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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Friday, May 17, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,559


Rivers’ political crisis deepens From Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and Wole Shadare (Lagos)

FRESH dimension in the A political crisis rocking Rivers State began yesterday as the police withdrew security aides of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Otelemaba Dan Amachree and the Chief of Staff (COS) to the Governor, Tony Okocha. The withdrawal came after the murder of an aide (Mr. Eric Ezenekwe) to the courtdeposed state chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Godspower Ake. The police have commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder. Besides, Caverton Helicop-

• Police orderly, escort withdrawn from Speaker, Amaechi’s COS • ‘Governor’s security aides may go soon’ • Minister, firm deny role in grounding of Rivers’ plane ters yesterday denied that it was pressured by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to disown the Rivers State government over the controversial Bombardier Global Express 5000 with registration number N565RS . It insisted that the clearance obtained with its name to

operate the aircraft in the country was forged. Amachree who on Tuesday in an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan raised the alarm on a purported plot to withdraw security personnel attached to government officials and to pave the way for the assassination of Governor

Chibuike Amaechi, himself and other legislators, accused the State   Commissioner of Police,  Mbu Joseph Mbu, of unceremoniously withdrawing  the orderly and escort attached to him. The speaker said the gradual withdrawal of security personnel attached to gov-

ernment officials was aimed at making them susceptible to possible attacks from assailants. He had alleged that there was a  plan to release from detention, 18 notorious robbery and kidnap kingpins in custody to carry out the alleged planned attacks on the government officials

ACN asks N’ Assembly to study proclamation - Page 3

and innocent residents of the state. Amachree said: “Sequel to my letter to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, Commander-in-Chief, Nigerian Armed Forces of plans by some persons to unleash mayhem in the state, the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, Mbu Joseph Mbu, has unceremoniously withdrawn the police orderly and escort attached to me. “Recall that I have earlier expressed my fears about plans to withdraw security CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Nigeria, others urged to invest in education, health By Bola Olajuwon (Just back from Cape Town, South Africa)

IGERIA and other African N countries have been urged to learn from positive

Malian First Lady, Mintou Traore (right); France’s First Lady, Valerie Trierweiler and some children during their visit to schools in Gao, one of several northern cities liberated by a French-led military operation against an Islamist occupation in Mali… yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

transformation in rapidly developing nations in southern part of the world by investing in education, health, people, tackling gender issues and providing an enabling environment for sustained progress. A public dialogue on “human development report 2013” entitled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World,” underscored this message in Cape Town, South Africa. The dialogue was hosted by the United Nations (UN) Resident Co-ordinator and the UN Resident Representative in South Africa, Dr. Agostinho Zacarias. The programme was equally attended by diverse policy-makers and experts from within and outside Africa on the sideline of a two-day policy seminar on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) organised by Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) also in Cape Town. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Govt’s debt stands at N8.7 tr, inflation rises by 9.1 % From Mohammed Abubakar and Karls Tsokar, Abuja HIS is official: The country’s debt profile stood at N8.7 trillion as at December 2011. Out of the sum, N6.85 trillion is for domestic stock while N1.217 trillion represents the external stock, which is 21.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) ratio.


These facts were revealed yesterday at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja where decisions were taken to reinvigorate the economy. Indeed, the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr. Abraham Nwankwo who gave the figures while briefing State House journalists, noted that

the country was still in a solvency state, noting that the 21.5 per cent was a very good rating as against the 40 per cent that was the standard practice. Yesterday too, it was disclosed that the inflation in the country rose to 9.1 per cent in April as against the 8.6 per cent rise in March, while the GDP expanded to

6.56 per cent in the first quarter of the year 2013. Nwankwo briefed the NEC where he highlighted the gains recorded by his office on public debt management, including the successful completion of Debt Data Reconstruction (DDR) in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) last December.

Some of the decisions taken by NEC, which was chaired by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, included the establishment of a sub-committee to facilitate easier accessing of funding for critical infrastructural development by both federal and state governments. The committee is charged with the responsibility of

harmonising the projects with a view to quickening the pace of draw down. The committee, which is chaired by Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, also has six other state governors representing the six geo-political zones, Finance Minister, National Planning Minister, Chief Economic AdCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Govt’s debt stands at N8.7 trillion CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 viser to the President and Special Adviser to the Vice President on Economic Matters. The governors on the team include Gabriel Suswam of Benue representing NorthCentral; Peter Obi of Anambra (South-East); Isa Yuguda of Bauchi (North-East); Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna (North-West); Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta (South- South) and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo (SouthWest). While briefing State House correspondents on the decisions taken at the council, Kwambo said the raising of the sub-committee followed a presentation at the last NEC meeting in April by the Co-ordinating Minister of Economy and Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on concessionary facilities being offered to both federal and state governments by different international funding agencies to fund high impact projects in such vital areas as infrastructure, housing, water supply, erosion control and employment generation. According to him, “the establishment of a NEC subcommittee is to follow up and work with interested states towards a better harmonisation and co-ordination of the processes to enhance easier and quicker draw down.” Also, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, briefed the council on the decision of the state governors to purchase the 78,701 pieces of the Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) used during the last voters’ registration at subsidised rates. He said if purchased, the computers would be distributed to secondary schools all

over the country in pursuance of the determination to expose the younger generation of Nigerians to computer applications at an early age. According to him, “INEC has surplus machines and they are updating their systems and they thought rather than waste the huge numbers, they offered to sell them to states. We are all in agreement that it will be useful to have these machines and have them distributed to our various secondary schools across the country. “The Council agreed that states are going to buy the machines and INEC should give discount of 25 per cent for the old machines and 10 per cent for the new ones. Further negotiation on the mode of payment will be finalised by the committee with INEC,” he said. Niger State Deputy Governor, Musa Ahmed Ibeto, also briefed the media on the acceptance of the recommendations arrived at during the recently-concluded national conference on corruption, which took place in the state and agreed that because of the seriousness attached to corruption matters, the report would be deliberated on during the NEC July meeting. A statement yesterday in Abuja by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that “in April 2013, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, rose by 9.1 per cent year-on-year (compared to 8.6 per cent in March). This is the fourth consecutive month of single digit year-on-year rates being recorded, and the first time this has occurred since the movement to the new CPI base period.” While manufacturing, hotels and restaurants, and CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha (left); Kaduna State Governor, Mukhtar Yero and Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans, during the launch of Etisalat Telecommunications Engineering Programme (ETEP), Nigeria’s first M.Sc course in telecommunications engineering at ABU in Zaria... yesterday.

Nigeria, others urged to invest in education, health CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The participants posited that Africa could improve its lot by looking inwards as well as learning from others’ experiences and investing in strategic areas. Leading the dialogue, Zacarias explained that the report highlights that the world is changing and that the global South is no longer a region of under-developed or hopeless states as the nations situated in it were previously called. The UN official, in an interview with The Guardian, said: “There are fundamental changes that countries in the South are undergoing in terms of economic and human development. It is not about only Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) indicators, but there are also some fundamental gains in the areas of education, child and maternal mortality rate are coming down, basic social services and health and life expectancy are increasing. “The report highlights that these developments are actually taking place and also to enable other countries

learn from their experiences and emulate positive developments in their own countries.” According to him, the positive gains emanating from the countries in the south are products of investments in the key areas that developments are now noticeable. “Like in the case of education, it empowers people; it broadens the horizon of people and provides more options for people to take care of their own lives. For example, the countries concerned have made important investment in education and health. If you make investment in health, you increase potential for productivity, people will be healthy, they can work, they are not sick and there is less absenteeism.” He added: “It should also be noted that the countries concerned have made investment in women, girls’ education and also provide the possibility for women to lead in key institutions. The countries have also created conditions for better living conditions for their citizens.

These are kinds of things that are happening and they need to be embraced.” Some of the leading countries in Africa, according to him, are Ghana, Angola, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mozambique. But according to him, there are some positive aspects of the changes in some countries such as Nigeria in spite of some other challenges it is facing currently. “These positive changes are examples and lessons for the rest of the countries on the continent and others. I want them to look at what is happening in all these countries; there is a lot that they can learn and which can be replicated in their own individual countries to sustain growth and development”, he said. Meanwhile, the Human Development Report 2013 looks at the evolving geopolitics of the world, examining emerging issues and trends as well as new actors, which are shaping the development landscape. It argues that striking transformation of a large num-

ber of developing countries into dynamic major economies with growing political influence is having a significant impact on human development progress. According to the report, China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second biggest economy, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the process while India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policy innovation. Brazil is raising its living standards by expanding international relationship and anti-poverty programmes. The projections developed in the report indicated that the combined economic output of the three leading economies – China, India and Brazil – alone will surpass aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and United States by 2020. More so, the report claims that Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and other developing countries are becoming leading actors on the world stage.

Minister, firm deny role in grounding of Rivers’ plane CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

operatives from the governor and top officials of the Rivers State Government, including me, making us vulnerable to attacks by hoodlums.  Now my fears are made worse by the recent murder of an aide to Chief G. U. Ake, Mr Eric Ezenekwe, at his home town in Erema, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. On this premise, I still stand on my earlier call for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu.” The development came amid fears that security aides of Amaechi will be withdrawn any moment from now, with sources saying that, barring any lastminute change of plans, the withdrawal could take place as early as this week-

end.  . pave the way to a declaraThose to be withdrawn in- tion of a state of emergency clude the policemen, sol- by some politicians  in condiers and men of the State nivance with the police.  He Security Service (SSS) at- had also cited the invasion tached to Amaechi who is of the House of Assembly also the Chairman of the which is directly adjacent to Nigerian Governors’ Forum the Police Headquarters on Moscow on the May 6, 2013, (NGF).  The plot is reportedly to by irate youths demanding first withdraw the police the reinstatement of the details attached to the gov- suspended chairman of ernor, including his orderly Obio-Akpor Local Governand Aide de Camp (ADC). ment Council, Timothy The source added: “When Nsirim. A source at the Governthe governor and his people raise the alarm, the po- ment House who pleaded lice would quickly try to anonymity disclosed to The defend the withdrawal as Guardian that the head of routine redeployment of of- the policemen attached to ficers and men. And that Okocha approached him new policemen will be post- yesterday morning and dised to the governor.” closed that he and his team The speaker had on April had been directed to return 30, 2013 raised the alarm on to the police headquarters. The source said governthe collapse of the security apparatus in the state to or- ment officials in Rivers chestrate a breakdown of State were yet to recover law and order that would from the shock over the de-

nial of transactions by top management of Caverton Helicopters on the importation of the controversial Bombardier Global 700 Jet by the state government, and now further pressure was being mounted on them through the withdrawal of security personnel attached to them. He explained that the police had earlier withdrawn the orderly attached to the Okrika Local Government Chairman, Tamuno Williams. But the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Angela Agabe,  who had initially told The Guardian that she was not aware of the withdrawal of the policemen attached to the speaker and the COS, said their claims were not true. The Rivers State governCONTINUED ON PAGE 4

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


News EMERGENCY RULE Women leader, others urge co-operation

Police beef up security in Taraba

By Seye Olumide

From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo

SOCIAL activist and the Igba of Warri Kingdom, Chief Rita Lori Ogbebor has called on stakeholders in the country to ensure that the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states achieves its objectives. In a related development, a non-governmental organisation, The Popular View Group, has commended the President for the proclamation in accordance with his powers as enshrined in the constitution. Speaking at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, Ogbebor said if the emergency was allowed to work and well managed, it would yield the desired peace otherwise “we all know what soldiers can do.”

OLLOWING the declaration Fneighbouring of emergency rule in the states of


Deputy Controller of Prison,(Agodi Prison), Showumi Adewale (left); Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao and Oloye Lekan Alabi at the controller of Prison’s visit to Alao in Ibadan ...yesterday. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

ACN asks N’ Assembly to study proclamation, S’East PDP okays action From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) CHOING its resentment over the declaration of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has urged the members of the National Assembly to carefully study the order by President Goodluck Jonathan. Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), South East zone yesterday condemned calls from certain quarters on the National Assembly to reject the bill on state of emergency, and advised them to desist from seeking cheap popularity from serious national issues. In a related development, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has cautioned the Federal Government against the deployment of military troops in the troubled areas such that it may eventually destabilise the civilian population in the area. They, however, said that they were ready to constitute a team to monitor the activities of soldiers under the emergency rule in the affected states. The ACN in a statement in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed said: ‘’Members of the federal legislature, as the true representatives of the people, must decide - purely on the basis of facts rather than sentiments - whether or not the emergency rule is the best option to resolve the Boko Haram crisis. Truly understanding the proclamation will enable them to make an informed decision when the issue is brought before them.” It said that the emergency rule, which is essentially martial law, has castrated democra-


• Northern elders caution against military deployment cy in the affected states, even though the democratic structures have been left largely intact. ACN said the Jonathan administration, realising the groundswell of opposition that will be triggered if the governors and the Houses of Assembly members were sacked, decided to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting Nigerians by leaving the elected officials in place even under the emergency rule. ‘’In practice, it was a monumental deception. First, the democratic structures left in place are of no use in a state under martial law; Secondly, the proclamation did not give a time frame, meaning that the

emergency rule is open-ended and can last as long as the President wishes. After all, the emergency rule imposed on 15 local councils in four states was never lifted. Thirdly, now that the President has tested the water and realised people could be so easily hoodwinked, what prevents him from extending the emergency rule to other states that catch his fancy? The PDP stated that the action of the President in declaring state of emergency in the three states signalled a new and decisive showdown against Boko Haram, adding that it called for the support of every Nigerian. In a letter of solidarity to his

North East counterpart, the National Vice Chairman of the party in the Southeast, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd.) commended Jonathan for consulting all relevant stakeholders before taking the action. He added that his decision to leave the elected government structures in the three affected states intact confirmed his legacy as a truly democratic leader. In a statement after its meeting in Kaduna, the ACF’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Hajiya Fati Ibrahim, said: “The ACF takes notice of the proclamation of the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states by the Federal Government on the grounds that attacks and killings by

insurgents and other terrorist groups require more massive military response. The ACF, however, added: “The meeting was concerned that the President appears to invest more faith in a military solution even where evidence from our experiences so far bears no such optimism”. “It is the hope of the ACF therefore that the Federal Government does not consider the increased military deployments as a superior option or alternative to the slower and more tedious path of dialogue, negotiation and conciliation. Given the dismal history of peace-making campaigns by the military all over the world, dispatching battalion after battalion to the field in the hope of combating insurgents or terrorists, sound naïve”.

Falana, Fasehun, Keyamo, others laud Jonathan By Abiodun Fanoro prominent Nigerians SdentOME have commended PresiGoodluck for not displacing democratic structures in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states where he declared state of emergency. Among those who lauded the action are the national president of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, eminent lawyers and civil rights activists, Femi Falana (SAN) and Festus Keyamo. They were all united in their views that the declaration of state of emergency in the affected states was in order and in the overall interest of the country. Fasehun said on Wednesday

that the action was long overdue and had been over delayed at huge cost to lives and property, stressing that insecurity and democracy were two strange bedfellows. Falana lauded Jonathan for not following the tradition of his predecessor, former President Olusegun Obasanjo who displaced structures of governance in states where he declared emergency rule during his tenure. Falana said: “However, President Jonathan deserves commendation for acting within the ambit of the constitution. Unlike ex-President Obasanjo who illegally removed elected governors under the guise of a state of emergency, President Jonathan has not dissolved democratic structures in the

affected states. That is in order because an elected governor can only be removed by impeachment, resignation or on ground of infirmity of body or mind and not through a state of emergency. He added: ‘‘For the avoidance of doubt the proviso to Section 11 (4) of the Constitution which empowers the National Assembly to take over the legislative powers of a state in case of emergency states that nothing in this section shall be construed as conferring on the National Assembly power to remove the governor or the deputy governor of the state from office.’’’ Falana urged the President not to end his respect for the rule of law in his full compli-

ance with the law in the state of emergency declaration but to further it and assure Nigerians that the era of impunity was over. Keyamo also corroborated Falana’s position that Jonathan had set a good example by retaining the structures of governance in those states. “It is constitutionally correct that the President did not attempt to suspend the governors from office as nothing in Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives him such a power. What Obasanjo did in the past in suspending governors through a declaration of a state of emergency was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void,” he added.

Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, the Taraba State Police Command has placed on red alert all the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in all the 16 local councils in the state. The measure, according to the State Police Commissioner, Jubril O. Adeniji, is to halt the infiltration of hoodlums and members of the Boko Haram sect from neighbouring states to Taraba. Adeniji who disclosed this to journalists yesterday in his office, said the command had “put many measures in place since the Mr. President’s proclamation last Tuesday.” According to him, the measures include putting all the DPOs on alert to watch out for infiltrators into their areas of authorities, adding that “the divisions had been fortified with more men and we have re-introduced the stop and search exercise on all vehicles coming into any parts of the state.” Optimistic that the command has all the needed manpower to ward off insurgents from the state, he added, “we are equally putting our ears and eyes down to check any untoward situation.”

PDP chief, Tsav kicks, Tofa cautions From Adamu Abuh (Abuja), Joseph Wantu (Makurdi)and John Akubo (Dutse) OME prominent indigents of Sreservation Benue State have expressed over the declaration of the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, saying the action depicts a wrong step in tackling the insecurity in the country. However, a chieftain of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Alhaji Bashir Tofa on Wednesday urged caution over the action. A front line politician and a PDP stalwart in Benue State, Chief Abu Shuluwa in an interview with The Guardian criticised the action as lacking focus. The elder statesman also questioned the rationale in allowing the governors and assembly members to continue to administer the states. “I recall that under Obasanjo, state of emergency was declared in Plateau State and then Governor Joshua Dariye was asked to step aside for six months. Why did President Jonathan not do the same? This action will not achieve any purpose”, Shuluwa stated. In his reaction, former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Tsav said the action would only give the military legal backing to harass and kill innocent people in the affected states, a situation, he added, was not good for democracy.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

APCON lifts ban on Guinness advertising materials AVING complied to play the game by the rule, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has lifted the ban placed on advertising materials of Guinness Nigeria Plc. The council sanctioned the brewery giant for exposing its “Guinness foreign extra stout adverts on Digital Satellite Television (DStv) outside the prescribed periods allowed by the APCON Code of Advertising and Promotion guidelines. In addition to stopping the broadcast of the adverts, APCON also withdrew all certificates of approval issued to Guinness for advertisement of alcoholic beverages from 2012 to date. However, the ban is lifted “because Guinness complied by withdrawing all advertisements that had been scheduled to run and apologised over the breach,” said Nkechi May-Nzeribe, Corporate Affairs Officer of APCON in a statement. According to her, “sanctions meted out to the company were sequel to the deliberate breach of Article 39 of the aforementioned provision which clearly prohibits the airing of alcoholic beverages between certain periods of time.” In the Article, it is enshrined that ‘advertisements for alcoholic beverages shall not be aired between 6.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m. on radio and between 6.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. on television.’ Nkechi said: “But Guinness ‘made of more’ was aired on DStv platform on Saturday,


February 2, 2013 at 16:40 hours West African time during the CAF Nations Cup match between Ghana and Cape Verde and during English Premier League live football matches even after warnings and notifications from the Council.” A letter signed by the Mar-

keting Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Austin Ufomba, avers that “all the adverts for alcoholic beverages on DStv Super Sports have been stopped … we have directed DStv Super Sports to stop the pan-African feed which beams the non-compliant materials into Nigeria” and

this issue as this was not in any way deliberate.” He emphasised that “as a leader in the alcoholic beverages category in Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria will continue to act responsibly and will endeavour to support APCON in carrying out her duties of advertising regulation.”

By Roseline Okere and Sulaimon Salau HE Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC) has shut in about 1.5 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day (scfpd) from its gas gathering facilities in Rivers State. A statement from Shell Headquarters at The Hague, Netherlands, said it has declared force majeure on  gas supply to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG). The announcement followed a reported leak along the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS-1), which led to the shutdown of its Soku and Gbaran Ubie gas export. According to the statement, SPDC declared force majeure on gas supplies to Nigeria LNG from 9.00 a.m. (Nigerian time) on Wednesday. “For a limited time and subject to capacity limitations, we are able to export about 100200MMscfpd from Soku via the GTS1,” it stated.


Chimamanda Adichie on Glo/CNN’s African Voices NN African Voices sponC sored by Globacom Nigeria will this weekend feature

Managing Director, Anabel Group Inc., Nicholas Okoye (left); Managing Director, Dragnet Solutions Limited, Robert Ikazoboh; former Head of Interim National Government (ING), Ernest Shonekan and Pioneer President/Chairman, Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (CIMN), Lugard Aimiuwu, during the yearly convention and exhibition of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Lagos… yesterday.

TheGuardian SATURDAY, May 18, 2013

Conscience Nurtured by Truth

State Of Emergency...

Will the declaration of emergency rule in three northern states —-Borno, Yobe, Adamawa—- halt Nigeria’s march to anarchy? The answer is blowing in the wind…

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have directed our media agency to implement the removal of all alcoholic advertising materials in line with the letter. Ufomba apologised on behalf of Guinness stating “kindly extend our apologies to members of the ASP, who may have been aggrieved by

Shell declares force majeure

J.K Obatala chats up the Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to bring us the journey so far—- 14 years after its establishment.

The Guardian On simply can’t put it down!

Amaechi’s security aides may go soon CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

ment maintained that Caverton handled its aircraft until the plane was grounded by the aviation agency, claiming that all the plane’s documents were genuine and up to date. But Caverton said it initially wanted to import and manage the aircraft on behalf of the Rivers State government into the country in August 2012 but this did not fall though as ACCAS, the company that was bringing the aircraft terminated the deal midway. “So it is strange that Rivers is now saying pressure was put on Caverton Helicopters to disown them in late April 2013, when both parties had agreed in February 2013 that it was Rivers that

was operating the aircraft. Nothing could be farther from the truth,” a Caverton official told reporters. A statement issued by the Minister of Aviation, Stella Odua-Ogiewonyi yesterday signed by the Special Adviser (Media), Joe Obi, said: “The point to note here is that there are three major issues in contention here. The first is the question of the true ownership of the aircraft while the second and more serious one is the question of operating with falsified clearances dubiously collected in the name of Caverton Helicopters. The third relates to why the aircraft was still operating in the country even when the false clearances had expired.”

Inflation rises by 9.1 % CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 construction performed very well by contributing 7.89 per cent from January to March as against the 8.14 per cent in the previous year, though a decline comparatively, the non-oil sector was the major driver of the economy in the first quarter. “On an aggregate basis, the economy, when measured by the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), grew by 6.56 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 as against 6.34 per cent

in the corresponding quarter of 2012…The nominal GDP for the first quarter of 2013 was estimated at N9,493,779.44 million as against the N9,142,858.51 million during the corresponding quarter of 2012.” The Statistician-General of the Federation Yemi Kale who made the statement available to the media, indicated that industrial high scale theft and unresolved issues of legislations contributed to the poor

multiple award-winning novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The programme highlights Africa’s most engaging personalities who are shaping the continent in different areas of life. The 30-minute magazine programme, will be broadcast  on Friday at 8.30 a.m., with repeat broadcasts on Saturday at 3.30 p.m. and on Sunday at 9.00 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.. There will be further repeats at 10.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. on Monday and at 5.30 a.m. on Tuesday. Known for her thought-provoking and inspirational writing, Adichie was thrust into limelight by Purple Hibiscus which she published in 2003. She followed it up with another sensational novel,  Half of a Yellow Sun in 2006 and The Thing Around Your Neck in 2009.

S’Africa okays long stay visa for Nigerians By Wole Shadare OUTH AFRICA said it has approved the granting of three years multiple visas to Nigerian businessmen to enter into the country and to further make the movement of businessmen from Nigeria easier, just as it said that South Africa has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in nine areas in oil and gas with Nigeria. Other areas, which MoU was signed, are communication, tourism and a waiver for diplomatic passport. The South Africa High Commissioner to Nigeria, Louis Mnguni disclosed this to journalists in Lagos yesterday, while answering questions on the level of Nigeria-South Africa relations. The latest development, the High Commissioner said, is not only to further cement the diplomatic relations between the two countries, but to also make it easier for Nigerian businessmen to come into South Africa and do business.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

Design national nutrition policy, UK tells Nigeria From Joke Falaju, Abuja

NEWS | 5

Sultan, Oritsejafor urge unity, peace

ORRIED by the low W nutritional intake of Nigerians, the United King-

From Nkechi Onyedika and Itunu Ajayi, Abuja

• Nigeria to host global peace festival Nov

dom government has called on the Federal Government to design a decent nutritional policy for the Nigerian populace. The UK Under Secretary for International Development, Lynne Featherstone, made the call yesterday in Abuja when she led a delegation to the office of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. She explained that her visit to some parts of northern Nigeria revealed that most of the children were undernourished. According to her, she was in the country to draft a tentative agenda for the G8 Roundtable and the New Alliance meetings billed for June 8 in London with the theme: “Nutrition for Growth”.

