hundreds right up to the tarmac and round the aircraft conveying him irked the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which swiftly complained to the police. Barely three months earlier, Force’s spokesman Frank Mba had in a statement on November 6, 2013, slammed the no-airport-rally ban on politicians. The APC expectedly saw the police inaction on that occasion as a symptom of trouble to expect in the 2015 general elections. What is significant is APC’s observation that such incidents “required the police to be neutral and professional” in discharging their duties. Of course the police need not be reminded of this core value as professionals. Again, it needs no restating the fact that being non-aligned to, or not showing open partisanship to any one political group, places the police in good stead to command public respect. Moreover, it is imperative that the police stay at the forefront of institutions with the greatest respect for the provisions of the law. This is not to even talk of the illegality of any ban or threats of ban on peaceful assembly or association of people, or the incongruity of the oft-demanded permit from the police for political rallies. No doubt within available resources, the police have recorded some successes in the protection of lives and property, considering the many challenges facing the Force. By the same token, the Force has failed woefully to unravel not a few murder or criminal cases for inexplicable reasons. It is, more importantly, worrisome how the institution has allowed itself to be manipulated or used so often by politicians for selfish ends, men (and women) who are literally birds of passage. Too many instances could be cited but the most recent is the Rivers State saga where the most ignominious level of impunity was recorded as a police commissioner brazenly squared up to the state governor allegedly in connivance with political forces from the nation’s capital. Nigeria’s political system ought to have outgrown that obvious desecration of professional values. As parties and politicians step up activities towards the 2015 general elections, so much depends on the police to make a significant difference. The Force has to lead the way in matters of security by providing a level-playing field for political gladiators. The police remain the law enforcers and should under no circumstance cede that authority to any individual or group. No one is above the laws of the land, so the police must not be seen to be wearing down its own authority by pandering to the dictates of any interests.
Kwankwasiyya, what of rural dwellers? IR: Since the advent of democSmany racy in Nigeria in 1999, so unimaginable things have continued to take the centre stage in the polity. For many Nigerians, the story has been that of missed opportunities, dashed hope and outright betrayal of trust. In Kano and few other states in the federation, however, rays of hope seem to have been rekindled to some appreciable extent. But what could have been one of the best selling points for Kwankwasiyya administration in Kano which prides itself as following the foot-steps of the very best administrators of Kano State, in the person of the legendary Audu Bako, and flamboyant and eloquent Rimi of Sumaila, could be compromised by the apparent skewed, biased and lopsided distribution of capital projects in favour of city dwellers. So, given that Kwankwasiyya is at the twilight of its tenure, and taking into cognizance the many developmental projects that are being churned out here and there almost on a daily basis, various communities are also yearning not to be left out of the largesse. As at today, eight local government areas constituting metropolitan Kano have collectively cornered more than 80 per cent of all the ongoing projects in the state. And the remaining paltry 20 per cent is shared among the 36 other local governments leaving behind other major towns and villages across the state empty handed! One is at a loss
as to the fate of the rural dwellers with regard to democracy dividends under Kwankwasiyya administration since 2011. Apart from the five-kilometre road, which covers only local government headquarters, most of the big population centres like Tsakuwa town in Dawakin Kudu Local Government have not yet tasted the fruit of the unprecedented developmental projects of the Kwankwasiyya administration in Kano State. And this constitutes a costly oversight in the view of many discerning observers! The Yargaya to Tsakuwa road
covers not more that five kilometres. It stretches from Kano-toMaiduguri highway starting from Yargaya town and terminating at Tsakuwa. Along the road are located more than seven densely populated centres namely: Kantsi, Yargaya, Murass, Dosan, Daba, and Santolo. Majority of the people in these areas are farmers, toiling day and night to feed the nation. If this road is constructed, the economic benefit would be immense. Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso should, therefore, consider the role played by rural dwellers in his re-election in 2011. • Kabiru Tsakuwa, Tsakuwa2000@yahoo.com)
Adieu, Senator Isaiah Balat It is always a difficult task Sor IR:tohavedescribe people you know met, in the past tense. Senator Isaiah Balat was a good man, affable, cheerful, and a man of high principles. I am not surprised that his contemporaries say that he was a perfect gentleman. He was extremely nice to me when I met him in the mid-1990s on an official assignment to his office, GORA Oil Services, Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna State. Even without appointment, he listened to me without being snappy or in a hurry as most chief executives do and went over backwards to ensure that I got what I came for. The Senator finally encouraged me to work hard and be successful and never allow the
vicissitude of life to discourage me from reaching the top. He was so objective and stressed the importance of hard work for all youths. He was also humble enough to give me some anecdotes to buttress his points. I was happy for him, when I heard he was made a minister and later a Senator of the Federal Republic. I looked forward to the day I would see him again, but death has foiled this plan. I am consoled by the fact that while he was around, he fought a good fight and his impact on Nigerians, especially the youths of his geographical block was immeasurable. He will forever be in my thoughts having won my eternal respect. Rest in peace Sen. Isaiah Balat. • Simon Abah Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Friday, March 7, 2014
Opinion Parliamentarianism is great, but … By Anthony Akinola ONCE imposed upon myself the privilege of Imired having to challenge the view of the much-adGeneral Adeyinka Adebayo, former Military Governor of the defunct Western Region, on the desirability or otherwise of the presidential constitution. The elder statesman had, on one occasion, called for a return to the parliamentary system practised in the First Republic, describing it as the system bequeathed to us by our founding fathers. I chose to challenge his view for the simple reason that the parliamentary system was inherited from the colonialists and not something that can be attributed to the ingenuity of those we have come to accept as our founding fathers. The British did not invent the parliamentary system of government in a deliberate manner; it evolved with the history of their nation. The monarch “appoints” the Prime Minister, a tradition which began in 1721 when King George I, who was said to be unable to speak English, appointed Robert Walpole as “Leader of the Commons”. Be it the office of “Speaker” or that of “Chief Whip”, the British have a history as to how their political institutions evolved over time. Even today, the British Government “belongs” to the monarch and the Opposition is expected to be loyal. The British tradition has endured
centuries of practice; the British do not have a written constitution in the sense that there is no document that can be pointed at as such. Helped by the nearly homogeneous nature of society, the British system is driven by customs and usages. The founding fathers of America could have lazily embraced the parliamentary system as their inheritance, not least because their nation was also a colony of Britain. Instead of clinging to that, they charted a course of their own. Their constitution of 1787, the first written constitution in the world, introduced four concepts into the world of politics – presidential/congressional system, limited government, federalism and bi-camera legislature. The contents of the American constitution were largely informed by the views of three individuals – Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. The collection of their historical essays, The Federalist Papers, ranks next to the constitution itself as the most important document in American politics. They were informed patriots, not ethnic champions! The elements in the American constitution were geared, principally, at ensuring peaceful co-existence among autonomous states whose peoples held different values. For instance, every State is represented equally in the Senate while representation in the House is based on population. The need for a common purpose
is emphasised in a presidency whose occupant is elected nationally and sees the entire nation as his (or her) constituency. In spite of the diversity of interests in contemporary America, the presidency has proved to be a unifying influence and this explains why groups that would normally be at loggerheads are accommodated in two broad-based political parties. Were America to now opt for the parliamentary system, one would be surprised if “gays” and “lesbians” did not have their own political parties to contend with other interest groups such as anti-abortion, pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro-gun, etc! The institution of the presidency also explains why an otherwise divided Nigeria is on the verge of achieving an authentic two-party system, with politicians of various divides intermixing in a manner which would have kept the truly-nationalist founding fathers rejoicing in their graves. There was a time in the history of Nigeria when leaders of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) – the political party which predominated the politics of an era – did not seek direct political support in the southern regions. The politics of that era was characterized by opportunistic alliances of one set of ethnic groups against another, and the result was a civil war fought between 1967 and 1970. One other great advantage of the presidential system derives from the fact that the terms
of elected officials are fixed. For instance, the President cannot be removed from office, except for an impeachable offence. Even then, an impeached President is promptly replaced. This can hardly be said of the parliamentary system, in which “a vote of no confidence”, or even a disagreement among political parties in a coalition government, could mean there would be a need for an election. One cannot but admire the fact that America’s four-yearly presidential election has been consistent since George Washington was elected as first president in 1792. There is no doubt that the parliamentary system is great, even superior to the presidential alternative in some respects. It is much less expensive to manage, as it also compels greater accountability on the part of political actors. It invites great admiration when observed from a mature political culture where principles and policies triumph. Sadly, ours is far from being one. Religion and region compete and contend. The “informal coalition” of disparage interests, engendered by the presidential constitution, offers a greater prospect for peace in severely divided Nigeria. The agitation for a return to the parliamentary system, if prevailed, can only mean a return to another era of ethnic confrontation. • Dr. Akinola wrote from Oxford, United Kingdom.
Massacre of children : Enough is enough! By Babatunde Faniyan David went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom, my son, my son!” THAT was King David of the State of Israel of Old, in deep grief, as recorded by the Good Book at 2 Samuel 18:33, mourning the death of his son, Absalom. Absalom rebelled against his father spearheading a putsch to overthrow him as king of Israel. Yet, when Absalom met his death in the ignominious campaign, his father King David tore his robe, sprinkled ashes on his head, fasted, and wept bitterly. I have heard the tale of a mother-chicken that jumped at a swooping hawk which wanted to snatch one of its chicks. The mother-hen attacked the hawk ferociously, inflicting a debilitating wound to the hawk’s eye. The hawk, fatally wounded could no longer fly straight but was left floundering until it was caught and killed by men nearby! Yes that was a courageous hen – an unusual species. The act of the Mother-hen gives us an idea of the extrapolation that could be drawn to display the great lengths a human mother would/should go in the defence of her child. Stand up fellow Nigerians all those who had at one time or the other lost a child to that ultimate enemy, Death. Death through a traffic accident; or through a protracted illness. . . The grief of any normal parent would not be different from that of King David. And stand up fellow Nigerians all those who have children still living. Imagine that beloved child of yours. You, proud mother, carried him in your womb for nine months. You had a near-death experience in the labour room, giving birth to him. Thereafter, you tended him closely, not letting him out of your sight for about three years. And when he is old enough to go to school, you sent him to school. Looking forward in hope at the day this child will pass out of secondary school, complete his university education, and become a prominent actor on the socioeconomic landscape of the country. A source of Joy, Pride and succour to you, the parent. Now, imagine this child of yours in the secondary school. Monday, February 24, 2014, a typically eventful day. Bang! bang! bang! Part of the dormitory was on fire. Gun shots! This was no dream! Boko Haram! Now, the screams of fellow students under attack were very close – mingled with sporadic gunshots. Then the doors of the dormitory were burst open as about four strange men dashed into the hall. Andrew saw one of them grab Joshua, a light complexioned boy a year his senior. The man, gaunt, rough and with a beard grabbed Joshua. With one leg, the man swept Joshua’s two feet from under
him, falling him to the ground. Then your child saw the man put a knife to Joshua’s throat. . . Your child did not wait. He made a dash for the window. Dropping down from the windowsill, he saw a lot of action going on. He saw one of their female prefects, Cecilia from Kwara State being carried away by one of the men. Another girl was running away towards the field, but Andrew saw a man raise his gun and shot the fleeing girl from the back...confusion...horror... death. From a blissful sleep on his warm, soft, cozy bed inside the dormitory just five minutes earlier, the victim now writhed in his own expanding pool of blood on the hard bed of bloodied sparse, grassy ground. Andrew, just 16 years old is dead. And this was neither through a traffic accident nor a protracted illness. Andrew had not offended or quarrelled with anyone. There was no “war” on. He had no idea who his assailant was. Neither did the assailant know him. He was one of the official figure of 29 students of the Federal Government College in Yobe State who were murdered by Boko Haram militants on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Before this, some months ago, 40 children of the School of Agriculture, also in Yobe State had also been slaughtered by the same group of people. And the computation has been made that since June 2013 to February 2014 – a period of just eight months – a total of 140 students have been killed. This comes to 17.5 students slaughtered per month. I have been recounting the story of Andrew, the “unknown” child of one of the grieving parents of the 140 innocent slain students. The parents for these 140 children number an estimated 280. With their other children, and their extended families, the figure of the mourners come to at least 2,000. If these 2,000 “wounded” Nigerians come out en masse and make their intention known to proceed to Abuja to make their feelings known to President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly elite, they will not go alone. I am a parent who also has children in schools. It just so happens that I do not have a child among the slaughtered lot. But I am a parent just like them. And I cherish my children just as these grieving parents cherish theirs. I will join them on the march. And I dare say we could put in place a One Million-Man March on this. The wanton deaths of 140 children are more than worth it. Enough of crocodile tears As usual, our government officials have come out with volumes of condemnations against the “callous, inhuman, devilish, dastardly act”. All negative adjectives would be brought up to condemn the act. And then they will keep their peace and go about their normal lives; and the deaths would be forgotten – until the next carnage. Beyond these usual and recurrent verbal condemnations and
crocodile tears, concrete steps must be taken to stop this carnage. Pronouncements of some eminent Nigerians are instructive. Senate President David Mark says that the Boko Haram militants have declared war on us. And since they would not spare even children, it is a merciless, “no-holds barred” war. Does our Federal Government need to be reminded of this?! After the deaths of hundreds of children and thousands of others?! (An average of 17.5 of her children – innocent leaders of tomorrow – are being butchered per month). A responsible and responsive Federal Government should roll up her sleeves and give it what it takes to stop the insurgency. In a war, you go all out to get the wherewithal to win the war. You go for the necessary equipment, men, information and expertise to prosecute the war. If you don’t have what it takes at home, you go abroad to shop for them! There is nothing to be ashamed of in this. No country in the world is self-sufficient in everything. Our Federal Government should approach the more advanced countries – America, Israel, Britain, Russia, Japan, wherever! – to shop for more sophisticated military materials. They should employ the services of Superior Intelligence, Combat and Insurgency Experts. Even the advanced countries often cooperate militarily amongst themselves. Besides, the terrorist phenomenon is alien to our land. War against terror cannot be fought and won using conventional methods. If our Federal Government is serious about winning the war, if their tears over the deaths of hundreds of our innocent children are not crocodile tears; If they would not want Nigeria to be confirmed as a “Failed State” – one who cannot provide basic minimum protection for her innocent tender children, then it is time the government takes action beyond the ordinary. It is time our Federal Government takes serious, determined, steps concomitant with the terror menace. Report on Thursday 27. February says that the death toll of the Tuesday’s massacre had risen to 59! A prominent northern scholar was reported to have said that “If Goodluck Jonathan is removed as the president of the country, the menace of Boko Haram will stop”. If this report is true, the man should be closely and thoroughly investigated. Does he mean that the atrocities of Boko Haram are being geared against the Jonathan Presidency? Nigerian parents should arise, and should not be silent until our government takes concrete steps to stop the butchering of our children. Your child may not be among the victims today. But that butchered innocent child is related to you, as one of mankind. “The death of every man diminishes me because I belong to mankind”– John Donne, English poet (c. 1571-1631). • Faniyan, a communications consultant and author, wrote from Ikeja, Lagos
Friday, March 7, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Opinion Aregbesola: Less religion, more performance By Paul Ojenagbon OR Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the FSchool, uniform controversy at the Baptist High Iwo, was a sore point in recent time he would probably want to leave quickly behind. Ogbeni, as the easy going governor is called, shares a lot in common with my own state governor, Adams Oshiomhole – both great performers, progressive minded, courageous, dogged and not afraid to step on any one’s toes in the course of their many reforms. As a regular visitor to Osun since 2008, this commentator as an appreciative and concerned observer has seen enough on the ground and so thinks the governor does not deserve the furore generated by the uniform saga. Verifiable evidence abounds of the impressive work of transformation and modernisation the governor has done all over the state. It is unfortunate that the country has continued to allow itself held down by the dogmas of religion and ethnicity. Being a Christian by faith – I would rather have an honest, dynamic, astute Muslim leader who knows his onions and serves his people well than a fellow Christian leader who is incompetent and playing the religious and ethnic card to hold on to his office. These sentiments will not put food on the table nor will it bring regular power supply – the country’s major albatross – it will not ensure good health-care for the teeming population, it will not bring good roads and effective transportation nor generally the good things of life that ensure high standard of living. The country is getting increasingly divided along religious and ethnic lines with religious leaders and tribal chieftains who are supposed to know better fanning embers of divisiveness. But for the preponderance of thieving, divisive, selfish leaders, religion and ethnicity would not have too much relevance in the matters of governance. The sing-song all over the land is “it is our turn” (to steal from the public till)? How unfortunate. The country requires leaders who are
builders that can bring all the people together through good governance, dynamic, selfless leadership, and transparency with accountability to the people. A true good leader would not need to play any mischievous religious or ethnic card because as a rallying point, everyone would see him or her as “our governor”, “our president”, before any other consideration. In Osun State, political forces wearing the togas of religious bigots are working hard to undermine the impressive achievements of one of the best performing governors in the country. It is not how a governor or president dresses that makes him a good or bad leader. Some public commentators in recent write-ups even detest even the governor’s mode of dressing and labeled him as a Taliban. The governor’s humility and simplicity are ready qualities that announce his amiable personality and his mode of dressing is just one way to express it for the same reason, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State would always want to be identified of his pedigree as a labour leader and dresses in the famous Khaki attire as a comrade. In any case, the writer would have performing governor dressed the way he is rather than in silk Italian suits or flowing agbada and is not performing. Conversely, that a public officer wears cassock does not mean the public till is safe with him. The Aregbesola administration has been able to bring about pragmatic transformation in the various sectors of governance and compared with previous administrations in the state, there has been much impact and improvement. The government has also been able to reduce youth unemployment in the state through the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYEMS). Perhaps, the most endearing aspects of the Ogbeni reforms in the state are the social orientation and the egalitarianism thrust. The poor are well provided for and given a sense of belonging which is ab-
sent in most other governments throughout the country. Is Aregbesola really a zealot or fundamentalist? Is he out to Islamize Osun State? A fundamentalist definitely would have no tolerance for other religions and would not respect other religious viewpoints or associate with adherents of other faiths. Boko Haram offers a good example. The deputy governor and several aides in his administration are also Christians. Sometime ago, he hosted a PAN-Yoruba Conference aimed at forging Yoruba integration across the globe. He is also now involved in the building of 200,000 Christian Ecumenical Centre in Ilesha which commenced in December 2010 long before the crisis snowballed. Recently, he went on pilgrimage to Oke Maria to pray alongside some of his most vicious political opponents. To be surrounded by people of other faiths and to have taken part in various exercises of other religions shows that he is tolerant in his personal religious affairs. These are not qualities of a religious zealot. The governor has been grossly misunderstood because of his faithful adherence to his avowed faith and his critics are making a capital of it in an election year. There is no doubt that he fervently loves and practises his Islam faith on account of which some commentators have called him an Imam. But he does not hate the other religions and would not stop anyone from practising their own faith when he has not stopped his own close aides. It is understandable that Christians of whom the writer is one especially the Baptist Convention do not want ancient landmarks removed from the Baptist High School. But beyond this posturing, many Christian leaders in Nigeria today can be likened to the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus Christ labelled as hypocrites in the Bible. They don’t see anything wrong in acts of injustice, maladministration, corruption, and wasteful government spending as long as they are benefitting from
them. They are hobnobbing with political leaders to enrich themselves. President Goodluck Jonathan has been junketing from church to church and not one of those pastors has been bold enough to tell him (amongst others) of his wasteful spending of Nigeria’s resources with the 11th plane about to be added to his presidential fleet. These leaders have lost the right to be the moral conscience of the society. Aregbesola is certainly not a Saint as any other mortals and political leaders. His greatest weak point is allowing his controversial nature speak louder than his true good intentions and acts and having been unable to assuage the fears of Christian leaders in the state, accommodate them and letting them know that he means well for them and all Osun people. The response of the government machinery to the barrage of orchestrated phantom attacks was (strangely) operationally inept and strategically pedestrian. As the controversy brewed, the state government should have come out decisively before now to stop the practice; though the governor in a recent address stated that the government did not approve the use of hijab in any school at any time. The governor as leader and father of the state should also try to carry the Christian faithful along and continually reassure them of government’s resolve to protect their rights of worship. The state government could also review the policy of reclassification and mergers of schools to allow harmony. As done successfully in Lagos, mission schools could be handed over to their owners to manage themselves, spend their own money on them and dictate their terms. Sometimes, some of the best programmes of the greatest leaders are not appreciated at first until the passage of time. The “Jakande” houses in Lagos were much derided but today are lauded and relevant. Besides, it is inevitable not to step on big toes in order to have lasting legacies established in any system. Ogbeni would need a big heart to achieve that. • Ojenagbon lives in Lagos.
Dealing with terrorism financing in Nigeria By Albinus Chiedu N recent years, the spate of terrorism, which the Advanced IofLearner’s Dictionary defines as the use of violent action or threats violent action for political purposes, has not only grown in dimension, but constituted a distraction to the government of the day. International terrorism and domestic terrorism are the two major types of terrorism which come in various forms. There is social terrorism, featuring criminal activities such as armed robbery, rape and so on. There is religious terrorism involving religious contentions that most times result in destruction of worship centres, and industrial terrorism that features strikes, industrial disputes and others. Political terrorism features political thuggery, bombing of public institutions and such like, which target the government of the day. Although terrorism experts are of the opinion that the duty of deterring, detecting and disrupting terrorist activities is an all-stakeholder affair, exposing and dismantling the financing channels and sources of funding for this heinous crime is critical in the fight against terrorism. The Head, Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) Office, Nigeria, Timothy Melaye reportedly explained of recent that just as fishes need water to stay alive, terrorism thrives on funding. He stated that the continued security challenges faced by Nigeria through Boko Haram will continue until the government and other agencies, including international bodies are able to drain funding for terrorist activities. President Goodluck Jonathan had stated at the interactive session of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland in January 2013 that the attractive financial rewards gotten as ransom for hostage taking and drug trafficking was responsible for the increasing rate of terrorism in Africa. Terrorist financing refers to the processing of funds to sponsor or facilitate terrorist activity and it constitutes a major infrastructure for the thriving of terrorism. The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stated that globally, bulk cash smuggling is usually associated with proceeds of crime, where illegitimately earned funds are processed outside the banking system. The commission’s Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde recently at a press interview identified the Bureau De Change (BDCs) as major conduits for funding bulk currency movements, which obliterate the tracks of huge funds stolen from the treasury. He therefore passionately pleaded with banks to be more circumspect, and to also, thoroughly document their forex sales to the BDCs, so as to facilitate investigations of corrupt practices. The difference between official and black market exchange rates has continued to be between N5 and N10, a margin, which is still attractive enough to encourage underhand practices in the banks. Ac-
cording to a Nigeria-based economist, Mr. Henry Boyo, it is not safe for public sector dollars to be liberally sold to the BDCs, whose cash flows are traditionally derived from the itinerant tourist market. The free access to public sector dollars made available to the BDCs by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is contributory to the motivation for money laundering and currency trafficking. These crimes are facilitators of terrorism financing. The CBN, therefore, has a lot of work to do concerning the regulation of bulk financial movements to check terrorism financing. There is need for a review of the apex bank’s January 2014 directive to banks to sell forex on demand to the BDCs, so as to increase dollar supply, and reduce the margin between official and black market exchange rates, without minding the antisocial threat of money laundering, bulk money trafficking and possibly, terrorism financing. The CBN cash withdrawal limit policy should be strictly implemented, particularly during general elections in Nigeria. The CBN should also ‘redflag’ accounts where substantial currency transactions take place, particularly if it is owned by countries that have been designated as high risk such as lran, Mauritania, Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and other nations associated with violent religious groups. Insulating financial reporting systems are required. The apex bank should also request banks to submit financial transactions of its most active customers, including private investment companies, Non-Governmental Organisations, consulate accounts, brokers and anyone with access to government assets. The Federal Government should adequately fund the training of Nigeria’s police operatives on investigation of financial crimes and criminal transactions. Security agencies in collaboration with banks and other financial institutions in the country should monitor accounts belonging to foreign embassies, politically exposed persons and other high net worth individuals, which could be used to launder money and finance terrorism. This is because stolen public funds could constitute part of terrorism funds. In a corruption-friendly country like Nigeria, such high net worth individuals should include former heads of state, state governors, local government chairmen, senior government, and political party officials and their family members. The implementation of key laws within the borders must ensure that terrorism funds are not easily moved through the borders, airports or even through banks unnoticed. There has to be enough systems in place to prevent such transfer or ensure that they are used for the purpose they were meant for. Government should also ensure that people do not easily buy weapons by putting in the right structures in place. The porousness of borders, airports and seaports that encourage smuggling, money laundering and drug trafficking should be checked by government. Outside the social media, media organizations suspected to be working for terrorist organizations should be thoroughly investi-
gated. Nigeria’s poverty rate of over 70 per cent and unemployment rate of over 24 per cent with 38 per cent of unemployed in the 15-24 year bracket and 22.4 per cent in the 25-44 year bracket, are conditions that have helped to create enabling environment for the recruitment and radicalization of deprived youths for terrorist activities. Government has to make frantic efforts to address youths unemployment problems and minimize youths vulnerability to terrorism recruitment. According to Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the source of funds for terrorist financing may be legal as well as illegal and the financiers seek to convert these into support for an illegal act. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) explains that terror networks often use compromised or complicit charities and businesses to support their objectives. For example, some groups have links to charity branches in high-risk areas and/or under-developed parts of the world where the welfare provision available from the state is limited or non-existent. In this context, groups that use terrorism as a primary means to pursue their objectives can also utilise affiliated charities as a source of financing that may be diverted to fund terrorist attacks and terrorist recruitment by providing a veil of legitimacy over an organisation based on terrorism. Melaye identified some signals for suspicion: “For instance, if someone in Afghanistan is sending $10 million to support the mosque in Maiduguri, then there is a problem. It is a suspicious transaction. Although it is a noble thing to do, at the same time, it is a suspicious transaction which must be reported and checked,” he said. The false perception that oil is still Nigeria’s highest revenue generation source should be corrected, considering the amount of revenue generated by the customs and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). This erroneous opinion could sustain on-going cases of missing funds from the financial system and create opportunities for such funds to play into the hands of terrorist sponsors. To increase monitoring of criminal activities and prosecution of those who habour terrorists or create haven for their activities, there is an urgent need to fix the prevalent electricity power issues and make the installation of CCTV Cameras on Nigerian streets a fruitful exercise. All suspected terrorists and agents arrested by security agencies should be made to expose their sponsors and such sponsors when discovered, should be prosecuted and seen to be prosecuted. Sponsors of terror cells residing in neighbouring countries should also be investigated, exposed and prosecuted through collaboration with governments of those countries. Disrupting funding flows creates a hostile environment for terrorism, constraining overall capabilities of terrorists and helping frustrate their ability to implement attacks. • Chiedu, a Public Affairs analyst/CEO, is with Output Communications, Lagos.
