Issuu on Google+

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,864

www.ngrguardiannews.com

N150

New era dawns, says Jonathan at national confab’s inauguration From Madu Onuorah, Daka Thermba, Tsokar Karls(Abuja), Laolu Akande (New York), Seye Olumideand Chris Irekamba (Lagos) IGERIA’S National ConferN ence was yesterday evening inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan who said that with its commencement, a new era has come for the country. President Jonathan said that the conference, convened to provide a platform for Nigerians to engage in a dialogue

• It will be difficult to hijack it, says Gambari over solutions to the challenges facing the country, shows that “sovereignty belongs to the people and that their voices must be heard in every decision we take.” Arguing that the conference has come as “we must never ignore the loudly expressed views of the majority of ordinary Nigerians,” the President stated that “yesterday’s prejudices should die with

yesterday. Today is a new day. This is the dawn of a new era. This is an opportunity to think anew. We must jettison

MORE ON PAGES 10 & 11 the poisonous mind-sets of the past which were built on unhealthy competition among our diverse groups and peoples. “We need a new mind and a

new spirit of oneness and national unity. The time has come to stop seeing Nigeria as a country of many groups and regions. We have been divinely brought together under one roof. We must begin to see ourselves as one community. We are joined together by similar hopes and dreams as well as similar problems and challenges. What affects one part of the community affects the

other.” Jonathan charged the conference delegates to be openminded towards achieving what is best for Nigeria in order to reshape and redirect our country for the benefit of children. our The 492 delegates, whose deliberations will last for three months, comprise representatives of the nation’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Terri-

tory (FCT), political parties, ethnic nationalities, professional and women groups and the civil societies, Jonathan said that “we cannot continue to fold our arms and assume that things will straighten themselves out in due course, instead of taking practical steps to overcome impediments on our path to true nationhood, rapid development and national prosperity. For many years, we have discussed and argued CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Sambo and delegates to the National Conference after their inauguration in Abuja… yesterday.

Obiano takes over as Anambra gov, pledges development From Kodilinye Obiagwu, Lawrence Njoku and Uzoma Nwagwu(Awka) ISTORY was yesterday H made in Awka, as Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano took the oath of office as Governor of Anambra State, thereby bringing to an end the four-year tenure of his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi. At a well-attended inauguration held at the Ekwueme Square in Awka, the state capital, Obiano, decked in a black suit, white shirt and red tie,

paid tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Anambra, which has not only led to the pioneering of industrial landmarks but will also mark the pointer for a New Anambra under his reign. In his inaugural speech, “Expanding the Frontiers of Excellence...,” after he was sworn in by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Peter Umeadi,

Obiano welcomed the return of self-belief and hope as he marshalled the core of his blue print for the development of the state. In his plan for a new Anambra, Obiano, while admitting that the twin problems of inadequate electricity supply and security remained hurdles in the realisation of any blue-print, he stated that “we shall ag-

gressively address the challenge of power supply with the proposed citing of ultra modern Independent Power Plants (IPPs) in the three industrial hubs in the state; specifically, in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka. When full operational, these plants will generate enough electricity to power the entrepreneurial dreams of our people.”

He promised to “redraft the operational manual of the entire security apparatchik of Anambra” and “strengthen the police and other law enforcement agencies in the state to enhance their efficiency and response rate.” While promising to redesign and remodel the state capital and implement the masterplans for Onitsha and Nnewi,

Court stops bidding process for three power plants — Page 4

he listed “four pillars” of development on which his administration will launch the state into a new economic phase. Listing the four pillars as aggressive mechanised agriculture, oil and gas, trade and commerce and industrialisation, Obiano stated that “these are the four pillars of the Anambra wheel of development. They constitute the Treasure Box of Anambra State and the ignition CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

2 Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jonathan summons Moro, Paradang over recruitment tragedy From Mohammed Abubakar, John Okeke (Abuja), Iyabo Lawal (Ibadan), Wole Oyebade (Lagos) and Joseph Wantu (Makurdi)

A

S the outrage over last Saturday’s Immigration re-

cruitment tragedy continued, President Goodluck

• Lawmakers, others want minister sacked • SERAP petitions UN, seeks compensation Jonathan yesterday summoned the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), David Paradang, over the exercise. Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly has called for sack of Moro and prosecution of all officials involved in the avoidable incident. Besides, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, requesting him to refer the unlawful deaths and inhuman and degrading treatment of job-seekers by the Nigerian government to appropriate UN human rights bodies. In a related development, two social cultural youths organisations, Idoma Youths Progressive Movement and Northern Youths Assembly of Nigeria, have accused Abba Moro of lack of dedication

and incompetence for causing the stampede. The two officials were invited to the Presidential Villa to brief Jonathan on how the exercise turned tragic. The meeting lasted for close to one and a half hours inside the President’s office, with both of them keeping sealed lips over the outcome of their discussion with the President. About 20 applicants were said to have died and many others injured in the stampede that trailed the recruitment exercise. They refused to talk with journalists after their encounter with the President. When the minister emerged from the President’s office, he was shielded by the Chief of Staff (COS) to the President, Brig.-Gen. Jones Arogbofa (rtd), who headed straight into his office. As they were coming, Moro gave a sign that he would not speak. He was later joined in

the COS’s office by Paradang. While the House also flayed the government for such “make-believe recruitment fair”, it also demanded that families of the victims should be compensated accordingly. The House, at its plenary yesterday, unanimously condemned the incident, especially the comment credited to the Minister of Interior that the “applicants were impatient”, which accounted for the deaths. Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Lola Akande, who brought the issue under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, noted that the primary responsibility of the government is welfare and security of the populace, but the incident of last weekend had shown the insensitivity of the Federal Government to the plight of her people. She said a situation where 19 Immigration job-seekers were trampled to death, some of them pregnant women, would have got the government and the Immi-

gration Service sued for manslaughter in more civilised setting. Moving the motion, Akande called on the National Assembly to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the incident and immediate resignation and prosecution of the Interior Minister. She also called for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to accommodate devolution of power and more responsibilities to the states and councils. In the same vein, former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), yesterday joined in the call for the sack of Moro and Paradang following last Saturday’s multiple deaths. Akeredolu in a statement entitled “The Recruitment Tragedy and the Festering Sore of a Country at Crossroad” made available to reporters in Ibadan also called for a thorough investigation with a view to unmasking the characters behind “this serial fraud.”

Obiano pledges development in Anambra CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 through which we shall light up the enablers like education, health, the environment, youths and sports development, among others.” According to him, in the centre and the ultimate beneficiary of his development plan is the family. He noted that “when we secure our communities and build new estates with first class infrastructure, we reinvigorate the family. All over the world, the role of the family as the first point of civilisation is fully acknowledged.” He extended an olive branch to Senator Chris Ngige, Dr.

Tony Nwoye and Ifeanyi Uba, and others with whom he contested the election. He asked them not to “let the ideologies that polarised us deny our people the full benefits of our talents and wisdom. In his speech, Obi, who was dressed in his trade mark green APGA uniform, declared that “I do not have any agreement with Obiano, and neither does he have any agreement with anyone else, but you have agreement with the children of Anambra. Please give them a better future.” Also, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Inter-party Affairs, Senator Ben

Obi, perhaps confirmed what the rumour mills have been speculating for a long while now. He announced that the former governor “remains my honorary adviser on finance and I want to assure you that very soon, Obi will be a member of the Federal Exec(FEC).” Council utive “When I was sworn in, Anambra did not have a Governor’s Lodge. When I was sworn in, I came with my car, but today, the new governor will go in a brand new governor’s car. After the swearing-in, he will move into the Governor’s Lodge. “Anambra has returned to the path of peace and progress. Anambra today is

the most financial stable state in Nigeria and every other state is indebted to Anambra because I have their bond. I believe in the new governor, him.” support Among the top dignitaries that graced the event were the Abia State helmsman and the chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Theodore Orji; wife of Cross River State governor, Obioma Imoke; her Delta State counterpart, Roli Sheila Uduaghan; former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika; Maj.-Gen. S. Yusuf of 82 Division, Enugu; APGA chieftain, Victor Umeh; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu; and Prof. Ekwueme. Laz

It would be difficult to hijack the confab, says Gambari CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 over various issues concerning our national existence and well-being. Much of this national discourse has been conducted through the mass media, both print and electronic. More recently, the advent of the age of ICT and social media has greatly enlarged the space for the discussion of our country’s future. “Many more young and articulate Nigerians who previously had little access to the traditional mass media have now joined the conversation, motivated by patriotic concern for good governance, peace, stability, justice, equity, fairness and the harmonious co-existence of the diverse groups that make up our great nation.” The President thanked the National Assembly for introducing the provision for a referendum in the proposed amendment of the Constitution, saying that “this should be relevant for this Conference if at the end of the deliberations, the need for a referendum arises. I therefore urge the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly to speed up the Constitutional amendment process, especially with re-

gard to the subject of referendum.” He tasked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, to see the passage of the amendment process as a national priority. Jonathan restated again that “Goodluck Jonathan has no personal agenda in convening this national conference,” adding that “I am confident that we are embarking on a landmark journey that will make us stronger as a nation, if we undertake it with all sense of purpose and sincerity. Let us do that which is selfless, purposeful and patriotic so that history will remember us for having served our nation well. The President had earlier led the delegates and other dignitaries to observe a one-minute silence in honour of “those young people who lost their lives” in Saturday’s stampede at venues where examinations were conducted for employment into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). His government, he said, is conducting investigations into the incident. The President also declared that the National Conference is not designed to usurp the responsibility of the country’s

National Assembly but to complement the role of the Parliament as the country marches towards a greater and stronger union.  Jonathan, who spoke against the backdrop of speculations that the conference was designed to take over the responsibility of the country’s parliament, pointedly stated that the “representatives at the conference are neither usurping the role of the National Assembly nor the Executive. They are complementing us in our march towards a greater and stronger union.” According to him, the conference is designed to enable participants focus their thoughts on issues ranging from form government, structures of government, devolution of powers, revenue sharing, resource control, state creation, state police and fiscal federalism, indigeneship, gender equality and children’s rights among others. The President seemed to have backed away from the no-go area clause on the indivisibility of Nigeria in his charge to the delegates as he did not make any reference to the initial restriction earlier announced. Many delegates have disagreed with the President on

the issue of a no-go area. The conference inauguration was attended by among others, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mariam Aloma-Muktar, members of the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government, governors, all six officials and delegates to the conference, and members of the diplomatic corps. The nation’s main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) is boycotting the conference, though governors of the 16 states under its control sent delegates to the conference while two of its governors, Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), attended the ceremony. And just before he headed home over the weekend to join his compatriots attending the National Conference , Nigeria’s former United Nations Special Envoy, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, issued a statement in New York, saying it will be “difficult if not impossible for any person, any group and any idea to hi-jack the conference proceedings and outcomes.” Saying it was an honour for him to be selected as a particiCONTINUED ON PAGE 4


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 NEWS | 3

NATIONAL CONFERENCE PHOTOS

Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Aloma Mukhtar(left); Vice President Namadi Sambo; President Goodluck Jonathan; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi and Deputy Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi.

Senetor Jack Tilley-Gyado (left); former Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili; former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State.

Inauguration ceremony of the National Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday. Cross section of the traditional rulers during the inauguration.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State(left); Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and National Chairman of Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu.

Chief Nosakhare (left); Senetor Bello Maitama Yusuf and Secretary to the Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.

Amanyanabo of Brass, Chief Diette Spiff (left) and Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right) being welcome by the National Conference Chairman, Idris Kutigi; Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi and the Secretary, Dr. Valerie Azinge (left) during the President arrival. PHOTOS: PHILIP OJISUA

A cross section of delegates during the opening of the National Conference.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

4 NEWS Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Court stops bidding process for three power plants From Lemmy Ughegbe and Emeka Anuforo (Abuja)

• FG to probe burnt Osogbo transformer

HE Federal High Court, T Abuja Division yesterday barred the Bureau of Public

7, 2014. March The presiding judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati reached that decision following a plea by counsel for Ethiope Energy Limited, Dr. Alex Aigbe Izinyon (SAN) for an order that BPE pulls the brake on the

Enterprises (BPE) from continuing with the bidding process for three power stations – Aloaji, Amoku and Gbarain – which began on

process. Izinyon argued that despite being put on notice, the defendants are going ahead with the bidding process. “Despite being put on notice, they went ahead to take initial step to overreach the motion on

Senate Whip relives Katsina killings From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) ENATE Deputy Minority SdayWhip, Abu Ibrahim, yestergave graphic details of how 126 people were killed in four Katsina villages in attacks that coincided with Goodluck President Jonathan’s visit to the state week. last Briefing journalists in Abuja, Ibrahim said initial investigations showed that the killings were carried out by foreign insurgents who attacked the state on motorcycles armed with AK-47 rifles and helicopters. The insurgents, he further disclosed, were camped in a Federal Forest Reserve in Katsina South Senatorial District which shares border with Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger states. And barely 24 hours after Saturday’s multiple attacks on Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri in Borno State, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents at about 10.00 p.m. on Sunday, struck again, this time at Pela Birni village in Hawul Local Council. They killed two people and set ablaze houses, including two churches, one belonging to Ekilisiyar Yanuwa a Nigerian (EYN) and the other to Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN). An eyewitness, Musa Anjeli Pela, told The Guardian in a telephone interview yesterday: “I narrowly escaped from the insurgents, as they went about setting several houses and churches ablaze in the village chanting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic for over two hours. “The insurgents set the houses and two churches on fire with petrol-bombs and explosives, before killing two of my neighbours here, and fled towards Garkida in Adamawa State.” Pela Birni village is in Kwajafa District of Borno State; and 221 kilometres south of Maiduguri. Figures released by Senator Ibrahim indicated that 57 people were killed in Mararrabar Maigora, 40 in Mai Gora, 21 in Layin Galadima and eight in Unguwar Doka. His words: “On Thursday morning, I got information of what was going on in my constituency of Katsina South Senatorial District; mainly in two local councils of Faskari

• Suspected Boko Haram fighters sack Borno village and Sabuwa. “The attacks were going on when a gala night to mark the President’s visit was going on. “On getting the information, I quickly called the Area Commander and the two district heads who relayed what happened. It’s been an issue that’s been going on for a very long time. “There’s a chunk of Federal Forest Reserve which covers parts of Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi up to some parts of Niger. The locals claimed that the forest reserve had been taken over by hoodlums. Originally, people thought they were cattle rustlers or Fulani herdsmen who had been part of the society, for years, even for hundreds of years. “Skirmishes between farmers in the local villages and Fulani herdsmen have been a known phenomena but this situation was completely different. “The forest has been taken over by these people; the villagers even claimed that the Fulani herdsmen have been pushed away and at the same time, cattle rustling became a very serious issue. “All the farmers in the area who own cattle have lost them, they’ve been stolen and some killings have taken place. “This has devastated some parts of the state, particularly Birnin Gwari area and though the skirmishes have been very serious in the two local councils I mentioned earlier, it has also spread to Kaduna State and even Zamfara State where many people were killed. “I was there personally, interviewed the village heads and I was told that these people came on motorcycles, armed with Ak-47 rifles and started shooting people. “There were claims that in one village, they resisted the armed robbery of their cattle and they killed one or two people. “The reprisal attacks occurred with over 50 motorcyclists, killing from one village to another and what particularly shocked me was that most of the affected villages have been sacked.” Senator Ibrahim further said that at least eight villages were sacked by the insur-

gents, adding that if not addressed on time, insurgents from Mali, Libya, Niger and Chad can enter Nigeria and kill at will. “Reports I got from the Miyetti Allah leadership was that this goes beyond the normal Fulani farmers and cattle herdsmen feud. “Some of the villagers told me that helicopters even landed in the forest, so it’s beyond the normal skirmishes that have happened between these people for years.

notice. They said that there is no court order stopping them from going on with the bidding process. They had ample time to file brief concerning the case but they failed to do so because we served them on March 6, 2014, the last time the case came up. Till date, no process has been filed by them in this case. “The court can make an interim order stopping them from taking further step in the exercise because the case cannot be in court and the defendant will continue to take further steps that will destroy the res of this case,” he submitted. But counsel to BPE, Mr. A.M. Kayode, who held the brief of Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), told the court to order an accelerated hearing instead of an order of injunction. “I urge the court to order an accelerated hearing in this case. I do not have instruction from my principal to give undertaken. We are not aware that any step has been taken so far in this matter,” he argued. In a short ruling for an order

of injunction, Justice Kafarati held: “It is apparent that the defendants have been served with the motion on notice and they failed to brief their counsel. An order of interim injunction is hereby granted against the 1st defendant from further going on with the bidding process of the power stations.” Trouble started when a company, Ethiope Energy Limited, that also submitted bids for the said power stations was excluded from the bidding process, causing it to approach the court for an order to stop the BPE from further going ahead with the bidding process. In the statement of claim filed by plaintiff’s counsel, Izinyon, the energy firm accused the Chairman of the Due Diligence Committee, Mr. Atedo Peterside, of having enormous influence on the BPE. Meanwhile, the producer of the 150MVA transformer that caught fire last week is to be sanctioned if investigations find the firm culpable, the Federal Government has said.

President, Nigerian Association of Indigenous Petroleum Explorers and Producers (NAIPEC), Tunde Afolabi (left); Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Bright Okogu; Director, Corporate Banking, Diamond Bank, Samuel Egube and Managing Director, Geomarine Systems Limited, Azubuike Okezie, during the oil and gas finance seminar organised by Diamond Bank in Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY-ELUKPO

Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who inspected the burnt facility in Osogbo, said a team of investigators would probe the incident and find out the exact cause of the fire. Assistant Director in the Ministry, Ibrahim Haruna, said in Abuja that the sanction would serve as deterrent to manufacturers of fake and sub-stanproducts and dard equipment. He said: “ The minister who was at the project site in Osogbo over the weekend to assess the level of damage said that although the actual cause of the fire was yet to be determined by experts as investigation was on-going, he has been reliably informed that the fire must have been caused by installation failure, which may be from the substandard coils used in the transformer.”

Uduaghan signs N451 billion budget ELTA State Governor, Dr. D Emmanuel Uduaghan, has signed into law a N451 billion 2014 Appropriation Bill with an assurance that more money would be spent on capital projects this year for the benefit of Deltans. Signing the appropriation bill and three others in Asaba yesterday, Uduaghan disclosed that N161.74 billion (36 per cent) of the budget would go to recurrent expenditure while N289.2 billion (64 per cent) is for capital expenditure. The other bills signed into law were the Delta State Local Government Bill 2013, Delta State Security Fund Bill 2013, and the Remunerations, Salaries, Gratuities and Allowances of other Public Officers Bill 2013. According to the governor, the bills would assist the government in ensuring sound financial management, good governance and increased infrastructure development.

‘It will be difficult to hijack the conference’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 pant, Prof Gambari said the Conference “was an opportunity to seriously address the huge challenges facing our country which must be seized by well meaning citizens. It is also a reality that, except in certain segments of the country, there is little enthusiasm for the Conference and generally low expectations about its outcome, especially given the experiences from previous Conferences of this nature. “There is also the suspicion that there may be some hidden agendas on the part of the conveners and perhaps some others. Yet, bringing together a group of almost 500 Nigerians from all states of the country and with such diverse backgrounds would, in my view, and given the huge challenges facing our country like never before, create its own dynamic. Such a dynamic would make it difficult if not impossible for any person, any group and any idea to hi-jack the Conference proceedings and outcomes.” He said while “there is no guarantee that the conference would come up with sound and lasting solutions to the enormous problems facing

Nigeria, it would seem to me a huge mistake to pass up the opportunity to at least make best effort to do so. “Our future and those of our children and grandchildren may well depend on the successful outcome of the Conference and the faithful implementation of its recommendations based on wide consensus among the delegates”, he concluded. But the Primate of the Evangelical Church of Yahweh Worldwide, Theophilus Oluwasanu Olabayo, has said that the National Conference is going to end up in confusion. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Primate Olabayo said there would be crisis upon crisis and as such nothing would come out of the conference. In his words: “I am not happy with the composition of the National Conference because it is same set of people that are being recycled. Some of them have no business being there.” Former Minister of Information and member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tony Momoh, has however predicted that the outcome of the conference “would be a failure.” In his reaction to the inauguration of the national confer-

ence by President Good luck Jonathan, the APC chieftain agreed to the need for a forum like the conference to discuss the myriad of problems confronting the country, saying: “Jaw-jaw is good in a democracy because it affords us the opportunity to table all matters for discussion and find amicable solution than to fight. Nobody is against talking, but after that, what do we do with the outcome of the talk.” Momoh asked: “After talking, what do we do? In the past, we package forum like this just to lessen tension and I believe this would not be any different. We had the Justice Muhammadu Uwais panel, what did we do with the report? Former President Olusegun Obasanjo also organised a conference, what did we do with the outcome? There was also the Malam Nuhu Ribadu committee on the fuel subsidy crisis, what was the outcome and so on like that. So, history has shown us that a like this ends up bringing nothing. “My worry, and where I predicted that this exercise would fail, is the implementation of the outcome. Indeed, it has already failed from the onset when the President said

the outcome would be sent to the National Assembly to be added as part of the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution.” Momoh, who urged Nigerians to mark his words, said: “I suspect that the likely outcome of the conference might support the present presidential system but may ultimately tilted towards a parliamentary system. If that is the case, those in the National Assembly would not implement it.” According to him, “it is the implementation of the outcome of the conference, and not the inauguration that would fail.” Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Epe Constituency in Lagos on the platform of the APC, Lanre Odubote, has accused President Jonathan of trying to blackmail the National Assembly “by saying we had agreed to the convening of the national conference.” In his reaction yesterday, Odubote said: “It was unacceptable for the President to say that the National Assembly has consented to the conference. There was no appropriation to that effect and we have not even passed a


neWS Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cuba seeks stronger ties, invites new minister From John Okeke Abuja n its bid to further strengthen the bilateral relations that has existed between nigeria and Cuba, the Foreign Minister of Cuban, Mr. Bruno rodriguez, has extended an invitation to his nigerian counterpart, Ambassador Aminu Wali to his country. rodriguez, who disclosed this yesterday shortly after his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, harped on the two countries’ huge potential for strengthening bilateral ties. “We have had an excellent meeting. We made a review of all bilateral issues. We confirmed that there is an excellent level of bilateral relations; political issue, economic issue, cooperation issue and at the same time we confirmed that there is a huge potential for enhancing bilateral relations because of our traditions; because we have our ancestral route of our culture in nigeria, in Africa.” “We feel proud that in Africa, Cuban Island is a little bit part of Africa, also Latin America in the Caribbean and we have the best conditions for continuing developing bilateral relations,” he said.

I

THe GUArDIAn www.ngrguardiannews.com

Govt allays fears over oil firms’ divestments, explains deregulation From Collins Olayinka, Abuja o douse investors’ worry over continued disengagement of some International oil Companies (IoCs) from the country, the Federal Government has explained that their divestment decision does not mean they are moving away from nigeria. Director General of Budget office of the Federation, Dr. Bright okogu, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at the nigeria oil and Gas finance seminar, said the divesting decision of some IoCs from nigeria simply means moving their operations from the onshore to offshore. “I want to assure that there is no cause to worry about some International oil Companies (IoCs) divesting

T

and taking up opportunities in other African countries because the amount of oil reserve that nigeria has is far more than the combination of other African except Libya. The implication of this is that nigeria remains the future of oil exploration on the continent,” he added. While urging indigenous companies to rise up to the challenge, okogu submitted that IoCs divestment has also opened a window of opportunity for indigenous oil operators to widen their operations. okogu also explained that the notion that deregulation policy of oil sector translates to upward review of petroleum products’ prices is misguided. His explanation: “Any government that has control

• Sector attracts $15b yearly over an important sector like the oil and gas sector tends to interfere in the running of the sector. It is well documented globally that in deregulated environment, investors will have the freedom to take investment decision swiftly without any fear of interference beyond market fundamentals. Deregulation is not really about price and this is where most nigerians get it wrong. It is not just because government is desirable of increasing the price of petroleum products that inform deregulation but to free up the entire system in a manner that will enable industry players invest. A deregulated environment will enable more players to invest in the

sector that will in turn generate massive employment and open up the sector to rapid growth in terms of opportunities.” The DG, Budget of the Federation hinted that the of the non-passage Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would continue to cast clouds on the suitability of nigeria as an investment destination in the sector. He stated: “The PIB has some elements, which would free up space even though government will still be involved in some way, but overall, the intention of the bill is to enable industry players freedom to take investment decisions unhindered. Upon passage, it should enhance the flexibility of the sector for increased investment inflows.”

Police quiz commissioner, soldier over alleged assault From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti allegedly assaulting a Fingor Youth Corps member durthe Continuous voters registration (Cvr) exercise, ekiti State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Kayode olaosebikan has been quizzed by the police in Ado-ekiti. olaosebikan was alleged to have beaten a Youth Corps member, Mr. Thompson enobong, who was working with the Independent national electoral Commission (IneC) for the exercise at a registration unit in otun-ekiti, Moba Local Government Area of the state. olaosebikan, who was yesterday taken to the Police Headquarters in Ado-ekiti for interrogation, however, denied assaulting the Youth Corps member. Also, a soldier, Private Clement John is also being questioned by the police for disrupting the registration exercise in emure-ekiti. John, who told policemen that he is serving in an Army unit in Borno State, was reportedly over-powered by others at the registration unit and handed over to the police.

Aregbesola wins award From Tunji Omofoye, Osogbo overnor rauf Aregbesola of osun State at the weekend was named winner of the coveted 2014 AD King Prize for Achievement in Public Service in an award in London, United Kingdom A statement by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu okanlawon said the award ceremony was held at the just concluded Commonwealth observance Day, which coincided with nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations in London. okanlawon said the governor was also bestowed the Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award endowed by the GLeeHD Foundation in partnership with the Commonwealth Democracy Initiative.

G

5

Commandant, Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi, Air Vice Marshall Monday Morgan (left); Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, R.T. Biscoe Nigeria Plc, Seyi Onajide; and Navy Commodore Kingdom Itoko during the courtesy visit of the Commandant to R.T. Biscoe Nigeria Plc in Lagos .. yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Anti-tobacco group tasks N’Assembly on speedy passage of control bill By Wole Oyebade nTI-ToBACCo campaigners yesterday urged the national Assembly to give necessary attention and expedite action on the passage of the national Tobacco Control Bill  (nTCB) before April 2014. The group, under the aegis of the nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (nTCA) said the passage was important before the distractions of election campaign takes full swing in April. nTCA is a network of Civil Society Groups (CSos), nonGovernment organisations

A

(nGos), Community-Based organisations (CBos), FaithBased organisations (FBos), and several related professionals. nTCA Interim national Coordinator, Lanre oginini said the group was worried about the slow-pace of work on the Bill, which was originally passed at the sixth national Assembly but not assented into law by President Goodluck Jonathan. oginini said: “We had expected a fast track passage, but here we are again. This is a public health bill that will safe

the lives of several million lives from tobacco addiction and associated ill health and death, it is a matter of national priority. “It is the responsibility of parliament to ensure that it makes law to promote healthy lifestyle for the citizens. Such laws must be made timely and with the necessary implementation mechanisms,” oginini said. nTCA warned, “every time we delay, we put the lives of nigerian children, women and even adults at risk of avoidable death.”

Ministry decries use of chloroquine to treat malaria despite ban rely on nets alone. We know

From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja ven as federal and states governments yesterday stepped up efforts to ensure the eradication of malaria in the country, as they met in Abuja to enhance collaboration, the Federal Ministry of Health has declared that health facilities are still using chloroquine procured by their state governments. Health Minister, Prof. onyebuchi Chukwu, speaking at the meeting, said though the country was making a lot of efforts towards malaria elimination, it still

e

was not enough. He said the 2013 national Demography Health Survey revealed that malaria was still responsible for two out of 10 deaths among children. He stressed how government through his ministry was revising the national Malaria Strategic Plan (20142020). He said 50 million nets will be distributed across 16 states between now and first quarter of next year. “We should do less of theory and do what other countries that eliminated malaria did. I am yet to see countries that

malaria is causing a lot of problems but we can transcend seminars, workshops for work in the field,” he noted. Meanwhile, years after the ban of chloroquine as a first line treatment of malaria globally, all the states health facilities across the country are still using it. This revelation was made at the review meeting for state Malaria Programme Managers that had as its theme, “Sustaining the Push Towards Malaria elimination in nigeria.

He also decried the inability of nigerian banks to fund exploration or infrastructure but restrict themselves to funding marketing and production projects. He was however quick to submit that with the investments in nigeria’s oil industry in excess of $15 billion annually, provision of funds for this purpose is a major challenge to the domestic financial market, saying, “post consolidation, the banks, with improved financial base, have offered an average of between $200 million and $800 million of the IoCs’ $1.2 billion projects, up from about $60 million of $1 billion projects pre-consolidation.” Director, Corporate Banking of Diamond Bank, Mr. Sam egube listed poor infrastructure, uncertain regulatory frameworks, increasing local content legislation, scarcity of skilled manpower, increasing government arbitrariness and absence of transparency and limited access to funding as challenges that increase risks within the nigeria oil and gas sector. He added: “other challenges are pushing for inverse government takes, more stringent tax regimes and increased state participation, creating some air of uncertainty among inventors.” He also submitted that the passage of PIB would engender reduced contract processing and approval cycles through an industry wide adoption of contracting and bidding ‘vehicles’ such as nIPeX (nigeria Petroleum exchange).” He also called for an increased contract tenures from the current two-plusone contract cycles to five and 10 years cycles to encourage long-term project and contract financing.


6 |Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Court strikes out suit against Jonathan’s re-election

55 feared killed in Yobe auto crash

From Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief HE Federal High Court, Kaduna, yesterday struck out the suit filed by two northern chieftains and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to restrain President Goodluck Jonathan from seeking re-election in 2015. The plaintiffs, Mr. Richard Mneaga, and Alhaji Shuaibu Lilli, had prayed the court, among others, to disqualify Jonathan from presenting himself as presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015 election. They also urged the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restrain the PDP from accepting Jonathan’s nomination as presidential candidate in the 2015 election. In the suit filed on October 7, 2013, the plaintiffs insisted that Jonathan had completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, calculated from May 29, 2007, while also seeking “a declaration that President Jonathan is not entitled to a tenure of office as President exceeding eight years, calculated from 2007 till the last holder of the said office.” However, in her ruling yesterday, the presiding Justice, Evelyn Anyadike said the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to drag President Jonathan to court based on section 308 of the Constitution, which gives him immunity from being sued. She further affirmed that Jonathan has the constitutional right to contest for presidency in 2015 if he so desire. According to Justice Anyadike, the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter since the plaintiffs did not follow the due process in filing their case, as the petition was served out of jurisdiction. She, however, dismissed the case for lack of merit. Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mohammed Ibrahim, faulted the technicalities on which the judge relied to deliver her judgment, saying that the ruling should have been based on the merit of the case. He said the plaintiffs would proceed to the Appeal Court for further interpretation of the lower court’s judgment and for the upper court to determine whether President Jonathan has the constitutional right to seek another term in office in 2015. On their part, counsel to the first and second defendants, President Jonathan and the PDP, hailed the judgment as another landmark victory for democracy and rule of law. They also faulted the petitioners for dragging Jonathan to court since he has not declared his intention to contest for the presidency in 2015.

From Njadvara Musa, Damaturu WO separate auto crashes on the Gashua-Garin Alkali and Damaturu-Potiskum roads in Yobe State in early hours of yesterday claimed 55 lives, including women, the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) in the state has said. Seventeen persons were also injured in the twin road accidents and were taken to the general hospitals at Gashua and Damaturu by the FRSC rescue team. Confirming the incidents yesterday in Damaturu, the agency’s Public Relations Officer, Yusuf Sani, attributed the road accidents to “overspeeding and dangerous overtaking” by the affected drivers. “On reaching the scene of the accidents, 20 people, mainly women, were feared dead, while the DamaturuPotiskum crash claimed 35 lives, including the drivers of the affected cars,” he said.

T

T

Jonathan

National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers protesting over the stampede that led to the death of some applicants during Saturday’s recruitment into Nigerian Immigration Service in Kaduna… yesterday.

Study confirms oil in commercial quantity at Okitipupa From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HERE are indications that Nigeria may soon begin the process of oil exploration in the offshore of Dahomey Basin and Okitipupa in Ondo State. Speaking in Abuja at a seminar on the annual oil and gas research grant competition, the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, explained that a research titled Petroleum Potential of the Nigerian Sector of the Chad Basin Using Integration of Apatite Fission Track Analysis, Conventional Methods and Modelling by Prof. John Adekoya and his team from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, showed the presence of hydrocarbon in commercial quantity in the areas. The news of the discovery

T

• NLNG craves tax holiday for gas firms came as the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) called for granting of tax incentives to natural liquefied gas firms to increase resource-base of the country. Oluleye added that steps are being taken for patenting of the research efforts and that it has now been up scaled to pilot plant level for industrial use. “The work on the Hydrocarbon Source Rocks had given strong indication for hydrocarbon presence in the offshore of the Dahomey Basin at Okitipupa in Ondo State. Findings from the research of Prof. John Adekoya and his team on the Nigerian sector of the Chad Basin show further that oil discovery in the sedimentary basins is realistic and achievable.” According to Oluleye, the

PTDF is determined to use research as a tool for domesticating the production of material inputs in the oil and gas industry. He also stated that the PTDF would place high premium on renewable and unconventional energy in its grants. “The discovery of oil in neighbouring Niger and Chad Republic has given an encouraging prospect of oil discovery in the Nigerian sedimentary basins. This no doubt will boost the nation’s oil reserve. While progress is made in the discovery of fossil fuels in the Chad Basin, we should not lose sight of the fact that there is a global shift to environmental source of energy. “In this regard, the Fund will sponsor more researches on the production of biofuels and biogas from non-edible

fruits. Resources have been committed in this area and I am glad to inform you that the result has been positive, although more work needs to be done, as we continue our efforts at ensuring biofuel production on a commercial scale in the next research cycle.” He hinted that the PTDF has already endowed professorial chair on renewable energy in the University of Benin and the successful research work of Dr. Frank Oroka and his team further shows our effort in this direction. The Managing Director of NLNG, Babs Omotowa, who spoke in Abuja at the weekend at the celebration of LNG 3000th export cargo, pointed out that granting tax concession to Brass LNG and Ok LNG by government would quicken their coming on stream. “Nigeria urgently needs the

fortune these companies will bring in jobs and revenue,” he said. On the efforts of NLNG to reduce gas flaring, he said: “Since 1999, over four trillion cubic feet of associated natural gas, which would have been flared, has been captured, thus helping to reduce gas flaring by upstream companies from over 60 per cent to less than 25 per cent. In doing this, the company has positively impacted on the country’s gas flaring status and thus helped to improve the environment.” He also stressed that Nigeria now owns $14 billion of assets on Bonny Island, earned $13 billion in dividends, another $11 billion earned in feed gas sales revenue and over $10 billion expenditure in local economy on goods, services and salaries of thousands of staff employed.

280,000 Adamawa APC members decamp to PDP, back Jonathan for 2015 From Emmanuel Ande (Yola) and Msugh Ityokura (Lafia) HE crisis rocking the T Adamawa State wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) since Governor Murtala Nyako decamped to the party in a controversial manner yesterday took another dimension as over 280,000 members of APC announced defection to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The development came as the Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Dameshi Barau Luka said President Goodluck Jonathan is a project of God and must be allowed to come to fruition by Nigerians if the country must attain its rightful place in the comity of nations. The leader of the decamping APC members, Alhaji Dala’ilu Ala, said they left the party because of alleged undemocratic ways the governor handles its affairs. Meanwhile, the local government election campaign tour embarked upon by Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has continued to attract protests in most of the places visited. Ala, who is the chairman of

the Elders Forum under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) in Adamawa, while addressing thousands of the party members in Yola, said their action was based on the manifesto of ACN which is to pursue justice and fairness for the development of the country. “I want to inform you that with the recent happenings in Adamawa APC under Nyako, a man who is popular in impunity and undemocratic activities, all faithful members of the former ACN numbering over 280,000 have moved to PDP to replace the undemocratic elements that have perverted the PDP since 2007 who have moved to wreck APC the same way they destroyed PDP,” he stated. The spokesman of the decamping members noted that under the leadership of Nyako, no political party can achieved any democratic progress due to what he described as the governor’s taste for impunity and lawlessness in handling political issues. “We wish to make it abundantly clear that our desire for true democracy can never

be realised in a party made up of strange bed fellows with clear undemocratic antecedents that raped our state of the desire development for the past seven years and the brigandage exhibited in the recent APC registration exercise across the state,” Ala maintained. On the President GoodLuck Jonathan’s 2015 presidential ambition, he said that the people of the state have resolved to give the president 99 per cent of their votes. “We in Adamawa are happy with Nyako because he has finished our campaign for us, his poor performance has helped us, so for Adamawa, the 2015 game is over, PDP is in charge”, he said. He called on patriotic people of the state to support Jonathan in 2015 and PDP government to ensure that democracy thrive in the country for development and peace. Angry students from Nasarawa State University, Keffi who were engaged in the electioneering campaign by the APC, on Monday staged a protest over the alleged ill treatment meted out to them

in Keffi. Speaking with newsmen, leader of the Keffi protest group, Musa Attah said: “They had been with Governor AlMakura on his tour rounding three local governments councils of Karu, Toto and Nasarawa. But to our greatest dismay, Nigerian students have been hungry since morning till this hours of the day, not even a piece of sachet water was given to any of us and at the end of the day the Special Adviser to Al-Makura on students matters, Kassim Muhammed, came with a paltry sum of N25,000 for over 50 students. “Many of the students on the governor’s entourage left their homes and abandoned Sunday service for APC campaign in preparation for the forthcoming local government elections scheduled to hold on 22nd March, 2014 because we felt that we want to discharge our obligation to ensure that the government of the day is in the light of existence.” The students were said to have been engaged by the SSA to Al-Makura to rally round all the aspirants vying for vari-

ous positions in the forthcoming local government polls to ensure that APC takes the lead. According to him, time has come when Nigerian students at all levels would never allow themselves to be used by selfish politicians in the state, noting that, “Gone were the days when politicians will come and deceive students, use them and dump them without meeting up their demands in Nasarawa State and Nigeria as whole.” The deputy governor of Nasarawa State, Luka, who recently defected to the PDP from the APC spoke in Lafia, the state capital while playing host to the Consolidation Movement for Jonathan 2015. The PDP, he said, is the party that will take the day at the federal, state and local government levels any day an election is conducted in a free and fair manner. “Jonathan is a product from God and I am convinced that he is the project, and if Nigerians understand it better there will be more progress as only peace can guarantee sustainable development for any nation”.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 NEWS | 7

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

25 judges elevated to Appeal Court RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan yesterday elevated 25 judges to the Court of Appeal upon the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC). A statement by the NJC Acting Director of Information, Soji Oye, said “the appointment is in line with the new Court of Appeal (Amendment) Act, which raised the number of justices of the court from 70

John Akhabue (left), Odia Ofeimun, Prof. Kole Omotosho (guest speaker) and Comrade Albert Uduehi, at the launch of the book, This conference must be different, written by Ofeimun at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

NBS chief defends electronic enumerator From Chuka Odittah, Abuja O eliminate human error in the sourcing or collation of data from the public, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed plans to henceforth deploy centrally controlled, computerised enumeration system. Statistician-Generation of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, told The Guardian in Abuja that data sourced by the bureau’s field agents across the country were usually voluminous and manually captured before being forwarded to the headquarters for final documentation. Though he noted that the field enumerators have been constantly trained on the need for accurate data, Kale explained that cases of human error, even though minimal, might not be ruled out. To that end, he said, the NBS is deploying an integrated and electronically harmonised statistical system, which would ensure unified data production. And with the new approach, he added, field enumerators would now be feeding data directly into an online database to be centrally received at the headquarters.

T

Lawmaker wants elections shifted from Saturdays From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia HE Seventh Day Adventist T Church’s centenary celebration ended at the weekend in Aba, Abia State, with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe calling for a stop to the conduct of political elections on Saturdays. Speaking at the celebration, Abaribe said that holding political elections that day automatically disenfranchises members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, whose worship day, unlike Christians and Moslems, is Saturday. He noted that the church has immensely contributed to the socio-economic and religious development of the country, and that efforts were already on to stop elections in the country on Saturdays.

NIWA blames operator for FESTAC boat mishap From Chuka Odittah, Abuja ON-ADHERENCE to the N law prohibiting night travel on the nation’s waterways, as well as “the recklessness of the canoe operators,” who ferry passengers without live jackets, led to the death of at least 18 people in last week’s boat mishap in FESTAC Town, Lagos State, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has said. NIWA oversees jetties, rivers and their tributaries, distributaries, creeks, lakes, lagoons and all intra-coastal waterways in Nigeria. The agency’s spokesman, Mr. Tayo Fadile, told The Guardian that night travel on the nation’s waterways is highly prohibited and clear-

ly enshrined in NIWA’s enabling laws. Stoppage time is 6p.m. He emphasised that the agency has continued to warn boat or canoe riders against violation of that law, especially because it involves human lives. Fadile noted that if the operator of the ill-fated canoe had adhered to guidelines, the canal accident might have been averted. He further noted that the standard practice is to provide all passengers with live jackets, wondering why the people were ferried without them. According to him, already, an Inland Waterway Safety Code is awaiting passage by the National Assembly and once signed into law, persons who subsequently vio-

late NIWA laws would be prosecuted in court. While calling on boat operators to desist from night travel henceforth, he also urged passengers to insist on being provided with genuine live jackets for safety purposes. He added: “This is why NIWA recently visited Niger State, where it provided 400 live jackets to communities in that state. “We believe that people should not only be provided with live jackets but also taught how to use them correctly. This campaign is ongoing and we hope to visit all geo-political zones in the country, where we would not only provide them with live jackets but also teach them how to make effective use of them.”

Planned protest against killings grounds Benue From Joseph Wantu (Makurdi) and Kanayo Umeh (Abuja) ANY schools and commercial activities in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, were paralysed yesterday following a prior announcement on the state radio directing the closure of schools and markets to pave way for the planned protest by the youth against the killing of Tiv farmers by Fulani mercenaries. Though the state government issued a counter order while the state police command denied granting permit to the acclaimed organisers, many parents feared to risk taking their children to school, more so as many schools did not even open to students. The Guardian’s visit to some of the schools in Makurdi met them under lock and keys, while the pupils already there were being turned back on arrival. A teacher with the Kingdom Heritage Model School, Wurukum, pleading anonymity, said the school was shut for the day to avoid regrets, but assured that it would reopen tomorrow for academic activities. Security operatives were noticed patrolling the streets of Makurdi as early as 7a.m to avert any uprising.

M

• Haruna tasks youths on nation building Confirming the planned demonstration, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Daniel Ezeala, said the Command deployed its personnel to the streets to quell any violation of the law. Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth Development, Boni Haruna, has underscored the importance of the ministry in the affairs of the nation, declaring it as the most critical and sensitive since its mandate covers the youth, which make up over 65 per cent of the country’s population (within 18 to 35 years). Speaking during his interaction with the management staff of the ministry and parastatals, Haruna said: “If our job is to oversee youth development, reduce unemployment and youth restiveness and add value to lives, then there is no better ministry in the life of this nation. “It is what you do here that will bail this country from the current security challenges we are going through, because the major actors in the security challenges in the nation are the youth. So, what we do here will count so much in dealing with this problem.