HE Sultan of Sokoto and the T President, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, His Emi-

one people under one nation irrespective of our diversity.” Also, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has said that to build a new and great Nigeria, we must do everything it takes to ensure lasting peace. Speaking at the consultative meeting on the “Role of Religious Leaders and Traditional Rulers in Building a Culture of Peace, National Unity and

nence, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has said that Nigeria must remain one indivisible nation despite the differences in religion, tribe, geographical locations and urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of peace, tolerance, unity and brotherhood. According to him, “It is the wisdom of God to make us

Integration in Abuja, the Sultan stressed the need for political office holders, religious leaders and traditional rulers in the country to discharge their responsibilities with justice, fairness and equity. He said: “Wherever you find absence of equity, justice, you find disaffection; wherever you find disaffection, you find friction; wherever you find friction, you are breaching peace; and before you know it,

you are getting reactions like some of the crises we have in the world today. The massage of peace, unity, take centre stage of the sermons in the various mosques and churches across the country”. He observed that the crisis, disaffection and self-destruction in the world today are not the intention of God, but the product of man’s inhumanity to man. The Sultan said: “If since the creation of man, the differences in faith, value disposition and consequences of our

One dies of machete wounds in Plateau violence From Isa Abdusalami Ahovi, Jos HE one-month relative T peace that returned to Wase Local Council of Plateau State after the outbreak of violence early this year is yet to be sustained, as one member of the vigilance group died yesterday of machete wounds sustained in an attack on Wednesday night. It happened at a boundary between Tofa Village and Wase Town, all in Wase Council. Five people were injured in the renewed night attack of Wednesday, leaving many houses burnt. With the fresh attack, the earlier planned peace and confidence meeting billed for yesterday (Thursday) at Wase Tofa could not hold as a result of the new development.

Dignitaries meet in Owerri for Achebe From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri ET to pay tributes to the late Salumogu literary icon, Prof. ChinuAchebe, who passed on on March 21 in Boston Massachusetts, the United States, the Imo State governmentowned Ikemba OdumegwuOjukwu Centre will today, at 11 a.m at WODDI Centre, hold what it called “A Day of Tributes for Achebe”. According to a statement yesterday in Owerri by Director General of the centre, Prof. Fabian Osuji, Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, will be the chief host, adding that both the former contemporaries and associates of the Fallen Eagle on Iroko, as fondly called, are expected to attend. The long list, according to the statement by the former Minister of Education, include members of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), the Eastern Writers’ Association and Conference of Democratic Scholars (CODES), among others, in the academia.

President, Nigerian Cardiac Society, Prof. Solomon Danbauchi (left); Co-Founder Nigerian Heart Foundation, Prof. Olu Akinkugbe; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc., Mr. Emmanuel Ekunno; Assistant Director, Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Beauty Okologo and past president, Nigerian Hypertension Society, Prof. Basden Onwubere, at the unveiling of Fight the Good Fight Against Hypertension (FITGAH) organised by Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc in Lagos… yesterday

Accomplice denies statement implicating Goje in alleged N25b fraud case From Abosede Musari, Abuja N an alleged N25 billion Igovernor fraud case against former of Gombe state, Danjuma Goje, an alleged accomplice, Sambo Muhammad Tumu, has denied own statement implicating the former. Tumu, a food supplier to Gombe State Government House, told Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court, Gombe, at the resumed hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday that his statement was extracted involuntarily by investigators from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He urged the court not to admit his statement in evidence. However, prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu, argued that Tumu’s statement was not extracted involuntarily. In his address on point of law, Shittu noted that facts, as well as circumstances surrounding the statement, indicate that it was voluntarily taken. Giving the information to media yesterday, Spokesman to EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, quoted prosecution counsel as saying, “an accused person who sought for an interpreter and was obliged, who agreed that the interpreter was present throughout the interview, appended his signature to the statement and was allowed to go home after volunteering his statement. Can we, therefore, say there was oppression”? Shittu, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the

submissions of defence and admit the document in evidence, as it is credible, compelling, cogent and watertight. Tumu, alongside the erstwhile governor of Gombe State, Muhammad Danjuma Goje and four others, are facing a N25 billion conspiracy and money laundering charge brought against them by EFCC. Tumu’s counsel, Paul Erokoro (SAN), insisted that the statement of his client should not be admitted in evidence,

claiming he was not the author and that the document was made under circumstances of threat and promise with the sole intention to implicate the first accused, Goje, by all means. Arguing further on the vulnerability of an illiterate person such as Sambo, to buttress his stance on the document’s inadmissibility, Erokoro cited the Illiterate Protection Act, saying the evidence given by Suraj did not meet the requirement of the Act. Earlier, while being cross-

examined, prosecution witnesses, Solomon Okotie and Suraj Abdullahi, who were the investigator and interpreter, denied inducing, threatening or promising Tumu anything in order to extract the statement. They asserted that the statement was made voluntarily by the accused under a normal and relaxed atmosphere in an open EFCC office. Justice Babatunde Quadri adjourned the case to July 3 and 4 for ruling and continuation of trial.

desperation has not yielded any result order than selfdestruction, shouldn’t we turn to the basis of recognising that God created everybody equal. Before God, whether you are White or Black, we are all the same; the differences is what you make of yourself and what makes you different or acceptable before God is the measure of your goodness that has benefited your neighbour whether he is of your religion, colour, tribe or not”. Earlier, the facilitator of the programme, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, stressed the need to strengthen the ties and relations between people of all faith in Nigeria. He noted that the meeting would fast-track the process of having a global peace festival in Nigeria in November 2013. In his address, Oritsejafor observed that peace is necessary and possible, adding that to achieve peace, have peace, there must be love, integrity, equity, truth and justice. The CAN president, who noted that Nigeria has potential for greatness and can stand tall in the comity of nations, said: “We are not where we ought to be, but we are not also where we used to be”. Also speaking, at Global Peace Foundation, James Flynn, noted that many studies have identified Nigeria as the most religious nation in the world, adding that this is the greatest resource for any nation. He noted that the world is faced with one common challenge of insecurity, adding that all nations of the world need to put in place as a building block for peace. Flynn called on leaders at all level in Nigeria to create an inclusive process towards consensus of shared values and work towards a unique identity for the country as the nation marks its 100 years of amalgamation. He observed that religious and traditional leaders can serve as the conscience of the nation by working together to uplift and build consensus between. According to him, Nigeria can use its religious leaders and traditional rulers to solve its problem to be a model and solution to the world.

N’Assembly decries govt’s non-payment of counterpart funds From Anietie Akpan, Calabar ATIONAL Assembly ComN mittee on Civil Society and Donor Agencies has decried the non-payment of counterpart funding from the Federal Government on European Union (EU)-assisted projects in the country. Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Civil Society and Donor Agencies, Prof. Ini Udoka, who stated this during a courtesy call on Governor Liyel Imoke after inspecting some projects in the state yesterday, observed that things done in Cross River are line with the needs of people. But, he however, noted that the challenge faced by some

of the projects in the country is the non-release of counterpart funds from the Federal Government. Udoka assured that on arrival in Abuja, he would meet with the officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance to address the issue. He averred that the good work done by the state government is an evidence that the people are enjoying dividend of democracy and commended Cross River for establishing Ministry of Water Resources, which according to him, not many states have done so. According to him, the committee was impressed with the institutional framework put in place by the Cross Riv-

er State government to enhance sustainability of its projects. Udoka said they were in the state to inspect projects executed by the European Union (EU) with Federal Ministry of Water Resources, as well as others undertaken by Federal MDAS to ascertain their level of implementation, quality and impact on the citizens domiciled in the state. They visited projects at Ikot Okon Abasi and Akpap Okoyong in Odukpani Local Council Area and said Cross River has put in place structures that give confidence to international agencies, which have singled it out as a model in the country. Responding, Governor

Imoke disclosed that over the years, the state has instituted necessary institutions and strengthened them with the needed capacity to achieve its objectives because of its belief that they will serve the people better. Imoke explained that partnership with donor agencies will enhance further development and that the import of the projects is that they are client-driven and not donor agencies’-driven. The governor observed that there should be a limit to how much is spent on capacity training because it takes about 50 per cent of the project cost and most times, at the detriment of the project and the clients.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

6 | NEWS

Man to die nine years after crime

Niger Delta leaders meet Clark, insist Jonathan must run in 2015

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

From Chido Okafor, Warri

INE years after he was accused of stabbing his neigbhour, Blessing Ehigie, to death with a knife, an Edo State High Court in Abudu, Orhionmwon local council, has sentenced one Sunday Ilawe to death by hanging. Ilawe was accused of stabbing Ehigie on the neck and stomach, which led to his death. The incident happened on October 13, 2004 at Egua-Evbu Ehigie Village. Delivering the judgment, the trial Justice Uro Erameh said the prosecution proved its case against the convict beyond reasonable doubt.


PPARENTLY giving the A embattled President Goodluck Jonathan a base to lean on, members of the Niger Delta Leaders Assembly on a courtesy call on Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, at his Kiagbodo hometown in Burutu local council of Delta State, have asked him to run in 2015. The leaders, who rubbed minds on the 2015 presidential elections, particularly the heated issue of President

Jonathan’s aptitude in the light of the increasing ills afflicting the country, said he did well to merit another term, having assessed and okayed his performances so far. Led by their national chairman, His Royal Majesty (HRM), Dr. Carson Agidah, the leaders told Clark that the Niger Delta Leaders Assembly were a select group of concerned Nigerians from different strata of life in the region, who have assessed Jonathan’s leadership within the parameters of good gov-

ernance and found him a success. Addressing Clark, Agidah said: “We (Niger Delta) have been shortchanged for too long. We have been impoverished by our attention to the needs of our brothers. We have made the bourgeois of the North, East and West with our wealth at the detriment of our children. “Our magnanimity is taken for granted, we have been mocked for dispensing our wealth to all. Our generosity has been turned to an offense; we are rated as those

We (Niger Delta) have been shortchanged for too long. We have been impoverished by our attention to the needs of our brothers. We have made the bourgeois of the North, East and West with our wealth at the detriment of our children. who do not know the value of their wealth. “Respectfully, our dear elder statesman, we are here to let you know that we are set to reverse the tide. We are set to break that jinx in 2015 for posterity. For the 2015 presidential election, we the people of the Niger Delta

India seeks to partner Nigeria on education By Mary Ogar HE India High CommisT sioner to Nigeria, Mr. Mahesh Sachdev, has called for increased partnership between his country and Nigeria in the education sector, through “purposeful discussions on inter-institutional co-operation, faculty exchange and other joint ventures that would enhance Nigeria’s educational capacity and quality.” Speaking yesterday at the 2013 India Education Expo at the High Commission of India, Lagos, he said that the “glorious bilateral past” between both countries and the vast future potential should encourage more collaboration in the education sector. According to Sachdev, “Nigeria and India have had a long and proud history of educational cooperation. The previous Nigerian generation had fond memories of being taught by Indian teachers and professors in 1970s and 1980s.” While highlighting the educational opportunities in India, he announced that in 2012, over 1,200 Nigerians studied there, while he expressed hope for an increase. According to him, “Nigerian stakeholders are discovering the attractiveness of Indian education.

Babatope defends Adoke By Tunde Akinola ORMER Minister of TransFTrustees port and member, Board of (BoT) of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, has called on critics of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello-Adoke, to allow him continue in office. In a statement yesterday, Babatope said it was important for him to commend Adoke “for the brilliant way he has been handling various legal challenges facing our dear country,” adding: “Nigeria, as a politically volatile country, needs an attorney general that is fair-minded, with a high sense of patriotism. Last month, the Anti-Corruption Network petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan to sack Adoke, and yesterday, the group also asked the minister to resign his office if he truly wanted to allow the allegations against him to be investigated.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (right) unveiling a plaque during the turning of the sod of Samonda Business Complex, a joint venture between the state government and Wemabod Estates Limited at Sango, Ibadan on Wednesday. With him are the Chairman of Wemabod, Dr. Adebayo Adewusi (second right), Chairman, Oyo State Market Advisory Council, Alhaji Dauda Oladapo (third right) and others. PHOTO: OYO STATE GOVENRMENT HOUSE

have a candidate. Our candidate is His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He must re-contest the 2015 presidential election. It is a must-do project.” The assembly told Clark: “Should he refuse to re-contest the 2015 presidential election, he should not return home after retirement.” Meanwhile, Clark responded that he had already received a group of Ijaw living in the United States, who equally made the same demand. On his own, he listed Jonathan’s achievements in the present administration as the opening of rail lines, including the one from Iddo in Lagos to Kano. Others will include “huge improvements in the power, aviation, education sectors,” as well as “stopping the rigging of elections by enthroning the one man, one vote culture and several others,” adding that these were visible merits ahead 2015. However, Clark disagreed with the group’s statement that if Jonathan refused to run in 2015 he should not return home after retirement, arguing that only Jonathan would decide whether he would run or not, and that his decision should be respected by Niger Deltans. Nevertheless, he promised to convey the views of the Niger Delta Leaders Assembly to the President, while thanking them for the visit.

Nigeria, Cameroun pledge trans-border collaboration • Minister blames poor data on foreigners for insecurity From Mohammed Abubakar and Karls Tsokar, Abuja  ARELY 48 hours into the B proclamation of state of emergency in north-eastern states of Nigeria and an appeal by Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to some neighbouring African countries to cooperate with the country fighting terrorism, Jonathan yesterday met with the Camerounian Vice Prime Minister, Ahmadou

Ali.   The Cameroonian official brought a special message from that country’s President, Mr. Paul Biya, where both countries pledged to strengthen cooperation and collaboration on trans-border security.   The special message from Biya included an invitation to Jonathan to attend a summit on security and maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea to be hosted by Cameroon at a

later date.  Jonathan briefed the Camerounian Vice- Prime Minister about the state of emergency declared in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states this week, and assured the special envoy that Nigeria would work with her neighbours to ensure security in the sub-region. Meanwhile, Minister of Interior, Abba Moro has revealed that there is no accurate data on the number

of illegal immigrants in the country due to what he called “the porosity of the Nigerian borders” and the wrong interpretation of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) protocol on intra-regional immigration policy. Moro, who made this assertion yesterday in Abuja at the 27th edition of the Nigerian Newsworld/Nigerian Pilot Leadership Forum, added that over 19,000 illegal immi-

grants have been eased out of Nigerian as a result of intensified activities of Boko Haram and other criminal activities by the Immigration Service so as to ensure that illegal immigrants especially criminally minded elements are phased out. He stressed that tackling this challenge of immigrants also requires the installation of more surveillance equipment at the country’s borders.

ment and multiple sexual partners could predispose one to both communicable and non-communicable diseases. To improve healthcare financing, he called for compulsory health insurance for Nigerians, noting that there is no free healthcare anywhere, as someone has to bear the burden of health cost. Meanwhile, LUTH Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC), Prof. Chris Bode, urged health journalists to specialise in various health branches in order to report

health authoritatively, noting that Nigerians have more wrong perception of staphylococcus from quacks than they do from orthodox medicine practitioners. “If only you could inform Nigerians rightly, we could reduce infant mortality rate,” Bode said. Also, Ogun State’s former Commissioner for Information and Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr. Fassy Adetokunboh, has urged journalists to avoid yellow journalism but promote ethical and objective reporting.

How to reduce malaria scourge, by LUTH By Joseph Okoghenun S Nigeria battles the rising A incidence of malaria, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) yesterday called for a multi-dimensional approach to reduce its scourge in the country. LUTH’s Chief Medical Director, Prof. Akin Osibogun, told journalists during a health reporting training organised by the hospital for members of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) that Nigerians, aside sleeping under long-lasting insecti-

cide-treated nets (LLINs), needed to destroy the breeding grounds for mosquitoes. According to him, this they could do by keeping clean environment and encouraging free flow of water in gutters. The professor of Public Health also advocated the use of window-based LLINs to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes, even as he noted that when people sleep under LLIN, they would likely get infected with malaria if bitten by mosquitoes when not yet in bed. “Sleeping under LLIN alone

might not solve the problem of malaria,” Osibogun warned. “We all know that mosquitoes bite most between 6p.m and 8p.m when most people would be out of bed watching television. So, by the time they go to sleep by 11p.m, they might have already been exposed to malaria.” Osibogun listed the factors that could influence the onset of diseases to include environmental, genetic, healthcare system and individual choices, adding that poor lifestyles like lack of exercise, poor nutrition, dirty environ-


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Court delivers judgment in My Pikin today By Joseph Onyekwere USTICE Okechukwu Okeke JLagos, of the Federal High Court, yesterday adjourned

Representatives of the Students of Wesley School for Hearing Impaired, Surulere, Lagos, Anita Chijioke (left) and Hafsat Godadi; members of City Club, Lagos: Gbenro Oluwole, Justice Seinde Silva (rtd); Chairman of the club, Wahab Gbadebo; another member of the club, Olu Falomo and secretary, Kola PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU Babalola Anyi, during the club’s courtesy visit/donation of cash to the school in Lagos

till today for judgment in the suit filed by the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) against Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, which was charged with production of an alleged killer-syrup, My Pikin. The firm was arraigned on six-count charge bordering on the alleged offence, alongside two of its employees, Adeyemo Abiodun and Ebele Eromosele. Justice Okeke adjourned the case on the ground that he had not finished writing the judgment, though he stated his readiness to ensure the conclusion of judgment in good time. The accused were re-

Police to dismiss killer-officer, says AIG From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki OR shooting to death a cerFNwanga tain Ndubuisi Onyibe of Ezza-South Local Council of Ebonyi State during last weekend’s road traffic confusion around the Abakpa Market in Abakaliki, the state capital, a police man (names withheld) has courted dismissal from service. The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 6, Mr. Johnson Jonathan, who disclosed this during his familiarisation visit to the state, said the Nigeria Police would no longer condone acts of incivility, indiscipline and brutality on the civilian populace by its officers. The late Nwanga, 22, a shop

True federalism will address insecurity, others, says Okorocha From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri OVERNOR Rochas OkoG rocha of Imo State has joined other voices clamouring for true federalism in the country, as he noted that the system would encourage and assist the police in tackling the country’s hydraheaded insecurity. In his address on Wednesday at the 2013 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Law Week held at Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri, Okorocha urged lawyers to contribute their quota to the growth of the country, stating that decentralisation of power in a federation through the observance of local council system, would help the nation grow. He assured the lawyers that the problem in the state’s Judicial Service Commission (dissolved, but in court) would soon be resolved to enable the appointment of judges, magistrates and law officers into the judicial system.

attendant, was allegedly shot dead by the trigger-happy policeman while on his way home after another policeman was allegedly beaten up by some aggrieved traders, as he tried to control traffic along the market environment. However, the AIG said the policeman would soon face the music through possible dismissal to serve as deterrent to others and teach them to moderate their actions towards members of

the public. “I tell you, unless such a report does not come to us, otherwise such a person ought to have been dismissed by now, we don’t take it,” he said, adding: “We are no longer in the olden days when we did things with impunity and got away with them. “I’m assuring you that we will get to the root of that killing and that policeman will face the music.” Jonathan stressed that part

of the reason he visited was to warn officers and men of the Command against misconducts, stating: “Our cardinal principle is that you must be very civil, obedient to the political master and obedient to the members of the public. “That is the only way we can draw their attention and make them sympathetic to our course, but when we are brutal and uncivilised with them, things will not work. I am assuring you that we will

not spare anyone who misbehaves.” He further explained that the familiarisation visit was necessary to enable them “assess what is on ground, the preparation of the Commissioner of Police and his men, the preparedness of the various Area Commanders and their men in terms of provision of security to Ebonyi State, and also to pass some few messages from the Inspector General of Police to them.”

Stakeholders seek govt’s intervention to boost vocational education From Lillian Chukwu, Abuja OWARDS improved T employment opportunities and career enhancement, stakeholders have stressed the need for government’s intervention to bolster vocational education. The Administrator of Kiara College, Endi Ezengwa, in an interactive session with journalists in Abuja yesterday, said that capacity building and skills acquisition would ensure the closing of unemployment gaps in the country.

He lauded the Federal Government’s approval of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), noting that the move will aid implementation and standardisation of the National Vocational Framework (NVF). According to Ezengwa, the new initiative was ideal for vocational training and supportive policies in order to improve employment opportunities in Nigeria. He noted that the NVF would check discriminations against vocational qualification. The career enhancement

administrator, however, tasked government to create awareness and enlightenment for the public on selfemployment, which would even reduce youth restiveness. “If we know exactly how many jobs are available in particular sectors, the universities and polytechnics will adapt their curricula to suit the needs of the people around,” he said. He noted that the interest in quality education prompted the establishment of Kiara College in 2006 in the United

N’Delta ex-militants may clash over monthly stipends From Chido Okafor, Warri FRESH unrest is in the offing between the former militant leaders and their boys of the Niger Delta amnesty third phase over the alleged non-payment of the N65,000 monthly stipends. Several militant leaders, who met at Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli-North Council of Delta State, under the leadership of the chairman of phase three, Kingsley Odiri, said the camp leaders among the erstwhile militants were worried that their boys were not included in the payment, a situation that has pitched the boys


against them and now set them on war path. According to him, the N65,000 to each of the camp leaders had become “fire and petrol in their bosom,” as the boys who were part owners of the guns they surrendered, were poised to unleash terror on the leaders over their exclusion from the payment. At the meeting were John Musa (vice chairman) and Etakibuebu Johnny Walker (secretary). The leaders thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for approving the inclusion of the erstwhile agitators in the third phase of the programme, and the Special

Adviser to the President on Amnesty, Kingsley Kuku, for his co-operation, which culminated in the N65,000 monthly payment. Odiri also urged the Federal Government to document the boys and employ the approach it used for the payment of former militants of phases one and two of the amnesty programme for peace to reign, “because if we are not safe, the Niger Delta region too will not be safe.” They warned that if they do not get a firm response from the Federal Government on or before May 25, 2013, “we shall storm Abuja with our boys.”

Kingdom and Rwanda, and its subsequent opening in Nigeria recently. According to Ezengwa, the college starts with the establishment of individual learning assessment and four main departments, including qualification of credit frameworks and apprenticeship frameworks, short courses for continuing personal professional development, leadership and management. In his contribution, team leader of Labour Market Study, Unicorn International, Onsi Georgious, stressed that curricula in institutions should be tailored around the needs of the labour market.

arraigned on January 7, 2013, on an amended six-count charge bordering on the offence and had pleaded not guilty, and were granted bail. The charge was amended following the death of the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Kola Gbadegeshin. Meanwhile, the prosecution and defence counsel had both adopted their final written addresses before the judge reserved his judgment. The prosecution called seven witnesses in the trial, while the defence called only one. According to the charge, the offence contravened the provisions of Section 1 (a) of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and unwholesome processed foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act No. 25 of 1999. If found guilty, an accused is liable to a fine not exceeding N500,000 or imprisonment for a term not less than five years or more than 15 years, or to both fine and imprisonment.

Abia revokes homes’ licences for violating child rights From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia the faking of FtiesOLLOWING nursing homes, materniand the urgent need to curb the violation of child rights, abductions, illegal adoption and other social vices targeted at children, the Abia State Government has approved the revalidation of such facilities. With the revocation of their operation licences, the state has directed the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to revalidate only those ascertained to be carrying out genuine functions in accordance with government’s stipulations. The state said it was determined to check illegal movement of minors and sale of babies by such homes and persons in different guises. Recently, six such homes were sealed off and their operators arrested while over 48 pregnant girls and six infants were released in the process. Meanwhile, the state has advised members of the public, who have need to adopt children, to liaise with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development or risk prosecution.

Muslims reject Lagos’ position on hijab By Sulaimon Salau HE recent cancellation of T the use of hijab in Lagos State public schools has elicited reactions from Muslims across the state, with the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) describing the policy as a violation of human rights and contradiction of the 1999 Constitution. The Lagos Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, had on Tuesday, banned the use of hijab and headscarf by female Muslim pupils in public schools in the state.

However, the Director of MURIC, Prof. Is-haq Akintola, said in a statement: “We reject this position. It is a product of intolerance, tyranny, oppression, persecution and stigmatisation. The rejection of the use of hijab in public schools reveals the pitiable human rights condition to which Muslims in the South-West have been subjected, both in colonial and post-colonial days.” The body also rejected the claim by the commissioner that the issue was discussed at length and that they reached certain agreements.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

AfricanNews Seven Egyptian soldiers, police kidnapped in Sinai EVEN members of the ShaveEgyptian security forces been seized by unidentified kidnappers in the Sinai peninsula, Egyptian officials say. The three policemen and four soldiers were captured while travelling in minibuses in northern Sinai, east of the city of Arish. The kidnappers are said to be demanding the release from prison of jailed relatives. Reports say local Bedouin tribal leaders have been asked to mediate. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has also summoned the defence and interior ministers to update

him on the situation. Sinai has become increasingly lawless since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011. There have been several incidents in which Western tourists and other foreigners have been kidnapped. Islamist militants in northern Sinai have used the lack of central authority to carry out attacks across the border into Israel. Egyptian Bedouins have also used hostage-taking to press for the release of jailed tribesmen they say have been sentenced unfairly on charges ranging from terrorism to drug dealing.

22 South African boys die in circumcision rituals ORE than 20 South M African boys have died over the past week during coming of age rituals, police said yesterday, and they blamed botched circumcisions as the likely cause of death. Northern Mpumalanga province’s police department has opened 22 murder cases but no arrests have been made so far, spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi said. Every year in South Africa, boys aged 10 to 15 years from several of the country’s tribal groups are circumcised in traditional “initiation ritu-

als”. The ceremonies usually take place over a number of weeks in remote rural areas. Deaths are often caused by blood loss or infection when circumcisions are poorly performed by traditional practitioners. Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane this week called the recent deaths “regrettable”. “This has happened to young people who were still at their prime, looking forward to a brighter future where they could still reach their potential,” he said in a statement.