BUSINESS Friday, March 7, 2014
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Business Govt secures $1b for agric infrastructure projects From Joke Falaju, Abuja HE Federal Government T has secured Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the tune of $1billion (N162 billion) to help in the provision of basic agriculture infrastructure in the selected Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) across the country. The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who disclosed this in a chat with pressmen in Abuja, said that the government has been sourcing for fund from international donors to help provide basic infrastructural facilities like roads, electricity, water supply, among others, in the selected 14 in the country. “The development of the SCPZs has received strong support from international organizations, especially the World Bank, DFID, the African Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Industrial D e v e l o p m e n t Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Development Program
(UNDP), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “The development partners have committed a total of $2 billion towards the agricultural transformation agenda, including the development of the Staple Crop Processing Zones”, he said. Analysis of the infrastructure costs for the SCPZs master plan carried out by the United Nation’s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) had put the total expenditure plan for the SCZPs at $1.1billion. A breakdown of it revealed that $181.4 million would be needed for providing infrastructure in Badeggi area of Niger state, around rice value chain, while $151.1million would be spent in Gafan area of Kano state around tomato, rice and sorghum value chain. Infrastructure provision in Omo area of Anambra State around rice value chain would gulp $186.6 million; $76.6 million would be used to provide infrastructure in Okolo area of Rivers State in fish value chain, while that of Alape area of Kogi state around cassava value chain would gulp
$314.7 million, and $149.7 million would be needed for infrastructure provision in Adani area of Enugu State around rice value chain. The minister noted that when SCPZs are fully operational, they would generate additional revenue of N1.4 trillion to government coffers and create 200,000 jobs.
He added: “The SCPZs will reduce the cost of doing business for agro-processors to ensure their competitiveness, and to create ready markets for Nigerian farmers, thereby reducing post-harvest losses. He stressed that to revive the economy in rural areas, the SCPZs would be complemented with the establishment of Agro-Industrial
Towns (AIT), which would develop social infrastructure in the rural areas, including affordable housing for young commercial farmers, making living in the towns around the SCPZs attractive for the youths, reduce rural to urban migration and unleash hope for economic prosperity all across the rural areas.
Adesina pointed out that the target of the SCPZs was to facilitate agro-processing environments that would be used to attract private sector investments into the local production and processing of Nigerian agricultural produce, with the primary goal of substituting imports and adding value to local agriculture produce.
CPC summons telecoms firms over poor service delivery HE Consumer T Protection Council has summoned the Chief Executive Officers of telecommunications companies in Nigeria following consumer complaints about poor service delivery by operators. Operators present at the meeting held in Abuja, yesterday included Visafone, Airtel and MTN, among others. Speaking with journalists after the meeting, the Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, said the meeting discussed ways of addressing various consumer complaints arising from poor network, unsolicited services, unlawful deductions/ wrong billings, exploitative automated services, unauthorised SIM swaps/ line disconnection, poor Internet service and poor customer service. She said, “I called the meeting of all the CEOs of telecommunications operators in Nigeria to discuss issues that all Nigerian subscribers are aware of. These main issues that are of concern to Nigerian consumers are: drop calls, truncated services poor network, unsolicited services, unlawful deductions/wrong billing, exploitative automated service and poor customer. I commend the operators that attended. Some of them did not attend.
“However, I am glad to report that we had a fruitful deliberation. The telecoms operators have recognised that these are valid concerns. But the stand of CPC is that consumers must get value for the money they pay for telecommunications services.” She added, “This is the appropriate time for us to have this dialogue in order to lay to the table these issues that affect the Nigerian consumers. We have come to the conclusion that there will be another meeting to further deliberate on the various challenges and issues that border on the complaints that have been raised so that we can come to an identifiable conclusion on the way forward.” Atoki noted that while CPC was aware of some challenges of doing business which the government was currently addressing, such challenges would not serve as genuine excuses for operators to short-change consumers. She said, “CPC maintains that despite whatever challenges the operators are facing, consumers must get value for their money. The challenges of doing business cannot be an excuse why consumers cannot get value for their money. So, the consensus CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
Director, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc,Mrs. Florence Seriki (left); Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Lekan Sanni; Chairman, Dr. Dele Makanjuola and Managing Director, Joel Ajiga at the yearly general meeting of the company in Lagos.
NSIA earmarks $100m to develop power industry By Ade Ogidan, with agency reports HE Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has set aside $100 million from its Infrastructure Fund to develop the nation’s power sector. For effect, the authority has been reaching out to other co-investors to build private pool of funds up to $300 million for the strategic sector’s development. NSIA’s Chief Executive Officer, Uche Orji, said in Lagos that its Infrastructure Fund would now be focused on four to five areas of agriculture, power, real estate, health and motorways. Orji explained that there were many foreign investors interested in investing in Nigeria and that the power sector “is an area where we can do a lot”. The NSIA boss said that all its resources in the Stabilisation Fund had been invested, adding that the organization had appointed
Unfolds development plans for other sectors three managers to manage its resources and all were performing to expectations. According to him, agriculture, real estate, transportation and health sector also benefitted, stressing that NSIA would partner other equity partners to raise funds for the Second Niger Bridge. The NSIA, he said, has also been seeking private partners for the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. On real estate, he disclosed that the authority had invested in the Mortgage Refinance Company to accelerate direct investments in that sector and would seek opportunities to facilitate the delivery of affordable, accessible and high quality healthcare services in Nigeria. According to him, the subsidiaries that have already been incorporated are NSIA
Motorways Company Ltd, NSIA Power Investment Company Ltd, NSIA Health Care Investment Company Ltd and NSIA Real Estate Investment Company Ltd. He said that the NSIA had allocated $100 million (about N16.2 billion) to the power sector and had an agreement with a private equity company to invest 200 per cent of the amount in the sector. Orji explained that there were lots of opportunities in the sector, saying that the authorities were looking at power generating companies, distribution companies and opportunities for Greenfield and secondary investors. “There are a lot of opportunities, but we are not close to announcing any at this stage,’’ he said. Orji also said that NSIA has interest in the power-to-gas funding with the recent
$550 million (about N89.1billion) allocated to the programme by the Federal Government. He also disclosed that the investment authority had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a firm, AMASinohydro, to collaborate on investment opportunities in hydro-electric power plants, multi-purpose dam, real estate and transportation infrastructure. ``We are now the lead financing partner in the consortium for the second Nigeria Bridge with responsibility to invest our equity and attract other equity partners and raise debt for this project. ``We already have soft commitment from potential equity partners and this will be the first federally-tendered Private-PublicCONTINUED ON PAGE 16
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Dickson signs Bayelsa’s N322b appropriation bill into law By David Ogah OVERNOR Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, yesterday, signed the state’s 2014 appropriation bill of N332 billion into law, amidst call for the expansion of the Internal General Revenue (IGR) base, saying the recent economic downturn which led to sharp reduction in the State’s monthly allocation from the federation account was worrisome. Speaking at the signing ceremony in Yanegoa , which had in attendance the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson, top gov-
ernment functionaries and host of others, the Governor expressed concern over the decline in the monthly allocation from the federation account. According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworisn-Markson, the Governor disclosed that allocation to the state had nosedived by about N5 billion, adding that necessary economic measures were needed to be put in place to avoid its negative impact on the economy of the state. He said it was in anticipation of the impending economic downturn that his administration took steps
NSIA unfolds development plans CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 Partnership project in motorways in Nigeria. “We believe the negotiated construction cost will be bankable in the current structure,’’ he said. Orji told the media that concession agreement negotiation on the bridge project had commenced, adding that announcement of a timetable for getting to a “financial close” on the project would be made soon. He expressed hope that with the NSIA equity, Julius Berger’s, “soft commitment from other equity partners and government viability funding”, work on the project would begin this month. He said that the body had
been negotiating for core infrastructure investment on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. “we have also been on this for over 10 months and hopefully, we can reach an agreement on a bankable structure”, he added. On real estate, the NSIA boss said that investment would be on tools that would accelerate the market. He said that the authorities have been negotiating with a state government and the Federal Capital Territory for affordable housing programme. ``Our strategy is to invest ‘via funds’ as well as make direct investments in areas that would help accelerate the agriculture market.
Laments fall in revenue from federation account to create alternative sources of income flow to boost the revenue profile of the government. To this end, the Governor directed members of his economic team to expeditiously work out modalities to cut down on the state wage bills such as remunerations approved for parastatals and travel allowances for government functionaries, including himself. According to him, just like other states, “we are also experiencing a terrible decline in our inflows. This is why we have always exercised maximum prudence particularly in approvals that are related to recurrent expenditure. “I am directing the economic team to implement
an appropriate reduction of all recurrent approvals beginning with Government House expenditures. We had reduced it significantly before, but in the light of the new realities, I’m giving this directive that we need to review most of our expenditure patterns. For example, issues that have to do with travels and allowances of members of the executive council. “The Commissioner for Finance and his team should also look at the remunerations that we have approved for the parttime appointees of Government. This should be done in such a way that we would be able to cope with the stress that has
been induced by the reductions in our inflows”. While thanking the leadership and members of the State House of Assembly for the speedy passage of the bill, the Governor called on the people of the state to continually show understanding and cooperation by living up to their civic obligations. “ Starting things like this from a culture where we don’t pay tax and contribute to development, but only expect and abuse, I know the transition could be difficult painful and even be misunderstood. But, as leader of this government I will be failing in my duty, if I don’t point out the dangers. It is a different thing if we don’t understand, but I have a duty to
explain and let it be said when that day comes that, there was a Governor who saw that possibility and worked hard to avert it. “Already it is happening for reasons that are not under our control even with the crude sale and the price of oil that is not affected. From when I started till now, our monthly revenue has dropped by over N5 billion. So, if we are not careful to build alternative revenue sources, we will get to a situation where the Federal revenue will not be enough to enable us meet our minimum obligation as a State, particularly bearing in mind the very high wage bill that is higher than that of any other state in this country, he added”
NCP hands over Olorunsogo power plant to SEPCO By Roseline Okere HE National Council on T Privatization (NCP) has handed over Olorunsogo Power Plc to SEPCO Pacific Partners Limited, bringing to 16, the total number of power assets transfered to the private sector in the last four months. The Chairman of NCP and Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo noted that since the passage of Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005 and the unbundling of NEPA into 18 successor companies, very little was done to advance the reform of the power sector until the coming into Power of President Goodluck Jonathan led to the enunciation of the Transformation Agenda of the nation’s econ-
omy. The Vice President, who was represented by the DirectorGeneral of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, at the handover ceremony, said the reform and privatization programme would not have been possible without the leadership, unparalleled support and commitment of President He added that the provision of stable power remained imperative to drive the economic transformation of Nigeria. Sambo noted: “It was the realisation that Nigeria will not attain the desired economic growth without adequate power that informed the power sector reform.” “Reform in this very critical sector commenced in 1999,
with the inauguration of the Electric Power Implementation Committee (EPIC)”, this he said “culminated in the development of the National Electric Power Policy 2001; the enactment of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act 2005, and establishment of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to facilitate the repeal of the now defunct NEPA Act. The new Act gave rise to the creation of 18 successor companies from the unbundled PHCN in three categories, viz; Generation (six companies); Transmission (one company); and Distribution (11 companies.)” He noted that reform was a necessary tool for laying a solid foundation for sustainable power generation and service efficiency in the sector and the privatisation of the sector was a key component of the reform and a pre-condition for the start of a competitive electricity market in Nigeria. He expressed hope that the “participation of the private sector would bring about higher generation capacities through the provision of more efficient and cost effective power stations and improvements in electric power distribution, in the areas of billing and collection, transmission networks.” He noted that such capital injection and efficiency have been inadequate in PHCN over the years, resulting in gross inadequate power supply with the attendant nega-
tive effects on the citizenry and the economy at large. The Vice President pointed out that the Transformation Agenda of the present administration seeks to continue to open up other sectors of the economy to private sector investments, adding that this would free government resources for the provision of social services to the Nigerian people. Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of SEPCO-Pacific, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke noted that Olorunsogo Power Plc was SEPCO’s first venture outside China, but has since built over 10,000 mega watts of power in India, Iran and Saudi Arabia. He reiterated the belief of SEPCO-Pacific in Nigeria economy. Adeleke poured encomiums on the staff of BPE, adding: “I have not met a crop of individuals that are as committed, as straight forward as BPE staff”. He noted that it was the commitment and transparency exhibited by the BPE that led to the success of Federal Government power reform and privatization program, despite all the challenges encountered. Dikki on his part emphasized that both the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and the BPE will continually monitor the operations of the successor companies and would not hesitate to sanction any core investor that does not deliver on the performance agreement that was executed with the Government.
CPC summons firms CONTINIUED FROM PAGE 15 that was reached during the meeting was that the consumer is the king and that the consumer who has expended money to buy airtime for a particular time and service is entitled to full value for that. “If there are challenges, we are ready to discuss within the capability of the CPC any solution to those challenges but we maintain that consumers must get value for their money.” “We are aware of the punitive measures by the
NCC on telecoms operators but these fines don’t translate into consumer redress or protection. That is why we need to agree on how the barrage of complaints from consumers are redressed,” the DG added. Speaking during the event, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubane Maska, said the complaints raised by the CPC were valid, adding that NCC would work together with CPC and the operators to ensure consumer satisfaction.
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TheMetroSection Pains Agbara residents go through • Bad roads, insecurity inflict hardship on people in an Ogun estate By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
We have endured the bad roads for the past three years but what we can’t endure any longer is the spate of insecurity that has descended on the once peaceful estate GBARA Industrial Estate is a fast-growing A town booming with property business and this is spearheaded by the Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC). The anticipated boom is not unconnected with the massive Lagos-Badagry road project embarked on by the Lagos State government. Until recently, landed property was at a “give away” price, but with ongoing road project coupled with the congestion in Lagos, more property investors are settling there for real business, with at least 30 estates along the axis at the moment commencing aggressive marketing to would-be investors. Besides, Agbara is home to a number of manufacturing companies. The location and accessibility of Agbara Estate makes it a strategic place to site an industry, since raw materials and finished goods can be easily transported to and from the factories. These include Beta Glass Nigeria Plc, Vitamalt, Pharma Deko, Nestle, Lotus Plastics, Reckitt Benckiser, DIL/Maltex, Evans Medical, Unilever, Colodense, GlaxoSmithkline, Cometstar Cables, and most recently, Procter and Gamble, which is constructing the largest of its plants in West Africa. Agbara Estate, a model integrated town development on 454.1 hectares of land, is being managed by AE Property Services Limited, a subsidiary of Lawsons Corporation Nigeria Limited. Sadly, residents of this sprawling industrial complex are burdened by infrastructural deficiencies which include bad roads, absence of fire-fighting station, indiscriminate dumping of refuse and industrial waste, ill-equipped Agbara sewage treatment plant and lingering legal tussle between the Estate Management and the village community. The biggest concern to private and corpo-
Heap of refuse on the deplorable road
The dreaded spot where car-snatching and kidnapping usualy take place fied the zone of death because of the increasrate residents of the estate is the deplorable ing activities of theft and car snatching at the state of the road leading into the estate and bad spots. connecting the inner-city roads from the Chairman of the Residents Association, Prof. Lagos-Badagry expressway. Tunde Fatunde, painting a graphic depiction The dreaded T-junction has now been classi-
of the plight of road users in the area, said: “The entrance into the estate is a death zone, especially any time after 6pm.” “They kidnap people and snatch cars at the bad spot regularly, because no matter how good your vehicle is, you are forced to slow down and this immediately makes you a target of attack. Before you know it, an okada rider is pointing a gun at your face and you can’t run because of the situation of the road.” “The situation is so bad that we record such incidences everyday. We have endured the bad roads for the past three years but what we can’t endure any longer is the spate of insecurity that has descended on the once peaceful estate. Our palliative efforts on the road is also not helped by the influx of heavy-duty trucks into the area,” he lamented. Corroborating the situation in Agbara, immediate past Chairman of Ado-Odo Ota Local Council of Ogun State, Abayomi Tella, told The Guardian that the road is bringing a lot of havoc to residents. “I plead with the governor to intervene and allow people to sleep with their two eyes closed. For the purpose of record, Agbara used to be very peaceful.” “Problem started when Agbara Estate as an entity brought in thugs, Ajagungbales (land grabbers) to wage war against property developers and you know those people, once they come in they don’t leave. This situation has heightened insecurity that today, I cannot drive my car on this road by after 7.00pm.” Tella added that during his time in office, he had attempted to tar the road, but was prevented by the estate management firm, which insisted it was a private road. “They even went ahead to introduce tolling on the road, which they collected for nine good years until the youths of the community rose against them.” “I am one of the people that took them to court to cede back the road to government so it caould be repaired. I do hear that they collected money from industrialists in the area to tar the road, but nothing has been done to alleviate the pains of residents.” When contacted, officials of the management firm refused to speak to The Guardian, as they insisted that the issues raised by residents are private not public matters, since Agbara is a private estate.
Police apprehend highway robber, female cult member in Kwara From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin NOTORIOUS four-member armed robbery gang believed to have come from neighbouring Nasarawa State, who have been terrorising users of highways in and around Kwara State in recent times, have been nabbed by men of the Kwara State Police Command. The dare-devil armed bandits had gone to rob 13 female traders who had come from Ilesha, Osun State to buy food items, where they were sleeping, a day before the usual early morning Wednesday Tsaragi Market in Gbuugbu area of Kwara. The traders, who said they were robbed of a sum of money totalling over N1million, added that the hoodlums molested some of them. “We just heard sporadic gun shots from the hoodlums at about 2.00 a.m. at Gbugbu where we usually sleep a day before every Wednesday Tsaragi Market day. They succeeded in collecting all our money and even injured some of us while beating us with sticks. We are calling on police authority and government
to help us recover our money,” one of the traders pleaded. Speaking while parading one of the four suspects, (three others are at large) among other criminal suspects arrested in the past two weeks in different parts of the state, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ambrose Aisabor, said the armed bandits were arrested based on intelligence gathering mechanism. Aisabor said his men of the federal highway patrol team, intercepted a vehicle, Opel Vetra with registration number-Plateau BSA 24 XA along Tsaragi/Lafiagi/Yikpata Road, with four occupants. He disclosed that three of the occupants escaped into the bushes and one of them was arrested while his men were searching the vehicle. “On investigation, it was discovered that the suspects were part of the dare-devil armed gang terrorising highways in and around Kwara State in recent times and were on a mission to rob people going to Wednesday Tsaragi Market before they ran into impregnable security cordon of men,” he said.
Exhibits allegedly found on the suspects included two AK 47 rifles, four magazines, 279 AK 47 life ammunition, five handsets, five shirts, three pairs of native dress, two jackets, three trousers, three caps, one handbag, one woman pocket, one local charm, one native cap and the sum of N233, 225,” he said. The Police Commissioner also paraded a suspected cult member, a female student of College of Technology, Offa, for allegedly luring her friend to be gang-raped by five of her cult members. The suspect confessed in an interview with reporters in Ilorin that she was also gang raped much earlier by four boys before she was later initiated into the cult group. She said she had earlier lured her friend to be raped by her cult friends because she declined joining them in spite of all efforts and pressures mounted on her. The female suspect also said that she regretted her action having been arrested by the police and more importantly that she was not gaining anything from the cult activities.
Lagos Assembly stalls proposed demolition of over 600 houses in Ikorodu • Confirms new appointments By Wole Oyebade ENDING its hearing on the matter, the Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered that the planned demolition of over 600 houses on Ikorodu axis of the state be put on hold. The order, which was in reaction to Save-Our-Soul (SOS) cries from the residents, forbids the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban
Development from pulling down houses in Parafa, Ikorodu Local Council. Meanwhile, the Lagos Assembly on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Chairman and members of Lagos State Audit Service Commission and Public Procurement Agency (PPA). Modupe Akinwolemiwa was confirmed as Chairman of the Audit Service Commis-
sion, while Olalekan Lasisi and Segun Kenneth Odusanya were also confirmed as members. Confirmation of Olusola Adeosun and Nasir Adisa into the commission was, however, deferred by the House. The Assembly moved a motion against the demolition exercise, pending the hearing of a report that was recently submitted by its adhoc committee, which had investigated the matter. Over 600 houses, al-
legedly under acquisition and already marked for demolition are to be pulled down by the Lagos authorities to make way for the proposed Ikorodu Regional Market. The exercise was initially scheduled for this weekend. Retirees and senior citizens currently occupy most of the houses. Prime Mover of the motion and member of the adhoc committee that had looked into the matter,
Sanai Agunbiade informed the lawmakers that a report on the matter was due to be debated by the House, adding that it amounts to fait accompli if the demolition exercise was not put on hold. Agunbiade added that his discussion with the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development revealed that the ministry was eager to pull down the houses as soon as possible.
He argued that demolition of the houses would make nonsense of the report and a decision, which is due to be taken by the House. In his ruling, Deputy Speaker of the House, Taiwo Kolawole directed the Clerk to get in touch with the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to stay action on the demolition exercise. The committee’s report may, however, not be heard until March 17, 2014 when the House reconvenes.
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18 Friday, March 7, 2014
College of Medicine commissions refurbished gate
Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Rahamon Bello (left), Chief Obafemi Olopade and others at the commissioning of College of Medicine (University of Lagos)’ s Main Gate area at Idi-Araba, Lagos PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO
By Isaac Taiwo HE commissioning of the T new College of Medicine Gate, University of Lagos, Idi-araba was carried out at a short but colourful ceremony that was witnessed by the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Rahamon Bello, the Provost of the Col-
lege of Medicine, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Akin Oshibogun and senior members of staff of the College. The commissioning was carried out by Chief Obafemi Olopade. Speaking at the occasion,
Bello expressed his delight at the magnanimity of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of the Zenith Bank for financing the project. “The entire environment of the college is being looked at, starting from the gate as we have taken the time to walk to the gate as well as
through the entire environment to look at the situation and condition of the premises.” “We give kudos to the Zenith Bank because the environment of the gate used to be flooded and messy but with this new gate and the environment given a facelift, that problem is over.” “We are also going to be looking at improving the walkways and ensuring that we have shrubs along the major walk ways and paths as we can even see that some of them are already being refurbished. “Apart from that, we are going to concentrate more on academic infrastructure, looking at the provision of facility for teaching, learning and research.” “We are going to refurbish all the academic facilities including the classrooms, the theatres, the laboratories among others and make them the standard expected of a first class university.” “The contract is almost being awarded and within the next few months it will be awarded and things will begin to happen. We are providing new equipment and laboratory that would make this place to look like what it was in the past and what it should be in the
31 pupils rushed to hospital as chemical explodes in Lagos By Odita Sunday O fewer than 31 pupils of Ogba Junior High School, Ikeja, were rushed to the hospital following a chemical explosion from a Laboratory in Ogba Industrial Estate, which the students allegedly inhaled. The 31 students were said to have collapsed when the chemical emission from the laboratory company filled the air. The victims were rushed to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, where they are receiving medical attention. The Lagos State govern-
ment has temporarily closed down the school. Also affected by the chemical is a shopping plaza close to the scene. There was pandemonium at the area as those doing business at the plaza were said to have started closing their shops for fear of being affected by the ‘evil’ chemical. An eyewitness, Jonh Kasali, suspected that the chemical might be toxic. According to him over 31 students were rushed to the hospital. He said the students were in their various classrooms when the incident occurred. He noted that parents
rushed down to the school searching for their children and those who were fortunate to see their children were able to take them home while those who could not see theirs were said to have rushed down to the hospital. Lagos State Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who confirmed the incident, said only eight pupils critically affected were rushed to LASUTH. Ozoani confirmed that there was chemical emission, which affected the pupils.
He said policemen, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Fire Brigade, and other security agencies were at the scene to control the situation. He added that LASEPA would soon ascertain the kind of chemical that caused the problem. He advised Lagosians not to panic as the situation was under control. It would be recalled that late last year, a similar incident occurred in the same school and the Chemical Company beside the school was shut down. The Guardian gathered that the company was later reopened.
modern era. Fortunately, we have enough resources to do that from the money coming in from the government. We are going to have everything unique in this university in line with those things that are available in other modern universities. In a nutshell, we are going to make our College of Medicine unique for the training of medical personnel and by the time we start commissioning within a few months, we will start to see changes and development we are talking about,” Bello said. Ogunsola said the construction and commission-
ing of the gate was part of the 50th anniversary of the institution and expressed appreciation with the CSR of Zenith Bank. “We look forward to more productive collaboration in future,” she said. The General Manager, Zenith Bank, Bukky Latunji said the management of the Bank through its CSR Department was pleased to provide a befitting gate to the College in line with the Bank’s commitment at assisting its admirers with infrastructures while looking for more interesting dealings with the College in future.