He stated his intention to run an open and transparent administration and pledged to work with all stakeholders to effectively address the issues of restiveness among the youth. Speaking earlier in a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Henry Akpan, welcomed the new minister, noting that following his past achievements in youth advocacy and empowerment, he believes the ministry would be adequately repositioned to deliver effectively on its mandates under his administration. However, it was observed that major markets in Makurdi, including Wadata, Wurukum, High-Level and Modern markets and some businesses opened late, for fear of the unknown, just as many shop owners did not open at all. A marketer at Wurukum Market, James Obiafuna, told The Guardian that he decided not to open his jewelry shop to avoid what happened to him some years ago when a similar incident led to the looting of his wares by hoodlums. However, he advised the youth to exercise restraint and seek divine intervention in the crisis.

to 90, and the vacancies that were occasioned by the demise, retirement or elevation of some justices to the Supreme Court.” According to Oye, the justices would be sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of NJC, Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar, next Monday at 12 noon at the Supreme Court. The statement listed the justices as:

1. Justice Hamma Akawu Barka – Gombe State 2. Justice Joseph Jude Jella – Taraba State 3. Justice Bitrus G. Sanga – Bauchi State 4. Justice Muhammed Mustapha – Borno State 5. Justice Yargata Nimpar – Gombe State 6. Justice Sa’idu Tanko Hussein –Kogi State 7. Justice Mudashiru N. Oniyangi – Kwara State 8. Justice Amina Audi Wambai – Niger State 9. Justice Ridwan Maiwada Abdullahi –Nasarawa State 10. Justice Tani Y. Hassan– Kano State 11. Justice Muhammed Lawal Shuaibu – Jigawa State 12. Kadi Musa Hassan Alkali –Kaduna State 13. Justice Jamilu Y. Tukur – Katsina State 14. Justice Paul Obi Elechi – Ebonyi State 15. Justice Ugochukwu A. Ogakwu – Enugu State 16. Justice Nonyerem Okoronkwo – Imo State 17. Justice Joseph E. Ekanem – Akwa Ibom State 18. Justice F.E. Oho – Delta State 19. Justice Abimbola O.O. Adejumo –Edo State 20. Justice Bolokuromo M. Ugo – Bayelsa State 21. Justice Biobele A. Georgewill – Rivers State 22. Justice Oludotun A. Adefope-Okojie – Ogun State 23. Justice Misitura O. Bolaji-Yusuf – Oyo State 24. Justice J.O.K. Oyewole – Osun State 25. Justice O.E. Williams-Dawudu – Lagos State


8 | Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

PHOTONEWS

Chairman, Nigeria chapter, West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), Sir Ike Onyechi; Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu; President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Olumide Akintayo and Chairman, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Bruno Nwankwo, at the investiture of Governor Aliyu as Honourary Fellow of WAPCP in Accra, Ghana.

Minister of Agric, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (fifth right); Minister of State, Agric., Asabe S. Ahmed (fourth right); Chairman, House Committee on Agric, Muhammed T. Monguno; Chairman, Umza Farms, Kano and others on one of the rice paddy pyramids at Umza Rice Mill.

Sales Director, Nigerian Breweries, Hubert Eze (left); wife of the Nigerian Breweries Managing Director, Clementine; Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries, Nicolaas Vervelde; National Champion of the Distributors Award, Dem Joy Igwe; her husband, Sir Gabriel Igwe of Ifeoma Chukwuka Nigeria Limited and Nollywood star, Patience Ozokwo, during Nigerian Breweries Distributors Award ceremony in Lagos. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Project Coordinator, SMP 47 Class, Lagos Business Schools, Pan Atlantic University, Thomas Eze (left); President, Ubong King; Home Coordinator, Ozanam House, Sister Stella Mbanu and member, SMP 47 Class, Irunna Ejibe, at the presentation of cheque to Daughters of Charity Ozanam House in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Former Lagos State Accountant-General, Akinwunmi Ambode (left); award recipient, Adeniji Kazeem; former Inspector General of Police, Musiliu Smith and Bolaji Are during the ninth merit award of the Ansar ud Deen Society of Nigeria, Lagos branch in Lagos.

Group Managing Director/CEO, Arco Petrochemical Engineering Company Plc, Alfred Okoigun (left); football legend, Taribo West; Edo State Commissioner for Environment, Clem Agba and former Super Eagles Captain, Jayjay Okocha, during a cruise on Arco Fast Crew Boat 4 to celebrate its arrival in Lagos.

Former Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), George Uriesi (right) and the new FAAN Managing Director, Saleh Dunoma, during the handing over ceremony by Uriesi to Dunoma.

Divisional Head, Group Internal Audit, FCMB, Bukola Smith (left); Chief Internal Auditor, Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Komolafe; Chief Internal Auditor, Bank of Industry, Sonny Ekedayen and Director, Bank’s Examination Department, Dapo Adeleke, during the opening ceremony of Office Secretariat Committee for Chief Internal Auditors of Banks in Nigeria (CCIABN) in Lagos.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

WorldReport World should welcome Crimea joining Russia, says Gorbachev HE world should welcome T the prospect of Crimea becoming part of Russia as it rectifies a historic mistake from the Soviet era, the Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev said. Gorbachev said that Crimea had only ended up in the territory of post-Soviet Ukraine because it had been transferred from Russia by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev when both countries were part of the USSR. “For sanctions to be imposed there should be a very serious basis. And they must be supported by the United Nations,” Gorbachev told the Interfax news agency. “The possible taking of Crimea into Russian territory does not constitute such a basis,” he added. He described the weekend’s referendum where almost 97 percent voted in favour of Crimea joining Russia “as a success that responded to the expectations of Crimeans.” “If until now Crimea had been joined to Ukraine because of Soviet laws that were taken without asking the people, then now the peo-

ple (of Crimea) have decided to rectify this error,” he said. “This should be welcomed and not met with the announcement of sanctions,” he added. European Union foreign ministers agreed sanctions Monday against 21 Russian and Crimean officials deemed responsible for the referendum in Crimea, officials said. Gorbachev remains despised by many in Russia for allowing the break-up of the Soviet Union, a country for which many Russians still feel nostalgia.

60 years after, South Korea repatriates war dead to China ORE than 60 years after M the conflict ended, South Korea yesterday prepared the

Indian Hindu devotees are sprayed with water and coloured powder as they celebrate the Holi festival at the Swaminarayan Temple at Kalupur in Ahmedabad yesterday. Holi, also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month. PHOTO: AFP

UN prepares new S’Sudan camps for terrified civilians ENS of thousands of South T Sudanese civilians sheltering in United Nations peacekeeper bases fearing revenge attacks after weeks of conflict are to be moved to new camps, UN officials said. More than three months since fighting broke out, some 77,000 civilians are still

inside eight UN bases across the troubled nation, in overcrowded conditions that are worsening with the early arrival of torrential rains. UN peacekeepers opened their gates to protect civilians after brutal fighting broke out in December with reports of massacres

and targeted ethnic killings. But the temporary shelter has stretched into months, and with fighting ongoing and a ceasefire in tatters, civilians are too fearful to leave. Aid officials had hoped the thousands would be able to return to their homes, but

Why Crimea’s referendum is vexatious, as West threatens Moscow By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor with agency reports  LTHOUGH feelers from Simferopol, the Capital of Crimea, suggest that the citizens are at home with Sunday’s referendum, which favoured a cessation from Ukraine and a re-joining of Russia, the referendum itself remains vexatious and the West have already by yesterday, imposed first range sanctions on Russia. Looking beyond the dancers and jubilant voters on the streets of Crimea, there are many others both in Kiev and western capitals who are questioning whether the referendum was legitimate and its result, a true reflection of people of Crimea. The questions being raised are: Did the ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars vote? Do all ethnic Russian agree with the idea of leaving Ukraine? Weren’t proUkrainian demonstrators intimidated? Did the presence of Russian occupation troops have an impact, not the least psychological? Were international observes allowed into Crimea? And if not, why? Against this backdrop, the European Union (EU) agreed yesterday to impose travel bans and asset freezes against 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine, following the referendum in Crimea. The individuals affected are seen as having playing a central role in Crimea’s move to break away from Ukraine and join with Russia. Kiev, the United States and EU have all said they do not recognise the referendum.

A

• Ukraine parliament approves mobilisation of 40,000 reservists According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the U.S. has said Crimea’s weekend referendum is dangerous and unconstitutional.  Overwhelming endorsement. Russian news agency says 93 percent are voting to join Russia.   But officials in Crimea, claiming overwhelming endorsement, had said the referendum had the backing of 97 per cent of voters, and have now declared the region independent of Ukraine. What is more, Crimea’s parliament having declared the region’s independence, yesterday formally applied to join Russia even as the government in Kiev has said it will not recognise the results of the referendum. And as a direct response to the ongoing development, the Ukrainian parliament yesterday approved the mobilisation of 40,000 reservists amid “wartime situation” Well ahead of the application join Russia, the country’s President, Vladimir Putin had said he will “respect the Crimean people’s wishes” even thought many Crimean loyal to Kiev boycotted the referendum. Pro-Russian forces had taken control of Crimea since February. They moved in after Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after street protests. Putin and President Barack Obama spoke over the phone earlier, with the Kremlin and the White House later releasing

contrasting accounts of the conversation. While the Kremlin said both men agreed to seek a way to stabilise Ukraine, and that President Putin had stressed that the Kiev government had failed to curb “rampant violence by ultra-nationalists”, the White House said President Obama had insisted that the referendum was illegal and would never be accepted, and called for Moscow to support an international monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine. Election officials said the turnout was a record high, beating the numbers who vote in local elections. In fact, Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea’s leader installed last month after the Russian takeover, celebrated the referendum on stage in Simferopol. Backed by the Russian national anthem, Russian flags, and the personnel of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, he told supporters that Crimea was “going home”. Trouble started for the eastern Ukrainian province of Crimea when former President, Viktor Yanukovych abandoned EU deal. Then last December; ProEU protesters occupied Kiev city hall and Independence Square. In February this year, at least 88 people killed in Kiev clashes, the same month that Yanukovych fled as parliament removed him and called for election. Later same month, proRussian gunmen seized key buildings in Crimea and on March 6, Crimea’s parliament

voted to join Russia. All these led to a situation where by Sunday, Crimea voters choose to secede in disputed referendum. Some 58 per cent of people in Crimea are said to be ethnic Russian, with the rest made up of Ukrainians and Tatars. Western media claims that most of the Tatars spoken to said they had boycotted the vote, and felt that “life under the Kremlin would be worse” For instance, Refat Chubarov, leader of the Tatars’ unofficial parliament, said the referendum was illegal, and held in a hasty manner under the control of Russian troops. “The fate of our motherland cannot be decided in such a referendum under the shadows of the guns of soldiers,” he added.  Eastern European scholars easily remember that former Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, deported the Tatars to Central Asia. They were only able to return with the fall of the Soviet Union and many may want to remain in Ukraine. A major grudge of the west and resistant Crimean is that the referendum did not have an option for those who wanted the constitutional arrangements to remain unchanged. Voters were simply asked whether they wanted to join Russia, or have greater autonomy within Ukraine. Analysts think that as things stand now, there is little that the authorities in Ukraine can do without significant outside help.

are now being forced to prepare more permanent sites for people. Toby Lanzer, the UN humanitarian chief in South Sudan, said there was “desperate overcrowding” for the 25,000 civilians crammed into the UN’s base in war-ravaged Malakal, the state capital of oil-producing Upper Nile.

remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War for repatriation. Military forensic officers placed the remains in dark brown coffins after a ceremony watched by Chinese officials and South Korean army Brigadier General, Moon Sang-Gyu at a temporary charnel house in Paju just south of the border with North Korea. The move will be the first such return of Chinese soldiers’ remains since the threeyear war ended in 1953. “It will take about two weeks to place all the remains in coffins and complete preparations for repatriation,” a defence ministry spokesman said. At the end of March, they will be brought to a state cemetery in China’s northern city of Shenyang. South Korea has described the move as a new milestone for relations between the former Cold War enemies. “We hope this will provide an opportunity for South Korea and China to open a new chapter in relations,” Moon said.


10 | Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2014

Jonathan’s inaugural speech

Jonathan PROTOCOLS 1. I am delighted to welcome you all to the inauguration of this historic National Conference which promises to be another significant landmark in our efforts to strengthen national unity and consolidate democratic governance in our beloved country. 2. I also believe that this National Conference is coming at a very appropriate time. Having just celebrated the first centenary of our country, the most compelling task before us, as we move ahead and contemplate what our nation will be at the end of its second century, is to lay a much stronger foundation for faster development. 3. This we can achieve by building a more inclusive national consensus on the structure and guiding principles of state that will guarantee our emergence as a more united, progressive and prosperous nation. 4. In our history as a political entity, we have experienced highs and lows but have always forged ahead. To my mind, the fact that we have weathered all storms and continued with the mission of evolving a truly national identity signifies that we are going in the right direction. 5. The strongest nations in the world today also went through their own formative stages; some for decades and others for centuries. We must learn from them that nationhood will not happen overnight, especially given the circumstances of our birth as a nation. 6. History also teaches that nationbuilding is a journey of dedication, commitment, diligence, perseverance and patriotic vision. To be successful, nationbuilders must continually strive to evolve better and more inclusive societies in which every citizen is a proud and com-

mitted stakeholder. 7. It was with this objective in mind that we set up the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on the National Conference in October last year and charged its members with the responsibility of designing the framework and modalities for a productive National Conference. 8. The Committee which submitted its Report in December, 2013, was able to reach out to all Nigerians and various interest groups, socio-political groupings, regional and religious elements, professionals, civil society, the organised private sector, labour, youth, women and others to ascertain their views on the initiative. 9. The Presidential Advisory Committee established that there was indeed, a national consensus for this Conference to be convened immediately, to meet the yearnings and aspirations of our people. 10. The National Conference is therefore being convened to engage in intense introspection about the political and socio-economic challenges confronting our nation and to chart the best and most acceptable way for the resolution of such challenges in the collective interest of all the constituent parts of our fatherland. 11. This coming together under one roof to confer and build a fresh national consensus for the amicable resolution of issues that still cause friction amongst our people must be seen as an essential part of the process of building a more united, stronger and progressive nation. 12. We cannot continue to fold our arms and assume that things will straighten themselves out in due course, instead of taking practical steps to overcome impediments on our path to true nationhood, rapid development and national prosperity.

13. For many years we have discussed and argued over various issues concerning our national existence and well-being. Much of this national discourse has been conducted through the mass media, both print and electronic. More recently, the advent of the age of ICT and social media has greatly enlarged the space for the discussion of our country’s future. 14. Many more young and articulate Nigerians who previously had little access to the traditional mass media have now joined the conversation, motivated by patriotic concern for good governance, peace, stability, justice, equity, fairness and the harmonious co-existence of the diverse groups that make up our great nation. 15. Dear Compatriots, my administration is convening this National Conference today because we believe that we must assume responsibility for ensuring that the long-running national debate on the best way forward for our country is not in vain. 16. It is our expectation that participants in this conference will patriotically articulate and synthesize our peoples’ thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria, forge the broadest possible national consensus in support of those recommendations, and strive to ensure that they are given the legal and constitutional backing to shape the present and the future of our beloved fatherland. 17. In inaugurating this national conference today, we are not unmindful of the argument of those who say that we do not need such a conference since we already have an elected Parliament and an elected Government in place. 18. As cogent as that argument may sound, I have chosen to act on the sincere

conviction that in the truly democratic nation we are striving to build, we must never ignore the loudly expressed views of the majority of ordinary Nigerians. 19. I have heard that majority say, that we need to rebuild trust by involving them in the process of developing a guiding document of our national political relationships which is more acceptable to all sections of the country. I have heard our people say that we need to openly and frankly discuss our problems and seek acceptable solutions instead of allowing them to fester and remain sources of perennial conflict. 20. I have also heard them say that, as the elected representatives of our people, we must never arrogate to ourselves all knowledge and wisdom regarding the development of our country. 21. And I am in full agreement with our people. The power we hold is, without question, in trust for the people. Sovereignty belongs to the people. Their voices must be heard and factored into every decision we take on their behalf. 22. This National Conference is a very important avenue for the voices of our people to be heard. Our people have yearnings and desires that need to be discussed. Their representatives at this conference are neither usurping the role of the National Assembly nor the Executive. They are complementing us in our march towards a greater and stronger union. 23. Over the years, well-meaning Nigerians have drawn attention to inadequacies in our current constitution. Some have described it as a military-inspired document which does not take into full consideration the genuine desires and wishes of the people. 24. The phrase in the preamble that says “we, the people,” has been variously criticised as being misleading because,


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2014

at National Conference according to the critics, the constitution was not written by the people. There are also those who believe that the constitution is not our problem but the political will to faithfully implement it for the peace and progress of Nigeria. 25. While opinions on the matter can be as diverse as rain showers, I believe that irrespective of our personal views on the issue, no one can deny the fact that every constitution is a living document that needs to be revised and improved upon from time to time. The United States, which is the model democracy in the eyes of many, has amended its constitution 27 times since it was first adopted in 1787. 26. Some of our compatriots also believe that because we have held several conferences in the past, we do not need to hold another one. I do not share that view at all. 27. A deeper look will reveal that the challenges we faced before each of the preceding national conferences were different. The challenges of 1956 are certainly not the challenges of 2014, and definitely not the challenges that the nation will face in years to come. It makes sense, therefore, that as the challenges before us evolve, we must be constant and proactive in our search for fresh solutions. We cannot continue to proffer yesterday’s solutions for today’s problems. 28. This conference is open for us to table our thoughts and positions on issues, and make recommendations that will advance our togetherness. The issues range from form of government, structures of government, devolution of powers, revenue sharing, resource control, state and local government creation, boundary adjustment, state police and fiscal federalism, to local government elections, indigeneship, gender equality and children’s rights, amongst others. 29. We must not approach these issues with suspicion and antagonism. Rather, we should be open-minded and work to achieve what is best for Nigeria. Even though you come to the Conference as nominees and representatives of different interest groups, I urge you all to make a more united, stronger, indivisible and prosperous Nigeria your preoccupation and reference point at this national gathering. Whatever the pressures on you may be, I call upon you to put the best interest of Nigeria before all other sectional or group interests. 30. Indeed, I am quite worried when I hear people say that some participants in this National Conversation are coming here to defend and promote ethnic or clannish agenda. It is very regrettable that there are persons who believe that we cannot undertake any collective task in our country without the hindrance of ethnic rivalry even after 100 years of nationhood. 31. This conference gives us an opportunity to prove such persons wrong and I believe it will. As we start a new century of nationhood, we have an obliga-

Senate President, David Mark

Confab chairman, Kutigi tion to reshape and redirect our country for the benefit of our children. There should be no room for divisive cleavages and ethnic jingoism. There should be no room for selfish considerations that defeat the purpose of national progress. There should be room only for the national interest. 32. In the 60s, our country was ranked along with some developing countries including India, Malaysia and South Korea. Today, those countries have moved far ahead of us in several areas. My expectation is that the outcome of this Conference will be a positive turning point for our country’s development. We must seize this opportunity to cement the cleavages and fault lines that tend to separate us. We must relaunch our country. 33. I know the task before you is onerous; but there must be only one winner, and there can only be one winner if we do everything right, and that winner must be Nigeria. I urge you therefore to focus strictly on the Nigerian Agenda. 34. I expect that, as persons of integrity and honour, you will do nothing in this Conference that will undermine our efforts and desire to build a truly great nation. I also expect that your discussions will be informed only by the noblest of instincts and persuasions. 35. Our sole motivation for convening this conference is the patriotic desire for a better and greater nation. We are determined that things must be done in a way and manner that will positively advance that objective. 36. While we recognise that groups and communities are the

building blocks of our nation, we must also emphasise that we need one another to build the solid and prosperous country of our dreams. 37. We cannot join hands together to build with a collective vision if we continue to harbour negative biases and prejudices against ourselves. 38. Yesterday’s prejudices should die with yesterday. Today is a new day. This is the dawn of a new era. This is an opportunity to think anew. We must jettison the poisonous mind-sets of the past, which were built on unhealthy competition among our diverse groups and peoples. 39. We need a new mind and a new spirit of oneness and national unity. The time has come to stop seeing Nigeria as a country of many groups and regions. We have been divinely brought together under one roof. We must begin to see ourselves as one community. We are joined together by similar hopes and dreams as well as similar problems and challenges. What affects one part of the community affects the other. 40. An average Nigerian sees every part of the country as home. Let us seize the opportunity of this Conference to do more to further turn our diversity and plurality into unique national resources for strength and greatness. 41. I have always affirmed that our ability to stay together despite our acknowledged differences, when other countries are finding it difficult to meet that challenge, is a powerful statement by Nigeria to the world on the virtues of tolerance and unity. 42. It is a strong and com-

pelling statement in a world much afflicted by strife and violence. We must sustain it. We must not allow the antagonists of unity and togetherness to prevail. We must work ceaselessly to remain one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity, as our National Anthem says. 43. Honourable Chairman and distinguished delegates, I urge you not to be under any illusions as you begin your assignment. The task that lies ahead of you is formidable. Over the coming weeks, you will be confronted with complex and emotive issues; strong views will be expressed by opposing sides and some disagreements will, in all likelihood, be intense. 44. I sincerely believe, however, that we can overcome all obstacles to true national unity if we dig deep into the recesses of our national character and look up to God Almighty for wisdom, guidance and the generosity of spirit we need to ensure the success of this conference. 45. Once again, I wish to express my appreciation to the Nigerian people who have, without hesitation, accepted dialogue as a means of resolving all differences and tensions that may exist in the country, and therefore, given their unequivocal support for this National Conference. 46. Let me at this point thank the National Assembly for introducing the provision for a referendum in the proposed amendment of the Constitution. This should be relevant for this Conference if at the end of the deliberations, the need for a referendum arises. I therefore urge the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly to speed up the Constitutional

amendment process especially with regard to the subject of referendum. 47. I thank the Chairman, Senator Femi Okurounmu and members of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the arduous work they undertook to prepare for the Conference. I also thank the Chairman of this National Conference, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, the principal officers and all the distinguished patriots and representatives of our people who have taken time off their busy personal schedules to serve the cause of national unity and progress at this conference. 48. I am confident that we are embarking on a landmark journey that will make us stronger as a nation if we undertake it with all sense of purpose and sincerity. Let us do that which is selfless, purposeful and patriotic so that history will remember us for having served our nation well. 49. In conclusion, I urge all officials and participants in the national conference to work extra hard to ensure that their deliberations are completed on schedule, well ahead of the schedule of events for the next general elections already announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 50. Let me again repeat what I have been saying that Goodluck Jonathan has no personal agenda in convening this national conference. 51. Ladies and Gentlemen, I now have the honour and privilege of declaring the National Conference open, for the good of our Nation and to the glory of God Almighty who has brought us together. 52. I thank you all.


TheGuardian

12 | Tuesday, March 18, 2014

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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 Northern governors and education HE near-total collapse of education all over Nigeria but especially in T northern states has, thankfully, caught the attention of the leaders. The years of neglect and their long-standing tardiness notwithstanding, the governors of the northern states who have resolved to redress the situation and make education of Nigerian children from that region a worthy venture requiring massive investment, deserve commendation. As necessary, they may wish to declare a total emergency in the sector. Indeed, whatever measures are considered necessary by the states will be welcome in tackling the general educational malaise. Other parts of the country with challenges in the same sector across the country may also wish to develop the same sense of urgency and invest more in education. Four main areas are discernible in the renewed effort by the Northern Governors’ Forum. According to Babangida Aliyu, the Niger State governor and forum chairman, focus will be on abolishing of school fees at the secondary level (with effect from next academic session), harmonizing fees paid in the region’s tertiary institutions, reintroduction of the Grade II Teachers’ Training (although abolished nationally several years ago), closing the educational gap between male and female students and a resolve to establish schools of preliminary studies to prepare students for tertiary institutions in the country. Of course it is in a way baffling that those governors who themselves had benefitted from formal ‘western’ education would delay a remedy until now that a yawning gap is created between the region and others in the country – in spite of resources available to them. Such misplacement of priorities over many years is a shame that haunts the nation today and is condemnable in the strongest terms. No doubt, the future of many promising students has been compromised over the years. And it is pertinent to ask: at what point did the leaders come to terms with reality or realise the dangers inherent in raising an army of uneducated youths? The benefit of formal education conferred on many of these leaders the power with which they were able to attain their present status and created opportunities for their own children. Why have they waited for so long before extending the opportunity to others? Indeed, claims of a carefully orchestrated hegemony in which the elite seek to perpetuate only themselves and make the people subservient by keeping them ignorant may not be far from reality. Millions of children have suffered as a result of this systemic distortion. Successive governments in those states have really not helped matters with policies that do not encourage formal (western) education and poor investment. It is, however, better late than never. The point, of course, must be made again that there should be no contradiction between Islamic and so-called ‘Western’ education. All opposition to a particular form of education is the height of ignorance and must stop.  The governors’ new resolve may not be novel but it should be supported by every stakeholder. They should also seek opinion or assistance from their counterparts in other states who have done better in promoting education to get the desired breakthrough, and history will be kind to their administrations for this effort. A few years ago, specifically in 2005, this problem was identified by the governors then and it was admitted that, too much decay had set into education especially in the North. Steps taken to redeem the situation were also spelt out in an Agenda for Action which identified that the most serious educational crisis in the region dates back to the 1980s but has persisted owing to a lack of political will by successive governments to tackle the problems. The governors’ vacillation has resulted in low enrolment at all levels, general infrastructural decay, grossly inadequate funding, serious shortage of competent teaching staff, high rate of drop-outs of the girl-child among the negative effects listed. A lot can be gained and solution will be easier for the present governors if they would look into past efforts to see why those efforts failed. One of the successes recorded after the 2005 exercise, however, was the re-engagement of retired teachers who had shown willingness to serve. That idea is still relevant and should be found useful by the current class of governors as part of a holistic effort. They may also wish to commission an independent study of factors that keep children away from classes while hiring tested teachers from other states where there is a surplus. In addition, schools’ inspectorate divisions must be restructured for results, Guidance and Counselling revitalised while problems associated with girl-child education and other setbacks must be tackled with zeal. Leadership has been the bane of Nigeria, north or south, east or west. Time is fast running out and the nation must prevent the breeding of a generation of illiterates if it would have a happy future.

LETTER

NIS test : A transferred aggression IR: Just as if collecting N1,000 attention. He assured the lect their own rumpled share of Syouths from millions of Nigerian exams would start soon and the papers. Everyone seemed to who sought employ- that the thousands of candi– the sun had

ment was not enough, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) screwed up yet again. A general test was scheduled by the NIS for Saturday, March 15, of which only ‘supposedly qualified’ candidates were expected to be present at the respective venue at 7:00 a.m. for a test meant to take place by 4:00 p.m. Physical exercises and screenings were to be carried out within this period. However, in the Lagos Metropolis, things did not go exactly as ‘planned’ or maybe there was no plan at all. Most of the candidates, kitted in their white sport attires and ready for the exercise, occupied the National Stadium at Surulere, Lagos which was filled to the brink, such that the tracks and field were not left out. Notwithstanding, the population of those outside nearly surpassed that of those inside. Candidates suffered from the excruciating heat from the sun as they awaited an address note from the organisers who lurked around. Some grumbled they had been at the venue as early as 5:30a.m. only for them to wait until about 12:30 p.m. before an official came to address them. Out of frustration, there were series of fights here and there among candidates. This caused uproar in the national bowl. The official who made announcement with a poorsounding public address system brought about a little of

dates present were expected to write down their names and submit their application slips only after being confirmed. Another pandemonium erupted as candidates went ahead making and breaking queues that were as long as a moving train. Armed forces present intimidated with their guns to ensure there was order as the slips were submitted. A member of the armed forces crossed his boundary when he used his whip on the crowd to chase them back from a border. The angry crowd reacted by bombarding him to a challenge while a member of the crowd quickly reached out his hands to slap the military man on his bald head. The military man who had not been armed reached for a gun from one of his colleagues. He was immediately calmed down by the rest of his colleagues. Meanwhile, the candidate who had slapped him took heels and mixed up with the crowd such that he was never noticed again. A ‘Rugby game’ kicked off within the field once again when the exams papers were brought in. Some candidates who envisaged that the papers would not be sufficient came from nowhere, grabbed the papers and bolted while others chased and caught up with them to col-

be going gaga probably raised their temperature and temperament. This was actually meant to be a test! The lack of organisation in the stadium gave room for some set of candidates to start carrying placards while others just picked up their bags and gave up on the test they had waited for all day. Those who got access to the questions sat on the floor in the open field to answer the questions. Some also went outside the bowl to proffer solutions, hoping they would return to submit. At this time, majority out of being disappointed started trooping out of the bowl and heading home. All moving vehicles were stopped and brought to a standstill for nearly 30 minutes just to get the attention of the masses. This resulted in trekking long distances from the National Stadium to places where people would eventually board buses (which were even not readily available due to the large numbers of commuters). A female car owner while trying to make enquiry on what the cause of the traffic jam was trespassed when she told the candidates moving on the road that they were constituting nuisance. In no time, she was surrounded by the angry youths who transferred their aggression by reigning curses and sprinkling water on her. It was such a regrettable day for everyone who had responded to the test invitation. Femi Orekoya, Lagos.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

13

Opinion Why the Boko Haram war is persistent By Luke Onyekakeyah HE unending bloodbath in Nigeria’s northT east region occasioned by the relentless assault by the dreaded Boko Haram guerillas has left deep scares on Nigeria. The country is bleeding profusely from the deep gashes inflicted by the fighters. The federal and state government authorities as well as Nigerians, particularly, citizens of the areas, are wearied from the endless attacks on innocent civilians. Property worth billions of naira have been destroyed while uncountable number of people have been killed. The tempo of the attacks has steadily increased, raising much apprehension not only in Nigeria but outside. Borno State is the epicentre of the conflict. Virtually, no other day passes without a deadly onslaught by the group. Mortal attacks visited on ordinary people have made even the most stoic in the areas to despair. There are no exceptions in Boko Haram targets. While the attacks initially targeted churches, they have now expanded to mosques, schools, markets, police stations, military barracks, drinking joints, parking lots, among others. Two weeks ago, the convoy of the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, was attacked in Michika, where Boko Haram had earlier launched vicious attacks along with neighbouring, Madagali. There was fury after the group attacked the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, which left about 30 students dead. That heightened concern that the conflict is most extraordinary and brutal in character. Conventional warfare targets the military and not civilians. Consequently, thousands of inhabitants have fled their homes into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic. The United Nations refugee agency says some 57,000 Nigerians are now refugees. Reports of malnutrition ravaging the refugees, particularly, children, are reminiscent of the grim situation faced by millions on the Biafran side during the Nigerian civil war. The series of deadly attacks across many states in the North have made the Boko Haram rebellion the most widespread in Nigeria’s post-independence history. Apparently, not even the Nigerian civil war or any other uprising ever since, stretched the Federal Government to the extent that Boko Haram has. Whereas, the Biafran war lasted for three ex-

cruciating years, the Boko Haram onslaught, which began in 2009, has entered the sixth year, with no end in sight. Millions of Nigerians from across the federation have borne the brunt of the crisis by either losing their loved ones or having their means of livelihood and hope shattered. The question is why the Boko Haram conflict has defied all strategies applied so far to contain it. And, why is Boko Haram appearing to have the upper hand despite the huge financial and material resources committed to the crisis? I would like to state at this juncture that the President has done much to contain this problem. The solution to the conflict does not lie with the President alone; the North has the ultimate solution. The unreserved cooperation of the North is crucial to the final resolution of the crisis. President Goodluck Jonathan alone cannot prosecute the Boko Haram war. Jonathan has turned out to be the most besieged President in post-independence Nigeria. No other President has ever been made a scapegoat for a problem he didn’t cause. Not even, the war-time military leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, was besieged like Jonathan. The job of the President is to steer the ship by way of strategic planning with his lieutenants. The actual execution of the strategies is in the hands of his military generals, who have men in the battle field. Their success depends on how committed the entire government structure is to the cause. Is the North working with the President or are they only interested in making political gain out of the crisis? If the people in whose areas the conflict is raging are not cooperative, no amount of strategic planning will do the magic. I have avoided writing on Boko Haram crisis because of the wrong designation given to it for political reasons. While some call it insurgency; others call it terrorism while some call it war when bitten hard. For those of us who grew up seeing blood on the Biafran side during the civil war, the crisis in the northeast is nothing but war. It may have started as a rebellion but has burgeoned into open guerrilla warfare having all the manifestations of warfare. Lives and property are being destroyed on a massive scale. Thousands of refugees have fled their homes into neighbouring countries. The economy of the North is virtually ruined. These are beyond the manifestations of terrorism. Those still call-

ing the crisis insurgency or terrorism are not honest. A properly positioning of the conflict will help in addressing it. The Boko Haram crisis is not the first Nigeria has witnessed. There was the Biafran war and the Maitasine uprising and some other pockets of disturbances. How did the Federal Government handle those conflicts? When the Biafran war broke out in 1967, the entire country joined forces in countering the rebellion. There was no dissension from any quarters on the Nigerian side. After about 30 months, Biafra was overrun by the federal troops. In 1983, the Maitasine uprising broke out in Maiduguri, Borno State, during the regime of President Shehu Shagari. Again, the entire country was united in addressing the problem. Within weeks, the Maitasine insurgents were rooted out. I was in Maiduguri as a Youth Corps member, when Bulumkutu, the stronghold of Maitasine, was leveled by both aerial and ground bombardment. There were no dissenting voices in Borno State or elsewhere in the North. The militancy that erupted in the Niger Delta towards the end of the Obasanjo regime in 2007 was tactically handled by President Umaru Yar’Adua using amnesty. Whereas, the militants started with a genuine cause over environmental degradation and abject poverty in the oilproducing region, when the crisis forced many oil companies to shut down and oil production dropped to about 1.5 million barrels from 2.5 million, leading to a drastic revenue shortfall, everybody was united in confronting the militants. Niger Delta leaders were challenged to find solution to the problem. It was their unalloyed loyalty, commitment and cooperation with Yar’Adua that helped to broker the deal that assuaged the militants. The militants surrendered their guns to embrace peace. Against the backdrop of the foregoing, it is baffling that the Boko Haram uprising has held Nigeria hostage for six years running and the country is still unable to contain it. Reason: there is no unity; no commitment and no cooperation from several quarters, especially from the ravaged areas of the North. Instead, all the blames are placed on President Jonathan, as if he has done nothing humanly possible to address the problem. President Jonathan has taken some com-

mendable positive steps to address the problem without success because either he is being sabotaged, or some people want to make political or pecuniary gain out of a conflict that has ruined the northern economy. Those making huge financial turn over don’t want it to end. These are the obstacles and not military incapability per se. President Jonathan, though, hesitant at the beginning, yielded to pressure to empanel the Presidential Amnesty Committee to negotiate with Boko Haram fighters with a view to granting them amnesty. But the committee failed due to lack of cooperation from both the Boko Haram and other key players in the North. The President is still asking for dialogue. The state of emergency declared by Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, which the people opposed, has also failed to curb the attacks because of sabotage and lack of cooperation. A situation where the state governors in the areas would be making demoralizing statements and attacking the President is unbecoming of leaders faced with war. You don’t demoralize your soldiers. The recent comment by the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, that Boko Haram is better armed and motivated is uncalled for. My people say when your co-hunter starts telling you that you look like an antelope, be rest assured he wants to shoot you. How did Shettima know that Boko Haram is better armed and motivated? Why are the authorities in the North not doing enough to end the crisis? Asking the President to visit all the villages ravaged by Boko Haram is political and not strategic. The state governors, who know the nooks and crannies of their states, should visit the areas on behalf of the President. Also, asking the Chief of Army Staff to relocate to Maiduguri is mundane at a time when warfare has gone electronic – you could attack your enemy from any distance using radar guided missiles. It doesn’t matter whether or not the President or the army chief relocates to Maiduguri, there will be no success so long as there is sabotage. Some people see the JTF as an occupying force! If they’re not happy with the military arrangements, how can they cooperate? The northern leadership should do what the Niger Delta leaders did if they’re sincerely committed and working with the President.

A Pope Francis for all seasons (2) By Matthew Hassan Kukah • Continued from yesterday OR the four days at the residence, it was not uncommon to call the lift or step out of it, head to the chapel or the main door and see the Holy Father coming towards you, coming out or going into the lift or just or going in a different direction. He would greet you even when you stepped aside for him, he would nod and often literally express gratitude that you stepped aside for him, implying that you had as much right to the passage as he had. When we finally were together in one of the Halls at the Vatican for a formal meeting with him, I thanked God that being a black man hides your emotions well. He stepped into the hall not with the swagger of power, but with the assurance of a believer in the sacredness of both space and the human person. His handshake very much like a bar man welcoming a customer to his bar. It was a warm, nice-to-see-you-man kind of handshake, firm, respectful but almost playful and unpretentious. I thought of my friend Richard and believed that the Catholic Church had not only elected a black Pope but a friend, an uncle that one knew already. When I rose up to formally meet the Pope, I was almost lost for words. His face lit up when I told him I was from Nigeria. I tried to respond to his question as to how things were in Nigeria by asking him to come and see for himself and to bless us when he took the words off me: Please pray for me, pray for me. I need your prayers very much. His piercing facial look right into your eyes reminded you of a groom genuinely looking into the eyes of his beloved bride on the altar. It was difficult to contain my emotions. I realized that even if an unserious Protestant like Richard had been here, the Pope would even still ask him to pray for him too. My pride as a Catholic and a bishop took a hit at that thought and I was happy Richard was not near. To celebrate his first anniversary on Thursday March 13th, Pope Francis chose to be on a retreat for prayers, not in the accompany of a crowd of adoring admirers who would have filled up St. Peter’s square. His papacy has been the most eventful within the

F

shortest period of time. Not only has he brought a breath of fresh air to a Church that was beginning to show signs of weariness from the endless institutional assaults, he has reawakened Christendom to the real joy that comes from knowing Christ our Saviour. Pope Francis has opened to the world, the real face of the Catholic Church, clearly overturning the saying that a tree cannot make a forest. He has illustrated truly and in the simplest manner why Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the reason why the cross may be a scandal to unbelievers, but the wisdom and power of God (Mat 1:23, I Cor 1: 18f). He has taught us very many lessons covering most areas of life, from politics, economics, family life, Christian love, neighbourliness, the youth, dealing with the strangers, the poor and so on. This is not the place to run over what has been a fast paced one-year Papacy and pray that God gives him a long life and keeps him focused on the love which the world so badly needs. I will suggest three short lessons for us. The first is the fact that real power is simple and accessible and that taking ordinary people seriously is the source of real lasting power and authority of a leader. From leaving St. Peter’s Basilica after his election and travelling by bus to the residence with his brother Cardinals, paying his bills as Cardinal at Domus Santa Martha before moving into the same residence formally as Pope, washing and kissing the feet of a female and other poor prisoners, iPhone mug shots with youths in Brazil, to setting up a twitter account among others, he has done ordinary things in the most extraordinary way. Secondly, the media which had waged a scurrilous and relentless campaign of calumny against the Catholic Church in the last ten years has since become an ally, leaving us a lesson that a frustrated world was looking for simplicity, honesty, vision, and some level of individual and institutional trust. The media has feasted on the carnival that can be tagged, Francismania. My friend, an Indian and an avowed atheist sent me an email saying that Pope Francis has made him rethink some of the assumptions he had about faith, religion, and the Catholic Church. We are still talking about the future.

Thirdly, Pope Francis has redefined our understanding and appreciation of wealth and power. He has shown that Poverty is not just a sociological category of being or of analysis of the human condition. Rather, he insists that poverty is a theological category. Poverty must be seen as a choice made by Jesus Christ Himself first by virtue of taking up broken human flesh, but also by deliberately choosing to enter the world through the poverty or homelessness amidst dirt of a stable with animals (Lk. 2:6). The clarity of this option for the poor resounds the Pope’s strident attack against increasing inequalities in the world. He resounds the words of his predecessor, Pope Benedict who said, God became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty. Finally in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evengelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel, he has warned Christians against allowing devil to rob them of fraternal love, missionary zeal, a sense of community, and hope, among others. Pope Francis has lit up the world, but then, the devil remains at work. We must heed the words of St Peter that the devil is roaring around like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5: 8). Amidst the excitement, it is clearly too early to say how this Papacy will shape the world or how the challenges of the world and the controversies around his teachings shape the Church. This is a time for renewal and a call to the fact that we must all join hands to re-make the world. Looking back, we can only ponder the wonders of God’s mystical ways. When the world woke up to the shocking news that Pope Benedict had resigned on February 28th last year, the Catholic world was enveloped in fear and uncertainty while a cynical world looked on wondering if the Catholic Church had come to a dead end. But, the Lord of the empty tomb has demonstrated to us that He can bring out from his storeroom, treasures both old and new (Matt 13:52). The emergence of Pope Francis is a testimony of the linear and unbroken progression in the chain of faith. The challenge is for us to hold on to this trust. For now, all we can say is that the world and the Catholic Church will never be the same again because Pope Francis passed here. Long may he live. • Concluded. • Bishop KUKAH is Bishop of Sokoto Diocese.


14 Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Opinion Centenary conference: Sequencing agenda priorities By Nathaniel Abara HE alarm bells are ringing. Unless the national T conference organisers and leadership intervene immediately, we may not after all have a successful conference and a new people’s constitution. Going by the agenda items being so vigorously canvassed by various groups, there are fears that sectional interests may hijack the conference. Furthermore, an examination of the recommended agenda items in the Report of Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue seems to suggest that invisible hands may be at work to either derail the process or predetermine its outcome. So vigilance is the watchword. According to Professor Steve Dutch, “Eternal vigilance is not the price of liberty. It’s the price of everything.” Nigerians must therefore remain vigilant and focused. The 1999 political constitution was designed primarily for politics. It was therefore not surprising that the first conference convened in 2005 to review it was called the National Political Reforms Conference (emphasis ours.) But, we need to work towards a broader forward looking dialogue and a new centenary constitution that embed profound social, economic and governance changes, in addition to political reforms – especially fundamental changes in the national power sharing configuration across the social, economic, governance and political domains. In this nation building enterprise, social issues and challenges should command the highest priority in the conference deliberations. However, for now political considerations and distractions charge the atmosphere. This means that many delegates, without being fully aware, may be heading to the conference to be engulfed in partisan politics. To avoid this, we examined the 38 agenda items recommended in the Report of Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue. Our findings reveal that seven of the first 10 items on the agenda have to do with politics and governance. Only the fifth and last two items deal with the people. Also, 75% of the last 20 items are social issues. In other words, people issues are largely at the bottom of the agenda. We, therefore, propose that the organisers and leaders of the conference regroup the recommended 38 agenda items in four thematic areas and phase the proceedings in the following order of priority: (1) Social, (2) Economic, (3) Governance and (4) Political as depicted in Figure 1 below. Figure 1 Phasing of Conference Proceedings

This will enable the conference start with the much less controversial and the much larger number of social issues which affect the whole 170 million of our people, progress to the economic aspects touching on the 90 million who are economically active, and then on to the more controversial subject matter of governance which engage about three million

in the state sector, and finally to the most controversial political issues of particular interest to an estimated two million partisans. This order ensures that, within the context of the limited time available for the dialogue, the concerns of the larger segments of the society are dealt with first and that the conference atmosphere is not overheated right from the onset. Accordingly, we propose the allocation of conference resources in order of priority as shown in Table 1 below. For example, of the three months proposed for the confab, we recommend that the conference devotes five weeks to social issues and three to the economic agenda, and one week each to governance and political issues. We also propose that 219 delegates be assigned to social issues, 109 to economy, 82 to governance and 82 to politics. In this way, more time and delegates are deployed to address issues that will benefit the largest number of Nigerians.