Zambia kwacha under pressure AMBIA’S kwacha is likely to be on the back foot next week as it tracks a weaker South African rand, while Kenya and Tanzania’s shillings are expected to trade in narrow bands. The kwacha is likely to come under pressure against the dollar next week due to a strengthening of the greenback and the weakening of South Africa’s rand, which the local unit normally tracks. At about midday yesterday, commercial banks quoted the currency of Africa’s leading copper producer at 5.340, down from 5.300 per dollar a week ago. “By virtue of a strong dollar the kwacha’s prospects do not look very favorable going into next week. More so that the rand is looking very shaky,” one trader said. “We have been grinding towards the high 5.300s. Unless we see a dramatic shift in international or domestic developments a test of 5.400 is inevitable.” South Africa’s rand fell to a four-year low against the dollar on Thursday, weighed down by mining sector strikes. Kenya’s shilling is expected to trade in a tight band of 83.5084.10 against the dollar in the next week as the market braces for further drops in lending


rates. The shilling, which has been stable in the last few weeks, was trading at 83.80/90 against the dollar yesterday. Although falling interest rates are expected to spur demand for dollars in the coming weeks, traders said the full impact was still a few weeks away. “Interest rates have been coming off but they are not dropping rapidly...demand for dollars and supply will be evenly matched,” said Wilson Mutai, a trader at Gulf African Bank.

U.S. instructors to train African troops for Mali in Niger NITED States military inU structors in Niger will train African forces participating in a United Nationsbacked offensive against al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in neighboring Mali, senior military officers said yesterday. The United States and several European nations have backed a French-led military intervention, which since January 11 has driven militant insurgents out of the towns of northern Mali. Pockets of Islamist resistance remain in Mali’s desert north. The U.S. military did not participate in the ground offensive but aided the operation by transporting troops and providing intelligence information from drones based in Niger. A senior Niger military officer said up to 30 U.S. military instructors would train African forces between June and August at Ouallam, in the Tillaberi region near the Malian border. “Some U.S. military instructors will train AFISMA troops on Nigerien soil from June 25 to August 3,” the officer, asking not to be identified. “The training will help strengthen the operational capabilities of the coalition forces against terrorism in northern Mali.” U.S. authorities in Niger were not available to comment.

Traore The United States has deployed about 100 military personnel and drones in Niger. Niger troops going to relieve the contingent currently stationed in Mali will be the first to receive training. The U.S. military has run training programmes for Niger’s army for years under a counter-terrorism program in the Sahel.

Niger is among the West African countries, which contributed troops to the regional AFISMA force battling Islamists in Mali alongside a 4,000strong French contingent. AFISMA is expected to be folded into a UN-sanctioned peacekeeping force of about 12,600 troops known as MINUSMA and will be supported by a rapid reaction unit of

Chadians hail arrest of ex-police chief, Djibrine AMPAIGNERS in Chad C have welcomed the arrest of Mahamat Djibrine, former President Hissene Habre’s police chief. Mr. Djibrine is accused of torturing and killing hundreds of opposition activists in the 1980s. It is not clear whether he will be tried in Chad or in Senegal, where Mr Habre is due to go on trial after being held under house arrest there

since 2005. Mr. Djibrine has not yet commented on the allegations. He was arrested on the basis of a lawsuit filed 13 years ago by victims of Mr Habre’s government. Earlier this month, Senegal and Chad signed a deal to allow special judges to carry out investigations in Chad for Mr. Habre’s trial on charges of crimes against

humanity. Under this deal, Mr. Habre’s former top officials can be tried alongside him in Senegal. Mr. Habre denies killing and torturing tens of thousands of his opponents. Mr. Djibrine is the former head of the Directorate of Documentation and Security (DDS), Mr Habre’s political police force. “He is accused of torture, acts of barbarism and illegal de-

Niger villagers take mass public vow to end female genital mutilation BOUT 14,000 villagers A from 20 communities in Niger Republic took a public vow to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced under-age marriage as the West African country’s government steps up its fight against such abuses. Though Niger outlawed the practice in 2003, FGM and other violent treatment of young women remain prevalent among some ethnic groups in the impoverished Sahel nation, which ranks bottom of the United Nations’ world development

1,000 French troops if needed to combat the Islamist threat in Mali. International donors meeting in Brussels on Wednesday pledged 3.25 billion euros ($4.18 billion) to help Mali rebuild after the conflict. The European Union has also provided a 500-strong training team in Mali for an initial period of 15 months.

index. At a ceremony in Makalondi, about 85 km (53 miles) west of the capital Niamey, villagers threw scissors, knives and blades into a pit in the village square which was then filled in. Participants in the ceremony, sponsored by Niger’s government and non-governmental groups including United Nations child agency UNICEF, also vowed to end forced early marriages and the removal of young girls from schools. About 38 percent of girls in

Niger are married off before the age of 15, according to official statistics. Niger’s minister for population, women and child protection, said the government was determined to end such practices. “The government is aware of its responsibilities,” Maikibi Kadidiatou Dan Dobi said during the ceremony. FGM is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia and leads to physical and psychological problems including painful sex and childbirth, infections, infertil-

ity and incontinence. It is done for religious and cultural reasons and is prevalent in 28 African nations and parts of the Middle East and Asia, notably Yemen, Iraqi Kurdistan and Indonesia. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in December urging countries to ban the practice, calling it an “irreparable, irreversible abuse” that threatens about three million girls annually. The World Health Organization estimates 140 million girls and women have undergone FGM.

tention,” prosecutor Massingaral Kagah told the AFP news agency. He served in the United Nations peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast until campaigners complained and he was sent back to Chad. The Chadian Association for the Defence of Human Rights said he should be put on trial in Chad. For many years, Senegal resisted putting Mr. Habre on trial but it has changed its position under new President Macky Sall. The charges date from 1982, when Mr Habre came to power in a coup, until 1990, the year he was ousted. A 1992 Truth Commission in Chad accused Mr. Habre of being responsible for widespread torture and the deaths of 40,000 people. He was accused of carrying out a deliberate policy of terror to discourage any opposition. Survivors of torture say that, among other things, they were subjected to electric shocks, near-asphyxia and “supplice des baguettes”, when their heads were squeezed between sticks.


THE GUARdIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

WorldReport 15 killed by suicide bomber in Afghanistan SUICIdE bomber in a car atA tacked a convoy of foreign troops in Kabul yesterday,

Afghan security and firefighters gather at the scene of an explosion in Kabul yesterday. The suicide car bomb targeted foreign military vehicles PHOTO: AFP/Massoud HOSSAINI

UN wants world citizens to eat insects to fight hunger Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor F governments around the Idollars world can expend billions of in fighting war, global citizens can exert a little energy and a little more will to help themselves to meals from the many insects that now populate our world. This is the apparent view of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural organisation (FAo), which new report released on Monday says eating insects could help fight hunger. According to the World Food Programme, there are currently 870 million undernourished people throughout the world today. Also, one out of every eight people in the world is chronically undernourished. About seven billion people currently populate the earth. In an earlier report on food insecurity, respective UN agencies had collectively said 868 million people were hungry in 2010-2012, or about 12.5 percent of the world’s population, down more sharply than previously estimated from about 1 billion, or 18.6 percent in 199092. Indeed, the matter of eating insects to fight hunger has grown so serious that an international summit on the subject has now been planned for this month according to Van Huis, one of the world’s leading advocates for the eating of insects. Huis is also an advisor to the FAo on the issue. Sections of the FAo report captured by global news media says that eating insects could actually help “boost nutrition and reduce pollution” Interestingly a sizable population in Nigeria’s north east (and maybe elsewhere in Nigeria) are known to be locust eaters. Amazingly, the report further noted that over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects while admitting that “consumer disgust” remains a large barrier in many Western countries.

Wasps, beetles and other insects are currently “underutilised” as food for people and livestock, the report says. Insect farming is “one of the many ways to address food and feed security... Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly, and they have high growth and feed conversion rates and a low environmental footprint,” it added. Furthermore, the report pointed out that insects are indeed nutritious, with high protein, fat and mineral content and that they are “particularly important as a food supplement for undernourished children”. Insects, the report continues, are also “extremely efficient” in converting feed into edible meat. Crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle to produce the same amount of protein, according to the report. Most insects are likely to produce fewer environmentally harmful greenhouse gases than other livestock. The ammonia emissions associated with insect-rearing are far lower than those linked to conventional livestock such as pigs, says the report. The report suggests that the food industry could help in “raising the status of insects” by including them in new recipes and adding them to restaurant menus. Complementarily, the BBC cited the example of South Africa where some caterpillars in are seen as luxuries and command high prices. Most edible insects are gathered in forests and serve niche markets, the report stated in this regard. In March this year, a separate report on man-eating-insects revealed that the state of Israel was in the grip of a locust invasion. Farmers are seeing their crops gobbled up in minutes and some people are taking a novel approach to pest control. Israel was later reported to be dealing with a locust emergency. Locusts eat their bodyweight in

food every day. And they have been found to be chomping their way through fields of potato and maize. Specific extracts in the Torah (Jewish traditional scripture) state that four types of desert locust: the red, the yellow, the spotted grey, and the white can be eaten.  And with news organisations in Israel providing daily updates on the situation, he has become something of staple in households across the country. Locust swarms can travel about 100km (60 miles) a day, and predicting where they will go next is tricky, as it depends largely on the wind. Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture has four planes, available 24/7, tracking the locusts and spraying them with insecticide. But according to reviews, it is a problem affecting not just Israel, but many countries in the region including the Palestinian territories, Sudan (where the situation is particularly se-

rious) Eritrea, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Locusts are a valuable source of income for women in Niger, who get up early to collect them from the millet fields, and then sell them at the market. They make more money from the locusts on the millet than the millet itself, says van Huis. Experts maintain that there is a deeper meaning to the Torah’s submission on the eating of insects. Accordingly, the Torah is thought to state while four types of desert locust can be eaten, but all other insects should be avoided. But it is not clear why locusts are singled out - some Rabbis believe it was a merciful gesture to help people survive locust plagues. While Locusts have also been found to be permitted in Muslim Halal rules, some Jews however do not regard eating locusts as acceptable, because they say it’s uncertain which species the Torah is actually referring to.

killing at least 15 people including six Americans, Afghan and foreign officials said, in one of the worst attacks in the Afghan capital in months. Forty people were wounded in the blast at around 8 a.m. (0330 GMT) during the morning rush-hour. The Hezb-e-Islami insurgent group, which is allied with the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack on the two-vehicle convoy. NATo’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the bomber killed two of its members and four civilian contractors. It declined to give their nationalities. But two senior officials, one Afghan and the other from ISAF, said the two ISAF soldiers and four contractors were all American. Afghan officials said nine Afghan civilians were killed, including two children. “Some of the dead civilians were badly burnt and cannot be recognized,” Kaneshka Baktash, a spokesman for the

Health Ministry, told Reuters. Helicopters buzzed over Kabul’s diplomatic area after the attack and sirens whined. President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the “cowardly” attack. “Terrorists and enemies of Afghanistan’s peace brutally targeted a residential area,” Karzai said in a statement. Concern about Afghanistan’s prospects is growing as most foreign combat troops prepare to leave by the end of next year. Karzai has accused neighboring Pakistan of meddling to destabilise his country. Analysts say Pakistan is maneuvering to limit the influence of its old rival, India, in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies meddling and says it wants a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. The blast caused heavy damage to buildings in the vicinity, including 10 residences. “We were in our home drinking tea when the we heard a blast and our windows shattered, the glass wounded all of us,” Zohra, a wounded girl who only gave her first name, said from a hospital bed. Her head was wrapped in a bandage.

Party wants Bulgarian election result voided ULGARIA’S biggest political B party has said it will seek to have the result of Sunday’s deadlocked election cancelled on grounds of a violation. Ex-Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said his centre-right Gerb party’s chances had been damaged by a “gross violation of the law” on the eve of the polls. State prosecutors had announced that illegal ballots were found at a printing shop linked to his party. Consultations on forming a coalition are due to begin today. But analysts see little hope of forming a stable coalition to lead the European Union’s

poorest state. Gerb, which resigned from power in February amid street protests against corruption and poverty, won a narrow lead in the popular vote of 30.5%, followed by its Socialist rival, the BSP, on 26.6% of the vote. only two other parties passed the 4 per cent threshold needed to enter parliament, the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) won 11.3% and the ultranationalist Ataka took 7.3%. Analysts say Gerb would struggle to form any coalition despite its lead while a possible deal between the BSP and the MRF would probably still need

Pope blasts ‘cult of money’ that tyrannizes poor oPE Francis has deCambodian shoe factory accident Pnounced the global financial system, blasting the “cult kills two, injures seven of money” that he says is tyrannizing the poor and turnHE ceiling of a shoe factory telephone as she recounted ing humans into expendable scene from a nearby clinic. consumer goods. Tin Cambodia collapsed theChea Muny, chief of a trade while several dozen workers

were inside the building early yesterday, killing at least two people and possibly trapping more under the debris, police said. The ceiling is believed to have caved under the weight of heavy iron equipment being stored on the floor above, police officer Khem Pannara said. Two bodies have been pulled from the wreckage and at least seven people were injured in the factory south of the capital, Phnom Penh, he said. Pannara said it was unclear how many people still are under the collapsed area. “We were working normally and suddenly several pieces of brick and iron started falling on us,” said an injured 25-yearold Kong Thary, crying on the

union for factory workers, identified the factory as a Taiwanese-owned operation called “Wing Star” that produces shoes imported to the United States and Europe.

In his first major speech on the subject, Francis demanded that financial and political leaders reform the global financial system to make it more ethical and concerned for the common good.

He said: “Money has to serve, not to rule!” It’s a message Francis delivered on many occasions when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, and it’s one that was frequently stressed by retired Pope Benedict XVI. Francis, who has made clear the poor are his priority, made the comments as he greeted his first group of new ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Politics By Ehichioya Ezomon (Group Political Editor) HERE were two meetings held sequentially: one, between the T South-South and Southeast Governors, and the other among the South-South PDP Governors, Members of the National Assembly and State Party Chairmen. Still, the meetings were not well-publicised, and their agenda not placed in the public domain, as in 2011 when leaders of the South-South and Southeast met to hammer out a common position for that year’s presidential election. That venue was the same Asaba, the Delta State capital city, and the host, the same Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan. This could not be said of the instant meetings, and the major dramatis personae; they alone were in the know of the items for the gatherings and they attended in large numbers, even as numerous political aides and jobbers were kept at bay from the well-fortified and guarded Government House for the first meeting. At the meeting were host Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Mr. Peter Obi (Anambra), Chief Theodore Orji (Abia), Chief Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Mr. Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Chief Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Mr. Sullivan Chime (Enugu), and Chief Rochas Okorocha (Imo). Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru represented Governor Rotimi Amaechi, while Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State was unrepresented, and the column for his signature in the communiqué of the meeting was left blank. But indication of what the SouthSouth and Southeast meeting would entail came the pervious day in Enugu where the governors and other political and opinion leaders of the Southeast met at an emergency session, to take a common position on some issues for the Asaba meeting. Governor Peter Obi, who is chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, told journalists that the leaders discussed items, such as a intended working visit of President Jonathan to zone within this week; and the burial plans for the renowned literary giant, Prof. Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, who died on March 21, 2013 in the United States of America. While the President is at liberty to visit any state, whether officially or privately, observers may wonder why he would be visiting the entire zone in one fell swoop, and for how long! Ditto for the leaders of the zone, who would be meeting to discuss the burial of Achebe, who died, not just that day or week or month but after over seven weeks; and for whom Governor Obi had declared a state burial by the Anambra State Government. In any case, the interment of Prof. Achebe formed only an addendum (‘AOB’) to the communiqué the SouthSouth and Southeast Governors read to journalists at the end of their meeting in Asaba the next day. So, in reality, Governor Obi did not disclose anything in the agenda of the Southeast leaders’ meeting in Enugu. Not even the economic and political integration, and security situations that affect both geopolitical zones — and which were highlighted in Asaba — were mentioned. Nonetheless, sources at the meeting revealed that the leaders “deliberated extensively on the role of Ndigbo in the 2015 dispensation,” and which the leaders would present in Asaba. Most Nigerians know that the Southeast have two positions as regards 2015: One, production of a President of Igbo extraction. Two, support for President Jonathan for a second term in office, and a reciprocal

Group photograph after the meeting of the South-South and Southeast Governors held in the Government House, Asaba, Delta State... last Sunday. 


2015: What the governors did not disclose at Asaba meetings gesture thereafter for an Igbo to be president in 2019. Did the leaders subsequently subsume or abandon these positions at the Asaba meeting? “Not likely,” said a respondent after the governors had read their communiqué on Sunday evening. The secrecy shrouding the Enugu meeting dovetailed into the Asaba conclave, where no official position on the agenda was available in the public. But before the first meeting kicked off in mid afternoon, a source had hinted about the reasons for the two meetings, which are first, for economic and political integration between the South-South and Southeast, as well as the security situations in the zones. The source particularly mentioned oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, and kidnappings, with the latter having inter-state implications, as a victim could be kidnapped in one state and taken to another state, to divert attention away from the scene of the crime. As for the second meeting, the source was explicit: the meeting would consider the intra-party squabbles in the PDP, the threat by the emerging opposition APC and the challenges that the merger might pose for the ruling party in the South-South and the country in general. The source added that other issues such as the PIB would be discussed, without really giving anything away. This was the background to the meeting: that’s what the conveners wanted the public to believe. But watchers of the unfolding event didn’t seem to buy that wager. Indeed, speculations that the meetings were principally convened to shore up supports for the second term bid of President Jonathan continued to swirl around Asaba on the eve of the gatherings, and on D-Day at the Government House, and at the

magnificent Events Centre, venue of the second meeting, which, if fitted with state-of-the-art facilities, could match some sites at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in South Africa. Those that the security operatives allowed into the expansive grounds, among them advance parties of the governors, some officials of the Delta State government and scores of journalists from the South-South and Southeast, Abuja and Lagos were seen in groups discussing the unadvertised agenda, and possible outcomes of the meetings. The conversations soon intensified from mere hushed tones to heated debates when the governors started arriving, and filing into the top floor of one of the buildings for the meetings. Ticking out the list of the expected governors, one after the other, it was obvious in next to no time that three of them  — Rotimi Amaechi Rivers), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo) were “missing.” (While his deputy, Chief Ikuru, represented Amaechi; Okorocha was to join the meeting as it wound down.) This development kicked off diverse opinions representative of the rainbow coalition of the discussants. Some swore that they were “reliably told by very top sources” in governments and/or parties in the geopolitical zones, that the kernel of the meetings was Jonathan and his 2015 ambition. Thus, the discussants concluded that that could explain the absence of Amaechi, who has been at the short end of the stick of President Jonathan’s numerous aides over the governor’s alleged plan to jointly run with a northern politician for the 2015 presidential poll. One of the sources said the president was moving faster this time than in the run-up to the 2011 elections because the opposition to his candi-

dature in 2015 was fiercer and more polarising. “So, the president has to move fast to secure enough backing and the required number of delegates from the southern part of the country,” the source said. “Hence, these emergency meetings that will work out modalities to achieving what the president wants.” Talking about knowing what goes on behind the walls! Well, these sources appeared not very far from the truth: that President Jonathan and his 2015 aspiration was the main reason for the emergency meetings in both Enugu and Asaba. Perhaps, the governors could not help but betray their seeming motive “when the chips were down.” After hours at the closed-door meeting — and after several false information that they were coming down to address the press, thus prompting photojournalists to run hither and thither; the nine governors and a deputy governor finally came down in a single file, walked past the big conference centre, where journalists, government officials and security operatives had been cooling off all day, and into the smaller press briefing room for the business at hand: confronting the press without being confronted in return. Yes, that was their job, as they declined to entertain questions from the traveling journalists! To think that these once boisterous state chief executives could walk past their admirers and journalists, barely acknowledging their salutations, was a wonder to behold. Their movements were measured, almost mechanical, as they moved into the room, sat and waited for the cameras to click, and went straight into business. They had elected that Governor Imoke, who is the chair of the South-South Governors Forum, and Obi that leads the Southeast Governors Forum would co-read the

three-page communiqué. It’s true that the statement, from the meeting to review the state of the nation and the topical issues confronting the country’s “maturing democracy,” highlighted economic and political cooperation between the regions in the area of infrastructural development such as rail lines linking the regions, ports, agro-allied industries, and Free Zone status — but implementation of most of these projects eliciting calls on the Federal Government for assistance. On security, the governors agreed to jointly combat all forms of criminality; condemned those working against the interests of Nigeria through terrorist acts, and commiserated with Nigerians and the victims therefrom; saluted the president’s resolute stance to confront terror; appealed to citizens to be law-abiding; and condoled with Southeast governors and all Nigerians over the death of Prof. Achebe. Yet, many people seem not taken in by these declarations. They see the meeting for what it was: to garner supports for President Jonathan ahead of the 2015 elections. Nothing could have given away that notion better than the number one item of the communiqué, which effusively eulogised the president for his sterling leadership quality and performance that had brought life abundant to otherwise struggling Nigerians that, in actuality, can hardly go by in these hard times. The governors commended the president “for his focused leadership and bold, result-yielding Transformation Agenda, which deserves the unwavering support of all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria alike, as the laudable achievements of the administration in strengthening our democracy, stabilising the polity, growing the economy and improving the quality of life of all citizens continue to unfold.” Which made someone in the hall to


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

Saraki @ 80 that never was th

URING the celebration of his 79 birthday D last year at the Kwara Hotels, Ilorin, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki expectedly pulled a exclaim: “Are these people (governors) living in this country?” “Of course, they are,” retorted a nearby young man (taking notes as Governor Imoke read the first part of the communiqué on the economic and political cooperation aspect). “They know why they are here. It’s not for integration; it’s because of Jonathan,” the man added. Which also threw up the question: Are the nine governors and a deputy governor on the same page with the people of Nigeria, or they merely did what they did for reasons they did not disclose, and possibly will not disclose? To worsen the impression they created with the content of the communiqué, the governors did not entertain any questions from the journalists. “It was obvious the governors would have been embarrassed, as they faced intense scrutiny from the journalists to disclose the behind-thescene resolution they took on Jonathan’s 2015 bid,” a source told The Guardian. “So, the best thing is to avoid such examination.” But come to think of it: there were two governors in the opposition camp or are supposed to be in that camp — Peter Obi and Rochas Okorocha — at the meeting and press briefing. That says a lot about where they stand: in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) or in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? Reports had always linked the two governors as belonging to the PDP, but both had denied the nexus. New national chairman of the APGA, Chief Maxi Okwu, would swear by his forefathers that Obi does not, by any stretch of the imagination, belong to the PDP, not minding his closeness to President Jonathan. But he will not vouch for Okorocha, who has declared for the emerging All Progressives Congress (APC), and yet endorsed the kind of praises heaped on the president. As for the second meeting of the South-South Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party, there were no eyebrows raised by watchers of the polity, as many Nigerians know where the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, and elder statesman and Ijaw Leader, Chief Edwin Clark stand on matters of the PDP, and Jonathan’s bid for encore. The two wily personalities were at the head of the leaders, besides the governors and two deputy governors, at the meeting scheduled to hold at the Events Centre. However, it was shifted back to the Government House in what a source said was “for security reasons.” However, Anenih, in his address to the gathering, made no bones about his strong position on these issues in his 19-paragraph speech at the meeting, which was held also without fanfare even as the heavens opened up for hours. The content of that speech and the communiqué from the meeting, which looked like a resumé of the former, have been well-publicised and advertised in the newspapers, and therefore, bear no repeating. But suffice it to say that Anenih, the chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the man now saddled with the task of reconciling the disparate and factionalised PDP, let go at real and fictional opponents of President Jonathan, the PDP, Nigeria in general and anarchists trying to bring the Jonathan government down through propaganda, and forming opposition blocs within and without the PDP, particularly in the Nigerian Governors Forum headed by Governor Amaechi, and in the fledgling All Progressives Congress. Even as he described the APC as appearing “to be a house built on sand, which is likely to collapse with the first rain,” the policeman-turned politician, famously addressed as ‘The Leader’ or ‘Mr. Fix It’, was quick to acknowledge that, “we cannot afford to be complacent. We must expect any eventualities and prepare to overcome them.” He commended President Jonathan for his handling of the Boko Haram menace, and criticised those that compare the proposed amnesty for the Islamic sect members to the one granted the Niger Delta militants by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. That accolade, an echo from the governors’ compliment, too, has probably bore fruits in President Jonathan’s declaration of a state of emergency in three states on Tuesday night. Will the drive for the president’s second term in office bear similar but positive results in 2015? The game is, indeed, on!

mammoth crowd of well-wishers from the nooks and crannies of the country. He was sandwiched by the members of his immediate family, led by his wife, Florence, and two of his children, Senators Bukola Saraki and Gbemisola Saraki. Although he appeared to be giving a general speech at the event on the unfolding events in the nation’s politics, a particular statement on Bukola remains etched in the minds of his associates till date. “Please, help me take good care of Bukola. What does he know about politics? Please, help me pray for him to succeed. My people, Bukola is in your hands; help me take good care of him.” Today is his 80th birthday, which he would have loved to celebrate. But the cold hand of death snatched the maverick politician away. He breathed his last on November 14, 2012, some six months to the birthday that never was. It was, indeed, the end of an era for the former Senate Leader, who had a firm grip on the political scene of the 45-year-old Kwara State for almost half of a century. The Olooye, as his numerous supporters fondly called Saraki, was noted for his doggedness when faced with political battles. Yet, he was a cherry man, who lived a life without malice, as he ensured that all those who drifted away from the shore of his political circle were brought back without much upheaval. Ready to part with any of his resources each time he came across those in need, Saraki drained himself to enrich others. Today, no startling revelation about any of his hidden ‘wealth’ has emerged several months after his death. If he had been an accountant his books would not have been balanced, as the debits sides would have outweighed the credits sides, showing the level of his political-economic patronage. Born a Muslim faithful, he lived his life across religious boundaries. Married to a Christian, Saraki never allowed religious inclination to dictate the choice of candidates in his political empire. He once told reporters at his Iloffa Road residence, “Religion is a thing of the mind. I relate with all human beings for whom they are as persons and not the way they worship God.” Former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Professor Albert Folorunso Ogunsola, captured Saraki’s formative years in Kwara’s politics in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin. He said Saraki loved his people and would do anything within his powers to make them comfortable. “He was not interested in mundane things but would fight with the last drop of blood in him, any attempt aimed at deliberately pauperising his people. So, it was not all about politics with him but also economy.” The submission by the Emeritus Don of History could be tested with the wealth acquisition drive of the politicians. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Saraki had two houses in Ilorin, built mainly for his political activism. A former governor of the state, Alhaji Sha’aba Lafiagi, reportedly built one of it for him. The second one was renovated when his biological son, Dr. Bukola emerged as the governor of the state. According to the Secretary of the state’s chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), prince Yemi Afolayan, “many of those that ‘Olooye’ assisted to get to the zenith of their political careers are richer than him; yet, he was not moved; instead he kept on giving to them. He was, indeed, a true giver; a leader of no rival in generosity and a quintessential visionary.” A silent way of ensuring wealth redistribution among his people was his love for putting in juicy political offices persons described as the ‘Wretched of the Earth,’ in allusion to the literary work of Frantz Fanon, a Socialist/Communist writer. There is a story of how a member of the House of Representatives had emerged as a candidate of the Olooye. Said to be of a lower academic status, the report got to Saraki, and the ensuing conversation took place between him and the candidate: Saraki: I learnt your English is poor? What is your name and what is your age?