Briefs Prestige tasks media to popularise spoken word poetry, performance By Cleopatra Eki FEANYI Bernard (aka Prestige) is a poet, teacher and performer. He is also a strong advocate of spoken word perIformance and poetry. He recently observed that people prefer to use musicians and comedians to spice up their occasions and entertain guests, but not spoken word poets or performers. As a result, he called on the media to help popularise spoken word poetry by promoting it, as music and comedy have been promoted for popular acceptance. The Chemical Engineering graduate of the Anambra State University, said his life revolves around teaching and poetry, saying he is an embodiment of inspiration. Art to him means “an expression of arts through body gestures, music, performances through dancing, spoken words and a host of others. Art is performance. It could be experimented with music, drama and dance. Combined together they come out richer with more flavours”. Prestige pointed out that he had written several poems namely ‘The Truth’, ‘The inmost’, ‘Me and you’, ‘Think is a waste’, ‘Activate your words’, ‘Deep words for a brother and mind shield’. But his favourite one is ‘The Truth’. He said he would soon ‘embark on teaching the truth campaign’ to rescue our students/pupils, saying, “I believe in ‘Catch them young’. He called on the media to support his ‘Truth Campaign School Project’. According to him, the aim of the campaign “is to fight injustices and corruption. You cannot administer justice without knowing the truth. Truth is a strong factor that can help to curb corruption in our nation. Children are the wealth of the nation and the future leaders. I have composed a poem titled ‘The Truth’, which I intend to teach in both primary and secondary schools, starting with students/pupils from Lagos State, who would be taught and daily recite this poem alongside the national anthem. They would have the poem in their subconscious always, knowing the importance of telling the truth and embracing it whole-heartedly and equally grow up with it. I need the support of government, corporate bodies and the media to support the truth campaign through spoken poetry”.
Ogbakor Ikwerre (Lagos) meets Sunday HE general meeting of Ogbakor Ikwerre (Lagos) will hold on T Sunday, March 9, at Club 1919, Nigerian Railway Compound, opposite AP Filling Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos at 3.00p.m.
Florence Ojei -Okowi for burial Today Florence Ojei – Okowi, aged 37 , is dead. She died in a MRS. ghastly motor accident at the Onitsha Niger Bridge on Saturday February 8, 2014. She will be buried Today at her home town, Issele – Azagba , Aniocha North Council of Delta State.
Ogunsuyi, 68, for burial RS. Cecilia Omosa OgunM suyi (nee BelloOmonomose), who died recently at the age of 68, will be buried today at her residence, 9, Iyahen Street, G.R.A. Benin City. Entertainment of guests continues on Saturday at No. 29, Longe Avenue, off Omoma Street, Oko Central Road, Benin City at 11.00a.m. A thanksgiving service / reception holds on Sunday, March 9, at the Christ Apostolic Church, Ugbor Road, Benin City at 9.00a.m.
Friday, March 7, 2014 19
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War of words over National Health Bill
Arts & Culture P. 36
Business Travels P.46
theMercedes ‘ghost’ in Rolls-Royce Govt’s purging ‘We have not been fair to our history’ Feeling Still, vintage Benz C-class spree of aviation sector continues despite US FAA’s visit
20 WEEKEND Friday, March 7, 2014
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Pharmacist, health workers disagree Old wounds are opening up with the recent passage of the National Health Bill by the Senate. While doctors applaud the move, other stakeholders in the health sector are crying foul. CHUKWUMA MUANYA and EMEKA ANUFORO write on the underlying causes
Jonathan T was set for Presidential assent in May 2011 Isome but a disagreement among stakeholders over sections of the National Health Bill (NHB) forced President Goodluck Jonathan to return it to the National Assembly for amendment. Again, the Bill, which promises to ensure universal health coverage, has now been passed by the Senate and is awaiting passage by the House of Representatives. While medical doctors, human right activists and international health organisations are hailing the Senate over the passage, other health workers, including nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, constituting over 90 per cent of the human resource in the sector, are asking the lower house not to pass the Bill. Medical doctors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), and the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) are unanimous that when the NHB becomes a law it will ensure access to affordable and specialized health care, and stop medical tourism and brain drain. But other health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association (AHPA) have called on the National Assembly to reject the proposed NHB. They said it is an attempt by medical stakeholders to undermine the professional autonomy of other health professions. Indeed, there are fears that if stakeholders do not get their acts together, Nigeria may miss it again. History The NHB was first presented to the National Assembly in 2006, made its way through various bureaucratic bottlenecks, and was passed by the Senate in 2008, but not by House of Representatives. In May 2011, it was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate but was not assented to by the President, due to unhealthy disagreements and diverse interests of health professionals, religious groups’ coloration and political groups. The Senate resuscitated deliberations on the Bill in 2011 and held a public hearing in February 2013, and passed it on February 19, 2013. The bill is awaiting concurrence by the Federal House of Representatives before onward transmission to the President. The copy passed by the Senate and obtained by The Guardian is entitled the National Health Bill, 2014. Promises
Mark In plain language, the NHB seeks to provide a framework for the development and management of a health system within Nigeria. Among other things, it stipulates that the federal government would contribute one per cent from the consolidated revenue fund towards the development of primary health care in the country, while the state and local governments will provide counterpart fund to support primary health care services. President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said if the bill is signed into law, it will provide a package of basic healthcare services, including the provision of free medical care for children under five years, pregnant mothers, elderly people with disabilities, and improved funding through the setting up of a National Primary Healthcare Development Fund. Enabulele explained: “The National Health Bill captures the legitimate aspirations of Nigerians for improved access to quality healthcare services, aside from engendering an equitable healthcare system. The Bill, when it becomes law, will ensure that deaths amongst Nigerians, particularly the rural poor, as a result of their inability to pay for healthcare services including medical care for emergencies, will be drastically reduced. “The bill’s provisions will boldly tackle the vexatious issue of medical tourism and its current negative impact on Nigeria, as well as the gross abuse of tax payers’ money on account of the incessant foreign medical trips by political and public office holders in search of foreign medical attention for conditions that can effectively be treated in Nigeria.” The NMA President said the Bill also provides for stricter regulation of all medical referrals abroad and emphasises greater collaboration between public and private health care facilities in Nigeria. He said: “It is no longer a news that lots of Nigerians, including top political office holders travel frequently to other countries in search of medical care, even for medical conditions that can be satisfactorily managed in Nigeria. “Available evidence shows that over 5,000
Tambuwal Nigerians visit India and other countries every month for medical tourism with lots of these Nigerians faced with various risks and challenges including misdiagnosis, legal and ethical issues, exposure to infectious diseases, as well as other complications, particularly post-surgical complications. “On the average, over $800 million dollars is lost annually by Nigeria on account of foreign medical trips. The passage of the National Health Bill will help to substantially reverse the trend of frequent and sometimes unnecessary foreign medical trips, and make Nigeria a destination for medical tourism.” He added: “The provisions seek to enthrone quality healthcare facilities and services throughout Nigeria, through requirements for a Certificate of Needs and Standards before setting up public and private health facilities; provide for the regulation, standardization, due diligence, accountability, monitoring and evaluation of the health system and its performance. It will guarantee the sustained performance and improvement of Nigeria’s health system, and substantially reduce acts of quackery in the health sector. Executive Secretary of the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), Dr. Muhammed Lecky, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition, stressed that the bill would end the persistent disagreement among professionals in the sector as, according to him, it provides for responsibilities, roles, definitions and limitations of each professional body and also creates opportunity for all the health practitioners to make inputs into the yearly budgets of the health sector. Lecky said: “The health bill is the first to provide legislative framework and dedicated funding sources to primary health care and this includes the provision for a national primary health care, which will significantly increase government financing for primary care. The bill targets universal health coverage that provides for basic health services. The bill provides for standardization and regulation of health care practice promoting professionalism and eliminating quackery.” A report on ‘Ending Preventable Newborn
The National Health Bill captures the legitimate aspirations of Nigerians for improved access to quality healthcare services, aside from engendering an equitable healthcare system. The Bill, when it becomes law, will ensure that deaths amongst Nigerians, particularly the rural poor, as a result of their inability to pay for healthcare services including medical care for emergencies, will be drastically reduced
Deaths in Nigeria’ launched in Abuja urged the federal government to sign the bill into law this year and ensure that it is fully funded and implemented in all states to guarantee a free healthcare package for every child. Country Director of Save The Children, Susan Grant told The Guardian that the bill would be a major step in helping it revamp Nigeria’s healthcare system, “with huge impacts on maternal and newborn survival. She said: “The bill makes provision for two per cent of the federal government’s consolidated revenue to be allocated to primary healthcare. If effectively implemented, this could potentially help with much needed resources for states that are lagging behind in improving healthcare delivery. This, however, must be complemented by increased expenditure on health by all states to help balance out inequalities between them.” The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) saluted the National Assembly for what he described as the ‘magnanimity’ it has shown in passing the longstanding National Health Bill. National Coordinator of the Association, Emmanuel Onwubiko, however, urged Senate Committee on Health to sensitize Nigerians on the provisions of the Bill. He told The Guardian: “Health is wealth and the issue of the public health of Nigerians should be of strategic concern of all and sundry. Nigerians must be told in their native languages what the provisions of the bill will bring to them if they are implemented. It is a fact that the standard and quality of public healthcare across Nigeria has being in sharp decline since the 1980s, making it possible for millions of our rural and urban poor, who can not access quality healthcare to die from avoidable and preventable diseases like malaria, cholera and other water borne diseases. “Nigerians expect that the Federal House under the Speaker Mr. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal will concur to the Bill already passed by the Senate so that President Jonathan can sign and deliver it to Nigerians as another evidence of the administration’s commitment to bringing about transformation of all the moribund but vital national assets. Discordant tunes But other health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association (AHPA), which represent all the professionals and other cadre of workers in
Friday, March 7, 2014 WEEKEND 21
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with doctors over National Health Bill
Chukwu the nation’s health sector with the exception of medical doctors, disagree. The JOHESU/AHPA called on the National Assembly to reject the proposed National Health Bill as it has become obvious that section 1(1) of the bill as currently packaged, “is an attempt by medical stakeholders to undermine the professional autonomy of other health professions as witnessed recently in Ghana, where the parliament repealed laws which backed the autonomy of all the health professions after passing a Health Act.” Chairman of JOHESU, Dr. Ayuba Wabba, in a statement said: “It is important to declare that contrary to the impression created by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa who is a medical doctor that the health industry in Nigeria is largely unregulated, without norms and standard, the truth is that there are existing legal frameworks for regulating and controlling pharmacists through the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Act, doctors through Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) Act, nurses through Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) Act and Medical Laboratory Scientists through Association of Medical Laboratory Science of Nigeria (AMLSN) Act.” Wabba lamented the discriminatory clauses which amount to legislating against privileges a citizen of Nigeria could enjoy when positions are reserved for one profession to the detriment of others as in section 9(2) a of the health bill, which proposes that the Director of Hospital Services, a slot reserved for doctors, will be the Chairman of the National Tertiary Health Institutions Standard Committee albeit permanently. He further explained: “Specifically, Section 42 (1) b of the 1999 Constitution declares inter alia, “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person, be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religious or political opinions”. “There is therefore no alternative to creating a level ground for the most competent health personnel to emerge as chairman or head of any platform in healthcare. We had asked distinguished senators at the public hearing on the health bill that if the bill was about reforms, how come there is no departure from the status quo because the director of hospital services is a staff under a Health Ministry at the Federal Ministry of Health, which is presently in charge of health services. In apocalyptic
Enabulele terms, what has or would change under this new bill, like they say, new wine in old bottle. “We have had propagandist postulations that the Health Bill will check infant and maternal mortality and put healthcare on the right path, but we say this is a ruse. The only way to get healthcare marching again is to inject new thinking and fresh attitude in the way our laws and policies evolve. When we match this with good implementation plans we might be on the way to solving our problems.” President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Olumide Akintayo, described as embarrassing the recent adoption of the Health Bill in its original version by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Akintayo said: “It was most unconscionable and outrightly insensitive that the Senate, which was sensitised up to the apex level, allowed itself to be hoodwinked by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and his fellow travellers on the Senate Committee on Health. For the sake of clarification, the grand agenda, albeit clandestinely to force the flawed Health Bill on Nigerians, was sealed in January 2013 at the maiden Doctor’s Summit in Asaba, which was graced by the Senate President, Senator David Mark as Chairman of the Occasion. “Indeed, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa arrogantly boasted at the senate public hearing that irrespective of deep concerns and reservations of JOHESU/AHPA, the senate would pass the Health bill as originally structured, a threat that has now come to pass. “The decision of the senate probably confirms apprehensions that our senators have the mindset of emperors and traditionally have never been true representatives of the people. There is no better way to rationalise developments at the senate, which chose to ignore the strong opinions of over 95 per cent of stakeholders in healthcare, who requested an amendment of sections 1(1) and 9 (2) (a) of the National Health Bill.” JOHESU/AHPA, in a joint statement, threatened to go to Court if the Bill, as it is, is given legal teeth. Ayuba and Akintayo wrote: “We will
Akintayo shift attention for now to the Federal House of Representatives which will be expected to conduct its own version of a public hearing soon. We do hope the Federal House of Representatives will dispense justice when this bill is considered. “We however sound it loud and clear that if the present Health Bill is eventually given legal teeth as presently structured as Act of Parliament, it will be dead on arrival as it shall be subjected to a judicial discourse in our bid to assert our right.” National President, Association of Medical laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMSLN) and Chairman, AHPA, Dr. Godswill C. Okara, accused the NMA and HERFON of pushing for a quick passage of the bill without the amendments being sort by others. “This is an open invitation to crisis of the worst dimension in the health sector,” he said. Okara explained: “It was observed that the presentations by HERFON and NMA were televised live during the Senate Public Hearing on the bill, while the presentations by other professional Associations and Unions were blacked out to prevent the observing public from hearing first hand, the argument and reasons for the principled objections to the bill. This is most unfortunate and misleading to put it mildly. “The practice of bandying and manipulating statistics to paint a doomsday picture will never solve the problem of the health sector in Nigeria. Putting a halt to the gross mismanagement of the sector by some medical practitioners will save the health sector. Removing avoidable conflict and contradictory clauses from the bill will save the sector; otherwise the bill will be dead on arrival. “ Okara further explained: “Universal health coverage all over the world is provided through health insurance mechanism, but the proponents of the bill claim that Nigeria exists as an island in the moon and should therefore allocate two per cent of the Federation’s Consolidated Fund for health care services in Local Government Areas. When the National
Chairman of JOHESU, Dr. Ayuba Wabba, in a statement said: “It is important to declare that contrary to the impression created by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa who is a medical doctor that the health industry in Nigeria is largely unregulated, without norms and standard, the truth is that there are existing legal frameworks for regulating and controlling pharmacists through the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Act, doctors through Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) Act, nurses through Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) Act and Medical Laboratory Scientists through Association of Medical Laboratory Science of Nigeria (AMLSN) Act
Assembly should be making laws to strengthen fiscal federalism, we are being dragged back to the days of military unitary command structure in the health sector. “The National Health bill may as well go the way of the Urban Development law passed by the National Assembly, which the Lagos State Government challenged at the Supreme Court for being in conflict with constitutional federalism. It was nullified and thrown to the trash bin by the Supreme Court. The Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomole had recently told a gathering in Asaba presided over by the Senate President, Dr. David Mark, that there was no need for the National Health bill. Money statutorily allocated to local Governments, which should be used for provision of health and other infrastructure are being misapplied and misused. The National Assembly can easily make laws to free these funds, some fellows prefer to propose laws that will further compound the situation.” Okara said the clamour by some medical practitioners to have the National Health Bill passed into law is a concealed calculated attempt by them to legitimize their impunity and lord over their views on other professions in the health sector. “If this is allowed under whatever guise, the Nigerian health sector will be going into perdition. We strongly believe that men and women of good conscience in the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not allow this to happen,” he said. He said that fighting for the passage of an omnibus umbrella law to make medical practitioners the regulator of all professions in the health sector would never stand. Okara said: “There is no need whatsoever for the National Health bill. It is an unnecessary duplication of laws and bureaucracy, a constitutional aberration in a federal system to legislate for local and state governments on matters on the concurrent legislative list.” Going forward President of Association for Reproductive and Family Health, Prof. Oladapo Ladipo, thinks that the experience of the past should give the indication that people should not start celebrating yet. He cautioned against the ongoing excitement in some quarters over the passage of the NHB by the Senate, noting that the action of the House of Representatives and the absent of President Goodluck Jonathan were still needed to make it law. He said: “Let’s not rejoice yet over the National Health Bill yet. It is the prerogative of the President to sign. Let’s not rejoice until he signs. He promised to sign the other time the bill was passed, but he didn’t. We will rejoice when he signs. But let’s sustain the advocacy and hope for the best.”
Friday, March 7, 2014
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Friday, March 7, 2014
BusinessRound-Up IS THE WEAKER RAND REALLY IMPROVING S.AFRICAN TRADE?
By Nicole Cassandra Naidoo HE WEAKER rand, which was expected to benefit trade in South Africa, may not be improving the country’s trade position. “There is still no clear or overwhelming indication, in terms of the most recent monthly trade data, measured in dollars, that the weaker rand is helping to improve South Africa’s trade position, although the base effects are favourable, which means that the annual rate of growth in South Africa exports is up an impressive 24.9 per cent year-on-year,” said Kevin Lings, chief economist at Stanlib. “The lack of a convincing improvement in South Africa’s foreign trade is partly seasonal, but also because the growth in South African exports is more a function of global growth than merely rand weakness. Equally, the extensive labour market disruptions in the mining and manufacturing sectors have severely undermined South
Africa’s exports performance.” The country’s trade balance recorded a surplus of 17.1 billion rand in January 2014, compared with a revised surplus of 2.59 billion rand in December 2013. The market was expecting a trade balance of 12.2 billion rand. “The latest deterioration in the trade balance reflects a sharp increase in imports, while exports rose only fractionally. The trade balance usually worsens noticeably at the start of the year. In fact, the January 2014 trade deficit is slightly better than the deficit recorded in January 2013,” Lings explained. The value of imports rose by 26.3 per cent month-on-month at the beginning of 2014, while exports increased by 0.1 per cent monthon-month. The rise in imports included an increase in oil, imports of machinery and equipment, vehicle imports and chemical imports. Exports of vehicles however, declined by 20 per cent while exports of precious metals rose by 15 per cent month-on-month. “Given the general slowdown in the domestic economy, especially consumer spending, it is logical to expect import demand to ease somewhat over the coming months, depending on the timing and strength of South Africa’s promised pick-up in infrastructural investment,” said Lings. “A significant portion of South Africa’s growth in imports, at least since the beginning of 2010, has been driven by consumer activity, including the purchase of motor vehicles and cell phones. This moderation in imports is expected to becoming increasingly evident during 2014.”
KENYA REELS IN SUPPORT FOR LOCAL FILM INDUSTRY By Wilhelmina Maboja ENYA’S FILM INDUSTRY is expected to gain significant momentum in the next few years following growing support from government. “We’re happy that we can now put film firmly where it should be, on the economic agenda here in Kenya. One of the things which a lot of people many not know [is that] over the last five years or so, film in Kenya has actually grown in terms of establishments by about 85 per cent,” Michael Onyango, a board member of the Kenya Film Commission, told CNBC Africa. “When you talk about the number of people who’ve actually gotten into film, we’ve also grown by about 45.8 per cent. When you’re talking about the number of new establishments over the last five to seven years, we have about 85 establishments.” The success of Oscar-winning Lupita Nyong’o, a Mexican-Kenyan actress, has further bolstered Kenya’s film industry, and prompted government to ensure the thriving of creative arts in the country. “The current government actually came on the platform of supporting the creative industries, and there’s actually a ministry – the ministry of sports, culture and arts – that is specifically geared towards supporting the creative industry, of which film is a part of,” Onyango explained. “Over the next four years or so, the government has also committed to 10 per cent of our GDP coming from the creative industries.
From the film sector, we probably want to see a growth of about four per cent over the next five years with respect to contribution to our overall GDP.” The Kenya Film Commission has since been mandated with the task of establishing a film school as a means of sustaining the country’s creative arts industry. The commission is also currently engaging with Kenya’s 47 counties to ensure that film becomes a mainstay within the economic agenda. Nigeria’s film industry, also known as Nollywood, has had decades’ success as one of the world’s highest-grossing film industries. While Kenya is still far from Nollywood’s stature, it is nonetheless expected to form a key part of the country’s future growth agenda. “78 per cent of our population is actually under the age of 35, and naturally a lot of young people are more attracted in and geared towards the creative industries. That is one area that the government is very committed towards, and they have put money behind their word with respect to what it is that we’re doing within the film industry.”
In association with
AFC AWARDED INVESTMENT GRADE RATING BY MOODY'S By Dara Rhodes
“Potentially, there are some transactions that we may not have been able to do before on acHE AFRICA FINANCE CORPORATION (AFC) count of the fact that maybe they were not profitable, with this kind of rating and if it that was established in 2007, has reworks out the way it was expected, we should ceived its first international credit ratbe able to do more,” he explained. ings from Moody's. The multilateral development financial insti- According to Adeduntan, the grade rating also helps the establishment widen their source of tution was assigned an A3 (long term)/P2 (Short term) foreign currency debt rating by financing and it is also expected that their cost Moody’s investor service, making the corpo- of borrowing should go down which invariration the second highest investment grade ably means that the cost of lending also goes down. rated corporation on the African continent. “For us, we are not risk averse but we are a very “The investment grade rating awarded by Moody’s to AFC is of utmost strategic impor- measured institution, we do transactions that we are capable of managing the downside tance to us because at the end of the day, we risk. That for us is the most important thing,” are a financial institution and credit ratings he added. still remain one of the best benchmark by Companies with high ratings are typically very which financial institutions are assessed,” Adesola Adedutan, the Chief Finance Officer, risk averse and tend to only invest in high quality projects and whilst many believe that AFC told CNBC Africa. The ratings were based on sound capital ade- Africa does not offer enough quality projects, AFC doesn’t believe that this the biggest chalquacy position, high asset quality, strong lenge. prudential framework that supports a high degree of liquidity, supported profit margin and profit retention amongst other things. “Most importantly for us is that going out to obtain the rating was out of our deliberate strategic objective of leveraging our balance sheets and obtaining this investment grade ratings helps in the attainment of that strategic growth,” he said. AFC is headquartered in Lagos and was established with an initial base 1.1 billion US dollars, as a private sector-led Pan African multilateral and sought to be a catalyst for private sector infrastructure investment across Africa.
By Wilhelmina Maboja HE ZIMBABWE STOCK EXCHANGE had a sterling performance in 2013, and the strong market growth is expected to continue. “If you look at GDP growth between 1997 and 2008, Zimbabwe’s economy shrunk by over 50 per cent. Prior to that, Zimbabwe [grew] at an average rate of around six per cent. That period was obviously very difficult and very challenging,” Invictus Capital founder and managing director Ritesh Anand told CNBC Africa. “Also during that period, [Zimbabwe] had the second highest rate of inflation in the history of the world. Since 2009, Zimbabwe has grown at an average rate of seven per cent. It’s probably been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.” 2013 was however a good year for the Southern African nation, according to Invictus Securities, with industrial index growth among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year was also a positive time period for Zimbabwe’s equities market, and continued
ZIMBABWE STOCK EXCHANGE MARKET GROWTH TO CONTINUE positive performance of the country’s stock exchange since 2009 added to the strong figures. In 2009, GDP plateaued at roughly three to four billion dollars. Since then, GDP has grown to around 11 billion dollars. “Between 2009 and 2012, the market was really flat. The market was up 32 per cent in 2013, but if you look at our GDP, our market capitalisation to GDP ratio, it’s still very low, at around 30 per cent,” Anand explained. Historically, the ratio has been as high as 70 per cent, and Anand believes that there is still more of an upside to be expected in Zimbabwe’s market. Foreign interest also played a noteworthy role in how well the exchange managed to perform, and interest from foreign players continues to grow despite Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act in Zimbabwe gives Zimbabweans the right to either take over or control foreign companies operating in the country. “Foreign participation on our market has grown significantly since 2009. [Then], foreign participation was 17.7 per cent. That’s grown today to around 50 per cent. We expect that number to increase to around 60 per cent. If you look at [Zimbabwe] on a relative basis, [it’s] still a very attractive market,” said Anand.
Friday, March 7, 2014
ALIKO DANGOTE 23rd richest man in the world. T IS FIRST OF ALL EXCITING but we thank God for his favours and I think it means that yes really, hard work pays and nothing is impossible. We have quite a lot of opportunities in Africa you know, Africa has actually come of age and I think the opportunities that we have here is second to none so there are possibilities, the trajectory is on and we’ll keep growing.