What is uppermost here is not in the exact numbers, but the fact that we deploy human resources, time and effort in accordance with the people’s and national priorities. We are also well aware that the various issues in the above priority areas are indeed interwoven. In other words, deliberations on politics, governance and the economy should not be handled as ends or in isolation, but should focus on and serve the interests of the citizens and the nation. That is the talk we should walk. Once we sort out the people and economic issues well, the governance and politics will more easily fall into place. Based on the foregoing therefore, the 38 recommended agenda items in the Report of Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue are regrouped and sequenced below to facilitate the dialogue. In addition, may we suggest a slight change on the confab nomenclature? With a unique event strategically holding at the mark of the centenary of our nation not long after 50 years of independence, at the dawn of the 21st Century and the 3rd Millennium, the dialogue needs to bear a special name – The National Centenary Conference. For this generation and many to come, no other national dialogue will ever be like it. Proposed Sequencing of Prioritised Conference Agenda Phase One : Social (Purpose: A new social order of citizens and civil society empowerment, mobilization, engagement, participation and transformation) Restoring the National Ethics, Morals and Core Values, S Religion, Secularism and the Secularity of the Nigerian State, S Good Governance; G, S e. Citizenship/indigenes — Settlers dichotomy; S, G f. Justiciability of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy Judicature: G: a. Fundamental human rights; Education: S a. Investment in education;

b. Decentralisation and National Education policy; c. Return of Missionary and Private schools to original owners; d. Institutinalizing Tsangaya/Almajiri education system e. Nomadic Education. Health: S a. Health Policy b. Investment in Health c. Healthcare Delivery Science, Technology and Development: S, E a. Science and Technology Education; b. Technological Adaptations and the National Economy; c .Research and Development; d. Promotion and Improvement of indigenous Technological innovations; Democratization: S, P a. Deepening democracy; b. De-militarization of national psyche, c. Democratic culture and orientation; d. Mechanisms for a more inclusive participatory democracy. S, G Languages and Language Policy; S Gender issues; S Youth Unemployment and Development issue; S, E Physically Challenged Persons and National Development; S, E Investment in Sports, S National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); S Pension Matters and Rights of Senior Citizens; S Federal Character, S Boundary adjustment; S Population and Credible National Census; S The Environment, S a. Environmental Degradation – flooding, soil erosion, oil spillage and desertification; b. Climate change. Role of Traditional Rulers and Institution in governance at national and local levels; S, G Unsettled issues of the Nigerian Civil War (19671970); S Special status for Lagos; S, E, P Revisiting Bakassi; S, P Phase Two – Economic (Purpose: A new economic order of empowerment of the economically active population for development, transformation, equitable growth and prosperity) Revenue Generation and Mobilization, E Youth Unemployment and Development issue; S, E Physically Challenged Persons and National Development; S, E The Economy: E a. Poverty and wealth creation; b. Productivity; c. Diversification of the economy; d. Industries and Industrialisation Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development, E a. Decentralisation of National Agricultural Policy; b. Grazing Reserves and Cattle Routes Demarcation Science, Technology and Development: S, E a. Science and Technology Education; b. Technological Adaptations and the National Economy; c .Research and Development; d. Promotion and Improvement of indigenous Technological innovations; National inland waterways issues; E Land use Act; S, E Oil and other Mineral Resources Management, Exploration and Sharing mechanism; E Special status for Lagos; S, E, P Phase Three - Governance

(Purpose: A new governance order of equity, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, development and transformation) Good Governance; G, S a. Cost of governance; b. Corruption and National Development; c. Fighting corruption and anti-corruption agencies — ICPC, EFCC; d. Immunity of political office holders; e. Citizenship/indigenes — Settlers dichotomy; S, G f. Justiciability of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy; Forms of Democratic Governance: G a. Presidential system. b. Parliamentary system; c. Choice between Uni-cameral or Bi-cameral legislature; d. Choice between full-time or part-time legislature. Democratization: S, G d. Mechanisms for a more inclusive participatory democracy. S, G Tenure of Public officials: President, Governors, etc, G, P Judicature: G a. Fundamental human rights; b. Impunity of judicial officers; c. Review of judicial institutions; d. Sharia and Customary legal system; d. Delays in the administration of justice. Role of Traditional Rulers and Institution in governance at national and local levels; S, G National Security and Security Challenges: G a Security Agencies: Review and re-design of national security apparatus, b Local Policing, c Other security agencies. Defence: G a. Nigeria’s defence policy and posture at home and abroad; b.The Nigerian Armed forces and multi-lingual challenges; c. Nigeria and International peace-keeping operations. Phase Four - Political (Purpose: A new political order that is representative, developmental, service based and transformational) Democratization: S, P Deepening democracy; De-militarization of national psyche, Democratic culture and orientation; Mechanisms for a more inclusive participatory democracy. S, G Political parties, God-fatherism and the challenges of internal Democracy: P The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the challenges of conducting free and fair elections. P Political Restructuring of the country: P Political Federalism. Fiscal Federalism, Definition of Federating Units: States or Geo-Political Zones State Creation and Merger of States G, P Tenure of Public officials: President, Governors, etc, G, P Elective Mayorality Administrative/Legislative Structures for FCT, Abuja, P Special status for Lagos; S, E, P Revisiting Bakassi; S, P Please note: agenda items were coded as follows, subject to any changes the conference may wish to make: S – Social; E – Economic; G – Governance and P – Political • Abara is adviser on public interests and former investment banker.

The wisdom of Prince Bola Ajibola By Jacob Akindele HIS is the season of serious political manouevrings in the countT down to General Elections in 2015. The drumbeats of politics are loud all over the country. One hundred years after our nation was put together, we are headed for a National Conference, that some would say was Divinely ordained. The challenges identified by Lord Frederick Lugard in his Amalgamation Proclamation are still topical. The issues raised by our nation’s Founding fathers during the London Constitutional Conferences are still germane. There are benefits in living in a large well-endowed multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation, provided there is justice and the needs of all are not jeopardized by the greed of those who do not know a truth of life; that man started out as nothing and would leave this world as nothing! This enlightenment is appropriate at this time. For this purpose, a chapter is culled from the recent history of Nigeria. This is not a praise song for the Prince of Owu Kingdom, as his impressive pedigree is well known to many. Our nation is proud of his achievements and of others of his ilk. Here, we are drawing on his broad experience as a peacemaker, in Nigeria, Africa and the world. As Chairman of Ogun State Elders’ Consultative Forum, he also headed the Committee on Peace-building and Conflict Resolution. To that specific assignment, he applied the knowledge. He often said: “It is a saying that if you want peace prepare for war”. “No, if you want peace, work for peace.” It is understandable that the cliché of the Cold War Years was “Mutually Assured Destruction.” Accordingly, the two sides piled up massive nuclear arsenal to serve as deterrent for either to press the button.

But such are the ways of Hell; the mentality of “punishment,” rather than “reformation”! Our Prince also added the wisdom of our elders. Elders will not sit idly by and watch their community descend to chaos and self-destruction. Their timely intervention is required. Thus, in the countdown to the 2007 Governorship Elections in Ogun State, the elders decided to invite all contenders to a Meeting. They were the incumbent Governor Gbenga Daniel. Otunba Dipo Dina. Ibikunle Amosun, Seun Omotayo. The venue was deliberately chosen: neutral grounds. To address them, were Prince Bola Ajibola, MajorGeneral Henry Adefope, Pa Ajiboye and Olori Yetunde Gbadebo. The elders were unequivocal that they did not want violence before, during and after the elections. Each elder addressed the gathering. Aremo Taiwo Allimi had assured that everyone attended despite misgivings in some quarters. Prince Bola Ajibola’s closing remarks are now culled, as a lesson to the Nigerian nation, in another countdown to elections. The Prince told the true story of the Inauguration Day for a Mayor of Istanbul, Turkey. At the end of the Ceremony, everyone stepped forward to shake hands with the new Mayor. But there was one man who did not. The Burgermeister (German for Mayor) asked why the man refused to join others in hailing him. And the new “Emperor” was told that, liked all humans, the Mayor would one day revert to his original nothingness. The lonely man was already in his position of being nothing; and was thus ahead of the man of the Day, the Emperor with a time-based authority to influence the affairs of fellow human beings! Then the Prince drove the point home with his own life history. “Gentlemen, consider my story. I started out as nothing. They made me President of Nigerian Bar Association, then Minister of Justice, Judge

of the International Court of Justice, Member of World Bank Tribunal, Nigeria/Bakassi Arbitration, Boznia-Herzegovina, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Knight of the Order of the British Empire, et cetera et cetera. Now I am back to my “nothing.” The same will be the case with current President Olusegun Obasanjo, you Governor Daniel, and you Senator Ibikunle Amosun. You all will leave office one day. Therefore, I ask you: why the “do or die” attitude? We do not want violence in Ogun State. We want peace and we are working for peace in our country. Above all, anyone here can be called away any day. Only God knows each one’s day of departure from this world! It is not a mere statement of religion but truth of life that we brought nothing into this world and would take nothing material away from here! The contenders and the incumbent Governor listened with rapt attention; even though the Governor, as was his wont, never ceased working on his mobile communicator. A mathematical genius, capable of handling issues simultaneously at several levels of attention. At the end, the contenders were required to shake hands and they obeyed. The Elections came and ended. The incumbent won. As he was sworn in for his second term on May 29, 2007, the countdown for his exit from “Power” commenced. At this time, March 2014, Ibikunle Amosun is Ogun State Governor. Our beloved Major General Henry Adefope, Pa Ajiboye and Otunba Dipo Dina had passed on to the realms unseen. No human being is guaranteed to see the next day. Each commences life on earth as nothing and would leave this earth as nothing. Humility is the major lesson of man’s existence on earth. • Prince Akindele is a Visiting Member of The Guardian’s Editorial Board.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | 15

Focus Summit seeks expansion of national health insurance scheme By Chukwuma Muanya ORTY year-old Mr. Emmanuel Ajibola is marFNike; ried with five children - two girls, Kemi and and three boys, Fela, Femi and Eniola, aged between two and 12 years. Their mother, Kike, is a housewife. Ajibola was diagnosed with end stage renal disease on February 2, at a popular hospital in Lagos; after a two-week history of vomiting. He needs to travel to India urgently for a kidney transplant in order to live. Ajibola, a graduate of Economics, was a vibrant Assistant Manager at one of the new generation banks about a year ago, with the prospect of making it to the top of his banking career, when he suddenly lost his job, like many others did, due to the rationalization carried out in the banking industry. With the challenges of fatherhood, a legion of family problems and the high cost of dialysis and treatment for his current condition, Ajibola has completely exhausted his small savings. He now needs at least N10 million, being the estimated cost of a kidney transplant. But Ajibola cannot afford this. Hadiza is a 65-year-old grandmother in Nassarawa district in Kano State. She has been struggling to care for herself and her grand children aged eight, six, four and three. The children had been left with Hadiza when their parents died of Human Immuno-defiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). But Hadiza herself soon became ill and unable to work. She was forced to borrow money from other family members to offset her medical expenses. When she could no longer borrow money, she reduced her spending on food items for herself and her grandchildren, so she could buy medicine from the local medicine vendor in her village. Ajibola and Hadiza represent two of the over 150 million Nigerians that cannot afford health care when they need it. They are among the majority of poor Nigerians not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) because they are not formally employed. Several studies have shown that falling ill could have devastating consequences for poor households. For instance, data from the World Bank suggests that more than 150 million people globally suffer financial catastrophe every year, due to out-of-pocket health expenditures and Nigeria has about the highest indicators in the world. A recent study by Obinna E. Onwujekwe, B. S. Uzochukwu, O. P. Ezeoke, and N. P. Uguru published in Journal of College of Medicine noted that the NHIS is planned to attract more resources to the health care sector and improve the level of access and utilization of healthcare services. It is also intended to protect people from the catastrophic financial implications of illnesses. A key feature of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is that it includes prepayment and supports risk pooling, which ensures the spread of risk across time and across individuals. Indeed, a broad range of risk-pooling mechanisms or insurance schemes are increasingly being utilized across the developing world, to increase access and reduce the financial burden of health. In Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) is driving the UHC concept through the NHIS and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). The Guardian learnt that while the NHIS is in-charge of the administrative part of the UHC that includes registration and regulation, the NPHCDA takes care of the implementation, especially through the established Primary Health Care (PHC) centres nationwide. Executive Secretary of NHIS, Dr. Femi Thomas, insists that expanding access to health insurance is an important part of an overall strategy to achieve UHC. To the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Ado Gana Mohammed, UHC implies access to and use of high-quality healthcare services by all citizens and protection for all individuals from any catastrophic financial effect of ill health. Mohammed said the UHC scheme could be a major determinant of improved health outcomes for all citizens, especially the poorest. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “a health system where individuals have to pay out of their own pockets at the moment of seeking treatment, restricts access to only those who can afford it, and is likely to exclude the poorest members of the society.” DirectorGeneral of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan, said: “I regard universal health coverage as the single

A hospital ward. most powerful concept that public health has to offer. It is inclusive. It unifies services and delivers them in a comprehensive and integrated way, based on primary health care.” History of Health Insurance in Nigeria Since its launch in 1999, the NHIS has been the major initiative to expand health insurance in Nigeria. However, as of mid-2012, NHIS still covered only about three per cent of the population, that is, five million individuals. Policymakers in Nigeria are interested in learning from the experiences of other developing countries. Several proposals, including a parliamentary legislation, are being considered to create a ‘health fund’ to cover the costs of health insurance for certain groups. Currently, NHIS programmes that target the formal and self-employed sectors exist, but with mixed success. The formal-sector programme operates as a social health insurance scheme. Recently, the NHIS launched a rural communitybased social health insurance programme to cover more Nigerians. However, uptake has been slow. Current situation Despite its launch in 1999, the NHIS eventually kicked off in 2005 under former President Olusegun Obasanjo. However, the first Community-based Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS) took off in 2009 in Kwara State, under former Minister of Health, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo. Unfortunately, nine years after the NHIS and five years after the CHIS rollouts, which promised universal access to health services by 2015, less than 10 per cent of Nigerians are enrolled with any form of health insurance, meaning that most Nigerians still cannot afford basic health services. About 90 per cent of the population who can, pay out-ofpocket, while others patronize quacks and traditional healers for ‘cheaper’ services. Until now, health insurance is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), endorsed by several studies and certified by various professional bodies as a single tool that would help ensure universal access to affordable health, reverse poor health statistics and strengthen the health system. But statistics from the 2011 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, and the 2012 State of the World’s Children, indicate that with an average life expectancy of 48 years, infant mortality rate of 97 deaths per 1000 live births and maternal mortality rate of 550 deaths per 100,000 live births, Nigeria’s health care system ranks 187th out of 191 member countries of the WHO. Summit on Universal Health Coverage A school of thought believes that less than five per cent of Nigerians are presently under any kind of health insurance. Even some unpublished studies put the figure to less than 10 million. In fact almost 100 per cent of the beneficiaries are in the formal sector. Interestingly, The Guardian reliably gathered that the federal government workers, who constitute almost 100 per cent of the beneficiaries, are yet to start paying five per cent of their salary, which is supposed to be their contribution to 15 per cent from the federal government. It was learnt that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is yet to conform. However, to reverse the situation, President Goodluck Jonathan has mandated the NHIS to put

at least 30 per cent of Nigerians or rather about 70 million on the scheme by December 2015. He also hosted a Presidential Health Summit on the UHC on March 10. He reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that Nigerians have access to qualitative and affordable healthcare services under the UHC. Represented by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, the President said this while declaring the summit open at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. He said that whereas, the country had made some progress, it was still not where it ought to be in health care coverage. Jonathan said while the country’s health insurance programme had been mostly successful with federal employees and private health insurance for the organised private sector, it was unacceptable that there were still several pilot schemes yet to cumulatively result in the adequate level of cover for the people. He said the country needed to keep abreast of other countries in its development bracket in social health insurance. While saying that health insurance must become a part of the social culture, the President said Nigerians needed to be encouraged to imbibe the benefits of affordable and regular contributions to achieving guaranteed and sustainable long term health services. The President said the government was determined to elevate the UHC to a national movement with substantial participation by local and international stakeholders, supported by the government and private sectors at all levels. Jonathan said: “Government is not unaware of the numerous challenges limiting the attainment of UHC in our country, and the importance of political commitment in surmounting these challenges. The World Bank’s case study of 11 countries that have made significant progress in UHC, affirmed that political leadership and commitment are the key driving force for achieving UHC. Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said that the summit was organised to find solutions to the nation’s health challenges and attract more investment into the nation’s health sector, to discourage medical tourism by Nigerians. Chukwu said the Federal Government has commenced plans to enroll 24 million primary school pupils nationwide to join the NHIS as part of the efforts to increase UHC to 30 per cent by 2015. He described the UHC as crucial to Nigeria’s vision to be among top 20 nations by 2020. The WHO country representative, Dr. Rui Vaz, in his goodwill message on behalf of the WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan and the Regional Director for the African Region, Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, remarked that while there was no universal panacea for increasing coverage, “each country must carve its own way forward” adding, “Nigeria is defining its own UHC roadmap; rooted in the country’s own culture, political system and institutions; the legacy of existing health systems and above all, aspirations of all Nigerians.” As the country works towards meeting the Presidential mandate of putting at least 30 per cent of Nigerians on NHIS, there is need to learn from working models both locally (Rivers state)

and countries such as India, Colombia and Thailand who have achieved UHC. While the NHIS and most of the CHIS schemes have so far failed to deliver on their promises, a new model of CHIS introduced in Obio Cottage Hospital Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is working. The partnership model tagged Public Private People/Community Partnership (PPPP) ensures community buy-in, sustainability and key stakeholders engagement. The State government built the facility and provides staff for secondary care; while the private sector (the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/Shell Joint Venture (JV) takes care of structural improvements, capacity building and good services in the hospital. The community champions the scheme through a Board of Trustees, which provides oversight functions. The scheme, which kicked off in February 2010 and was formally launched on March 25, 2010, and re-launched in 2011 for more sensitization among community members by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in partnership with the Industrial Area (IA) Cluster Communities Development Foundation, the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area (LGA) and Rivers State government. The Guardian found that, with a premium registration fee of N3,600 per annum for indigenes and N7,200 for non indigenes, patients can obtain ‘free’ secondary health services including: antenatal, delivery and postnatal care; obstetric and gynaecological services; Caesarean Section (CS); Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus and HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT); minor surgeries; breast examination and cancer screening programme; treatment for minor illnesses such as malaria, typhoid, diabetes and hypertension. Other services offered by the scheme include: family planning; immunization and growth monitoring; health education; nutrition education and food demonstrations; baby friendly care services. It was also gathered that with the new CHIS concept, the Hospital which had only two nurses and no resident doctor before 2010 now has six doctors on permanent basis, two visiting professors of medicine in obstetrics and gynaecology and paediatrics, 42 nurses, 39 non medical staff, 13 volunteers, three National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) members, and two Industrial Training (IT) students. Going forward On how to advance the cause of universal health coverage in Nigeria, a public health specialist in Abuja, Dr. Gafar Alawode, said UHC would not be achievable without a reform in the health financing system. He explained: “In practical terms, risk pooling is about how the healthy will share the financial burden of disease with the sick; how the rich will share the financial burden of the disease with the poor and lastly how the productive population will share the financial burden of disease of the less productive population (the elderly, children and the unemployed). “Various health financing mechanisms exist. Among them, the use of government revenue and various insurance schemes are the most important mechanisms.


16

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

TheMetroSection ‘Please, don’t demolish our homes’ • Family seeks Lagos govt’s intervention on demolition of their houses OR the alleged demolition of their houses in Fcontrary, spite of an advice by the state government to the the family members of Sunmonu Ani-

OATS colourfully decoB rated with the inscription Spirit of Lagos unusually litter Marina waters to draw the attention of mariners, voyagers, workers in ships, boats, as well as everyone plying waterways, to intimate them of the concluded plans that Lagos is about to undergo specific changes, not only on land but also in its waterways, which would lead to the emergence of a ‘new Lagos‘, restoring those values with which the ancient city was identified but are gradually being eroded. The Project Director, Spirit of Lagos, Olaniyi Omotosho, said it was an intentional thing to spread the news around and carry everybody living in Lagos along and to further corroborate the determination of the group behind restoration of those old values that meant so much to Lagos that actually preserved Lagos and made it unique. “So many events had happened in the last two or three decades with Lagos having a population explosion due to immigration from different parts of the country, which has culminated into gradual disappearance of those values that preserved Lagos. Our

T. MALACHY’S Old Boys’ SSapele Association (SMOBA), (Lagos chapter) will

Daughters of Destiny holds conference AUGHTERS of Destiny InD terdenominational Fellowship will on Friday hold

The homes Imoru and adjoining villages as contained in survey plan No. AL64A/1974. While pointing out that it has paid all the compensation as agreed with the Ojora Chieftaincy Family further to the settlement, the state government advertorial maintained that the Ojora Chieftaincy Family has fallen short on its own part of the bargain. “The office of the Governor of Lagos State is inundated daily with reports of harassment and embarrassment of bonafide allottees/lessees of the state government scheme/estate by agents claiming to be from the Ojora Chieftaincy Family and Council. “For emphasis and clarity, members of the public, especially allottees/lessees of government schemes/estates, namely Amuwo-Odofin, Badiya, Iganmu, Apapa Industrial and Ijora are advised to take particular note of the above stated facts and re-

frain from entering into any form of financial arrangement with the Ojora Family or its agent. Any such request or proposal should be brought to the attention of the state.” “Similarly, the Ojora Chieftaincy Family and Council are by this notice enjoined to desist from acts of disturbance, harassment and embarrassment of bonafide allottees/lessees of the state government having accepted the compensation tendered by the Lagos State Government (and which has been partly paid) as full and final settlement for all its rights, title and interest in the land referred to in the paragraph above.” “The current administration in the state is a peaceloving one and would not tolerate any act that is inimical to peaceful co-existence of residents of the state”, the advertorial read in part.

Group intensifies campaign for a new Lagos By Isaac Taiwo

SMOBA holds party hold its New Year get-together-party for members and their spouses on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at Mr. William Kpere Diabo’s residence, 24/26 Salvation Road, off Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos at noon. The President, Mr. Mac Onojake implores members to come and interact with their class/school mates.

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo

mashaun of Coker Compound in Itire, Surulere have petitioned the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), urging him to prevail on the Ojora of Lagos, Oba Fatai Aremu Aromire to desist from the continued demolition of their property. The petition dated 3rd of March, 2014, and signed by their lawyer, Ogunjimi Oluseyi Olaniyi stated that: “Presently the said Oba Fatai Aromire and his cohorts, in spite of all the pieces of advice given by your very self to them to desist from further demolishing the properties lying and being at Orile and its environs, have all proved abortive.” “As it stands now, our clients’ properties lying and being at both No. 2 and 5 within Coker Compound, Orile, Lagos, are presently being demolished by the said Oba Fatai Aromire and his cohorts which same is not only unconstitutional but frivolous.” “Upon this, our client therefore urgently demand and we so demand that you abate Oba Fatai Aromire from further demolishing the said properties hence there will be break down of law and order within and around Orile forthwith.” The petition was copied to the Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, the Speaker House of Representatives, Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police (Zone II) and Lagos State Commissioner of Police. The petition was received in the office of the Executive Governor of Lagos State on 4th March, 2014. Lagos State Government had on Monday, October 28, 2013, through the office of Land Bureau, Governor’s Office, in a paid advertorial, informed Lagosians that it had paid a sum of N3.0billion (three billion naira) compensation to the Ojora Chieftaincy Family in line with the Supreme Court judgment in suit No. SC/54/2005. The affected areas include Orile Iganmu, Aloko, Savage, Sari, Oso-Ofin. Oso-Olodi, Coker, Aleigbe, Laniyonu, Tapa, Bankole,

Briefs

task is to bring back those values and re-present them to Lagosians, for them to be reminded that these were ways we used to do things and the way we used to live.” he said. According to Omotosho, those values had been divided into four major cardinal dimensions, the first being Civic Responsibility. Omotosho expatiated that there was a time when in Lagos, everybody understood the need to be a part of development of the city of Lagos. Then, it was common for young ones to be members of Boys’ Scout, Boys’ Brigade among others and everybody went out voluntarily doing things because they realized

The campaign on waterways

they had roles to play in the development. Omotosho lamented that these days, “it is to your tents O’ Israel” as everybody “is into themselves, working for themselves alone and not for the good of the society”. He identified the second as spirit of neighborliness. He explained further that in those days, people lived together as neighbours, looking after each other. They were interested in everyone’s life, taking care of other peoples’ children. “It was a community but unfortunately, that closeness is gone as everybody has been going in his or her own direction” he lamented. “So, we need to bring back

those values so that we can begin to live as neighbours again,” he said. Omotosho named the third as Citizenship. “Many people had come into Lagos within the last two or three decades. The whole idea of what it means to live here and to abide by the laws of the land are all getting eroded. So, those laws should be brought back and people should get to the point whereby they voluntarily do what is right so that we live in a society where everybody is protected and where everybody cares for each other” Finally, the fourth is Social Justice. Social justice is about protecting the right and dignity of everyone who lives in Lagos,”

PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO

he said. Omotosho said the group would soon be unveiling plans that would carry everybody along. “Today, we are spreading the whole idea of the Spirit of Lagos to Lagosians, including those strangers that come to Lagos from time to time and, as weeks unfold, people would see things on televisions, radios, newspapers,” he said. “The name of Lagos is derived from water and it is a good way of connecting back to the origin”. Olabolu Dele Simoyan, Social Leadership Architect, in her contribution said: “If we can get it right in Lagos, using the Spirit of Lagos as the basis for what we can do as individuals, it would be better for us all. “There are so many things we can do. Everybody complains about the government. Anyone can begin to effect the change and anybody can be an agent of change. It is all about getting to the bus stop, line up, make use of pedestrian bridges, obey the traffic light among others. “There are many things we can do to make a new Lagos. Just contribute your own quota. We should stop complaining and putting the blame on others,” she said.

Women Conference at Orchid Hotel, opposite Chevron Toll Plaza, Lagos at 9.00a.m.. Tagged: “Woman of Vision,” it is designed to empower women from all walks of life. Guest speakers include the wife of Ekiti State governor, Bisi Fayemi, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Pastor Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu and Mrs. Busola jegede. Also, there will be aa launch of Succour for Women’s Care Foundation (SWCF), an initiative to provide medical outreach as well as economic empowerment to the underprivileged women in society.

Felicia Nwabuisi for burial March 27 HE death has occurred of T Mrs. Felicia Ogedi Nwabuisi at the age of 68. A statement issued by her son, Hycent Ifeanyi Nwabuisi, on behalf of the family, said a service of song would hold on Thursday, March 27at her residence, Ishekpe Quarters, OnichaUku in Aniocha North Local Council of Delta State. She will be buried on Friday, March 28 after a Funeral Mass at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Onicha-Uku. She is survived by children and grand children.

Nwabuisi

Church holds two-day revival Ogun OD the Supreme Power G Ministry will on Friday, May 21, and Saturday, May 22, hold a two- day revival at 5.30p.m. at its church auditorium,No. 30, Anyabisi Street, off Abule Egan, Loburo in Obafemi/Owode Local Council of Ogun State. The organizers, Adeoye G.O. and Wale Oladejo said the revival would transform the lives of all participants. Rev. Chris Bakare from the United States of America will minister.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

17

Briefs Shock as Minna businessman allegedly commits suicide

Yabatech students protest against ASUP strike

ESIDENTS of Tunga area in Minna, the capital of Niger State, are still in shock following the apparent suicide by shooting himself in the stomach of a prominent businessman, known as Nwankwo Martins, who hailed from Ebonyi State. It was gathered that the deceased, about 5.00a.m. unaccountably left the bedroom where he was sleeping with his pregnant wife and went out to another area in the compound and shot himself. When his wife woke up and did not find her husband, she raised an alarm, which attracted neighbours. On searching the compound, the wife and neighbours discovered the man in a pool of blood. They then rushed him to the Minna General Hospital where he died. Later, a team of policemen from Tudun Wada led by Francis Ekanem went to the deceased’s house where they recovered a gun. Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Richard Adamu Oguche stated that it was suspected the businessman took his life though he did not leave a note behind. He said findings revealed that there was no sign of external attack on the house, suggesting that it might be a suicide but noted that police were still investigating.

HE students of Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos yesterday protested against the insensitivity of the Federal Government to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), who are still on strike. The students prevented vehicles from plying the YabaWest African Examination Council (WAEC) roundabout, as they protested the eight-month strike by ASUP. The students said the protest was also to stop the

R

By Bukola Ogungbe

T

unnecessary divide and rule tactics by the government between ASUP and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). A fresh graduate of Methodological Engineering, Yabatech, Lawal Hazizat, said: “When ASUU strike was on, it was all over the media. Nobody is talking about the polytechnic students. We want to go back to our classes. We are all tired of going to clubs and watching television. Also, the discrimination of HND/ Bsc certificates should be over. They should be placed on the same level.”

Olayinka, a 100 level student of Polymer and Textile Technology, advised the Federal Government to see to the demands of ASUP. “That is what we are fighting for. Also, the underfunding of polytechnic education in Nigeria is quite pathetic,” he said. Lateef Adam, a 300 level Mathematics student of University of Lagos, who also joined the strike, said: “I am a member of civil rights group, and I believe that in struggles like this, our support is needed. I feel that the government

should not waste resources on the national conference that would not positively affect Nigerian students, rather it should give ASUP their dues,” he said. Cynthia Grants, a 100 level, Accounting student of Yabatech said that the Federal Government says students are “future leaders”, yet, their lecturers have been on strike for a very long time.” “We were given admissions since October last year, unfortunately, up till now, we have not attended any lecture. We don’t want to be future terrorists, but future leaders,” she declared.

Utuama tasks royal father on unity, peace From Hendricks Oliomogbe, Asaba HE Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama T (SAN), has advised the the Okobaro of Ughievwen Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Matthew Ediri Egbi, Owahwa II, to make unity and peaceful co-existence among the people of Ughievwen Kingdom his priority. He charged him to rise above tribal politics and ensure that he rules over Ughievwen as one indivisible kingdom. Utuama, who gave the charge at the funeral service for the father of the Okobaro, Olorogun Emoavworiemu Emmanuel Egbi, the Ewewu of Ughievwen Kingdom at Arhagba, Ughelli South Local Council, urged the royal father to emulate the peaceful attribute of his late father and ensure that there is peace in the kingdom. “Your Royal Majesty, just as your late father, has been described as an ‘Eagle’ in your family. I implore you to be an Eagle in Ughievwen Kingdom and to Urhobo nation. One characteristic of the Eagle is that it flies very high, flies above other birds. God has given you the platform to do that, therefore, rise above petty differences, forgive those who seek to divide Ughievwen and bring everybody together. “Unite all and make peaceful co-existence your priority. Let there be peace everywhere, because without peace we cannot develop, and government has done so much to ensure that we have peace in Delta State, including Ughievwen Kingdom”. Utuama, while consoling the children of the deceased, said the fact that life has a beginning means that it must surely have an end. He described the late patriarch as a chief who lived a fulfilled life and a man whose prayers were answered by God in every important respect. The Secretary of Ughievwen Council of Chiefs, Olorogun Benson Itietie, in a tribute on behalf of the Council, noted that the Arhagba community and Ughievwen Kingdom should remain eternally grateful to God for the indelible footprint and enduring legacies which the late Chief Emmanuel Egbi left behind.

Conference to address child protection O tackle issues of child abuse and ensure that Nigerian T child’s rights are respected, the Association of International School Educators in Nigeria, (AISEN), will on Thursday, March 20, hold a forum with the theme “Child Protection: Securing our children in a changing world” at the Shell Hall of the MUSON Centre, Lagos. President of Women Arise for Change, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, is the guest speaker. She will be joined by Dr. Tererai Trent, a consultant who has worked on five continents for major global humanitarian organizations and survived child marriage at the age of 11. Despite all odds, she fought to educate herself to PhD level. Also speaking will be Taiwo Akinlami, Nigeria’s foremost child protection specialist and coach, who is also a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as well as Mr. Mor Dioum, co-founder of the Victoria Climbe Foundation, which campaigns for improvement in child protection policies and practices .

Nigerian student wins Global Poet Award NIGERIAN student of Adesoye College, Offa, Kwara State, Bajo A Adekunle, is the overall winner of the 2014 David Shepherd Poets Global Competition. Bajo, alongside other 32 out of about 300 Nigerian students, who participated in the 2014 David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF), Global Art and Poetry Competition held in London in February this year, have come out distinctively among thousands of their counterparts in the globe. These students have been invited to attend the exhibition and prize-giving ceremony to be held in their honour at the Natural History Museum, London in April, this year. The Competition theme was: It’s Our World. These Nigerian awardees are students from about 10 schools presented for the competition by Peekok YouthARTS Initiatives (PYI), an educational and non- governmental organization, which is the only representative of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation in Nigeria and the sole organizer of the competition in Nigeria. Among the awardees are two students from Adesoye College Offa, Kwara State, five students from Dowen College Lagos, 10 students from Corona secondary School, Agbara Ogun State, three students from Aocoed Int’l School, while three students excelled from Aocoed College. Other schools whose there students excelled included Queensland Academy Lagos, Rosebud School Asaba, Marble Hill College Asaba, French Village International School Badagry Lagos and Do-Estdots College Lagos.

Some of the protesting students

PHOTO: BUKOLA OGUNGBE

‘Yobe auto crashes kill 55 people,’ says FRSC From Njadvara Musa, Damaturu UTHORITIES of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Yobe State said that 55 people, including women, were feared dead in the early hours of Monday in two separate auto crashes on the Gashua-Garin Alkali and Damaturu-Potiskum roads in the state. Seventeen people were also injured in the twin road accidents and were taken to the General Hospitals at Gashua and

A

Damaturu for treatment by the rescue team of the road safety Agency. Confirming the two incidents yesterday to newsmen in Damaturu, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yusuf Sani, attributed the multiple road accidents to “over speeding and dangerous overtaking” on the side of drivers of the affected cars and buses. “On reaching the scenes of the accidents by our rescue team, 20 people mainly

women, were feared dead, while the Damaturu-Potiskum auto crash claimed the lives of 35 people, including the drivers of the affected cars,” said Sani on the casualties of the two crashes. One eyewitness in Gashua also told The Guardain on phone that the accident happened while some villagers were returning from the Sunday Market in the area. In a breakdown of casual-

ties, Sani said: “The accident at Gashua killed 20 people. Out of that number, 16 were women and four were men. They were returning from a local Sunday market from Garin Alkali. On the accident along Damaturu/Potiskum Road, 35 people died, only seven survived. The 55 bodies have already been evacuated to the mortuaries for identification and claims by their relations and family members.

Odedeji urges Nigerians to inculcate habit of giving • Lays foundation stone for St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Oke Afa, new church building By Chukwuma Muanya HE Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Diocese of Lagos West, the Rt. Rev. James Olusola Odedeji, has called on Nigerians to inculcate the habit of giving to God and sharing their resources with fellow country men. Odedeji, in his sermon on Sunday, at a special service and l foundation-laying ceremony of an ultra- modern church building of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos, urged the congregation not to be weary in doing good. He took his text from Galatians 6: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we

T

do not give up.” To support the project, the Bishop made a donation of four “Pillars’ worth N2.6 million.

He urged the congregation to get involved in building for the Lord because in so doing they would surely have their own building

Odedeji laying the foundation...on Sunday

and flourish. He told the story of how he grew up seeing his mother share their meals with neighbours and how that has impacted on the whole family and his ministry. Odedeji assured the congregation with the words of Psalm 37 verses 23 - 25: “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” The Bishop also encouraged the church, by the example of the Shunamite woman, who gave everything she had to Prophet Elijah and the blessing of abundance that followed. Odedeji was consecrated bishop on February 24, 2013 and was enthroned on April 28 to preside over the Anglican Diocese of Lagos West.


18

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 19 77

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Business Govt backs oil industry against global challenges Local firms’ profile on the rise, says Alison-Madueke By Roseline Okere HE Federal Government T has pledged to support the Nigerian oil and gas industry in its quest to square up against daunting global industry challenges and compete for relevance in the international energy space. Speaking at the 2014 Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum organized by the Nigerian Council of the Society of Petroleum

Engineers, the Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, said that with the changing global demand and supply balance, the industry must begin to expand and grow processing capacity for local utilization as well as export of finished products. The Vice President, who was represented by the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, noted that the government is ready to support

the industry to join the shale gas revolution in the next decade. “I have no doubt that we have the required capacity and competence to tackle these challenges. Government has been and is ready and willing to support your effort in this direction. There is no doubt that oil and gas have played a big role in the economic development and transformation of our country over the last half century,” he said.

Sambo stated that oil and gas has enabled the building of infrastructure as well as aided in the development of other sectors of the economy and national life. “We must therefore continue to maintain focus in doing the right things to transform the industry as to meet the new challenges of the next century,” he said. Fielding questions from members of the audience in the course of his presentation, Yakubu lamented the spate of negative criticism and public misconceptions

of the operations of the NNPC. He noted that such comments were not only unfair to the corporation but could be a morale dampener to the thousands of staff in the NNPC who toil day and night to ensure that the country reaps bountifully from proceeds of its hydrocarbon resources. In her presentation, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke represented by Abiye Membere, Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the NNPC, acknowledged the growing level of indigenous participation in mainstream exploration and production of the oil and gas business in the country. The Minister stated that from a little over one per cent some few years back, Nigerian companies now

account for 10 per cent of total daily crude production of 2.3 million barrels with a projected rise to 30 per cent by the year 2020. Also responding to questions on the purported stringent fiscal regime in the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly for legislative action, Membere cautioned the International Oil Companies against undue criticism of the bill and called on them to come forward with their numbers for proper debate . “In 1993 under the existing production sharing contracts, royalty was zero. The question now is, do the IOCs still want royalty to remain zero in 2014? We cannot as a nation have zero royalty in the eight most prolific oil and gas assets”, Membere argued.

World stocks rise as Crimea’s tension eases ORLD stocks rose W sharply on yesterday as prices of the safe-haven yen

Alison-Maduaeke

and U.S. Treasuries fell, a day after Crimea’s vote to join Russia passed without major violence, easing fears that had driven world stocks to a one-month on Friday. The yen fell broadly after the United States and the European Union imposed what investors perceived to be only modest economic sanctions on some officials of Russia and Ukraine following Crimea’s vote to join Moscow. Although investors are not ruling out another flare-up in tensions between Russia and Ukraine, many do not expect contagion to major

Yakubu

SON commences review of cement standards By Femi Adekoya HE Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) yesterday, commenced a process to review the standards of locally produced cement, as part of measures to address current raging controversy over quality of the essential building material being produced by the nationís manufacturers as well as the rising profile of building collapse. With the aid of a technical committee comprising of manufacturers, civil society organisations, academia, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders, the SON hopes to develop reviewed standards regulating the composition and conformity criteria for common cement alternatively known as the NIS 444-1:2003. By that action, the reviewed standards would place additional responsibility on manufacturers in respect to product labeling and enlightenment of users on the proper application of the commodity in the

T

Consumer enlightenment, product labels top agenda course of erection of various infrastructures. Also, key issues on the decisions to either reduce the cement strength classes or maintain the status quo as well as end user enlightenment would be determined at the end of the review process. Although, a review process in developed climes is expected to take at least 36 months, the SON noted that it hopes to complete the process sooner than the timeline considering the prevailing situation of building collapse in the country. Indeed, various stakeholders in the industry recently, raised concerns over the production of 32.5 grade of cement in the country, against the 42.5 grade, which SON earlier approved for imported brands, while some have begun a local production of higher grades of the product. The Director-General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, explained in Lagos, yester-

day at the commencement of the meeting of the technical committee to review the standard framework of the product in line with global standards, that discourses on the quality of grades of cement are verse with experts citing misapplication of both 32.5 and 42.5 grades as key compromise in the integrity of a building structure. Odumodu pointed out that “there is no sub-standard cement brand being produced in the country”, saying that like other manufactured products, cement has its shelf life. According to him, unethical practices on the part of builders could compromise the integrity of a structure and this has been the trend in the industry considering the low level of literacy among practitioners in the building sector. “It has become very important for us to review the standards of the product in order to safeguard lives. My

interest is to ensure that Nigerians do not die from avoidable deaths. It is quite unfortunate that the cement issue has been politicized. We do not need to merge politics with technical issues. “We want to follow the due process in making informed decisions. The high level of illiteracy in the industry has continued to affect the application of the product in different contexts. “My concern is to ensure that we have an outcome enhancing a system where the loss of lives and properties would be reduced not only today but in the future. We hope to ensure that bags of cement are properly labeled in order to enhance informed consumer choice in the process of application of the product.” Head, Strategic Initiatives and Patent Management, Holcim Technology Limited, Dr. Markus Tschudim cor-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

markets. The lack of military conflict between the two countries also appeased investors. “The sanctions don’t sound particularly aggressive,” said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac Securities in New York. “Also, some of the worst-case scenarios they were anticipating over the weekend, such as actual military engagement, did not really materialize.” Wall Street opened sharply higher on yesterday, up more by than one per cent, rebounding from last week’s steep decline. “This is a classic example of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 20


20

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Group Managing Director, UAC of Nigeria Plc, Larry Ettah (left); Miss Doyinsola Ogunye; Managing Director, Chemical and Allied Products Plc, Mrs. Omolara Elemide; and Executive Director, Corporate Services, UAC of Nigeria, Joe Dada, during the unveiling of the 2014 Dulux Colour of the Year in Lagos…yesterday.

Ogun to sustain partnership with Chinese investors HE Ogun State Governor, T Senator Ibikunle Amosun has affirmed his administration’s commitment to sustain close collaboration with Chinese investors for socioeconomic development. He therefore urged the China/Africa Investment Club to present a blueprint for possible collaboration with the state. Amosun stated this while receiving a delegation of the club, made up of conglomerate of business concerns in China, in his office yesterday. He said Ogun State is fast becoming the investors’ haven with the advantage of suitable land, nearness to Lagos- the nation’s commercial capital and the gateway to the West African sub regional market, among others. ‘’In Ogun State, we have the largest concentration of industries in the whole of Nigeria and we also have different industrial zones. Since

we assumed office, we have been investing heavily in agriculture, particularly in the production of cocoa, cassava, cotton and rice. We have also invested in real estate and this government is creating all the necessary enabling

environment for business to thrive’’, Amosun said. Speaking earlier, the leader of the Chinese delegation, William Wang said the team made Ogun state its first port of call in Nigeria because of the outstanding performance

of the governor and his team. He assured Amosun that very soon, the companies under the China/Africa Investment Club will partner with the state government in the execution of various projects.

Consumer enlightenment, product labels top agenda CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 roborated the views of the SON boss on the misapplication of the product, explaining that the ability of users to maintain good construction practices and water-cement ratio are key in global markets. He expressed caution in the review process noting that the outcome of the process has consequences. According to him, historical experience from Europe showed that improving cement quality remains desirable but has its conse-

quences and thus should not be ignored. “Cement standards cannot be looked in isolation. They are part of an integrated standard regulation or framework. Though certificate schemes ensures confidence in the product and services, the implementation of standards should be effectively done through a synergy between the formal ad informal sectors. Reducing strength classes will limit the end userís choice for the product and this should be carefully examined”.

Manufacturers and stakeholders at the event however embraced the move even as they expressed optimism on the outcome of the meeting.

Global stocks rise further CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 too much fear and anxiety having been in the market. Last week’s decline more than discounted any bad news that could be reasonably expected to come out,” said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 187.19 points, or 1.17 percent, to 16,252.86. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 18.45 points, or 1 percent, to 1,859.58, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 45.208 points, or 1.06 percent, to 4,290.605. The geopolitical tension over Ukraine weighed on equities last week, with the S&P 500 suffering its biggest weekly loss in seven and the CBOE Volatility index .VIX jumping to its highest level since early February on Friday. The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 45 countries, rose 0.7 per cent, after hitting a one-month low on Friday. The dollar rose 0.4 per cent against the yen, to 101.76 yen, after four days of losses. The euro gained 0.6 per cent against the yen, to 141.83 yen. It also climbed against the dollar, to $1.3941, despite a dip in euro zone inflation, the latest indicator to argue for outright money-printing by the European Central Bank to support growth.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 BUSINESS

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

21

Benin power firm plans N45b investment HE Benin Electricity T Distribution Company (BEDC) has unfolded plans

to invest over N45 billion to fix power distribution challenges in order to improve the network and increase meter availability. Managing Director of the

company, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, who said this in a presentation, maintained that such massive investment was required over a sustained period of several years before positive results could be visible in states (Edo, Delta, Ekiti and

Ondo) covered by the company. Located in transmission network hob of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states, the BEDC, Osibodu said, was allocated nine per cent but sometimes got up to 12 per cent power availability,

which was the highest in the country. She said: “Massive investment of over N45 billion is required over a sustained period of several years before positive results can start to be visible. BEDC management focus is to

NigComSat assures MDAs, others of adequate bandwidth supply By Adeyemi Adepetun N order to reduce the lingering Icycles recurrent of capital flights by corporate organisations and government agencies and bring to its barest minimum cost of doing business via Internet, Acting Managing Director, N i g e r i a n Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) limited, Ms Abimbola Alale has assured that the agency has enough bandwidth for all of them. Already, NigComSat claims acknowledgements from industry players and users that it currently has the best satellite coverage over Nigeria “as the satellite was specifically designed to provide bandwidth for services within Nigeria and several other African nations”, Alale said in a statement signed by NigComSat spokesman, Sonny Aragba-Akpore. NigComSat1R was launched on December 19, 2011, and has quad band of Ku, C, Ka and L bands. It has its footprints in over 40 African countries, parts of the Middle East and Asia. But in spite of the robust available services on this critical national infrastructure, Alale is worried and dismayed by the trend “of government institutions and the private sector sourcing for their satellite bandwidth requirements from foreign satellite operators at the expense of the indigenous operator – NigComSat.” She said NigComSat as a national operator is mandated to meet the bandwidth requirements of the nation and “this policy initiative is aimed in part at reducing the capital flight caused by patronage of foreign satellite operators”. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), she explained might no longer honour requests for foreign exchange for bandwidth fees to foreign satellite operators. Indeed, “where the capacity on NigComSat1R is unavailable, or coverage on another satellite is required due to the specific nature of the business, NigComSat shall rely on agreements with foreign satellite operators to provide bandwidth in such instances.” Alale therefore asked government agencies, the Organised Private Sector (OPS), and foreign operators to note that NigComSat limited is the first point of contact for satellite bandwidth

requirements in Nigeria. Already, there are talks between CBN and NigComSat on a multibillion-naira contract for connectivity Internet across the 774 local councils of Nigeria. This is in a bid to boost the CBN’s nationwide cash-less initiative and empower primary, secondary schools and the

entire banking industry with real time Internet facility. The digital initiative contract is expected to create hotspots in all the 774 local government areas in the country for seamless Internet connectivity via satellite, the statement indicated. The Guardian learnt at the weekend that NigComSat,

which has gotten a Proof of Consent (PoC) from the Apex bank, has deployed its engineers to 20 sites across the country as wanted by the CBN. Besides, as part of assurance to deliver on the contract with CBN and subsequent ones, NigComSat has gotten back-up facilities on its satellite from Amos Satellite, which is based in

address the rot in infrastructure and to reposition the company in the path of providing good service to the customers and ensuring operational viability.” Others, according to the BEDC chief executive officer, were “ensuring financial viability, meeting the requirements of the regulators, especially Nigerian electricity regulating commission (NERC) and having well trained, motivated

and highly competent workforce. “We are in the largest gas producing terrain - key source of cheapest powerDelta State and the company has largest number of power plants around it. “These investments are important because the company’s network condition, which was inherited was aged, undersized and over extended high tension/low tension lines.”