Candidate: My name is… and I am... years old. Saraki: This is amazing to me. You have passed my test; you are going to represent us in Abuja. What other skill do people want from you than the one you had just displayed? Saraki’s penchant for having his associates around him all the time could not but be seen as another way of identifying with their joys and sorrows. At his ‘Ile Loke’ political square, 11pm would be viewed as merely 7am due to a plethora of activities that often kept it warm and exciting. Fired meats, bean cakes and sometimes, African cuisines would be served without anyone being exempted. At dawn, money, sometimes accompanied with yards of Ankara, would be shared among the people. It’s noteworthy that when the bakers in Ilorin suddenly hiked the price of bread some years ago, Saraki, in his compassionate attitude, first held a parley with them on the need to reduce the price. But when it became apparent that the bakers would not heed the call, he set up a bakery in Ilorin, selling to his people at highly subsidised price. The acceptance of this development made the people to compose a song in support of his bakery. It goes thus: ‘Ogbe un ti mo moje de, Saraki se Buredi, o gbe un ti mo moje de.’ (The intervention of Saraki in the business of bakery suits us). Significantly, too, the Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Isa Aremu, said Saraki was labour-friendly, adding that as a Senate Leader, he was instrumental to the historic enactment of the first Minimum Wage Act of 1981, following the struggle of the NLC led by Comrade Hassan Sunmonu. Aremu recalled that Saraki was also helpful to the establishment of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), in Ilorin, a fast-growing centre of labour studies in Africa that immortalises Pa Michael Imoudu. As Aremu observed: “Saraki showed that knowledge is wealth and that wealth is knowledge. Personally, I am a beneficiary of his historic generous support for community public schools (Ilorin Grammar School).” Although Saraki was never a religious bigot, he married a practicing Christian faithful, Florence. He was always at the forefront of donating generously to the building of mosques, especially the Central Mosque Ilorin. Most notable on his views about the nation’s democracy is his belief in the supremacy of the party over those serving at the executive arm of government. During a chat with


reporters at his ‘Ile Loke’ residence, he said, until a party had firm control over those holding elective offices, “then we are not operating democracy the way it ought to.” “During our days at the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the national chairman of the party, my good friend, Chief Adisa Akinloye, was more powerful than the President of the nation,” he said. “Each time we held our party meetings, Adisa was always the last man to appear, and we would all be on our feet to welcome him. Until we go back to that golden era of true democracy, we may not give the people true benefits of the system of government.” Despite his popularity among his people, Saraki was very studious each time there was an election. He would comb the entire state, canvassing for votes for all his candidates. To attest to this development, each time there was a convoy, uninformed villagers would hysterically shout, ‘Olooye,’ not minding even if the convoy belonged to Saraki’s political opponents. The political incursions made by this enigmatic politician in the old Kwara State, consisting of present day Kwara, Kogi and Niger States, were second to none among his contemporaries. Saraki, during his political sojourn, supported the following to become governors of Kwara State: Alhaji Adamu Atta (1979-1983), Chief Cornelius Adebayo (1983), Mohammed Lafiagi (1991-1993), Mohammed Lawal (19992003), Bukola Saraki (2003-2011), and the incumbent, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed. Many of these governors, wanting to be independent of his political control, eventually fell out with Saraki. But despite their powers of incumbency, Saraki fought them to stand still by ousting them from power. While little is known of how Saraki related with most of them before his death, that of Lawal’s family is unique. Saraki ensured that the rift was settled, paving the way for future relationship between his offspring and those of Lawal’s. A few months ago, Bukola Saraki, who succeeded Lawal in office as governor, led a delegation of peacemakers to Idi Ape’s residence and family house of Lawal, where he was warmly received, and he publicly referred to Lawal as “a great person, even in death.” Gifts exchanged hands during the parley, as it marked the end of further crisis between members of the two families in Ilorin. Well, “sweet” according to a biblical allusion, “is the remembrance of the righteous.” So it is with Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, the Oloye and ‘Strong Man of Ilorin Politics’.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


TheMetroSection Four killed, one injured as three-storey building collapses in Umuahia

Briefs Final burial for Oba Samuel Awujoola IS Royal Highness, Oba H Samuel Olaitan Awujoola, the Eleyinpo of Ipapo in Itesiwaju Local Council of Oyo State, is dead. He died on May 6, 2013, after spending 22 years on the throne. He has since been buried. A statement by the Chairman, Council of Traditional Chiefs, Chief F. A. Babalola, said final funeral ceremony would hold on June 15, 2013. He is survived by wife and children.


NOUN holds matriculation HE matriculation cereT mony of National Open University of Nigeria Sympathisers at thescene of the collapsed building...yesterday

From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia N uncompleted three-storey building located in the -rowing Agbama Housing Estate in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, collapsed around 8.00p.m. on Wednesday night killing four occupants, comprising a man, his mother and two children (a boy and girl). His wife, Mrs. Precious David, who sustained injuries, had been taken to the hospital. As at the time of filing this report, efforts were still being made to rescue, dead or alive, some other persons trapped in the building, which was said to be originally a three-


Mrs. Precious David in hospital bed

storey building, but was being raised to accommodate a fourth floor A man that lives around the collapsed building, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “ When the signs of weakness of the building was noticed, the owner commissioned some workers to add additional pillars to support the house. Some of the workers inside might be among those trapped and awaiting rescue.” The ownership of the building could not be ascertained before filing this report but sources linked it to a popular Umuahia -based build-

ing materials dealer. The cause of the collapse could also not be ascertained but the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Usman Tilli Abubarkar, who visited the scene, attributed it to use of inferior materials but quickly stated that “ experts are to confirm“ . The State Deputy Governor, Chief Emeka Ananaba, has visited the scene and the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, where three injured victims, who were said to have crossed critical condition, were receiving treatment. He promised that government would pay the medical bills of those

hospitalized and quickly investigate the cause of the incident while reiterating government’s warning against the use of quacks and inferior materials in building houses. Last Monday, the outgoing state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mazi Donatus Okorie, expressed government’s worry over the erection of buildings against approved plans and alteration of approved plans, saying his ministry was commencing the verification of all buildings with a view to determining if they were erected according to approved purpose and plans.

O fewer than 120 beggars and destitutes have N been convicted and remanded in prison just as 1,708 beggars have been sent packing from Lagos State to their various states and countries by the Lagos State Government. Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr. Dolapo Badru revealed this yesterday at a ministerial press conference at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, ahead of the sixth anniversary commemoration of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration.

He decried the fact that various reactions from civil society organisations have trailed the state government’s clampdown on beggars noting that the present administration respects the rights of persons living with disabilities but, however, will not bend the law when such groups of persons fall foul of the law. “Nearly everyday when my men go on enforcement, this same set of people draw up daggers and knives and maim my staff, they stab them, bite them and defecate on them just to evade arrest because they have broken the law and when

such a person is taken to court to be convicted, a person sitting down in his air conditioned office will rain abuses on us for doing what is right”. He noted that some of those convicted and jailed pose as beggars in traffic situations to rob unsuspecting motorists of their valuables, vowing that the government will not stop to clamp down on them until the trend is nipped in the bud. On the 1,708 beggars and destitute ejected from the state, Badru said they were either transferred to their States of origin, or repatriated to their countries for reintegration.

My parents paid N5 million ransom, says witness By Yetunde Ayobami-Ojo TWENTY-EIGHT-YEAROLD businessman, Mr Ayodele Olaoye, has told a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja how a female friend, Esther Phillips, conspired with some persons to kidnap him. At the resumed trial before Justice Olabisi Akinlade yesterday, Olaoye told court that the seven kidnap suspects collected a N5 million ransom from his parents. The suspect, Phillips, was charged to court alongside Patricia Nna, Kingsley Okonwa, Osita Adigwe , Uzochukwu Ezioha, Jude Sunday and Michael Olarenwaju by the Lagos State Directorate of Public


Prosecutions (DPP). They were arraigned on March 5 on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery, kidnapping and neglect to prevent felony. Olaoye, led in evidence by Mr. Ade Ipaye, the Attorney General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, said he met Phillips in February 2012 at Pegas Club in Opebi, Lagos. He said that the first defendant gave her name as Jane and claimed to be a student of Lagos State University (LASU) and they later became friends. He further stated that on April 22,2012, she asked him to come and know her hostel in LASU and he

agreed because he “trusted her”. According to him, he drove his Nissan Murano SUV to pick her up at GTB Bank on Opebi and they started driving towards LASU with Phillips giving the directions. “We later picked up Nna (second defendant) at Dopemu. She told me that the lady was her schoolmate. “After driving for sometime, they told me to stop at an isolated place because they were pressed.” Olaoye explained that immediately he stopped the car, the trio of Okonwa, Adigwe and Ezioha, entered the car through the back door. He added that

they were armed with a battle- axe and knives and dragged him to the back seat. He continued: “They took my mobile phone, wristwatch and necklace. I was tied up, blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination by the first to fifth accused persons.” “They told me to cooperate or they would kill me. Phillips specifically told me to try and convince my parents to pay the money or the guys would kill me,” he said. The witness also said he was incarcerated for four days, adding that the accused persons called his parents demanding for $400,000 as ransom.

JCMC holds crusade HIS year’s Joint Christian T Ministers’ Crusade (JCMC) holds from June 3-June 5, 2013 from 9.00a.m.-1:00p.m. daily and on Sunday at 8.00a.m. with the theme: “Signs & wonders Today,” at Faith Family Bible Church, along 17, Alhaji Kosoko Street, Ojodu Berger, Lagos. Host is Rev. David K. Aboderin.

Church marks anniversary CTIVITIES to mark the A ninth anniversary of Christ Power Evangelical Min-

120 beggars convicted, 1,708 ejected from Lagos By Kamal Tayo Oropo

(NOUN) holds tomorrow at the campus stadium, Igbosere, near St. Joseph Catholic Mission, Lagos at 10.00a.m.

According to him, his father, Mr. Segun Olaoye, later paid the sum of N5 million to them, which they shared among themselves. He said it was while they were sharing the money that he was able to sneak outside the house where he was being held and escaped. “I took a motorcycle and told him to drop me at my father’s office at Gowon Estate in Iyana-Ipaja. “After then, I wrote a statement to the Police but I can’t remember the exact date or the particular police station,” Olaoye said. Justice Akinlade adjourned further hearing

istry begin on Monday, May 20 at 5.00p.m. daily. Vigil holds on Friday, May 24 from 10.00p.m. till dawn and will end on Sunday, May 26, at the church auditorium, 6, Ogo Oluwa Street, off Adesan Road, by First Poultry in Obafemi/Owode Local Council Mowe, Ogun State. Host is Prophet A. Gideon.

IFMA inauguration HE International Facility T Management Association (IFMA) Nigeria chapter, will today inaugurate its Ilorin branch at Roemichs International School Hall, Ajase Ipo Road, Ilorin, Kwara State at noon. It will be performed by the President, Miss Iyabo Aboaba, former General Manager, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos and at present, the Chief Operating Officer of Freedom Park, Lagos. Expected at the event are: Mr. Tunji Okesola, Vice President; Mr. Lekan Akinwumi, Assistant General Secretary; Pius Iwundu, Treasurer; Anthony Ezeaku, Immediate past President; Pastor. S. O. Jagun, past President and Mrs. Sade Airiohuodion, the Executive Secretary of the Association This event will be hosted by Ms. Carmen Latty, Past President and Council Member of IFMA and the Executive Director, Roemichs International Schools, Ilorin, Kwara State.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director, Access Bank and Friends Africa Board Chair, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede (left) RBM Goodwill Ambassador, Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Chief Executive Officer/Founder, Friends Africa, Dr. Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba at the Gift from Africa Corporate Executives Dinner organised by Friends Africa, during the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa...

Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Eruwa and Mr. Joseph Akinlaja, at a meeting with representative of Doctoral candidates in Russia in Abuja... on wednessday PHOTO:NAN

Police detain former Minister’s son for alleged forgery, others By Odita Sunday HE son of former Attorney T General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Justice Agbamuche, Michael Agbamuche has been arrested by the Nigeria Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU) for alleged conspiracy, forgery and stealing. Commissioner of Police in charge of SFU, Mr. Tunde Ogunshakin who confirmed the arrest to The Guardian noted that the suspect was arrested sequel to a petition sent to him by a first generation bank on his alleged criminal acts. He was arrested alongside four others and would be detained till tomorrow. A statement signed by the spokesperson of SFU, Ngozi Isintume, a Deputy Superintendent of Police read: “A petition to the Commissioner of Police, SFU from a first generation commercial bank alleged that Joy LucasUche, a bank official connived with Victor Ipinmoroti of 1st Mek Global Service Ltd, Moses Adesoji Coker of Advance Images Computers Ltd and God Can Nigeria Ltd to

defraud the bank of over N200 million.” “The bank granted invoice discounting facilities to the customer in December 2012 and having purportedly concluded the various jobs awarded to them, they requested the bank to discount the invoices issued to their principal for which payments are being expected.  The bank obliged and released funds to the customers, having confirmed the supposedly genuineness of the invoices from the principal, that is, the company that issued the invoices.” “It was agreed that payment for the job would be made within 30days which never happened.  It was later discovered that the invoices issued to the bank by these customers were actually fake. It was also discovered that the principal actually have same invoices in their system, which has long been paid.  Fake duplicates concocted by the customers were successfully done with the connivance of one suspect, Joy Lucas-Uche who is at large.”

According to Isintume, in the course of investigation, it was discovered that Mrs. Joy Lucas-Uche, 43-year-old from Ohafia, Abia State perpetrated the fraud.  “She is married to one Lucas Uche and her last known address is No. 1, Sunday Farm Estate Cement Bus/Stop, Dopemu, Agege, Lagos.  It was revealed that the fraud was perpetrated by her and on sensing danger; she absconded from her duty post.  Record showed that Late Justice Agbamuche’s son, Micheal, guaranteed her.”  Agbamuche, 58, is a legal practitioner of 32years.  He is also a resource person at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.  Police noted that when Michael was arrested, he denied knowing the suspect personally and stated that he did not guarantee anybody to a first generation commercial bank, but to a merchant bank. “Investigation is ongoing.  Efforts are being intensified to arrest the fleeing suspect,” Isintume said.

Head of Africa Operations integrity Magazine, Dr. Richard Ipada presenting award for integrity to the former Chief of Staff to Delta State Governor, Chief Emmanuel Ejiofor in Lagos...

Registrar, Bells University of Technology, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Gbadebo (right); Chairman, Bells University of Technology Parents’ Forum (BUPF), Mr. Kayode Shobajo; Vice Chancellor, Bells University, Prof. Isaac Adebayo Adeyemi; key note speaker, Mr. Kevin Nsochukwu Ejiofor and first Vice Chairman, BUPF, Dr. Etofolam Osuji at the BUPF Seminar on Parenting in Tertiary Education in the 21st Century in Lagos.

14 | THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

TheGuardian 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 OAU/AU at 50, Africa on the radar NDLESS wars and ethnic conflicts, inept leadership, corruption, political instabilE ity, poverty and economic mismanagement. The list is endless of the woes that have befallen much of Africa post-independence. These factors have, of course, fueled underdevelopment and aggravated the failed-state status of most of the African nations. On the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU) therefore, the continental body can be said to have little to its credit on its cardinal objective of “promoting unity, solidarity and cooperation of African States to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa.” There is hardly unity and cooperation and certainly no better life for Africans. Whatever may be AU/OAU’s achievements in its five decades of existence pale into insignificance compared to the abject state of affairs across Africa. So, the celebrations should appropriately be muted while the occasion is used for sober reflections with a view to changing tack. There is no doubt that from its inception in 1963, the body contributed immensely towards the liberation of Africa from colonialism, apartheid and racism. Today, virtually all former colonies in Africa are independent. The laurel for AU/OAU, however, seems to end there. The independent nations have failed on the path of peace, progress and national development, with the welfare of the people now in jeopardy. Many are locked in unending conflicts that have not only bastardised the countries, caused genocide in Rwanda and Burundi, mindless killings in Liberia and Sierra Leone, left the people impoverished, but also left the continent in such a state as to justify its being pigeonholed as the “heart of darkness.” From East Africa, where guerrilla warfare is the order, to West Africa where political instability is the norm in many countries; and from North Africa, currently engulfed in chaos to Southern Africa where Zimbabawe’s economy has been destroyed due to insensitive and sit-tight leadership, the AU has been practically hopeless and helpless in the face of all these. The virtual disintegration of Somalia and the unending conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is as old as the continental organisation itself, are also cases in point. At its gatherings, the OAU/AU’s preoccupation has been wars and conflicts with little time to discuss economic growth. There is democracy, albeit corrupted varieties, in a large number of countries, but no good governance in most. Individual member countries are weak and therefore lack strong collective power and influence. The western superpowers are practically still in total control of the organisation and instigate most of the conflicts where stooges who serve as leaders readily yield to such advances for selfish interests. Indeed, the political scramble for Africa that resulted in the warped partitioning of the continent now continues on the economic front. It is on record that about 80 per cent of the world’s diamond is found in Africa. Oil, uranium and plutonium are in large quantities. As a matter of fact, virtually every known mineral resource of economic importance is found in Africa and still the continent remains impoverished. The inroad by the Chinese in particular is generating fears of a new economic colonialism. This is happening because most African countries are economically powerless, too technologically backward and lack the strong-willed, purposeful leadership needed to exploit the resources for Africa’s growth. The AU has not been, as expected, the driving engine of growth on the continent. Commitment to the union is even undermined by the attitude of many leaders and countries, even to the non-payment of their annual dues to the organisation. The building of the new AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, donated by the Chinese, is symbolic of the beggarly attitude of Africa. Is there any hope for the continent? The solution to Africa’s underdevelopment quagmire must begin with the leadership. Visionary leadership is what all the countries of Africa need to be strong as individuals before they can aggregate this strength for continent-wide successes. Indeed, Africa has been crippled and the people impoverished solely by bad leadership. There must be a conscious reassessment of how leadership emerges in Africa, to create a new political order that would reinvigorate economic development within individual countries. The union should begin with building platforms for the aggregation of skills and talents in different areas for continent-wide, mutually beneficial projects. The AU should also focus on education, food and security. Mass illiteracy is the bane of Africa’s development and nothing can be achieved when the citizens lack capacity to help themselves and the society. Transportation across Africa by land, sea or air is important as individual countries strive to develop its infrastructure with a view to aiding free or easy movement of goods and services. Ultimately, there is need for a Free Trade Area Agreement to enhance commerce within Africa. This should build upon the successes, though limited, of the regional groupings on the continent. The calls for AU to be disbanded, understandable in view of its massive failures, may be too drastic. But there is no doubt that the organisation needs a re-orientation. There is a new world economic order. African leaders through the AU should come up with fresh ideas in line with the current global realities. Otherwise, this may be the beginning of another half-century of waste.


Report of polio in FCT The recent report of two Saki East Local Government SnateIR:polioand cases in FCT is unfortu- Area of Oyo State and from my embarrassing and it experience the reason we still shows that more still has to be done in the fight against polio. For polio cases to be reported in the Federal Capital City where the two Ministers of Health, the two Ministers of FCT and the first lady reside shows that the government of the day is not trying enough in improving the lives of the poor. Instead of Minister of State, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide and her colleague in the same ministry to take responsibility for not doing enough in the fight against the scouge in the Federal Capital Territory, she blamed the reported cases of polio on the influx of people to the FCT. With all the money coming from international agencies to fight polio, I think the Minister of Health must also explain why there are still cases of polio in the country. I also expect Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu to explain steps taken by the Ministry of Health to immunize children in Abuja and other satellite towns? It is embarrassing that Nigeria is one of only three countries in the world where polio still exists. In this, we are in the company of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I was one of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Independent Monitors during immunization plus days in November 2010 covering two villages; Ogboro and Agbonle in

have report of polio cases in Nigeria are: nonchalant attitude of some health workers recruited for immunization, some of them pour away the polio vaccine meant for rural areas and claim that they have immunized the children. Also, the health workers are often denied their wages, thereby discouraging them from doing their job appropriately. It will be recalled that the campaign to stamp out polio received the first jolt in 2003 when some state governments

in the north and Islamic leaders took exception to it on the grounds that it is a ploy by the West to control population growth in the Muslim world. Awareness campaigns must be carried out in some of the northern states where polio vaccination is still being resisted. Muslim clerics in the region must also educate their followers that polio vaccination is harmless. Even some Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have cooperated with World Health Organisation in ensuring that their citizens are vaccinated. • John Ajiboye Osogbo, Osun State.

Osun is peaceful An online reaction to the one of the most peaceful states in StheIR:emergency declaration by Nigeria and does not have any Federal Government in security challenge of the magniYobe, Borno and Adamawa states as reported by your newspaper  (Wednesday, May 15, 2013 pg.3)  is misleading. That report quotes an anonymous commentator as demanding that the president extends the emergency rule ‘to Kano, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna as well as Southwest Osun State’. I am at a loss for word on what could make any sane mind to lump Osun with the volatile states having grave challenges with security, law and order, three of which have just been put under emergency rule. For the avoidance of doubt, Osun is

tude requiring emergency rule. The last armed banditry in Osun was about three months ago. Your correspondent here or the office of the commissioner of police can confirm this. The states in question have been challenged by the menace of terrorists engaged in wanton killing of innocent people, political leaders and security agents, through improvised explosive devises, suicide bombing, drive-in shooting, and other cruel means. It is preposterous how anyone could have suggested that this menace applies to Osun. • Sola Fasure, Osogbo, Osun State.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


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World Bank endorses Ogun's financial management reform agenda From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta HE World Bank has given its full backing to the public financial management reform agenda launched by Ogun State government on Wednesday, describing the initiative as strategic move towards enthronement of transparency in governance on a sustainable basis. The reform agenda, according to the state's Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mrs. Oluwande Muoyo was scripted to ensure "credibility in the process of budget preparation and implementation, thereby promoting transparency, accountability and efficiency in governance. Already, the state's Implementation Committee for the reform agenda has been inaugurated, with Governor Ibikunle Amosun as Chairman and Muoyo the Vice Chairman. The Nigeria Country Director of the World Bank, Mario Francess Meri-Nelly, pointed out that the new financial management agenda would bolster the state's drive for improved investment, especially in the real sector of the economy, affirming that the Brettonwood institution has been further encouraged to upscale the profile of its assistance level to the state. She disclosed that the World Bank had expended $100 million to execute people’s oriented projects in Ogun State, listing the bank’s areas of intervention to include water production, health, agriculture and youth’s empowerment. The World Bank chief stressed that the gesture was strengthened by the state government’s robust economic programmes and assured that the institution would continue to support any eco-


•To upscale profile of project's assistance to the state nomic activities that are geared towards improving on the standard of living of the people.

Her words: "First of all, we already have a small partnership with Ogun State. We have engaged in about four proj-

ects amounting to about $100 million. We centrally cover water production, we have expended substantial

amount on water, to increase the production capacity, restore the network and we also need to help them improve the efficiency of the water utility.



Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun (third right); Deputy Governor, Segun Adesegun (left); Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Taiwo Adeoluwa (right); Commissioner for Budget, Mrs. Oluwande Muoyo (second right) and Country Director for World Bank, Nigeria Country Office, Ms. Marie Fracoise Marie-Nelly, at the launch of the Ogun State Public Financial Management Reform Agenda in Abeokuta, yesterday.