INTERVIEW Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote climbed 20 places in the Forbes latest billionaire’s rich list. Forbes estimates Dangote’s wealth at $25 billion, making him the 23rd richest man in the world with a growing portfolio of investments across Africa. CNBC Africa’s Wole Famurewa caught up with him and began by asking him how he feels about his progress up the rich list.
but with the 1.5 million tonnes, we also have coal generation, which is power, you have to have ethanol, you have to have bio composites like organic fertiliser, we’ll have animal feed, and so on. Almost about six products out of the sugar but what is more interesting is the amount of jobs that we are going to create because we are also doing rice, we are targeting to do 1,000,000 tonnes of rice in the next five years which will make us employ about According to Forbes, you’ve moved up 200,000 additional workers and that’s really from $16 billion last year to now $25 bilmore exciting than even making the money. lion and the big question is where do we So I think that we’ll be able to at least be selfgo from here? We know you’ve ansufficient, we will not really require any addinounced some interesting plans to in- tional foreign expenditure from the central vest in the oil and gas sector in bank because we are doing a backward inteNigeria and a lot of people say that is gration where we are seeing import substitugoing to be another game changer tion. So that’s basically what we are doing. for you. Talk us through what to expect going forward. Okay, let’s talk a bit about that cement portfoWell what we expect going forlio, recently we heard an update about your ward really is- we have a program- investment in Kenya, $600 million being inthe program that we have at the vested in a plant there, but I’ve spoken to a moment is trying to grow the few analysts some suggest that your entry companies that we have in terms into Kenya is maybe a little too late given the of the group business to about presence of quite a few other players there. In 500 per cent in the next five fact some suggest that the raw material limeyears starting from 2013. This stone may be a challenge for you. How do you means that this certain trareact to that? jectory will be completed in Well, I think that is what they are saying, you 2017 and we think that by know all along these same players have actuthe time it’s finished, we ally been deceiving the Kenyan Government, should have at least a mar- telling them there is no limestone and that’s ket cap over $100 billion why if you look at it, there is no cement proso it’s a very exciting duction in Kenya, it is what you call processthing that we are doing. ing. They import clinker and they go there We just started and I and process it, add gypsum to it and that’s it. think we are on track, What we are trying to do in Kenya is to prowe have a monitoring duce from locally available raw materials. team that is monitorThey have limestone, they have red sand, and ing exactly what we are then they have the clay. These three things doing day by day and I will be what you use to produce clinker. hope by 2017, we’ll reach that $100 billion dollars So are you saying the raw material is not an ismarket cap. sue for you? It’s not an issue. So far what we have, we alSo this business of growing ready have something that will last us for the the business and growing next thirty years, and we are still prospecting your wealth as a result is more to see that it’s going to sustain us for the very precise but can you give next 45 years but even thirty years is not bad, us a sense of what that portfo- the factory is okay, we can do the factory and lio will look like in the context just cover it up. To them, they can keep saying of this plan that you have? do but if they are saying that we are late, why The portfolio is going to be more did some of them just announce some major focused than before. It means expansions? that we are going to have refineries with petro chemicals complex, So clearly there is still an opportunity? which will produce oil for not only There is still an opportunity and then, the Nigeria but for the West African reAfrica economy is growing. I mean, you can gion and some of the central African see in Nigeria, 10, 12 years ago, the total proarea where I think we will be able to duction in Nigeria was actually about less have the capacity to deliver petroleum than 2 million tonnes, and today, Nigeria is 28 products and also the fertilisers. The ferand a half million tonnes, and we are adding tilisers will be about 2.8 million tonnes, so this will al- an additional n9 million tonnes, Dangote most be about 45 per cent of the total growth alone this year. So by July this year, Nigeria revenue. The next business will be the cement which will be at about 37 million tonnes. That is a by 2016, will be over 10 million tonnes in the sub-Samajor achievement to me. haran Africa. The growth is clearly happening. That will probably make you by far the largest proIt’s happening. ducer in Africa? Yes. By even this year, we will be the largest producer But as you go across Africa, how welcoming is of cement in sub-Saharan Africa with 40 million the rest of Africa to you? A lot of people say tonnes this year but then, when you look at it also, we Africa is not trading enough with itself for inare doing massive backward integration. For examstance. As you go across Africa, what’s your ple, we are seeing that in the next four or five years, take on this? What is happening is that right there will not be any sugar imports into Nigeria so now, we are not actually crossing woods that means we have to grow about 1.5 million tonnes across, what we are doing is that, we are in-
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vesting money in various African countries. It’s more? not that we are exporting cement from Nigeria I think with what we have done, it will inspire others to do more and people who really don’t but. have the time and are also doing it directly by Do you see a transition soon, I mean with what themselves will most likely come and partner. We are doing quite a lot. You know we have you are doing with sugar, do you a situation this private sector health alliance which I where Nigeria could be exporting into West think was promoted by a member there, Jim Africa. Ovia is there and Sola Borha, she’s also there We’ve already been exporting to West Africa. We export to chad, Niger, this our near neigh- which is, we try to intervene mainly in the health centre. We are also collaborating with bours and we have a bit of a challenge going through the Republic of Benin because that is Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which you the gateway. We have to go to Benin Republic, know is quite encouraging. We are doing more go to Togo and then to Ghana but you see from in other states. We’ve now gone to do Kano, we our factory up to Ghana is only about 420 kilo- are going to do Bauchi, and some few other metres. The issue is that, Benin Republic want states. Also, to make sure that the polio is stopped. There are quite a lot of things that we to charge us a tax and there shouldn’t be any want to do and you are right, we need more tax but we are working to the government to partners in Africa. I’m sure with what we are resolve that issue. Once we resolve that issue, doing- somebody has to lead anyways and we have a 9 million tonnes market. that’s what we are trying to do. Once you lead, So clearly Africa has worked for you. you’ll now see some people coming on board It has worked and I think it’s going to continue because the real thing about wealth- what will to work really because the plan that we have re- make you to enjoy it and also make you happy ally can easily see us by 2017 to over 65, 70 mil- -is, actually how many lives you can touch lion tonnes. when you are alive. You are also very committed to giving back and philanthropy work. Your foundation recently announced a N200 billion commitment to touching lives in many ways. Can you just speak about that and exactly how that works looking at how your wealth will go into that and how you intend to bring other people on board as we’ve elsewhere where we see many of the richest people in the world collaborating to make change. Well, what we are trying to do, you know in Africa, philanthropy is something new. Not new but people have been doing it and haven’t really paid much attention to it. We have this massive trajectory which we are doing in the next four, five years and that is why we are not able to give so much more as much as I would have loved to. If you look at it, the amount that we’ve given now is $1.25 billion, I’d have loved to do more. Why can’t you do more? Well, because we have our own trajectory. We are growing the business so what you have, is we’ve done this one between now and the next five years and after five years, by that time we would not have any more projects, then we would do additional endowments but for now, what we are trying to do is, we’ve brought in a lot of other new issues. You know, we want to concentrate more on the same areas which is education, health, nutrition-which is under health also- but there are quite a lot of things we want to do. We want to build 1,000 state-ofthe-arts hospital, we are doing a lot of interventions in schools, building business schools, quite a lot. Now what we want to concentrate on, is empowering of the women, you know, we have this program which we are doing right now, giving 1,000 women a grant in all the local governments in Nigeria, and we are trying to also go back and concentrate in terms of training the youth and also empowering them.
What about the point I made about bringing others, because the rich, particularly in Africa have a bit of a bad name. There’s a sense that it’s not as philanthropic as we’ve seen elsewhere in the West and so what about collaborating with others and inspiring others to do
...about six products out of the sugar but what is more interesting is the amount of jobs that we are going to create because we are also doing rice, we are targeting to do 1,000,000 tonnes of rice in the next five years which will make us employ about 200,000 additional workers and that’s really more exciting than even making the money. So I think that we’ll be able to at least be self-sufficient...
Absolutely. So that’s what I think we need to do, we’ll concentrate, we’ll give more as God continues to bless us, and we also have to give back to the society.
that they are going to run a loss for the next five, six years and that is why being a service industry, they were not entitled to tax holidays but I think president Obasanjo at that time said that no he wants to encourage them and he gave them approval for a tax holiday of five years. Nobody knew that they would be minting money like this but we tried again to go into it. Remember we bought the 3G licence but we didn’t have the 2G. Even with that, 10 years, the guys had been on so it was kind of late to try and go into the ring and start fighting with someone who had been there over 10 years. So you decided to sell that business? So we decided to sell the business which we did, to Etisalat. With that, we are very okay, we are happy, we sold to them $250 million. We are concentrating more on the areas of our core business which we know and understand better. Nigeria is evolving and in another few months, it may be the largest economy in Africa, it’s clearly that part of Africa that a lot of people are talking about now. You are a big believer of that, you’ve invested in the last decade significantly, and given the challenges we’ve had with security, what’s your take on the future of Nigeria?
In the past, there was a lot of talk about listing in London. Can you just give us an update on that program? Yes, we will list outside Nigeria, most likely London but not earlier than late 2015, beginning 2016 as we need two more years because we have quite a lot of capacity in the cement business. Listing has quite a lot of challenges so it’s no good for us to just go and jump into it. We are already listed in Nigeria, it’s only the second listing that we are trying to do which is secondary listing in London. It will happen but I cannot really see it happening before 2015, 2016.
you can just walk away and leave 320 million people’s markets. So it’s a huge market? It’s a huge market but I think what we need to see going forward, is to have an inclusive growth. This growth can come at 7 or 8 per cent but let it be inclusive so that it will trickle down and won’t hang over there. Yes it’s 7 per cent or 6 per cent, where the people below are not feeling the impact of it.
Well, the future of Nigeria is very very great. If you look at Nigeria, it is really an agricultural state not even an oil state. Let’s talk about oil Perhaps that’s why your foundation is focusfirst. Nigeria has more gas than oil but because ing so much on empowering people. at the time when most of these companies We have to. We have to do that. If we also want were prospecting for oil, gas was just coming to live in peace, we need to give something out, so people were just flaring the gas away back to the people. just to take the oil. Right now, gas is money and I believe if we concentrate and get that gas Final note from me, would be, what’s next for off the ground, Nigeria can supply light to the you. Clearly, you’ve conquered Africa to an exwhole of Western and Central Africa. Not only tent but will you look outside Africa at all? Is the regional markets of West Africa, that’s one. that something that interests you? So oil can be just a by-product. Nigeria has a lot We can look outside Africa but for now, the opof gas, the only thing is that most of this gas is portunities that we have on the continent, even people outside Africa are looking into What will be likely listed, will it be the cement being trapped, and we need to invest heavily to get the gas out but I think we are on the way. Africa. So why should we go elsewhere. We’ll business or will it be the group? go to a place maybe in Asia where it makes For now, we’ll list the cement business but nor- We will get there. sense, but anywhere that doesn’t really make mally what we do is, it’s also another way of Given the delays with the passage of the Petro- sense, we’ll rather concentrate in our comfort sharing the good things with other people. zone, which we know how to run and we’ll You know, we incubate companies, when they leum Industry Bill, we are not seeing that urstart doing well, we go and list them and then gency from some of the people that should be make things happen. Plus what I keep saying is, if we Africans do not make Africa great, nowe sell down maybe 20 per cent which other driving this change. body will do it for us. The challenge for us is to people too will own. So everybody will get his I think that bill will come as we go along but people who are very serious, I can assure you, I remain here and make sure that we do the share by the time we give out dividends so these are the areas that we are looking at seri- mean, today, why didn’t we wait for the petro- right thing. There are enormous opportunileum bill to be passed and we are investing 9 ties here that we believe we should try not ously. The cement one, we believe that what billion to do a refinery? The numbers are okay only for the monetary policy but because we we are trying to establish is the most profitable cement business in the world by being for us, whether there is a regulation or no reg- believe we should make Africa great. ulation and I know that it is only a matter of efficient, by having the best technology. Those opportunities are obviously creating time. It is not sustainable, the regulation will wealth for people like you but what do you definitely happen. That’s one on the oil. Now Well the details suggest that already. going back, to look at agriculture. Agriculture think on the potential for more Africans to Other people started this business 120 years ago before we even started and it’s just part of for now contributes about 40.2 per cent to our come on the Forbes rich list and maybe even GDP but I can assure you the amount of arable challenge you there because the distance is showing people that nothing is impossible. land, the percentage of arable land being put significant right now. Yes, nothing is impossible and you’ve shown to use in Nigeria, is less than 8 per cent. So you I think in the next couple of years, in the next that particularly over the last 10 years, what can see the future is enormous. Today Nigeria ten years, you might actually see more you’ve done across Africa, particularly with the imports maybe $1.2 billion worth of milk. Why Africans than even people from the Middle cement business. So what drives you? Why are should we import milk? When we can easily East and I think that is really a great achieveyou doing this? You’ve conquered the cement do it here. Why should we import sugar, why ment. For example, ten years back, there were business in Africa essentially and now you are should we import rice? So there’s quite a lot only South Africans, then the Egyptians, then moving into the oil and gas sector, why do you we need to do, even by feeding our people now, some of us from West Africa but right keep doing these things? now, we are talking about some from Tanzaalone, by having what you call food security, We have to keep doing these things. I’m in a it’s good enough but then after the 170 million nia. Africa is coming of age and I think the number of Africans on Forbes list in the next place where it’s not actually for the money but population, you have either 14 West African it’s actually for prosperity. Today, if you look at countries with their own population which to- five years, is going to be very significant and it, nothing or nobody will come from outside tals to about 320 million people. I don’t think that will bring more attraction to Africa. Africa to come and develop Africa. We Africans are the ones that should be in charge to also develop our own continent. “Based on this information, we have basically IGERIA needs five billion naira per anSo you feel that sense of calling to do that? partnered with organisations. We have the num for the next five years to fund its Yes, we do have that. You know, if somebody power sector, according to Ecobank Nige- Ecobank capital that is helping to syndicate had mentioned agriculture to me five years equities and debts for acquisition funding.” ria. ago, I’ll say that no, that must have been a bad A total of 25 billion naira will be needed and as Ecobank has long been involved in the secdream but today, we are getting a lot of intor’s privatisation process by providing finanthe country alone cannot provide the sum volvement in Agriculture. Its not only for along with other amenities required, the bank cial advisory services, and National money making but making sure that yes, there has committed to play its part in seeking to integrated Power Plants. is prosperity in Africa. transform the power sector initiated by the gov- “We are talking to all the USA agencies to ensure that the bank partners with them, to enernment. Looking back, what would you say is that sure that the financial solution package that “What we want to do at Ecobank knowing that missed opportunity? You’ve invested in so many areas, we’ve seen major growth in areas our vision is to support economic development has been offered can work within the Nigerian system,” she explained. like telecoms that you are not know to be heav- and financial integration of Africa - is to bring With a lot of equity investors looking to Nigeall our resources, financial solutions to support ily invested there, would you say, that was the the economy of Nigeria and other African coun- ria for investments, Jones believes that the missed opportunity for you? tries,” Olufunke Jones, Ecobank Country Head bank is positioning as an access point to Well, it was a missed opportunity. We really Africa. Nonetheless, not all the funds can be of Power & Energy told CNBC Africa. didn’t know much about telecoms, nobody According to Jones, the bank sees it as their re- raised on the continent. knew they were going to be this big.. “We know that the Nigerian government and sponsibility to understand the needs of the power sector while understanding the reforms country cannot raise these funds. Nigerian loI’m not even sure they knew. cal banks alone cannot raise these funds,” she and to position themselves as a leader in the They didn’t know because I think at added. African market. that time, they even wrote to the government
NIGERIA'S POWER SECTOR STILL LACKS FUNDS
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AFRICA'S COCOA INDUSTRY AWAITS REBOUND SMES SHOULD ByW. Dara Rhodes TAKE ON A ‘BOTTOM UP’ APPROACH WITH GOVT By Farhaanah Mahomed MALL AND MEDIUM enterprises (SMEs) and government should not only engage on a top to bottom level, but a bottom up approach too. “The average citizen, meaning small businesses, must take an attitude that they are volunteers, not supplicants. They must seize the opportunities that are there and it requires both a top down and a bottom up approach. What we’ve seen over the few years is too much of top down approach,” Raymond Parsons, a special policy advisor at Business Unity of South Africa (BUSA), told CNBC Africa. This follows after South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan broadcasted the country’s national budget for 2014 on Wednesday. Gordhan announced that the budget will allocate 6.5 billion rand over the next three years to support SMEs. Parsons explained that businesses should not sit back and wait for the government to take action in implementing the SMEs allocation, but to rather come forward and assist the state in getting it off the ground. “My message to businesses is that there are a number of positive interventions here [in the budget], which you must engage in and say we want to make this happen. Don’t sit back and wait for a bureaucrat to call you,” he explained. While many voices from the business world agreed that the budget was very positive, realistic and balanced, Matsi Modise, executive director of the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum (SABEF), argued that the government needs to find ways to filter these budget allocations down to the average man on the street. “South Africa has been notorious for having great initiatives and spending a lot of money. The budget was quite considerate, 6.5 billion rand to supporting small businesses, it’s a considerable amount but now the question is, how is it going to filter down to the guy on the street that’s trying to build a small business?,” she questioned. “A lot of money has been deployed clearly but the administration of that money is a concern. Over the past five years, about 100 billion rand has been spent on supporting and funding small businesses but till this day we are still stuck with a rate of 25 percent of unemployed people and 70 percent of those are youth.” She added that government and business engagements have been a challenge as they normally engage in a top down approach and never bottom up, which means that government doesn’t know the actual requirements of small businesses on the ground. Edward Kieswetter, chief executive officer of Alexander Forbes, added that a major challenge is the implementation of policies and regulatory frameworks, and he believes that much more progress is still needed. “The challenge always comes with the implementation of some of these policies and regulatory instruments, and yes I think a lot of work still has to happen in terms of ensuring that those frameworks and provisions that are either given through the tax or other measures actually filter down and impact on the actual programmes,” said Kieswetter. “I think we can still step up and improve the levels of the dialogue and also the specificity with which some of these measures are implemented.”
Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’ivoire cocoa’s sector are on track for a strong crop, according to Ecobanks’s 2014 soft commodities report. In the report that was released last week, West Africa is expected to remain the world’s primary source of cocoa, with a forecast 3.2m MT of exports in 2013/14, 80% of which will comprise of raw beans. Nonetheless, Nigeria’s cocoa output fell by 4.3 per cent in 2012/13 due to the impacts of flooding in 2012. “I think there’ll be a strong rebound. The flooding caused lots of different problems in the agricultural sector. The direct impact on cocoa output was not as strong as we feared which is why the crop was only down slightly,” Edward George, Head of Soft Commodities Research at Ecobank told CNBC Africa. In 2012, Nigeria faced the worst flooding in decades
as the banks of country’s two biggest rivers, the Niger and the Benue, overflowed. However, George is certain that Nigeria will establish itself as the third largest cocoa producer in the Africa, overtaking Cameroon this year. “A lot of that has to do with new investments, we have a number of companies which are really trying to get involved in the value chain such as Saro, a Nigerian champion. I think we are going to see a lot more investment particularly in processing,” he said. The government introduced the Cocoa Transformation Agenda and established a Cocoa Marketing and Trade Corporation, with a target to aggressively and rapidly expand cocoa
acreage to at least 1 million hectares in the next four years. “Of all of the soft commodities, the one [price] we expect to rise in 2014 is cocoa and that is because we are seeing a very strong return in global buying and demand. Even though there is a strong crop in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire at the moment, we expect the mid-crop may not be as good and the same goes for Nigeria as well,” he explained. According to George, there is a positive outlook for prices and one of the reasons prices went up so strongly in Nigeria recently was because of the lack of cocoa and although this might be corrected, the outlook is currently good for farmers.
NEWS Friday, March 7, 2014 | 27
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Colourful Black History Month in Ibadan
Visual Arts/ 29 Convergence of texts, paintings in Ogunwo’s Visual Cocktail
Revue/ 36 On Centenary… Voices from North, South
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28 ARTS Friday, March 7, 2014
Ascendant, fragile new face of African art on the global space By Tajudeen Sowole ESPITE Africa’s slow economic growth, contemporary art D from the continent has witnessed an upsurge in appreciation in the west, representing a desired face of that creative value. And the prospect of African art in contributing to the pool of economic vibrancy of the international art market is not impossible. Quite a number of international art events such as exhibitions fairs and auctions in Europe, and to a little extent in the US have given room to a possible explosion of African art on the global space. It started gradually with gatherings like Africa Remix: Contemporary An of a Continent from about 15 artists, who toured few European cities such as Düsseldorf, London, and Paris, from 2004 to 2005 and Tokyo in 2006 and took a new turn with auctions in Nigeria, leading to ripple effect in the U.K. From 2008, when the Lagos-based Arthouse Contemporary Limited debuted as an auction house, and made unprecedented sales, commercial art events focusing African contents, particularly overseas, have been on the increase. The trend, either a coincidence or conscious effort to fall in line with the ArtHouse example, in 2009, attracted one of the oldest auction houses in the U.K., Bonhams. Ever since then, Bonhams has been organising Africa Now auction in London with only one attempt in the New York. Also, last year, Art Dubai, UAE, included art from West Africa in its Marker section, a segment of the yearly event. Curator of Marker 2013, Bisi Silva of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos led galleries from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and Senegal to the event, which hosted an estimated 27, 000 participants from 75 countries. And in just one year, the presence of African art on the international space keeps increasing as new entrants 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair and an online outlet The Auction Room came with focus art from the continent. One edition of the first African art fair in the U.K, perhaps in the entire Europe may be too early to assess the prospect, but the organisers are excited towards the second edition. “Public response and strong sales only encouraging us to bring 1:54 back with a bang, returning to the iconic Somerset House across 15-19 October 2014,” a statement issued few days ago from the organisers reads in part. So much has happened ion the scene this past decade, paramount of which was the Angola’s Golden Lion prize award at the Venice Biennale, 2013, the rest of the art world has no reason not to see the prospect in African art. In fact some observers have argued that African art is ‘the next new thing after the Chinese art.’ In the last one decade, Chinese art has blossomed in the west, and strengthened the communist country’s rising super power image. Art of Africa had in the past influenced certain renditions of
European masters of post-Renaissance as well as made impacts in the 1960s through 70s and 80s courtessy of the Osogbo school inspired by expatriate Uli Bieier. If the west still viewed African art from the prism of ancient and naïve rendition of the 19604 to 70s, the game is no longer the same. Art historian and artist, Prof dele jegede of the Department of Art., Miami University, Ohio, U.S; sculptor and art historian, Prof Frank Ugiomoh of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State; and curator, Silva shared their thoughts on the chances of African art contributing significantly to the world market, Jegede traced the presence of African art on the international scene further back in history. “That African art is on the ascendance on a global (as opposed to continental) scale is not a new phenomenon. Recall the transformation of classical African sculptures from the opprobrious category of cabinet curios, fetishes, and hideous items to “art.” He noted that African art of the mentioned era gained respect for “Eurocentrism as with Avant-gardism.” But the new face of African art, he argued, has changed that early “effluvium that came with undisciplined appropriation of classical African art.” The current “discipline,” he explained, “boasts of a good presence of African scholars.” As economic fortune at home is stunted by bad governance such as corruption, civil crisis and increasing instability across the continent, how real is the African hope or expectation when? Predicting an explosion of African art as possible next thing after the Chinese is premature”, Silva stated. She agreed that
Jegede traced the presence of African art on the international scene further back in history. “That African art is on the ascendance on a global (as opposed to continental) scale is not a new phenomenon. Recall the transformation of classical African sculptures from the opprobrious category of cabinet curios, fetishes, and hideous items to “art.” He noted that African art of the mentioned era gained respect for “Eurocentrism as with Avant-gardism.” But the new face of African art, he argued, has changed that early “effluvium that came with undisciplined appropriation of classical African art.” The current “discipline,” he explained, “boasts of a good presence of African scholars
there is “a substantial interest “ in contemporary art from Africa, but warned of the fact that “the focus is on a few countries such as Nigeria and South Africa and a few artists from other parts of the continent.” Silva cautioned that Africa is a continent. “Remember Africa is also not a country and whilst the countries mentioned above form part of the largest economies in Africa the other 90% have a smaller markets.” Ugiomoh is of the school of thoughts that see Africa as the next point of art. He insisted: “ideally and predictably, Africa is the next point. He noted how “hyping the cultural capitals” of a particular nation is crucial. The ingredients of such hypes like art exhibitions, fair, auctions “are needed to drive the cultural or symbolic capitals of a nation” Ugiomoh stressed that Africa “now at that point.” He however agreed that the realisation of African art as the next big thing depends on the number of master artists. “We need a little more of artists like El Anatsui who has gone virtual and virile.” Speculators, he explained “will drive But that much of these are happening abroad, and not on the continent casts the shadow of a flash in the pan, hence the doubt about the reality of the prospect. Optimistic of the prospect, jegede assured that “there is no reason, given this brief reminder, to be fearful that the internationalization of modern/contemporary African art is happening outside of the continent.” Artists, he noted are the ultimate beneficiaries through exposure such as publications, exhibitions, acquisitions, commissions, and other outlets that “promote and/or enhance visibility.” On the anticipated explosion, jegede aligned with Silva’s argument. He warned that such hope “may of course be a mirage; it may not materialise.” But with more exposure, the much-anticipated explosion may not exactly be a mirage, given the history of art within the global presence of a particular culture. “The pendulum of art has always swung across space and time. It used to be Greece, then Rome. And in the 19th/early 20th century, it was not art if it wasn’t manufactured in Paris. Since the middle of the last century, the pendulum has remained here in the U.S. There is no reason to suppose that it may not swing to Africa next. At the core of this global phenomenon is the reaction of the art market as an industry. For the dream to materialize, though, we need a whole tribe of El Anatsuis and William Kentridges and Ghada Amer.” As more of the events are happening outside the continent, particularly at auctions that have unearthed the values of masers like Enwonwu, Anatsui, Kentridge and Irma Stern the ultimate benefit of using art to drive the continent’s economic may be lost. Ugiomoh disagreed. “Art is a crude commodity, and so much of it trapped at home. They have to go outside for visibility and legibility.”