Massive investment of over N45 billion is required over a sustained period of several years before positive results can start to be visible. BEDC management focus is to address the rot in infrastructure and to reposition the company in the path of providing good service to the customers and ensuring operational viability


22

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Paris Club invites Argentina to hold debt negotiation HE Paris Club invited T the Argentine government on Friday to negotiate paying off its overdue debt, with talks starting in the week of May 26 to take an important step towards settling the long-running debt dispute. Eager to settle disputes with its creditors, Argentina outlined its conditions in January to repay the roughly $9.5 billion it owes Paris Club members. “They discussed this proposal in January and February, asked for clarifi-

cation and, based on a revised proposal, have invited the government of Argentina to come negotiate an arrears clearance agreement with the Paris Club creditors in May in Paris,” secretary general Clotilde L’Angevin told Reuters. In Buenos Aires, Argentina’s economy ministry issued a statement. “The members of the Paris Club have invited us to start formal negotiations toward the end of May,” it said.

“Our proposal seeks to develop investment inflows with the objective of confronting new challenges, after a period of 10 years of high and suseconomic tained growth,” it added. Argentine over-thecounter bond prices rose as much as 2.7 per cent on the news of the invitation. An arrears clearance agreement is not the usual debt rescheduling based on an IMF program. It would cover principal, interest and late arrears.

In the absence of an IMF program, which Argentina has ruled out, Paris Club rules forbid any reduction in the value of the country’s debt. Germany is Argentina’s biggest Paris Club creditor with about 30 per cent of the debt, followed by Japan with about 25 per cent. Smaller holders include the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, the United States and Switzerland. A deal with its creditors for a settlement would

help open up new sources of international funding for Argentina. It has been shut out of capital markets for more than a decade since its default. Argentina and Paris Club members came close to striking a deal in 2008 but the government pulled out at the last moment, concerned about its falling foreign exchange reserves in the midst of the global financial crisis. With its dollar reserves dwindling, Buenos Aires has been eager to secure a

deal that does not put too much strain on its balance of payments. Argentina’s debt to the Paris Club is a legacy of its 2001-02 economic crisis, which culminated in a roughly $100 billion debt default. The country’s history with the informal group of mostly Western nations goes back to the Paris Club’s origins in 1956, when Argentina agreed to meet its public creditors in Paris.

Mexico’s central bank holds rates steady EXICO’S central bank M is expected to hold its main interest rate steady next Friday and policymakers are likely to brush off higher inflation as they look to support an economic recovery, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. All 19 analysts surveyed expect the central bank to hold its main interest rate at a record low of 3.50 per cent on March 21. Yearly inflation in Mexico cooled off an eight-month high in February as the effect of new taxes from a fiscal reform eased, underpinning chances the central bank will keep interest rates on hold this year. The central bank lowered borrowing costs in September and October after an economic contraction in the second quarter and policymakers are expected to keep rates steady amid a tepid recovery in U.S. demand for Mexican exports. The median of analysts now projects the central bank will raise its benchmark rate to 3.75 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, on par with estimates in a poll released in January.

Investors

China plans $163b investments on shanty towns’ development HINA will invest more C than one trillion yuan ($163 billion) redeveloping shantytowns this year as the government promotes urbanisation as an engine of growth, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. The nation will redevelop shantytowns involving more than 4.75 million households this year, CCTV reported at the weekend, citing the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. China will promote fiscal and financial reforms that support urbanisation, it said, citing a plan for 2014 to 2020 issued by the Communist Party of China and State Council. Chinese leaders have pledged to speed up urbanisation as they seek to shift the world’s second-largest economy toward a growth model that relies on domestic consumption rather than investment and exports. Premier Li

Keqiang said March 13 that the government would increase its efforts to solve people’s basic housing needs. Urbanisation is a “strong engine” for sustainable and healthy economic development, according to the text of the plan released recently by the official Xinhua News Agency. Li said March 13 that tens of millions of people still live in shantytowns, which Xinhua has defined as areas of dilapidated housing where poor factory workers often live. The CCTV report didn’t state the source of the redevelopment funds. China will speed up the construction of railways, expressways and airports to support the rapid urbanisation, Xinhua said in a separate report on the plan. The government will remove restrictions on obtaining household registration permits in small cities and towns,

Chinese leaders have pledged to speed up urbanisation as they seek to shift the world’s second-largest economy toward a growth model that relies on domestic consumption rather than investment and exports. Premier Li Keqiang said March 13 that the government would increase its efforts to solve people’s basic housing needs while it will strictly control the populations of megacities with more than five million urban residents, according to

the plan. The urbanisation plan will help promote regional development, upgrade industries

and increase domestic demand, according to the text released by Xinhua. Urbanisation is important for accelerating the development of the service sector, which will create many jobs, it said. Chinese leaders vowed in December to map out city clusters across the country’s central, western and northeastern regions and develop

them into engines for growth as part of its urbanization strategy. “Diverse and sustainable” funding mechanisms will be developed to finance policies, they said at an urbanisation conference, according to a report of the meeting by Xinhua. Attention must also be paid to the environmental impact of such development, they said.

U.S. treasury’s Lew welcomes Chinese currency move HE United States welcomed T China’s recent decision to allow its currency’s value to vary more against the U.S. dollar, a Treasury spokesperson said on Sunday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew spoke on Saturday evening by phone with Chinese vice-premier Wang Yang in a previously sched-

uled call, the spokesperson said. “Lew welcomed China’s recent announcement to widen the daily trading band for the renminbi against the U.S. dollar and emphasized the need for China to move towards a market-determined exchange rate,” the spokesperson said. China’s central bank eased its

grip on the yuan on Saturday by doubling the daily trading range for the currency. The move added teeth to a promise it would allow market forces to play a greater role in the economy and its markets. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said that the exchange rate would be allowed to rise or fall two per cent from a daily

midpoint rate CNY=SAEC it sets each morning. The change is effective from Monday. Analysts said that the move was a sign of confidence that the central bank had successfully fought off a plague of currency speculators and signaled that regulators believe the economy was stable enough to handle more promised reforms going forward.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY 23

Zenith Bank tasks youth on imbibing finance culture PURRED by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s drive for financial inclusion in the country, Zenith Bank Plc has launched a campaign targeted at inculcating a savings culture and general financial literacy among secondary schools students in the country. The bank, had organized a one day training programme for students of Girls’ Secondary School, Abayi, Aba, Abia State, where over 300 students of the school were groomed on the need to develop the healthy habit of managing money and using the banks for their daily financial dealings. Delivering a lecture titled Financial Literacy 101/ Financial Management, the General Manager in charge of Owerri Zone, Austin Njoko, who represented the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Godwin Emefiele, stated that the programme had become imperative judging from the fact that over 43.6 percent of adult Nigerians do not transact business in banks, a figure he said, would become worse if youths were added to the already frightening figure. While acquainting the stu-

S

dents with various products designed by the bank and targeted at young people, Njoko told the students that acquiring sound financial literacy skills was key to success in life, as managing one’s resources prudently is one decision the individual has to make throughout his/her lifetime. He said” “Whether one becomes rich or poor in life does not necessarily depend on how much money one makes through life but how well he is able to manage it effectively and efficiently; adding that instances abound where people make good money but die wretched simply as a result of mismanaging his fortune.” As a way of letting his audience know how far it had been with man and money, Njoko explained that money was first introduced and minted about 2,500 years, while paper money came into being about 1, 000 years ago in China. He charged the students not to in future form the habit of carrying cash around because of the inherent danger which he said was the reason government through the CBN came up with the idea of a ‘cashless’ society and the introduction of internet banking.

Head of Consumer Banking, West Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Carol Oyedeji (left); Principal, Catholic Comprehensive High School, Abeokuta, Oladunwo Alani; Assistant Senior Girl, Adenrele Odukoya; and Executive Director, Finance, Standard Chartered Bank, Yemi Owolabi, at the financial literacy programme organized by the bank for students, in Abeokuta.


24

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 25


26

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 27


28

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 29


30

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

31

Lloyds to grow SME lending by one billion pounds in 2014 LOYDS Bank (LLOY.L) said Lingthat it would grow its lendto small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) by a further one billion pounds this year, seeing stronger growth prospects for smaller businesses as Britain’s economic recovery takes hold. Lloyds’s pledge comes after British politicians launched an inquiry last month into the lending practices of banks

to small businesses last month. Britain’s competition watchdog is also considering a small business-banking probe. Banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) have been accused of sucking cash out of viable small businesses while other major banks have been criticized for not offering enough credit to SMEs. Lloyds said that the move

would help underpin its track record in SME lending, which has increased against a decline across the wider banking industry. “We are now seeing the recovery gathering pace and there are more reasons for small and medium-sized enterprises to be optimistic and to start investing for growth,” Lloyds’s managing director of SME and mid markets bank-

Yen rallies most in seven weeks on Ukraine, China HE yen gained the most verT sus the dollar since January as demand for haven assets surged amid the biggest dispute between Russia and western nations since the Cold War and signs of instability in China’s economy. The euro rose for a sixth week, the longest stretch since 2007, and reached the highest in more than two years. The ruble slid versus most major peers as the U.S. and Europe threatened more sanctions over Crimea if Russia moves to annex the Black Sea peninsula. The Federal Reserve meets next week amid bets it will cut monthly bond purchases another $10 billion. “We started the week focusing on China, primarily, but the second half the week, the source of risk aversion shifted to Ukraine,” Vassili Serebriakov, a New Yorkbased foreign-exchange strategist at BNP Paribas SA, said by telephone. “The yen is the obvious beneficiary here playing the traditional safehaven role.” The yen gained 1.9 per cent, the most since the five days ended Jan. 24, to 101.36 per dollar this week in New York. Japan’s currency advanced 1.6

per cent to 141.03 per euro. Europe’s shared currency rose 0.3 percent to $1.3914 and touched $1.3967, the highest level since October 2011. The Swiss franc, like the yen a traditional haven, rallied 0.6 percent to 87.24 centimes per dollar and touched 86.99, also the strongest since October 2011. The ruble declined 0.5 percent to 36.6326 per dollar. The Russian currency fell 0.8 percent to 50.9645 per euro and dropped 2.3 percent to 2.7720 yen. Deutsche Bank AG’s Currency Volatility Index, based on three-month implied volatility on nine major currency pairs, jumped for the first week in a month. It increased to 7.63 per cent from a 15-month low of 7.14 per cent on March 12. The euro fell as much as 0.4 per cent on March 13, the most in 10 days, after the European Central Bank signaled it’s monitoring gains in the currency for deflation risks. ECB President Mario Draghi said its level is “increasingly relevant in our assessment of price stability.” Earlier the currency had approached $1.40, the highest in more than two years.

Draghi said in a speech in Vienna, “any material risk of inflation expectations becoming unanchored will be countered with additional monetary-policy measures.” The ECB kept its key interest rate unchanged March 6, damping speculation policy makers would introduce further monetary stimulus. “Our base-case scenario is that the euro breaks $1.40 in the coming weeks,” said Serebriakov of BNP Paribas. “Draghi’s comments reduce the risk of a large overshoot of the euro. It makes say $1.42 less likely, but $1.40 is still very much in the cards.” The euro has gained 0.4 per cent this year in a basket of 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The dollar has dropped 0.9 per cent, while Japan’s currency has climbed 3.4 percent, the best performer after New Zealand’s dollar. China’s retail sales increased at a weaker-than-forecast 11.8 per cent annual pace in the first two months of the year and the nation’s growth in industrial production slowed to an 8.6 per cent rate, data showed.

Dubai seals $20 billion refinancing deal with Abu Dhabi UBAI has reached an D agreement with Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates’ central bank to extend repayment of $20 billion of debt it incurred in the lead up to the global financial crisis, the country’s official news agency reported Sunday. Dubai built up more than $100 billion of dollars in debt to local and international lenders during a rapid building boom that turned the Arabian city from a fishing village into a bustling global business hub with a skyline full of modern skyscrapers. Despite its ambitious plans to keep growing and building, Dubai struggled to repay its

loans as the global financial crisis battered its economy and property market. Dubai is one of seven emirates in the UAE, whose economy is forecast to grow by around 4.5 per cent this year. Abu Dhabi is home to nearly all of the 42-year-old federation’s vast oil reserves and much of its wealth. The UAE’s official WAM news agency reported that the latest deal gives Dubai five more years to repay the debt at a fixed interest rate of one per cent. The term is renewable. The debt consists of a $10 billion loan from the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is also the UAE’s capital city, and another $10 billion in cen-

tral bank bonds. WAM reported that the agreements are part of “continued efforts to boost the competitiveness of the U.A.E. economy on both regional and international levels.” Dubai has made considerable progress in sorting out its financial crisis since 2009. Mega projects that were either put on hold, significantly slowed or not initiated during the financial crisis are coming back to life again. Many of Dubai’s state-linked companies remain heavily indebted. In recent months, some companies have announced plans to pay back some of their debt ahead of schedule.

ing, Tim Hinton, said in a statement. Apart from the growth in lending, it plans to double the amount of money local bank managers are able to lend

without central approval to 1 million pounds, a policy aimed at ensuring lending decisions are made more quickly. Lloyds also intends to

increase lending through trade finance for overseas businesses by 25 per cent during 2014.


32

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

33

Appointments Specialised training as solution for unemployment

Wogu

Jonathan

From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE steady shrinking of employment space globally has resulted into social pressure that has pushed governments across the world to their wit end. While the populace is unarguably right to demand employment for the unemployed and government at the receiving end of such agitations, various steps have been taken to end the global unemployment conundrums. In Nigeria, the disappearance of white-collar jobs and the claim by employers of the un-employability of higher schools’ graduates has helped swell the unemployed population. However, there seems to be a ray of hope, as government appears to adopt a new paradigm shift in the employment generation policy with the establishment of the Community Services, Women and Youths Employment (CSWYE) of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (Sure-P) of the Federal Government domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity. The need to refocus the employment policy of the Federal Government was underscored by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chukwuemeka Wogu, while commissioning the Skills Training Centre, Aba, Abia State recently. The minister submitted that the need to focus on specialised trainings that are peculiar to states and region is germane than ever before, saying the choice of Aba was intended to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of Igbo people as shown in the manufacturing of locally mechanical tools in Aba. He said since the commencement of training in Aba, the benefits are beginning to manifest. His words, “let me restated that our people are noted for being industrious, deter-

T

mined and result oriented. In fact, the Aba spirit of hard work and resilience is legendary and known by all both far and near. This centre will tap into this industriousness to promote excellence in the trades in which specialised training will be focused. The well-known slogan of ‘AbaMade’ will in the not too distant future become a positive remark in view of our strong commitments to making Aba a centre of industrial excellence. “Currently, there are a total of 3499 beneficiaries in Abia State. These beneficiaries are working in 131 community services and make a total 587,722 man-hours output on the community services so far. Between February and December 2013, the beneficiaries have received a total amount of N298, 667,600 as stipends while a sum of N33, 947,000 has been remitted to the state as running and management cost between January 2013 and January 2014.” Although the minister admitted that the programme faced initially challenges at the beginning, it has done fairly well in the area of youth employment that permeates the grassroots down to each of the 9322 wards in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT. Wogu also stressed that the Federal Government is aggressively renovating vocational and training centres across the country under the vocational training scheme of Sure-P citing the Aba Skills Training Centre as one of those centres that were recently refurbished and equipped with modern training equipment. He further explained that Technical Vocational Education and Training Project (TVET) component of Sure-P offers two broad base categories of capacity building that included enhancement of training infrastructure and actual training/skills acquisition.

Wogu added, “enhancement of training infrastructure include rehabilitation of existing government owned technical/vocational training centres, construction of new centres and retooling/equipping of training workshops. The other component comprises the clients and citizen based training of which 5000 beneficiaries are presently undergoing training in electrical and mechanical engineering for the power sector, building and construction trades, ICT, automotive trades amongst others all over the country.” The minister said President Goodluck Jonathan did not hesitate to approve the training programmes because of his believe that it will provide lifetime employment for the unemployed . While welcoming the minister to his office in Umuahia, the Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji lauded the Federal Government for the empowerment programme. He said, “we welcome this specialised training programme because we are resourceful. The programme has to go to the downtrodden people - the sick, aged, poor, disable, youths and women. These are the people government should look after because they have no capacity to look after themselves.” The governor stated that empowering youths and women with relevant skills could be veritable avenue for stemming anti-social vices. He stated, “in our own case, there was a time when we had a serious problem of kidnapping in the state and it was total war between kidnappers and us. We did everything humanly possible to ensure that we curtail the kidnapping incidents in the state to the extent of offering amnesty and discussing with them. While we were doing this, we realised that these kidnappers are young ones between the age of 18 and 30. At that time, there was no old man engage in the act but youths.

Esele “We asked them why they were doing this and we were told by some that they had family problems, some quarreled with their parents, some said government was not doing this or that for them

and that brought an idea to us and we decided that if we were able to gather these youths and provides something for them, the incident of kidnapping in this state will reduce drastically. This is why

we created social programmes and targeted young ones and specific programmes that will suit them. We brought about 4,500 of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 37


34

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 APPOINTMENTS 35

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Nigeria’s tech transfer initiative with Huawei gulps N315m By Adeyemi Adepetun BOUT N315 million has been A sunk in a technology transfer initiative that includes training, skills and application development, among others sealed by the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications Technology, and Huawei West Africa. Specifically, under the partnership arrangement, Huawei has staked N215 million on the project, with the ministry putting in N100 million. This was disclosed at the weekend in Lagos, by the Vice President of Huawei West Africa, Hover Gao, who also pointed out that the global sensitisation campaign for technology transfer has raged for over 20 years and subsequently produced tangible results in many countries, including Nigeria. With this, he further disclosed that Marco Obiso, the Cyber Security Coordinator of International Telecom Union (ITU), on November 2013 had visited Huawei Nigeria to evaluate this programme and to share the experience with ITU members globally. Indeed, the initiative, which was flagged off in November 2013 between the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology and Huawei, according to Gao, has already provided 424 training opportunities for Nigerian girls during nine different sessions till now. By the end of this programme, he said that 200 top participants out of the 1,000

girls will get further training for the attainment of a certification as Huawei Certified Datacom Associate (HCDA). Top achievers with Huawei HCDA certification, according to him, will have the priorityaccess to Huawei Human resources pool to be employed by Huawei. “All the participants will be recommended by Huawei to Huawei Channel partners such as operators, ICT solutions providers and ICT departments in enterprises. An awards ceremony will be organised this April as ITU has designated the 4th Thursday in April every

year as a day set to celebrate and encourage girls to take up careers in ICT,” he added. To grow with Nigeria, the VP of Huawei West Africa said that the ICT firm increased its investment in Nigeria year by year. “Huawei is the first ICT solutions provider who invests millions of dollars to establish its regional network operation center in Lagos which is said to have the capability of maintaining all the Huawei networks in Africa. “In 2013, Huawei set up an ICT exhibition hall in Lagos. Thousands of people of different background have visited

the exhibition hall to get a better understanding of ICT industry,” he explained. By so doing, he said that Huawei strives to create a platform to nurture work-ready and World-To Bridge the digital divide, adding that the firm also established ICT scholarship programs in Nigeria to support university students. The vice president of Huawei West Africa assured that the company was committed to providing more training opportunities to Nigeria in 2014. Disclosing that Huawei is now trying to create a platform

for more people to get involved in this program, he said, “technology transfer is the key strategy of Huawei Nigeria and localisation is another one. The ICT training programmes for Huawei partners and Huawei staffs are initiatives to make these strategies practical. “It is a win-win business for Huawei to provide the training courses. Firstly, staffs of Huawei and the telecom companies will be educated with the latest ICT solutions and technologies, which will empower them with the knowledge to find the best

solutions for Nigeria telecoms industry. “Secondly, talents can be cultivated and selected during the training programme. Top trainees will be recommended to core post such as networks planning officer. Thirdly, the training program for young students will inspire their interests in ICT, which will attract more talents to this i n d u s t r y . “ICT industry is booming in Nigeria and statistics show that the industry has contributed about eight per cent to GDP growth while this figure might be 15 per cent by

Wogu lauds DESERP, pledges technical support HE Minister of Labour and T Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu has said the Delta State

is happening at a time when the state Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan is talking about Economic Reintegration Delta Beyond Oil. And that of Programme (DESERP) is a veri- course is talking about buildtable tool for the achievement ing a knowledge economy. I of the Vision 2020 of the Federal have been to see some of the G o v e r n m e n t . projects. And I have heard the The minister spoke at the story of the lawyer, who after Exhibition and Certificate her training is now a successful Award Ceremony of DESERP in caterer. I have also seen the case Warri, Delta State recently, of the housewife who is now a where about 3,000 persons mechanic after undergoing graduated from the agency’s training at the DESERP Auto skills acquisition programme.  Centre. Indeed DESERP has givAt least 10 of the graduands, en people wider range of skills who had gone to start various that they can put to productive businesses were specially use; it is helping people to be recognised and given cash financially empowered.” awards as further incentives.  Describing DESERP as a laudSpeaking after inspecting the able programme, Wogu comvarious projects of DESERP the mended the State Government minister said, “this is for real. It for its tenacity in pursuing it’s is not hype. And it (DESERP) is three-point agenda of peace coming at the right time. This and security, infrastructure

development and human capital development. According to him, DESERP is “a panacea to end unemployment and reduce crime in the state,” adding that the programme would “ensure implementation of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government adding that Vision 2020 of the Federal Government could easily be realised through programmes such as DESERP. He also offered to collaborate with DESERP through technical assistance from the Ministry of Labour and Productivity. The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Prof. Amos Utuama speaking on behalf of the governor explained that DESERP was conceived to “create economic opportunities for those who were otherwise excluded

from the economy of the state.” He said, “it is an all-round programme, which presents people with the opportunity to acquire one skill and another, especially in the light of the state government policy of Delta Beyond Oil. For anybody to assert his independence or autonomy, he must be selfemployed. Once you are selfemployed, you become an employer of labour.” In her welcome address, the Managing Director of DESERP, Ms Nnena Ahukannah said the state government “with the primary goal of helping the indigenes of Delta State become financially self-reliant set up DESERP.” The programme commenced in 2010 and has since inception registered over 12,000 par-

ticipants with about 3,000 of them having gone through the skills acquisition programme. In addition, the agency has set up projects, which “serve both as training facilities for our programmes, as well as, provide apprenticeship opportunities for the participants. The projects include a 106pond-capacity fish farm at Ugboroke, a 20-farmer capacity pig farm at Ugbuwangue, and a multipurpose centre at Okuokoko, all in Warri.  The DESERP Centre at EffurunSapele road houses a catering institute and demonstration restaurant, hair and beauty salon, furniture showroom, sewing institute/clothing factory, photography and digital printing studio, and computer training centre.


36

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 APPOINTMENTS 37

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Skills acquisition as panacea to uneployment CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 them and gave them employment at least to find money to eat and for some to work and pay their debts. We started the Youths Empowerment Programme, giving them vehicles to work and we discovered that the menace of kidnapping to an end.” Orji insisted that Abia State has indeed demonstrated that offering specialised trainings to youths can indeed be a panacea to restiveness and way out of the unemployment challenge. He added that he has recommended the model to his colleagues in other states of the South-East part of the country. To Peter Esele, who is the Convener TVET, Sure-P, specialised training will open up massive opportunities for the

unemployment. He argued that looking outside of Nigeria for tillers and other building experts is a national shame that must stop. “In Nigeria, we are struggling with Togolese, Chinese in terms of technical jobs. What superior standard do they have more than Nigerians? How do we make Nigerian youths competitive? The world is a global village and they must develop to overcome the competition. TVET is one of the ways of overcoming the challenges; you must give your people high capacity to overcome the competition. Now we are training some builders to curb foreigners coming here, and for them to get certification in this regard. Nigerians must get certification and earn handsomely from their professionalism like their for-

Nigeria’s tech transfer initiative with Huawei gulps N315m CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 2015. But there are also challenges for ICT industry such as stable power solutions for telecom infrastructures, National broadband construction, better and cheaper access to Internet. How to solve these problems and how Nigeria can hold a leading position in building a modern information nation are challenges for

all the stakeholders. “The competitive Human resources are the key factors for the sustainable growth in every industry. Huawei would like to face the challenges and seize the opportunities to make better telecom connections for Nigeria by cultivating more local talents and ICT professions besides providing innovative equipments and solutions,” Gao explained.

eign counterparts, secure their certificates because they are equally qualified and can defend their certificates when they build a house. It is not for them to be second fiddle because they are considered l e s s . ” He hinted that Sure-P is rehabilitating FERMA training centre in Yenagoa, Ijora, Bauchi and Kaduna. Esele added that Industrial Training Fund trains the trainees on short, medium and long-term programmes. He also stated that Sure-P has 150 engineers, Electrical/Electronics, Mechanical under the NAPTIM Electricity Training programme for university graduates, who are trained for one year and are paid for them to become entrepreneurs. Esele also debunked the insinuation that the programmes are likely going to end with the tenure of the present administration saying, “this is a permanent training programme because the capacity is domiciled in the ministries, which can run with it. The ministries own it and take responsibilities for its maintenance as long after the exit of Sure-P unlike what happened under the defunct Petroleum Development Fund and others. The SURE-P cut across political leaning because it is one programme that is good for all Nigerians especially the youths and women.”


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

38 APPOINTMENTS Tuesday, March 18, 2014

‘Imperatives of health insurance for workers’ welfare’ Since the launch of the health insurance scheme in the country, the coverage stands at 6 per-cent with workers apathy trailing the scheme. However, in this interview with COLLINS OLAYINKA, Chairman of Pro Health, Chief Richard Uche explains the challenges confronting the scheme and why it is in the best interest of both employers and workers to embrace health insurance for an improved productivity. Excerpts:  OW would you describe the H execution of health insurance scheme in Nigeria so far? The National Insurance Scheme came into being during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. However, I must say that the implementation has been very slow principally because the Act that established the scheme failed to make participation in the scheme mandatory for employers. What we then find is employers choosing to participate or not and this has seriously slowed the implementation down. The law says employers may participate instead of saying they ‘shall.’ Even as it relates to the generality of the public other than those in the organised sector, community-based and tertiary institutions’ health insurance has equally been slow. I think generally there is still much work to be done in Nigeria in order to get quality health available to the generality of the people. Would you say therefore that the objectives of health insurance scheme in Nigeria have only been partially met? As we speak around six percent of Nigerians are accessing health insurance. That means that the objectives of taking

health to the generality of Nigerians through health insurance have not been met at all. If we look at other countries, and I don’t want to mention advanced ones like the United States of America (USA), Germany and United Kingdom that spend about 17 per cent of their annual budget on health and virtually everybody is covered under one form of health insurance or the other. Some Africa countries dedicate more resources to health issues than Nigeria where we are talking about a paltry six percent of the population is under any form of health insurance. With six per cent budget to health, Ghana and Rwanda are better than us in terms of health coverage. Bill Gates recently declared Ghana as the country that has the best health coverage in Africa. With the resources Nigeria has, there is no reason we can’t do better than we are doing now. However, there is hope, as government seems to be thinking and planning on how to ensure most Nigerians gets quality health services. The National Health Bill has universal health coverage component in it and when the bill becomes an Act, it is hoped that health coverage will be

Uche extended to most Nigerians. Apart from the challenge of employers’ unwillingness to join the health insurance, what other challenges are confronting the scheme? Some of the challenges include lack of awareness on the part of workers, who are the greatest beneficiaries of the scheme. Nigerians are yet to appreciate the fact that when they pull their resources together under a health insurance scheme, accessing healthcare becomes cheaper for everybody in the sense that the wealthy will subsidize the poor and the poor will pay less than what he would have paid if paying out of their pocket. It has been proven that the poor get sicker hence the importance of a health insurance to the very poor. The second challenge is lack of awareness campaign by the

unions on the need for their members to enroll in the scheme. Most workers think their employers paying their medical allowances to them directly are more beneficial. This is where the real challenge lies. Does this mean the leadership of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) is also oblivious of the benefits inherent in the scheme? Obviously the leaderships of these two labour centres are aware of the benefits of the scheme. Where the problem lies is at the bottom. Members of unions must be convinced that it is better to pull their resources rather than collecting medical allowance that will not be enough to meet out-ofpocket medical bills. So, the leadership is aware but it is not understood at the floor level.

The only panacea for curing this apathy is a mandatory health insurance for all. A mandatory health insurance scheme is obviously going to get more money out of the salaries of workers and they may resist the attempt knowing they will have less money to spend on other essentials of life. Even employers may resist fearing they may have to pay more. Don’t you think both workers and employers may reject this step? Most employers that have joined health insurance scheme end up paying less than they would have paid under payment of medical allowances to workers. And to the workers, they will have a system to fall back on when they are sick and will not have to run from pillar to post looking for money when they or their wards are in need of urgent medical attention. Among the complaints of workers is also that the scheme is not offering enough services to justify their contribution. How can this be a d d r e s s e d ? Talking about the scope of coverage, it depends on what package a worker subscribes to. Many of the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) practice what is referred to as ‘graduated benefits’ that is design for the very low level, middle level and upper grade levels, which covers a higher grade of ailments. The capitation paid determines what level of care can be gotten under the scheme. The services available to people are determined by what premium that is paid. There is no way all aliments can be cov-

ered by the scheme. But it is designed in such a manner that it covers common and prevailing ailments within a captured capitation. I know that in Pro Health we have about four schemes that are tailored in line with enrollees’ needs and capacity to pay the required c a p i t a t i o n . Is the establishment of Pro Health by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) part of its determination to expand social security safety floor? The objective behind establishing the Pro Health HMO is part of the overall mandates of the NSITF. The new NSITF that emerged after the Contributory Pension Act of 2004 covers more social security that includes health and the wellbeing of workers than the old NSITF that laid more emphasis on pension. Pro Health was established to deal with health challenges of workers with overall objective of promoting productivity because a worker that frequents hospital or that is in a state of near permanent illhealth is not in position to be highly productive. What are some of the services that Pro Health renders that distinguish it from other HMOs that are probably profitdriven? The primary aim of Pro Health is actually to ensure workers are able to access quality healthcare services with minimal difficulties. Apart from the normal health insurance, Pro Health does community contributory health insurance and is also involved in providing healthcare services to students of higher learning.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 39


40 Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 APPOINTMENTS 41

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Ministry begins training of youths in rural areas From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin. HE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has embarked on the training of young rural dwellers in the country on tools fabrication and blacksmithing as part of measures to diversify their means of livelihood, reduce poverty rate and promote development. The ministry commenced the training recently in collaboration with the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) in Ilorin for a group of rural dwellers from across the states of the South West zone. The Minister in charge of the ministry, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, at a programme held to mark the commencement of the training, explained that the participants  would be exposed on means of deriving their incomes from a diverse portfolio of activities in rural non-farm sector of the economy. Adesina, who was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Scretary of the ministry, Ibukun Odusote said the training would help “in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty when sudden shock occur in sole food production efforts within the rural economy.” He added, “it is obvious that when the non-farm sector is encouraged and supported, it is likely to boost employment opportunity in rural settings

T

I specially appeal to the trainees to take the training, particularly, the practical aspect of this workshop with all seriousness and commitment as it will expose you to designs, drawings and fabrications that will be useful to you in this vocation for the needed transformation of our rural areas (other than food production a l o n e ) . ” The minister also described the training as a programme that would enhance the Agriculral Transformation Agenda of the government, adding, “the rural youths are trained in skills to fabricate domestic/industrial parts for rural economy in the production of farm tools to support our dominant rural scale farmers in their food production efforts.” He disclosed that the ministry would put in place monitoring mechanism to ensure sustainability of the programme through evaluation performance of those trained. Adesina, who said some other people would also benefit on the training in future tasked the present participants to take the training seriously. “I specially appeal to the trainees to take the training, particularly, the practical aspect of this workshop with all seriousness and commitment as it will expose you to designs, drawings and fabrications that will be useful to you

in this vocation for the needed transformation of our rural areas,” he stated. Also speaking, the Director of Department of Rural Development of the ministry, M.O. Azeez said reliance on food production aspect of agriculture as the only key for rural development had hindered the scope for a multisectoral and integrated approach to rural development programme and expressed hope that the training programme would make the approach more functional. He disclosed that each of the trainees would be presented with a starter package to enable them put into practice knowledge derived from the programme. The Executive Director of the NCAM, Ike Azogu, who was represented at the occassion by an Assistant Director of the institution, Muhideen Kasali, advised the participants to focus on the training, adding that it would enable them contribute to development of the rural areas.


42

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 APPOINTMENTS 43

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

General Electric adopts school for manpower training From Anietie Akpan, Calabar ENERAL Electric (GE) has G adopted a technical school for man-power training in Nigeria at $1.2 million (N200million). The company has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Cross River State government. Under the MoU, GE, which has an over $2 billion investment project in Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), is adopting Government Technical College, Ikot Effanga in Calabar for the full training of the necessary manpower that will feed the factory in Calabar when it takes off and other  companies in Nigeria. While signing the MoU at the Governor’s Office in Calabar recently, the Global Supply Chair Leader for GE Africa, Phil Cariffit said GE is committed to being a corporate responsible company and “we are putting  resources in places to develop people technically and give excellent coaching.” In view of this, he said the company was signing the MoU with the Cross River State government for the adoption of the technical school to groom and give the best technical team in Nigeria. Details of the MoU indicates that GE is expected to equip and upgrade the school technically for a highly skilled manpower that will feed their manufacturing factory in Calabar. The Senior Executive, Human Resources, GE Africa, Mrs. Yamla Oates-Formey said investing that much in the technical school is to get the right people for the right job, pointing out that GE has invested over $1billion in training people. The Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, who was thrilled with the MoU with GE, said “for us this is an important step in the right direction.” He noted that over a year ago the state had discussed with GE to come and invest in Calabar and with their full presence in Calabar doing business, “we must work hand in gloves to avail ourselves with the opportunities GE provides. It is critical our people key into opportunities here.”

Imoke Imoke charged Cross River indigenes to take advantage of GE and key into the various opportunities the company will provide because “Cross River State has to move with GE and our youths have to key in. We as government create the enabling environment for GE and other companies to come and do business. We must welcome them and work with them. Ours is to

ensure that our kids get good education and are employable.” Cariffit and Oates-Forney signed the MoU on behalf of GE while the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Offiong Offiong and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment Promotion, Gerald Adah signed for the state government.


44

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 APPOINTMENTS 45

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Kogi varsity unveils manpower development programme HE Kogi State University T Consultancy Services Unit has  rolled out its manpower development programme for the year 2014. Director, Consultancy Services, Dr. Odiba Abdul in a statement said the unit, which is the Human Resources Development and Training arm of the Kogi State University, offers qualitative and impactful training for high caliber manpower in tertiary institutions, ministries, parastatals and corporate organisations. While flaunting availability of seasoned and highly qualified professionals, who are experts in their own fields, he said the efficiency and effectiveness of the resources available in a given macro-economic, institutional, social and natural environment are reflected in productivity. This, according to him, explains the choice of course titles for the year, which he listed to include application of lean budgeting techniques in public sector; International public sector accounting standards; Current account and bank reconciliation; Store accounting and reconciliation; IPSAS application in effective auditing; Effective budgeting with national charts of accounts; and Information and communication technology for secretaries and Human Resources Officers. He listed others to include corporate financial management; cash management techniques; Team building and change management; Management appreciation course for nurses and midwives; E-library management; Proposal writing; Accessing and utilising TETFUND grants for projects, training, research & conference attendants as well as Local government finance and administration. The programme, which starts

from April 7 and runs till end of the year, according to him, targets participants that include accountants, auditors, planning officers and heads of departments, chief executives of public sector organisations,

bank reconciliation officers, audit supervisors, store managers, Human Resources officers, nurses and midwives, among others.

ICAN tasks youths on professionalism HE President of the T Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN),

Alhaji Kabir Mohammed has said that the institute’s ‘Catch Them Young’ programme is strengthened, to capture more youths into the accounting profession platform. Speaking at the catch them young programme recently in Lagos, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed, who was represented by Chief Oye Akinsulire, member, Governing Council of ICAN, said the programme was created to promote the sense of belonging, future prospects and personal interest among the youths. According to him, “it is said, there is no legacy as good as education but a better legacy is a sustainable career driven by education and capable of transforming and equipping the youths for the tides and turbulences particularly in the world we are today. He explained that being in the prfession make them play a crucial role in the economic development of a nation. He continued that the interest of the youth in the profession would become the movers and shakers of the economic and political space of this great country. Mohammed added that the programme would promote a platform for socio-academic interaction among the com-

mercial secondary school student. “It will correct the wrong impressing among some youth, teachers and parents that commercial students are second- class students relative to their science counterparts. “Creating a sense of commitment to excellence among the youths of today. “The rate of growth and development of every economy depends on how its resources are judiciously managed and multiplied,” he said. Also speaking a Guardian Counselor, Mrs Oluwatoyin Williams, added that the programme an eye opener to student, who think it is the end of the world, it is a way of telling them they have another way forward, adding that the institute can accommodate them despite the fact that they have lost all hope to make them useful in life.


46

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 APPOINTMENTS 47

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Kwara unveils 2014 employment modalities From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin ETERMINED to stem risD ing cases of youth unemployment in Kwara State, the

state government has unfolded modalities for the absorption of 8,200 youths into some sectors of the state’s economy within the year 2014. According to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Sola Gold, who spoke  at a press briefing in Ilorin, 5,400 youths would benefit under the scheme representing the first phase of the programme. Already, the administration since it  assumed office about two and a half years ago has employed about 5,000 and trained many others in entrepreneurship and business skills. Besides, the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Demola Banu said the government has earmarked a sum of N200 million for various projects like classrooms renovation, electrification, water supply and entrepreneurship as complementary projects for the Human Capacity Development programme of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara.

Odeyemi becomes LAHASCOM secretary By Wole Oyebade AGOS State House of LCommission Assembly Service (LAHASCOM) has appointed Adejoke Odeyemi as the secretary to the commission. In acting capacity, Odeyemi has occupied the seat since May 2013, following the exit of former Secretary, Ibisola Ogayemi. Chairman of the Commission, Wale Mogaji said Odeyemi deserved the confirmation, citing her credentials, far-reaching experience and “the way she has managed the Commission as the acting secretary,” all testified to her competency. Mogaji, however, urged the new secretary to remain focused in the latest appointment, to achieve objectives and goal of the C o m m i s s i o n . The Commission is saddled with responsibility of creating dynamic policies, rules and regulations that would produce quality workers, delivering effective and efficient services in the state’s legislature. Odeyemi, a Business Administration graduate of Ogun State University, is a pioneering staff of the C o m m i s s i o n . Odeyemi had served as head of Establishment and Training Units in the Lagos State House of Assembly between 2006 and 2011. She was made the director, Finance and Administration of the Commission between December 2012 and May 2013. Her tour of service includes the defunct Teaching Service Commission and Ministry of Justice among others.

He said of the figure, 1872 youths would be engaged for Entrepreneurship  training, 1872 for Clean and Green, 1100 for the new Environmental Corps, 350 under KWABES, 156 under the State Road Traffic Management Agency (KWARTMA) and 50 as Special Intervention agents of the State Signage and Advertising Agency (KWASAA). Gold assured that another 200 youths would be engaged monthly to bring the total number of youths to be empowered to 8200 by the end of the year, stressing that Quickwin is open to all youths resident in Kwara State regardless of political affiliation, gender, ethnic or state of origin.

On renumeration, the SSG said KWABES, KWARTMA And KWASAA operatives  would receive N10, 000 monthly, while Clean and Green and  Environmental Corps operatives will be paid N7500 monthly. Those engaged under the Entrepreneurship scheme  would be paid N5000 per month for the duration of the training which can be up to 12 months while the Master  Trainers will receive N5000 per month per trainee  for the duration of the programme. For him, graduate trainees would be trained for a month while non-graduates can be trained for up to a year. All Enterprenuership trainees would be formed

into cooperatives and provided access to affordable micro credit on completion of their training, according the SSG. to Gold, who heads the eight man committee set up some few weeks ago by Ahmed to couch the modalities for the scheme, employment explained that it is meant for all youth resident in the state “irrespective of their political affiliation, gender, religion, ethnicity identity or state of origin.” Providing further  breakdown of the scheme, he said,  “these youths are further divided into graduates especially those with NCE and above and non-graduates comprising those with SSCE and below. “The graduates will receive

entrepreneurial training for two weeks at Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete and Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin followed by another two weeks of internship with renowned entrepreneurs. They will subsequently be clustered into co-operatives and provided access to affordable micro credit to start their business based on the production of a viable business plan.” The SSG disclosed that each candidate under the programme would receive a stipend of N5,000 per month during their training, adding that the nongraduates would be attached to accredited Master Trainee and Skill Acquisition centres to learn trades available under the

scheme. For him, “each beneficiary will receive N5, 000 monthly for a period not exceeding 12 months depending on the nature and duration of the trainers. The Master Trainers will also receive N5, 000 per month per trainee for the duration of the training. Like the graduates, this set of youths will also be clustered into co-operatives and provided access to micro credit funds on completion of their training.” Believing that government could not exclusively provide all the needed jobs for the teeming youths in the state, Gold enjoined private individuals and corporate bodies to complement the efforts of the government in this respect.


48

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 49


50

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 APPOINTMENTS 51

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Institute decries lack of professionalism, procurement council By Femi Adekoya ORRIED by the poor W implementation of budgets occasioned by misappropriation and engagement of unqualified personnel in various procurement processes of government, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN) has called for a shift in paradigm if the desired development that government seeks would . be achieved. Indeed, the institute noted that procurement practice involves research, planning and strategic processes, which require formal training and engagement of professionals, rather than the norm where unqualified personnel are engaged for such . jobs. With procurement accounting for at least 80 per cent of yearly budget-

ary allocations as stated by the body, there is a need to address leakages in the system through unethical and dysfunctional procurement practice. Speaking ahead of its conference and award event tagged, "Mainstreaming the procurement practice in Nigeria" scheduled for March 21, 2014 at Eko hotel in Lagos, the President of CIPSMN, Mohammed Jimoh Aliyu said: "There is no way you can have proper budget implementation when you don't involve experts because 80 percent of it goes through procurement process and this requires the services of professionals." He explained that procurement involves research, planning and strategic processes which requires formal training, stressing that "in a situation where experts are not brought in, you don't

Firm excites HR managers with new software UDELAK Technologies, B a Nigerian Technology and Management consult-

ing firm in conjunction with Information Management Resources (IMR) recently presented hSenid HRMenterprise XV. A world-renowned web enabled Human Resource (HR) tool with innovative components for efficient HR management in multinationals companies and small & medium-based enterprises (SMEs). Speaking at the presentation, Chief Executive Officer of hSenid Sampath Jayasundara said that that revolutionary software developed to boost Human Resources management in Nigeria and b e y o n d . Managing Consultant & CEO Budelak Technologies Nigeria Limited, Olubunmi Akinmboni, said: “As a result of optimal capabilities to simplify HR operations, the hSenid HRMenterprise XV has been widely accepted and used by more than 650 public and private organisations in over 35 countries around the w o r l d . ” Akinmboni added that application allows organisations to simply reengineer HR processes and improve efficiency of the entire company. He explained further, “as the complexities of recruiting and managing quality employees have evolved, hSenid HRMenterprise XV tool has been designed to be highly configurable, globally accessible, holistic and able to integrate with other global enterprise systems and attendance management hardware. “Its features includes fully integrated enterprise application which offers HR specialists instant access to all HR related information and activities like employee Information Management (EIM), Organisational

Structure, employee Life Cycle, Time & Attendance, Loan Management, Manpower Planning, Absence Management Grievance Handling, Rewards and Recognitions, Global Payroll, Benefits Administration, Recruitment, Disciplinary, Performance Management Training and Development, Talent Management, Self Service and HR Analytics.” He noted: “hSenid is over sixteen years old as a software development company whose core specialization is human resources with offices in USA, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Australia, Africa and Sri Lanka to name a few. Given to its vision of people & performance are global staffs of over 450 skilled workers through an award winning HRIS Solution that manages an organisation’s human resource, HRMenterprise XV.” On the dimensional functions of the software, Akinmboni said that with over 23 integrated modules, this application handles a variety of strategic human resources activities. These more than 23 modules are categorised under three main areas of Administration HR, Strategic HR, and MIS, which improve efficiency, and productivity of an organisation while gaining competitive advant a g e . Budelak Technology Nigeria Limited (budelak.com) in conjunction with Information Management Resources Nig. Ltd (imrnig.com), are in technical partnership with hSenid Business Solutions (Pvt) Ltd., Sri Lanka. The company’s proficiency and focus spans MIS consultancy, system integration, web-based application, online sales & marketing and business intelligence and analysis amongst others.