Bank of Agric to release N15 billion credit facility to farmers From Mathias Okwe (Assistant Business Editor), Abuja ARMERS in the country are soon to smile again as the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) is set to begin the disbursement of the sum of N15 billion agric loans to farmers across the country to enable them to expand their operations. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the


lators continue to pursue lowcarbon generation and energy efficiency, consumers are becoming increasingly price sensitive, creating a conflict of stakeholder interest for power and utility companies,” Ernst & Young Advisory Services global risk leader Randy Miller said at the release of the report on Wednesday. “While many companies saw global economic volatility as “the new normal”, this remained a major concern. It

agreement by Dr. Santuraki on behalf of the BOA, while the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cellulant Limited, Ken Njoroge, Kenya and the Nigeria's CEO of the Cellulant, Goke Akinboro signing the document on behalf of their firm. The BOA boss later gave insight into the deal saying: "We are witnessing here today the outcome of an engagement effort that started in March 2012, when a team from BOA visited Cellulant in Kenya, among other agricultural and mobile related enterprises in that country. I believe this was before the company was engaged by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to provide the technology that would drive its Growth Enhancement Support to farmers and farmers/agribusiness value chains registration. "However, it was indeed the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi that actually pointed us in the



•Signs mobile money pact with Kenyan firm Bank, Dr. Mohammed Santuraki, who revealed this yesterday said the new credit line will bring the Bank's total portfolio to N60 billion in the last ten years as the sum of N45 billion had so far been disbursed within the last decade. He made the revelation when he led the BOA management

team to sign an MoU pact with a mobile money service provider - Cellulant Nigeria Limited for the provision of electronic and virtual payment platforms for the Bank's customers in over 200 branches across rural Nigerian communities. The product, which is meant

to integrate the customers and other rural farmers who are at the moment excluded from banking services, is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria's financial inclusion strategy, which would be launched in August this year. Highlights of the ceremony was the signing of the MoU

Ernst & Young identifies obstacles to power project By Roseline Okere ECURING key investment and delivering large capital projects have been identified as key challenges for power utilities around the world, according a new study by Ernst & Young. Specifically, the report said Africa would need $93 billion to close the energy gap in the continent by 2030. In its survey titled: Business Pulse Power and Utilities Report, released by the company yesterday, senior executives

"The second area is in the health sector, but specifically, we are focusing on prevention of HIV/AIDs. Ogun State has low prevalence of about

from 110 power and utility companies around the world including Nigeria, also flagged compliance and regulation as the biggest risks facing the power and utilities sector. So far, the 14 companies bidding for Nigeria’s power utility companies have paid $559.4 million to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE). Though, the country’s power sector is on the part of transformation, there has been fears from different quarters that inconsistency in government policy in time past may ham-

per desired results. According to the consulting firm, “infrastructure investment needs of utilities, are unprecedented and completing the projects safely, on time and on budget is expected to see companies compete in a fierce battle for in-demand resources and skills”. It added: “Power and utility business must also ensure their approach to managing ageing infrastructure and related asset failure risk is adequate. “Political intervention through energy policy changes

is also a significant risk, given its potential impact on operations. We are seeing a real fear among utilities of ending up on the wrong end of shortsighted political action, even in markets previously considered stable and transparent. The executives, who were surveyed for Ernst & Young’s Business Pulse Power and Utilities report, indicated that the tightening of regulation was putting significant pressure on the prices paid by consumers. “While governments and regu-

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


350,000 firms evade tax in Nigeria, says FG From Mathias Okwe (Assistant Business Editor), Abuja N estimated 350,000 duly registered companies in Nigeria have failed to file their tax rendition to the Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS), thus depriving the Federal Government of income from the tax stream of revenue. The Minister of State, Finance, Dr. Lawal Yerima Ngama, who raised the alarm said the development was responsible for the continued dwindling in the fortunes of taxes in the country as collection to the ratio of GDP has dropped from more than 10 per cent to a mere seven per cent. Ngama express concerns over the issue yesterday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the African Tax Forum where tax administrators in Africa gathered to brainstorm on how to abate the scourge of tax evasion through a well-coordinated strategy within the continent. Precisely, the initiative was being undertaken due to the realization that Africa is fast becoming a preferred destination for investors, and the need for better tax coordination and harmonisation within the continent. He lamented the low tax to GDP ratio in Nigeria adding that the current rate of about seven per cent showed that majority of Nigerians were not paying


taxes. The Minister said: “If you look at Ghana, the level of formality and organisation of business is better than Nigeria. Today, the tax collected in Ghana is about 21 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product. “In fact, in most African countries, tax collection is about 10 per cent of GDP but in Nigeria, the total tax collected is just seven per cent of GDP. That shows that so many people and companies are not rendering tax return. “At the last count, about 350, 000 companies have not rendered tax returns in the country. So we need to strategise. We need to research and find out what could be done to improve tax rendition and tax collection, what could be done to encourage accounting for activities. “There is nothing the tax man would do unless the accounts are rendered. Of course they can go and look at the level of activity but we need to improve. It is in the interest of everybody and the businesses to pay tax. “If you pay taxes, it would help to provide amenities and this might help to bring down the tax rate. But if taxes are not paid, the cost of doing businesses would be high because of lack of amenities.” The Minister further declared that it was ironical

that though Nigerian has for sometime now been the investment destination in Africa, yet there was no commensurate tax yield to buttress this fact. According to him: “As at 2011, Nigeria is the fastest growing economy on the African continent and fifth fastest growing economy in

the world. And although more people are registering to come and do business— meaning more revenue for government, the rate of taxes collected to Gross Domestic Product is still low." Earlier, the Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue

Service, Alhaji Kabir Mashi commended the ITC (International Investment Tax Centre) and the African ATI as the workshop is a demonstration of confidence in the Nigerian tax system and the economy. The FIRS Chairman said: “We view your participation in this conference as a

demonstration of confidence, not just in FIRS and our partners ITIC and ATI, but in the entire Nigerian tax system. The issue of internal and external coordination is therefore a very topical one for African countries and we must begin to prioritise our regional and continental tax.”

Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related offences Commission (ICPC) Ekpo Nta; Governor, AkwaIbom State, Godswill Akpabio; and Chairman, Rockson Engineering Limited, Anitie Okon during the ICPC Governor’s Forum in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

World Bank to upscale profile of project's assistance to Ogun State CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 three per cent compared to some states in Nigeria. We help them strengthen the system to the capacity of its AIDs agency and also we make sure that they have equipment and kits to facilitate testing and counseling.

"The third area is agriculture. We are using the FADAMA project to promote and help small farmers to increase their income. The other project is youth empowerment, essentially to consolidate youths social system and safety; we will help them to improve the targets."

. The Country Director, who spoke to journalists after delivering a speech at the event, submitted that the state economy has a great potential for growth due to its abundant natural resources coupled with its proximity to Lagos and called for accountability and prudent manage-

BoA signs mobile money pact with Kenyan firm CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 direction of Cellulant, very early in his tenure. We would like to thank the Minister for his vision, and guidance which has since positively impacted in the broader agricultural sector. We wish more years of focused and professional leadership in the sector. "Mobile Money services are the next frontier of financial services in Nigeria. This is because of its effectiveness in enhancing financial access, which despite our relatively developed banking system, has been a national challenge given the large size of our population over a very large land mass. From about 2006 to

2009, Kenya, Cellulant’s homebase and also Africa’s most developed mobile financial services market, grew its financial inclusion from about 26 per cent to 40 per cent mainly driven by Mobile Money services. That is a growth of about 54 per cent. "In Nigeria about 39 million Nigerians representing about 46 per cent of the nation’s adult population are financially excluded. That means, only about 25 million Nigerians, about 30 per cent have bank accounts. However, Nigeria has about 105 million active mobile telephone lines at August 2012. There in lies the scale of opportunities for

mobile money services in financial inclusion in Nigeria, because mobile phones lines can serve as a virtual banking /payment card, a point of sale terminal, an ATM, and even an internal banking terminal.” He added: “On the other hand, we are transforming Bank of Agriculture through our current 3 direction points of Modernization, optimizing internal efficiencies as a financial institution and reviewing our operating model and employee capacity enhancement. We are repositioning BOA to be more socioeconomically impactful in a more financially sustainable manner.

Ernst & Young identifies obstacles to power project CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 was ranked second among the biggest risks facing the sector, particularly because of commodity price volatility and access to competitively priced long-term fuel supplies. “Managing the fall-out of this economic uncertainty threatens to drive up costs for utilities at a time when investment demands are substantial and growing,” the report warned. Political intervention in power and utilities markets was also seen as a considerable risk, given its potential impact on operations. “It is increasingly important that utilities make the commit-

ment not only to educate consumers about the impact of policy changes, but also to build trust,” the report said. Uncertainty around climate policy and carbon risks, as well as significant shifts in the cost and accessibility of capital, also made it into the top-ten risks list. Further, with the early retirement of many older employees, the dearth of engineering graduates in many countries and fewer apprenticeships, the socalled “war for talent” was raised as another key challenge. This problem was identified as being a very real challenge for African countries too. For Africa, compared with the

overall global rankings, the risks varied slightly in terms of the degree of significance and intensity. For instance, the cost and accessibility of capital and the lack of energy infrastructure, as well as the ageing network infrastructure, topped the list of risks, followed by compliance and regulation. “Africa needs in the region of $93-billion to close the energy gap by 2030. The real issue [for the continent] is the cost of infrastructure development, and accessibility to capital, to make an impression on this energy gap,” said Ernst & Young Power & Utilities leader in Africa Norman Ndaba.

ment of resources. Amosun, in his response, appealed for more support from the World Bank in order to achieve what he described as an array of life-improving and developmental projects across the state, pledging that his administration “will continue to carry out its duties and functions with prudency, transparency and accountability, especially as regards financial matters”. He added: "We have always been mindful in ensuring that all our transactions and activities conform with laid

down rules, regulations and international best practices. We are of the belief that whatever processes and procedures are followed in attaining those achievements must also be justifiable and acceptable. "Let me reiterate our commitment to bequeath a legacy of accountability, transparency and exemplary leadership. This informs our administration’s continued openness and thoroughness in our financial transactions. The recent enactment of the Debt Management Office

(Establishment) Law, 2012, aimed at ensuring greater efficiency in the management of the State’s Debt profile, is a pointer in this direction. "I am also glad to mention that arrangements have reached an advanced stage for the implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in Ogun State. This will not only reinforce our Financial Management System, it will indeed streamline our financial reporting format in line with globally accepted standard".

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

FITC to unveil new financial products HE Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) has T unveiled plans to introduce new financial products for global competitiveness. The new products are FITC Virtual Learning, FITC E-recruitment, FITC Virtual library and the Nigerian version of the IFC Corporate Governance and Board Leadership Training Curriculum. According to the Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer of FITC, Dr. Lucy Surhyel Newman, the introduction is expected to take place at the Sheraton Hotels, Lagos on May 17, 2013. She explained that the new products are part of the transformation agenda being implemented by the management of the organisation. The first phase of the transformation which started since 2009, involved FITC’s internal capacity and brand alignment to deliver on its brand promises to internal and external stakeholders, thus making FITC a high impact special purpose organization nationally, regionally and globally. The second phase of the transformation had to do with infrastructure enhancements and its relocation from Apapa, Lagos, to its present office in Ebute Metta, Lagos, mid 2010. The third phase of the transformation now has to do with introduction of additional services and products, in order to competitively position the organisation to effectively deliver on its mandate in a more efficient and cost effec-

tive manner, thereby extending its services to a diverse number of stakeholders within and outside its two physical locations in Nigeria, through appropriate application of modern technology platforms accessible to mobile devises for consumers’ conveniences. Explaining the rationale for the introduction of the new products, Dr Newman said the virtual learning will serve as an alternative medium for delivery of some of its training programmes in a timely, convenient and more accessible manner while the e-recruitment portal is designed to enable job seekers submit their resume online to the organisation’s website and facilitate faster candidates’ selection process at optimal cost and from any part of the world. The virtual library will provide avenue for its library users and anyone interested in the modern e-library facility to have access to approved journals and books online, once registered a library user with the organisation. Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the FITC on Board Leadership training for bank directors in Sub-Saharan Africa, the two organisations jointly developed a corporate governance curriculum for bank directors and senior managers in Nigeria, and this will be formally presented to banks during the products launching ceremony.




THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

Oyo partners private investors on job creation From Kehinde Olatunji, Ibadan OVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi G of Oyo State has reassured of his administration’s commitment to continue partnering with the private sector in order to create an avenue for job creation for the unemployed youths in the state. The Governor who spoke while formally inaugurating the facility of Spanco Group at the Old Kingsway Building, Dugbe said government would soon institute

an e-governance system and outsource some services in order to create a support system that would improve information-sharing across various areas for the citizens of the state. Also, through a partnership between government and the Spanco Group, he said,his administration would rollout a Government to Citizen (G2C) Help Line which would establish an information link between government and citizens. This, Governor Ajimobi said

With its 1,600 square meter facility here in Ibadan, with our support, Spanco hopes to generate 5,000 jobs within Oyo State in the next few years would cover various initiatives by the state like Health Helpline and Medical Care, Health Emergency and Hospital/Ambulance Management, Agriculture Helpline, Land Registry, Women in Distress and Police Helpline aside any other new initiatives and programmes that would be

NRC increases operational capacity with 62 coaches By Tosin Fodeke HE management of the T Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), yesterday, announced that it had increased carriage capacities of its trains with the addition of 62 coaches and wagons. The coaches and wagons, which were rehabilitated in Enugu and Lagos, using direct labour comprise of 14 coaches, 30 Covered Hopper Wagons (CHWs) for wheat, 17 Container Wagons for cement and one power car and have been deployed to districts where they are mostly needed as track rehabilitation is presently ongoing in the Eastern District. The 14 coaches are being shared to the existing mass transit trains in Lagos, OffaKano passenger train and Lagos – Kano intercity pas-

senger train. To alleviate passenger congestion, a minimum of ten standard class passenger coaches with one air-conditioned passenger coach and a power-generating car per train is being made available for the commuters in Lagos mass transit trains. With this improvement, each of the Lagos mass transit trains will carry about 1, 650 passengers at about 150 passengers per coach. All the coaches come with improved interior facilities like lightings, fans, seats, and toilets. Lagos District still maintains its 16 train trips daily Monday to Friday between Iddo/Apapa and Agbado/Ijoko. The 47 wagons on the other hand are being deployed to the Corporation’s cement and

wheat freight customers to enhance freight carriage capability in that regard. It will be recalled that the Corporation embarked on direct-labour rehabilitation of coaches and wagons in 2012 in its workshops in Minna and Zaria. The rehabilitated coaches were deployed to strengthen the Minna-Kaduna-Minna mass transit train services. As the Corporation continues to strategize to deliver efficient, reliable, and affordable train services, the Managing Director, Engr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, has confirmed that the Corporation is expecting delivery of two sets of Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) each with a carrying capacity of 540 passengers and six 68-seater air conditioned passenger coaches by the end of the year.

introducing in the future. ``All over the world, the trend now is for organizations to fan-out the execution of key aspects of their responsibilities to professionals and experienced solution-providers. This is the reason for our government’s synergy with Spanco Group, an organization which possesses business spread across System

Integration, Power, Technology Infrastructure, eGovernance and Business Process Outsourcing as well as state-of-the-art infrastructure, including skilled work force,’’ he said. He said the state possessed a fertile ground for any investor wishing to take optimal advantage of its Godendowed possibilities. ``With the wealth of multilinguistic residents of our state, skilled, talented but unemployed youths, we became the best choice for Spanco Group to establish a large BPO Infrastructure that

will help execute 24x7 outsourced processes,’’ he said. According to him creating a functional state-of-the-art infrastructure in the state capital, with over 1,000 skilled resources, the largest BPO operational centre in Nigeria, a substantial number of unemployed graduates in the state had been rescued from the unemployment market. ``With its 1,600 square meter facility here in Ibadan, with our support, Spanco hopes to generate 5,000 jobs within Oyo State in the next few years,’’ he said

Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Adeola Adetunji; Managing Director, Lady Mechanic Initiative, Mrs Sandra AgueborEkperuah; and Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited,  Ben Langat, during the Graduation ceremony of first Batch of Lady Mechanic by Nigerian Bottling Company and Coca-Cola Nigeria held on Wednesday at Benin city, Edo State. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU   

Lawmakers absolve CBN of poor record keeping By Chijioke Nelson HE nation’s lawmakers T have cleared the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from the allegations bordering on record keeping and document retrieval processes. Speaking at the resumed session of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, to review the queries and observations by the AuditorGeneral for the Federation over the issue, the Committee Chairman, Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, disclosed that the apex bank has forwarded all relevant documents requested by the committee to clear the suspicions. The bank was earlier accused of destroying documents or records of its activities and other related transactions after five years, inflating of contract sum for upgrade and reconstruction of offices to the tune of N2.805 billion. Adeola said that the bank’s record keeping is the best among government agencies known for good record keeping, adding that it was able to forward those documents to the satisfaction of the committee within the specified 48-hour timeframe. It was also cleared of the audit observation relating to an upward review of contract sum by N5 million for upgrading Fire Detection System in Lagos Office, as the committee was convinced that the review was occasioned by additional work identified and executed under the said contract. The CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, also prom-

ised to make more documents available to the committee in order to adequately address other issues raised in audit observations. On the Port Harcourt Branch building, Barau explained that the building was reconstructed at the cost of N2.8 billion and not mere refurbishment as erroneously stated in the audit query. The committee expressed satisfaction with the documents submitted by the apex bank, which included the building plan, bill of quantity and pictures of the old and new structures and therefore, cleared the CBN of the query. The lawmakers also cleared the bank on the issue of the

provision N10 million for the upgrade of the Ilorin Branch and Governor’s residence in Lagos with the sum of N22.0 million and N50 million between1993 and 2005. But the committee however, advised the apex bank and other agencies to always to be more proactive in providing information as and when requested by authorities like AGF in order to avoid unnecessary waste of resources in conducting investigative exercise. In view of the potential dangers in these erroneous reports, the bank maintained that “it does not destroy documents and records of any transaction whatsoever after five years”.

Foundation plans $100 million investment for youth employment By Taiwo Hassan HE Rockefeller Foundation T has announced a new foundation initiative that will focus on Africa’s youth development and employment opportunities, called “Digital Jobs Africa” (DJA). The foundation said it has set aside $100 million investment which will impact about one million people in Africa, through jobs and skills for youths in the information communication technology (ICT) sector who do not have an opportunity for sustainable employment. Specifically, the DJA initiative builds on three years of the foundation’s existing work and will focus on high potential youth who lack access to jobs and economic opportunities.

The initiative, led out of the foundation’s Africa Regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, will continue on for the next seven years and leverage significant funds and support from other stakeholders. The announcement was made by the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Judith Rodin at the World Economic Forum meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. South Africa is one of the six focus countries of the initiative. The others are Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco and Egypt. The country selection was based on high levels of youth unemployment, the growth of their ICT-enabled sectors, including the existing level of governmental support and the potential to create significant numbers of jobs within the sector.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



Govt takes battle to insurgents

Arts & Culture P. 26

Autowheels P.43

Business Travels P.47

The COSON Song Award Week‌ A collective body doing overtime

Lamborghini takes auto wheels to the next level

Airlines to deliver $6.4 trillion goods, three billion passengers in 2013, says IATA

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Again, a call to arms to save

Army troop… deployed to Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States

The die is cast. After months of waiting for the Boko Haram insurgents to have a change of heart, the federal government eventually ran out of patience last Tuesday and went for the kill. Nobody, President Goodluck Jonathan declared in a national broadcast, would be allowed to erode the sovereignty of the federal republic. ROTIMI LAWRENCE OYEKANMI and WOLE OYEBADE chronicle the events leading to the latest development RITICS of the federal government’s former C reconciliatory approach to the deadly insurgency waged against the entire country by the Boko Haram sect were finally proved right last Tuesday, when President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Without mincing words, and in an attitude expected of a Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the President declared in a terse statement: “Those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives, whoever they may be, wherever they may go, we will hunt them down. We will fish them out and we will bring them to justice.” No matter what it takes, Jonathan also assured, “we will win this war against terror.” The President had cut short his tour of some African countries, rushing back to home in view of the country’s grave security situation. Quoting Section 305, sub-section 1 of the 1999 Constitution which gave him the power to declare a State of Emergency, Jonathan declared that the “troops and other security agencies involved have orders to take all necessary action, within the ambit of their rules of engagement, to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists. This will include the authority to arrest and detain suspects, taking of possession and control of any building or structure used for terrorist operation, the conduct of searches and the apprehension of persons in illegal possession of weapons.” Although, the President assured that subsisting efforts at persuasion and dialogue would still continue, which some interest groups now see as unnecessary, he reiterated the government’s duty to ensure the security and well being of all Nigerians and the protection of the country’s sovereignty. He asserted: “We have a duty to stand firm against those who threaten the sovereign integrity of the Nigerian state. Our will is strong because our faith lies in the indivisibility of Nigeria.” The latest move is coming on the heels of the limited state of emergency that was declared in

some local government areas in Borno, Plateau, Gombe in December, 2011. Already, a massive deployment of troops and equipment to the three states has commenced. The operation will be jointly undertaken by the three services: Army, Navy and Air Force. While the Army will supply the bulk of the ground troops with its equipment, the Air Force and Navy will supply aircraft and other necessary equipment. The Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade affirmed that the focus of the operation would be the tracking down of criminal elements, who have been using the border communities to violate the country’s sovereignty. The three states involved share borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic. Olukolade also stated that the military had briefed the participating troops appropriately on arrests, cordon and search. Reactions have been mixed. Some individuals and interest groups share the notion the federal government should have taken this decisive step a long time ago, given the impunity with which the insurgents have been carrying out their activities. But there is also a school of thought, which, curiously, is opposed to the latest move, but has so far failed to provide an alternative solution. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), whose members have borne much of the brunt of the Boko Haram onslaught, has understandably welcomed the development. In a statement issued on Wednesday, he endorsed the federal government’s decision, describing it as both “justified” and “a vindication of CAN’s position that negotiation with terrorists would always fail.” But the Sultan of Sokoto and spiritual leader

of Muslims in Nigeria, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar is yet to issue a statement. He has advocated the use of dialogue and had also encouraged the federal government to grant amnesty to the insurgents. Organised Labour and civil rights activists have differed in their reactions. While the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Abdulwaheed Omar lauded the action, the duo of the National Coordinator of the Nigeria Voters Assembly, Moshood Erubami and Femi Aborishade faulted the move. In the same vein, while former Kaduna state governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and the Northern Youth Forum condemned the federal government’s decision, former Ogun State governor, Segun Osoba and constitution lawyer, Festus Keyamo, commended the government. In fact, Keyamo was also of the view that the President was constitutionally correct for not suspending the affected state governors from office, as some commentators would have preferred. Interestingly, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has advised the National Assembly to reject the declaration. In a statement by its National publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party described the President’s decision as “lacking in original thought.” But in a swift reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh accused the ACN and others of being behind the insurgents. He also described ACN’s reaction as “that of a political party speaking from either a diseased mind: a blackmailer who doesn’t mind doing the trifle to remain relevant, or a political party actively conniving in this mindless war on Nigeria.”