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Friday, March 7, 2014 ARTS
Text meets painting in Ogunwo’s Visual Cocktail Stories by Tajudeen Sowole T took Bolaji Ogunwo’s resistance against admirers’ preferIoutence to discover that an artist’s worth goes beyond churning of portraitures. And having escaped that confinement, Ogunwo probably had to also contend with the reality of widely or ‘over used’ themes. Conclusively, he settled to “do the same thing, but differently,” leading to a body of work titled Visual Cocktail, the artist’s second solo exhibition, which starts showing from tomorrow, March 8 to.15, 2014 at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. In 2009, Ogunwo, a lecturer at the Creative Arts Department, University of Lagos had his first solo. During a chat about Visual Cocktail, Ogunwo recalled how the ex-vice chancellors of Unilag as the central themes of the exhibition thrilled visitors to the portraits show. The following deluge of offers, he said, nearly derailed his broader vision for art. For Visual Cocktail, some of the works, viewed in soft copies include inspirational, recreations and environments as well a flavour of portraiture. In a series of three, titled Will Power, Ogunwo brings simple domestic chore like laundry into the context of self-determination. A young man drying cloths on the lines looks too ordinary, and perhaps one of the repetitive themes seen on canvas of some artists. But the inspiration behind Ogunwo’s rendition of the Will Power series is inviting. The artist disclosed that the concept “is inspired by a young man who is self employed through washing people’s clothes in his neighborhood.” He argued that the power of vision enables people to see beyond whatever challenges confronting them at a particular period. “The best way to see is through the mind, not eyes.” He also stressed that “experience is not the best teacher; wisdom is the interpretation of knowledge.” Some of the quotes used by the artist include Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result is insanity, by Albert Einstein; Winners don’t do different things; they do things differently,’ Shiv Khera; and Plato’s Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something. The works are indeed infested with known scholarly texts.
Would such inclusion not take away the originality of Ogunwo’s intellectual effort on canvas? “Bringing other scholars’ text into my painting is not a contradiction of copyright.” He explained that the inclusion is his contribution “to use my visual language in promoting reading culture and draw people’s attention to the need for greater virtue.” Some of the other works in the list of 30 paintings for the exhibition include Voyage Series, Vision. The Chase and Smile. Stressing his belief in infinity of any theme, Ogunwo cited an example of how one of his Oshodi paintings “was a success during a recent visit to Sweden.” He noted that in Stockholm, people were amazed that indeed such a place of disorderliness existed. The painting, he disclosed, “is now in the collection of the Nigerian Embassy in Sweden.” And from Sweden he also brings landscapes that share identical scenery with some part of Lagos. This much, he expresses in Voyage Series. “The riverside scene of a place called Leadingo, in Stockholm is similar to that of Ijora in Lagos.” Also in the Voyage series is Elmina Castle, ghana, “which shares aquatic similarity with Lagos.” Returning to the art exhibition turf after a long break, he explained, “is not just to fulfill all righteousness.” As a scholar, Visual Cocktail is important to his field, more for the inclusion of quotes from great thinkers. “This exhibition is more important to me by promoting the values of these great minds through my visual language.” In his Artist Statement, Ogunwo described his art as going through constant critiquing as well as appreciation. He stated: “ Attempt to chart a course for a stylistic and thematic direction was quite cumbersome. However, somewhere along the line I found these philosophical anvils on which I have hammered my creative prowess into a definite shape. “Armed with this thoughts, I decided not to do different things but to temper my creative license in a different manner. My art is not mimetic but Cathartic; it’s a chromatic interpretation of places and events that have engaged my artistic psyche. “My rich texture is not mere flamboyance or extravagance but a laudable feat that has received global recognition hence I have consolidated my rapport with my palette to churn out works that are didactic and enduring. Visual cocktail is a bid to satisfy the appetites for aesthetics and
One of the Will Power Series of Bolaji Ogunwo knowledge through orchestration of colours that are visually edible, coupled with thoughts and values taught by the great minds. It’s an attempt to express timeless truth and proven ideologies opined by great minds in a visual language. “I deemed it exigent to bring to the public glare, the aesthetics sensibilities that culminated in my art in recent times, I have also decided to address the attitudinal dysfunction that permeates our society, I have got a lot to say. Please pay attention with your eyes as I serve the different flavours of cocktail for your visual consumption. Enjoy your drink.”
Transcending Boundaries… Art from West Africa returns to London OLLOWINg a successful inaugural show of Fin the West African art Transcending Boundaries, UK last year, the organizers, London-
studied Art in Warri and attended the Ahbased Aabru Art, has announced its second atmadu Bello tempt, University, Zaria. According to Aabru art, the exhibition will Having graduonce again celebrate excellence in West ated in 1988, he African Contemporary art and illustrate the continued to an growing popularity in contemporary art from MFA (Masters in the region. The second outing holds at LonFine Arts) and don’s Mall galleries “will allow both collectors after teaching and the public the opportunity to see and buy art for 5 years at previously unseen art by West Africa’s leading Auchi Polytechartists.” nic (1990-1995), The exhibiting artists include Abiodun Olaku, he left to focus Ben Osaghae, Bunmi Babatunde, Duke Asidere , on his own Edosa Ogiugo, Kolade Oshinowo, Fidelis work. Odogwu, Reuben Ugbine, Rom Isichei, Sam Ogiugo studOvraiti , and Tayo Quaye. ied art at Yaba Anshu Bahanda of Aabru Art stated: “The reCollege of Techsponse to Transcending Boundaries 2013 was nology, gradufantastic and we are very pleased to be returnating in 1985. ing with another collection of outstanding Following a artists from West Africa. These artists highlight stint in adverthe diversity and quality of work from the retising he started focusing solely on art in 1992. gion with a host of evocative and engaging ku He now lives and works in Nigeria and has exA painting by Abiodun Ola works. We look forward to hosting Transcendhibited extensively throughout the world. He ing Boundaries 2014 at the Mall galleries with a is featured in both public and private collecfull programme of events. tions in Africa, Europe and America. worked within the Civil Service from 1982 and “Aabru Art has worked closely with each of Odogwu was born in Agbor, Delta State in 1970 left after five years to concentrate on his artist these artists, encouraging Transcending and graduated as a sculptor from Auchi Polypursuits. Boundaries to break norms and establish a last- Osaghae trained as an artist at the Auchi poly- technic in 1991. During his studies Fidelis ing legacy for West African art in the internatechnic, Edo State, Nigeria in 1986, specializing trained with renowned sculptor Ben Osawe. tional market.” Working as a full-time studio artist, he has had in Painting. After his National Service and a The statement also listed Transcending Boundthree-year teaching contract ending in 1990, he several exhibitions in Nigeria and overseas. aries’ full programme of educational events returned to his Alma Mata to become Senior In- Working with metal, Odogwu deals with a vaavailable to the public, holding between 17 - 22 riety of themes and creates inspired works that structor in Painting, Life Drawing and History March. Artist tours and panel discussions with of Art between 1991 and 1995. He resigned from demonstrate not only his understanding of the Biyi Bendele (Director of Half of a Yellow Sun), this post to devote more time and energy to Ar- materials, but also his innate ability to subjuChris Spring (British Museum), Nkem Ifejika tHours Studios, his private studio which he cre- gate them in conformance with his desired ob(Business Journalist), giles Peppiatt (Bonhams) ated whilst working as a teacher. jective. and Abiodun Olaku (West African Artist and Oshinowo is a member of the Society of NigerBabatunde studied sculpture at Yaba College Founder of the guild of Fine Arts) will take place of Technology, graduating in 1983. He has parian Artists, Visual Arts Society of Nigeria and at the Mall galleries. the Arts Council of the African Studies Associaticipated in over 25 exhibitions at home and Anshu Bahanda is the founder and chairman tion. He holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and was overseas and produced work for both public of Aabru Art. She has a passion for finding appointed Deputy Rector of the Yaba College of and private commissions. undiscovered, talented artists and introducing Technology in 1996 His large-scale ebony works are instantly them to the world stage. Anshu collected art for recognised in Nigeria due to his popularity Oshinowo is probably Nigeria’s most prolific a number of years before curating exhibitions artist. His experiments in painting lean toand unique style. He holds great potential for professionally. the international market – all pieces presented wards figurative analysis which is expressed Olaku was born in Lagos in 1958 and trained as in international exhibitions have been sold. with naturalistic tendencies embedded within an artist at the Yaba College of Technology. He deft brushstrokes of muted colours. His paintAsidere was born in Apapa, Lagos in 1961. He
ings engage with the world around him, communicating that, indeed, “art is life”. Ugbine studied art at Auchi Polytechnic and sculpture at Yaba College of Technology. He worked as a lecturer at Auchi Polytechnic between 1980 and1987, but left to pursue a fulltime career as an artist. He is a prolific sculptor who has exhibited in Nigeria, South Africa and the Middle East. A tireless experimentalist, he popularised figurative terracotta based on traditional Nigerian costumes. His favourite medium is wood, which he uses to create three-dimensional pieces including symbolic tribal masks. Reuben playfully manipulates the convex and the concave in his works. Isichei was born in Asaba, Nigeria, 1966. From 1984 to 1989 he studied at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, where he graduated with both an ordinary and higher National Diploma in Fine Art, during which he specialized in painting. For seven years he worked in advertising before finally deciding to channel his energy into full time studio work in 1997. He has exhibited both within and outside Nigeria. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria but came to London to study for a masters degree at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Ovrati was born in Zaria in 1961. Having graduated from Auchi Polytechnic in 1981 with an HND in painting and an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) from the University of Benin he lectured at Auchi for 8 years, leaving in 2002 to work as a full-time artist in Lagos. He has exhibited extensively across Africa, Europe and the Americas. Ovraiti uses a range of mediums, but is best known for his watercolour works depicting Fulani women and local folklore themes. Sam is a gifted artist whose spirituality comes through in his work. Quaye was born in 1954, starting his career as an artist in 1974 when he was given an apprenticeship with master-printer Bruce Onobrakpeya for two years. After this training he went on to study at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, where he continued to study printing. Exhibitions of his work have appeared in Africa, USA, Trinidad and Tobago and France. Specialising in line-printing, Quaye’s work is highly symbolic and vividly bright. Some of his pieces can be found in the V&A and Smithsonian.
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Heritage In Ibadan, song of unity for Nigeria, Africa keeps pulsating
Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Dokun Abolarin (left), Chairman, CBAAC Governing Board, Senator Yusuf Brimmo; DG of CBAAC, Prof. Tunde Babawale; and Director, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Prof. Dele Layiwola.
Some eminent historians at the event.
Representative of Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof Remi Raji Oyelade (left); and Director, Centre For Advanced Studies of African Society, Cape Town, South Africa, Prof Kwesi Kwaa Prah (guest speaker) PHOTOS: NAJEEM RAHEEM
Black History Month By Kabir Alabi Garba HE coincidence appeared instructive. At the T time Nigeria is redefining the indivisibility of its existence as a nation through the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914, scholars and intellectuals gathered in Ibadan to re-examine the importance of unity for development in all ramifications in Africa. The occasion was this year’s commemoration of the Black History Month held on February 27, 2014 at the new International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State. As usual, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) organized it featuring Director, Centre For Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), Cape Town, South Africa, Prof Kwesi Kwaa Prah as guest speaker. He spoke on the theme of the event, Pan-Africanism and the Challenges of Global African Unity. Pan-Africanism, Prof. Prah insisted, “is an affirmation and assertion of African humanity; a spirit of indomitability; an attestation of the right and willingness of Africans to unite and seize their equality amongst humankind. It is not a dogma cast in stone by a political pedigree, which requires doctrinal fidelity every time it is called into analytical or practical service. It is a dynamic frame of reference which responds to changes in focus and relevance according to changing historical realities.” For over a century, CASAS Director noted that no single idea or intellectual formula for the emancipation and development of people of African descent has been as influential and allembracing for the thought and practice of African politics as the Pan-Africanist argument. And the kernel of the argument, he said, was the belief that the future of Africa and Africans must lie in the hands of Africans; “that only unity can rehabilitate Africans from the stunting legacy of colonialism and neocolonialism.”
Reference was made to statements made by two African leaders — Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere — to the effect that only unity could guarantee future for the continent. Prah, who took the audience through series of Pan-African Congresses held since 1900 till the recently 8th edition in Johannesburg on January 14 to 16, 2014 canvassed that the realization of African Unity might remain a mirage unless there exists “a democratic Pan-African structure and institution, an umbrella institution, a political party and organization which carefully, and over time, democratically assumes effective legitimacy in the areas of foreign policy, economy and the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence in African states as a whole, as military and police functions.” The envisaged structure, he argued, “must permit its wings or chapters, in various African states, to move forward towards the common goal at their own pace.” While ensuring sharing a united strategic objective, the political organization, he added, must provide room “for tactical differences to deal with the specific, circumstantial peculiarities of African states.” He counseled however, “while we must not rush into this, we can also not indefinitely postpone the processes necessary to put this in place.” And in the meantime, he underscored the need for “a cultural movement which will mobilise writers, teachers, artists, musicians, etc., to focus minds on the celebration of our African belongings as baggage for a forward movement; a cultural renaissance, which will strengthen our sense of identity as Africans and provide the pride and confidence necessary to forge ahead. “A cultural movement will enable us to shed the inferiority syndromes which stifle African progress. It will assist us to cast aside the self-loathing which drives our people to hair-striaghtening; skin and face-bleaching; denigration of harmless age-long traditions
as ‘heathen practices’; and the indiscriminative and fawning embrace of Westernism in all areas of social life.” Earlier in his address, DG of CBAAC, Prof Tunde Babawale traced the origin of Black History Month celebration to the United States. It began nearly 90 years ago as Negro History Week and pioneered by the renowned African American historian, Dr. Carter Godson Woodson to protest the exclusion of the contributions of African Americans from history textbooks in the United States. The celebration as a yearly event, Babawale asserted, has grown and gained global acceptance. The CBAAC connection marking it yearly, he explained, was to celebrate the appreciation of Black and African history. “Over the years, as part of our statutory responsibility, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization has used it to direct attention to matters of concern to Black and African peoples across the world. We have also instituted this celebration as an annual event to celebrate the appreciation of Black and African history and reecho the triumphs of Africans over forces of domination, discrimination and exploitation.” In addition to using the occasion to address myriads of challenges being faced by Africans and black peoples around the World, for CBAAC, Black History Month becomes handy to showcase tremendous contributions of Black people to world civilization, Babawale said. He defined Pan-Africanism as a philosophical and ideological construct conceived to encourage unity among Africans and people of African descent. “It is premised on the assumption that there is power in unity. Pan-Africanism represents the aggregation of the historical, cultural, spiritual, artistic, scientific and philosophical aspirations of Africans and her Diaspora from the past to the present,” he explained. CBAAC’s decision to mark 2014 edition with special focus on Pan Africanism, he said, was motivated by the numerous socio-economic and political challenges facing the African continent and her vast Diaspora in recent times and the desire to frontally confront them. “It is sad to note that despite decades of experimentation with different economic policies and programmes, the world’s absolute poor still live on the continent. With only a few exceptions, most countries on the continent are caught in the poverty trap, with more than half of the population living below the poverty line and on less than $1 per day. “Poverty is so severe in Africa that about 22 out of the 25 poorest countries in the World are in Africa. The problem of poverty has been compounded by needless political crises that often resulted in violent conflicts on the continent. The desire to find workable solutions to these problems informed our decision to choose the theme of this year’s celebration.” Culture and Tourism Minister, High Chief Edem Duke expressed happiness to be part of the celebration. “By the roll call of distinguished guests and accomplished individuals here, I have no doubt in my mind that this oc-
casion offers a memorable platform for the celebration of achievements of Black and people of African descent and the appreciation of Africa’s modest contribution to knowledge. Likewise, I am glad and delighted to always be part of CBAAC’s efforts at directing attention to issues of concern to Black and African peoples through its numerous programmes. I have kept track of CBAAC’s activities and I wish to express satisfaction with what I have seen so far.” Duke described Pan-Africanism as “an ideology and movement that encourages the solidarity of Africans worldwide. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social and political progress and aims to “unify and uplift” people of African descent. The ideology asserts that the fate of all African peoples and countries are intertwined. Pan-Africanism is premised on the belief that African peoples wherever they are, share not only a common history, but a common destiny. Consequently, there should be unity of purpose and complementarity in their desire for growth and development. “Given the conflict theatres that litter different parts of Africa and many developmental challenges facing the continent, the organization of this programme particularly the lecture on the auspicious occasion of the Black History Month celebration is a unique way of redirecting our attention not only to the need for peaceful coexistence and unity among our people and countries to surmount these problems but also seek ways by which Pan Africanism can assist this desire.” In the submission of Chairman, CBAAC Governing Board, Senator Yusuf Brimmo, Pan Africanism has assisted the continent greatly. “It has helped in the institutionalization of the principle of ‘oneness of view’. Africa’s success in the liberation struggle was made possible in large measure by its oneness of view and unity of action. “During that period, Africa was united in her resolve to rid the continent of colonialism and racialism. In addition to this, it has helped in subjugating narrow parochial interests by African states for the greater common good of the majority. This principle has enabled compromise to prevail where differences of opinion have emerged. Pan Africanism has engendered collaboration with like-minded institutions that continue to work with countries on the continent in pursuing and achieving development. Today, the AU and the African regional economic blocs have evolved strategic partnership with a number of countries and institutions that are interested in the development of Africa. “Pan Africanism has also encouraged strategic integration of people and countries on the continent. Pan-Africanism has the credit for the initiative of greater socio-political and economic integration of people irrespective of the artificial boundaries that separates them”.
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ArtHouse Benny Ark, Amaka Onyeagoro for Nigerian Broadcasters Nite ITH three successful editions in Lagos and one in Ibadan, W Oyo State, Nigerian Broadcasters Nite (NBN), monthly gig designed to further celebrate the achievements of Nigerian broadcast industry as well as its practitioners will be hosted in THE federal capital Territory, Abuja. Benny Ark and Amaka Onyeagoro a.k.a Amaka Ma Ra Nma, the two presenters have emerged the first set of On-air Personalities to be celebrated in Abuja. The event will hold on Saturday, March 22, at the newly opened The Bank Lounge, Wuse 2, where Benny Ark of Cool 96.9 FM and Amaka Onyeagoro of Hot 98.3 FM will feature. .
Ibadan Poetry festival 2014 holds March 12
ENTRE for Poets (CfP), Ibadan, has finalized arrangement C to host Ibadan Poetry festival (IPOfEST 2014), with the theme ‘Poetry in Lamentation for a Nation. IPOfEST 2014 will hold from Wednesday, March 12 to 13, 2014 at Alliance francaise, beside Magistrate Court, Seventh Day Adventist Road, Iyaganku, Ibadan. Time is 10am to 5pm. festival Director is Ebika Anthony. IPOfEST 2014, which promises actions and excitements, will feature poetry performances with music and dance. Students, poets and lovers of poetry from all walks of life residing within and outside Ibadan are invited to take part in this festival. Awards shall be given to the best three solo poetry performances, which must reflect the theme of IPOfEST 2014. Poets who are interested in competing for IPOfEST awards should call the festival Director on 08034822937 or 0813347356 to register. – Compiled by florence Utor
Director-General, National Film and Video Censor’s Board, Ms. Patricia Bala (left), after the arrest of illegal film exhibitors in an operation in Abuja
Agunbiade out with books on career, survival tactics Storie by Florence Utor fTER successfully coming out with five A books on language development in children and marketing-related issues six
months ago namely, Learning About Special Education Needs in Children, Dyslexia/Reading Difficulty Manual, Reading and Public Speaking in Children, Running a Profitable School and
Montessori Special Educational Needs for Teachers, Barrister Ima-Maria Nike Agunbiade presented two other books last week to the public on Survival and the Rule of Detachment and Career Guide to Success. The first book is basically about being happy at all times and how one can attain happiness at work, in love, relationships and life in general. When the golden rules of attaining this happy life as suggested by Agunbiade in Survival and the Rule of Detachment are followed, the result is that one would be free from various addictions and habits they find difficult to stop. It is a guide to developing one’s inner strength and knowing what one wants and going after it. Career Guide to Success, on the other hand, is about how undergraduates can work ahead and plan to step out of school with first class degrees or something very close to it. It also teaches how one can develop confidence through identifying one’s passion, going after it and doggedly determined to achieve one’s goals. Recommended for SS3 and A-level stu-
dents, undergraduates, graduates, careers and employees, the woman of many parts with a first degree in Creative Arts, Masters in International Law and Diplomacy, Diploma in Journalism, News Writing and Reporting, and a post-graduate Diploma in Education finally settling for her passion as a teacher running a Montessori Teachers Training School. The author, counselor and mentor simply describes herself as lawyer by profession, an educationist by occupation and having a passion for writing. Agunbiade revealed, “The book takes you through planning for a career, identifying a good job, planning your entry and exit in a job, planning a successful business, balancing work and family, identifying your passion/desire for self actualisation, becoming successful and wealthy and keeping a level head”. She stressed that mentoring is the basic rule to having a successful career, adding, “Someone who can serve as a role model for you, that you aspire to be like can be a relation, your teacher, family friend or even someone in the society that you like, and wish to be like. The mentor can also be your parent”.
Women’s centre moves to float own television and radio studios N a bid to move the activiIWomen ties of National Centre for Development (NCWD), Abuja forward, the management of the centre under the leadership of Lady Onyeka Onwenu has announced that it would be floating its own television and radio studios where all issues concerning women would be discussed and aired. To this end, management has been reaching out to other relevant agencies and organisations for support and collaborations. The Director General, Onwenu, made this known during a
courtesy visit to the management of Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) in Abuja. During the visit, the Lady of Songs stated that the visit was to forge partnerships to achieve the centre’s mandate for which it was established 20 years ago, adding that the promotion of women empowerment through advocacy and training were top priorities for the centre. According to Onwenu, “The centre needs to do more and Nigerian women need
to be given a voice against the backdrop of the present administration’s gender sensitiveness. Issues such as violence against women and girls, women empowerment, education and governance would be discussed. These would be specifically targeted at young girls who seem not to have clear directions of their rights and the opportunities opened to them and the need to be aware that they have the power to change their situations for good and not allow themselves to be used for the gains of others”.
She further stated that the centre had mapped out programmes in other areas of training, adding, “The centre is inculcating new nonwomen traditional vocational training programmes such as masonry, plumbing, carpentry and air conditioner repair works. In the nearest future, Nigerian women would build their own houses, thanks to arrangements being put in place by the centre in collaboration with NEGUCCI Worldwide Project, to train women on building technology, partic-
ularly widows.” Onwenu also added that the centre plans on appealing to state governors to give access to women to obtain lands in their localities, pouting, “We feel it is time to branch out. All that is needed is backup and support to give Nigerian women the opportunities to be what they want to be.” The visit provided insight into the workings of NSRP, which include the reduction of violence, protection of women and children from violence and management of conflict situations.
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Revue ‘We have not been fair to our history’
down. You cannot understand that outside the context of this amalgamation that we are playing with. So, the real problem with Nigeria is not amalgamation. The real problem is our failure to manage the Nigerian state so that every unit of it can have a sense of belonging. That is the real issue and not amalgamation. Unfortunately, we have not been able to address that, frontally. What everybody is crying of is a country where every person can feel a sense of belonging, where every person can be motivated to sacrifice for the survival of the country. The kind of country we need is where the ordinary man is not a victim of the elite, politically, economically and what have you. What is that kind of country? This is something I have continued to say in the past 30 years now and each time I say it people say you are talking ideology. I am not talking ideology; we must have a philosophy of governance for this country and that takes into consideration our diversity, the strength of the various parts of the country and the weaknesses of the various parts of the country. That puts the people as the owners of governance and this is one arm of the APRM that I belong to now. The people are the ones who own government and not the other way round. Politicians don’t own governWhat are your views of the amalgamation of Nigeria? HEN it comes to amalgamation, looking back as a historian, ment, which means, of course, if you are to hold political office, you must do so at the pleasure of the people, you create instituI believe that we have not been fair to our history in the tions. Some persons tell me we already have that in the constitusense that people tend to be blaming Lord Frederick Lugard for tion and that is recall and I tell them you have to go beyond that. what he did. But in actual fact, that amalgamation, with all its Now, when you are able to structure that kind of a country shortcomings, created enduring threats that have bound us where the basic needs of people are met, you get patriotism. Any together over the years. In other words, it’s rather a miracle that country that does not meet the basic needs of the people should Nigeria has survived. Even Lugard himself did not give it any not expect patriotism. See how we are arguing for how many chance of survival. But there were things they did. Institutions years about power, water, and agriculture? It should not be. were established, which have held us together whenever you Hundred years is more than enough to have overcome these have these threats of disintegration of the country. That is why I believe, and I have said so, nobody, who knows this country, can problems. The problems have nothing to do with amalgamaever think of Nigeria disintegrating. I have heard that statement tion, but it is the failure of the Nigerian state and the managers of the Nigerian state to build a country out of what Lugard and that by 2015 Nigeria will disintegrate, it cannot happen. others brought together. Lugard did not come here to build a When I was in the Political Bureau back, in 1986, and we had that debate in the entire country, many geo-political zones advo- country. He was just a colonial agent and you cannot blame Britain. So, it is our failure not to build a country we are talking cating their views of Nigeria, I had a very interesting experience in Owerri, where we met all the Igbo traditional rulers and intel- about. What makes it a miracle for Nigeria not to break? lectuals, it was the same. Fortunately, for me, the Chairman of That is exactly what I am talking about. Ordinarily, given all the Bureau, Prof. Cookey was not feeling too well, so, I chaired the tension, conflict and the rest, Nigeria could have broken up, that meeting in Owerri. Everybody talked and talked that they but it has not. That is why some of us say Nigeria is God’s project. wanted confederation and so many other issues. I asked them why do you want it? They gave a litany of issues of discrimination If you move around Africa, the things we tolerate in Nigeria, no any other people in Africa will. The kinds of things that ordinary and marginalisation and I asked them a simple question: If it is Nigerians go through, they revolt, so, it’s a miracle that we don’t. possible to design a political system that takes care of all these There is something, and we have to convert that miracle into things you are talking about will you still want confederation? practice. The miracle has taken place and has preserved us for They echoed ‘no, we want federation and we want to stay in 100 years, and my point is, that we should now create instituNigeria’. What I learnt from that experience is that most tions to sustain that entity, which has been preserved for you. Nigerians use disintegration and the threat thereof as a strategy Don’t blame those who brought us together, but blame ourfor extracting more concessions in the Nigerian state, which is a selves for failing to address some of the issues I have been talklegitimate instrument, but it will never cross that border. Why? Since we were brought together there have been so many threats ing about. In other words, at the core of this notion is social justice — a country, which is passionate about social justice, and woven to bind us together. The complementarity of the economy between the North and the South, no serious Northerner can takes democracy seriously. We don’t take democracy seriously. How do you appreciate the role of Calabar in the colonial times talk of disintegration or cessation because you become a landand its historical relics? lock country. All the ports are down South, the market for your Calabar is a very unique city historically speaking, dating back products are down south. If you are to bring all the Igbo people to the Atlantic slave trade. The relics are there, but what do you back to Igbo land, the place will explode. but there is space for do with them? The Commission for National Museums has the Igbos to be what they naturally are to move out and settle identified a number of buildings. If you go down Eyo Edem
Okon Edet Uya is a professor of African and African-American history. The former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, and one time Nigerian ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Argentina, who equally was the former chairman of National Electoral Commission (NEC), and member, Parliament of Eminent Persons of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), is Presiding Pastor of the Leaders Love Life Ministry. He spoke extensively with ANIETIE AKPAN on Nigeria and the 100 years of Amalgamation, historical relics of Calabar and many other issues.