The refusal to get the Councils working while continuing with the development of procurement policies smells of impunity. The efforts of the BPP need to be complemented by the legal institution (the Council) that validates the work of the Bureau. This needs to be addressed if we hope to move the nation forward. meet timelines and the country will continue to suffer. Except we get it right, we will continue to swim in problems of budge t . " He added that the institute, through the event, would be showcasing the essence of procurement and supply chain management in the implementation of budgets in the

. country. "Procurement should not be treated with levity. It's a profession in its own right. However, this practice has not been allowed to thrive in Nigeria as the procurement process is devoid of due process. It's shocking to note that the executive arm of government is yet to inaugurate the National Council of Public

Procurement (NCPP) to check its activities. There is a need for a change in attitude. We need to query how tax revenues are being expended. “The Council is to consider, approve and amend the monetary and prior review thresholds for the application of the provisions of the Act; consider and approve policies on public procurement; approve the appointment of the directors of the Bureau of Public Procurement; receive and consider for approval, the audited accounts of BPP; approve changes in procurement processes to adapt to improvements in modern technology and the omnibus clause – to give such directions and perform such other func-

tions as may be necessary to achieve the objectives of the Act. “The refusal to get the Councils working while continuing with the development of procurement policies smells of impunity. The efforts of the BPP need to be complemented by the legal institution (the Council) that validates the work of the Bureau. This needs to be addressed if we hope to move the nation forward”. Some of the expected speakers at the awards event include the guest speaker and Chief Executive Officer, International Federation of Purchasing and Supply as well as representatives of the World Bank Office and the Director-General of BPP among others


52

APPOINTMENTS Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

S’West Heads of Service warn against politicisation of permanent secretaries From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti ORUM  of Heads of Service, southwest Nigeria, has waned against the politicisation of the position of permanent secretaries and urges all the states of the federation to present position papers at the  National Conference on the need to restrict the position  to career civil servants. The body also pointed that only Independent Power Projects (IPP) from private sector can successfully correct the epileptic power supply  being experiences in the country. The forum made the statement in a communiqué issued after its 5th Summit held in Ado Ekiti at the weekend and signed by Bunmi Famosaya, Sunday Owoeye, Mrs. Modupe Adekunle, Mrs. Josephine Williams, Tajudeen Aremu and Toyin Akinkuotu, the heads of service of Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Oyo and Ondo states respectively. The body described the position of permanent secretary as a sacred office and the engine room of the civil service that should not be politicised for better productivity and result-oriented service. “There is need for the states to present a position papers to the confab recommending salient indices to energise the civil service for higher productivity and better performance. For instance, the restriction of the position of permanent secretary to career civil servants to facilitate synergy in policy implementation,”

F

the communiqué said. The forum noted with regrets that the epileptic power supply being experiences in the country has been hindering industrial growth, saying the present the government must prosecute its IPP under the privatisation policy

with zeal and vigour for the country to make a success of it. The body also suggested the need for non-politicisation of the service to entrench the culture of meritocracy and capacity building in the public service of the zone.

The Heads of Service also appealed to the states and federal government to always appoint their retired members into strategic boards and commissions like the civil service, Local Government Service Commission, among others.

Experts canvass technological support for young entrepreneurs By Tunde Akinola S  part measures to create A positive social impact and provide adequate platforms for young people to confidently harness their talents and strength, Passion Incubator has launched an initiative to create such environment in Lagos. Passion Incubator is an early stage accelerator that seeks to provide young innovative entrepreneurs with the most critical resources needed to launch lean startups, grow quickly, and to institutionalise their success.  Co-Founders, Passion Incubator, Olufunbi Falayi, stated that the unemployment rate in Nigeria was well documented and the lack of job opportunities for young people is just a symptom of a much larger problem.  “In a recent World Bank report (2013), it was stated that a major cause of unemployment, amongst the Nigerian

youth, is the lack of platforms for passionate people to confidently harness their talents and inner strength; in order to explore their world of opportunities.  This is exactly the problem Passion Incubator seeks to solve,” Falayi said. Falayi who is a fellow of Social Innovators Programme (SIP) added, “young people are very keen on becoming entrepreneurs and truly, there is no better time for this revolution than now. This is particularly true when you consider the opportunities that Information Technology presents.” Taiwo Ajetunmobi, another co-founder explained: “Passion Incubator’s offers a five-step framework which includes basic entrepreneurship training, product development support, access to a shared work space, access to mentors and a connections with Venture Capital Funds and Potential Investors.  “Finalist will have access to

entrepreneurship training and resources, ongoing business strategy support and a core technology team that will provide them critical product development support. In addition, each finalist founder team will be paired up with mentors and will be connected with investor groups and platforms where they can pitch their ideas for funding,” he said. “Applications are open to any founder team that has a great idea or an ongoing business that solves a large scale problem. It is important that these ideas or businesses can be technology enabled and scaled up leveraging the Internet. Applications from all founder teams, regardless of their technological or programming capabilities, will be accepted. However, applicants must be willing to commit (full time) at least one year of their time to developing their business ideas into successful companies.”

Aregbesola tasks leaders on youth employment From Abosede Musari, Abuja  SUN State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has urged managers of the Nigerian economy to provide opportunities of employment for 24 million Nigerian youths especially within the age bracket of 18 to 35 years as a means of taking the country out of poverty and the shackles of insurgency. Citing an example of his administration’s massive employment initiative, the governor stated that only if these categories of youths were engaged productively could the nation emerge out of poverty. Aregbesola who spoke at the ICPC Good Governance Forum in Abuja stated that if each of the 24 million youths earned a gross income of  N300, 000 a year and N25, 000 per month, the amount of money circulating in the economy would be N7.2 trillion. “Doing this for 10 years will liberate us from poverty”, he said, adding that there would be no hope for the nation if the most productive sector was neglected. According to him, with $16 trillion debt, America is still attractive in every corner of the world because it is productive; marking a whole lot of difference from Nigeria with a much less debt burden of less than $80 billion because it

O

not productive. is “This is what to focus on if you are interested to liberate Nigeria. Productivity is the key to our underdevelopment and within 10 years we’ll put behind us the malaise we contend with right now,” he said.  In his address, Chairman of ICPC, Ekpo Nta said that the ICPC Good Governance Forum was not a political platform but a platform to showcase governors and government officials who are fulfilling the mandates of their offices to share their experiences. He noted that the commission was more interested in strengthening anti-corruption processes in public institutions so that they can withstand and repel corrupt individuals. “To this end, we have beamed our searchlight on the Integrated Payroll Information system (IPPS) in the public service, the education sector with emphasis on higher education through our University System Studies and Review (USSR)”, he said. The commission, he said, was also working on verifying contract processes, adding that so far, out of 156 contract biddings referred to it by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), 50 contractors have been found to have used fake tax clearance certificates.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 53


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

54 | Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Labour ASCSN, NUPTE suspend warning strike From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE planned two weeks T industrial action by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has been put on hold to allow the convocation of a stakeholder’s forum to resolve issues in dispute. A statement by the Deputy Director (Press), Samuel Olowookere in Abuja, said that the decision of the association to suspend a one-day warning strike followed an intervention by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chukwuemeka Wogu. The association had in a letter dated 17th February 2014, issued an ultimatum to embark on a one- day warning strike and a subsequent two-week total strike. The issues at stake included

‘Youth ministry critical to national development’ From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja HE new Minister of Youth T Development, Boni Haruna, has described the ministry as very critical and central to the development of the country. The minister stated this recently in Abuja when he assumed duty. The former Adamawa State governor said that the relevance of the youth in sustainable development and challenges of the country could not be over emphasized while adding that over 65 per cent of Nigerians were youth. According to him: “If our job is to oversee the youth development of our people, let us see how we can look into issue that can reduce unemployment, youth restiveness and add value to live, then there is no ministry better than  the ministry in the life of this nation. “It is what you do here will bail out this country from the current security challenge that we are going through, because the major actors in the security challenges that we have in the country are youth. So it is what we do here that will count so much in dealing with this problem.” He pledged to bring his wealth of experience as a two-time governor to his new appointment. Haruna, who stressed the need for teamwork, sought the assistance of members of staff in the ministry towards ensuring that the problems facing youth development were squarely addressed. Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Henry Akpan welcomed the new minister and called for team in the ministry. Apkan assured the minister of his cooperation and other staff and stakeholders in the sector.

undue delay/ non-payment of salaries, upward adjustment of retirement age in the civil service; non-payment/undue delay of promotion arrears, payment of a living wage in the civil service, payment of outstanding 28 days allowance in lieu of hotel accommodation, payment of peculiar and earned (responsibility) hazard, excess work-load, allowances in the civil service, payment of rent allowance en-block to civil servants, immediate measures to address the issues of stagnated officers, stoppage of the conduct of promotion examinations in  unholy hours of the night, payment of ex-gratia or end- of- year

incentives to civil servants, immediate payment of mandatory training allowance to participants at the training programmes organised by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in 2010 and immediate payment of teachers peculiar allowance to civil servants engaged in teaching activities. After deliberations on the contentious issues, it was resolved that a larger meeting be convened at a later date where all the relevant stakeholders will be present and all the issues mentioned above will be deliberated upon. The association was granted a request for adequate

time to articulate its positions in their memo and submit it to the Minister of Labour and Productivity. They consequently agreed that the larger stakeholders’ meeting would reconvene after the receipt of the memo by the Minister of Labour and Productivity. In a related development, the National Union of Postal Telecommunication Employee (NUPTE) has also suspended its threat to embark on an industrial action over non-payment of productivity incentives and rent enhancement to NIPOST staff. The Minister of Labour and Productivity during a conciliatory meeting with the

officials of NUPTE and the management of NIPOST, appealled to the union to suspend its threat to embark on industrial actions and further embrace dialogue to engender lasting solutions to their grievances in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. Towards this end, the committee that had been set up by the minister, to be headed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communication and Technology, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, is to start deliberations on and provide lasting solutions to the issues in dispute. The union had demanded for implementation of

Resolution number three of the agreement reached in October 2013 in respect of payment of rent enhancement, payment of incentives and addressing the non-existence of collective bargaining agreement in NIPOST. Upon the minister’s intervention the union and NIPOST management agreed that the 2006 productivity incentive would be paid to the workers on or before the end of March, 2014 and that the committee would commence work from the 3rd week of March on modalities for rent enhancement. It was also resolved that the machinery for collective bargaining agreement should be put in motion immediately.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 55


56

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 57


58

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 59


60 Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 61


62

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 63


64

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 NEWSEXTRA 65

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

PERSPECTIVE

Ekiti 2014: Between players and jesters By John Ajayi S the clock ticks for the A battle royale in the June 21, 2014, gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, one renowned historical personae that readily comes to mind is William Penn Adair Rogers. To the uninitiated, this may sound a bit Afghanistanism. For members of the intellectual community, Rogers is no stranger to history as history is no stranger to him. History has it on good authority that Rogers, in his hey days, was renowned for his earthly anecdotes and folksy style that allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programmes, and a host of other controversial topics, in a way that was readily appreciated by a national audience of his era with no one offended. One of Rogers’ aphorisms, couched in humorous terms, is most relevant and apt in describing the politics of tom-foolery by some socalled political gladiators in Ekiti State. According to Rogers, “the way to judge a good comedy is by how long it will last and have people talk about it. Now, congress has turned out some that have lived for years and people are still laughing about them.” Don’t ask me how this relates to the present jostle for the top seat in Ekiti State come June 21, 2014, but politics is surely turning some characters into laughing stock. However, looking at the emerging political scenario in the state hitherto known as the “Fountain of Knowledge”, now rechristened as “Ile Iyi, Ile, Eye,” one can say without any equivocation that there are indeed a good number of jesters masquerading as political actors and gladiators. Nothing ever made this viewpoint more poignant than the recent revelation that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a major opposition political party to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has cleared no fewer than 13 gubernatorial aspirants and disqualified three. Without any prejudice to the judgment of the PDP screening committee and the proposed primary election, the figure is anything but normal against the earlier cacophony of voices on consensus candidacy. The aspirants cleared for the party’s forthcoming primary election by the Senator Victor Ndoma Egba’s committee are: former governor, Ayodele Fayose; immediate past Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade; Gbenga Aluko, Adedayo Adeyeye and 9 others. While the aspirants are believed to have scaled the screening hurdle, what was before now uppermost in the minds of majority of them was a consensus candidate. However, the push for primary election is believed to have originated from the minority group of the gubernatorial hopefuls. Although it is not in doubt that PDP is the next biggest

issue in the Nigerian body politic, yet its choice of gubernatorial hopefuls as indicated by the list of 13 aspirants leaves much to be desired. A very critical and objective review of the dramatis personae in the PDP political macabre dance will reveal that the list is populated largely by yesterday men. Just name one person among them, you would be greatly stunned to discover the worms buried in the Pandora box. Is it the former governor Fayose, the firstever to be impeached governor of Ekiti State, who still has some Economic and Crimes Financial Commission’s offences hang-

ing on him like a sword of Damocles? Or can it be Chief Olubolade, who even his own party men could not see the democratic dividend his ministration at the Police Affairs brought to Ekiti land? Are we talking about the once beaten twice shy personae, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, a former chieftain of Afenifere, now the butt of scornful gists, jests and jabs of some PDP political adherents? The list, though uncomfortably long, does not seem to consist of men who can turn the apple cart against the present All Progressives Congress (APC) political hegemony headed and personified by Dr. John Kayode Fayemi. In the PDP list

also are the meek and political lightweights like former deputy governor under Fayose, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni; erstwhile deputy governor, Chief Abiodun Aluko; former deputy governor, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi; erstwhile envoy, Ambassador Dare Bejide; former Speaker, Mr. Femi Bamisile; Mr. Bimbo Owolabi, Senator Gbenga and  Oluropo Aluko Ogunbolude, Omolara Adubiaro and Ajayi Eldad Ayodeji. In all of these, we can see with the benefit of historical hindsight, men and women of yesterday who appear poised and set against themselves and the future. These

characters are presently involved in kamikaze political melodrama in their quest to be noted. It needs be stated though that there are indeed a few of them who are yet to be discovered, as they have neither been tested let alone being trusted. How sincere and genuine these few individuals may be in their quest to occupy the exalted position in Ekiti State remains conjectural. For them, it can be argued on mere assumption that they may be serious contenders as there are no known social or political garbages around or about them. As the contest for the Ekiti State gubernatorial seat

beckons, the case of the lone Labour Party candidate, Mr. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (a.k.a. MOB), becomes Indeed, MOB’s pathetic. political peregrination has brought out more poignantly the political wisdom in William Pen Addair Rogers on the futility of a man in servitude to his own wisdom. The House of Representatives member in the Green Chamber, himself a political activist ipso-facto, has become a “rebel” without a cause or so it seems. (To be continued tommorrow) • Ajayi is a Lagos-based journalist and public commentator.


66

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 67


68

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 69


70

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 71


72 NEWSXTRA Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Akpabio tasks Niger Delta leaders on development • Nigerians laud gov over town hall meetings EADERS in the Niger Delta Ltheirhave been asked to use derivation money to

execute sustainable development projects in their states. Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State made the call when he paid a courtesy visit on the Executive Vice Chairman of ExxonMobil, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu in his home town, Onicha-Ugbo, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State. Akpabio remarked: “Our leaders in the Niger Delta must use their derivation money for sustainable development in their states. In Akwa Ibom State, we have tried our best to use our derivation money to change the phase of the state through the uncommon transformation development in the state. “Akwa Ibom State and the entire Niger Delta states are proud of him and hope that the community also appreciates him. I applaud the Vice Chairman who is working in the multi-national company for coming down to interact with the grassroots level of his community. And I must thank him for what he has done for his community through education by giving scholarships to indigenes of the community and through the development of his home town, among others.  So, our gathering today signifies Niger Deltans staying together in love and unity.” He called on traditional

leaders of the community to pray for the Vice Chairman and other sons of the community so that he would continue to be useful to the community, and also called on the youths of the community to focus more on education, shun crime, kidnapping and drugs, among others. Responding, Kachikwu commended Akpabio for the development achievement in Akwa Ibom State, saying that the governor is determined to lead the state through development, noting that the state governor has given Nigerians hope.   Royal fathers in the community who were also present during the visit, commended Akpabio for the developmental strides of Akwa Ibom State and for the love he has shown to their community and for identifying with their community. Meanwhile, a former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has described the ongoing Town hall meetings embarked upon by the Akpabio as a novel political idea with great democratic benefits. Kalu stated this in a chat with newsmen, while commenting on the grassroots exercise. According to him “ town hall meetings is the real essence of democratic process and nothing can be beneficial than dialogue on issue affecting the future political development of the people. I commend my brother and governor for

initiating this exercise because it is the bedrock on which self-rule stands.” Commenting on the exercise, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Kachi Onunuju, described it as a political masterstroke and positive step intended to open up the political space and participation. He called on other Nigerians to emulate the Akpabio example, noting “the process would bring about the much needed peaceful transition.” Similarly, Senator Effiong Bob, who advocated for the inclusion of his district in the 2015 elections, advised those with genuine interest of their people at heart to seize the opportunity provided by the town hall meetings to register and make public their demands. He stated that the town hall meeting was an idea, which time had come. He commended Governor Akpabio for initiating the idea, warning against boycott of the meeting saying” any politician who is worth his salt in the state should not boycott this kind of gathering because this is the only avenue you can make your minds known” In the words of Chief Otu Robert, a political leader in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, “ I commend Governor Akpabio for coming up with this idea of town hall meeting. It has opened a new political vista in the state where the people are being consulted and briefed on issues of government.” 

LASAA to host Africa’s biggest signage, outdoor conference, exhibition   FRICA’S  biggest signage A and outdoor conference and exhibition takes place June 22 - 27 this year at Eko Hotel Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) is the host. About 4,000 visitors  are expected for ‘’Sign and Outdoor Conference and Exhibition Africa (Lagos 2014),’’ while      about 300 exhibitors and conference participants from 30 countries drawn from Europe, Asia, America, Africa and within Nigeria will take part. LASAA says this  maiden edition of what may become an annual international conference and exhibition in Lagos, is geared at creating a convergence of stakeholders within the out-of-home advertising industry.   It will  focus on trends, best practices, innovations and challenges within the Nigerian and African context.  Conference participants will include advertising agencies, outdoor practitioners, media owners, signage fabricators,

printers, advertisers, regulators, government officials, event companies, outdoor protection services, retailers, franchisees and marketing professionals. Speaking on the new initiative, the Managing Director of LASAA, Mr. George Noah, said:    ‘’The  objective is to  provide a veritable platform for the growth and development of signage and outdoor advertising in Lagos State, Nigeria and Africa.  The event  is expected to attract from within and outside the country,   industry regulators, consultants, designers,  researchers, brand managers, media buying agencies, event companies, suppliers, manufacturers, exhibitors  in the signage, digital signage, retail signage solutions, outdoor media as well as screen and digital printing industries.  ‘’Our objective is to create an enabling environment that will help all players in our sector to grow their business and to keep abreast with new innovations from across the globe.

Visitors  and participants are expected  to discover the latest developments in equipment, software, signage and outdoor materials, systems, fittings and fixtures. Participants can maximise their time at the event by taking part in the tailored conference sessions  as well as experiencing live demonstrations and networking opportunities. “In addition, the    conference and exhibition  will deliver new market breakthroughs, significant onsite sales, joint venture opportunities, new trading partners and an improved regional profile for manufacturers’’. Exhibitors already committed to the event include: Rotapanel (Holland) Primedia (South Africa); Agfa (Belgium); Saga Group (Dubai)  and  Invent Media (Nigeria).  Similar exhibitions in Dubai, London and Milan are reported to  generate billions of dollars of sales for exhibitors serving the printing, signage and outdoor advertising industries.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 73


74 | Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Politics Consensus and Ekiti PDP aspirants From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, Southwest Bureau, Ado-Ekiti) HESE are not the best of times for the Ekiti T State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as it is planning to pick or elect its governorship candidate for the June 21 election. The party initially fixed March 15 for the candidate to emerge, but it postponed it till this weekend for the party leaders to mobilise intending voters for the Continuous Voter’s Registration (CVR) exercise, which began on Wednesday.  But the party has been in a fix whether its candidate should emerge through primaries or a consensus arrangement.  The arguments on it commenced last year when President Goodluck Jonathan first mooted the idea that for the party to avoid unnecessary crisis, the aspirants should abide by a consensus arrangement. Few days after the president suggestion, the leaders and executive members of the party in the state were sharply divided, as they smelled a rat and feared that if the Presidency and the national secretariat of the party were left to pick a candidate through consensus, their choice might not reflect the popular demands of the party members in the state. They reasoned that this would adversely affect the chances of the party in the election, and also determine the future of the PDP in the Southwest. To some of the members in the state, delegates should elect the candidate through a direct primary. A former governor of the state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has been in the vanguard of the people advocating primaries. However, former Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (Rtd) did not see the President Jonathan’s suggestion as an advise but an “order,” which must be carried out to the letter. Still, many have argued that Olubolade pitched his tent with the president’s option because “that seems to be the only arrangement through which he can emerge as the candidate.” Until about two weeks ago, 33 aspirants were jostling for the PDP ticket but with the national secretariat’s imposition of N11 million each for the purchase of the nomination form, the aspirants were reduced to 16 while the Senator Ndoma-Egba-led committee that screened the candidates further reduced the number to 13. Those that   scaled through the screening include, Olubolade; Fayose; Prince Dayo Adeyeye; Senator Gbenga Aluko; Abiodun Aluko, a former deputy governor of the state; and former Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Abiodun Adeyanju. Others are: Chief Bisi Omoyeni; Ropo Ogunbolude; Ambassador Dare Bejide; Erelu Dupe Ogundipe; Alhaja Habibat Adubiaro; Wale Aribisala and Deji Ajayi. The committee disqualified Dr. Peter Obafemi, Senator Bode Olowoporoku and Mrs. Bosede Dada. Olowoporoku was rejected for not providing tax clearance and also reportedly failed to produce a court judgement, which, he claimed, overturned his expulsion from the party. Obafemi’s ambition was truncated for failing to produce his NYSC discharge certificate while Dada was dropped because she could not produce her Secondary School Certificate and evidence of payment of party membership dues and tax payment. Sources close to the Screening Committee disclosed that consensus for picking the candidate was recommended to reduce friction and zoning, if necessary.  But the leadership of the party was said to be considering holding the primary election because of the strong forces from the Southwest zonal office that seems to favour the 13 aspirants slugging it out through primaries. The comment of the national chairman of the party,   Alhaji Adamu Muazu, when the

Jonathan

PDP Chairman, Adamu Muazu

Ndoma-Egba committee submitted its report at the Wada House, Abuja, was a soothing balm for the advocates of the primary election. Muazu was reported to be emphatic that the era of imposition of candidates had gone in the party. To the PDP faithful in Ekiti State, consensus option is seen as imposition and many have alleged that the Presidency had canvassed consensus arrangement to pave way for the emergence of Olubolade claimed as the “anointed” candidate of the president and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan. Olubolade is an experienced politician with requisite experience, having been a Military Administrator in Bayelsa State and a minister, but his grassroots support within the PDP in the state is suspect.  Olubolade did not become a minister as a nominee of the party from the state, but through his relationship with the president, which started when he was the administrator of Bayelsa State. His first appointment as a Minister of State for Special Duties was not celebrated by the PDP in Ekiti State; so also his appointment as Minister of Police Affairs. Indeed, he was said to be the only minister that his party did not organise a reception to honour him. That could be explained away as an unfriendly attitude of the then Bola Olu-Ojo-led executive of the party, which had been changed with the Makanjuola Ogundipe-led secretariat. The new executive was jointly installed by Olubolade and Fayose, to upturn former governor, Chief Segun Oni’s structure. THE proponents of the primary election were also afraid that the consensus option might jettison the zoning formula in the state. The Southern senatorial district has continuously argued that for fairness, equity and justice, the zone should produce the candidate for the party.  To the people of the district, with the highest number of local councils in the state, the other two senatorial districts had produced governors for two terms; why denying them what would be their first ticket through a consensus option that would relegate them and make them look inferior among their peers in the state.  And to show their determination for the ticket, seven of the 13 aspirants that scaled the nomination screening hail   from the south, four from the central and the remaining two from the North. But aspirants like Fayose and Adeyanju have argued that to defeat an incumbent, the party should jettison the zoning formula and leave

its door open to all aspirants to pick the best and strongest that could win the election for the party. Fayose has specifically argued that, “it is only a weak aspirant that will be canvassing for zoning” and advised the party to pick the “best horse in order to win the horse racing.” With the determination of the aspirants jostling for the ticket, analysts think that consensus would further polarise the party and force some of the members to decamp to the Labour Party (LP) and the state ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that are waiting to reap from the crisis in the PDP. Most of the aspirants claimed that a seemingly free and fair primary poll was the only option that would make the loser to accept defeat in good faith, while consensus would be regarded as a direct imposition by the Presidency, with its consequence profiting the LP and APC. In fact, the LP is reportedly anxiously waiting one of those that may decamp from the PDP as the running mate of its flagbearer, Rep. Opeyemi Bamidele.  Ekiti LP chairman, Akin Omole, left the PDP after the congress that uprooted Oni’s men from the executive while the outcome of a PDP consensus arrangement might also determine the fate of the remnants of Oni’s men in the party. Interestingly, an attempt by the leadership of the Southern senatorial district to use consensus to adopt three aspirants did not produce positive result, as some of them opted for direct primaries. Meanwhile, the inability of the PDP to take the INEC timetable into consideration to choose A date for the emergence of its candidate may have impact on the performance of the party in the election. While other parties, especially the APC, were on ground to   mobilise for the Continuous Voter’s Registration, almost all the PDP leaders were in Abuja, lobbying for the ticket. Yet, the state party chairman, Ogundipe, explained that the absence of the aspirants did not affect mobilisation for the exercise and was optimistic that the party would win the next election. Speaking on the signal that the party may finally go for the consensus option, Adeyeye advised the national leadership of the PDP to consider grassroots support, acceptability and respect zoning formula in choosing the candidate. The former Afenifere spokesperson said while he was in support of whatever method is adopted to select the candidate, choosing a

person with poor support base in the party would negatively affect the chances of the party in the election. His words: “I am prepared for whatever method is adopted to choose the party candidate. For the past two years, I have been working as if the primary would be held today.  “Also, I am not opposed to the issue of consensus. I have canvassed it everywhere I go but I think any serious politician must first work to enjoy the support of majority of party members.” On the issue of zoning the slot to Ekiti South senatorial district, Adeyeye said: “In the spirit of fairness and equity, the position must be rotated among all the three zones. The rotation principle is embedded in our traditional system. At the ward level, people understand that it is necessary. “Now, Ekiti North and South have served two terms as governor; if any of them is given the ticket again, one of the zones would now enjoy 12 years as governor, while our zone will still have nothing. “Contrary to what some people are saying, zoning is helping to stabilise our democracy and reduce tension in the polity. In Switzerland, the headship of the country is rotated among the cantons.” But Fayose, while speaking on his determination to see the party holding the primaries, said: “I have been anti-consensus and I have maintained the same position because the party has repeatedly said it wanted internal democracy. “So to me, I have made my position known. The party, through the National Organising Secretary, reaffirmed that the party would conduct free and fair primaries. Whoever wins the primary becomes a candidate of the party.  “I want to tell you, there is none of the aspirants that is not qualified. They are my brothers irrespective of the contest.” On what he would do if he did not emerge as the flagbearer of the party, the former governor said: “I will be 54 this year. It is too late to cross carpet to another party. Even if the party does not pick me, I will not cross carpet.  “If it is the will of God that I will be candidate of the party, in whatever manner the party goes about it, it will happen. And if it is not the will of God, I will still stand by the PDP.” For Olubolade, an advocate of consensus, he would stick by the dictates of the party leadership. He said: “As a disciplined person, I normally comply with the directives of the higher authority. Once the leadership has spoken, it becomes our duty as followers to do exactly what they said.  “If consensus is being canvassed, they (party leadership) have their reasons and we the followers must key into that. Anybody doing anything different from that must have his reasons and will be treated as such.  “I strongly key into the consensus matter and I believe that it will be concluded and there will be positive results. “The party is supreme, whatever the party says that is what we will all do, we have no choice, and we don’t have to do anything different.  “We will respect the party’s decision. Discipline is embedded in the party and that is what makes us thick and brings sanity into the party.” Reacting to the rumour that he is the anointed candidate of the President Jonathan, Olubolade said: “You have said it that it is rumour and we don’t have remedy for rumours. That means it is not likely to be true.  “I don’t want us to hinge our position on rumours. The issue of consensus should not worry us. I have said that on all matters, the party is supreme.” While some analysts believe that the party may be thinking on choosing less controversial aspirants like Senator Aluko or Bejide, others claim that the powers-that-be have zeroed their minds on Olubolade.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 POLITICS 75

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

‘PDP should respect ‘gentlemanly understanding’ in Delta’ Peter Eloka Okocha, a former governorship aspirant of the Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is praying the leadership of the party to create a level-playing field for the 2015 governorship poll in the state. He also says implementation and not a new constitution is the problem of Nigeria. Recently in Lagos, he spoke with journalists on his impending political voyage and expectations. Seye Olumide was there. OULD the planned confab W resolve the numerous challenges facing the country? Our problem is not in coming up with resolutions. Nigeria is endowed with human resources. Even if they stay for five days, they will come up with a white paper. The problem is the implementation.  To me, there is nothing wrong with the present 1999 Constitution. America is over 200 years old and they are still going through constitutional amendments. If we, as a people, are sincere in making this country a better place, our constitution should go through constitutional amendments. There is no time that we should not be talking. My problem with the constitutional conference at this time is that we have elections. I don’t know how we can manage both. Are you inferring it is dangerous to go into another election without resolving the issues surrounding the much criticised 1999 Constitution? There is something I found wrong in our constitution and this has to do with indigenization. All my children were born in Lagos but they don’t consider themselves Yoruba; they consider themselves Lagosians. In the constitution, there is this issue of indigene. Who is a Lagosian, if 90 per cent of my resources is in Lagos? I have only a factory and two houses in my hometown.  Since I came back from America, I have lived in Lagos. All my children go to my hometown only during festivities. They speak Yoruba; they don’t speak my dialect and when  it gets to indigenisation, you will say they are not Lagosians and vice versa. I think the legislators and our people should concentrate on amending the constitution instead of having a constitutional conference. I have said I don’t know how we are going to manage the two. You left the PDP but you are now back; what led to your change of mind? I have been back to the PDP. One, my state is controlled by the PDP. Two, I was badly treated by the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which has merged with other parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC); that made me to go back to PDP.  I financed all the candidates in the defunct ACN for local governments, House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate in Delta State. I did not receive one penny from the national headquarters of the party. But during my litigation, nobody from the national body of ACN came to court for one day. The chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, never came to court one day and I am not a nobody. So, when that case ended, I knew that I could no longer stay in the party. I decided to go back to the PDP. Delta is more of a PDP state, and nobody could claim to be the owner of the party unlike the ACN.  Whoever becomes the president becomes the leader of the PDP. You cannot say a particular person owns the PDP. There may be gladiators and people who have cornered power because of their positions. But when they leave, they become inconsequential. What does this suggest to you about the APC? The truth of the matter is that I don’t have faith in the APC. I believe that they would have their own crisis. Former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, had the best model when he introduced the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC). 

We need a two-party system. If you have three, they would go under the tripod of Hausa, Igbo and the Yoruba. So, SDP and NRC, were the best thing that had happened. Unfortunately, Babangida did a good job but spoilt it in the end. He annulled M.K.O Abiola’s election. The annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election was the worst thing that ever happened to this nation. If we had continued with the two-party system, by now we would have built it up.  In the United States, people usually throw out the Democratic Party, not because they have done poorly, but because they need a change. I didn’t see why the former U.S President, Bill Clinton’s deputy, Al Gore, wouldn’t have succeeded Clinton. But the Americans elected the candidate of the Republican Party, George Bush. If we have a two party-system, by now, we would have perfected it  because that is what Nigeria needs. The APC will go through these challenges. Some of the original members will still leave, like you have seen. Ibrahim Shekarau (former governor of Kano State) has left. May be, former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Buba Marwa, will also leave.  You have been making frantic efforts to govern Delta State in the last couple of years; why have you persisted despite the odds? If we are to take a critical look at the entire Niger Delta area, I think there is the need to drive the economy of the states in the South-South beyond oil and gas. I have the mindset to develop infrastructure, security, human capital, and others. This is a great idea that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has come up with.  The oil has been abused. Farmers no longer go to farm; fishermen no longer fish. Everybody is after oil and gas. It is not impossible or difficult to rejuvenate those things that made us (Deltans) the best if we have the vision and the determination.  The University of Ibadan was born out of the University  College, London. Yaba College of Technology was a backbone of the best. The Lagos University Teaching Hospital was serving the whole of West Africa. Today, unfortunately, when a Nigerian is sick, even for headache, they all fly abroad because we don’t have institutions.  So, I think we should reawaken those primary institutions that we have neglected. HOW would you react to the allegation of corruption against your person, your exclusion from PDP’s candidates’ list in 2007 and the gentleman’s understanding that was reached among the three senatorial districts in Delta? I believe I have something to offer. It is not enough to sit on the fence and complain. Of course, I made an adventure in 2007. I was excluded because I am a friend to the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.  They said I was corrupt. The el-Rufai white paper said I was corrupt. Since I was born, I have never worked for anybody. So, who corrupted me? The case went to court. By the time it was over, the elections were over.  Then, we started going to court over exclusion. The present governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, won the appeal. The good thing is that he would be completing his eight-year term in 2015. In Delta State, we have what we call ‘gentlemanly understanding’ that is also hoisted on us by the leadership of the party, PDP. It means power would rotate from one senatorial district to the other. Delta Central has served under James Ibori for eight years. The Delta

Okocha South also produced Governor Uduaghan, who will, by 2015, complete his eight years. If the gentlemanly understanding is respected, the Delta North has to produce the next PDP candidate. It is an understanding, not an agreement, because any agreement will be unconstitutional. It is only an understanding in the PDP. No other political party has that kind of understanding. The people that are abreast of political development in Delta State would have read what the state PDP chairman said, what the secretary to the government has said and what the governor has not said. The governor has kept quite on it.  But the truth is that there is a gentlemanly understanding. There is no agreement. We hope and pray that they would respect that gentlemanly understanding. Are you in doubt that the party would not respect that understanding? It is not an agreement because an agreement is something you sign and seal and you are waiting to deliver. I call it gentlemanly understanding. The various senatorial districts that have enjoyed that understanding should respect it. However, there is no law that stops anybody from those districts from contesting.  But we are hoping that the governor will, in time, lend his voice to the gentlemanly understanding. I hope that even the governor’s opinion will be respected because if he says it, it is still unconstitutional. 

He cannot tell anybody from the Delta South and Delta Central not to run, but he can do what I call ‘moral persuasion’ by saying that  the Delta Central and Delta South have had it; let us give the Delta North a chance in 2015. Peradventure the ‘gentlemanly understanding’ is not respected and people from the Delta South and Delta Central decide to run... I am not one of those who believe this power allocation. The best and the brightest should be given a chance. Unfortunately, both the media and various organisations are also to be blamed for us coming up with half-baked leadership. Most of them have not been put to test. I am glad that the president (chairman) of the governors’ forum once said that 50 per cent of the politicians are people that don’t have anything to do. Most people come into politics because they could not find employment. They are not educated or literate to write. How do you view the Anioma from Delta North, who are bent on having the governorship slot in 2015? Anioma is the Igbo-speaking area in Delta State. Anioma is the coinage for the various towns that make up the Igbo enclave. In the acronym, A-N-I-OM-A, A stands for Aniocha, N stands for Ndokwa, I stands for Ika, O stands for Oshimili and on. It refers to the composition of the nine local governments that make up that Igbo area called Anioma. Sincerely speaking, we should not actually be clamouring because we

To me, there is nothing wrong with the present 1999 Constitution. America is over 200 years old and they are still going through constitutional amendments. If we, as a people, are sincere in making this country a better place, our constitution should go through constitutional amendments. There is no time that we should not be talking. My problem with the constitutional conference at this time is that we have elections. I don’t know how we can manage both.

have more local governments. There are 25 local government areas in Delta State; nine are Igbo, eight are Urhobo and out of that eight, three are Iteskiri, three are Ijaw and two are Isoko. If we play smart politics, we can take our nine and just poach from there. Definitely, other senatorial districts may not easily concede power to Delta North on a platter of gold; how do you intend to go about this? Prior to the 2007 elections, I campaigned on the platform of the PDP. I was screened out. We went to Abuja the present governor, others and myself. Only me and one other person were not cleared.  I came back and asked my people what should we do. They said we should go to another party and challenged them.  Funding a new party is a herculean task. We spent over N2.5 billion of my personal money and still never won the  election. Even where our men won, for some reasons, you go to court and the case is thrown out. This is why I am subscribing to the idea of nobody gets sworn-in until the court case is over. So, power is never given to anybody; you have to wrest it, you have to fight, you have to negotiate sometimes. We are a state of very diverse ethnic groups; let us take this thing senatorially.  But taking it didn’t stop the others from contesting. So, anybody in the south saying he will contest is also right. But those in authority know where power would go and they would provide the enabling environment to make sure that somebody from that area wins. As we are working towards achieving this, the governor should lend is voice and throw his weight behind a Delta North candidate so that the cycle will be completed. Since Delta Central had served, the Delta South had served, the only zone that has not produced the governor is Delta North.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

76 NEWSXTRA Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Communiqué

Isoko decry exclusion from confab, back true federalism, others

T the pre-National Conference meeting of the Isoko Development Union (IDU) held in Oleh on 13 March 2014 and presided over by Major-General Paul Omu (rtd), President-General and the lone Isoko delegate to the conference, the following resolutions were taken: Preamble Nigeria is a nation-state built on a false and pretentious foundation with the primary aim of serving colonial and neo-colonial interests and not the interests of the people at the time of the forced amalgamation in 1914 of the erstwhile Southern and Northern protectorates by the British overseer Lord Frederick Lugard; that as a result Nigeria has known no peace since the flag independence of 1960 but has lurched from one potential crisis of disintegration to another; that from the 1960 independence constitution negotiated in London, right inside the belly of the colonial whale, to General Abacha’s military-imposed constitution of 1999, the people of Nigeria have been consistently excluded from the most important exercise in nationbuilding; that consequently the Isoko Development Union welcomes the opportunity of a National Conference provided

A

by President Goodluck Jonathan for Nigerians to take their destiny in their hands by beginning the task of reconstructing Nigeria on a solid and unshakable foundation, and to that end shall insist on or advocate the following issues: 1. Participation by Default in the National Conference The Isoko feel slighted by the fact that they were not allocated a delegate in their own right as an ethnic nationality but will be participating in the National Conference by default: as part of the SouthSouth delegation. 2. Extreme Marginalisation of Isoko people This is in keeping with the long established pattern of extreme marginalisation in the hands of successive federal governments, military or civilian. Although a major oil and gas producing community that takes pre-eminence only after Oloibiri as the site where oil was discovered for the second time (Uzere in Isoko South local government area), the treatment of the Isokos is inversely proportional to their massive contribution to the nation’s purse. 3. Denial of a third local government Although the Isoko are the third most populous ethnic

General Omu nationality in Delta State and the largest of the three ‘I’s (Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko), they alone still have only two local governments when they should have three. 4. Total absence of federal presence and in appoint-

ments There is a shocking absence of federal presence, other than post offices, in Isokoland. Since the return to democracy in 1999, no Isoko son or daughter has been appointed minister, ambassador, head or chairman of a major paras-

tatal. So total is the contemptuous treatment of the Isoko people that none has been found worthy of heading or holding high office in the ministry and agency set up specifically to address the marginalisation of the Niger Delta—the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) including its predecessor the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC). 5. Amnesty and human capital development programme Isoko youths are almost completely excluded from the amnesty and skills development programme of the federal government aimed at stemming militancy among the youths of the Niger Delta even though Isoko youths were in the forefront of the struggle for a just and equitable reinvestment in the area of the oil and gas moneys that account for 90% of the economy. 6. Local government autonomy Local government is supposed to bring governance closer to the people as vehicles of popular participation. They are unable to do so due to the cumulative effect of the destruction of the concept of governmental autonomy. Instead, they have been reduced to mere salary-paying centres. State governors treat LGA finances as slush funds to be spent unaccountably such that even basic municipal services such as sanitation and garbage collection are not performed. The Isokos shall insist on fiscal autonomy for LGAs under their respective states which shall have the power of creating them according to specific development needs. 7. True federalism Federalism remains the most conducive ideological framework of government for a multi-ethnic society of plural languages, cultures and religious beliefs but Nigeria is a federation in name only. The Isokos shall insist on a return to the true federalism practised from 1957-1966. 8. Structure of the federation Nigeria’s current structure of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is unviable. The states were intended as mere administrative units in the unitary form of government that the military imposed after assuming forceful governance of the country in 1966. Nigeria must be restructured according to the indices of ethno-linguistic contiguity, economic viability, and regional autonomy. 9. Fiscal federalism/resource control The land and water and all other resources (natural or artificial) derived from the federating states belong to the states which may only be obligated to pay an agreed proportion of the aggregate revenues, never to be more than 50%, derived therefrom to the central government. 10. System of government A return to the parliamentary system of government for its many advantages: it is far cheaper to run as elections are held only at the local constituency level with the party

winning the clear majority of seats forming the government; it is inherently more democratic as it accommodates the idea of opposition politics such that minority parties are not seen as “enemies”; elections can be called at any time rather than waiting till the end of an electoral cycle before an unpopular government is subjected to the will of the people; elected officials can be recalled at any time by their constituents. The presidential system, on the other hand, is prohibitively expensive and ill-affordable to poor countries; corrupts the electoral process through the undue advantage it gives to rich candidates and special interests; concentrates power and promotes the noxious idea of winner-takes-all and do-or-die politics. 11. Secularity of Nigeria Nigeria being a country of many peoples or ethnic nationalities, cultures and religious beliefs, its secular status must be constitutionally guaranteed and strictly adhered to in order to ensure freedom of worship and peaceful co-existence. 12. National security The dictates of true federalism apart, Nigeria is a vast and populous country that cannot be effectively policed by the Federal Government alone. States must be free to establish their own police with the duty of maintaining law and order in their respective domains without prejudice to the continued existence of the federal police force, or to cooperation between the federal and state police forces. 13. Size and cost of government Nigeria has the most expensive legislature in the world and this has nothing to do with the size of its population (it is not more populous than the United States of America, Indonesia, India or China) or the content of its democracy. About 75% of the annual budget goes to recurrent expenditure, with as much as 25% used for maintaining the national legislative apparatus alone. The size and cost of government must be radically reduced. 14. Corruption and Constitutional immunity for the President, Governors, and their Deputies Corruption is literally eating Nigeria alive. Yet, the greatest impediment to the so-called war against corruption is arguably the constitutional immunity granted the president and the governors, including their deputies. Those who should be most severely sanctioned due to the sacred trust demanded by their high station are protected from prosecution while in office! The corruption-promoting immunity clause must be excised from the new Constitution. 15. Electoral reform A major threat to democracy is the inability of successive governments to conduct free, fair and credible elections. The core recommendations of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Panel must be incorporated in a new constitution to guarantee ACTUAL independence for INEC.