Those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives, whoever they may be, wherever they may go, we will hunt them down. We will fish them out and we will bring them to justice

According to Associated Press (AP), more than 1,600 people have been killed since 2010 in numerous attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents, believed to have a strong link with al Qaeda. The sect, which means “western education is sacrilege,” has, among other demands, said it wants its imprisoned members freed and the strict sharia law adopted across the nation. It does not recognize the federal government and holds it with contempt. When the idea of amnesty was mooted, its leader, Abubakar Shekau spurned and rejected it, insisting that Boko Haram should be the one to offer the federal government amnesty. The group maintained a low profile during its first seven years of its existence, but that changed in 2009, when the federal government launched an investigation into its activities, following reports that its members were arming themselves. Prior to that, the government had repeatedly ignored warnings about the increasingly militant character of the organization. Eventually, the government went into action, leading to the arrest of several members of the group in Bauchi, sparking deadly clashes with the security forces that led to the death of an estimated 700 people. During the fighting with the security forces, Boko Haram fighters reportedly “used fuel-laden motorcycles” and “bows with poison arrows” to attack a police station. The group’s founder and then leader Mohammed Yusuf was eventually arrested. He died in controversial circumstances while in police custody. After Yusuf’s killing, a new leader emerged whose identity was not known at the time and the sect’s anger went over the roof. The group carried out its first attack in Borno in January 2011, killing four people. Since then, the attacks have escalated both in frequency and intensity. By early 2012, Boko Haram was responsible for over 900 deaths, in about 290 separate attacks in 12 northeastern and central states including Abuja, making 2012 the deadliest year since it began its crusade. This year, about 250 people have so far been killed in Boko Haram-related attacks and incidents, according to reports. The litany of attacks include those of the

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


the federal republic United Nations (UN) office and the Police Headquarters both in Abuja; St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State; Deeper Life Church, Okene, Kogi State; the Military Cantonment Jaji, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SAS) office and other numerous security facilities, especially police stations. Even the media was not speared. A building, housing ThisDay, Sun and Daily Trust newspapers in Abuja, was bombed by suicide bombers belonging to the sect. The search for peace had earlier taken Jonathan to Borno and Yobe states. At the series of parleys during the two-day visit, Jonathan had insisted that the Federal Government could not grant amnesty to ghosts as suggested by some northern leaders. Instead, he urged Boko Haram leaders to come out of their hiding and dialogue with government as was done in the Niger Delta, when the militants laid down their arms before amnesty could be granted. The history of a state of emergency in the country has always been linked to the times of serious civil unrest. The first emergency rule in Nigeria was in 1962, when Dr Moses Majekodunmi was appointed the Sole Administrator of the defunct Western Region, as a way of resolving the crisis that threatened the Action Group government in the region at that time The crisis began when the then Premier, Chief S.L.A. Akintola was removed by the Government of Western Nigeria and Chief Dauda Adegbenro was installed as Premier instead. The Western Region House of Assembly had convened to pass a vote of confidence on Adegbenro’s government, when Akintola’s supporters in the House allegedly created an uproar, forcing the Police to disperse members with tear gas. Because of the confusion arising from the claims by the feuding parties to the Premiership of the region, the federal parliament, in exercise of its powers under the 1960 Constitution, declared a state of emergency in the Western Region and approved the appointment of Majekodunmi as its administrator. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, Nigeria’s political history has undergone several upheavals. The country has experienced security challenges that threatened its young democracy and tested the will of the federal government. Consequently, past leaders have been forced to invoke the same section of Constitution, which empowers a sitting president to declare emergency rule whenever the peace of the country is threatened. Before Jonathan’s declaration of partial emergency rule in some troubled states on Tuesday, Plateau and Ekiti States were the only states that have experienced emergency rule since 1999. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had, in May 2004, declared emergency rule in Plateau State, following a sectarian crisis that claimed hundreds of lives and left many homeless. Major General Chris Alli, was directed to take over the affairs of the state for a period of six months, with a mandate to end the strife and restore order. Both chambers of the National Assembly backed the measure at that time. In Ekiti’s case, Obasanjo introduced emergency rule on October 19, 2006 , to “ensure that peace and orderliness return to the state.” It was to last for six months in the first instance, while the state House of Assembly was suspended. Retired Major General Tunji Olurin was appointed as Administrator of the state. A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers. It could also suspend rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution. It could be invoked as a result of natural or manmade disasters, during a period of civil unrest, following a declaration of war by an external aggressor or as a result of internal armed conflicts. Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution provides for the proclamation and imposition of a state of emergency covering the whole country or in any part of it. The section empowers the President to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency by way of an official Gazette. It states under sub section (1) that: “Subject to the provision of the Constitution, the President may by instrument published in the official Gazette of the Government of the Federation, issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the Federation or any part thereof.” Subsection (3) further states that the President shall have power to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency only when: the Federation is at war; is in imminent danger of

Before Jonathan’s declaration of partial emergency rule in some troubled states on Tuesday, Plateau and Ekiti States were the only states that have experienced emergency rule since 1999. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had, in May 2004, declared emergency rule in Plateau State, following a sectarian crisis that claimed hundreds of lives and left many homeless. Major General Chris Alli was directed to take over the affairs of the state for a period of six months, with a mandate to end the strife and restore order. Both chambers of the National Assembly backed the measure at that time invasion or involvement in a state of war; there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security; there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof, requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger or when there is an occurrence or imminent danger of any disaster or natural calamity, affecting the community or a section of community in the Federation. Other conditions include when: there is any other public danger, which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of the Federation; and when the President receives a request to do so in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4) of the section. It is also important to note that in declaring a state of emergency, the President must do so in conjunction with the National Assembly. In this regard, Section 305 (2) states: “The President shall immediately after the declaration, transmit copies of the official Gazette of the Government of the Federation containing the proclamation including the details of the emergency, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, each of whom shall forthwith convene or arrange for a meeting of the House, to consider the situation and decide whether or not to pass a resolution approving the Proclamation.” Citing the constitutional provisions, Constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay, said the declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States by President Goodluck Jonathan was a right step in the right direction. Although, he observed that the move was coming rather late, considering the dangerous turn of attacks by insurgents, particularly in the North Eastern states, he however commended the Federal Government for taking the bold step. According to him, if the government had not taken the decision, the terrorists could fully take over the affected states. His words: “I’m fully in support of it. It is the right step. But in my view, it’s (declaration of state of emergency) been taken rather late because the way we were going, this Boko Haram was beginning to fancy itself as a real authority and power in Nigeria. Not only that, but as the authority with the right and capacity to exterminate lives en mass. It is a terrorist group that has absolutely no regard for human lives, no feeling. They are just mass murderers, taking control of some parts of the country and those parts of the country are beginning to yield to their pressure and accepting their authority. “We would have ended up having some states created and being run by terrorists and AlQaeda adherents next door to Nigeria and so the president took the right step.” Sagay also commended the Federal Government for abiding by constitutional provisions on the need for governors and Houses of Assembly in the affected states to fully exercise their constitutional rights.

Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam

Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima

Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako

Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III

CAN President, Oritsejafor

Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika

Chief of Naval Staff, Dele Ezeoba

Chief of Air Staff, Alex Badeh


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


ExecutiveBrief In association with TRIPPLEA ASSOCIATES LIMITED




There are thousands of leadership tips contained in a sea of books in hundreds of languages across the world. But the tips provided by Ram Charan in his book, ‘Know-How: 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don’t’ have captured the imagination of the corporate world for their simplicity and pragmatism. Described as the most influential consultant alive by Fortune, Ram Charan has decades of experience in consulting for or sharing experiences and insights with top executives of some of the world’s best known companies. The author and speaker has spent over 35 years consulting for companies such as GE, MeadWestvaco, Bank of America, DuPont, Novartis, EMC, 3M, Verizon, Aditya Birla Group, Tata Group, GMR, Max Group among others. His ninechapter book provides explanations why some leaders become very successful and why others don’t. The book offers a set of eight skills referred to as Know-How which is the skill of people who know what they are doing. The first chapter of the book provides an in-depth analysis of the meaning of Know-How: The Substance of Successful Leaders. Know-how according to him is what separates leaders who perform or deliver results from those who don’t. It is what separates those who know what they are doing; those who build long term fundamental value and produce resounding short term targets from those who don’t. More importantly, Know-how, according to Charan is about what must be done to lead a business in the ever dynamic and challenging business environment where your leadership abilities would be judged squarely by profit and loss, capital utilization, productivity and customer satisfaction. He also stressed in this chapter that leaders can only be successful if they have learnt, practiced, honed and refined the know-how until they become natural. Lastly, he said the ways by which leaders develop and use the eight know-hows are largely influenced by a handful of their personal traits such as: Ambition, Drive and Tenacity, Self-Confidence, Psychological openness, Realism and Appetite for Learning. In the second chapter of his book, Charan explains the importance of Positioning and Repositioning the Business to Make Money which he believes is the first among equals of the eight know-hows. He explains that positioning a business should be seen as the central idea of any business and the foundation for whether the business will make money and ultimately stay afloat or come to an abrupt end. The essence of knowhow positioning, he says, is to know when a change needs to be effected, to determine how it should be effected, and to link it up with fundamentals of making money. Businesses, more often than not, stick to the old ways of achieving success which is good, but these days it is no longer enough. Businesses need to tweak strategies and continuously position the company such that it is able to continue profitable relationship with its customers. The pace at which the world is changing in the 21st century has never been seen before. The reality is that businesses must be able to pinpoint these external changes and come up with sound judgement on where the world is headed and align the business so that it does not miss out. This is the central theme of Connecting the Dots by Pinpointing and Taking Action on Emerging Patterns of External Change which is the second ‘Know-how’. According to Charan, businesses should strive to be in the know of what is changing and for whom? Secondly, they should detect where the opportunity lies in that change and for whom. Doing this on a regular basis, he advises, would help businesses detect change patterns and what they mean for various industries and businesses. This is very essential because it is becoming very challenging finding new opportunities for profitable and sustainable growth in the modern and complex environment of today. Hence, businesses must think outside the box about its industry or others to discover what new opportunities are available to tap into. Getting People to Work Together by Managing the Social System of Your Business: Every company has a social system which means the various ways people come together to do their work. This is the reason why it is very important for leaders of businesses to mobilize employees to deliver on long term goals and objectives, thus transforming an organization or business from say a good one to a great one. Charan explains that for a leader to change the social system to the one that leads a business into accomplishing its goals, the leader must look into the operating systems of the business and ensure that each of them is geared towards a business result and make a concrete research on how each of them is working. A good leader will therefore work towards ensuring that employees have the right attitude towards work and behaving in the right way. If they are not, however, it would be the duty of the leader to correct such attitudes and characters using persuasion, power and rewards to get the best out of them. Judging, Selecting and Developing Leaders: Charan explains that the know-how of a leader in selecting the right people and being able to develop these people will

Sharpening your Managerial skills make an organization deliver on its long term goals and put the organization on a pedestal which is stronger than the competition before the leader took over. This he said can be done by focusing on the potential of the employees of an organization. Employees with leadership traits are given the opportunities to contribute to the organization, while their abilities are also tested on more complex issues and having them learn new skills. Charan suggests that the mentoring process of employees of an organization should be an ongoing process if the core competence of the workers in an organization is to be determined. Securing the core competence of employees will ultimately lead to matching them to areas of the business in which they will perform at their optimum and consequently strengthen the business performance in the market place.

According to Charan, “Priority is the pathway for accomplishing goals. It provides the road map that organizes and directs the business toward its goals. When the priorities are unmistakably clear and specific, people know what to focus on and, therefore what should get their attention, resources, and follow-through. The right priorities, combined with appropriate follow-through, keep the truly important things from being driven off the radar screen in the day-to-day hurly-burly of life at work where everything can seem urgent and important. The right priorities help you rise above the constant demands that create stress and confusion. They enable you to provide clarity and focus for yourself and the other people in your organization. Without priorities people are apt to try to do everything, wasting precious time and energy on things that aren’t important”.

Moulding a team of Leaders: The central idea of this know-how is how a leader of an organization gets his team to understand, focus and commit to the totality of the business. In so doing, every team will know that they have to keep their efforts aligned for the benefit of the business. It will also help to mould some ambitious members of teams who may possess narrow self-interests and not interested in what other colleagues are doing and even in worst cases are even suspicious of them. Consequently, resources and information that may affect the business positively will be hoarded by these single minded, focused individuals. It is the duty of the leader of the business to make sure every team member is on the same page as regards where the company is headed and how every team operates to achieve the goal of the business. According to Charan, this is done through group meetings where the leader helps the group to create the total picture of the business and correct any divisive sentiment or behaviour in the presence of the team while also allowing every team member to contribute during these meetings to enhance internal team dialogue afterwards. With different teams of the same organization seeing each other as collaborators instead of competitors and all aligned to achieve the goals of the business, the sky will be the limit for the business.

The leader of an organization – Chief Executive owes to himself and the organization to learn, practice and hone these skills for his and the organization’s success at the market place. Ram Charan believes that with the mastery of the skills comes superb managerial judgments that will count for you in all ramifications of the business.

Determining and Setting the Right Goals: This is the know-how of setting the destination a leader wants to take the business to. With the ever changing business environment, a good leader must first realize that goals must reflect the opportunities that lie ahead and what is possible for the business going forward. The leader must also try to understand that these goals are subject to adjustment depending on how the business expands or how it contracts. The leader must also set his goals having at the back of his mind the requirements needed to deliver the chosen goals and if the goals are achievable. According to Charan, it is pertinent that a company’s goals are set in the right combination, with right time frame and at the right level of the organization. Setting Laser-Sharp Dominant Priorities:

Ram Charan

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THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17 , 2013


Executive Management

Listening: An Essential CEO Skill

By Mike Darche s an entrepreneur or CEO, the success of your organization relies upon your interaction with the people around you. You will need to build strong relationships with investors, employees, suppliers, customers and advisors if you want to survive. One of the most important talents required to establish these connections is the delicate art of listening. I adapt many of the following strategies from the writings of the world’s greatest salesman, Joe Girard. He is a legend in his field so he certainly knows a thing or two about dealing with people. If you follow these steps, you should see a noticeable improvement in your ability to understand and captivate others.


move closer to the edge of your seat as an outward sign of your attentiveness. Become a mirror: Mirror the speaker’s gestures whenever the timing seems right. If they laugh, you should laugh. If they nod, you should nod. This non-verbal communication builds rapport and shows the speaker that you understand where they are coming from.

Don’t interrupt: Plain and simple: nobody wants to be interrupted by a listener. No matter how much you disagree with what you hear, give the other person time to communicate his or her ideas Keep your mouth closed: Step number one is common sense yet remarkably difficult at before voicing your own times. When you listen intently, remember that the floor is no opinions. longer yours. If ever in doubt, shut your mouth and open Avoid distractions and conyour ears—let the other person do the talking. “Silence is gold- centrate: en.” If you feel that phone vibrate, don’t even think Be as observant as possible: Good listening is more than simply hearing what the speaker about reaching for it. The same goes for other noise has to say. For example, note small details like the condition of the other person’s hand during your initial handshake, the and visual distractions. I smell of their perfume, the clothes they are wearing and their know this can be very diffimannerisms during conversation. You should never jump to cult, but try your best to stay conclusions; but you can, however, begin to piece your obser- focused even during unusual interruptions. The easiest vations into a much clearer picture of the person you are lisway to lose someone’s trust tening to. is to noticeably forfeit your Maintain eye contact: complete and undivided atEvery good CEO should master this step because eye contact is tention to the story. an absolutely critical skill for any leader. You need to show the Listen “between the lines”: other person that you are 100% tuned in to what they have to There is usually much more say. Never break your eye contact. you can deduce from a conUse mindful body language: versation than just the The way that you position yourself during a conversation will words on the surface. You tell how well you are actually listening. Keep a good posture can identify a person’s true and constantly check your body language to show your inter- needs by listening to the est in the discussion. Don’t slouch in your chair; instead,

message behind the story. You’ll have to identify emotions and make many inferences to do this. When the listening is done, you sometimes receive a perfect opportunity to take action. Find some way to prove that you understand your speaker by showing them that you actually care. If you’re interested in learning many other great people skills, check out Girard’s best sellers: How to Sell Anything to Anybody, 13 Essential Rules of Selling and Mastering Your Way to the Top. Mike Darche is a 21-year-old student at the University of Notre Dame whose mission to inspire other like-minded young entrepreneurs.

Smart Investments Sure Customer Experience 5 Things Every Customer Executive Finance 4 to Help Your Business Wants from Your BusiBy Jayla Barnsen By Dixie Somers hen you’re ready for your hen you own a business, 4: Businesses to be Accountable ble, your customers will feel Grow Up enough people in the door to ness small business to grow W Wone of your primary du- If you make a mistake, you like they are not important to grow things. Social media is may want to make is putting up, there are many different ties as a business owner is to need to be accountable for this you and they may take their an essential tool of modern

some money into outsourcing. Instead of hiring internally to handle everything, you can usually get the same thing by outsourcing. Through online programs, you can hire a professional to do what you need done on a job to job basis. Whether you need a bookkeeper, sales help, janitorial work, or practically anything 1. CRM Software else, you can most likely get it One of the best investments by outsourcing. This helps you that you can make for your small business is to put money pay for exactly what you need instead of having to pay for a into customer relationship lot of other stuff. management software. CRM software can be extremely 3. Marketing helpful to your company and it can help you take things to a While you may be doing alnew level. This type of software right at your current level, makes it possible to keep track you’re going to need to up the publicity a little bit if you want of all of the interactions that your company has with a cus- to grow your business even further. You may want to have tomer. This way, every time a some kind of an event at your customer calls in or contacts you, you’ll know exactly where business that is promoted on things were left. You can track all of the local media outlets. You could put extra money incalls, market to customers, to television, radio, print, and and automate all kinds of inInternet advertising to get formation. more people to your business. You may have to make a sub2. Outsourcing Another investment that you stantial investment to get steps that you could take to get things rolling. It can be difficult to decide where to invest your limited capital so that you get the most bangs for your buck. Here are four smart investments that you may want to make to help your business grow up.

marketing, with programs from Facebook to Pintrest being used by the most successful companies who know how to go to their market with a product instead of hoping they are stumbled upon. (No pun intended) 4. Technology According to experts like Michael Myles, investing in the latest technology may be able to help you do things smarter and more efficiently. For example, many businesses invest in iPads or smartphones for their staff. This way, they can conduct business while on the go, process credit card payments, make phone calls, and answer emails anywhere. Face to face meetings can even be conducted via these devices through programs like Skype and Facetime. With these investments, you might end up initially spending a large chunk of money, but it will make a big difference in the visibility and productivity of your company.

attract and retain customers. The only way to retain customers is to keep them happy. While you might think that your customers are only concerned with your prices, there are several other factors that your client base considers more important that pricing. While the highest quality products and services at the lowest price points are ideal, here are 5 other things that your customers want from you and your employees.

mistake. Customers never want the businesses that they are loyal to pass the buck onto others in the company or other contractors or vendors. Even when the issue can be resolved in another department, it is important for every associate to take responsibility and make it their job to solve the issue or connect the customer with the right party after explaining what has gone wrong. If businesses want to be accountable, they should also listen to their customers and ensure that they are satisfied. They put up two options on Facebook and asked users to choose their favorite. This small but significant process helped Velveeta choose its new packaging.

business elsewhere. If you do not already have one, assign an employee to be a customer satisfaction rep. Have him or her constantly checking in on customer satisfaction analytics to verify you are meeting customer’s needs.

#2: Creative Solutions and Alternatives Your customers look for the best solutions, and they turn to you to give them creative ideas that they may have never thought of. As a business #5: Simplicity owner, especially in the servThe last thing that your cusice and technology industry, tomers want is a complex you need to be open-minded sales transaction. When they and creative if you want to do business with you, they keep your client base and conneed to know that buying is tinue expanding. Take Blocksimple and easy. By giving buster for example. When #3: Managers to be Accessible Netflix and streaming movies your customers access to everything they need in one, Customers want you to answer came out, Blockbuster was convenient place, you can en- when they need it. If you candominant in the movie rental sure simplicity and improve not answer the phone or your industry. Blockbuster didn’t customer ratings. Simplicity email immediately, you need think they need to change any to be able to get back to your should be evident in your of their processes or improve client in a reasonable amount with advancing technology. It face-to-face sales along with your website user experience. of time. If you are not accessia matter of a few short years, Blockbuster went from being the movie rental giant to filing for bankruptcy because they failed to adapt to customer’s changing needs. Netflix took the spotlight because they came up with creative solutions to meet customer’s wants in the movie rental industry.

Action is the foundational key to all success. Pablo Picasso

#1: Preparation There is nothing worse in a customer’s mind than speaking with a business professional that has not done their homework. Before your speak with a client, you need to be sure that you have all of the right information and you know what sources to get the additional information from in a timely manner. Following these five tips will help your company analyze if you’re on the right track to keeping your customers happy and exceeding their expectations.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Revue The COSON Song Award Week… A collective body doing overtime By Anote Ajeluorou and Chuks Nwanne TARTING from Sunday, May 19, the build up Sfever-pitch to the COSON Song Award Week will reach excitement when activities of the award ceremony will kick off in a week-long festivity that promises to keep Nigerian artistes busy. These activities will culminate in a glamourous award on May 25 at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. From last year, the Chief Tony Okoroji-led Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), as the only Collective Management Organisation (CMO), has kept the airwaves abuzz with jingles and wild commercials heralding what has been termed ‘mother of all shows’ to signal a new dawn in garnering reward for Nigerian musicians. From start, the only licensed collective body has determined to make itself heard and has mounted several activities including advocacy, legal action and picketing of establishments in corporate Nigeria and users of copyright materials, especially music. Its aim has been for them to do what is needful and to be responsible for the music they use. Over the years, inability of users of musical works to pay royalty plagued Nigeria music industry to the point where it pauperised the country’s musicians. Although the ripples of licensing one CMO, COSON, in a democratic country like Nigeria is yet to abate, with the oldest CMO, Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), established in 1984 left still in the cold and kicking furiously, COSON has gone ahead to assume the role and has duly paid out monies collected as royalties to artistes. The licensing of one CMO, a move apparently regarded in some quarters as undemocratic and monopolistic by the regulatory body, Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has attracted legal fireworks from MCSN, which in turn, has been clamped down by NCC and even shutting it down. While citing impunity for NCC’s actions, MCSN has recently taken a step forward in marching on the National Assembly in Abuja to demand its democratic rights by asking the lawmakers to compel the Director-General of NCC and its supervising ministry to obey court orders and duly grant it right to operate as CMO. It also hinges its arguments on the grounds that Nigerian artistes were losing money that ought to accrue to them from the international scene since it has the widest link and affiliates of CMO on the international scene, a vintage position it has over COSON. While promoters of MCNS are hopeful of a positive response from Abuja lawmakers, Nigerian artistes are gearing up for a week of festivities designed to emphasise the centrality of the artiste as the man to give due regard in the use of musical works. From COSON’s efforts so far, attitude of music users such as radio stations, TV stations and other users of music have begun to shift, as they now see the need to pay for the sweat of artistes whose music they generously use. With its telling pay off line, ‘… let the music pay!’, COSON has continued a tradition that MCSN started years back, which experienced hiccups because of low awareness or sheer impunity on the part of music users to compensate artistes for their work. Only last year, COSON reportedly shared monies to artistes as royalties in its care and it produced a feel-good mood in the music industry, as a champion of the cause of Nigerian artistes who have suffered in silence for long. Striding steps forward in its desire to make artistes centre of its operations, Okoroji conceived a foundation for the CMO he heads, The COSON Music Foundation tagged ‘the big nonprofit trust in support of creativity’ that gave

Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria Chief Tony Okoroji and COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji at a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja birth to The COSON Week in which The COSON Song Award is a major part. But opinion is divided in the industry on whether a CMO that should be collecting money from music users should turn around to spend part of that money to organise award. Where would the money come from to organise The COSON Song Award given the apathy of corporate Nigeria to sponsorship? Could it be monies collected for the purpose of distributing to artistes that COSON is spending to hold

We are not the first CMO to set up a foundation. We are also not the first to have a lecture or an award event. What might be different is that we have the skills and experience to do these things with the kind of class and expertise that others do not have the show? COSON was licensed first and foremost as a CMO and not an award-giving body. So, where does COSON derive its mandate? But Okoroji has dispelled such fears from the minds of those nursing them. He argued recently, “We are not the first CMO to set up a foundation. We are also not the first to have a lecture or an award event. What might be different is that we have the skills and experience to do these things with the kind of class and expertise that others do not have. My information is that there is positive buzz in the CMO community around the world because of the COSON Week. Many officers of different CMOs are heading to Lagos for the COSON Week”. While reacting to The COSON Song Award, flutist, Tee-Mac Itseli, noted that COSON’s job should be collecting money and distributing it to artistes and frittering artistes’ money away on a frivolous award that would not benefit artistes in anyway. He disclosed that MCSN, which he belongs but which is besieged by incessant attacks from NCC, had proposed a bill to the National Assembly to the effect that NCC should be investigated on why it does not obey court orders and for it to



THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



... A week of mixed musical tunes decision that no money from COSON meant for distribution to the members will be spent on the COSON Week. I was told that if we had such faith in the event, we had to go and raise the money to finance it. I have held meetings after meetings with many key people in corporate Nigeria. We continue to seek their help to support the events and the COSON Music Foundation. I wish to say that the response can be better and quicker and the mileage is clear for everyone to see. The media has been fantastic and when this is over, we will have an opportunity to review our relationship with corporate Nigeria and all their brands.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26 liberalise the operating environment for as many CMOs as could meet set down requirements to set up shop. Tee Mac asserted that what COSON was doing by organising a song award was illegal and well outside the ambit of its purview, as a collective management organisation. He stated, “We’re not happy about The COSON Week. The week comes out of money that should be distributed to artistes. Our bill is asking for the licensing of MCSN to collect monies world-wide for Nigerian artistes, So, Nigerian artistes are loosing out of monies that should come to them from outside. I’m an artiste, but I don’t want to be COSON member”. A major and old time player in the music industry, Mr. Laolu Akins, was of the view that a music union ought to be the one spearheading such award as COSON was doing, as was the case a few years back when Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) organised Nigeria Musici Awards (NMA) in which he played a prominent part. Akins argued, “It’s more applicable for the union body to do awards. Things have changed a great deal since NMA. There are not many awards of quality applicable to the music industry, maybe Headies by Ayo Anumashaun. Music awards now are just for the sponsorship money organisers  get. There’s a need for a niche awards to be put in place for Nigerian music, which will not be a bad idea. COSON may be doing this because nobody authentic is doing music award of real value. And to be quite honest, I think COSON organising music award can be debated, whether a body like COSON should be the one doing awards”. A blogger and legal practitioner, Mr. Akinyemi Ayinoluwa recently titled his blog post, ‘COSON Week (May 19 – 25, 2013): Any Genuine Concerns for Music Publishing in Nigeria?’, where he said, “The COSON (Copyright Society of Nigeria) week is upon us and I am burdened  with the task of penning my thoughts, to express what opportunities abound if COSON gets it right eventually and what fortune awaits early-comers who take a decisive step in unlocking the countless potentials embedded in Nigeria’s budding music industry – particularly Music Publishing”. Ayinoluwa further highlighted NCC’s undemocratic licensing issues, saying, “However, there has been a bickering and attendant judicial skirmish over who is the sole collector in Nigeria. At the time of penning this piece, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) seems to be recognised as such. However, it is an anomaly in my opinion as there could be more bodies to administer royalty collection. In all honesty, it is doubtful if a sole collecting society can effectively subdue the difficulties experienced in the administration of royalty collection and the publishing industry in Nigeria”. He commended the strides COSON has made so far in reining in errant users of musical works in the country, “One fact worthy of commendation is this – the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has in the last three years recorded giant strides in royalty collection and in the sensitising of the general populace. There are reports of collaboration with other Collecting Societies within and outside Africa. Its mantra “Let The Music Pay” has helped illuminate the minds of ignorant entities or adamant music users. To forestall an overwhelming of COSON, it is needful that more hands are on deck and plough to help build and mow a neglected could-be greener pasture”. However, music star and MCSN chairman, Orits Williki, said COSON erred in entering into any other business other than royalty collection and distribution to artistes in its care. He noted, “Legally, does the song award cover the scope of its duty as established to operate? I don’t think so. Their work should start and stop at collecting and paying money to artistes in their care. So, the question artistes in their care should be asking is, ‘whose money are you using to carry out these programmes – music awards, beauty competitions?’ A CMO is a company limited by guarantee and cannot do all that. So, it depends on membership of artistes under COSON management to ask them questions; they ought to ask whose money they are using to prosecute these programmes, which are outside of

As a collective management organisation (CMO), should COSON be engaged in organising events such as this? We are not the first CMO to set up a foundation. We are also not the first to have a lecture or an award event. What might be different is that we have the skills and experience to do these things with the kind of class and expertise that others do not have. My information is that there is positive buzz in the CMO community around the world because of the COSON Week. Many officers of different CMOs are heading to Lagos for the COSON Week. Some critics in the music industry may argue that monies meant to be shared to artistes as royalties to better their lives are now being frittered away in a jamboree. What is your response to this charge? As I have said to you, not one kobo of the income of COSON is being spent on the COSON Week and the COSON Week is not a jamboree. The COSON brand is growing in leaps and bounds because of the COSON Week without the society spending a penny. While I was president of PMAN, I recall that there were those who were unhappy with the involvement of PMAN in the Nigerian Music Awards. Eventually, the NMA more than anything else, gave PMAN tremendous national stature and income. That is the nature of a democracy. Everyone has a right to his say.