Street (in Old Calabar), you will see the sign ‘to be preserved as monuments’. Hope Waddell, the initial building brought from Scotland to Hope Waddell is one of them. Where we have the slave trade museum was the Fort Matilda in the days of slavery and I took part in identifying it. That was the most important point of which slaves from Calabar were exported to the New World. It was called the Fort Matilda and that is where the museum stands and the whole idea were put for something there to replicate the museum. Not too long ago, we had a conference in Calabar tagged ‘Calabar through the Ages’ and we talked about all these. We said the old post office need to be identified, if you cross the river to Creek Town, there are lots of historical monuments there. The site where the Efiks settled when they came from Arochukwu is there. These things need to be preserved. The problem is this, whenever you have this conflict between modernity and relics, something gives way. For instance, the National Museum, which is the Old Residency where Nigeria was administered, by 1986 the place was completely run down. We couldn’t preserve it in that form, so, we had to renovate it and I was involved in that with the late Professor Ekpo Eyo. In doing so, we had to keep some resemblance of old. That is why, if you go there, you still see some areas in its original form — Its renovation with some sense of innovation. Someone mentioned the prisons (Bricksfield Prison) to date that the wall is there. Yes, there are historical sites in Calabar. Today’s site of Tinapa used to be a very famous area for fishing and the song ‘there is life in Tinapa’ got its origin there. By building Tinapa today, you are recreating that memory but have to be created in such a way that you don’t destroy the old relics. It’s balancing out the desire to be modern and the desire to preserve. That is the challenge of Calabar. The other challenge, which is very close to my heart, is what they call the National Library and National Archives. I was involved in bringing the branch of National Library here, when I was a member of the National Library Board, and also adding for the archives. But when you see what has happened to them, you’ll wonder why the archives operate from boxes, yet that is the memory of the country. Even this Lugard you are talking about those documents are there and we don’t care for them, we just put them in boxes. Any country that treats its memory with that kind of disdain cannot build itself, because there is nothing to fall back on. Any country without a memory of its self cannot become great, and that is the truth. That is why if you take any of these developed countries, their attention is paid to their history. Their preserving it is enormous but that is not true of Nigeria. Nigeria for the umpteenth time is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t make the teaching of its history compulsory from primary school. You cannot get any degree in America without taking and passing American history, it’s compulsory. It doesn’t matter whether you are going to be an engineer or doctor. In other words, when you talk about preserving the memories of Calabar, that is the problem because we treat our history with disdain. So, the things we talk about are just pulling down and erecting modern building, the sensitivity and historical consciousness is very low. Some persons don’t even know that the actual place the amalgamation treaty was signed is in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State. So, there is a lot of work to be done to preserve the legacy and contribution of
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AUTOWHEELS Friday, March 7, 2014
Feeling the ‘ghost’ in Rolls-Royce By Dele Fanimo T takes the initiated to feel the presence of a Iinstance ghost. It is not an all- comers’ affair. In this only captains of industry, entrepreneurs and successful, high net worth businessmen and women are considered in the coven of the initiated. Indeed, not done with its first appearance, the ghost is out as Ghost 11 at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show with the powerful and vintage spirit of Rolls-Royce. Ghost Series II delivers the latest industry-leading technology from Rolls-Royce clad in a subtle redesign. It exudes the timeless yet cool, modern luxury that the car’s customers – the Captains of Industry, entrepreneurs and successful business men and women who are the wealth and job creators in our economies – demand. The launch of Ghost Series II consolidates Ghost’s position as the most popular car in the high net worth class, and as a cornerstone of Rolls-Royce’s continuing success. On unveiling Ghost Series II to a packed hall in Geneva’s Palexpo, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Torsten MüllerÖtvös said, “The Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II is the ultimate entrepreneur’s business tool. He said “following the worldwide success of its predecessor, I am confident that this redesigned and updated Rolls-Royce will continue to attract increasing numbers of new customers to the marque, in particular business entrepreneurs seeking an oasis of calm in a frenetic business world.” Protecting the popularity of Ghost’s iconic design whilst delivering the latest Rolls-
Royce technology to its exacting customers, the subtle re-design of Ghost Series II begins from the front. Re-sculpted LED headlights encircled by daytime running lights lend Ghost Series II a more dynamic visual signature and blend perfectly with revised surface treatments to the front of the car. A tapered ‘wake channel’ on the bonnet, emanating from the Spirit of Ecstasy, evokes the sight of a jet’s vapour trail or wake of a fast luxury yacht and hints at the car’s dynamism. Subtle re-sculpting of Ghost’s bumpers creates a stronger stance and a sense of extra width and height, whilst the contemporary aesthetic is further enhanced with the addition of chrome inserts to the front air intakes, which now feed more air cooling to the front brakes. In addition, the famous waft line has been re-designed on Ghost Series II to lean further forwards emphasising the car’s effortless dynamism. According to the Director, Design for RollsRoyce, Giles Taylor “as a design statement, Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II continues to transcend time,” “This is ensured by the deft treatment of features such as the new headlights, the new wake channel on the bonnet and surfacing that lend the car a more dynamic, purposeful stance and hint at the cutting edge technology inside. I am very pleased with the overall sense of design harmony.” Inside, Ghost Series II delivers on its out-
ward appearance. The ultimate contemporary combination of luxury, technology and connectivity available to the successful entrepreneur on the move today, Ghost Series II’s onboard technology ensures it is an oasis of calm in a busy, connected world where he or she can do business in peace. Its suite of technologies ensures that both business and leisure time in the car are a super-luxurious effortless experience. Onboard Wi-Fi makes Ghost Series II the most connected, luxurious place in which to conduct business on the move, whilst Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT), debuted in Wraith last year, enhances the car’s dynamism – ensuring the car automatically adapts to its surroundings augmenting the drive experience. Updates to navigation systems and the car/user interface ensures accessing Ghost’s features remains an effortless experience, whilst optional Bespoke Audio – the most exhaustively engineered and finest audio system in automotive history – brings new levels of aural satisfaction to passengers. Inside, there is a neat Christmassy assortment of luxury, technology and connectivity. The hand-stitched leatherwork on the seats and dashboard takes over two weeks to complete, with nine hides required for each interior. The full-grain leather is pre-shrunk and drum-dyed to preserve colour and ensure longevity. Plus you can customise motiffs on the seats and interiors as per
your liking. The rear passenger seats get a rotary controller in the centre with which you can access directions, the internet or music and even scribe letters onto the touchpad with a mere swipe of your finger. You can enter also navigation instructions or call up contacts simply by using your voice. Satellite Aided Technology uses GPS data along with the navigation system to scan the road reacts before the driver and automatically chooses the right gear on the eight-speed transmission delivering power smoothly, without any unnecessary gear c h a n g e s . The Head Up Display projects driving information such as directions and the speed limit directly onto the windscreen, allowing you to concentrate on the road ahead. The rear passenger seats get a rotary controller in the centre with which you can access directions, the internet or music and even scribe letters onto the touchpad with a mere swipe of your finger. You can enter also navigation instructions or call up contacts simply by using your voice. The mechanicals remain unchanged, so the latest offering gets the tried and tested 6.6litre, twin-turbo-charged V12 from the outgoing model mated to a 8-speed ZF t r a n s m i s s i o n . Power figures have not been given out but we speculate that it should not change much from the current 571PS and 780Nm of torque figure.
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CIG Motors plans to explore Nigeria auto market By Adeniyi Idowu Adunola IG Motors, the Nigeria C company of the GAC Motor China is set to explore the Nigerian auto market with its brands of cars. The Chief Executive Officer of CIG Motors, Ms Diana Chen, said the company has conducted extensive research on the Nigerian market. She stated that for over one year, the company has embarked on series of programmes to thoroughly understand the Nigerian market. Chen said the company is making huge investment in order to make a high impact in the Nigeria market adding that t h e
country offers huge potentials for the brands. She added that Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt are the key market for the company. Nigeria, according to her, offers enormous potentials for the company as a major channel to gain market presence in the African continent. To achieve its strategic goals of market entry, Chen said the company was building an ultra modern office with after sales support service and workshop in order to offer quality service in the Nigerian market. She also
With the global strategy of “prudent action, holistic plan, steady growth, major breakthroughs,” GAC plans to establish distribution network in 18 countries in 2014, covering each continent, and extend further to neighboring markets. In the Middle East, GAC Motor plans to establish networks in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirate, among other as well as Russia and Ukraine of Eastern Europe; Chile, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina of South America; Algeria and Nigeria in Africa; and in the Southeast Asia and Central Asia are Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia asserted that the company will also train Nigerian auto technicians as part of its business goals to maintain a well established presence in Nigeria She said the brands are of high
quality with international safety standards adding that the company was entering the Nigerian market with its car models as well as SUVs. The brands are designed in a trendy and sporty style with extra wide and comfort space and environmentfriendly features. It also has advanced technology, excellent performance and control. The cars are also fitted with Gcloud
Intelligent Driving Assistance System. Chen added that the brands from the stable of CIG Motors have top safety technology in the world. CIG, according to Chen, is the Nigerian company of Guangzhou Automobil Group Co., Ltd (GAC MOTOR) a Chinese automobile maker with headquarter in Guanngzhou in China. GAC motor represents insisting on pursuing development, enhancing the core completion, and achieving sustainable development. Since its establishment, the Trumpchi has been technologically at par with other global brands and developed based on
top-notch European performance. GAC Motor not only has relationships with the global top ten automobile parts suppliers, but has also internalized Europe’s advanced chasis and powertrain technology. Especially in the safety performance, GAC motor’s entire models got the five star award in the C-NCAP test and beyond most of famous brands. She said the car designed in Italy, built in world class manufacturing company in China, with its C-Class chasis and equipment, B-Class Value and quality, and A-class price and Trumpchi will be extremely competitive in the global market. With the global strategy of “prudent action, holistic plan, steady growth, major breakthroughs,” GAC plans to establish distribution network in 18 countries in 2014, covering each continent, and extend further to neighboring markets. In the Middle East, GAC Motor plans to establish networks in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirate, among other as well as Russia and Ukraine of Eastern Europe; Chile, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina of South America; Algeria and Nigeria in Africa; and in the Southeast Asia and Central Asia are Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia
FRSC sensitizes stakeholders, on license, vehicle registration others From Ali Garba, Bauchi HE Federal Road Safety T Corps (FRSC) Corps Marshall Ositta Chidoka, has
All new Peugeot 4008 unveiled in Lagos... recent;y
Edo assures on improved transport services From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City DO State Commissioner E for Transport, Orobosa Omo-Ojo, has assured people of the state of the ministry’s commitment to rendering services to enhance traffic management in the state capital and other activities of the transport sector. At a press briefing on Wednesday on the activities of the ministry, particularly its traffic management department, the commissioner accused a leading private broadcast station in the state of deliberately misinforming the public to tarnish the image of the ministry even as he urged the media for fair reportage of its activities for the benefit of the public. He alleged that personnel of the said station had disobeyed traffic rules but would always give an
impression to the oublic that the ministry was not working. However, the hope of workers of the Edo state owned transport company, Edo Line, to return back to duty after about three years stay at home was also dashed by the commissioner as he said the state governor was yet to make any official commitment to re-opening the once flourishing company. It would be recalled that aggrieved workers of the company established by the former military administration Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia have been locked in a running battle with board members over alleged sharp practices which led to its closure down by the present state government. The transport line began operations in the sixties as Armels Transport Company, and changed later to Midwest Line in 1968, by the administration of the
defunct Midwest (later Bendel) region after it was purchased from its foreign owners.
Omo-Ojo said, “It is only Governor Adams Oshiomhole that has the authority to make pro-
nouncement on the re-opening or otherwise of Edo Line not the commissioner or any self-appointed General Manager.” He said the media report that the state government was going to reopen Edo Line amounted to “deliberate false news” and “an ambush designed to set the public and in particular workers of Edo Line against Edo State Government”. It was gathered that some aging workers of the transport company had on hearing reports about government’s plan to proposed the firm, stormed the office of the commissioner with an appeal on the government to pay their arrears of salaries before it will be reopened. The commissioner denied the media report in its entirety, stressing that the news report did not emanate from the State Ministry of Transport or any other government organ in the state.
commended Bauchi State Government for uploading 5855 numbers plates out of the 9250 supplied to it Board of Internal Revenue. The Corps Marshall represented by the Head of Motor Vehicle Administration Department (FRSC) Abuja, Commander Emanuel Omotosho Abe, said yesterday in Bauchi that once a vehicle is registered it cannot be registered twice and even if the vehicle is stolen another person would not be able to register it because of the previous information uploaded on the vehicle. Chidoka said that all driving centres in the state that have no equipment to issue licenses will be supplied with state of the art equipment that would not accept passport or picture of any size but would only recognise thumb print and human face. He said that by June this year any vehicle that does not have new numbers plates and cannot be identified with the National vehicle Identification Scheme will not ply the road. He encouraged vehicles owners to register their vehicles with the state Board of internal revenue and avoid giving their vehicles to third party for registration. He said about 250 persons have been prosecuted for possessing fake drivers licenses and numbers plates in the country.
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BUSINESSTRAVEL Friday, March 7, 2014
Quote of the week “Travelers are always discoverers, especially those who travel by air. There are no signposts in the air to show a man has passed that way before. There are no channels marked. The flier breaks each second into new uncharted seas.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh, (North to the Orient, 1935) email@example.com 08033151041 (SMS only)
Govt’s purging spree of aviation sector continues despite US FAA’s visit By Ibe Uwaleke to many observers ItheofT appears events in the country in recent past that the aviation ministry and its parastatals are drawing more attention of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his government than any other ministry or parastatals. Not even the Ministry of Defence with its mounting challenges of curtailing the menacing activities of the rampaging Boko Haram, is drawing such attention going by the major restructuring and appointments approved by the President in the aviation sector within one month. Perhaps Jonathan understands clearly the critical nature of this industry to the nation’s economy hence to reposition it to international acceptable standards has become his government’s priority. Just about three weeks ago, in circumstances yet being speculated by industry watchers, President Jonathan announced the removal of Princess Stella Oduah as the Minister of Aviation. The sudden removal, many people believe, jolted the sector as she was seen as a visioner and a person who took aviation as business and worked assiduously to improve the infrastructural development of the industry within two years of her sujourn there. No replacement of her has been made before the President dropped another bombshell on Tuesday March, 4 2014, when through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, announced further cleansing through the removal from office all the heads of the four parastatals and agencies under the ministry and appointing new ones to take over immediately. This cleansing as approved by the President, is perhaps to inject new blood into the entire ministry before a new substantive minister would take over. In a statement in Abuja from Senator Anyim, through his special assistant on media, Sam Nwaobasi, only Tony Anuforo was found worthy to retain his position as DirectorGeneral of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET). All other chiefs of the agencies were shown the way out. The affected Agencies are the
Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), where Engineer Saleh Dumona, hitherto the Director of Projects, is to replace Mr. George Uriesi as the Managing Director of FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is now to be headed by Ibrahim Abdulsalam, an Engineer who was before now the General Manager of procurement. He is to replace Engineer Nnamdi Udoh, while Captain Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick , formerly of Government Safety Inspectorate and ICAO Focal Point for Nigeria on line Aircraft Safety Information Systems, (OASIS), replaces Captain (Mrs.) Chinyere Kalu as Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Kaduna. Captain Chinyere Kalu who has over 30 years experience in the aviation industry is Nigeria’s first lady pilot and captain. She is a recipient of several awards in recognition of her excellent performance in the sector. This was the reason President Jonathan gave her an honours medal at the just concluded centenary celebrations before sacking her on Tuesday. Others are Felix A. Abali also an engineer who was before the appointment the Director of Licensing, NCAA. He replaces Captain Muhktar Usman as Commissioner, Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIPB), while Captain Usman has been moved to replace Captain Fola Akinkuotu as Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) subject to the confirmation by the Senate. Meanwhile Benedict Adeyileka, also an engineer from the directorate of Air Wordiness of NCAA is to act as DG, pending the confirmation by the Senate of Usman. Since the announcement of these changes last Tuesday, opinions have been divided. While some applaud the development as a normal routine event others condemn the government for singling out aviation for this purging while leaving other ministries and parastatals that require more government attention. It is the belief of the critics of the changes that government is missing the point as they say that change of personnel is not what impacts on the industry, but change and improvement of infrastructures.
To them, even if the changes must happen, the government should have deferred it until after the visit of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (US, FAA) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), officials that are coming by the end of this month for the recertification of Nigeria’s Category One status, obtained in September 8, 2010. This recertification will reposition the nation as one of the countries that have the safest environment for both domestic and international civil aviation operations in the world. They argue that government should not by this ‘panic exercise’ create impression to the visitors that the aviation sector is distressed and suffering from dearth of highly qualified personnel to drive its transformation agenda in this all important industry. The former MDs and DGs of the agencies were appointed statutorily with particular tenure in office. It is speculated that none completed his or her tenure before they were removed. For the ex-DG of NCAA, Akinkuotu, who announced the intention of the arrival of the US FAA crew at an interactive session with journalists last weekend his stay in office was less than a year. Reacting to this development,
the former assistant secretary general of Airline Operators Association of Nigeria (AOAN), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur said he welcomed the exercise as it marked the end of the anticipated clean up to set the sector free and put things right. In a telephone interview with The Guardian, he said the clean up started with the removal of the Minister, Oduah and is now completed with the sacking of the chief executives of the aviation parastatals. He however, regretted the removal of the director general of NCAA, Akinkuotu, whom he said had brought sanity and safety to civil aviation within one year of his appointment. In his own reaction,former Maintenance Engineer of Nigeria Airways.Engr. Sheri Kiare has this to say: “Yes we are surprised by the sweeping changes that took place in the industry but then one will not also be too surprised because it is like a tradition, when minister moves away, there is a tendency that chief executives that worked with such a minister are likely to also move and it might not stop at that, we might also be seeing some directors moving out of the industry within a short time. So once the head in the industry moves, there
are other effects which are likely to follow and that is what we are seeing”. “This removal here and there does not potent good things for us. One would have expected that all the parastatals should be guided by tenureship so that when people come in, they know when they are leaving , they can groom people that will take over from them. But this sweeping changes that come in high turnover of management staff in the industry is not helping us develop the industry accordingly. One will like to advise government to let there be tenureship for the six agencies in the industry. Maybe government should demand from these chief executives every year report of whatever they are doing which can be audited and that can put them on their toes. But once somebody knows that he is coming to an industry and within one to two years he is likely to lose his job, he might not be dedicated, might not be focus.” In his own opinion, the Deputy General Secretary Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) Comrade Olayinka Abioye said:”We expected this because it has become a tradition in Nigeria that when a minister is removed it goes with that saying that every chief executive under the ministry will definitely be affected one way or the other, so this new removals are nothing new except that the personnel that are now brought in is another matter entirely. “For us, we are here, we are watching and we are hoping that as these Nigerians take over the reign of governance in the respective parastatals, they will learn from the mistakes of the past chief executives and do well not only to safeguard the interest of the workers who by law, they are supposed to protect, they should also ensure that the industry runs functionally as expected.” On the other hand, the National Association of Air Traffic Engineers (NAAE), an umbrella body of the Air Traffic Engineers in the Aviation industry has commended the President Jonathan for demonstrating continuity of the ongoing transformation agenda by
Uriesi (Ex-MD FAAN)
Kalu (Rector, NCAT)
Akinkuotu former (DG NCAA)
appointing a seasoned engineer as the new Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). In a release in Lagos recently,by the Secretary, NAAE, Ojar Opah, it stated that the appointment of Engr Ibrahim Abdusalam a rated Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel will consolidate on the gains of the ongoing process and continue the transformation. Meanwhile, FAAN management and staff have accepted the appointment of the new MD, Engr Dunoma and have also shown readiness to work with him. In a statement signed by the coordinating general manager (Communications) of the Aviation parastatals, Yakubu Dati, it reads: “A new Managing Director has been appointed for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). He is Engr. Saleh Dunoma. Engr. Dunoma obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Building Engineering in 1979 from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He had a brief stint in the public and private sectors, respectively before joining the Civil Engineering Department of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (then known as Nigeria Airports Authority) in 1980. Dunoma has since served the Authority in various sensitive capacities. At various times, he acted as Airport Manager, Kaduna Airport and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, respectively. In 2000, he was appointed substantive Airport Manager, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, a position he held until he was reassigned in 2005 to the newly created Director of Aviation Security and Safety as the General Manager (Technology & Capacity Building). The diverse nature of his job of airport management provided him the unique opportunity of being exposed to several facets of airport operations. He was appointed Director of Engineering Services in February 2009 and served in that capacity until 2012, when he was appointed Director of Projects, a position he held until his recent appointment.”
Udoh (Ex-MD NAMA)
Getting rid of aerophobia Days before your trip, visualize a safe flying experience. It’s important to relax, close your eyes and visualize boarding the flight, take-off, enjoying the flight by reading a book or watching in-flight movie. All you need is to picture yourself calm, cool, and composed. This visualization exercise will keep you relaxed and prepare you for actual flight experience.
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Improving travellers’ comfort through electronic device onboard By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi IR passengers can now A enjoy personal electronic devices onboard aircraft to various destinations, as more airlines in the globe have equipped their aircraft with the network that permit travellers to use their portable devices throughout the flight. In general, airlines do not currently allow phone or wi-fi connection from the time the aircraft doors have closed until the aircraft has arrived at the gate and the doors are open again. But, with the new guidance of the EU’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the use of portable electronic devices on board (PED), including smartphones, tablets and ereaders, it confirmed that these devices may be kept switched on in “Flight Mode” (non-transmitting mode) throughout the journey (including taxiing, take-off and landing) without a risk to safety. Meanwhile, the EU Transport Commissioner, Vice President Siim Kallas has asked EASA to accelerate its safety review of the use of electronic devices on board in transmitting mode, with new guidance.
“We all like to stay connected while we are travelling, but safety is the key word here. Today we are taking a first step to safely expand the use of in-flight electronics during taxiing, take-off and landing. Next we want to look at how to connect to the network while on board”. “Connecting to the network would only be possible in specially equipped aircraft that are able to connect you with a network. In those cases, a passenger does not connect to the ground network, but to a safety certified on-board system. There are only few aircraft equipped at the moment but we may expect this to expand in the coming years. Where aircraft are equipped to provide this service, the Commission has recently taken telecoms decisions to enable the provision of 3G and 4G to provide better connections for transmitting devices”, said Kallas Some of the airlines like Air France now permit its passengers to use their personal electronic devices on board as EASA has decided to permit the use of portable electronic devices (PED) in “flight mode” at all times during the flight. As a result, Air France passengers can now benefit from this new regulation and can
use their personal devices while the aircraft is taxiing, on takeoff, during the flight and on landing. With this new service, Air France passengers can continue to work or play from the time they board the plane until they arrive at their destination, in total freedom. Since July 2013, Air France has been offering passengers the opportunity to enjoy the entire in-flight entertainment programme as soon as they board until they arrive at their destination. In this way, customers can enjoy on average an additional hour of entertainment, independently of the takeoff, landing and taxiing phases. The use of devices and accessories operating in Bluetooth or WIFI mode is, however, not permitted and PED should be turned off if operating conditions require, the airline stated. Also, Delta Airlines passengers can use their portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet on all United States domestic flights. Keep those e-readers, tablets, and smartphones in airplane mode from gate to gate and continue enjoying Wi-Fi above 10,000 feet, it said. British Airways(BA) has
announced that passengers can use mobile phones and iPads during take off and landing, but only in “flight safe” mode Passengers on British Airways flights will be allowed to use their mobile phones, iPads and other electronic gadgets during take-off and landing from today, the airline has noted. “BA is the first airline in Europe to allow passengers to keep hand-held electronic devices switched on from
the moment they enter the plane to the moment they leave provided they are kept on “flight safe mode”. Although the rules still prohibit calls, text messages or emails, they will allow people to work, read, play games, listen to music or watch films stored on their phones or tablet computers. US Airways said “customers on US Airways domestic mainline flights will now be permitted to use small PEDs during all phases of flight.”