BUSINESS Tuesday, March 18, 2014 77

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Lawyer, CSO worry over rising impunity in Nigeria

Again, gas, others threaten declaration of transitional electricity market

By Chijioke Nelson HE Chairman of Ikeja Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ubani Onyekachi, said the alleged impunity on the looting of public treasury by politicians and government appointees without punitive action against them is condemnable. The lawyer, who made the observation at the Stop Impunity Workshop, organized by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), in Lagos yesterday, said that the total lifestyle of average person in the corridor of power changes immediately on appointment. According to him, the current system in the country opens access to public treasury to any appointee without check and within two years in office, the person has become a millionaire. “Those in government are there for themselves and what they could get out of the position. Even their lifestyle and the way they go about getting into the office is the opposite of what they claim,” he said. Ubani said that almost every aspect of the national endeavor is disjointed, leaders taking pleasure in unleashing hardship on citizens, while there is no national ethos upon which a limit is set for every behavior. “There is structural imbalance and this has sustained impunity. The progress made in the country from 1960 to 1976 has never been replicated to date. The only way forward is for us all to sit down and talk, but my only reservation in the ongoing conference is the modalities,” he added. However, the Lead Director of CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, said that impunity in the country has manifested in various ways and contributed to the nation’s backwardness, amid persistent growth figures churned out to the public. Onyekpere said that unresolved corruption cases, with new ones emerging continuously, lack of openness, transparency and opaque systems and security challenges that have enabled huge oil theft are becoming Nigeria’s big troubles. Others, he said are weak and compromised judiciary, poor electoral system and extra judicial killings that are almost becoming the usual. “Impunity plays a significant role in the socio-economic and political development outcome of any country, especially in a democratic dispensation, where people expect public conscience and accountability to drive developments positively. “It is an anti social behavior that disregards punishment or sanction and deliberate disregard for prosecutorial system. Sadly, Nigeria seems not to be interested in prosecuting such flagrant disregard in the first place. “Any economy bedeviled with impunity is characterized by infrastructural decay, debt burden, poor welfare, inefficient public institutions and the determinant of the political development outcome. This is the condition of the country now,” he added.

From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja

T

HE perennial gas availabiliT ty challenge that has plagued the power sector in the past is again threatening the declaration of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM), an important element of the electricity transformation agenda when activities would be determined by contracts and obligations. The Transition Electricity Market (TEM) is expected, among others, to herald the start of contractual arrangements in the power sector and the automation of billing and metering operations of the Market Operator in line with the Market Rules. Going by government privatization timetable, the next crucial phase of the electricity reforms is the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) stage for the commencement of a fully contracted electricity market mode under an antic-

ipated robust commercial and technical regime. The declaration of TEM, which was earlier scheduled for this month had to be called off when the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission ( NERC) and the new owners of the nation’s generation and distribution firms raised concerns that many of the conditions precedent for the declaration were still problematic. NERC had quickly advised the Minister of Power to stay action on the declaration. Yesterday, the Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo again expressed worries that gas and other challenges were standing in the way of the TEM. Addressing participants at the Nigeria Power Forum in Abuja yesterday, Nebo also announced that work had been completed on a new blueprint to be called National Roadmap on Access to Electricity.

On TEM, the Minister said: “As we move to fulfill all conditions precedent upon the declaration of the transition electricity market (TEM), we still face some challenges. Gas supply and security issues, transmission, revenue collection just to mention a few. As you are aware, the declaration of TEM will automatically kick in the contractual obligations of all market participants.” He called on Nigerians to continue to keep faith with the Federal Government, as they would soon reap the benefits of the privatization programme in greater proportion. “On November 01 2013, the Federal Government physically handed over 10 DisCos and 4 GenCos to their new owners. This was a culmination of the process privatization adjudged globally as very ambitious and transparent. The Bureau of Public Enterprise – BPE has also announced the preferred bid-

ders for Afam Power plant and Kaduna DisCo as well as the 10 NIPP plants. This entire privatization process is akin to changing the owner/driver of a car. The mere change of driver, on its own, does not automatically translate to an efficient performance of the car. We must now work together to develop the emerging electricity market with a strong, responsive yet proactive regulator and other participants meeting all obligations including their respective business plans. “I wish to remind us that the major aim of the power sector reform is to act as the catalyst for economic growth of Nigeria. It was anticipated that the reform will move the country towards industrialization, create more jobs, result in higher GDP, increase household income and improve standard of living and improve youth development and social security. These are some of the intend-

ed benefits of the power sector reform.” He stressed how relevant officials were working hard to ensure that the effects oft the privatization process gets to the larger population. “The privatization of the PHCN legacy assets is over and that of the NIPP assets at an advance stage. The main task now is to ensure that the impact of the privatization is felt in homes and businesses all across the country. Clearly we have moved aggressively to fully implement the roadmap on power. The early signs of improvement have been acknowledged but are not yet evenly felt,” the Minister noted. He continued: “It is however sad to note that despite all these advances, Nigeria still has less than 40 per cent access to electricity with more than 25 million households without access. The Federal Government is targeting up to 75 per cent penetration by 2020.”

President, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Prince Adeyemi Adefulu, Lead Partner at Detail Commercial Solicitors, Ayuli Jemide, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Peter Carter, and Chairman, Nigerians in the Square Mile (NISM), Paul Onifade in Lagos during a trade mission to showcase the UK’s excellence and innovation in the finance, professional and business services sectors.

Microsoft announces countdown to Windows XP End of Service By Adeyemi Adepetun

FTER April 8th 2014, A computers currently running Windows XP will

no longer receive critical security patches and updates, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and the growing risk of cyber-attacks that can steal or damage personal information and business data, Microsoft Incorporation has said. According to Microsoft, new research has shown that Windows XP is five times as susceptible to viruses and attacks as Windows 8.1 because older operating systems were not designed to be protected against the fast evolving exploitation techniques and threats of today. Microsoft Windows Group Lead for West, East, Central

Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, Rotimi Olumide said, “End of service doesn’t mean XP will stop running, but over time security and performance will be severely affected. “The latest International Data Corporation (IDC) data shows that businesses are prone to spend three times more on dealing with security issues in the next year if they don’t plan to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8.” With Microsoft studies showing that PCs running XP are estimated to double productivity costs within two to five years, operating systems like Windows 8, coupled with a productivity suite like Office 365, not only offer complete protection against modern threats, but ensure enhanced business efficiency.

“With small businesses contributing up to 50 per cent of GDP and up to 90 per cent of employment in many sub-Saharan African economies, it is vital that they embrace newer technologies to remain competitive and thrive in the modern-era,” Olumide noted. Microsoft explained that from consumers and smaller businesses, to large corporations, Windows 8 and Window 8.1 offer increased speed, reliability, security, a range of productivityboosting apps, and lowercost of ownership, adding that They also provide a modern platform designed for a new generation of hardware experiences — from tablets and innovative touch devices to traditional desktops and laptops to ensure the modern workforce has the tools that allow them to stay productive and connected virtually

anytime, anywhere. “Support for my Microsoft technology investment is key, I have leveraged on it for years and could not afford any vulnerability. My upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 was a wise decision which now makes my PCs more secure and userfriendly”, Chief Information Officer, Hallel Investment Limited, Akemini King said. For tech-savvy and nontech-savvy businesses alike, Microsoft said upgrading is easy- provided they know where to turn for help. To upgrade, the software giant explained that there are two ways to that, including finding a local technology partner, who can offer a tremendous amount of support to small businesses that need help deciding which

device and software combination will best meet their needs. According to it, in many cases, a partner will also help businesses set up their new technologies and even train employees on the software tools. Second is the ‘Do-it-yourself’. Microsoft explained that tech-savvy small businesses can also upgrade their current PCs if they are compatible with the newer operating system and productivity tools. To find out if current PCs will work with modern operating systems such as Windows 8.1, visit the Windows 8.1 website. According to Microsoft, users won’t be able to keep any files, settings, or programs when they upgrade from Windows XP, and it is recommended to first back up all files before migration.


78

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18 , 2014

MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

AS AT 17-03-2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

MARKET INDICATORS

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 MARKET REPORT 79

AS AT 17-03-2014

PRIMERA AFRICA

Stocks slide further on the Exchange Stories by Bukky Olajide HE equities market closed yesterday on a negative note, as All-share Index on the Nigerian Stock Exchange[NSE] depreciated by -0.74 per cent to close at 37,888.47 basis points, compared with the depreciation of -0.86 per cent recorded previously. Its year-to-date returns currently stands at 8.33 per cent. Market breadth also closed negative as Stanbic Bank led seven gainers against 37 losers, topped by Afriprud at the end of yesterday’s session- an improved performance when compared with previous outlook. Market turnover was also negative as volume traded depreciated by -63.96 per cent against -22.80 per cent decline recorded in previous session.Bank, FBNH, and Transcorp were the most active to boost market turnover. FBNH and

T

Zenithbank top market value list. The oil sector recorded 3.66 per cent to emerge the worst hit sectoral performance among others Speaking with The Guardian on the market performance, an analyst, Shehu Mikail, said that market felt, last week because banking shares were generally the target of investors in lieu of its higher returns. He explained that the banking sector performed low because economic watchers - the core investors, were looking at the economic angle, and therefore kept their holdings before venturing, while the minority investors had series of other commitments, hence, the low performance of the sector. Mikail expressed optimism that things will pick up when the banks start giving their account details

NSE lists N2.752bn Vetiva Griffin 30 ETF at N17.27 HE Nigerian Stock T Exchange (NSE) has listed N2.75 billion worth of Vetiva

What Happened? The NSE All-Share index declined by 74bps (0.74%) and closed at 37,888.47. This represents a year-to-date performance of - 8.33%. Market Capitalisation also depreciated 0.74% to close at N12.170trillion.Total value traded decreased 35.45% to N2.411 billion and total volume traded decreased 68.96% to 219.70 million units. Where? At the close of trading, the banking sector represented 30.45% of the total market value traded, while the breweries sector represented 10.29% The Top 5 stocks as a % of total market value traded were: FBNH (16.94%), ZENITHBANK (13.97%), GUARANTY (10.25%), DIAMONDBNK (9.56%) and NB (8.86%). On a volume basis, the Top 5 most traded stocks for the day were: DIAMONDBNK (35.54m), FBNH (35.02m), TRANSCORP (17.08m), ZENITHBANK (16.04m) and STERLNBANK (15.58m).

Griffin 30 exchange traded fund (VG 30 ETF) securities at N17.27 kobo. This translated into a total of 159,400,000 units of at N17.27 which were admitted to trade on the NSE by Vetiva Fund Managers Limited. The VG 30 ETF is an openended ETF managed by Vetiva Fund Managers designed to track the performance of the constituent companies of the NSE 30 index and to replicate the price and yield performance. Managing Director, Vetiva Fund Managers, Damilola Ajayi explained that the VG 30 ETF seeks to give investors optimal exposure to the Nigerian bourse, with ‘’over 90 exposure on a market capitalisation basis,’’ he said. Ajayi said the underlying securities are held by a custodian in the name of a trust for investor protection and the entry and exit costs for ETFs are generally lower when compared to traditional Unit Trusts. According to him, it is expected that the fund will pay bi-annually The Managing Director said in line with the growing ETF industry, Vetiva developed the VG 30 ETF to give investors optimal exposure to the Nigerian Capital Market by tracking the movement of the NSE 30 index. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NSE, Oscar Onyema, in his opening remarks at the Facts behind the Listing presentation, said: “ this is indeed, a major milestone in the remodelling of the capital market landscape, and it marks the beginning of a new era in product offerings for investors in particular, and the market in general.” He said ETFs had experienced astounding success as

the fastest growing investment product of the last 20 years. “Global assets grew to $2.25 trillion in 2013, registering over 28 per cent Year-on-Year growth. Out of the total growth, new cash flows contributed 14.7 per ($259bn), while the remaining 13.5 per cent came from asset price increases. In 2013, ETFs accounted for 27 per cent of all equities trading in the US,’’ he added. The NSE boss affirmed that collective investment schemes (CIS) were not new to the market. ‘’Today, there are over 20 mutual funds on memorandum listing on the NSE, but with ETFs, investors get the diversification offered by mutual funds, along with the intra-day price discovery of equities, all in one product,’’ Onyema said. According to him, at the Nigerian capital market, investors who prefer to trade in an equity type consult can get instant equity diversification with the VG 30 ETF. ‘’In recognition of the immense potential inherent in ETFs, the Exchange has created other tradable indices to track various sectors of the market and we look forward to working with issuers such as Vetiva to roll them out,’’ he added. Issuing house to the VG 30 ETF, Cordros Capital Limited’s Managing Director, Wale Agbeyangi said offer for subscription on a “securities for units” basis will deliver a portfolio of securities of the NSE 30 Index constituent companies, in exchange for units in the VG 30 ETF. According to him, minimum subscription limit was 5,000,000 units; indicating a block or 50 baskets of VG 30 ETF securities and applications for more than 5,000,000 units must be in multiples of 100,000 units.


80

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

U.S. banks’ estimated $75 billion payout at stake over stress tests

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest home lender and the most profitable U.S. bank in 2013, will return as much as $14.7 billion or as little as $13.5 billion, estimates show. HE biggest U.S. banks are about to learn T whether they can pay out more than $75 billion in excess capital to investors as the Federal Reserve completes stress tests of their ability to survive new economic calamities. Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. would lead a 69 per cent increase in dividends and stock buybacks over the next 12 months after the central bank releases results of its annual tests on March 20 and March 26, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That’s assuming the companies pass, which some of the analysts say is less than assured. “We know the banks have enough capital, that’s not the question,” Todd Hagerman, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. in New York, said in an interview. “It’s more about whether there is something in the capitalplanning process that the Federal Reserve might object to.” Investors and analysts including Hagerman are confident the six biggest firms will pass because of the capital cushions and experience they’ve amassed since stress tests began in 2009. There’s more concern that some of the 12 smaller banks taking part for the first time might not pass and speculation the Fed could reject one or more firms of any size for flawed planning. “That’s the biggest risk,” said R. Scott Siefers, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP. “The regulators may simply choose to fail one or two guys qualitatively every year.” In addition to the largest commercial lenders, the tests cover the biggest regional banks, securities firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, creditcard issuers such as American Express Co. and custodial banks State Street Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. The tests of 30 companies are designed to prevent a repeat of the $700 billion bailout program during the 2008 crisis, and the Fed changes the dire economic scenarios that go into the decision each year. This time, firms must show they can ride out a plunge in the value of high-risk business loans and another housing bust. Eight of the biggest banks also must demonstrate that they can handle the sudden demise of their trading partner with the potential for the greatest losses. Bankers will have to describe in the “adverse” scenario what would happen to the value of their existing portfolio of riskier commercial loans should yields rise as high as 9.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2014. In the Fed’s “severely adverse” scenario, the unemployment rate peaks at 11.25 per cent, stocks fall almost 50 per cent and U.S. housing prices slide 25 per cent, while the euro area sinks into recession.

Last year, the Fed ordered JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, the largest and fifth-biggest U.S. banks, to submit new capital plans to address weaknesses. The central bank rejected submissions from Detroit-based Ally Financial Inc. and BB&T Corp. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. New York-based American Express had to revise its plan to win approval. “They need to understand there’s a huge qualitative element to this,” said John Corston, a former regulator at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. who now works at Deloitte & Touche LLP in Washington. “When you’re looking at areas like legal settlements or issues in the mortgage area, included in the process is an estimate that looks at operational risk.” The biggest increase in payouts may come from Citigroup Inc., ranked third by assets and run by Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat, 53. The New York-based firm could return $6.6 billion in the year beginning April 1, compared with $121 million in the previous 12 months, according to an average of four analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The predictions range from as much as $8.2 billion to as little as $4.7 billion. Citigroup’s request may be complicated by a $400 million fraud the bank reported last month after it found falsified documents tied to loans made by its Mexican unit to an oilservices firm, according to Chris Kotowski, an Oppenheimer & Co. analyst in New York. Management can’t say whether the episode would affect the test’s outcome, John McDonald, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst, wrote last week after meeting with Chief Financial Officer, John Gerspach. Kotowski said the bank’s “modest” payout request probably will be granted. “I could imagine the Fed adding some language or conditionality to it — that they need to demonstrate that this was an isolated incident and that they have examined and tightened their procedures,” Kotowski said in an email. Banking frauds are almost inevitable, and Citigroup must show that it won’t be “allowed to mushroom in size,” he said. The six largest U.S. banks may return $47.8 billion starting in April, the estimates show. That compares with $23.6 billion for the prior year, according to Stifel Financial Corp.’s KBW unit. The firms gave back $66.4 billion in the 2007 calendar year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. “The dividends and buybacks — the sheer size

of them — suggest there is plenty of profit to play with,” David Ellison, a Boston-based mutual-fund manager specializing in financial stocks at Hennessy Advisors Inc., said in a phone interview. “It shows that if a bank is run appropriately, it’s very profitable.” Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest home lender and the most profitable U.S. bank in 2013, will return as much as $14.7 billion or as little as $13.5 billion, estimates show. That compares with about $7.8 billion the San Francisco-based firm will have paid in the 12 months ended March 2014. The bank’s annual dividend will climb to $1.28 a share from $1.20, according to KBW. That would boost the payout ratio — dividends and buybacks as a per centage of profit — to 62 per cent from 37 per cent, KBW said. JPMorgan may give back as much as $15.5 billion and as little as $10.6 billion, the estimates show. That compares with about $7.5 billion returned the prior year by the New York-based firm, which is led by CEO Jamie Dimon, 58. The dividend may climb to $1.64 a share from $1.52, raising the total payout ratio to 56 per cent from 47 per cent, according to KBW. Regulators will have to decide whether disputes with JPMorgan over mortgage-bond sales, money-laundering prevention and management controls affect the outcome of the tests. Marianne Lake, 44, the company’s CFO, told investors last month the bank expects to have significant excess capital that can help fund “a healthy dividend payout with the potential to increase over time” as well as buybacks. Dimon said JPMorgan might “add a penny or two every quarter, or something.” Bank of America Corp.’s payout could range from $8.7 billion to as little as $5.5 billion, according to the estimates. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm returned about $4.4 billion in the 12 months ending March 2014. Any increase would benefit Brian T. Moynihan, 54, who has made restoring payouts a priority since 2010, when he became CEO at the nation’s second-largest bank. Moynihan came under fire in 2011 after fanning investor expectations for a “modest” dividend increase, only to have the Fed reject his request. He didn’t ask for one the following year and won approval for a $5 billion buyback in 2013. Morgan Stanley may pay out $2.1 billion, according to an average of analysts’ estimates.

Bankers will have to describe in the “adverse” scenario what would happen to the value of their existing portfolio of riskier commercial loans should yields rise as high as 9.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2014.

Bloomberg

In the prior year, the New York-based firm’s stock issuances were greater than its buybacks and dividends. Goldman Sachs, also based in New York, will return $6 billion over the next 12 months, compared with $3.9 billion in the period ending this month, the estimates show. Spokesmen for the six banks declined to comment. Among the 12 new participants, six are U.S. units of foreign lenders, including HSBC North America Holdings Inc. and BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc. Zions Bancorporation, the Salt Lake Citybased lender participating for the first time, notified the Fed it will resubmit its plan after determining that losses triggered by the Volcker Rule will be less than anticipated. The rule, named after former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and included the 2010 DoddFrank Act, bans some riskier holdings, and Zions said in December it would have to sell some of them at prices so low that annual profit could be wiped out. New participants also include M&T Bank Corp., the Buffalo, New York-based lender whose takeover of Hudson City Bancorp Inc. has been stalled by regulators since August 2012 while they scrutinize M&T’s money-laundering controls. “On the new entrants, the Fed may show a bit of leniency,” Chris Mutascio, a KBW analyst in Baltimore, said in a phone interview. “The new entrants doing the new submittals are going to be a bit more cautious in what they ask for.” The average potential payouts were compiled from estimates provided by analysts at Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse Group AG, Sandler O’Neill and KBW covering the 23 publicly traded U.S.- based banks in this year’s test. The six U.S. units of foreign lenders and Ally were not included, and Goldman Sachs excludes itself from the estimates. The payouts include dividends and buybacks beginning in April and running through March 2015. KBW analysts provided the year-earlier numbers. Investors use dividends and buybacks to gauge management’s level of optimism, and look forward to the boost they give to share prices. The 24-company KBW Bank Index returned 21 per cent over the past 12 months compared with the 18 per cent return of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Combined yearly profit at the six largest banks rose 28 per cent to $75.9 billion in 2013 from $59.5 billion the prior year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firms had an average Tier 1 common equity ratio as measured under Basel 3 rules of about 10 per cent, the data show. Regulators use the ratio, which compares a firm’s equity capital to its risk-weighted assets, to measure a bank’s cush-


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 81

Quote of the week Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. Abraham Lincoln

Law

Underfunding makes judiciary vulnerable to corruption For last minute’s intervention by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Nwogu, activities at the nation’s judiciary would have been paralysed on March 12, following the decision by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to embark on a three-day warning strike over financial autonomy. The strike was meant to compel the Federal and states’ governments to obey the judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered the financial autonomy and independence of the Judiciary. BERTRAM NWANNEKANMAreports that underfunding has remained an albatross to the nation’s march to independent and vibrant judiciary.

FOCUS Y virtue of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the funding of the judiciary should come from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, directly from the account of the federation. However, in most cases, fund meant for the judiciary is diverted to the Ministry of Finance or indeed, that of Justice. This had lead to infrastructural decay with attendant effects on the value of judgment and delay in adjudication of cases. Also the Constitution, as amended, in its Sections 4, 5 and 6, established the hallowed doctrine of separation of powers, by heading those sections: Powers of the Federation. By allocating different powers to these three broad segments of government, therefore, the framers of the Constitution envisaged equality of and mutual respect among the said three arms of government. None is to wear the toga of superiority or father-figure to the others; all three are equal in the eyes of the fons et origo (source) of all laws made in Nigeria. However, the sordid picture of decay in the nation’s courtrooms has continued to remain due to underfunding. This situation could not have been painted better than when the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar ‘cried for help’ at the commencement of the 2013/2014 Legal Year on September 23, 2014, urging stakeholders to intervene and stem the grievous descent of budgetary allocations to the Judiciary. Her words: “Over the years, funding of the courts has remained a challenge as evidenced in the condition of many courts in Nigeria today. Statistics have shown that funding from the Federal Government has witnessed a steady decline since 2010, from N95 billion in that year to N85 billion in 2011, then N75 billion in 2012 and dropped again in the 2013 budget to N67 billion. Indeed, with this amount, if the amount allocated to the extra-judicial organisations within the Judiciary is deducted, the courts are left with a paltry sum to operate.” Lamenting further, the CJN warned: “The simple implication is that our courts are increasingly finding it difficult to effectively perform their day-to-day constitutional roles. The resultant effect of a slim budget in the judiciary is that a number of courts in Nigeria today are in shambles and bereft of infrastructural amenities, especially at the state level. In some cases, the court buildings do not possess the required well-equipped libraries for judges to conduct their researches, thereby subjecting them to rely on information supplied by lawyers, which are parties in the case. A resultant effect of low budgeting for the courts is inability to fully embrace ICT. Stakeholders in the justice sector are of the view that the much-talked-about independ-

B

Hon, SAN ent and vibrant judiciary will continue to be a mirage if the issue of funding is not sorted out. One of such is an Abuja-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastine Hon. According to him, the systemic reduction in the annual budget of the Judiciary and the quest for financial independence of the judiciary are not peculiar to Nigeria. The CJN, he said, should be commended for raising the bar on this issue last year when she made public a deliberate shrinking of the budget of the Judiciary from N95 billion in 2010 to N85 billion in 2011 to N75 billion in 2012 and to N67 billion in 2013. “In my estimation, if the trend is not stopped, the Judiciary might as well brace up for zero-allocation one day, going by the successive sharp cuts in its budget each passing year. “No CJ worth his or her salt will sit by idling and watching the two other arms of government arm-twist or emasculate it, by the hideous sophistry of systemic budget cuts, unconscionably done without due explanation or respect for the third arm of government. “And the CJ, perhaps given her reclusive and diplomatic nature, was modest in her request for improvement, if we compare the reactions of other judicial officers elsewhere”. Taking Kenya’s example, Hon said the Kenyan Chief Justice, Willy Mutunga, had, while addressing the media on March 2, 2014,

Any attempt to arm-twist, over-awe or intimidate the Judiciary or relate with it through subterfuge and demeaning cum frustrating conduct by the two arms of government must be stoutly resisted by all well-meaning Nigerians. “This path, if allowed to persist, he said, would lead to a collapse of the structure of governance; because as the axiom goes, the Judiciary is the conscience of the nation”.

Obidi rained down verbal fire and brimstone. He fumed: “There has emerged a pattern by political leaders and other Kenyans of intimidating judicial officers engaged in the official task of interpreting and applying the Constitution. It is both unhealthy and unwarranted.” The learned silk also said the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S. States of Kansas has also warned that unless funding for the Judiciary of that state was increased by $8.5 million, “there will be furloughs... the only question is how long?” He concluded that in the condition the finances of the state judiciary were, justice was “in jeopardy.”  To Hon, the dwindling funding of the judiciary is also of great concern to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which has through its President, Okey Wali (SAN), issued warnings to the appropriate authorities on the need to redress this issue. Hon also want any attempt to arm-twist, over-awe or intimidate the Judiciary or relate with it through subterfuge and demeaning cum frustrating conduct by the two arms of government to be resisted by all well-meaning Nigerians. “This path, if allowed to persist, he said, would lead to a collapse of the structure of governance; because as the axiom goes, the Judiciary is the conscience of the nation”. According to him, the system of relying on the fines and fees paid by litigants and other interested persons, as part of the budgetary allocations for the Judiciary in the succeeding year is not good enough, as this circle of dwindling budgetary allocations will still rear its ugly head when the same money finds its way back to the Judiciary, as part of its share of the overall budget. He called for all relevant agencies of government, both at the federal and state levels, to immediately comply with the judgment of Justice Ademola in the JUSUN suit.

He also called on CJN to make a proposal to the Executive qua the National Assembly supplementary budgetary proposals anytime the amount in favour of the Judiciary in any fiscal year is a peanut. Hon also advocated a more radical approach by calling on the Judiciary to approach the court for judgment stopping the two other arms from using the instrumentality of budget reduction or other means to armtwist or intimidate it. For Jude Obidi, who practises law in Asaba, financial autonomy for the judiciary is a sine qua non for the sustenance of democracy to guarantee economic development in the country. According to him, the judiciary, as the last hope of the common man, needs adequate resources to discharge its functions appropriately. As one of the three branches of power, the judiciary receives its resources from the national budget, which in turn, is usually determined by either the Legislature or the Executive. It is essential that those outlining and approving the budget take the needs of the judiciary into consideration. Inadequate resources, he said, render the judiciary vulnerable to corruption, which could result in weakening of its independence and impartiality. In determining the resources allocated to the judiciary, consultations must be held with judges or groups of judges to ensure participation in budget allocation. He also called for the enactment of a legislation to guarantee judicial participation in the delineation of the budget constituted so as to safeguard under-funding. Also speaking on the issue, Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, regretted that the country’s judicial sector has become endangered species, suffering

To be Continued on page 83


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

82 LAW Tuesday, March 18, 2014

LawPeople

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” :Oprah Winfrey

Ajibola: A legal colossus turns 80 PROFILE By Bertram Nwannekanma T was the great philosopher, IingsAristotle, who in his selected writfrom The Nicomachean Ethics And Politics, wrote: “It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen”, probably, to depict the difficulty in getting an ideal patriot. However, if the great philosopher had lived in contemporary Nigeria, Prince Bola Ajibola, could have made him change his view because of the previous and present antecedents of this eminent jurist and arbitrator. Known for his soft mien and easylife, the renowned jurist has remained one of the few patriotic Nigeria, lawyers, who has contributed immensely to the development of the legal practice and law both in Nigeria and on the African continent. Apart from his contributions to both the Bench and the Bar, the astute jurist had created a niche for himself in arbitration and mediation. One of such mediatory role, which many lawyers and non -lawyers are quick to point, was in the impasse that trailed the seizure of the Lagos State Local Government funds by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led Federal Government over the creation of new local councils by the Lagos State government. The way and manner he came into the debacle to douse bruised egos of the actors after the apex court had adjudicated on the issue has today remained a reference point in arbitration and mediation. Prince Ajibola was also linked to the legendary negotiation that would have seen the released of the late acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 elections, Chief Mooshod Abiola from prison, before his sudden and regrettable death. That the revered lawyer, had attained the ripe age of 80, many say is not unconnected with his peaceful nature, which make him to prove Aristotle wrong that a man can both be a good man and good citizen. Incidentally, Prince Ajibola learnt the art of law, arbitration and justice early in life under the tutelage of his father, Oba Abdul Salam Gbadela, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, who reigned between 1949 and 1972. It was more of a rote learning of the blue-blooded young Adesumbo Ajibola than the formal classroom knowledge of the law. And consciously, at a point, his father encouraged him to tow the line of arbitration and law when he noticed his son’s preference for farming and acting. Today, by a dint of hardwork and Providence all combined, Prince Ajibola undertook the most prestigious legal assignment in the world court by becoming a judge of the world court in The Hague. He, therefore, steadily treaded the road behind the late Judge Teslim Elias, whom he had understudied as a guide. It is on record that he used to write not less than 80 pages of judgment per night as a World Court judge. Within three months, he was able to read a boxful of books meant to tutor him, by the late Justice Elias, for the daunting job of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. As a writer, Judge Ajibola is dexterous

Ajibola, SAN

Known for his soft mien and easy- life, the renowned jurist has remained one of the few patriotic Nigerian lawyers, who has contributed immensely to the development of the legal practice and law, both in Nigeria and on the African continent. with the use of words. He is a maverick in idioms and proverbs. He has used the Yoruba traditional proverbs to solve problems among his colleagues at ICJ. His dissenting judgements were said to be backed by proverbs and it so happened at a time all the judges had to vote on contending issues. His was the only dissenting voice backed by the rich Yoruba proverbs. There was a recess and afterwards, all other judges gave their consensus to Ajibola’s dissent, having realized the richness in his forefathers’ proverbs. Ajibola as a speaker always carries his audience along. You cannot be bored with his delivery as he garnishes issues at stake with humour and ribcracking jokes. His reading speed, although with good pace and pitch that blend well with the delivery, is amazing. Even with age, he reads a typewritten page of A4 paper within three minutes and he will not exceed the time given by any moderator or play to the gallery. He traverses history, blended with

philosophy, science and logic. He treats issues frankly and fairly. When impressed, he falls in love with the word “effective” or “efficient”; when planning he adores adjectives such as “pro-active” and “proficient”; when irked, he employs a phrase like “patent anomalies” or “ incongruous situation”. When surprised, he first and foremost whistles like a singing bird and then applies the contextual, gargantuan vocabulary. His most cherished legacy is Crescent University, Abeokuta, a private university he founded in 2005 through a parent body, Islamic Mission for Africa, to impact not just knowledge but also good moral conduct on our youths. It was in recognition of his character and contribution to the profession and humanity that the lecture theatre of the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, recently witnessed an unprecedented gathering of academics, who came from all parts of the country to honour him. The event organized by the University’s Law Students Society

(LSS) as part of his 80th birthday attracted over 15 professors and a lecture entitled: “The Nigerian Centenary; Law, Leadership and Challenge of Nationhood” delivered by Emeritus Professor of Law, Ayodele Ajomo, a former Director General, Nigerian institute of Advance Legal Studies, Lagos. As the former Judge of the World Court joins the club of octogenarians this week, he is also chronicling his positive contributions to humanity and history in a book entitled “Tribulations and Trophies: Memoirs of Judge Bola Ajibola”. This was departure from the normal pomp and pageantry that followed previous birthday celebrations. Born on March 22, 1934 in Abeokuta, Ogun State to Oba Abdul-Salam Ajibola Gbadela II who ruled OwuAbeokuta between 1949 and 1972, Prince Ajibola attended Owu Baptist Day School and Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS), both in Abeokuta between 1942 and 1955.

Do you know…

He obtained his LL.B at the Horlborn College of Law, University of London between 1959 and 1962. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, London on November 27, 1962. The eminent jurist practiced law in Lagos, Abeokuta and Kaduna between 1962 and 1985 and was the Principal Partner, Bola Ajibola & Co. for the period. He was President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) between 1984 and 1985. He was made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1986. Prince Ajibola served as Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1985 and 1991. A Knight of the British Empire (KBE), Prince Bola Ajibola served as Judge at the International Court of Justice at The Hague between 1991 and 1994; and then as ad-hoc Judge form 1994 to 2002. He also served as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom between 1999 and 2002. His other international assignments included Commissioner of United Nations (UN) Compensation Commission on Kuwait/Iraqi war (1994-2000); member, Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, the Netherlands; Member, Governing Board of International Maritime Law Institute, Malta, member, Court of Arbitration for Sports in Kuala Lumpur (1998); and President, PanAfrican Council of the London Court of International Arbitration (19941999). A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, Prince Bola Ajibola was member, International Law Commission, United Nations, Geneva (1986-1991); member, International Development Law Institute, Rome; and Member of the Advisory Board, University of Buckingham, England. He is also the Chairman of the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) Committee on Judiciary and Legal Reforms. He has served the country in many other capacities, some of which are: Chairman, Task Force for the Revision of the Laws of the Federation, 1990; member, Advisory Judicial Committee (1985-1991); member, Judicial Service Committee, Abuja (1987-1991); Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the NBA (1980 -1984) Member of the Privileges Committee of the BAR responsible for the selection of SANs (1985 -1991); etc. Prince Ajibola has Honorary Doctor of` Letter (D. Litt) from the Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto and Doctor of Agriculture, (D. Agric.) from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. He is a member of the Yoruba Tennis Club, Logos; Abeokuta Club; Metropolitan Club, Lagos; Club 5055 of BBHS; and Nieuwe of Litteraire Societeit de Witte, The Hague, the Netherlands. His hobbies include Reading and Writing.

Vest The word vest means to give an immediate fixed right of present or future enjoyment, to accrue to to be fixed to take effect. To clothe with possession; to deliver full possession of land or of an estate - Ona v. Atanda [2000] 5 NWLR (Pt. 656) 3444 at 385. [C.A], [200] 7 WRN 1.


LAW Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

83

Underfunding breeds judicial corruption Continued from page 81 neglect, abandonment and undue external interference, which include underfunding orchestrated by the Executive. According to him, it is unfortunate that the judiciary has been starved of much-needed fund, as a deliberate act by the executive. “Either in terms of the welfare of judicial officers, the salaries and allowances of judicial workers or indeed infrastructural development, the judiciary has become the weeping boy of the Nigerian State. Judges are poorly remunerated, as a means of keeping them exposed to the vices of corruption and a perpetual dependence on the

Executive, to dole out funds for the smooth and effective administration of the judiciary. The courts are mostly dilapidated, especially the Magistrates and High Courts. According to him, the underfunding of the judiciary is to make it less effective, as well as a subtle way of eroding the needed independence of the judiciary, since he who pays the piper dictates the tune. “It is the Executive that recruits and terminates workers; it is the Executive that awards contracts and it is the Executive that acquires people’s land and property, in the guise of purported development. What this means is that in most cases, it is the actions and policies

Adegboruwa of the Executive that form the subject matter of judicial intervention.

“Cases are filed in court to challenge unlawful disengagement from work, to

challenge illegal acquisition of land, among others. If the judiciary were to be effective, it will be in a better position to curb the excesses of the Executive. “But when cases in court drag for as long as 10 years, the litigants are discouraged and are thus, forced to accept the unfortunate conclusion that the resort to the law court is not a viable option and forced to accept and live with the excesses of the Executive. “When the system of administration of justice is grounded, it discourages foreign investors. In commercial disputes, the intervention by the judiciary must be immediate. Cases involving mortgages, execution of contracts, admiralty cases, etcetera, cannot drag

for years. This is same for criminal cases involving the lives and liberty of citizens. Adegboruwa said the underfunding of the judiciary is an invitation to violence and bloodshed. “It is commonly said that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. When aggrieved people who have approached the court are frustrated, at times, they are forced to resort to violence, such as assassinations, kidnappings, armed robbery, general bloodshed and lawlessness. “This cannot augur well for any serious nation at all. The judiciary should be allowed to control its own funds, to pay judicial officers and workers, adequate and living wages”, he added.

Judiciary’s underfunding: Let’s jail the senators By Emeka Nwadioke CAME face-to-face with the Iunconscionable crisis wrought by the underfunding of the Judiciary about a fortnight ago. The occasion was the hearing of a matter, which shall remain nameless for obvious reasons. The ostensible ‘theatre of dreams’ - which every courtroom ought to be - quickly turned into a theatre of nightmare. It was a most macabre and grotesque sight to behold in one of the world’s leading oil producers. As I walked into the court premises, an eerie silence pervaded the entire environment. It was obvious to me that, aside from the fact that courts are usually sombre environments, the absence of cacophonous clattering of power-generating sets could only have been the handiwork of an improved National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). But I was in for a rude shock. The entire National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Lagos Division, was not only bereft of any sign of power supply from either NEPA/Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) or power-generating sets, its court rooms competed with the ovens at Ajaokuta Steel Complex for the ‘newest hell on earth’ prize! If I thought that I had seen the worst, I was mistaken. Sooner than later, as the sweltering conditions inside the courtroom became increasingly intolerable, at least, one lawyer sought leave of the court to take off his wig and gown. This is not a request any lawyer makes lightly. He was not only obliged, the judge even gave a blanket approval for any lawyer who may wish to toe that line. One or two other lawyers grabbed the offer with both hands. Expectedly, the judge and most of the lawyers remained fully robed, soaking in the heat and sweating profusely. As the ungainly condition worsened, the judge asked his registrars to open all the windows and blinds. The respite was only marginal. A most ghastly sight was soon thrust on us all as the

judge soon fetched his handkerchief and, his equanimity partially giving way, began wiping sweat off his burrowed face with as much dignity as he could muster. It was obvious to all that things had come to a head. Unable to hold it any longer, the apparently assiduous judge who sat at exactly 9 O’clock, appealed to all concerned to intervene in the criminal (not his words) underfunding of the nation’s judiciary. With a voice laden with deep emotions, the jurist informed his stunned audience that not only had the entire court been in darkness throughout the week due to lack of funds for purchase of diesel to power the generating sets, he used his own funds to fly into Lagos for the court session! He noted that aside the sessions holding in such unsavoury conditions, nothing else was going in the premises due to the power outage. He was unable to access his computer and Internet facilities, especially to write rulings. The court’s registry and administrative staff were on forced holidays, no thanks to the electricity crisis. He lamented that while the new Judicial Policy imposes fresh and arduous duties on judges, its realisation is daily threatened by judicial underfunding. Noting that the spectre of judicial underfunding was coming at a time the judiciary is being thrust with additional functions, the apparently pained jurist urged Nigerians to intervene and save the justice sector from total collapse. Let me confess that while this intervention was remotely spurred by a similar outcry by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam AlomaMukhtar, the judge’s impassioned plea and my tortuous experience in his court are the immediate motivations. The CJN is not given to frivolities. It was, therefore, obvious that the nation’s Judiciary was in grave danger of implosion when the CJN made a ‘cry for help’ at the commencement of the 2013/2014 Legal Year on September 23, 2014, urging stakeholders to intervene

and stem the grievous descent of budgetary allocations to the Judiciary. The sordid picture of decay could not have been painted better. Her words: “Over the years, funding of the courts has remained a challenge as evidenced in the condition of many courts in Nigeria today. Statistics have shown that funding from the Federal Government has witnessed a steady decline since 2010, from N95 billion in that year to N85 billion in 2011, then N75 billion in 2012 and dropped again in the 2013 budget to N67 billion. Indeed with this amount, if the amount allocated to the extra-judicial organisations within the Judiciary is deducted, the courts are left with a paltry sum to operate.” Lamenting further, the CJN warned: “The simple implication is that our courts are increasingly finding it difficult to effectively perform their day-to-day constitutional roles. The resultant effect of a slim budget in the judiciary is that a number of courts in Nigeria today evince decay and neglect of infrastructural amenities, particularly at the state level. In some cases, the court buildings do not possess the required wellequipped library for judges to conduct their research. This may make judges rely on information supplied by lawyers, which should not be the case.” “A resultant effect of low budgeting for the courts is inability to fully embrace ICT as it does not come cheap,” she observed. “In fact, you may be surprised to know that in many Magistrate and High Courts across the country, the manual method of record keeping is still being used instead of computers where information from records can easily be accessible and retrieved.” Capacity building for judges and court staff has also been imperiled. Needless to say, her SOS yielded ‘immediate result.’ As against N28 billion that was shaved off the judiciary’s budget within three years, the Executive graciously reversed the trend; it not only sustained the Judiciary’s budget but also even ‘dashed’ it an additional N1 billion! This would have been highly

Justicee Aloma Mukhtar comical if not that it is quite tragic, involving as it does life-and-death matters. If the justice system collapses, anarchy is bound to reign as more and more people may resort to unwholesome tactics, including self-help. This cannot be sufficiently emphasised. But in an election year, the tendency for these warnings to go unheeded is indeed very high. Curiously, National Assembly members, civil society advocates and individual opposition parties did not seem to fully grasp the danger the underfunding debacle poses to our collective wellbeing and the safeguarding of our nascent democracy. It is recalled that it was the rather tenuous Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) that had the presence of mind to interrogate the CJN’s plea. The CNPP had stated: “Her point that poor budgetary allocation to the judiciary not only fuels corruption, but undermines and subverts the growth of democracy in Nigeria is well noted.” Querying the Presidency and its economic team, the CNPP had said: “In one breath, the economic team will deny

that Nigeria is not broke because of monumental corruption going on in the land and in another breath they refuse to fund adequately critical infrastructure, social services and the judiciary,” noting that “In sum, we challenge the Jonathan regime to explain the dysfunction in Nigeria that rakes up annually over N4 trillion from Federal Inland Revenue Services, over N1 trillion from Customs Duty - and the price of oil and gas has never fallen below budget benchmark; yet the country is under stress and dangerously sliding into a failed state.” It was Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) who recently pointed out that while an entire arm of government, the Judiciary, receives a paltry N68 billion for itself and all its numerous agencies, the sole Office of the National Security Adviser in the unwieldy Executive Branch has been allocated about N100 billion in this year’s budget. There are strong indications that while Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) now secures for the Judiciary a first-line charge on the Consolidated Revenue

Fund of the federation, the Judiciary has again been brought to its knees through a devious underfunding tactic. The scenario is not different between state governors and the courts at that level of government, even as it has been stated that due to this dependency syndrome, no judge can now be appointed without the permission of the relevant governor. It is recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was recently reported as broke. Perhaps sooner than later, a similar cry would be heard from the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). It then behooves on all stakeholders to raise serious posers on whether all agencies meant to checkmate official corruption are being systematically undermined to compromise their independence and or effectiveness. All said, the CJN has assured that “the judiciary must continue to defend its independence so that it should not merely be apparent but must be seen to be real.” This may, however, become a mirage in a situation where the Judiciary is being punched into the ungainly corner of going cap-in-hand to the Executive to beg for funds. As the lawmakers prepare to bequeath another Appropriation Act on hapless Nigerians, Agbakoba’s insights again come to mind. His words: “Look at the National Assembly,  all the sprawling mansions they have built. How many judges have access to competent secretaries,  typists, and stenographers? And you expect them to deal with rulings and all that and churn out orders? Compare a judge and a minister, if a minister is receiving so much emoluments, I can assure you that the judge is receiving one tenth of what a minister is receiving.” It is hoped that the lawmakers will urgently revisit the allocation to the Judiciary with a view to redressing the long-standing injustice meted to that long-suffering arm of government. Or should we jail all the Senators to drive home this point? • Nwadioke is a Lagos-based lawyer.