Tee Mac COSON’s influence”. Sadly, all efforts made to get the reaction from NCC and its D-G, Mr. Afam Ezekude failed to yield result before going to press.

COSON Week is not a jamboree, says Okoroji What stage of preparation is the foundation towards the mega event? We have promised Nigerians seven superlative events within seven days during the COSON Week. No one has done that before. I do not want to pretend that it is easy to do. We are working practically 24 hours every day to deliver on our promise to Nigerians. As a person, I am leveraging on practically every asset I can. From now till the end of the COSON Week, I am making do with an average of about two

hours sleep a night. My family rarely sees me. My laptop and cell phones are practically burning as I deal with thousands of little details that need to be tied up. Every day now, I make about a thousand calls, do countless text messages and e-mails. I am like a ball juggler with so many balls in the air. I have to keep my eyes on the balls. I cannot let any of them drop. What level of participation are Nigerian artistes giving to the event? I have not seen this kind of enthusiasm from my colleagues in recent years. My phones are ringing non-stop from artistes who want to be part of one event or another. Traffic at the COSON office is at its peak. The enthusiasm is almost overwhelming but the events belong to the artistes of Nigeria so we must find a way to have everyone engaged. I can understand it. The COSON Week is the biggest platform for any musician in the country today. We will make sure every musician benefits from it. What effect is the mega show expected to have on artistes in the country? I have said repeatedly that any person with strategic vision will see the change agent that COSON has become and the strategic impact that the seven mega events called the COSON Week will have on entertainment in Nigeria for many years to come. I have also expressed the opinion that I am not comfortable with the argument that we must do easy things or work within the confines of rules set by others.  Each of the seven mega events is in support of the COSON Music Foundation, the big non-profit trust we are setting up to provide a backbone for Nigerian music and musicians. In a profession where there is no pension, gratuity or insurance scheme, I do not believe that anyone can argue over the wisdom in setting up the COSON Music Foundation. The foundation will provide support for artistes in need and also provide funding for music education, which is something we ought to have been done many years ago. As we promote these events, we are also spreading the COSON brand and the important work we are doing to protect the rights of artistes in Nigeria. We are expanding the revolution encapsulated in our mantra, ‘Let the music pay!’


What is the source of funding for the event? Any support from corporate Nigeria? Within the leadership of COSON, we took the

Did the regulatory body, Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), approve this show for its sole collective management organisation (CMO) in the country? The NCC is fully informed about what we are doing and to the best of my knowledge the NCC has no objection. What is the level of compliance by governmentowned stations so far in COSON’s drive for royalties for artistes? You will recall that the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) was one of the first to break the jinx over royalty payment in Nigeria. Our relationship with FRCN since then has been remarkably good. We have worked through very difficult moments to improve our relationship with NTA under the present leadership. In the last fortnight, I have been to Abuja and have had productive meetings with the leadership of both organisations. I have recently called on the National Assembly to make clear provisions in the budgets of all Federal Government-owned broadcast stations for the payment of copyright royalties. A situation where the stations are meant to struggle to pay artistes royalties from their so-called internally generated revenue is simply unacceptable. Nearly all of these stations were set up for political reasons. They have very little chance of generating proper revenue. Meanwhile, they sustain their operations by freely using the intellectual property of innocent citizens who have invested in creativity with hard earned money to produce the music. I have said elsewhere that the Nigerian music industry cannot be expected to subsidize broadcasting in Nigeria. The capital requirements of the stations are budgeted, the salaries of the staff are budgeted but the royalties to those who create and invest in the music, which sustains the stations is not budgeted. The royalties are the ‘salaries’ of those in the music industry whose works are broadcast and this is left to the vagaries, whims and caprices of ‘Internally Generated Revenue’. The reality is that most of the stations, in defiance of the law, do not pay any royalties or when they pay at all, what they pay is absolutely laughable. This appears to be state sanctioned robbery of young Nigerians who invest in the music industry in our nation. The National Assembly has a responsibility to bring this robbery to an immediate end and every State Assembly must do likewise.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



From Duke Asidere’s Encased, a painting titled Mumu Banking. One of the works The Feeling, by Duke Asidere.

By Tajudeen Sowole

In painter, Duke Asidere’s current body of work titled Encased is a representational, but covert narrative, among other issues, on what the artist described as unprecedented failure in leadership, which also indicts the masses of seeking an easy way out of misrule. EADERSHIP question has enjoyed quality LHowever, discussion in the country’s political arena. in Duke Asidere’s Encased, which is currently showing at Alexis’s Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos, another dimension is added in the discourse — the creative community. Beaming his searchlight on the mischief or insincerity hidden in works of unnamed celebrated literary and media professionals. From his past shows such as Third Semester Examinations, a satirical indictment on the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo’s alleged third term agenda in 2004, to the artist’s New Paintings Duke Asidere, in 2009, and now Encased, he keeps stressing his worries for a country, perceived as failing. Largely figural, with subtle cubism, which Asidere is known for, his concerns are expressed in works that are inspired by the ‘Arab Spring’ and brief uprising against removal of fuel subsidy, now known as ‘Occupy Nigeria’. From such inspirations, the artist steps into another level of his art, which he calls Protest Period. Asidere notes that though Nigerians, in the literary and other genres of the arts, have proven their creative skills when interrogating such issues, something is still missing. To this end, he advises artists and writers to use their works to show honesty. “It could be frustrating, for example, when journalists that have been well celebrated, later ends up betraying the trust the public has in them,” he says. Indeed, works in Asidere’s Protest Periods add to a number of series he has churned out in the past few years. Whatever inspired the new periods of his art, Asidere, 53, seemed to have used such to step into the fearless stage of his life. “After monitoring the Arab Spring from the

A nation Encased in a state of ‘coma’ in Asidere’s canvas TV screen, I have made up my mind not to take the easy way out,” he states, few days ahead of the opening of the show. He traces unexplainable development such as exploding higher tariff in electricity, despite erratic supply, to the attitude of the oppressed, waiting for easy way out of misrule. Asidere is worried that his beloved country “is currently at the lowest level of leadership: corruption is unprecedented, militants are being paid to police oil pipeline from vandals and thieves, yet you have the military in place; Boko Haram are threatening our unity, but government is clueless.” Describing the situation as a nation ‘in coma’, he asks, rhetorically: “How did we get here?” Answer to the artist’s question may be found in the fact that it has been proven across ages and generations that a people choose the leaders they deserve as corruption, even at the lower cadre of the society – in Nigeria’s situation – appears like the root of incompetence and gross mismanagement of resources at the leadership level. This much could be distilled in a piece titled Mumu Banking, the artist’s personal encounter with incompetence among bank officials during a transaction over

money transfer. Asidere’s experience offers an insight into how a society that has lost values, across nearly all cadres of the society breeds corrupt and incompetent leaders. THE exhibition, as the title suggests, is an embodiment of quite a number of issues, as Asidere renders images that challenge intellectuality in a society with declining values. He places much responsibility on the virtue of woman, tapping from his past genderbased themes. Asidere, it should be recalled has painted women in diverse themes, nearly through his over two decades career. Coincidentally, the show opens in the same week of International Mother’s Day in some countries. He says, unapologetically, “I like celebrating women because my mum did a lot to stop me from being on the streets.” For Encased, works such as The Women and The Dream Couple explain the artist’s side of argument about the female and the society. He notes that success or failure of the man, and by extension, the larger society, is directly or indirectly the responsibility of the woman. What is, however, dangerous, he warned, is that “today’s women are unpredictable.”

Most artists express bottled creative rebellion in their post-school carrier, almost at every opportunity of an exhibition. In his thought in this context, Asidere has added another form to his list of renditions that break or challenge the rule. In Encased, it’s a series he titled Lessons in Painting. Quite of note, perhaps odd among the series, is a black canvas Waiting For Good Governance that only derives modulation and toning from the movement of the palette knife, which is supported by reflections of light bouncing off the patterns or designs. Black isn’t a colour, so says the theory, and to a large extent art teachers appeared to have proven that too in the studio. Asidere differs: “After over two decades of graduating, I can no longer hold on to ‘you can’t do this, or you can’t miss this or that”. Aside displaying a radical tone of art on the canvas, Asidere recently started a yearly public painting workshop named after his residence of nearly 20 years, Orelope Street. When he launched Orelope Workshop, as part of activities marking his 50th birthday, Asidere said it’s important for artists to give back to their immediate society by proudly displaying, publicly that “we are artists contributing to our environment”.

Oba of Benin joins the Living Legends’ portraiture train FTER the hosting of master A printmaker, Bruce Onobrakpeya, as the third guest in the

HRM, Omo N’Oba Erediauwa

Between Soyinka and the next month’s proposed visit to Oba of Benin, the project had docuseries of portraiture documentary mented Yusuf Grillo and Bruce project, Living Legends, the next Onobrakpeya. Ajayi stressed that personality is the monarch of the essence of Living Legends is to Benin, HRM, Omo N’Oba Erediestablish the culture of documentauwa. ing great people via art such as The national coordinator of Living painting and sculpture as it is Legends, Olu Ajayi, disclosed that done in most parts of the west. the Oba will be hosting a team of However, unlike the past sitters, selected artists in his palace, next the Oba, Ajayi said, would be documonth to have the monarch docu- mented by few artists as the palace mented in the portraiture project. cannot accommodate as much as The Living Legends project started the project would have love to in 2008 with Prof Wole Soyinka as take. the first. He sat before over 10 Fourteen artists captured the artists that worked in mediums master printmaker, Onobrakpeya, such as painting, sculpture and inside Aina Onabolu Building, Naphotography in Lagos. tional Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos at

the last event. The artists included Ukhueduan Tom, Uche Nwosu, Isiuwe Angela, Irokanulo Emmanuel Tunde Soyinka, Maurice Onyeriodo, Nmesirionye Joshua, Juliet Ezenwa Maja-Pearce, Udondian Victoria, Okujeni Tony, Ovraiti Sam, Gerry Nnubia, Lekan Onabayo and Ajayi. At the third edition were veteran photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikhere, and chairman, Visual Arts Society of Nigeria (VASON), Sammy Olagbaju. Like the second edition, which came on the same month Grillo turned 74, the third also added to the 80th birthday celebration of Onobrakpeya.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



Tenth auction: Enwonwu, Anatsui go head-to-head By Tajudeen Sowole RUE to predictions, the race for T the most-priced art at the 10th Arthouse auction was between El Anatsui’s wood panel Lanh and Ben Enwonwu’s figural wood piece Untitled. Held at The Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, few nights ago, Lanh was running away with the top of the 121 lots of the auction after it sold for N12 million, but minutes later, bidding for the slim figure wood piece by the late Enwonwu started building up from an asking price, less than the rival’s, until it also stopped at N12 million. With this result, the two foremost West African artists keep strengthening their lead at home and the Diaspora, making the Ghanaian-born and Nsukka, Nigeria-based artist, Anatsui recorded a third consecutive place at the top of auctions in Lagos and London in the last one year. At the 2012 edition of Bonhams’ Africa Now, London sales Anatsui’s New World Map sold for £541, 250 ($850,544), and also led the top sales in Lagos last November at Arthouse’s auction when his Cloth Series VI (Oil on wooden panels, 132 x 262 cm.), went for N11.4 million.     However, as much as the art auctions in Lagos have helped in restoring some level of provenance to a largely record-barren Nigerian art space, through catalogues, more still need to be done. Sometimes works of departed masters such as Enwonwu, Aina Onabolu, Ben Osawe, Akinola Lasekan, Simon Okeke and others were featured with little or no text on prove-

nance. And it often got so low when some of these works are tagged Untitled, an indication that some part of the provenance were lost in transit. Indeed, few works, originally come with blank titles, but the increasing number of Untitles on Lagos’ secondary market space is worrisome. For instance, nearly all the works of Ben Osawe (1931 -2007) sold at different auctions in Lagos were Untitled. And for a work of great aesthetic rendition as the Enwonwu’s wood piece sold few nights ago, Untitled appeared like a big loss of education value supposedly imbedded in the work. And in the case of Anatsui’s Lanh, an assemblage of panels in wood dated 2003-2013, it would have been more interesting, for the sake of documentation, to attach some few lines of text, particularly for a work done over a period of 10 years during when the artist was perceived to have rested his panel period. However, the entire results of the Arthouse’s 10th auction, which had more than 95 per cent sale, stressed the growing secondary market in Nigeria. More importantly, the quality of works, across generations of artists featured also indicated that standard was getting higher as young artists such as Ade Adekola, Peju Alatise, Segun Aiyesan, Victor Ehikhamenor, Chidi Kwubiri and Kainebi Osahenye proved that the young and middle generation of Nigerian creative professionals cannot wait to become masters of tomorrow. And from across the borders, works of ten Ghanaian artists also featured as most of the works made impressive sales with master, Ablade

El Anatsui’s Lahn, Emulsion paint and gouache on wooden panels Glover’s mixed media on board titled Market People led with N1.7m. For the Standard Chattered Banksponsored charity section of the auction, the Seeing Is Believing project was over N2 million richer as four works were sold to support an estimated “80 per cent curable blindness of 4.5 million blind Nigerians”.      

Top Ten of 121 lots from Arthouse Contemporary Auction 1. El Anatsui (b.1944) Lahn, Emulsion

paint and gouache on wooden panels, 120 x 312.3 cm. (47 x 123 in,2003-13) - N12 million Naira Ben Enwonwu (1917-1994), Untitled, wood {135 cm. (53 in., 1959) - N12m 2. Ben Enwonwu, Storm at Umunede (oil on board, 76 x 101.5 cm. (30 x 40 in. 1978) - N7m 3. Ben Enwonwu, Gbongan, (oil on canvas, 61 x 92 cm. (24 x 36 in.1972) -N4m 4  Ben Enwonwu, Untitled - N3. 6m 5. Erahbor Emokpae,  Yin and Yang (oil on board, 1963) - N2.5m 6. Peju Alatise, Nigerian Women, Mixed media on canvas (170 x 170 x 30.5 cm.

(67 x 67 x12, 2012) - N2.4m 7. Bruce Onobrakpeya (b.1932), Esirigbo Bridal Panel I, Acrylic on canvas, {197 x 152.5 cm. 77½ x 60 in.) N2.2m 8. Ben Enwowu, Torso of A Man, Wood (55 cm) - N1.9m 9. Rom Isichei,  b.1966, Oil on canvas, 112 x 137 cm. (44 x 54 in.) - N1.8m 10. Abiola Akintola, b. 1960, Fear Not (Copper, 69 x 59 cm, 2011-2012) - N1.7m Ablade Glover, b. 1939, Market People (Mixed media on board, 122 x 152.5 cm. (48 x 60 in.) - N1. 7m

HE social media are becoming irreT sistible part of everyday life. Little wonIn the show, the artist der the artist, Gbenga Orimoloye, in his latest show, goes a little further to probe draws inference from into people’s increasing devotion to these media. In the show, the artist draws inference his rich Yoruba backfrom his rich Yoruba background, where the eye is seen as an essential part of comground, where the munication process. Titled Oju (Eye), the solo show just held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, attempts to eye is seen as an esdeconstruct and interrogate infotech and the social media, giving prominence to sential part of comtheir role in making communication easier. munication process. Though Orimoloye, who is resident in the UK, says technology is yet to meet up

Face-book and Realbook (oil on board, 2013) by Gbenga Orimoloye

Interrogating social media in Orimoloye’s

Oju By Tajudeen Sowole


with the premium placed on eye-to-eye contact, he agrees on the fecund “fascination with these socio-cultural developments” within the context of the generational shift in the way people communicate. In one of the works, Face-book and Realbook (oil on board, 2013) – faceless figures – the artist places two medium of accessing information on the spot: someone concentrates on a laptop and the other person with legs crossed, reading from a book. With this work, Orimoloye seems to be saying that, though the popular social media, Facebook, and other similar media, are synonymous with info tech devices, they derive their origin from the traditional synergy between a reader’s face and a book. In highlighting the level of attention people place on their hand-held devices to socialise, the artist captured typical example in Face-booking While Walking, a two figural painting which explains that the trend knows no class or gender. In the same context, he argues that with a critical and penetrative look “at a person’s face, you realise that, rather than the real person, what you are communicating with is an interface”. And being a representational artist, largely of figurative genre, Orimoloye sees face as “a landscape”. Features of landscapes or streetscapes such as valleys, mountains, and other sceneries, he explains, “can all be present in a face, allegorically”. In the last three years, Orimoloye has been taking a break from his U.K. base to have shows in Nigeria, using impasto can-

vas with largely Nigerian social themes. In fact, the title of his last solo shows: Iwa, a passion to stress resilient African values in the Diaspora and Ona, his thoughts on life as a journey, indicate that the artist is at home in creative context. Holding on to his traditional painting value, he links the Oju and his past themes, rendering eye contact pieces as well as figural in his thought of highly predictive impressionistic, but timeless strokes. For every work of Orimoloye that appears like a repeat of the past – mostly in the female figures – something is imbedded that suggests resilience of his palette knife movement. Elsewhere, the vibrancy of his work was noticed when a Florida, US-based publishing house sourced his work for illustrations of publications, which included that of the late Chinua Achebe. To this extent, the artist sees info tech and the Internet as a great asset. “The US-based publishers saw my work via the Internet and got in touch with me. This is one of the benefits of Internet”. And as the African art landscape is gradually imbibing radical contemporary texture, Orimoloye is unshaken. He leans on the relativity of art, arguing that “if you can defend whatever you are doing, so be it”. Aside his last two shows in Nigeria, Orimoloye, who trained at Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos has shown abroad in such galleries as Maria Assumpta Centre, Kensington, London, 1998 and The 198 Gallery, Herne Hill, London in 1998 among several other shows.


THe GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17 , 2013


‘Role of public opinion polling in development’ Oge Funlola Modie is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NOI Polls Limited. She is the first woman to head Nigeria’s leading independent opinion polling and research organization.  NOI Polls Limited works in partnership with Gallup (USA) to spearhead opinion research in Nigeria and West Africa. She joined NOI Polls Limited as the Chief Operating Officer in February 2012 and was appointed Managing Director and CEO by the Board of Directors in August 2012.  Prior to joining NOI Polls, Oge was the Fund Director (West Africa) for The Makeda Fund, a US$50million SME private equity startup fund focused on investing in women entrepreneurs across West Africa. The fund was run in partnership with Small Enterprises Assistance Fund (SEAF) based in Washington DC. As a fund director, she generated awareness on investing in women-owned/managed SMEs across West Africa.  Oge also provided technical assistance to such women-owned businesses, particularly those that support their journey by obtaining patient capital. Over the past 13 years, she has developed a career in corporate finance, SME development and finance, and currently opinion research. Her corporate finance career started in 1999, at Alliance Consulting, a corporate finance boutique company that was a spinoff from Agusto & Co Limited, Nigeria’s first indigenous credit rating company. At Alliance Consulting, she managed multiple acquisition assignments valued at over US$20million, and worked with top level executives in the Nigerian and West African financial services sector. In 2003, she joined Heirs Alliance, a portfolio management company founded by Tony Elumelu, former Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, UBA Group.  At Heirs Alliance, she was responsible for managing all acquisition projects under the financial services sector within the group. She also led a team that successfully set up and operated the Heirs Insurance Company Limited now called UBA Insurance. After Heirs Alliance, she began a career in corporate venturing at Nextzon Business Services. Her major achievement there was the design and development of the Nextzon Business Incubator, a business assistance programme of the World Bank. Even before her present position at NOI Polls Limited, she had set up and managed her own professional strategy consulting company, Alternativ Managers, a wealth management company with a focus on building capacity in Micro and Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Alternativ Mangers has partnered with The Ford Foundation, The Nigeria SME Agency (SMEDAN), LEAP Africa and Fate Foundation to build capacity in SMEs and stakeholders in the sector. She earned a Bachelor of Science with honors in Economics from University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). She attended Cranfield School of Management where she was awarded a Master of Business Administration degree. She is a UK-certified project manager and writer.  She has contributed to a wide range of publications and was a pioneer member of the Policy and Research Group (PARG) in the Economics Department of UNN. She seats on the Board of NOI Polls Limited, KSF Microfinance Bank, Affirm Consulting, and Victorious Women. In her spare time, she loves to listen to music, read comic books, as well as fiction novels crafted by African writers. She loves to volunteer for SME causes around the world and is an annual speaker at the Best Of the Best (BOB) TV expo held annually in Abuja Nigeria. She also lends her voice to women development programs around the globe.  Ms. Modie told Assistant Business Editor, MATHIAS OKWE, in Abuja that NOI Polls Limited today has become a data bank for public opinion matters in Nigeria as the only registered Polls company in the country that is surveying the pulse of Nigerians on topical issues and her plans to drive it to become the biggest brand in Africa in next five years. Excerpts of the interview. What was your attraction to NOI? Ne interesting need was the fact that opinion matters. The mode of opinion research to be able to tell a story and to get involved in the decision making process. I found that very fascinating because that’s not very far from  what I have been used to. That was the first thing for me . I also found out that it can be a platform for change. This is like an indigenous company where a lot of data resides. And we don’t have that kind of data in Nigeria . a lot of what’s said about he economy or development in Nigeria is always keyed back to international organizations. So this  is also like a resort to local data where international organizations can pick up information from this company. I think that was really  interesting for me to take an opportunity as so far I think its been quite interesting How is your background and wealth of experience garnered over the years in  reputable organizations you have worked before come to bear on this your new assignment as the MD/CeO of NOI Polls so as to make the Company a brand name and a point of international reference point? Two things : Competency  and integrity. We work with a lot of information here  and  added information is vital in decision making for both the public service and private sector companies. Therefore , what I bring to bear here would be in terms of the integrity of information, ensuring that what is going out from ere can be depended on by decision makers. The second part of it is competency – ensuring that we have competent professionals to carry out these processes and duties. One key thing that I think is the underlining foundation is research  and that’s what this is all about. In corporate finance, you do a lot of market research, your computer analysis and all lot of things. Here we are doing opinion research based on what the public is saying, using that to create policies, create products and develop different things that can tie back to the populace or as you call it the  clientile.  So it’s the same set of principles underlying the two sets of businesses that makes it very easy, a transition for me. So I will just move ahead. Can you let us into some of the opinion polls you have conducted in recent times and what impact you think they have made? We have had some very interesting polls in recent times. I must just say that last years we were doing one polls every two months, but now, we are doing one poll every week. That’s a tremendous leap. That really has been very challenging in terms of funding. But at the same time we have found a perfect way of just remaining above waters. One of the very interesting ones I think we did was on Rape during the Indian Bus Rape incident. We wanted to find out what rape is like in Nigeria. It was vry interesting that at least three in ten Nigerians know a rape victim. That is 30 per cent of the adult population know of somebody that has been raped. If you multiply that , that’s another 30 per cent has been raped, female population per se in Nigeria has been raped and that’s very high. We also found out in that poll that a lot of people were still with the perception that it’s a way a woman dresses that makes her susceptible to rape, and that was a huge discovery. 78 per cent of Nigerians thought that rape cases get



unreported because of the stigma. Another  interesting one we did was on hidden banking charges. A lot of Nigerians have been complaining, that is the banking populace that today is a N100 here, tomorrow N40 and if you do something N2000 so we did a poll on what Nigerians felt about this and 61 per cent felt they were being exploited by banks and were asking that there should be some kind of transparency. I know that the Central Bank of Nigeria {CBN} has been working real hard to get banks to be a bit more transparent in those charges. I know last month it announced a recovery of about N8.6 billion. These are the things that show that we are very much relevant in terms of our polls. Another interesting poll was to mark the UN world Water Day. And we wanted to find out how many Nigerians have access to clean water. And 47 per cent say they do not have access to clean water. we wanted to know how many of them have  safe drinking water and if I can still remember correctly, 83 per cent source theirs privately. That means if we are taking that number, about 17 per cent that have access to safe drinking water. The remaining 83 per cent  sourced theirs privately. And the biggest chunk of that 83 per cent drink pure water. I think that was quite interesting because it threw up a lot of  arguments . we had the World Bank talk with us in deference to that result and actually said it was very precise. One thing I must say is

that all the polls that we do, are always tie into what an international  organization has done or buttresses the fact that some sort of discoveries have been done before . so we have to buttress it by local knowledge. So those are few of the interesting polls: water; banking charges and what have you. We also do monthly governance polls where we measure power supply , that is perception of power supply, approval rating like you have for Obama and we also do approval rating for the current Administration in Nigeria What informs your choice of topic for opinion poll? We work in teams . we have a team of experts responsible for sitting and sipping through topical issues. Now the whole reason the NOI Polls was founded was to be a barometer of public opinion. So at anytime anyone wants to understand how people feel about a topic, what you have to do is go to NOI and find out what people think about that topic.  We sit down and said for this particular public opinion , what’s buzzing in the news. We have a product we call what’s buzzing in the news. every Monday we discuss that and e talk of the different things that have come out in the social media , in print and also understanding what is going on and the tempo of the country, then we pick a topic  and we have a specific design. We have several design experts here. They would now design an instrument which is to be administered without bias. We don’t pre-empt any of our respondent. We create an instrument that when you are answering there is typically no bias. Typically, it takes about four days from start to finish. Then we release every Tuesday morning , what we call a press release How has this your barometer been  perceived by the public that you measured in terms of acceptability? People have actually been very willing to talk, because you know Nigerians want to voice their opinions  but there is really no platform for that . when I mean platform, I mean platform for a scientific presentation of those opinions . you get people who are excited and they enquire , how did you get my number, who are you , where are you calling from  and they go ahead and tell you, look, call me again when next you are doing another poll call me because I want to get involve because we need things like this because it helps us to voice our opinion. That’s exactly the kind of reception we get.  We are happy for the fact that when we ask those questions people want to engage in conversation, so because of our countdown to 2015 elections polls, we’ve opened up a panel. We’ve asked people if you are interested , we are going to have an interaction in an open house session on this journey to 2015 elections to come in and let us know how they fell. So a lot of people are receptive. You undertake opinion polls on service delivery rating by some agencies of Government like water and power supply. How do these agencies react when you come up with the results of the polls , particularly the ones that are not too complimentary? I must make a difference between  what an opinion polling is and an advocacy. So we are an opinion, independent and unbiased. Now what we do with our result, we have what we call a 360 media or press release. When we have these results we throw them out on those platforms. Then if we have access to any of the institutions we send it to the responsible officer and that’s where we stop., because we are what you call a data base. We send you information,  what you do with that information is left with that officer or the institution. Like I said, we are like a data bank, you  want to understand what people are thinking at a point in time, you just click on the NOI Polls. So we send these out and sometimes we see these reactions and we cant really say we are the reason this has happen. But we know that certain things are being done because of the results that we send out. We do always make sure that some responsible officers get them. Sometimes we print a copy and say this is a complimentary copy and we think you should know what Nigerians think about this and we tell them that should you need us to come in and make a presentation, we would be glad to do so. So yes we do get across to the institutions. Has any of these agencies complained or expressed anger over your work? Yes they do stuff. I give you some particular examples. We did something on the Nigerian Football League last year. It was going through a lot of crises. so we wanted to compare the english Premier League to the Nigerian League and we got a perception survey which shows that Nigerians were not particularly interested in the League because of the quality of the game, that it wasn’t fantastic. So we sent it off to the sport Minister and just basically anybody that was interested. We got two feedbacks: one was from a FIFA executive Member who had contacted another Nigerian  Football Scout and asked : have you read NOI Polls  Limited. Basically, why the FIFA executive was talking about it was because we had listed the clubs that Nigerians watch and the Scout’ Club – Heartland FC of Owerri was not there, and was asking the Scout: are you sure you are shopping for better players in Nigeria? Because I think Nigerians do not like the Club. That’s one.  And a week after we released that poll result, the Nigerian football Premiership league was shut down. They only just  started playing last week because there were also other problems in the league. every year, we have  done governance polls on what Nigerians expect the President and his administration to do. Now, for three years running, the top three desires have been : to create jobs, tackle insecurity and tackle power. Now, take a close look at what the president is doing , you would see that that is what he is trying to do. He’s tackling unemployment; the power issue  and tackling insecurity because over the three years, we have been doing this with Gallup for 2010: 2012 and 2013. every year, those three have been consistent on the top three that Nigerians want tackled.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, Friday, May 17, 2013