Its US Airways Express flights do not have FAA approval. United Airlines has adopted the new rules on all domestic mainline flights arriving or departing within the 50 states. The new rules do not apply to United Express flights, but United said it is working with its regional partners to make that happen by the end of the year. American Airlines said the new rules apply to “American’s entire mainline fleet as well as regional aircraft operated by
British Airways named consumer super brand of the year By Ibe Uwaleke RITISH Airways has been B named the winning Consumer Superbrand of 2014, securing the top position against 1,500 other brands vying for the prestigious title. It’s the first time an airline or travel brand of any kind has topped the poll. The UK’s Consumer Superbrands are chosen by
the British public in a national survey of 3,000 adults. The annual survey, which has been identifying the UK’s leading brands since 1995, was managed by the Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA). Frank van der Post, the company’s managing director brands and customer experience, has this to say: “We are thrilled to be named the Consumer Superbrand of the
year. The greatest accolade is that the hard work of our teams has been recognised by the public to receive this coveted award. “We are very proud of what we have achieved in recent years - from our role in the London 2012 Games and our investment in new aircraft and cabins, to our ‘to fly to serve’ campaign. We will not take this award for granted, but will continue to build on our success.” The airline’s recent achievements include: Introducing
new aircraft to the fleet, including the superjumbo A380, and 787 Dreamliner – the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world; the first to introduce iPads to its senior cabin crew thus allowing them to tap into customer preference; extending in-flight entertainment until landing, and trialling digital bag tags The airline also received Sports Industry Awards and a PRCA award for its role in the London 2012 Games. This included delivering the
Olympic Flame into the country, launching the ‘Home Advantage’ campaign, hosting 700,000 people at ‘Park Live’ at the Olympic Park, and a fly-past over The Mall at the end of the Games to thank the fans and athletes. The airline was also named ‘Best Airline Worldwide’ and ‘Best shorthaul carrier’ in the Business Traveller Awards 2012, and has raised £6.5 million for Comic Relief through its Flying Start partnership Stephen Cheliotis, Chief
Executive of The Centre for Brands Analysis and Chairman of the Superbrands Council said: “It’s great to see British Airways soar into first place; it has always performed well in the survey but over the last two years its reputation has climbed to new heights, partly through the cementing of its successful ‘To Fly. To Serve.’ positioning and the residual goodwill from its effective 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games association.”
MMA2 gets new escalators, automated car park By Ibe Uwaleke S part of its determination A to change the face of terminal operations in the country
Turkish Airlines expands lounge at Istanbul airport By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi URKISH Airlines has announced the addition of 2400m2 increase of the size of its lounge in Ataturk Airport, Istanbul to the existing 3500m2, by over 40 per cent in order to meet the needs of growing number of passengers. The Lounge has added a second floor to the existing space and connects them with a spiral staircase that integrates a global sphere, representing the worldwide reach of Turkish Airlines. The new addition has created additional space and increases the capacity of the lounge to over 1,000 guests. The existing facility, which included a children’s playground, library, billiards area, prayer room and teleconference section, has seen an expansion of the rest and shower space as well as additional massage
beds. The lounge is operated by Turkish Airlines’ catering partner, TURKISH DO&CO, a group that has repeatedly won awards for providing Turkish Airlines’ passengers with the best meals in the sky. The lounge combined both modern and traditional design, a space able to provide traditional Turkish hospitality in a setting that offers the most modern conveniences, such free Wi-Fi access through the lounge. The spiral staircase connects the two sections of the lounge and its design represents the connectivity that Turkish Airlines provides to its global customer. For those wishing a bit more excitement, there is a miniature model of Istanbul through which guests may experience a virtual car rally as well as other game consoles and electronic diversion, the airline said.
and bring the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) Ikeja, Lagos to world standard, the management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2, has begun the installation of new escalators at the terminal to lessen the burden of passengers and other airport users. Besides, the company says its Multi-Storey Car Park (MSCP) has been fully automated in a bid to make the use the facility easier. MMA2 is the only airport terminal in the country with an MSCP, which can accommo-
Babalakin date about 800 parked cars at once. In a statement issued by BASL spokesman, Chief Steve Omolale, the company said that two new Mitsulift escalators are being installed to replace the old ones at MMA2, adding that this was part of the infrastructure renewal scheme embarked upon by the firm in the terminal.
It further said that Bi-Courtney has positioned some of its employees close to the installation sites to give information and also assist passengers and other airport users to ensure a hitch-free exercise. The statement added: “Such employees, who adorn orange-colour reflective jackets are strategically positioned close to the escalator landing to courteously direct passengers and airport users to use other alternative routes within the terminal to their destinations, while the multi-million dollar project is ongoing. We, therefore, appeal to all airport users to follow their instructions, while we will do all that is humanly possible to complete the installation sooner than expected”.
While explaining how the new automation at the car park works, Omolale said each of the three floors of the fourfloor car park has a full automated entry and exit barriers and column gates. The statement further said that the new system comes with automated time-stamped ticket and various electronic applications, such as windscreen chip, access card and drive touch botton, adding that “the car park manager has a control system managing all points and an ip phone for communication from his office to the cash points and entry points. This has eliminated the manual ticketing of the car park users. The automation is made by Skidata and installed by Interswitch”.
DANA Air supports child education through excursion activities N keeping with its tradition Iwhere of impacting on the society it operates, Dana Airline has extended its focus of corporate social responsibility to the area of child education as it has in partnership with Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) taken pupils on an educational excursion of airport facilities that included
having a firsthand experience of how an airplane works. The weeklong expedition programme saw the airline opening its aircraft doors to over 500 pupils drawn from various schools across Lagos State. While welcoming the pupils to the aircraft provided by Dana Air for the expedition purpose, the Chief Pilot of the
airline, Captain Segun Omale expressed happiness that Dana Air is once again leading in the drive to impact on the lives of children. Captain Omale said that Dana Airline identifies with all global and local initiatives to improve the education pursuit of children. “We are a caring airline that will continue to pay serious atten-
tion to issues that concern proper education of the future generation and our commitment to take the children on this all important excursion is anchored on our firm belief that a well informed child represents hope for the future of mankind as information drives the development of any nation.”
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FridayWorship By Afis A. Oladosu
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful “O you who believe! Have fear of God, and be among the truthful.” — (Quran 9:19) RETHREN, let me begin with these B questions: “Why is it that our churches and mosques are filled every week, yet the iniquities being perpetrated by “men and women of gods” increase in bounds? Why do we find it easy to insult the Almighty through an indulgence in empty ministrations and supplications when we know that our actions are antithetical to the spiritualities we profess? Brethren, the above introspections proceed from my contemplation and pondering of unfortunate events in the Northeastern parts of this country. I am of the humble opinion that Maiduguri did not suddenly become a waste- land overnight. No. It took us decades travelling on that tortuous journey, across roguish landscapes and deserted encampments, before we arrive at this odious station. I thought Boko Haram (BH) did not suddenly become our national problem. It was one which took our politicians decades to nourish and nurture. Brethren, two extremely specious arguments informed today’s sermon. The first belongs to us: the northerners. Have you not heard the following before: “It appears some elements from the Southern part of this country are actually responsible for what is happening here in the North. They are the ones on a macabre dance across Borno. They want to destroy the North; they are hell bent on annihilating our Islamic heritage.”
“Surely, the religion with Allah is ISLAM,complete submission”... Qur’an 3:19
Between the truth and falsehood Brethren, it was at a public lecture this past week that the above query was thrown at me. I had just finished a lecture on the Arab uprising and current security challenges in the country. I consequently kept quiet for a moment. I knew my brother’s observation has become popular particularly among some of my compatriots who, located as they are in the backwaters of their ethnic cocoons, are forever incapable of critical engagement with issues of national importance. Thus I decided to engage his observation with another curious observation. After all, there is no better way to liquidate a thesis other than with an antithesis. If the thesis is “the South is responsible for the crises in North”, the anti-thesis would then be “the North is the problem of the Jonathan’s administration.” The latter finds credence in the statement of a public analyst who, while discussing the BH issue on a radio station last weekend, suggested that it is possible that the group has been foisted by northern politicians on this nation and at this point in time in order to discredit the Jonathan administration. The analyst said, in part, thus: “Those people do not want any other person in Aso Rock except the Northerner. They should not forget that when power eventually gets back to them, a similar roguish element like the BH would emerge in the country. It
would discredit the administration of whoever becomes the next President of the country the same way the BH is discrediting the Jonathan administration.” Brethren, I found the above two postures a bit insensate. The two arguments smack of an indulgence in tomfoolery and a premeditated attempt to assail our sense of history and decorum. Thus I told my interlocutor at the public lecture: “the North has but one enemy and one enemy only: the Northerner”. In other words, if the truth must be told, then it should be sobering for us, as northerners, to acknowledge the fact that the challenges posed by the BH began long before 2011. It began as a home-grown religious uprising which was badly managed. Thus one could even argue that the BH is actually not the problem of the north. The problem the North has is its political class. The north is its own problem because for decades we, as northerners, refused to see the truth, say the truth, stand by the truth and act truthfully when we had the opportunity to do so. Loss of truth validated the emergence of the BH under the leadership of the assassinated Muhammad Yusuf. There was a gap in governance and social cohesion, which the group found and strove to fill: gaps in honesty, transparency and good governance. Our refusal to employ truth as a
weapon gave the group the weapon to fester and grow its dastardly activities such that it now becomes a regional source of concern. Whenever truth becomes anathema in a given society, its members begin to cling, like someone thrown in midocean, on to anything, including straws, in order to survive. But the above comes with a risk. It may not be popular. It may be unpopular and therefore not catch our attention as northerners because the enormous challenges of the present have led us to see others as responsible for our problems. This posture of ours has found a counterfoil in the Pro-Jonathan section of the Nigerian society: those who prefer to hold either the North or the opposition responsible for the failure and incompetence being exhibited by agents of the current administration. In other words, “the North is at work” argument belongs to the proJonathan critics who constantly dismiss all criticisms of the Jonathan administration as aberrant and irritable musings of the opposition. Face-to-face with facts that point to horrendous incidences of corruption in its government, the pro-Jonathan jobbers usually begin by feigning either myopia or presbyopia. When pressed further by the insuperable milestone agencies under this administration have reached in promoting sleaze and smudge, the
pro-establishment critics become scurrilous. They begin to mumble inanities and bandy empty statistics. Such is the case when the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts discovered that N791 million was supposedly credited into the account of the National Teachers’ Institute on December 31, 2012 by the Budget Office from the Service Wide Vote (SWV) only for the officials of the NTI to deny the receipt of such monies. Such is the case with the N5 billion supposedly credited into the account of NAFDAC by the same Budget Office. NAFDAC officials eventually told the members of the House that it received only N365 million, not N5 billion. Data on the financial sleaze currently going on under this administration are simply too mindboggling to be encompassed here. The way our national wealth is being frittered away or made to ‘disappear’ is enough to cause an implosion and a revolution. Brethren, one thing I dread most in life is to come face-to-face with unreason. I loathe to descend into the cesspool of infamy. As much as possible I endeavor to avoid being caught in angst. But Islam has taught us that sometimes, wisdom can become folly, foolishness can become wisdom. Perhaps this explains why those who say the true easily becomes villains while those who stand beside and behind falsehood are treated as heroes and heroines. In a village headed by men and women who depend more on luck to survive and succeed than on personal competence, to say the truth is to lose power and position, to see and do evil is to keep your position in the highest quarters of governance. Brethren, truth has no other name except truth; it has no passport, it is colourless and is free of the imaginary barriers that separate the north from the south. To be continued.
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Friday, March 7, 2014 MARKET REPORT
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AS AT 6-03-2014
NSE’s market capitalisation slides further by N53 billion Stories by Helen Oji hE bears continued to T strengthen hold on the equity sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, even more blue chip companies suffer price depreciation, resulting to a further decline in market capitalization by N53 billion. Also, volume of stocks traded dropped by 546.806 million as investors traded a turnover of 337.464 million shares worth N3.508 billion in 4258 deals against 884.273 million shares valued at N4.477 billion exchanged in 4956 deals on Wednesday. Specifically, the market capitalisation the listed equities declined by N59 billion or 0.47 per cent to N12.509 trillion from N12.568 trillion traded the previous day. The NSE All Share Index (ASI) depreciated by 182.79 basis points to 38944.62 points from 39127.41 points traded the previous day. On the price movement chart, Flour Mills Nigeria Plc led the losers chart, dropping by N5.30 kobo to close at N76.00 per share, while Nigerian Breweries trailed with a loss of N2.47 kobo to close at N146.42 per share. Presco , Dangote Cement and UAC Property loss N2.00, N1.00 and N0.89 kobo respec-
tively to close at N44.00, N237.00 and N21.06 per share. Forte Oil Plc recorded the highest gain for the day, appreciating by N5.99 kobo to close at N94.39 per share. Larfarge Wapco followed with a gain of N0.71 kobo to close at N110.01 kobo. Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) appreciated by N0.35 kobbo to close at N25.00. Other stocks that recorded price appreciation were Eternaoil and May & Baker, adding by N0.16 kobo and N0.10 kobo respectively to close at N4.10 and N2.14 per share. Further analysis of yesterday’s transactions showed that Zenith International Bank was the most active for the day, exchanging 47.130 million shares worth N1.007 billion, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) followed with account of 38.051 million shares valued at N131.265 million while Access Bank traded 36.022 million shares cost N266.347 million. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) sold 28.503 million shares worth N112.622 million and UBA Capital traded 21.210 million shares valued at N62.117 million.
Shareholders approve Vitafoam’s 30 kobo dividend of hAREhOLDERS Sterday, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, yesunanimously approved the company’s N245.70 million dividend, culminating to 30 kobo per share due to every investor of the company for the 2013 financial year. Reviewing the company’s performance at the 52nd yearly general meeting of the company in Lagos yesterday, the company’s Chairman, Dr Bamidele Makanjuola disclosed that turnover rose to N15.6 billion from N14.1 billion achieved in 2011/2012. Operating profit however declined from N1.35 billion in 2011/2012 to N1.30 billion during the year under review while Profit after tax also slide to N414million from N562 million posted in the previous year. Makanjuola, who expressed optimism that the prospects of the business remain bright, identified high cost of fund as the major problem facing the business. he pointed out that the company’s dependent on short-term fund for raw materials procurement and other expansion projects, amid high interest rate exerts pressure on the company’s profit margin. “This is coupled with the impact of other vagaries such as soaring global oil prices and foreign exchange rates, made the year very challenging as year on year growth fell short of target but despite the challenges, the business remains
resilient and continues to offer promise for growth and high returns. he assured shareholders that the company’s expansion goals are tailored to position it to take advantage of the emerging opportunities, adding that the company was poised diversify its operations into other areas that are potentially lucrative and less vulnerable to extraneous factors, while reinforcing its position in the industry though innovations. Such innovations, according to him, were the company’s investment in Vitapur Nigeria Limited, a high-tech insulation subsidiary. he added that the initiative would soon impact positively on the company’s bottomline. “Our hope is further reinforced by the interest and inquiries on mass housing delivery from various sectors, including governments in the West African subregions. We also continue to strengthen our soft furnishing subsidiary, Vitablom Nigeria Limited for greater returns. With the Sierra Leone operations expected to commence in this first quarter, the Chairman noted that the company would explore opportunities in the region and other neighboring countries. he added that the company would continue to deploy new initiatives for value-creation within the group, including superior service delivery to maintain its brand leadership.
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MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY
AS AT 6-03-2014
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52 Friday, March 7, 2014
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In association with TRIPPLEA ASSOCIATES LIMIED
Claire Chizea: Blazing the Trail in Estate Surveying and Valuation in Nigeria their real estate needs. The reason is that the professionals belong to a professional body that can discipline them for any breach. They think it it’s easier and cheaper to allow lawyers manage their estates, but they are short changing themselves, because the lawyers still come back to the estate surveyor for advise. It is important to note that the input of the estate surveyor is critical for the lawyers to perform optimally, it is also important to advice players in the built environment that it is important to engage estate surveyors at the pre-development stage.
C.A. Chizea and Co. has been an active member of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, since inception, they have sustained a prosperous operation, rendering Real Estate Services such as Valuation, Property Management, Sales/Lease of Properties with offices across Nigeria. The firm’s success lies in their ability to comprehend and capture the details of any request, be it from a corporate client or an individual, and home in to translate the brief into a well articulated business plan and project financials that will describe the viability of each business scenario. They are then able to device and deliver cost effective solutions that exceed customer expectations. Ms. Claire Chizea (FNIVS, RSV), the Principal Partner at C.A. Chizea and Co. has over 35 years industry experience. Ms. Chizea, a pacesetter and industry stalwart spoke on the need to restore professionalism in the real estate practice in this interview with NNAMDI NWOKOLO. What informed your choice of career? HE story of my life is full of coincidences. There is this tradition in my family, everybody has to go to the university, the question is always what to study? While I was doing my HSC, my brother was studying architecture at the University of Nigeria Enugu campus, he told me that there’s this course in his school, that he don’t know what it’s all about but he thinks I can do it as she has noticed one woman in that department. He brought the form and I filled it, and luckily, I had credit passes in the subjects and the rest is now history as they always say.
Looking back now, will you say you are fulfilled toeing that path? Yes, I am very much fulfilled. I love what I do especially valuation which is the core of estate management. Unfortunately, most people mistake estate management to estate agency. The profession of Estate Surveying and Valuation means the art, science and practice of but not limited to, determining the value of all description of property assets, embracing land and buildings, plant and machinery, furniture and fittings/equipment and all other business assets; acquiring, managing and developing estates including facilities and other business concerns with the management of property assets; securing the optional use of land and its associated resources to meet social and economic needs; Determining the condition of building and their services and advising on their maintenance, alteration and improvement and determining the economic use of property asset and its associated resources by means of financial appraisal. Valuation is the substance of real estate management. As a veteran, what is your assessment of the Industry? In terms of valuation, the Nigerian professionals can comfortably compete with their counterparts globally. In order to foster training and create a platform for the acquisition of specialist knowledge by its members, The Institution established a total of nine (9) faculties and our members are expected to join at least four of them. The faculties at the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) have made surveyors to focus on special aspects of real estate. It made people specialize in specific areas to engender competence and professionalism. There’s what is called MPCE, it keeps most surveyors abreast with what is happening globally. The internet has also helped in sharing notes. So, in terms of real estate valuation, I believe we’ve been tested and trusted. The challenge is that people do not understand the value seeking surveyors advise in their pre development or investment plans.
Claire Chizea What are the critical factors for success in the industry? Each time I hear journalists ask this question, I always wonder if you really mean what you are asking. The reason is simple; success depends on individual desires. What I describe or see as success may not be the same for someone else. In the course of this interview, you’ll notice that I am enjoying myself talking real estate, that is satisfaction and it means success to me. Some other person could say, success to me is appearing on the pages of newspapers and the moment it is achieved, to him, he is successful. Some other person may see success from the point of driving the best automobile or wearing the finest clothing. Success is relative depending on the person’s desires. To be successful in real estate valuation, first of all it requires that desire work hard. The Best Measure of a Firm’s success/performance is its Roster and Repeat Clientele. Our track record of successful practice for leading companies; recognized institutions and private individuals is perhaps the best indication of high level of client satisfaction. The critical factor for success in real estate practice is hard work, hard work and hard work. The real estate agency is flooded by non-professional, what is NIESV doing to stem the tide? In the agency, that is where ‘dog eat dog’ occurs because it is not regulated. Anybody can be an agent, there’s no much professionalism, which is why a lot of us are averse to agency business. If you understand what an agent means, you’ll know that it will be difficult to regulate them. Anybody can be an agent and that is why you see so many lawyers dabbling into the area. Until a law is made in Nigeria stating that real estate agency should be regulated and handled by professionals, that’s the only way the madness will stop. In the absence of this law, what we are doing as professionals is to sensitize the people on the need to patronize core professionals for
What sets your firm apart from Competitors? The attribute that define our firm includes technical competence, years of experience and a deep knowledge of our working environment. But it is this element of commitment that you will find in our organization that separates us from the rest. We have a genuine subscription to helping clients achieve their goals. Our success lie in our ability to comprehend and capture details of any request, be it corporate or individual, and home in to translate the brief into a well articulated business plan and project financials that will describe the viability of each business scenario. We are then able to device and deliver cost effective solutions that exceed customer expectations. We have a qualified and experienced team of Real Estate and related professionals to meet our clients’ needs. Our Staff group is a list of vastly experienced NIESV members.C. A. Chizea & Co. Registered in 1986 built on innovativeness, responsiveness and timeliness. To reflect this, the firm was incorporated into a Limited Liability Company in 2nd June 2010. Projections: My projections is to groom a worthy successor, so that when I leave here, the firm will function optimally. We want to sustain the legacies we’ve built over the years in terms of quality of service delivery. We are the first firm, set up, run and managed successfully by women. Because of my love for valuation and property development, we are doing more of urban renewal in the Mushin axis of Lagos state. We are liaising with owners of old buildings to pull it down and put up modern structures. This ensures that we have portfolios to manage. You’ll agree with me that as the number of Estate Surveyors and Valuers increases, the demand for portfolios becomes fiercer. Our planned maintenance control systems, provides a cheaper and reduced maintenance/repair cost. This in turn ensures longer asset life span and better yield. The above is achieved through the utilization of various management tools. We are moving ahead of our time. Over time in the next couple of years, we’ll be doing more of urban renewal to boost our stake in the market. Advice to young Professionals: When we left university in the 70’s, jobs were pursuing us and the jobs came with car loan, house loan and a lot of benefits. It is a different ball game now. Those days, we had about 5 universities, how many graduates do they produce in a year? Today, how many universities are there and how many students do we push out yearly? The question is, has the jobs increased because I know that it is the same no of ministries we had, is what we still have. We need to re-orientate our minds to create a better future. We need to reengineer our thoughts and look inwards. It is also important to acquire skills that will help us to achieve our goals. It is impossible for everyone to get white collar jobs with the pictures painted above, but we can look at the society and try to identify the needs of the society and provide them, that way we will generate employment, not just for ourselves, but for others. What drives you? The driving force is the passion to contribute my quota to National development. I still have a passion for what I do, to do it well, and be recognized for my efforts. It is also important to state that we provide a comprehensive service for people and organisations in the specialized areas of Valuation. Valuation may be required for various purposes which we are well qualified to execute including Capital Valuation; Compensation Valuation for damage, spillage, compulsory acquisition; Insurance for security leverage; Sale/Purchase for investment or ownership; Audit/Due Diligence Reporting for mergers and acquisition; Balance sheet/Business Valuation; Rating Valuation and Rental valuation.
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Friday, March 7, 2014 Sports 57
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Sports WCL Division Five Championship
Aimhigh/UBA football talent hunts
Project will open gate for youths, says Fuludu
Nigeria stumbles in opening game, meets Guernsey today By Christian Okpara IGERIA yesterday began its campaign for promotion to the World Cricket League (WCL) Division Four on a losing note, losing by 60 runs to old foes, Jersey. Jersey, which defeated Nigeria last year to win the Division Six Championship on home soil, relied on the heroics of Peter Gough to over run the Nigerians, who could only notch up 175 runs all out over 46 overs. They fell short of the 235 runs mark over 50 overs set by Jersey. Nigeria will try to get their campaign back on track today when they face Guernsey in the second game of their competition. In other matches played yesterday, Cayman Island’s Kervin Ebanks impressed with a five-
wicket haul to lead his side to victory over Guernsey, just as home side, Malaysia relied on Shafiq Sharif in their massive 318 runs victory over Tanzania. The 24-year-old wicketkeeper impressed as he garnered 73 runs out of 38 balls. He came in as the fourth batsmen after captain Ahmed Faiz was taken out by Benson Nyakini. The 26-year-old captained recorded 78 runs to become top batsman for Malaysia. “Credit goes to the team because they have been batting superbly. It’s a good start and it helped me and Suhan to go hard with our shots. “Bowling wise, we managed to keep them at bay with less than 200 runs, which was our target. Hassan Ghulam bowled superbly and he read the game well,” said Shafiq.
Kunle Adegbola was one of the shining lights in Team Nigeria’s offence despite the defeat to Jersey. PHOTO: ICC/ESPNCRICINFO.COM
Injured Balogun returns to Germany for surgery Azeez, Uchebo dream World Cup ORTUNA Dusseldorf of FBalogun, Germany right back, Leon who was injured in his debut game for the Super Eagles on Thursday morning in the friendly game against Mexico, will undergo surgery in Germany, when he returns to his base this weekend. Balogun copped a fractured foot in the highly explosive international friendly in Atlanta Georgia, United States. Super Eagles doctor, Ibrahim Gyaran, told Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, that it was the best option open to the young defender and the surgery will effectively rule him out for up to eight weeks. That may give him enough time to quickly bounce back and rejoin the national team ahead of preparation for the World Cup in May if invited. The medics explained that if he did not carry out any surgery, it would take him a longer time to return to action (up to four months) hence the surgery option. His club medics have already been briefed about the development, even as Keshi says his immediate concern for the player is about his health. Balogun, who was involved in a horrific fall with a Mexican striker near the dug out of the El Tri midway into the second half of the encounter, hit his legs against objects in the technical area, forcing the Nigerian
bench to replace him even when he came on only in the second half of the game. The player himself said it was painful that he copped the injury, but added that he has no regret making a decision to play for Nigeria. He said: “I am a Nigerian, my father is from Ijebu Ode and my mother is half Italian and half German so I chose to play for my fatherland and I am enjoying it so far. The only thing at the moment is that I don’t understand pidgin English, which many
speak in camp but I will soon catch up because I like the atmosphere in the Eagles camp”. The players who bonded faster with Balogun in camp include John Mikel Obi, Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses and Shola Ameobi. “But I am in tune with all my teammates and I am happy the way I was received as if I have been with them for a very long time, meanwhile I never met any of them till now. I pray my injury heals on time so that I can return to playing football for my club and country.”