84

LAW Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com 81

FamilyLaw

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. - Mignon McLaughlin

Legal perspectives of marriage (16) Paternity and modern science If one parent is religious and the other is not, may the court favour the more religious parent? ORMALLY, no. Under the first amendment to the United States Constitution, both parents have a right to practice religion or not practice religion as they see fit. A judge is not supposed to make value judgments about whether a child is better off with or without religious training or about which religion is better. If a child has been brought up with particular religious beliefs and religious activities are important to the child, a court might favour promoting continuity in the child’s life, but the court should not favour religion per se. In some cases, a parent’s unusual or non-mainstream religious activities may become an issue, but, normally, a court should not consider a parent’s unusual religious practices in deciding custody or visitation unless specific harm to the child is shown. Can custody decisions be changed? A. Yes. A court may always change child custody arrangements to meet the changing needs of the growing child and to respond to changes in the parents’ lives. A parent seeking to change custody through the court usually must show that the conditions have changed substantially since the last custody order. The parent also must show that changing the custody arrangement would be better for the child. Sometimes the parent must show that not changing custody would be harmful to the child. Visitation If a parent does not receive custody, how much visitation is he or she likely to receive? That will vary with the desires of the

N

parents and the inclinations of a judge. A common amount of visitation, however, is: every other weekend (Friday evening through Sunday); a weeknight (for dinner); half of the child’s and winter and spring breaks; alternate major holidays; and several weeks in the summer. If parents live far apart and regular weekend visitation is not feasible, it is common to allocate more summer vacation and school holidays to the noncustodial parent. For parents who do not like the term “visitation” or “custody,” it is possible to draft a custody and visitation order that leaves out those terms and just describes the times at which the child will be with each parent. Under what circumstances may the custodial parent deny the other parent visitation? The parent with custody must have a good reason to deny the other parent visitation. For example, if the noncustodial parent has molested the child, is likely to kidnap the child, or is likely to use illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol while caring for the child, a court probably will deny visitation or restrict visita-

tion. If visitation is restricted, visitation might be allowed only under supervision, such as at a social service agency or in the company of a responsible relative. Joint Custody What is joint custody? Joint custody—sometimes referred to as “shared custody” or “shared parenting”—has two parts: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. A joint custody order can have one or both parts. What is joint legal custody? Joint legal custody refers to both parents sharing in major decisions affecting the child. The custody order may describe the issues on which the parents must share decisions. The most common issues are school, health care, and religious training (although both parents have a right to expose the child to his or her religious beliefs). Other issues on which the parents may make joint decisions include: extracurricular activities, summer camp, age for dating or driving, and methods of discipline. Many joint custody orders specify procedures parents should follow in the event they cannot agree on an issue. The most common procedure is for the parents to consult a mediator. Mediation will be discussed later in this chapter. What is joint physical custody? Joint physical custody refers to the time the child spends with each parent. The amount of time is flexible. The length of time could be relatively moderate, such as every other weekend with one parent; or the amount of time could be equally divided between the parents. Parents who opt for equal time-sharing have come up with many alternatives such as: alternate two-day periods; equal division of the week; alternate weeks; alternate

months; alternate four-month periods; and alternate six month periods. If the child is attending school and spends a substantial amount of time with both parents, it usually is best for the child if the parents live relatively close to each other. Some parents, on an interim basis, have kept the child in a single home and the parents rotate staying in the home with the child. Are courts required to order joint custody if a parent asks for it? No. In most states, joint custody is an option—just as sole custody is an option. Courts may order joint custody or sole custody according to what the judge thinks is in the best interest of the child. In some states (ten in 1999), legislatures have declared a general preference for joint custody. That usually means the courts are supposed to order joint custody if a parent asks for it, unless there is a good reason for not ordering joint custody. The most common reason for not ordering joint custody is the parents’ inability to cooperate. Courts are concerned that a child will be caught in the middle of a tug-of-war if joint custody is ordered for parents who do not cooperate with each other. Parents who do not cooperate also will have trouble with sole custody and visitation, but the frequency of conflicts may be somewhat less since they will need to confer less often on major decisions and the logistics of a joint physical custody arrangement. What are the pros and cons of joint physical custody? Supporters of joint physical custody stress that it is in the best interest of children to protect and improve their relationship with both parents. They believe shared custody is the only way to make sure that the children do not “lose” a parent because of the divorce. Critics fear that shared-time parenting

is unworkable and worry about instability and potential conflict for the child. The success of joint physical custody may depend on the child. Some researchers have said that children who are relatively relaxed and laid back will do better with joint physical custody than children who are tense and become easily upset by changes in routine. Because joint physical custody usually requires keeping two homes for the child, joint physical custody often costs more than sole custody. Parents probably should avoid locking in any parenting plan forever. Rather, they should plan to review the custody arrangement as the children grow and the children’s needs change. Child Support How do courts set child support? Under federal law, all states must have guidelines by which courts determine child support. The guidelines were established because variations in the amounts of support set in similar circumstances were considered to be too wide and because child support, in many cases, was considered to be too low. The guidelines are formulas that consider the income of the parties, the number of children, and perhaps some other factors. The formulas are based on studies of how much families ordinarily spend for child-raising. The formulas try to approximate the proportion of parental income that would have been spent for support of the child if the family had not been divided by divorce. Courts plug numbers into the formula and come up with an amount of support that should be paid for the child or children. The parties can argue that because of special circumstances, a court should order more or less support than the

Parties seek out-of-court settlement Firm appeals verdict on N6.4 billion for NIMASA H in N584 million debt suit Stories by Bertram Nwannekanma N oil well construction engineer, Mr. Femi A Omotayo, has offered to settle his indebtedness to Sterling Bank Plc out-of-court. Consequently, the trial judge, Justice James Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has adjourned till April 29 for a report of settlement. Omotayo, it was learnt, offered to pay N250 million out of the total debt. Although counsel to the bank, Kunle Ogunba (SAN), told the court that he was not aware of the offer to his client, he, however, urged the court to adjourn so that parties can explore an out-of-court settlement. “I’m not against the case being adjourned so that we can continue to interrogate the settlement,” Ogunba said. Sterling Bank had urged the court to declare Omotayo bankrupt for allegedly owing it about N584 million. Joined as debtors with Omotayo in the petition dated July 25, 2013, are A.O.S (Oil and Gas) Ltd and A.O.S Orwell Ltd. In the action numbered FHC/LBK/03/13, Omotayo was said to be the managing director and a majority shareholders in A.O.S Orwell Ltd, which emerged from a merger exercise with A.O.S International (Oil and Gas) Ltd. The engineer was said to have been the personal guarantee for the loan, which was applied for and granted to QED International (Oil and Gas) Nigeria Ltd in 2006. Accompanying the petition is an application for interlocutory order to appoint a nominee,

Auta, Chief Judge, FHC “as it might deem fit or desirable or alternatively, the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court” to take charge of the respondents’ assets. Among other orders sought by the applicant is “order of preservative injunction” restraining the defendants and their agents from transferring or tampering or dissipating their assets. The assets, mainly landed property, are located at 1, Fola Jinadu Crescent, Gbagada Phase 1, Lagos; 58,  Raymond Njoku Street, South West Ikoyi, Lagos; 17/19 Bolaji Banwo Street, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos and 34A, Warehouse Road Apapa, Lagos.

ENSMOR Nigeria Limited has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against the judgment of Appeal Court in Lagos, which upturned a N6.4 billion award granted in its favour against the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). The Appeal Court had last Friday upturned the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which earlier mandated NIMASA to pay Hensmor N6.4 billion over alleged unlawful detention of its vessel named MT Aigbomen. However, in the appeal, Hensmor wants the apex court to retain the judgment sum, which is currently in the custody of the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court in a fixed deposit interest yielding account in First Bank. The firm stated that the application became imperative in the likely event of a successful appeal pending the hearing and determination of its appeal at the Supreme Court. It argued that it may not be able to recover the judgment sum from NISAMA if the money had already

been released to NIMASA. Hensmor, which is a maritime services provider company, had alleged in its statement of claim before the Federal High Court that its Vessel, MT Aigbomen, was illegally detained by NIMASA while 63,000 metric tons of dual purpose kerosine stored in it was stolen. The company had further alleged that all administrative efforts made by it to secure the release of the vessel proved abortive, hence the need for the suit. However, NIMASA had, in its statement of defence, stated that on March 14, 2006, its Harbour master called to inform the agency that MT Aigbomen was not sea worthy, and that as an agency responsible by statute for the regulation and safety of marine services, the ship in question was inspected and it was discovered, among other things, that the sea worthiness of the ship had expired since 2005. It added that the ship was promptly detained pending the time all the defects would be rectified. However, NIMASA stressed that rather than put machinery in motion to do

the right thing, Hensmor rushed to the lower court. In a unanimous decision of three panel of judges, the Appeal Court set aside the judgment of Justice Abang and upheld the appeal of NIMASA on the ground that the police investigation report solely relied on by Justice Abang, in arriving at his verdict containing allegation of crime, was not tendered by the maker of the document, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Police that investigated the matter, neither was any reason adduced for tendering it through the sole witness of the company whose evidence under cross-examination was based on hear say. In addition, the agency was equally not given the opportunity to cross-examine the said Police officer who investigated the case of theft involved in the matter. Citing another reason, the Appeal Court said there was no evidence before the lower court to ascertain the cost of the vessel and in the same vein, there was no proof to show that the vessel makes 7,000 Dollars per day through charter.


LAW Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

85

Consumer rights in Nigeria: Is consumer really king? By Muyiwa Ayojimi ONSUMER Protection Law C or Consumer Law is an area of Law that regulates private law relationship between individual consumer and the business that sell those goods and services. It covers but not limited to product liability, private rights, unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentation and other business interactions. Such laws further deal with credit repair, debt repair, product safety, service and sales contracts, pricing, utility turnoffs, consolidation and personal loans that may lead to bankruptcy. It is a well-known fact that consumers, especially those in the low-income brackets are the victims of false advertising, misbranded or defective products, exorbitant terms etc. credit Recognizing these problems, special laws and statues were adopted by the Federal and recently, Lagos State government to do away with these evils. These laws ought to give the consumer practical remedies against improper sales and credit transactions. While the government may have tried to react to problems affecting the consumer like putting in place impressive body of legislations and parastatals on consumer rights. That is The Standard Organisation of Nigeria, the Foods and Drugs Act, the Trade Malpractices Law, the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria Law, the Consumer Protection Council Act, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Laws, the Drugs and Related Products (registration etc) Act, the Counterfeit and Fake drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (miscellaneous provisions) Act, the Sale of Goods

Laws, the Criminal Code and the Penal Code (northern states) Federal Provisions Act, Nigerian Communications Act, National Insurance Commission Act, Nigerian Communication Commission Act and the Utilities Charges Commission Act. Impressive as this may appear, the practical impact on the consumer has remained minimal due to weak implementation. The purpose of the laws governing consumer protection is to impose requirements on suppliers of goods and services to consumers (as distinct from commercial customers) in addition to those normally implied in contractual relationships so as to safeguard consumers’ interest in respect of matters where they are particularly vulnerable. We ask these questions- who helps an unsuspecting consumer when they purchase a defective home appliance or an offensive children toy; when there is increase in bus fare unduly or taking a fourseat rather than a three- seat passenger capacity bus load; when having paid for a DSTV subscription and because it is raining channels go off; when Banks charge unscrupulous interest on overdrafts/loans; when the phone network providers charge you for a text message that was never delivered of a call drop; when an artisan receives money for a job he refuses to do or perform well; when the contracts on warranties and guaranties are eroded; when PHCN/Water Corporation send bills on estimated reading and not actual consumption; when the balance in your ATM account is N400 and you cannot withdraw to buy a teething drug for your baby or when money withdrawn from the machine is dirty, tattered and smelling or the machine retains your card in Abuja only to be told

that it would be sent to where your account is domiciled in Lagos for collection; when you watch a film on Africa magic and the interpretation on the T.V baseline is grammatically misleading/largely incorrect thereby eroding due education; when you receive unsolicited text messages/information on your mobile device; when your flight is delayed or cancelled abruptly; when there is adulteration of goods or substandard goods flood the market space; when advertisements for goods/service is fraudulent or misleading; when inflationary and extortionist prices of goods and services becomes the order of the day, the list is endless and the various infringement cuts across all facets of business life.. The one-man business next door, the landlord, smallscale business and multinationals have all played their part in the violation of these rights. Unlike other developed countries, most consumers of products don’t know they have a right to protect and as a result are ignorant of the laws and agencies that protect them. On the other side, the producers who ought to take reasonable steps in production or in their line of service seem to be aware of this missing link and have continuously whether negligently or deliberately abused these rights. Cases abound where companies have repeatedly abused consumer’s rights with impunity without any action taken against them. Though, certain agencies have made a fair attempt to curtail excesses and ensure adequate satisfaction of consumers, it has not achieved much in safeguarding the rights of the consumers. It puzzles the mind how a nation can fold its arms to

Adoke, AGF such level of exploitation that emanates from within and outside to the detriment of its citizens. Consumer Protection is a global concept, which is based on the principal tenets ratified by the United Nation in April 1985. They are: the right to the satisfaction of basic needs. The right to safety. The right to be informed. The right to choose. The right to be heard. The right to redress. The right to consumer education. The right to a healthy environment However, while not every country has been able to achieve the vision of these principles set out by the United Nation, Nigeria’s performance like other developing nation is still at its lowest ebbs. In Nigeria, the chief regulatory agency of consumer protection rights is the Consumer Protection council. It was established by The Consumer Protection Act of 1992. This act has faced major criticisms on the following issues, which include but not limited to; Consumers’ rights being subsumed with the functions of the Consumer Protection Council leaving no

clear definition of what consumer rights are; No adequate provision and mechanism for redress; Inherent weakness in the enabling law; Inadequate provisions for their enforcement; Lack of specific institutional framework for the defense of consumers’ rights; Undefined relationship with sector regulators leading to some confusion as to the role of the agency. For instance, the reoccurring overlap between the Nigerian Communication Commission and the National broadcasting Commission; Also, there is the issue of not being able to meet up with emerging trends in trading, technology and pattern of agreement; Unlike the consumer protection Act of Nigeria, the Consumer Protection Act of South Africa is more elaborate on the aforementioned issues that have posed a problem for the workability of the Consumer Protection Act in Nigeria. It is pertinent to note that for a right to be protected it must be known. With the wordings of their Act, a South African Consumer readily knows his rights, the channels to go through to seek redress as compared to his Nigerian

counterpart. This is because Section 2 of the Nigerian Act only tells an aggrieved consumer the function of Consumer Protection Council as against his consumers’ rights and how to seek redress when breached. The effectiveness of Consumer Protection in South Africa is due largely to a detailed legislation as to rights, redress and enforcement. It is recommended that Nigeria takes a cue from this piece of legislation and similar ones. Consumer Protection in the United Kingdom is based on the European directives and when compared to Nigeria, is well structured and regulated. For instance, on the issue of strict liability the Consumer Protection Act has no provision to enforce strict liability on a supplier of goods and service. Although, Section 8 talks about redress and offers protection to consumers who may have suffered loss from the use of the product, it is not as effective as Part 1 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1987, which transposes the Product Liability Directive into U.K Law. The legislation imposes strict liability on producers/suppliers for harm caused by defective products. Also, it is important to note that in the Consumer Protection Act, 1987 of the United Kingdom, emphasis is not really placed on the Consumers’ actual expectations of safety as it is portrayed in the Nigeria Consumer Protection Act but what Consumers are entitled to expect. It, is therefore, recommended that strict liability be incorporated in the Consumer Protection Act of Nigeria. While other legislations recognize consumer rights as a human right, the Nigerian Act does not.

• Ayojimi practices law in Lagos

Outstanding jurists honoured at Igbo lawyers’ forum EVENT By Bertram Nwannekanma O fewer than 16 distinN guished jurists, who had made significant contributions to the legal profession, were honoured recently by Otu Oka-Iwu, an association of Igbo lawyers in Lagos. The event, which was part of the association’s 2014 Annual Dinner and Award Night, was attended by lawyers across the country. Some of distinguished personalities at the event include, Abia State AttorneyGeneral, Umeh Kalu, who represented Governor Theodore Orji; his Anambra counterpart, Peter Afuba, who represented Governor Obi; and a judge of the Lagos State High Court, Justice Sybil Nwaka. Also present were Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN), Deacon Dele Adesina (SAN), Mrs. Funke Adekoya (SAN) and former chairman of NBA Lagos Branch. Taiwo O. Taiwo, among others. Chairman of the event and the association’s former president, Senator Onyeabo Obi, said the group was formed to fight all kinds of discrimination and social injustices as it

affects Igbo and promote social harmony among the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria through the promotion of the rule of law. He also described the honourees as outstanding members of the legal profession, who had contributed immensely to the development of the profession. For the Otu Oka-Iwu’s President, Zik Obi II, the association, in accordance with its constitution, always honours “any of its members and nonmembers elevated or appointed to any high office or position in the country or abroad.” He said the association was set up in the early 70s after the Civil War to cater for the interest and welfare of Igbo lawyers in Lagos, including rendering assistance in the event of death of members, who enjoy insurance benefits. According to him, the group meets once a month except August (due to NBA conference) and December (due to Christmas holidays), during which experts in various fields of law are invited to give talks as part of their continuous legal education. He said: “We also discuss and take necessary actions on matters concerning Ndigbo.

.Elder Ananaba SAN (Right) receiving his award from Justice Nwaka, while Senator Obi watches… at the event “We organise and invite guest speakers to lecture our members on different aspects of law and legal practice every or every other general meeting. “These lecture series has caused a massive increase in the number of members attending our general meetings. “Last year, we had many lectures/continuing education for our members and many more of such lectures are planned for this year,” Obi added. Those honoured at the event include Justices of the Supreme Court, Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta and Mary Peter-Odili and a judge of the

International Criminal Court at The Hague Chile EboeOsuji, for their distinguished and selfless service to the judiciary and the legal profession. Also honoured “for his contribution to the development of election and governance laws and jurisprudence in Nigeria, was Anambra State outgoing Governor Peter Obi, as Chairman, South-East Governors Forum. Others are Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, Amina Augie; Justice Chinwe Iyizoba and Justice Samuel Oseji of the Court of Appeal and Justice Kenneth Amadi of the National Industrial Court, Lagos. President, Nigerian

Maritime Law Association, Louis Mbanefo (SAN); a member of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); Mr. Etigwe Uwa (SAN); Elder Paul Ananaba (SAN) and President of Aka Ikenga (an Igbo Tinktank) Chief Anayo Uwazurike, were among the awardees. The rest are NBA, Ikeja and Lagos branches chairmen, Monday Ubani and Alex Muoka; and Chairman, Capital Market Solicitors’ Association, Mr. Uche Val Obi. The event was rounded off by a lecture delivered on behalf

of the Director General of the Maritime Nigerian Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, by a director in cabotage services, Hassan Yakubu. In the lecture, Yakabu said NIMASA as an agency vigorously pursued accelerated development of indigenous shipping capacity, particularly in the area of vessel acquisition and ship building facilities through the application of appropriate fiscal and operational incentives.

Idigbe named national coordinator of Insolvency Law Legal brief HE Managing Partner of T PUNUKA Attorneys & Solicitors, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) has been appointed as the national coordinator for the Research Project on Insolvency Law and Company Law by the Partners involved in the Global Forum of Law, Justice

and Development, including the World Bank. Idigbe, who is a co-leader of the Community of Practice on Insolvency & Creditor/Debtor Regimes (hereinafter, the, “Community” or “CoP”), will be coordinating research on the first phase of the project on the “Treatment of Shareholders’ Rights in the Insolvency of Companies”.


86

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

For The Record Challenges of old age: Causes, A speech delivered by The Very Revd. J. F. Sunday at the annual anniversary of Senior Citizen City Mission of Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Lagos Mainland, City Mission Circuit, City Mission Local Church, Surulere, Lagos on Saturday, January 11, 2014 Preamble ALL protocols are carefully observed. ODAY is another unique and historical day in the history of this Church, I say a big congratulation to our Aged Fathers and Mothers who are here seated. We thank the Almighty God who saw us through the turbulence and uncertainties of last year unscathed. We are confident also that His grace is sufficient to see us through the dangers or evils that lurk in this Year 2014. Worthy is the Lamb. We cannot but mention the sterling qualities of the leadership of our elderly statesmen and women, we are proud of you, we celebrate your dignity, your integrity, and your unspeakable vision, you are indeed people of humility, simplicity, sagacity, erudition and spirituality. Thanks a lot for the grace accorded me today to address you at this momentous gathering. Your wonderful achievements, tireless efforts and accountability are highly appreciated. No wonder I can see the glory of the Lord radiating in your faces even though some of you at 90s you still look younger than your age. Let me place on record here that, this Church has one of the best working forces throughout the Conference Area of Methodist Church Nigeria. In terms of intelligence, sophistication, dignity, integrity, probity, erudition, versatility and decency, these God’s endowed uncommon talents and wisdoms would be displayed effortlessly as we commence the journey of the Year 2014 in our Church. A Church strategically situated in the “City of Mission”, Usually called City Mission Introduction Official definitions of old age Let me start by asking these questions. Who are the Elderly People? Where does the old age begin? Who then can be categorised as an elderly person? Professor Jide Olowookere wrote in his book entitled “An elder”, Gerontology is a subject on the studies relating to old age and ageing processes. Ageing is essentially controlled by “NATURE”, while the growth is controlled by “NURTURE”. Ageing is a universal phenomenon, whereas growth is affected by environment, psychologists believed that, old age is not illness, it is a continuation of life with decreasing capacities for adaptation. Old age comprises ‘the later part of life’; the period of life after youth and middle age …usually with reference to deterioration. The beginning of old age cannot be universally defined, because it shifts according to context. The United Nations has agreed that 60+ years may be usually denoted as old age, but its study of old age in Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) set 50 as the beginning of old age. At the same time, the WHO recognised that the developing world often defines old age, not by years but by new roles, loss of previous roles, or inability to make active contribution to society. Most developed Western Countries set the old age of 60 or 65 for retirement and old age social programmes eligibility. However, various countries and societies reckon the onset of old age as anywhere from the mid-40s to the 70s. Furthermore, the fact that life expectancy beyond 80 has become wide spread has shifted definitions of old age. Most Britons define old age as starting at 59, according to a survey of 2,200 people in U.K. The under 25 reckon 54 as the beginning of old age. The 80+ define old age as starting at 68.

T

Rev. Sunday Another survey concluded that most Britons define the onset of old age as almost 70. Europeans on average set the start of old age at 62. In conclusion, gerontologists concluded that old age comprises four dimensions: Chronological, Biological, Psychological and Sociological. Chronological age may differ considerably from a person’s functioning age. Marks of old age normally occur in all five senses at different times and different rates for different persons. People may also be considered old when they become grandparents or when they begin to do less work in retirement. Biblical examples of old age people are as follows: (a) Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5) (b) Seth lived 105 years (Genesis 5:6) (c) Enosh lived 905 years (Genesis 5:11) (c) Methuselah lived 969 years (Genesis 5:27) (d) Noah lived 950 years (Genesis 9:29) (e) Abraham lived 175 years (Genesis 25:7) (f) Sarah lived 127 years (Genesis 23:1) (g) Isaac lived 180 years (Genesis 35:28) (h) Joseph lived 110 years (Genesis 50:22) (i) Moses lived 120 years with the eyes still bright and energy did not wane. ((Deut 34:7)) What are the factors associated with untimely death nowadays? These will be thoroughly discussed later in this paper. Looking at the topic, the Challenges of Old Age: Causes, Effects and Antidotes.

Let me start with the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas which says. ‘The Young shall grow’ No matter how dynamic, able, robust, agile and energetic you find yourself, your age will tell one day, then the law of diminishing returns will take charge of one’s life. Undoubtedly, some time we do see people who are above 90 still able and agile without losing their memories; you might be wondering what is the secret behind this enablement? But the appropriate answer can be seen in Genesis 41:28-30. “It is just as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten and the famine will ravage the land” The summary of King Pharaoh’s dream, is the premises of today’s topic, let me tell you point blank that seven years of plenteous usually preceding seven years of famine. Seven years of plenty, is regarded as when you are young, very able, dynamic and versatile, if you fail to make judicious use of this period by the time the adulthood age comes which is regarded as famine period, automatically one will serve as slave to others. Always remember that seven years of plenteous preceding seven years of famine. Pharaoh asked Joseph, what can we do to

combat the Challenges of the Famine Period? Moses replied, the best remedy is to have a store house for the first stage of life, whatever that has been stored would be made use of during the Challenges of second stage of life. Things expected at the store house during seven years of plenty 1.Set of goal: All successful adult people are intensely goal oriented, they know what they want and they are focused single-mindedly on achieving it, every single day. Your ability to set goals is the master skill of success, without goals, you will simply drift and flow on the ancient of life. With goals, you will fly like an arrow, straight and true to your target. One of the powers to combat the Challenges of old age is, it doesn’t matter where you are coming from: all that matter is where you are going. A great person is one who has goals and plans for his life, the very day you are given an appointment letter to start the work, you need to start planning about the time you will retire on that same day. A goal oriented man, will accept failure as part of his progress and think positively. He is someone who regards problems as opportunities and challenges. He is proactive, realistic and practical. If you want to have a successful old age you need to capitalise less on what you don’t want, set a reachable goal on what you want, knowing fully well that your goal will not become a reality until you take action. “Going slowly is better than standstill” says Augustine of Hippo. Dear elderly state Men and Women, it is foolishness to be forty (40) and still be faulty in life, and it is a sin to cross over to real adulthood without a means of livelihood. It is indeed a curse to spend half of our life time without having a focus for our life. If a man of 50 is still waiting upon God, I think God will be waiting upon him to leave the stage for responsible and focused ones to take over. 2. Have a dream: This is another weapon to fight the Challenges of Old Age, you need to have a dream, you cannot FEATURE in a FUTURE that has not been well PICTURED by you. Keep dreams alive and picture great things ahead of you. Socrates says, “If you don’t know what is written about you, you will be written off in life”. A man/woman without a dream is like a salt without a taste. The second steps of having joyful and peaceful old age period are dream. Your dream is your proposal in life. It is what you plan and intend to become in life. Many people die without fulfilling their purpose in life because they had no vision to live for. Your vision is your dream. The Bible says ‘where there is no vision people perish’. Successful adulthood is not luck; it is an outcome of a consciously planned and executed programme or project. Those who live without a vision live without a mission and a life without mission accomplished is a wasted life. Every great thing in life begins with a dream, that is a desire, a vision and a concept in one’s heart. You need to conceptualise before you can actualise. Dear people dream a dream and dream it big. Think of a great input you can make to life. Martin Luther King the great had a dream of freedom of black race in America. He dreamt a racial equality among Americans and the people of the world. A black President was simply unthinkable but he dreamt it. Today Barack Obama is the fulfillment of that dream. You must have a dream to make impact in your life, in your generation and in the generation coming after you. Do not allow regret of yesterday or fear of tomorrow to rob you of pursuing your dream. 3. Training of children: When a child is not properly trained, such will give the parents chronic headache at the old age. Proverb 22:6 says “Train a child how he should live and he will remember it all his life”. And Proverbs 22:29 says “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

87

effects and antidotes from it. How can one have rest at the old age? Let us look at Philosophy of Solomon: A father who loves his son will whip him often, so as that he can be proud of him later. If a son is disciplined he will be of some use, and his father can boast of him to his friends. A man who gives good guidance to his son cannot only take pride in him among his friends, but also make his enemies jealous. While the father is alive, the sight of his son makes him happy and when he dies, he has no regrets. He is not really dead because his son is like him. But a man who spoils his son will have to bandage his wounds. His heart will be disturbed every time he hears a shout, an untamed horse is going to be stubborn and an undisciplined son is no different. If you pamper your child and play with him, he will be a disappointment and source of grief to you at old age. Laugh with him now and one day you will have to cry over him. So discipline your son and give him work to do or else he will give you a severe work to do at your old age. This issue of children’s training will be looked into in three dimensional ways: (i) Spiritual training (ii) Educational training (iii) Domestic training If children are been brought up in this holistic way (Total) there will be no cause for their parents to be fearful at the old age. This necessity of children training lies in the hands of parents. If truly you want to have rest throughout your old age period, the issue of children’s training shouldn’t be handled trivially. Many parents enjoy their old age in overseas, while others do theirs in police stations and prison yards, all depends on the nature of training given to their children. Sirach 3:12-15 My son takes care of your father when he grows old; give him no cause for worry as long as he lives. Be sympathetic even if his mind fails him; don’t look down on him, just because you are strong and healthy. The Lord will not forget the kindness you show to your father, it will help you to make up for your sins. When you are in trouble Lord will remember your kindness and He will help you out. The imperative of these trainings will certainly avert the following fears in the minds of the parents at their old age. (1) Fear of loneliness (2) Fear of what to eat at the old age (3) Fear of rest of mind at the old age (4) Fear of old age sickness Disperse The Crowds Disperse Yourself from Negative Friends: If you want to soar with the eagle, you have to stop hanging out with the duck so get around some eagles. The Bible says bad company corrupts good moral. When you show to me your friend without any iota of doubt I will equally tell you who you are. Without cutting yourself off from the crowd, no way of rest at the old age. Gen. 12:1 God said to Abraham “leave your country, your relative and your father’s house to the land I am going to show you”. Mark 4:35-36 “That day when evening came, Jesus said, let us go to the other side and they dispersed the crowd and followed him”. Without dispersing the crowd you cannot have peace of mind and joy of the heart at the old age of your life. Joshua and Caleb silenced the crowd and they got themselves separated. “Numbers 13:27-32” Abraham was unable to move to the mountain of fulfillment until Lot was finally separated from him” Gen. 17:1 Who are the crowd? a. The visionless friends b. Dream killers c. Cultist group/Ogboni, Aje, Oso, etc. d. Kegite club/Palm wine drinkers club

e. Prostitute group If you want to be comfortable at your old age, you must cut yourself off from those people. Knowing this fact that whoever will not increase you will certainly make you to be decreased. Beware of negative friends. Mind Your Mind Our mind plays a huge role in shaping our life. Our mind is subjected to a lot of thoughts each second. Albert Spinzer said, “You become what you consumed” same is the case with your thoughts; your thought is your personality. Thoughts though invisible and intangible can play a huge role in shaping your personality. Your success or failure at old age largely depends upon your thought patterns. One of the greatest equipment needed for success in life is having the right mindset. No one can grow or excel beyond the level of the mind posture. Everything that a man becomes starts in the mind. When evil sets out to tear someone down, it does not start with an act, it starts with a thought. Thought is like a visitor to the mind. The extent a visitor stays or acts in any place is determined by the welcome opportunity given to the visitor. And the stronger a thought grows, the weaker the host becomes. Positive mindset is necessary to combat old age challenges because you can only become what you think. Symptoms Of Old Age (1) Digestive System: About 40% of the time, old age is marked by digestive disorders such as difficulty in swallowing, inability to eat enough and to absorb nutrition, constipation and bleeding. (2) Chronic Diseases: Older persons have at least one chronic condition and many have multiple. The most frequently occurring conditions among the older persons are uncontrolled hypertension, (34%) diagnosed arthritis, (50%) and heart disease (32%). (3) Eye Sight: Diminished eye sight makes it more difficult to read in low lighting and in smaller print, especially older persons. (4) Falls:  Old age spells risk for injury, from falls that might not cause injury to a younger person. Every year, about one-third of 65 years old and over half of 80 years old fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death for old people. (5) Hair: Usually becomes thinner and greyer. (6) Hearing: By age 75 and older, 48% of men and 37% of women encounter impairments in hearing. (7) Hearts: Are less efficient in old age with a resulting loss of stamina. (8) Immune Function: Less efficient immune function is a mark of old age. (9) Lungs: Lungs expand less well, thus they provide less oxygen. (10) Pain: Pain afflicts old people; at least 25% of the time, increasing with age up to 80% for those in nursing home. Most pains are rheumatic or malignant. (11) Sexual Activity: Sexual activity decreases significantly with age, especially after age 60. (12) Skin: Skin loses elasticity, becomes drier and more lined and wrinkled. (13) Voice: In old age, vocal chords weaken and vibrate more slowly. Therefore, it is recommended that constant medical checkup and adequate care are necessary for our old people. Let them witness their funeral ceremony before they depart. (ohun ti eye baje leye ma gbefo). Causes Of Depression To Aged People As you grow older, and faces challenges of life can put you at risk of depression. Causes and risks factors that contribute to depression of old age include: (a) Health Problems: Illness and disability, chronic or severe pain; cognitive, damage to body image due to surgery or disease. (b) Loneliness and Isolation: Living alone, a dwindling social circle due to deaths or relocation, decreased mobility due to illness or loss of driving privileges. (c) Reduced Sense of Purpose: Feeling of purposelessness or loss of identity due to retirement or physical limitations on activities.

(d) Fears: Fear of death or dying, anxiety over financial problems or health issues. (e) Recent Bereavements:  The death of friends, family members and the loss of a spouse or partner. How To Control Old Age Challenges According to Professor Benedict, the following strategies can be employed to combat ageing problems. (a) Going to the hospital for medical care (b) Taking of local herbs (c) Using walking stick to support (d) Moderate physical exercise (e) Reducing sugar intake (f) Avoiding heavy food (g) Taking sleeping drug (h) Eating more fruits (i) Drinking more water (j) Less thinking (k) Taking enough rest Position Of Elderly People In Nigeria It is generally believed that old age should be a time every hard working person looks forward to. It is a time to withdraw from the usual hustling and bustling associated with daily living and watch others struggle to go through the path they had once trodden. It is a time to enjoy the fruit of early years of hard work. It is a time to have everything at one’s beck and call. Of course, that is not usually the story of most of our Senior Citizens. Old age to many of them is an endless drama of disappointment. A lot of old people around want to go back to their youthful years and re-enact the fear that gave them joy and fulfillment. But that only remains a wishful thinking. To a lot of them old age is characterised by a catalogue of unfulfilled dreams. Rather than being an enjoyable, experienced, old age to a lot of elderly, seems to be a never-ending nightmare. It is a time when there is a decline in organ and tissue function, the eyes become weak, the bones get old and creaky, a lot of the cells die which result in weakening of the body. In spite of the contributions of the elderly to the socio-economic growth of the nation, they are neglected in their old age. Many of them die while queuing up for their pensions which are normally paid in arrears. The old people would probably not consider their plight lamentable, if there were people around to make life comfortable for them. But this is the time that a lot of children abandon

Rev. Sunday

their parents. The effect of this is the evolution of a strange culture in our society, which is, old people taking to the street to beg for alms. Under normal condition, it is the obligation of the government to ensure that the Senior Citizens are properly and adequately taken care of. In United States, this is always at the topmost of their priority but in Nigeria reverse is the case. Even their entitlement is not paid as expected, talkless of looking after their welfare and comfort. Many contact death in the process of getting their pension paid. Church Roles And Expectations To The Aged Ones (a) Constant Visit (b) Administration of Holy Communion (c) Organising Special Prayer (d) Retreat and Seminar (e) Involving them in some of the Church decision-making, especially those that had served meritoriously in Christ vineyard. We should not underutilise their experience. An adage says, experience is the best teacher. Recommendations (1) That the growing culture of neglecting the old people in the society should be discarded if the concern about their plight and promotion of their well-being are very paramount to us. (2) That sense of appreciation from government through creation of creative activities and prompt payment of pension of elders should be taken seriously, this will also enhance their longevity. (3) That all hands must be on deck to promote and strengthen advocacy for the well-being of older people in the society as well as a return to the era when everybody cares for everybody so that even the childless people could be assured of care in their old age. (4) That the Church also should not fail in their responsibility of taking proper care of aged people. This is also part of biblical injunction of which the Church must carry out. (5) Parents also should endeavour to give adequate training to their children as this will eventually avert the fear of old age. (6) And finally children should not close eyes to their aged parents’ proper medical care and general wellbeing must be their watch-word. Let them enjoy you when they are alive, stop planning for their funeral service when your parents are still living. Always remember the law of Lames: whatever you do to your parents your children will reciprocate to you. Thanks for your rapt attention. God bless you all. (Amen).


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

88 Tuesday, March 18 , 2014

For The Record The more you see, the less you understand: Reflections By J. Shola Omotola (PhD) • Continued from yesterday OR civil society and human rights groups, the main Fsecurity problem with the solution has to do with reconciling imperatives with human rights concerns of citizens in dealing with BH under emergency rule. The two are known to usually conflict under such conflict situations, especially in Africa (Omotola, 2008). While it may be too early to pronounce on this, signs are already emerging about possible human rights abuses and complications in the war against BH. Critical eyebrows have also been raised about the criteria used in selecting the affected states. Many wondered, for instance, what considerations informed the inclusion of Adamawa, but excluded Kano, Bauchi, Plateau and Gombe states that had recorded far worse BH attacks than Adamawa’s. In another twists and turns, even as Nigerians debate and await the probable outcome of emergency rule in affected states, President Jonathan has officially proscribed and designated BH, together with Jama’atu Ansarul as terrorist groups. The proscription order was issued pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011, as amended, and Gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice 2013. The import of this, according to the presidential declaration, is that the order effectively and ‘officially brings the activities of both groups within the purview of the Terrorism Prevention Act and any persons associated with the two groups can now be legally prosecuted and sentenced to penalties specified in the Act’. Notable penalties prescribed by the Act, as detailed in the order, include ‘a term of imprisonment of not less than 20 years for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support for the commission of an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group’ as spelt out in Section 5 (1) of the act. Specifically, the Act defines ‘support for an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group’ to include: (a) incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet, or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information; (b) receipt or provision of material assistance, weapons including biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, explosives, training, transportation, false documentation or identification to terrorists or terrorist groups; (c) receipt or provision of information or moral assistance, including invitation to adhere to a terrorist or terrorist group; (d) entering or remaining in a country for the benefit of, or at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group; or (e) the provision of, or making available, such financial or other related services prohibited under this Act or as may be prescribed by regulations made pursuant to this Act. While such a declaration could be said, arguably though, to have finally put to rest our contention about the dilemmas of appropriately classifying what manner of insurgency BK typifies, it is, on a deeper reflection, a wrong-headed policy intervention in the war against BH. First, it came barely a day after the U.S. offer of $7 million for the capture of the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau. It was, therefore, a reactionary measure that may allow the U.S. greater latitude of influence in the country in the name of fighting terrorism. Recent history of U.S.’ interventions in places like Afghanistan teaches us that the U.S. has neither had an altruistic mission nor clean records anywhere in such interventions. Rather, they usually end up complicating the matters both in terms of security, human rights and development. It is crucially important to recall that the same U.S. had reportedly warned that could have disintegrated by 2015. Labeling BH a terrorist group offers the U.S. the opportunity to internationalise the BH question, thereby pursuing its purported prediction about the possible collapse of Nigeria. Second, the proscription constitutes a direct negation of the Amnesty Committee, which despite the proscription, has continued to crisscross some northern states in the name of negotiating the possibility of amnesty with BH. Who are they now negotiating with? Why continue to waste public resources on an initiative dead on arrival? Third, the timing of the proscription and labeling seems awkward, coming at a time when the political temperature is gradually rising to a point of suffocation, given the many wars the presidency is waging against its political enemies, real or imagined (for example the polarisation of the NGF, suspension of two PDP Governors). In the circumstance, such an order could easily be adapted for serving political purposes, including the intimidation and harassment of political opponents, as was the case in the

later days of Nuhu Ribadu’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Concluding Reflections: Towards a Reinterpretation It is pertinent to succinctly recapitulate the main problem that underpins this study. Though at the risk of repetition, this paper proceeded from the thesis that so far, the academic and policy literature on BH has not been sufficiently scientific and rigorous. This weakness is exemplified by two identifiable strands in the extant literature. The first is the tendencies to indiscriminate classify BH simply as a terrorist organisation, without specifying the logical criteria of classification. The second is the attempt to simply explain it away as a political economy issue, something rooted in systems of power relations. Treated this way, BH is portrayed as directly correlated with the problem of underdevelopment in northern Nigeria, a reality that cannot be dissociated from weak state capacity to fulfil its obligations to the people of the region, exacerbated by official corruption and parasitic elite. These are rather too simplistic ways of looking at BH. Whatever prescription based on such oversimplified readings of BH may not yield the desired result. This explains why we must begin to take very seriously the question of BHD, as well as the designing and administration of appropriate therapies. It was against this background that this study sets out to critically engage the BHQ, namely what exactly is BH – a terrorist group or what? What does it really stand for ideologically speaking: criminality, politics and/or religion? How is it organised and funded? After a careful reading of contending perspectives on these and related questions, the paper offers a reinterpretation of the BH as follows. It is important to give credit to the scholarly and policy community for their dedication to unravelling the BHQ. Within a very short period, there is already a mass body of knowledge on BH in circulation. However, the theoretical and methodological premises of many of such studies are faulty, leading to faulty conclusions. Take for example, the classification of BH as a terrorist group as well as its explanation in terms of the politico-economic softness of the state. Such analyses are guilty of a unidirectional interpretation of issues that Boas and Dunn (2007) seriously warn against in the study of African insurgencies. It may be valid to classify BH as a terrorist group because it shares a lot in common with terrorist organisations, especially in terms of the tactics it deploy such as suicide bombing1, assassinations and so on. But these strategies are not the exclusive preserves of terrorism.

Omotola

Other forms of insurgencies like guerrilla warfarism, piracy and militia can also deploy them, depending on prevailing reality. From its activities, especially in most recent times, BH seems better placed as a guerrilla than terrorist group. Two to three important factors lend credence to this position. One is the question of the size of membership of an insurgency. For a terrorist group, size is usually very small. This requirement is closely connected to another important factor, which is that terrorists are usually clandestine organisations, whose activities are usually shrouded in secrecy. Over-bloating the membership cannot only serve to compromise its clandestine nature, but also easily betrays it. The reverse is the case for guerrilla groups, which require larger number of membership for effective operations. The primary aim of a guerrilla, as noted earlier, is to turn political crisis into armed conflict, believing that by performing violent actions, they will force the government to transform the political system into a military dominated situation, which may lead to the alienation of the masses, who will in turn revolt against the government to the benefit of the insurgency. Two and more importantly is the issue of territorial control, which is the ultimate priority of guerrilla, not terrorism. BH fulfils at least one of the important indicators of territorial control, which is ability to ‘set up camps or bases in which they store weapons, train recruits, and so on, within the country’s border’. Although BH may not have entirely captured and exercised direct control over clearly designated Nigerian territories, its activities in the northern part of the country, particularly in Borno and Yobe states, suggest the proclivity toward such a tendency. Recent revelations suggest that Sambisa, a forest enclave that spreads over a distance of 300sq km from Damboa up to Gwoza, Bama and the Cameroon border, has been the hideout and training camp of the BH (Audu, 2013). This represents a form of territorial control. Worse still, President Jonathan himself affirms BH’s territorial control in his emergency rule speech in diverse ways: These terrorists and insurgents seem determined to establish control and authority over parts of our beloved nation and to progressively overwhelm the rest of the country. In many places, they have destroyed the Nigerian flag and other symbols of state authority and in their place, hoisted strange flags suggesting the exercise of alternative sovereignty. They have attacked government buildings and facilities. They have murdered innocent citizens and state officials. They have set houses ablaze, and taken women and children as hostages. These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authori t y o f


Tuesday, March 18 , 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

89

on the Boko Haram question in Nigeria (4) the Nigerian state and threaten her territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this (Jonathan, 2013; emphasis mine). The attempt to explain BH in terms of the political-economic softness of the state, including excruciating poverty, unemployment, marginalization and official corruption in the north is also understandable. These are notable features of governance in that part of the country. But they are not peculiar to the north. Poverty also exists in the south. If anything, it is a matter of degree, not of kind. Such an explanation privileges relative deprivation as the main driver of violence at the expense of other alternative explanations. Granted that poverty level in the south west is not as high as that of the north east, the primary BH zone, south west has not taken to insurgency for its political deprivation, particularly under the Jonathan’s presidency, during which the south west has been completely excluded from the mainstream power distribution and attendant benefits. In the circumstance, the reinterpretation I want to propose is that for a meaningful comprehension of BH, we need a much more holistic and historically grounded approach that accommodates not only the internal contradictions of the Nigerian state, but also the global geopolitical environment within which it has to operate. The first submission is that any attempt to explain BH without paying adequate attention to the historicity of Islamic fundamentalism in northern Nigeria is lopsided and may be counterproductive. It presupposes that BH is a new phenomenon in the history of Nigeria’s political development. Such an approach reincarnates the episodic conception of colonialism, as championed by the then allpowerful Ibadan school of history. Nothing can be farther from the truth. BH, as we know it today, is largely the reincarnation of the history of Islamic fundamentalism characteristic of northern Nigeria. Such histories have played out through the Usman Damfodio jihad of 1803-04, the 1961 formation of the Jama’a tul Nasir Islam (association working for the victory of Islam) by the then Premier of Northern Nigeria and Sardauna of Sakkwato (now Sokoto), Sir Ahmadu Bello, the 1979-80 Maitatsine revolt led by Muhammed Marwa and most recently the introduction of sharia legal system in most northern states. It is instructive to note that the primary aim of these fundamentalist movements, as stated by their promoters, like that of BH, was to propagate, expand and purify Islam beyond northern Nigeria (see, Paden, 1986; Isichi, 1987; Oyeniyi, 2013a; 2013b; Omotola and aderinto, 2009). The second submission is that an understanding of the global geopolitical environment within which Nigeria operates will help facilitate a much more nuanced understanding of BH. In this regard, two interrelated factors are important, namely the GJM and the clash of civilisations which Samuel P. Huntington so explicitly elucidated (Huntington, 1993). The GJM has been widespread and gaining momentum, particularly in the Arab world in general and the Middle East in particular. It represents the most important approximation of Huntington’s submissions that in the aftermath of the Cold War, basic fault lines would remain, despite the ascendancy of western values, cultural blocks, each with distinct cultural values, as opposes to universal values. One of such cultural blocks is the Islamic civilisation that has been clashing with western civilisation. But because it operates from the position of relative weakness vis-à-vis military power, an indication that western values still remains influential, as Huntington also predicted, it cannot but resort to asymmetry warfare such as terrorism and guerrilla. The fulfilments of this prophesy turns Fukuyama’s (1991) celebration of ‘the end of history, where he failed to envisage the possible revival of any other competing ideological values to those of the west, on its head. This is a universal trend, and has even assumed some notoriety in Africa in the light of the Arab spring and Taureg insurgency in Mali in which BH has allegedly been involved. While these factors carry significant weight in understanding the BHQ, they do not foreclose the relevance of the relative deprivation and greed thesis. For, as some have argued, natural resources, or better still, lootable wealth such as Diamond and crude oil, are said to be the best friends of insurgents (Malaquias, 2001). As long as the nastiest wars in Africa are being fought in countries richly endowed with natural resources, this thesis will continue to gains increasing recognition. And for a very long time, this was the dominant trend. However, today the situation is changing. One of the most obvious illustrations of that change is the fact that the BHI is not being fought over natural resources. Africa Confidential (2013: 1) aptly captures this reality when it writes of the BH as ‘an insurgency without the oil’. This tells us that African insurgents may not be bandits or madmen, after all. These submissions have useful research and policy im-

plications. One, we seem not to be sufficiently informed yet to be able to build an empirically solid body of knowledge about the BH. This implies that more research endeavours would have to be directed toward doing so. Given the difficulties in identifying and assessing core actors in the BH, we may have to be patient until such a time when more concrete and reliable pieces of information through key informant interviews and other primary sources will be available. At the policy level, it meant that the way forward now is to treat the BHI as a conflict issue. This way, it is possible to apply conflict transformational approach, which gives an alternative lens of looking at insurgency, irrespective of its form, as a conflict issue, where all actors/stakeholders are to be constructively engaged with a view to getting to the roots of the problem and finding mutually agreed solutions. This is not a case against the military approach, as the current emergency rule typifies. Military approach cannot be totally separated from any productive counterinsurgency strategy. Rather, what is required is to reposition the military and related security agents in the war against BH. It is important to build security capacity by increasing partnership among the security agencies within Nigeria and between it and its immediate neighbours. This is important for the promotion of intelligence and information gathering and sharing about insurgent networks and activities in a proactive manner, thereby neutralising crucial insurgent success factors, especially terrorist financing and training. Checkmating the linkages between local insurgent groups and their regional/global counterparts will help reduce the security threats posed by such local groups. Adequate training and retraining of security agents about counterinsurgency in such a way that their actions and/or inactions will not promote national security at the expense of human rights is desirable. This calls for the establishment of specialized anti-insurgency units imbued with adequate skills, equipment and funding. Timeline of Boko Haram Activities and Attacks February 12, 2003: In a video broadcast on al Jazeera, Osama bin Laden lists Nigeria as one of seven countries that is “ready for being liberated from the slavery of these ruling, apostate, unjust regimes who are enslaved by America.” February 14, 2003: In the Sermon on the Feast of Sacrifice, Osama bin Laden urges his fighters to attack the global energy industry on which the United States and its allies depend. December 23-31, 2003: A group of about 200 members of the Nigerian Taliban launch attacks on police stations in the towns of Kanamma and Geidam in Yobe State from their enclave outside Kanamma on the Nigerian border with Niger; 18 members are killed and others are arrested. 2004: Nigerian Taliban members carry out four attacks against Nigerian security, three of which are thwarted, and one in which 12 Nigerian security officials are killed. 2005-2008: The Nigerian Taliban goes underground, reducing its attacks and focusing on recruiting new members and shoring up resources. One of its leaders, Muhammad Ashafa, travels to Pakistan to receive funding from al Qaeda for attacks on Americans in Nigeria. July 26-29, 2009: Boko Haram launches a short lived uprising in several states of northern Nigeria, but the uprising is quelled by a military crackdown that leaves more than 800 dead, including leader Muhammad Yusuf. January 2010: AQIM’s leader Abdulmalek Droukdel accuses the Christians in Nigeria of killing hundreds of Muslims in a “crusader war” and offers training and weapons to Muslims in Nigeria to fight Christians, though the communication is not confirmed to be authentic. September 7, 2010: More than 700 prisoners from Bauchi prison are freed in a Boko Haram attack apparently inspired by a Boko Haram pledge that their members would not spend the EidelFitr holiday in prison. May 28, 2011: Goodluck Jonathan is inaugurated as President of Nigeria and promises to fight corruption and promote democracy across Africa. Mid July 2011: The Yusufiyya Islamic Movement (YIM) releases a series of fliers in Maiduguri saying, “We call on this evil group (Boko Haram) to desist, failing which we shall have no option than to expose and hunt them…” August 26, 2011: Boko Haram claims responsibility for a suicide bomb blast on the UN Headquarters in Abuja, killing 23 people. November 13, 2011 Algeria’s deputy foreign minister says that intelligence reports show coordination between al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Boko Haram. November 24, 2011: A spokesman for Boko Haram, Abu Qaqa, claims to “have links with al Qaeda... They assist us and we assist them.” December 25, 2011: A series of Christmas Day bomb attacks

Omotola tore through Nigeria, killing at least 40 people. Some of the attacks targeted churches. Boko Haram claims responsibility. January 20, 2012: More than 200 people are killed in bomb attacks and gun battles in Kano in the deadliest single day strikes ever claimed by Boko Haram. January 26, 2012: A German engineer is kidnapped in Kano and killed during a government raid to rescue him four months later. AQIM claims the kidnapping on its online media forum, Al Andalus. Late January 2012: Fliers circulate throughout Kano introducing a new group, Ansaril Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan, or Ansaru. The fliers are signed by Abu Usamatul Ansari, and state the group’s motto, Jihad Fi Sabilillah, or “fighting and sacrificing for Allah’s cause.” April 6, 2012: Tuareg fighters from the National Movement of Azawad (Mouvement national de ‘Azawad; MNLA) who have captured three and a half provinces of northern Mali declare the independent state called Azawad. June 2, 2012: Hausa and English videos emerge on YouTube proclaiming the existence of Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan, or Ansaru, for the second time. The group criticizes Boko Haram for killing Muslims. June 25, 2012: AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham says Boko Haram, AQIM and Somalia’s al Shabaab are “seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts,” which is a “real problem for the [United States] and African security in general.” July 30, 2012: Boko Haram fighters set off twin bomb blasts in Sokoto including a vehicle suicide bombing at the zonal police headquarters, and then engage policemen in a gunfight in which two Boko Haram members are killed. August 4, 2012: Boko Haram leader Abu Shekau releases a YouTube video in which he says “[he] doesn’t know where the USA is” in response to reports that President Obama would label him and two lesser known Boko Haram operatives as“terrorists.” August 6, 2012: Boko Haram fighters surround a church in Okene, Kogi State during the middle of a service, chanting Islamic slogans, and open fire, killing more than 20 worshippers. September 2012: Nigerian security initiate a series of raids on Boko Haram in Borno, Yobe, Kano and Adamawa states in northern Nigeria, in which more than 200 fighters are killed or arrested, including ten high ranking members. November 7, 2012: Boko Haram destroys 150 telecom stations, accounting for ruptures in telecommunications services in northern Nigeria. January 20, 2013: Boko Haram attacked the convoy of the Emir of Kano, killing six people. The Emir and his son narrowly escaped assassination. March 2013: Failed attempt to bomb Lagos Third Mainland Bridge. Explosive were allegedly transported to Lagos via a petroleum tanker. April 28, 2013: Exchange of fire between Boko Haram and men of the JTF led to the death of 288 people and burning of over 2000 buildings in Baga, a small village in Borno State. CONCLUDED


90 Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | 91

Sports Glo League Supporters Clubs’ leader kicks against hooliganism

Abdullahi hands over, pledges continuous support to NSC By Christian Okpara MMEDIATE past Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, has pledged to continue contributing his quota to Nigerian sports development. Abdullahi, who has been rated as the best Nigerian sports minister in the current democratic era, said he was always available for consultation on any issue so long as it would lead to the success of the country in sports, just as he reiterated his loyalty to the current administration. Speaking while handing over to the new Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Abdullahi, at the National Stadium, Abuja, yesterday, Abdullahi said the report that claimed that he refused to hand over was not only a falsehood but also in bad faith as there was like that. nothing Submitting his hand-over notes, the former minister urged the management of the NSC to collaborate with the new minister and give him all the support they had extended to him while in office. Meanwhile, Danagogo has declared that his era in office would be characterised by Sports for Development and Peace as part of an immediate, broad, holistic approach to contributing to achieving the transformation agenda of this administration. The minister stated that his focus would be to consolidate on the past gains of Abdullahi and to build on them for

I

greater glory. According to him, “whereas we are proud of our recent achievements, I am more focused on the future and how we are going to continue to drive and sustain the growth of our brand to enable the commission meet its full potentials and win more laurels.” He maintained that with determination and commitment, the goal could be achieved to the extent that Nigeria can truly profit from the unimaginable riches of sports merchandising. The minister added that with the entire leadership of staff he is inheriting, hardworking sportsmen and women and sports enthusiasts in the country, that there was nothing stopping the commission from becoming the most coveted government agency in the country. He also noted that the commission has the capacity to promote national unity, enhance tourism, create jobs and economic empowerment as well as boost health and gain goodwill through fair sportsmanship while winning laurels. The minister also refuted the reports by a section of the media that the former Minister of Sports refused to hand over the mantle of leadership to him, saying there was nothing like that as Abdullahi has sufficiently demonstrated his readiness to work with him.

Calabar plans National Sports Festival logo, mascot launch REPARATIONS for the said. P 19th National Sports Festival, This weekend, Elegbeleye is “Paradise Games,” will be expected to lead another delegastepped up this weekend when Cross River State launches the logo and mascot of the Festival in a high profile event scheduled for Calabar on Friday. The Chairman Main Organising Committee of the Festival, Gbenga Elegbeleye, who is also the Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC) has expressed satisfaction with preparations for the festival “…so far” Leader of a team of inspectors made up of Main Organising Committee members and the project supervisors, who went to Calabar to inspect the extent of preparation and state of facilities last month, Elegbeleye, told the media that the work was ongoing and he was satisfied with the progress so far made “We plan to come back in April, to track the progress we have seen so far. It is work in progress and if the momentum is sustained, Calabar will be ready to host the Festival,” he

tion to Calabar for what the Chairman of the Media Sub Committee, Paul Bassey, calls “ killing two birds with one stone….” As special guest of honour for the special ceremony to launch the logo and mascot of the festival, Elegbeleye is also expected to take time out to quickly access the progress of work done. The Cross River State Commissioner of Sports, Patrick Ugbe, who is also vice Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, said yesterday that Friday’s event would be one to look forward to. “Apart from the launching of the logo and mascot, we will also be introducing the Festival website in a ceremony that will be laced with culture, music, pomp and pageantry. “For us this will mark the official beginning of the Festival and it is only proper that we get it right,” he said. The Paradise Games is scheduled to hold in Calabar from November 23 to December 7, 2014.

HAIRMAN of Kano Pillars C Supporters Club and the Federation of League Club

Kano Pillars and El Kanemi Warriors fighting for points during the 2012/2013 season. The Warriors will now PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI. play their home games in Kano.

LMC reschedules El-Kanemi, Abia Warriors tie to March 26 HE League Management Company (LMC) has announced Wednesday, March 26 as the new date for the postponed Match Day 2  fixture between El-Kanemi Warriors and Abia Warriors. According to the LMC, the match would now be played at the Kano Pillars Stadium in Kano, which will now host home fixtures of the Maiduguri-based side until further notice. LMC Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar, said “in the light of developments in Maiduguri and adjoining cities, we had to suspend all fixtures in the town and have moved  their home fixtures for now to  Kano”. The match will kick-off at 4.15pm local time. Meanwhile, in Match Day 2 fixtures, Heartland will host Sharks in Owerri in a  Friday Star Match,  while the following day, Crown FC will play home to Dolphins FC, FC Taraba will receive El-Kanemi Warriors in Jalingo and Rangers International are hosts to Kano Pillars. In  Uyo,  Akwa United will  clash with Kaduna United and in Katsina Ala, it is  Lobi Stars versus Gombe United. Also on Wednesday, March 26,  Warri  Wolves are home to  Enyimba International, while Bayelsa United are home to Nasarawa United.

T

In a related development, host broadcasters of the Glo Premier League, SuperSport has said the repeat broadcast of the match between Kano Pillars and Sunshine Stars will start airing from 00.50 am on SuperSport Select and SuperSport Select Go. It will also be aired today at 2pm and

1am on SuperSport 9, while on Wednesday, it will be broadcast at 8am and 00.45am on SuperSport Select and SuperSport Select Go. The broadcast schedule will continue on Thursday, March 20 on SuperSport 9 at 4.50pm and 00.50am while on Friday, the final repeat broadcast will be at 11.00am and 00.50am on SuperSport 9.

NNL first transfer window opens on Monday .• As Wikki, Prime, Gabros continue leadership battle FTER nearly two months of A mixed fortunes for the clubs participating in the

Supporters Club, Bashir Idris Mu’azu, has told Nigerians to expect a violence free Glo Premier League season and urged football fans to troop out to the league match venues with full assurance of their safety. Speaking against the background of the calmness of over 10,000 Kano Pillars fans in the face of a near home defeat to Sunshine Stars before Gambo Mohammed’s equaliser in the last minute of added time to salvage a 2-2 draw, Muazu revealed that the positive attitude of the fans was a fall out of the continuous fans’ enlightenment programme of the supporters club. “We started the fans enlightenment programme a few seasons back and intensified last season and we can see that it is paying off in the discipline of the fans. Before the commencement of the season, we organized fans behaviour workshops and seminars. “We also use the various media platforms to reach out to fans to make them understand that football is just a game for entertainment and winning, losing or drawing are all to be equally expected. That is football. Even if we lose, our fans cannot get violent. “We have a regular jingle that we play for fans with the stadium public address system with the message of peaceful conduct, disciplined behavior and friendliness to visiting fans, players and match officials. We also produce pamphlets with same messages, which we distribute to the fans. “They have imbibed these messages and that is why we now have no problem with fans control. The stadium is a friendly place for families to enjoy sporting entertainment and we shall strive to sustain it as such.” Muazu also informed that to replicate the commendable behavior of the Kano fans across all match venues in the country, the chairmen and secretaries of the various league club supporters have formed a coalition, which he incidentally has been elected as the chairman, with the aim of sharing experiences and collaborating on the enlightenment of fans.

TEAP FC this weekend, just as Prime FC will tackle Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) in Nigeria National League what looks like a tough duel (NNL), there will be another by the two South Western opportunity for struggling clubs chasing the top spot. teams to fortify their squads But it will be Division B for the greater task ahead as leader, Gabros of Nnewi, who the transfer window will open will wait until Friday night to from Monday, March 24, 2014.   discover if it will still be on top The league organisers have above the likes of Prime and announced that clubs will Shooting Stars, as well as First have the chance to recruit Bank, Ekiti and Abia Comets. fresh legs to brighten their chances of escaping relegation NNL Week 7 Fixtures or picking one of the four tickDIVISION A ets to play in the Nigeria DIVISION B Premier Football League Mighty Jets vs DSS FC Remo Stars vs Unicem Rovers (NPFL) next season. Prisons FC   vs Kogi Utd COD Utd      vs Akwa Starlets According to the timetable earlier released by NNL at the FRSC                  vs Sokoto Utd Stationery    vs ABS FC start of the current league sea- Jigawa             vs Kwara Utd Go-Round    vs Gabros FC son, the first transfer window Tornadoes    vs Ranchers B.Insurance  vs Ekiti Utd will open on Monday, March Wikki T.          vs TEAP FC Prime FC       vs MFM FC 24, 2014 and close on the midnight of Friday, April 4, 2014. Adamawa     vs Spotlight FC Abia Comets vs 3SC Meanwhile, Wikki Tourists Plateau Utd vs Supreme Gateway Utd vs First Bank will try to maintain its hold at Court the top by beating visiting


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

92 SPORTS Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Izilien cautions Flamingoes on complacency   By Alex Monye ORMER national U-17 women football coach, Godwin Izilien, is optimistic that the Flamingoes would excel in the ongoing  FIFA female cadet World Cup taking place in Costa Rica. Nigeria defeated China 2-1 in their opening group game in then early hours of yesterday. Izilien told the Guardian yesterday that the Nigerian girls lost a lot of scoring chances to in the encounter because the strikers were more concerned in registering their names on the scorer sheet  rather than playing as a team. To forestall any form of complacency in their remaining matches, he urged the Flamingoes’ technical crew to instill more confidence on the girls  as they prepare for the next game, stressing that the team should not be overwhelmed by the victory against China.

F

Izilien also predicted that the girls would win the cadet World Cup if they remained focused and steadfast  when  contending with any opponent in the tournament. “The Flamingoes had a good game  against China on Sunday. Wining the opening game has put the girls  in a vintage position to qualify for the second round of the championship. But I think the coach should work hard on the team to be more organized in front of goal. “If they keep   missing begging chances against better sides, the Flamingoes would have themselves to blame. The girls need  to be more focused and committed. “It is not yet time for celebration. I believe in the next game, the  team would be more confident to match  their opponents strength for strength,’’ he said.

500 karatekas register for Pillar of Sports National championship VER 500 karatekas drawn He added that the event O from across the country would help to bring all the will converge in Ilorin from karate stakeholders together, March 26 to 19 for the maiden edition of the Pillar of Sports, Chief Donatus Agu-Ejidike National Men and Women Open Karate Championship, the organisers have revealed. Sponsor of the tournament, Donatus Agu-Ejidike, who is also the president of the Karate Federation of Nigeria, disclosed that the sponsorship is in fulfillment of part of his pre-election promises to revive the sport in the country.

Super Eagles’ Goalkeeper, Austin Ejide, is rated as one of the best shot stoppers in the Israeli league.

Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup

Enyeama, Ejide’s form excites Shorunmu By Alex Monye UPER  Eagles’ goalkeepers’ Spassed trainer, Ike Shorunmu, has a vote of confidence  on  the current national team goaltenders, Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide, saying their superlative performance for their clubs and in friendly  games  has assured then technical crew

that Nigeria would do well at the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Shorunmu told The Guardian that the Eagles technical crew would give all the players, including goalkeepers, invited for the World Cup camp equal  opportunities to stake their claim to inclusion in the Brazil 2014 squad. The former Super Eagles goalkeeper said only the best

keepers would be giving the  privilege to  mount the sticks at the Mundial. “I am delighted that  the Eagles goalkeepers are doing fine in the friendly games and for their clubs. “This has proved that Nigeria has nothing to fear  in the goalkeeping department. We pray that the two keepers keep shining on their reflex-

Marzwell proprietor urges govt, parents to promote school sports By Wole Oyebade F Nigeria must improve the health status of its children and produce world-beaters in sport, then there must be renewed interest in school sports. This was the submission of the Proprietress of Marzwell School, Agege, Lagos, Omotayo Ajanaku, who urged the government and parents to encourage more sporting activities among their wards. Ajanaku, who spoke at the third biennial inter-house sports competition of the school held at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, noted that the importance of sports could not be over-emphasised in schools and among the children. She said sport is important to everyone’s life and could be likened to “a tonic that tones the body.” In her words: “Education without sport is incomplete

I

and in the end amounts to nothing. We have successfully integrated sport into our curriculum here to promote the course of sound mind in a sound body.” She added that with more sporting activities, children have fewer risk of childhood obesity and are more healthy in the course of life. “I believe all parents should know that sports are useful and should be done along with their children’s education, both for health and to really catch them young as future stars,” she said. At the end of the inter-house sports competition, Red House came first with a total of nine gold; five silver and seven bronze medals. Yellow House was second, with eight gold; 10 silver and six bronze medals. Third was Blue House, with five gold; seven silver and five bronze medals. Apparently impressed by the

talent on display, the school’s Parents Teachers Association (PTA) Chairman, Anthony Kojo-Onwaeze, noted there were lots of talents in the wards that should be sustained as they progressed in academics. He observed that the challenge of school sport talents had always been continuity. Kojo-Onwaeze said: “If they are able to develop from here into secondary schools that have same passion, then we will see great athletes come from the school sports. “The children are really putting in their best and we are trying not to see their mistakes. You can see some of them in tears for not winning. They are yet to see the fun side of competition. We have to encourage them to grow and have more experience. They have a lot potentials in them and they will grow to be champions tomorrow,” he said.

es  and  don’t have any course to suffer any form of injury ahead  of the world championship. “As I always say, only the best players and keepers would be selected for the World Cup. Everybody would be given the chance to fight for inclusion in the team. Enyeama and Ejide are equal  to the task of facing any striker in the World Cup. “The Eagles coaches are also praying that all players invited for the World Cup are free from injury before the Mundial,’’ he declared He    added that coach Stephen Keshi  would  not relent on working on the  Super Eagles  to bring out  the best in the players as well as  assemble a credible team  for the world football

as well as help states to prepare adequately for the forthcoming 19th National Sports Festival holding in Calabar. The categories to be competed for at the championship are Individual Kata for male and female, Team Kata for male and female, as well as male and female Kumite. While men will compete in 60kg, -67kg, -75kg, -84kg and+84kg weight categories, women will fight it out in50kg, -55kg, -61kg, -68kg and+68kg categories.

Oyo appoints marketer to prepare bid for National Sports Festival By Adeyinka Adedipe O ensure a successful bid for the 2016 National Sports Festival (NSF), the Oyo State Government has appointed Nilayo Sports Management Limited to package its bid for the event. The state’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Farouk Umar, who revealed this recently, sated that it was hightime the state hosted the event after staging the 1979 edition. The commissioner, who declared the state’s interest during the recently held mini sport festival in Abuja, said the people of the state were ready to receive the whole of Nigeria at the event. Speaking on Monday in Lagos, the General Manager, Nilayo Sports Management, Ebidowei Oweifie stated that the bid documents were

T

ready for presentation to the National Sport Commission (NSC) in May. Oweifie who assured that the state would beat other states to the  hosting of the event having done it before for other states added that, “with the proposed plan if the state eventually wins the hosting, the festival will be the best in recent years in terms of organisation and planning’’. ‘’We are looking at May to make the official presentation to the appropriate quarters, but we have commenced work on the bidding because there is no time to waste, May is around the corner but the only thing I can assure is that the people of Oyo State will host a wonderful National Sport Festival in 2016’’, Oweifie assured. Plateau and Edo states, which hosted in 2002, are also interested in hosting festival.

A high jumper scales the bar at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival. Oyo State wants to host the 2016 edition of the festival. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 SPORTS

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

93

Costa Rica 2014:

Flamingoes in good start, beat China 2-1 By Gowon Akpodonor with agency reports

• Ghana beats Korea 2-0, Zambia beaten

RUE to their pre-champiT onship boast, Nigeria’s U-17 Women team, Flamingoes,

19th minute. She, however, atoned for that miss in the 21st minute with a perfect strike. Uchenna Kanu made it two for Nigeria in the 60th-minute, when she headed home Mary Ologbosere’s cross, but the Chinese responded two minutes later when Fan Yuqiu pulled one back. Nigeria’s next game comes up by 3.00 a.m. Nigerian time on Thursday against Colombia at the same venue. The Colombians lost their first game 0-4 to Mexico also yesterday morning. A win for Flamingoes on Thursday will guarantee them a place in the next round. Speaking after the game, Flamingoes first goal scorer and Man-of-the-match award winner, Rasheedat Ajibade, said she was delighted for the victory and promised to perform better in subsequent games. “I feel great and on top of the world. I just pray God continues to keep me in good form so I can do my best at all time. I want to score more goals in the game against Colombia. All I have to tell Nigerians is to continue to pray for us. By God’s grace, we will bring the trophy to Nigeria,” Ajibade said. Today, Ghana will face Germany in a game the Europeans have vowed to win

started their campaign at the on-going FIFA U-17 Championship in Costa Rica in flying colours in the early hours of yesterday, handing a 2-1 defeat to China. Their Ghanaian counterparts also had a good start, beating Korea DPR 2-0 in Group B, but the third African representative, Zambia, was not lucky, as they went down 0-2 to Italy in Group A. The Nigerian girls began the business in Group D on a bright note with goals from Rasheedat Ajibade and Uchenna Kanu. The match was played at the Alejandra Morera Soto Stadium in the city of Alajuela. Some Nigerians who stayed awake back home to watch the encounter in the early hours yesterday, were uncomfortable when the girls started to put their feet wrong at the beginning of the match. First, it was Chiwendu Ihezuo, who failed to connect in the seventh minute, as she watched the ball roll past the opponent’s goalmouth. She missed another opportunity in the 14th minute. Striker Rasheedat Ajibade also missed an opportunity to give Nigeria the lead in the

Taekwondoists at the 2013 Chika Chukwumerije Foundation Championship in Abuja. Nigerian junior stars will begin their quest to qualify for the Youth Olympics at the WTF Qualifiers… tomorrow.

to keep their title aspirations alive. The Germans came from 0-2 down to secure a 2-2 with Canada on Saturday evening. Former Super Falcons captain, US-based Florence Omagbemi, served as Match Commissioner in that game. Zambia will confront Venezuela also later today in Group A in what appears to be an uphill task, as Venezuela shocked the host country, Costa Rica, with a 3-0 defeat on Saturday.

The Flamingoes celebrating one of their goals against China at the on-going FIFA U-17 Women World Cup… PHOTO: FIFA.COM. yesterday.

Nine-man Team Nigeria set for Taipei 2014 WTF Youth Olympics qualifiers EAM Nigeria have arrived in T Chinese Taipei in readiness for the World Taekwondo

the support of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and under the guidance of the new Federation (WTF)-organised national coach, Jin Beom Kim, 2014 Youth Olympics qualifiers, will weigh-in tomorrow, just which kicks off on Thursday. before the draw. In this group The nine-man team, which has are the duo of Esther Godwin (-

Organisers list gain of Warri Tennis Coaching Clinic By Gowon Akpodonor HE need to spread the techniques and strategy in winning matches to young tennis players, especially in primary and secondary school level, is the reason behind the maiden Warri Tennis Coaching Clinic, the organisers have said. “Most tennis tournaments and coaching clinics are organised in Lagos and as such people in other urban centres are not opportuned to witness and benefit from these tennis initiatives and this has been working against talent hunt and tennis development,” the Chief Executive Officer of Iso-Black Concepts Ltd, Igho Okor, said yesterday. The Warri Tennis Coaching Clinic, a grassroots tennis talent development programme will hold in Warri from April 7 to 26 at the Shell Club, Ogunu. It is for children between the ages of six and 16 years Okor explained yesterday

T

that the programme is aimed at introducing the rudiments of tennis to the kids, saying that talents and potential champions in Warri and its environs would benefit greatly from the exercise. “They are eagerly waiting to be discovered and nurtured to prominence. The Iso-Black Warri Tennis is structured and targeted at discovering such hidden talents in Warri and its environs. It will develop the game from grassroots level by teaching the young stars the basics of the game and appropriate strategy to adopt for winning matches,” he said. “Our target is to stage the tennis coaching clinic for 500 kids, but as it is now, we have to adjust our plan because there is over-subscription already and many entries are still coming. “Apart from enthusiasm shown by the kids, various corporate organisations, including ARCO, Promasidor, SYKES,

‘Paulinus Chukwu was first among equals’ By Adeyinka Adedipe HERE is no way the history T of handball will be written in Nigeria without late national team coach, Paulinus Chukwu getting a notable mention, so say handball buffs. According to two-time president of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN), Dr. Lanre Glover, Chukwu, who is also a former coach of the Imo Grasshoppers, apart from having so many first to his name, was a founding member of handball in the country. Glover stated that the history of handball would not be complete without highlighting the good work of the late coach. He noted that late Chukwu was the first coach to lead a team sports to the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, when he took the women handball team to Spain.

“Taking the handball team to the Olympics in Barcelona was a thing of pride to the handball family. He was painstaking in the way he handled the team during the qualifiers, which culminated in our qualification for the competition. Handball thus became the first team sport to represent Nigeria in the Olympics. “When I was the President of the HFN in 1995, I called on him to lead the female team to the All Africa Games elimination in Cote d’Ivoire with the directive that he must ensure our qualification. In Abidjan, Nigeria comprehensively defeated all the teams to qualify for the All African Games in Harare (in the men and women category), a feat that came to the attention of the then Sports Minister, who visited the office of the HFN when he was appointed. “Handball thus became the

63kg) and Ogeh Ogochukwu (49kg) They are expected to fight on Thursday. Iniobong Ekong, Husseini Isah and Bashir Muhammad will weigh in on Thursday and fight

first team sport to qualify in both male and female categories away from home. Also, in 1993 late Chukwu coached the Imo Grasshoppers to win the inaugural Malta Guinness Handball Championship. Under his tutelage the Imo Grasshoppers and Lions won several African and Commonwealth titles. Paulinus was first amongst equals.  He will be sorely missed,” Glover added. Coach Ferdinand Emeana, who is the head coach of the Imo State Handball Association, described the late Chukwu as a great tactician who brought his great experience to the fore. Emeana, who played under Chukwu and was also his assistant for many years, said his late boss was thorough, discipline and loved his job till his dying days. “Even in retirement, he would come to the training

ground and see what we are doing. He gave us advice when necessary. He is not just a coach, but also a thoroughbred professional and great manager of men.” He said what he learnt from the late coach has helped him in his coaching career at his current assignment where he handles the Imo Grasshoppers and Lions. The Secretary of the Imo State Handball Association, Justina Akpulo, described Chukwu as a good man who paid attention to details, while he was the coach of the national team and Imo Grasshoppers. Akpulo, who played under Chukwu, described him as an honest and nice person who gave his all to handball. According to her, training under the deceased was tedious, but interesting. She, however, stated that the government should immortalise the late coach by naming a sports arena after him.

Standard Alliance Life Assurance Ltd, Carex, Cadbury and NPIMS, a subsidiary of NNPC, have indicated their interest in sponsoring the event. At the end of the event in Warri, the kids who perform well will be taken to Lagos and from there we will take them to our partner Tennis Academy in South Africa. But the movement to South Africa will depend on the parents whether to allow their children proceed to the tennis academy to perfect their skills in tennis or not,”

on Friday. One of the qualification hopefuls, Ekong, says her confidence has improved having undergone training prior to the tournament. “This is the first time I will be competing for Nigeria and I feel great about it. I feel like I can win a medal. I have finished my secondary school, but I have not taken JAMB to enroll in the university because of funds. “I hope this trip can open an opportunity so I can be given a scholarship. In Taipei, I expect to see other young people like me; they have arms and legs like us. The little camp has been good, because I have learnt many things and my stamina has increased,” the National Youth Games gold medalist said. According to a board member of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Chika Chukwumerije, the team has equal chance to make it to the Olympics.

2014 IBILE Games’ preliminary entry forms out HE Technical Committee of Council, LSSC posted to the 57 Technical T the 2014 Lagos State Sports LGs/LCDAs, Festival, tagged IBILE Games, Department of the LSSC at has called on eligible schools, local councils and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to begin the preliminary registration of sports they would feature in during the sports fiesta, which holds from April 30 to May 10. According to a statement from the Secretary of the competition’s Technical Committee, Adewale Adelekan, the preliminary registration is meant to indicate sports, which each LG, LCDA, private and public school is interested in during the championship. According to the statement, the forms will be available for both open and junior categories through the email of the tournament; ibilegames2014@gmail.com, officials of the Lagos State Sports

Rowe Park, Yaba, various secretaries of sports associations at Rowe Park, Yaba, School Sports Department at LSSC and through sports officers of the six Education Districts in Lagos State. The closing date for all preliminary entry forms is March 31, while submission in the case of open category should be made to the Technical Department of the LSSC and to the Technical Department or School Sports Department, LSSC in the case of the junior category. The statement added that “upon submission of the preliminary entry forms, the final entry forms will be given to the LGs/LCDAs and the schools (public/private) for them to register with each association of the sports they wish to take part in during the Ibile Games.

Ondo State and Kano vying for honours at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival… Paulinus Chukwu was instrumental in the development of PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU. handball in Nigeria.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

94 SPORTS Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Expect no favour from me, Drogba warns Chelsea ALATASARAY striker, G Didier Drogba has warned Chelsea not to expect any favour when he makes an emotional return to his old club for a decisive Champions League last 16 clash today. Jose Mourinho’s side is reeling after a tempestuous 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday ended their 14match unbeaten run in the Premier League and cast doubt about their ability to cope with the pressure of the title race. The Blues imploded in spectacular fashion as Willian and Ramires were sent off, while Mourinho got his marching orders from referee Chris Foy after stepping onto the pitch to protest during the row that followed Ramires’s dismissal. The FA will examine Foy’s match report before deciding whether to charge Mourinho, but there was no escaping the sense that Chelsea need to quickly recover their equilibrium to stop a promising season going up in smoke. Mourinho’s men remain four points clear at the top of the table, but they have less margin for error in Champions League, where a win or high-scoring draw for Galatasaray in today’s second leg at Stamford Bridge would send the Turks into the quarter-finals following a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Istanbul last month. In the circumstances, it will be something of a bittersweet reunion with Drogba, who is certain to be greeted as a returning hero by Chelsea fans before the match but could end up shattering their European dreams by the end of the night. Drogba, who remains close to Mourinho and is reportedly considering an offer to return to Chelsea as a striker coach next season, won every major prize during a glorious eight-year stay in west London. He was the hero of the club’s 2012 Champions League final victory against Bayern Munich, scoring a late equaliser and then netting the winning penalty in the

Today’s Champions League matches Chelsea vs Galatasaray 20:45 Real Madrid vs Schalke 20:45

shoot-out to seal Chelsea’s first ever European Cup. On the eve of his first appearance at the Bridge since his departure immediately after that unforgettable night in Munich, Drogba admitted he is nervous about how he will react to being the centre of attention. “First of all I was happy to play against my ex-club, against my friends. But at the same time it is a very special moment because I do not know what my reaction will be,” Drogba told UEFA.com. “You know that I spent eight years at Chelsea, so I really don’t know, I am quite apprehensive about it. “It’s the club where I experienced everything. It allowed me to get closer to the best players in the world. “ Drogba makes no attempt to hide his love for Chelsea, but he would relish another run to the latter stages of the competition, even if it comes at the expense of his old friends. “I hope that Galatasaray qualify. It will be difficult, but I think that regarding the welcome, I think I’m allowed to say that I will receive a warm welcome, because I know Chelsea’s fans and our relationship is really special,” Drogba said. “It will be great to see them again, I am looking forward to it. “ There was one piece of good news for Mourinho after the Villa match as it emerged that Samuel Eto’o is expected to be fit for the Galatasaray tie. Eto’o sat out the Villa game, but Fernando Torres gave a lacklustre performance in his place and Mourinho is likely to throw the Cameroon striker back into the fray. Despite Saturday’s troubling defeat, Chelsea are still firm favourites to advance to the last eight in Europe, which would be a welcome tonic for Mourinho, who has never hidden his dislike for Galatasaray coach Roberto Mancini. “In Istanbul we saw each other and only said ‘hello’. We certainly aren’t friends,” Mancini was quoted as telling Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “I don’t think Mourinho wants to have friends, or maybe that’s just the way he likes to appear.”

Chelsea FC’s Manager, José Mourinho (middle) oversees a training session ahead of today’s match against Galatasaray AŞ…yesterday. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

Real Madrid prepare for formality match EAL Madrid face the cereR mony of the return leg of their last 16 Champions League football tie against Schalke 04 today’s night. Madrid’s 6-1 thrashing of the Germans away from home three weeks ago means there is no doubt about which of the two sides will progress into the draw for the last eight. The only question that remains is what side Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti will field, reports Xinhua. The fact that Madrid entertain Barcelona in what could be the decisive game for the destiny of the Primera Liga title this coming Sunday will influence Ancelotti’ s selection and he has the luxury of being able to rest key players ahead of that match. Iker Casillas will play in goal and one player who looks likely to start is Cristiano Ronaldo, who needs just two goals in order to overtake Puskas in fourth place in the all time list of Real Madrid’s top goal scorers.

Ronaldo has so far scored 240 goals for Real Madrid and needs two more to draw level with the legendary Hungarian’s tally of 242. Ronaldo is also chasing the title of the top scorer in this season’s Champions League and the match against the German side is a good chance for him to add to his total of 11 goals in Europe this season. Ronaldo has one more than Zlatan Ibrahimovich and three more than Leo Messi, who missed a large part of the group stage through injury. The match should give a chance to some of Real Madrid’ s younger players to get some minutes on the pitch and defender Nacho Gonzalez along with forwards Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez could find himself in the starting 11. Jese enjoyed a successful run in the first team while Ronaldo was suspended for three league matches and is

one of the most popular prices to ensure a packed youngsters at the club. house for a game where goals Meanwhile with the result of look to be guaranteed. the tie not in doubt, Real Madrid have reduced ticket

Benzema won’t play against Schalke, says Ancelotti HE Frenchman has been T plagued by a leg injury but Los Blancos are hopeful he will be fit to feature at the Santiago Bernabeu. Carlo Ancelotti says Real Madrid will be without Karim Benzema in today’s

Drogba (left) with Galatasaray AŞ Coach Roberto Mancini during their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg against Chelsea FC.

Champions League match against Schalke but remains confident that the France international will be fit for Sunday’s Liga game against Barcelona. The 26-year-old striker netted twice in Los Blancos’ 6-1 firstleg win in Gelsenkirchen, but a leg injury he picked up against Malaga over the weekend will keep him out of the return leg. “Benzema can’t play tomorrow (today) but we are confident he will be fit for Sunday,” Ancelotti said at a press conference. “Benzema is a very important player, but we are lucky to be able to replace him when he is injured.” The Madrid coach then went on to stress that the game against Schalke is the perfect preparation for the upcoming Clasico. “Sunday’s match will be very balanced,” he said. “We have to play well against Schalke because it’s a very important match. We have to be consistent. Playing well is the best way to prepare for the Clasico.”

Ronaldo

Homecoming for ex-Chelsea great, Drogba HELSEA FC welcome C Galatasaray AŞ and their former goalscoring hero, Didier Drogba, to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of their round of 16 tie, which is level at 1-1 after the first game in Istanbul. Drogba was part of the Chelsea side that won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 2011/12, scoring a late equaliser and then the decisive penalty in the final shoot-out against FC Bayern München in Munich on May 19, 2012. That was the Ivoirien final kick for the club. This season Chelsea made up for their 2012/13 disappointment, when they became the first UEFA Champions League holders to fail to survive the group stage. That early exit was the only blot in 12 other-

wise consecutive qualifying campaigns; this term, the Blues won their group for the eighth time in that period. José Mourinho masterminded Chelsea’s sole round of 16 defeat between 2006/07 and 2011/12, against an FC Internazionale Milano side also featuring Wesley Sneijder in 2009/10. Although they reached the second group stage in 2000/01 and again the next year, Galatasaray’s only past experience of the round of 16 came last year when they beat FC Schalke 04 4-3 on aggregate. The home leg ended 1-1, Burak Yılmaz opening the scoring. Hamit Altıntop and Burak were on target in the away match, substitute Umut Bulut firing the winner. • Culled from UEFA.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

95


TheGuardian

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Toyosi Akerele Continued from yesterday HIS country, as it is, is more for us than it is for the old order. People to whom, legacies are substantial will be more concerned about what children who will write Common Entrance Examinations in 10 years from now will hear and learn about them. So, indeed, we have sidelined the young people as the consideration for Youth Inclusion in this National Conference, as vividly as I see it, is specious, patronising and meaningless. The National Association of Nigerian Students has six slots, the National Youth Council of Nigeria has six slots and other youth organisations have six slots, altogether 18 of the entire 492 delegates. Then, there’s a sprinkling of some pseudo youths, here and there. Please, disregard the representation that reflects associations, professional bodies, labour unions etc. This seems to me as a deliberate effort to ensure that the voice of the successor generation is drowned in the abyss of the majority of the established order because even when matters of great importance may need to be put to vote, I do not see the possibility of our position carrying the day. I hope the fellows who composed this list of participants for the National Conference know that this is the generation that votes massively in elections- whether it is the side of the decorous and responsible who stay on queues peacefully to vote or the other side of the divide with the brainwashed boys who hijack ballot boxes for pecuniary rewards. All form the youth population. We are the ones that run the SMEs that vitalise our economy, the ones that are indispensable when you have to employ the services of barbers, hairdressers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers etc. How does a generation hand down generators to us instead of electricity and still brazenly deprive us of our inalienable right to contribute to deciding our future? They say that graduates these days do not speak impeccable English, therefore they are unemployable. Well, we took what we were given: A dysfunctional, decrepit, antiquated, antediluvian education curricula in a warped system. The fact that one young person has been selected to represent an entire geo-political zone is lip service to the youth and does not tell us that the handlers of the conference understand the concept of change and transformation. Do we not even see that our problems as a nation differ, state by state? Would it have been too much to get two youths, one female, the other male, to represent the 36 states of Nigeria? How come our politicians remember that the youth is a Power League only when elections are imminent? Soon, they will commence the conference and the discussions therein will in no way, favour those of who will be 40 years old in 10 years from now while some will be living peacefully in Heaven or suffering in Hell. YES, the noble crop of Nigeria’s elders know that some of their contemporaries will end in Hell for laying the foundation of gross corruption, neglecting our education system in the doldrums, refusing to work assiduously to industrialise our nation so there can be jobs for the youths and imposing ill equipped, unfit brigands on us as leaders at various levels by masterminding and facilitating rigging of elections. Will our elders even speak up for us or are they just comfortable with titles when they

T

Please send reactions and feedback for YOUTH SPEAK to:

editorial@risenetworks.org and 07067976667- SMS ONLY

This national conference that excludes Nigeria’s youth (2)

know in their hearts they are not proud of the country they will bequeath to us? Can someone in the room be rational enough to see and think ahead that one day, the poor in Nigeria will have nothing to eat but the rich? That’s for our elders.

As for the youths, it is fortuitously auspicious that we begin to equip ourselves with the right education and skills that will make us competitive and capable to take the reins of power and lead Nigeria to glory. It is not enough to complain; the book of

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

RISE GROUP

@risenetworks

21676F3E

Published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotlines: Lagos 7736351, Abuja 07098513445; Circulation Hotline: 01 4489656 All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. E-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com; www.ngrguardiannews.com

Editor: MARTINS

OLOJA

.

ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125)

As for the youths, it is fortuitously auspicious that we begin to equip ourselves with the right education and skills that will make us competitive and capable to take the reins of power and lead Nigeria to glory. It is not enough to complain; the book of Lamentations in the Bible was not written for Nigerians. We must frustrate tradition with creativity and bring greater value to the table than our predecessors anticipate

Lamentations in the Bible was not written for Nigerians. We must frustrate tradition with creativity and bring greater value to the table than our predecessors anticipate. Then we must manage our expectations and switch our style of approach. I do not believe that as a young person, an elder’s misdemeanor does in my opinion strip him of his “eldership”. When we do so, it does not even lend credence to our arguments that we will be better leaders. Courtesy and respect are integral pieces of our civilisation. Our adaptability, discernment and adroitness to these dynamics as they play out in our country remain our edge in this ongoing conversation. If and when our generation builds on character and all others mentioned above, we will alter the rules of engagement. The Revolution has just begun. 2015, here we come. • Concluded. • Akerele, who writes from Lagos, is the Founder/CEO of Rise Networks and Passnownow.com toyosirise@risenetworks.org / 08022352535.


Tue 18 Mar 2014