Eagles get Code of Conduct booklet Atlanta residents want team back N its bid to ensure that disIderail ciplinary issues did not Super Eagles’ quest for honour at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) during the week in Atlanta Georgia, United States handed out the Code of Conduct to the national team players and officials. The 18-page document clearly outlines what is expected of players, officials and even the federation during camping and major tournaments. NFF President, Aminu Maigari, Chairman, Technical Committee, Chris Green and NFF Director, Technical, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme, came with the documents and handed them
By Gowon Akpodonor X-Super Eagles player, Edema Fuludu, started his romance with football at a tender age of 10, playing interstreet matches in areas like Igbudu, Iyara, Okumagba Layout, Dawudu and Cemetary in Warri, Delta State. From his elementary school days to his university services at UNIBEN and his sojourn with the Super Eagles till mid 1990, Fuludu thinks and dreams football. He has been looking for an avenue to contribute his quota, especially to youth football development in the country. The opportunity has come. The former BCC Lions of Gboko attacking midfielder unveiled his pet project, Aimhigh/UBA football talent hunts programme in Asaba, Delta State capital during the week. He said the project would afford many young Nigerians to start their career on solid ground. The unveiling ceremony at Golden Land Hotel, was well attended by top sports personalities, including former Super Eagles coach Shauibu Amodu, Christian Chukwu, Ex-Golden Eaglets coach Sebastian Broderick, Coach Manu Garba, former Super Falcons coach Godwin Izilien, Nduka Ugbade and Sam Elijah.
over to the team through Team Administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor, who has since distributed them to the players and officials of the team. “The document is done in good faith and to ensure that players and officials know their obligations and how to properly conduct themselves, while the NFF will ensure that it also fulfills its own part of the bargain during major tournaments”, Maigari said. The Nigerian delegation to the United States is expected back in Nigeria this evening after playing a goalless draw against the El Tri of Mexico in an international friendly preparatory to Mundial 2014 in Brazil.
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SchoolSports Xavier House wins Loyola Jesuit College’s sports From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja
• Evuluocha, Ebomhe are MVPs
ITH a total of 73 medals, Xavier House emerged the overall winners of the sixth Loyola Jesuit College’s inter-house sports competition, which was held at the school’s play ground in Gidan Mangoro, Abuja. Xavier House garnered a total of 26 gold, 28 silver and 19 bronze medals to beat Regis House and Loyola House with a total of 55 and 73 medals to the second and third positions respectively. Regis House got 25 gold medals as against Loyola’s 22. Speaking at the keenly contested sports festival that saw the emergence of Uzor Evuluocha and Olere Genevieve Ebomhe as best sporting students in the junior boys and girls categories, a member of the Presidential Task Force on Power, Chike Madueke, joined the principal of the school, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ugwueje, to urge
the FCT Sports Council and the National Sports Commission (NSC) to focus on the development of grassroots sports to improve the standard of sports in the country. Madueke, who was the chairman of the occasion, praised the management of the school for reinventing a system that showcased untapped sports talents, stressing that if attention was paid to schools sports, Nigeria would return to its glory days in sports. Rev. Fr. Ugwueje, who assured that the school would continue to provide the opportunity for its students to mix sports with academics, urged administrators to develop a strategy that would monitor the development of talents in the various schools. “This is an opportunity for us to showcase the talents of
our students. As you have seen, we have seen some raw talents that we can develop over the years. It also gives us the opportunity to showcase an aspect of Jesuit education of mixing sports with academics, which we are trying to imbibe in our students. “They need to develop both socially and physically, not only academically. We urge the NSC to monitor all school sports activities because just as we have seen today, there are abundant talents that can be put together, groomed and developed by good coaches to become future world champions,” he noted. Expressing happiness over her emergence as the best junior sporting student in the school, Olere Genevieve Ebomhe, who is a JSS 2 student, spoke of her desire to represent Nigeria in the nearest future.
Junior Class Two student, Miss Olere Ebomhe, won the best athlete (girls category) award at the recent Jesuit College, Abuja, Inter-House Sports competition.
Kings College needs sporting facilities, says principal By Ujunwa Atueyi LTHOUGH the manageA ment introduced squash, basketball, chess, five-aside football, cricket, shuttle relay at the 94th edition of the yearly inter house sports competition of Kings College, Lagos, findings at the event showed that a lot still needed to be done to upgrade the sporting facilities in the college to international standard. This has become necessary if the
school, which has produced a large number of athletes in the past, must continue churning out talents for the country. Speaking during the school’s inter-house sports competition held at the college’s premises, the Principal, Otunba Dele Olapeju, remarked that inter house sports activities for pupils and students is very imperative, especially now that Nigeria’s performance in athletics has
taken an embarrassing decline. He said the enhancement of President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive on reinvigoration of sport would largely depend on individual’s attitudes and leadership abilities of various school heads, coupled with available funds and resources for the basics. “The dearth of funds constitutes an impediment to sports development… owing
to inadequate space and facilities, we have been unable to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the 3,000 students under our tutelage. “Ordinarily, our college facilities ought to provide such things as swimming pool, basketball court, lawn tennis court, hockey and cricket courts. But we are marching on through our bold resolve to give fillip to our selfavowed transformation agenda,” he said.
Oduduwa House is FGC, Ijanikin’s sports’ champions By Kunle Ogunde DUDUWA House (Red) at the weekend beat all the other houses to become the champions at the 36th yearly Inter-House Sports Competition of Federal Government College (FGC),
Students of St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos, showing off their trophies during their yearly inter house sports competition held on the school’s sports ground … recently. PHOTO: PAUL ADUNWOKE.
At St. Gregory’s College’s Inter-House Sports, Old Boys preach grassroots growth By Paul Adunwoke HE administrator and one of the Old Boys of St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos, Rev. Monsignor Edmond Babashay Akpala, has revealed that the school is committed to bringing sports back to the grassroots, arguing that school sports is the best way to develop the nation’s sports. Speaking during the school’s yearly inter-house sports competition last week, Akpala said the school would continue to support the students’ quest to develop their talents because sports help them to be mentally alert to perform well in their academics.
“All works and no play makes Jack a dull boy… there is time for recreation, relaxation and also time for exercise. “I could remember my days here when I participated in long jump… I did my structure in Ghana, the problem we have in Lagos is that there is no structure. The structure is that all schools should come together to compete by bringing different cups; it will help the children to come together and do better.” On the sports meet, Akpala said, “we invited other schools for cordiality and friendship and at the same time they can improve on their own talents as well. “In this school we participate
in table tennis, basketball, cricket, athletics and soccer and when the children go through all these sports the sky will be their limit.” The school’s four houses including St. Peter’s, St. Benedict’s, St. Augustine’s and St. Francis’ took part in the event won by St. Peter’s House. Also speaking at the event, the schools’ Games Master, Gordian Ogu, said the school would help the nation to develop sports at the grassroots. According to Ogu, “the grassroots we know is the school sports although bringing the school children together has not been an easy task.
Ijanikin, Lagos. Held at the school’s sports ground, Oduduwa House recorded 18 gold, 12 silver and eight bronze medals, while Jaja House (Blue) came second with 11 gold, nine silver and six bronze medals to beat Dan Fodio House (Green) to the third position with 10 gold, four silver and 12 bronze medals. The Principal of the school, A.A. Ibukun-Oyewole, in her speech, said the event was
beyond just athletics and gymnastics, adding that it was scheduled to bring out the real virtues and values desirable in young adults. She also said: “Aside from the health benefits derivable from sports, other virtues come to the fore such as: A sport man is a team player and good motivator. In today’s world, every institution and employer desires to work with a team player. In every team, there are the competitors, the opponents and
cheer leaders. The relationship between the various groups is what gives the event its quality. It is essential to work with others to build a solid team. This is one lesson that sports teaches. “Life is not all about the winner who takes all, but also about the opponents/users. Without them, there would not be any event or competition. The opponents are not our enemies but they are the ones who spur us to bring out the best in us.’’
The winning Houses: Oduduwa (Red), Jaja (Blue), Dan Fodio (Green) with their trophies in a group photograph with the Principal of the School, Mrs. A. A. Ibukun-Oyewole (second left) and other guests during the 36th Inter-House Sports Competition of Federal Government College, Ijanikin, PHOTO: KUNLE OGUNDE Lagos… recently.
Friday, March 7, 2014 SPORT
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My World Cup story…Keshi
Reporting from Atlanta, USA
Keshi’s keepers’ assurance • Review of the Nigeria versus Mexico game TLANTA-KEEPERS and A captains, Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide, who both shared the two halves of the fixture, produced excellent form, which ensured a clean slate against a partisan backed Mexico at the Dome. And now, head coach, Stephen Keshi, would be weighing his options, as to which of these in-form shot stoppers to hand the starting shirt in Brazil. It is a positive headache, he admits. Still, it was Michael Uchebo, who made a strong claim to a Brazil 2014 shirt with his commanding presence in the middle of the Super Eagles team. In his languid frame, which reminds one of Nwankwo Kanu and the trademark close ball control, the club Brugge star was blistering in the opening stanza that opened up chances for hit-man, Emmanuel Emenike. Indeed, the Super Eagles could have sealed this fourth fixture against Mexico, but for profligacy in front of goal and the heroics of the Mexican keeper, who interestingly, got the man of the match award. Within the first five minutes, Emenike had forced both a spectacular save and a corner kick that readily put the Keshi men on the driver’s seat. But once the hugely supported Mexicans survived the early blitz, their game came alive, buoyed by the full capacity audience of 68,212 roaring faithful. Clearly, the Mexicans, who dominate Atlanta in great numbers, also dominated the dome on the n i g h t . For most of the first half, it was the Super Eagles in
full flow. In the 16th minute, Victor Moses’ brave and dazzling solo effort failed to produce result, with a handful of corners being earned. On the opposite side, Enyeama had to deny the rampaging Mexicans at close range, in a point blank effort. For most of the first half, Mikel, Uchebo and Onazi coordinated well to push the game into the Mexican vital area. Second half substitution brought in Ramon Azeez, Victor Nsofor, Leon Balogun, who got injured out sadly, Austin Ejide and Ezekiel Imoh. Austine Ejide’s heroics in the second half dominated, largely, by the Mexicans, ensured that the Super Eagles will leave the Dome in good back slapping mood and three yellow cards to boot. Once the second half became increasingly tempestuous and physical, Mikel, Emenike and Omeruo, will turn out to be the bad boys. Still, the Mexican game that had the usual and sometimes distracting football federation traveling party, was partly to fill in the FIFA international friendlies window, as well as enable Keshi a closer look at new faces that could make the cut in Brazil 2014. Obviously, Uchebo, the Brugge man made a compelling case, Ramon Azeez might still need a further looking, just as a Standard Liege’s Ezekiel Imoh. For Fortuna Dusseldorf’s Leon Balogun, the unfortunate injury that allowed for limited play time, means he will need another two to three games before the Big Boss makes up his mind. As the players left the
Super Eagles’ Emmanuel Emenike tries to outwit Alan Pulido of Mexico during their friendly game at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia, USA…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP Dome Wednesday night, head coach, Keshi couldn’t but reflect on the sore side of the fixture. “We were losing the ball too easily, which is not Nigerian football. The ball possession and passes weren’t flowing the way it should. We needed
to hold on to the balls and then give the right passes,” Keshi said. Still, he took a lot of positives out of the well packaged game that had the professional packaging stamp of the Mexican federation and their marketing consultants.
Still, it was Michael Uchebo, who made a strong claim to a Brazil 2014 shirt with his commanding presence in the middle of the Super Eagles’ team. In his languid frame, which reminds one of Nwankwo Kanu and the trademark close ball control, the club Brugge star was blistering in the opening stanza that opened up chances for hit-man, Emmanuel Emenike.
Indeed, the Mexicans were truly at home, both in marketing the high profile friendly and the record-breaking attendance, 99.9 per cent of whom were Atlanta-based or traveling Mexican ball f a n s . April 2 is another FIFA match day, the Mexicans just like other big football nations, will be back to duty once more. Yet, the Super Eagles are not as certain of any firmed up fixture, save for the May 28 game against Scotland, and Keshi thinks he may well go into deserved rest period with his family in San Francisco. .
Super Eagles rating 1. Vincent Enyeama, 8 (Austin Ejide, 8) 2. Ambrose Efe, 5 (Leon Balogun, 4) Egwueke, 4. 3. Elderson Echejile, 6 4. Onazi, 5 5. Omeruo, 6 6. Oboabona, 6 7. Musa, 6 (Nsofor, 5) 8. Uchebo, 7 (Azeez, 5) 9. Emenike, 7 10. Mikel, 6 11. Moses, 7 (Imoh) Attendance, 68,212. Mexico 0 Nigeria 0. • A Mastersports International Presentation c2014
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SPORT Friday, March 7, 2014
Idowu, Alli applaud Lagos, as Premier Lotto Schools Athletics finale holds MPRESSED with the quality ILagos of organisation of this year’s Premier Lotto Athletics
Athlete at the season two of Lagos Premier Lotto Schools Athletics Championship holding at Teslim Balogun Stadium…on Monday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
Championship, Chairman, National Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM), Yemi Idowu and former national athlete, Yusuf Alli, have hailed the Lagos State government for this laudable initiative. The NASCOM boss, who was at the district six qualifiers on Wednesday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, believes this kind of programme would positively help to groom quality athletes for the country. “It is a very good programme and this is the second year that we are having this and I am witnessing it. First of all, we have to be thankful to the sponsor, Premier Lotto for
sponsoring and assisting again this year. Lagos State has many programmes and this is one of them and they are all linked. At NASCOM, one of the things we are interested in, is instead of sitting at the federal level, we like to come and see what is going on at the state level. Lagos is a state that we are very proud of what they are doing. They have a very good programme on ground and they are taking advantage of the good facilities they have provided and the calendar has actually worked out excellently for them,” Idowu said. For Alli, who is also a technical officer of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), programme like this would help to unearth new athletes. “This is fantastic and this is
what we have been talking about. Taking sports to the grassroots is development. When you take sports to the students, you gain a lot and I just pray that this Premier Lotto Championship will continue for a very long time. I am very happy about it and I want to see more editions. If you have this kind of tournament every other week, the students
will come and participate and this will afford them the opportunity to be discovered,” the national record holder in long jump said. For the grand finale scheduled for Saturday, March 8, Idowu predicted that athletes discover would surely be part of the next National School Sports Festival.
CAF Confederations Cup Warri Wolves’ Cameroun opponent arrives, Uduaghan drums support By Gowon Akpodonor ELTA State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is leading the support for Warri Wolves FC, one of Nigeria’s flag bearers in this year’s CAF
Confederations Cup against Cameroun’s Union Douala in the return leg match scheduled for Warri City Stadium on Sunday. Wolves won the first leg 3-2 last weekend in Cameroun. A 25-man delegation of Union de Douala FC arrived Lagos from Cameroun yesterday afternoon aboard Arik Airline. The contingent was received by officials of Warri Wolves, who took them to a hotel where they spent the night in Lagos. Union Douala team is expected to fly to Warri aboard the same Airline today for the crucial encounter on Sunday. Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, Pinnick Amaju, said that Governor Udughan has shown so much interest in the game and has urged fans living in Warri and its environs to turn out in large number to support the Wolves on Sunday.
Fashanu plans first Inter Sports Academy in Nigeria ORMER Wimbledon of FAmbassador England striker, John Fashanu, has concluded plans to set up the first Inter Sports Academy, tagged Goodluck, Fashanu Sports Academy International in Nigeria. Fashanu said that preparation was in top gear for the commencement of the construction of the academy, which would be located in the Apo area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. He noted that the massive plot of land was given to the academy by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, in furtherance of the current administration agenda on sports. He stated that the academy has the blessing of President Goodluck Jonathan, who saw it as a good platform to meaningfully engage the youth of Nigeria. He said that the academy when completed would help to train Nigeria youths in diverse sports. He revealed that top athletes in the world like former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, former 100 meter champions, Linford Christy, Nigeria Nwankwo Kanu and Austin Okocha among many others would be partnering them in the academy. “The FCT minister has given us a land for the building of the academy.
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Friday, March 7, 2014 63
Former Group Managing Director of Union Bank Plc, Godwin Oboh, (left), President, Nigerian institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Murtala Aliyu, his predecessor, Agele Alufohai and Tunde Oremule, mark their cards as they walk off Ikoyi Club 1938’s 18th Hole, after the NIQS presidential golf tournament PHOTO: ENO-ABASI SUNDAY
Despite average peformance, Makelemi may return unopposed as PGAN boss Stories by Eno-Abasi Sunday WO years after he emerged T Director of the Professional Golfers’ Association of Nigeria (PGAN), Warri, Delta Statebased senior tour player, Festus Makelemi, appears set to grab a second term in office, despite not registering any groundbreaking achievement during his first term. Makelemi is one of the only two elected chieftains that are qualified to seek a second term in office. The other is the current tournament director, Martins Odoh of Minna Cantonment Golf Club. The 2014 yearly General Meeting of the Professional Golfers’ Association of Nigeria (PGAN) is slated to hold at the Golden Palm Hotel, Otukpo, Benue State on March 20. The choice of location and time, the body says is both logistical and strategic, as it would afford a greater number of its members the opportunity to take part in electing a new executive as well as in fashioning out how they are led. Some tour professionals, who elect to remain anonymous, are of the opinion that Makelemi, who is also the resident professional at the Shell Golf Club in Ogunu, Warri,
has not attracted enough goodwill to the body; displayed sufficient capacity to lead a rebranding and repositioning campaign for the group as well as make a 21st century professional tour out of the current Nigerian Tour. Barely two weeks to the AGM, Makelemi’s challengers are yet to emerge, a development that could lead to his being returned to office unopposed. Speaking last year after a year in the saddle, Makelemi had said: “The PGA had a good corporate patronage last year (referring to 2012) which ended as the year with the
biggest prize purse for the association since 1969 that the association was founded. And that meant that more players won more monies last year”, he said. “More foreign players signed up for membership of the PGA of Nigeria making it the second biggest multi-national tour in Africa and the Tour produced its first nonNigerian order of merit leader, Emos Korblah of Ghana.” Asked if he has done enough to merit a second term, Makelemi responded in the affirmative, saying the association has under his watch
move from strength to strength. “Our association has moved from strength to strength since we came on board and we have done everything we have done to the best of our ability. I will also add that we have been able to maintain discipline among our members, admitted more foreign members and recorded more tournaments,” he told The Guardian yesterday. Empirically speaking, apart from having a few professionals from West and Central Africa especially Ghana and Cameroun as members, and relating with a few African
tours as affiliates, the PGAN is totally bereft of international linkages/connections with prominent world tours. Its ailing marketing arm, which collapsed after the resignation of the pioneer Tour Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer of PGA Nigeria Tour, Mr. Sola Lawson, has remained prostrate. Even when a mouth-watering multi-million proposed Glo Africa Tour got sour just days to go and was taken off the menu, neither the title sponsor, Globacom Nigeria Limited, nor the PGAN was bold enough to explain the
reasons behind the tour cancellation. The latter was particularly taciturn on the cancellation all in a bid not to incur the wrath of the firm since it grossly lacks the capacity to woo new sponsors either for tournaments or as title sponsor. Among other businesses, the AGM will feature the dissolution of the current executive and the election of a new one to pilot the affairs of the association for the next two years. It will also feature the reading and adoption of minutes of the last AGM, matters arising, director’s report, financial report among others.
DOAMF tourney organisers applaud sponsors, event holds tomorrow HE fourth edition of the T Daniel Ogechi Akujobi Memorial Foundation (DOAMF) Charity Golf Tournament tees off tomorrow at the golf section of Ikoyi Club 1938. And organisers have established that the confirmation of support by reputable organisations, which runs across key sectors of the economy, is a big boost to the vision of the foundation and a morale booster to them.
According to the coordinator of the tournament, Mr. Pat Bassey, Diamond Bank Plc, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Radial Circle, Standard Alliance Group, Arik Air, Airtel, Nigerian Bottling Company Plc (NBC), VCP Hotel, PESLEY-PBTG Group and Southern Sun Hotel are some of the corporate organisations that have signed up for the charity tourney.
“We consider the support of the corporate and individual supporters as an endorsement of the ideals of the foundation, and a challenge for us to do more with what we have. Securing the confidence and support of corporate bodies for charitable causes in our environment is often challenging, given the high level of accountability expected. We are delighted that we are able to meet the expectations of all of our respected corpo-
rate partners,” Bassey stated He added that the foundation doors “remain wide open to accommodate more corporate bodies to support the tournament, to enable it touch the lives of the less privileged in the society.” Over 200 players have already signed up to partake in the one-day tournament with 25 trophies and a package of high-value special prizes at stake in the gentlemen, ladies, and veteran cat-
egories over 18 holes. The DOAMF tournament was set up in 2006 to honour the memory of late Master Daniel Ogechi Akujobi who died at the age of 13, in a fatal motor accident, on his way back to school. The foundation partners, with a growing number of local and international corporate organisations in the development and execution of its charity programmes in education, healthcare services.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Continued from yesterday By Raheem Oluwafunminiyi UMAN right no doubt is one of nature’s blessings to mankind and must at all times be upheld, but the conception it carries in modern times is only couched by the West to suit their own ‘cultural vices’ with no consideration for the values and norms of others. If it is the human right of gays to have the freedom to live in any society without harsh laws against them, is it not the human right of an unborn child whom ordinarily would have been welcomed to this earth through proper and natural procreation between the two opposite sex? Certainly, gays and lesbians cannot procreate and therefore, they are the first breakers of the natural law of procreation, especially the law of human right on which they so much hinge in contemporary times. To think that gays have a human right they can fight for, one, which they wish to use to confound the sensibilities of right thinking people with moral values, is the highest form of insanity. We recognise the human right of everyone, but as gays, their human rights belong to those very societies that strongly believe in the rightfulness of being gay and therefore, should be given a soft landing by these societies to integrate rather than adding more to the challenges we face as a people. There is also the issue of a ‘minority’ at whom the law was targeted. As a result of the law, they decided to constitute themselves into groups and blocs, calling themselves the minority because to them, the society has made them so based on their sexual choices. I wish to state categorically that the Nigerian State does not subscribe to such categorization and treats all equally in terms of one’s citizenship and not on some flimsy sexual wants or needs. For the fact that our gay citizens see the anti-gay law as obnoxious to their existence and group, and since they can identify themselves even from the farthest distance, they can’t constitute a minority. Happily, their number is quite insignificant; hence, they can be accommodated by our foreign friends who have been very vocal about an anti-gay bill. Being gay is a matter of choice while the law that regulates it is also a matter of exigency. As an advocate of common sense and reason, there is no way such an act can be accepted in a highly cultural and religious enclave as Nigeria. It is unacceptable, against our values and moral consciousness. Interestingly, unlike what the West and other proponents of same sex union have argued, the bill, despite many bills passed with less scrutiny and concern by the people, is backed by more than 90 per cent of Nigerians. What could be more democratic than that? If the likes of the United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, the United States, Britain, Canada and few others against the bill believe a 14-year sentence is too harsh, obnoxious and against human rights, does it mean the voice of the people which guided the signing of the bill into law is irrelevant? If these characters
Being gay is a matter of choice while the law that regulates it is also a matter of exigency. As an advocate of common sense and reason, there is no way such an act can be accepted in a highly cultural and religious enclave as Nigeria. It is unacceptable, against our values and moral consciousness. Interestingly, unlike what the West and other proponents of same sex union have argued, the bill, despite many bills passed with less scrutiny and concern by the people, is backed by more than 90 per cent of Nigerians. What could be more democratic than that?
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The Anti-Gay Bill, a matter of culture and common sense (2)
feel strongly about the law, is it not time to begin the process of accommodating and integrating our gay citizens into their own societies so as to enjoy those basic human rights so ‘denied’ them by the Nigerian state? Is the voice of the people not the major canon of any democratic process? It is worrying that the Nigerian government has not realised it could use all the diplomatic mettle at its disposal to call the bluff of those who continue to trample on Also join our on-line conversation
our collective consciousness on this issue. If accepting an immoral act is the reason our foreign friends have been dolling out grants and aids to us, and because we have passed an anti-gay law, they wish to withdraw them, is it not time we called their bluff? For many, the anti-gay law is too liberal and should, therefore, be revised in the coming years. Same sex union has no place in our society. Severe punishment should be meted
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To think that gays have a human right they can fight for, one, which they wish to use to confound the sensibilities of right thinking people with moral values, is the highest form of insanity. We recognise the human right of everyone, but as gays, their human rights belong to those very societies that strongly believe in the rightfulness of being gay and therefore, should be given a soft landing by these societies to integrate rather than adding more to the challenges we face as a people.
out to those who strongly wish to drag us down culturally and mislead our children and the next generation into an abhorrent behaviour totally alien to our people. Our historical cum cultural values should not be eroded by some Western or foreign vices, hence we must fight such calculated attempt to dampen our collective resolve on this issue. Same sex union may have been accepted and its art perfected through laws in the West yet in this part of our own world, we see it as an insult to our collective sensibilities when some foreign states and groups of people think they can force it down our throats. The Nigerian people have spoken and there is no going back: The unpleasant cankerworm must be exterminated from our society. CONCLUDED • Raheem Oluwafunminiyi writes via email@example.com