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‘Role of public opinion polling in development’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 30 So we can tie a  very loose tie to what the Government is doing with regards to the outcome of our polls. Also for power we intend to monitor power supply. We’ve been doing it for a while. We want to put it out there to show what people want day and night. Sometimes you could always see that… last year we saw that in terms of load shedding. We do see this happen, but like I said there is a difference between polling and advocacy. But I think for us, we throw the information out there to civil societies, government and all sort of people who then take this information and create change. Our part is to provide the data Some people have observed that the size of your sample population is somewhat small, for instance, the sample size for the access to water opinion poll was just a little above 1000. For a country of over 160 million people, do you see this as representative enough to represent the views and opinion of every adult person in Nigeria, age 18 and above? We have a technical partner, Gallup Polls which is the world’s premier Polls organization, anywhere in the world that you go Gallup is recognizable. Gallup has been our partner since 2006 and has taught us their robust methodology in opinion polling.  I mean, you can only learn from the master and so we have adopted this robust methodology. Technically, the sort of methodology that we used that if you were to sample the whole Nigerians in the same way that we have done, a hundred times, 95 times out of the hundred, you would find out that the same result that we have is what you would get. That is how confident we are because of the scientific methodology that we deploy. Now Gallup is in a country where you have 350 million Americans, every day that they do a sample it’s the same method they adopt, a thousand; like we do. So I even think that in Nigeria we are doing a thousand for 160 million, we are even doing amazingly far beyond  what ordinarily and scientifically  than should be done. So  we are very confident that if any one picks the method that we have done and does 95 over a hundred times , they would get the true value, so 1000 population size is more than enough. For the adult population of Nigeria because we do from 18 and above What Survey method is it that you use? Gallup has taken us through a scientific method where a random sampling is undertaken. For this telephone interview that we do, we what we call the NOI Polls  Number Data base . in that data base we have hundreds and thousands of numbers . now, these numbers have been gotten from … we do a yearly national polls which is face to face, across Nigeria, we in conjunction with Gallup we do a field survey of what Nigerians think. These numbers are gathered in random process . now, sampling is done across the numbers. We cover the entire nation across the geopolitical zones right down to the States and  local councils . so what we typically have is a number base of  numbers right to every place in Nigeria  where you have a Telcoms service. Now what happen is that they are randomly sampled from the computers and picked and calls are made. Those calls are then taken to our data centre  where they are analyzed and brought out where all errors are removed and the results and now brought forward what is which we release to the public. This is the method through which we have gone with Gallup, the use of software and whatever you  so we have a number data base here for telephone polls and then face to face interviews and we have what they call e-mark that is used by the national bureau of statistic [NBS] for household counts. Do you face some challenges in the conduct of your surveys? We have not got challenges so far. What we have actually got are confirmations. For instance, for the water survey the world Bank even said our result has further confirmed their Report and when you read our reports you  tie it back  to what has been said before, and you hear the world Bank say at least this has confirmed what we have been saying. And  also that of the Water Aid which says the North does not have access to water as you could also see in our result. You could also see our result on the HIV \ malaria where it is proven that the south has more malaria, it is more prevalent than in the North and that the southerner tend to self medicate more than go to the hospital, probably because overtime we are getting malaria too much, what I have to do is go to a pharmacy and said give me anti-malaria  drug and that’s it. So all these tie back to what WHO reported, so it’s a confirmation. And  like I said, we want to be a local residual of data . people don’t have to say UNESCO says … they can  come and say NOI Polls has that data  and even much more than UNESCO would probably have. So we get confirmations.  And of course we get people that respond  and ask questions, for instance, we did something on Super Eagles, we wanted to find out if they will win in the last AFCON competition, and three in five Nigerians said they will win AFCON. But he had some responded and say no, they are not prepared  but they will win and so they were arguing and eventually they won. Of course it shows the optimistic nature of Nigeria. But we get one or too who write back to say we don’t agree on this  can you explain and we gladly do. But it is typically confirmations that we get in terms of what people say. We can also use Nollywood, we did a research on Nollywood. They marked 20 this year and part of what we did was to find out whether people would go to cinemas to watch Nollywood, and most of the people said no, we just buy the DVD and this ties it to what UNESCO says that most films that are made in Nigeria goes straight to DVD, they don’t go to cinemas . and when we were asking why don’t you go to cinemas and they said its expensive, a N1,500


when they can buy the DVD for N300. A lot of people quickly go DVD, that’s why we have high rate of piracy in Nigeria. And after that we hosted a group of Nollywood Editors and it was such a huge argument. And we had somebody writing from Netherlands who belong to that group saying this is the first local company that has come forward with information that buttresses  every other international information about Nollywood. It was very comforting for us to get that form of confirmation. I think that we create those such of conversations so that people would always say how did you do this , how did you do that. But at the end there is always some information out there that ties it to the discovery and makes it very tangible and relevant and of course its with integrity . we actually put these information out in the public. We have approached the NBS, more to obtain information, but we have been thinking that there is much we can do together , because we are a residual of public opinion , they have statistics , the two can come together and provide much deeper information. But like I said we have a website that has every information, we don’t hoard it, its all there. In fact NCC took our information on Telecoms . so if you were to look for  anything on NOI Polls on the NCC website, you will see it there . they put it there saying  quality of service delivery which was what we touched on. It was very poor according to the different operators. Its there in the public and you see where people will quote you and we hope overtime we will collaborate especially like I keep saying for this part of the business- that is public opinion. Typically, what we try to do to fund this part of the business , we have products and services for public and private sector. For instance we have a consultancy services  and we have a knowledge management centre where we have capacity building , the people that want to learn about research we teach them and people that want to buy our publications : we have some on Niger Delta which the Yar’Adua Administration used as part of the Amnesty Programme for militants. We have been very involved. We create these things and all it takes is for the policies makers to say oh this exists , can I have it please. And so that’s what we are. We are just like a whole data man  that people pull out and use that information and if you want more we can do like a consultancy services for you and then raise money to continue doing this because all this comes out from our pocket. Now  from whose pocket does this financing comes from? What  we do like I said is business model. We have created business units because the opinion polling has a call centre. We need  to maintain our one a week polls . what we typically do is that we have about three other units : the Business club unit; the consultancy unit and the Knowledge management Centre . we have people who we ask to subscribe to services and that’s on the Business Club and they subscribe to these services and we do a range of services for them and they pay for. that’s  what we use to fund this . consultancy, we do quite a lot of work for the private sector. Be it institutions that ask us to do what we call a  baseline surveys  for what ever interventions be it monitoring and evaluation. They also pay for that and we use that for financing and then we sell our publications. Its not a lot of money , but we are now looking for sponsors, people who are interested in pushing  public opinion. That is people that will sponsor the public opinion part of the business . our  partners [ Gallup] do daily public opinion polls and we are doing weekly so we are like almost six days behind and I must say that the NOI polls is the only indigenous public Opinion Polling company in West Africa. Across Africa,, we are the second indigenous , every other polling organization is tied to IPSAs or some other else. We have one in

Kenya and we have one here. And I think one just came up in Tunis  and they wrote to me saying can we come and learn how you do it . I don’t know them they just wrote to NOI and said please can you come and teach us how to do opinion polling in Tunisia. That’s what we are about and we want to keep creating this sort of change  or platform for opinion polling in Africa . that’s why what we do is very important and we don’t want to say we don’t have  money to do it. Part of the business that makes money is a lot of work  because I am always on the road trying to get more people to sign up. We are always going out there . we are now a staff of 25. We moved from five last year to 25 to be able to support this weekly polling . that’s how we raise money and we are looking for more. We are hoping we can get sponsors .  its quite thight I wish we could make more because we are pulling from three areas to support the one area, the public opinion polling which is for the better good even though we are not earning from there. So we are hoping that we can get people that can support this public good along with us  institutions, civil society and even government  if they can give grant to what we do.  We still looking and we are hopeful that we will find. How come we have only two polling companies in Africa? The reason, one is knowledge. I think that in Africa e have been through so many dictatorships that  a lot of people don’t think that their voices count, so it doesn’t look viable quite to get that done, or to believe that if I say something it can get things change. So its more for the civilized society , that’s why I said its knowledge of the fact that information is democracy and that people need to let out information for change to be done. It is that disconnection that government is lacking because government actually need s that connection with people where their voices are heard through a scientific way . that’s one. Second is that its for better good.. when you want to start something for better good you need to sit back and ask yourself how can we make enough money to do this and how do I make money off it it doesn’t come like that . its how do we do the good first and from doing the good what can you reap from the good that you’ve done. In six years now, its just about now that we are starting  about to come off above waters , to say we are finding that way to be able to fund the business. It’s the knowledge of the people that there is a way to have your voice heard and the second one is that because its for better good the expense tends to kill the dream of really being able to consistently put people’s opinion out there. For me I think that’s the two things and I think we have been doing a really great job. We only need a little support from all those that are interested . What’s your vision for the NOI Polls Company in the next five years? To be the biggest public opinion institution in Africa we want to be big enough to cover countries in Africa . we want to move from Nigeria  to Ghana to Liberia . move from there to southern Africa and move up to North Africa . like I said a company from North Africa, Tunisia has written us to say we are the only polling company in this country, please teach us. And from Tanzania , someone has written to say we don’t have it in this country. Please teach us. Can we come and learn?  Right now, we have people say we want to come and do internship, so we must be doing something good.. if people across Africa are writing and we don’t know them , then we must be doing something fantastic. So five years from now, we want to be big.  We want to have partners across the globe NOI Polls \Tunisia , Kenya \NOI Polls  we want to be in Angola  and across Africa to be able to provide a platform for African to voice their opinion and to connect to their governments so that governance can get better , people can feel more appreciated in that way , that’s where we want to go. What kind of consultancy services do you offer and what competences do you have to offer these services? We do research and strategic consulting .the research covers market research and opinion research. Strategic research covers using the result of perception  survey to chart strategy for companies . it could be a private sector company or even policy makers . we have something there that we call policy advocate research. We did some work for NAMSE  on the MYTO tariff because their power rate went up too high . they now approached us to do a survey which we now put together a policy paper and what we call a fact sheet and they took that to NERC negotiation . right now MYTO 2 has been reduced for SMEs  simply because of that intervention . people need to know that the Government can listen to evidence –based research that’s the key . There  is no person that wont listen to it because , there is a reason that you give and also how it would affect you . and when they find that out, they will always change a policy. We have the best experts in what you call survey designers ; crack heads; we have people that understand analysis  and myself I have been a strategic consultant. So with corporate finance and strategy  you have to sit down and typically tell people how to run their businesses . all the 15 years I have been doing this. Our Director of Research is someone that is very sound in research technique and he was a lecturer in Strategy in Coventry University in the United Kingdom. We have people who are professionals  and I think for me these are some of the best people I have worked with in all my years and I am very confident of the kind of work we do here. Policy advocacy, we are actually getting a lawyer and she is staring on Monday and what means is that every work that we get , we have to look at the policy implication. We are building strength and we do have international partners that also support us like the DFID and others that like what we are doing.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

LTHOUGH he had been in the music industry for years, parA ticularly in Port Harcourt where he controls a large fan base, Obinna Kelvin Anyanwu, otherwise known as Waconzy, struck the right chord in 2009 with the hit track, Celebrate. An Afrocentric beat laced with soukous rhythms, the song caught the attention of both the old and the young; it was totally different from the usual. Initially, not many knew a Port Harcourt-based Nigerian artiste recorded the song; it was even difficult to put a face to the music, especially within Lagos. But as the song continued to enjoy massive airplay on radio stations across the country, coupled with the release of the video, which featured fuji artiste, Pasuma, the dreadlock-wearing dude stamped his authority in the industry, though he remained in the Garden City. He enthused, “I thank God for Celebrate; it’s a song that won me a lot of fans. In fact, people still like it more than some of my new songs. But with my new album, you will get to hear some new hits.” Before Celebrate, the Abia State native recorded a single, Ikebe Super, a track that got him some level of popularity in the Niger Delta region of the country, especially in Port Harcourt. Loved by many and played at different clubs, the song was all he needed to signal his arrival on the scene, but he had little or nothing to show for it financially. “I had little fame with Ikebe Super,” he confessed. “Funny enough, I was very popular in the city, but I didn’t really make

I think the government should make laws that will affect parental guidance because some men would just wake up and decide not to take care of their families. It’s either they turn drunks or that another woman is using juju on them; thumbs up to all single mothers in the world…

...The buzz in town

Stories by Chuks Nwanne

My dream is bigger than what you are seeing now

much money. I remember the time they banned bikes in Port Harcourt; I could not afford to buy a car or take a cab, and so, I usually go on a bus. Those days, I used to hide at the bus stop because people usually recognised me; it was really bad then that I had to relocate”. With his first album, Celebrate, Waconzy has been able to carve a niche for himself, creating a marvelous blend of soul, hip-hop and dancehall songs that cut across various age groups and geographical boundaries. A graduate of Project Management from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, his stage presence earned him the nickname, ‘Mr. Tumble the stage.’ Just recently, Waconzy relocated to Lagos, with the aim of taking his music career to the next level. “Well, to a reasonable extent, you cannot be in one place for so long; even if you have one billion naira, if you are not adding to it, you must go down. So, if I stay in one place without moving forward, I will be going backwards. My dream is bigger than what you see now; I want to get closer to my dream. The world is moving so fast; I don’t want to be left behind.” And how big is his dream? “My dream is as big as that of Jay Z, Rihanna, Chris Brown… I want to take over the world through my music. I want to be the mouthpiece of the people; when I speak, I want people to listen. My dream is to positively influence people; I want to be a positive influence”. Asked if he’s aware the move could affect his Port Harcourt fans, most of who were instrumental to his rise to stardom, Waconzy explained, “my fans are people who really love me and my real fans are people who want me to take over Lagos. I’m very sure that my true fans will be happy with this move and I wont disappoint them. No matter where I move to, I still keep in touch.” Few moths in Lagos, it seems Waconzy is already finding his rhythm. “It’s been a wonderful experience; it’s a very big place and all the tools I need are available here. We are gradually putting things in place right now, but in the next few weeks, everything will be made public.” To announce his arrival in the Entertainment Capital of Nigeria, a gig was actually put together by friends and colleagues of Waconzy. But for some circumstances beyond the control of the artiste, the show, which was to be staged at an upscale club on Victoria Island, was called off. “We actually put together a concert in Lagos tagged Waconzy Welcome to Lagos party, but for one or two reasons beyond us, we had to postpone the event. Actually, some milestone plans

One-on-one with Waconzy


we wanted to have, were not met, so, we had to push the event forward,” he said. As a follow up to his first album, Waconzy has released a follow up work, Money Back Guarantee. A 20-track album features collaboration with some notable Nigerian stars, including Faze, Chimaga, Truth Hurts (USA) and the EME boss, Banky W in Jangolva, a track that is gradually picking up on air. Other songs on the album include Sweet Like Tombo, Amosu, Na God, Nothing lasts Forever, Am Sorry, Champion (ft. Faze), Love Me Not for Money, Club on Fire (ft. Truth Hurts) and others. “I took my time to get this album done, that’s why I gave it that title, Money Back Guarantee. What it means is that it’s guaranteed you can get your money back; anywhere you see me and you don’t like the CD, give it to me and I will give you back your money,” he boasted. You are so confident with this work? “I’m very, very confident about the album,” he quipped. “The album is already in the market; it’s marketed by Obaino Music. I can confidently say that it’s the best album in the market right now.” In the new album, Waconzy worked with different producers, but Chimaga, who he featured in the track, Ome La, seems to be his right hand man when it comes to production. “I have lots of producers, but my primary producer is Chimaga; he‘s a fantastic young man, who has worked with me for years. He’s been able to modify my style of music; he’s very creative.” Forget his ‘big boy’ looks today; Waconzy has seen bad days. Like he sang in his song, Celebrate, the young boy was brought up by a single mother. “That was the way I found myself; a lot of young people find themselves in this same situation. I think the government should make laws that will affect parental guidance because some men would just wake up and decide not to take care of their family. It’s either they turn drunks or that another woman is using juju on them. Thumbs up to all single mothers in the world”. How was it like growing up? “Life wasn’t too bad, but it was bad because I came from a rich family, yet the riches did not show on us. We were going to an expensive school, but my sandals dey tear everyday; my school uniform dey see road for back. So, it was just stupid to some extent because, your dad drives the best car, but you struggle to live up to that status on your own. But the truth is that every time things get tough for you, it’s usually the time something good comes up.” So, what’s your relationship with you father today? “Well, my relationship with father is not as it is with my mother. However, my dad didn’t show good example and that’s

THe GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013




Ngo Okafor shines in True Story IGeRIA born United State-based model, boxer N and actor, Ngoli Okafor, has finished shooting his part in the feature film, True Story, alongside

suffering from dehydration and exhaustion. They went on to explain that Bey is currently “awaiting word from her doctors before making a decision” when it comes to her second gig at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp on Wednesday. However, rumours have begun circulating online that Beyoncé may be pregnant with her second child, after she was spotted sporting a small bump at her London shows last week. The New York Post later claimed that “multiple sources” at the Met Gala informed them that the Destiny’s Child star was expecting, wearing a high-waist Givenchy gown to hide her growing stomach. However, a separate insider later rubbished the allegations, telling Us Weekly: “This rumour again? Don’t be silly.”

Justin Bieber South Africa concert takings stolen TS been reported that a gang of thieves stole takings from Iports Justin Bieber’s concert in South Africa. BBC Newsbeat rethat the criminals pinched more than 1 million rand

i-Level Lounge roles out plans for fun lovers seekers. Officially opened April 26, the lounge, which also runs night clubbing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, is owned by Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, a member of the Federal House of Representatives. According to the manager, Omolola Alonge, there are plans to give guests special treats everyday of the week. Based on the schedule, Monday is a day for jazz and a fusion of classic music; Tuesdays features highlife, Wednes-

Beyoncé cancels Belgium gig, fuels pregnancy rumours eYONCé has been forced to cancel one of her Mrs. Carter B Show tour dates in Belgium. A representative for the Love On Top singer confirmed the news, stating that Queen B was

Hollywood stars Jonah Hill and James Franco. In the movie produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B entertainment, Ngo plays the part of Ibrahim, a Nigerian translator. A graduate of Computer Science from the University of Connecticut, U.S., Okafor’s acting career is also taking off and his television work has included stints on soap operas and TV series. Most recently, he was celebrated alongside five Olympians in the Spring issue of Wall Street Journal magazine. An adaptation of New York Times journalist Michael Finkel’s 2006 memoir of the same name, True Story chronicles Finkel’s discovery that his identity had been stolen by Christian Longo; a fugitive, who was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after murdering his family and fleeing to Mexico. Hill is portraying Finkel on screen, with James Franco playing the role of Longo. Mr. Finkel was banished as a contributing writer for The New York Times in early 2002 for faking much of a magazine cover story about the travails of a young African plantation worker, who turned out to be a composite. Seeking redemption, he quickly struck up what proved to be a mutually exploitive relationship –– mixing friendship, journalism and some bizarre exploration of shared reality — with one Christian Longo. Mr. Longo had just murdered his wife and three children in Oregon. And then, improbably, Mr. Longo assumed Mr. Finkel’s identity as he went on the lam outside the United States. As a model, Ngo Okafor has graced the pages and covers of countless magazines and has been called the most downloaded black male model. He has worked with international superstars such as Gisele Bundchen, Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Kim. As an actor he has worked on numerous TV shows, movies and Soap operas. On screen, Ngo has worked with Catherine zetan Jones, Accademy award winner, Monique and Bridget Moynahan. As a boxer, he is a back-to-back Golden Gloves Champion. He has been called one of the quickest studies the boxing world has ever seen, a powerful yet graceful presence in the ring and one of the quickest studies the fight world has ever seen.

N a bid to change the face of night clubbing and relaxIhangout ation in Lagos, i-Level Lounge & Bar, a new celebrity in Ogba, Lagos, has rolled out its package for fun


days for Nigerian and foreign music, Thursdays caters for mid-tempo songs, while Fridays and Saturdays feature Nigerian and foreign hit songs, and Sundays, which is dedicated to the family, is for old school music.  Alonge said, “Our aim is to raise the bar, and we have achieved that so far. People on the mainland deserve a cozy rendezvous, and that is exactly what we represent. Being a celebrity hangout, music, movie and comedy stars are hosted regularly. Aside this, we have different range of tasty and classic cocktails the world has to offer”.

AzzHOLe, located on 168, Awolowo JSunday, Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, will come alive on as renowned artistes gather for a

Array of artistes for Jazzhole Showcase

live show tagged Jazzhole Showcase. Billed to start by 6pm, the event will parade notable musicians such as Afro Jazz pianist Dapo Dina, Grammy nominee singer Maimouna Youssef and Jazz & Soul divas ebisan and Oba. Dapo, who recently dropped three singles from his yet-to-be released album, has been working on several projects, including reproducing samba queen Stella Monye’s hit tracks to celebrate her 30 years on stage. He is also billed to accompany Dr. Tunde Sosan on a Piano Duet at the forthcoming MUSON piano concert, Romantic Classics. Maimouna Youssef (aka ‘Mumu Fresh’) is a seasoned singer, emcee, songwriter and poet nominee for a Grammy for her contribution on the Roots hit Don’t feel right, in 2007 for Best Rap Song. ebisan, whose Jowo track has bought her rave reviews and Oba, the power-packed singer of Akoda fame, will accompany both artistes on stage. Jazz hole is Nigeria’s premier Jazz and music shop and has in the past showcased many acts such as Keziah Jones, Asa, Lekan Babalola, Siji, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Nneka, Faaji Agba and others.

(£70,000) from Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium, using rope, chisels and hammers for the break in. They are thought to have targeted cash made by JB from his shows at the venue, and apparently spent several hours chiseling through the walls of the stadium to make their entrance. An officer told the BBC: “The money was taken from the building and they only realised today. We don’t know how many people were involved as we are still gathering evidence.” South African police spokesperson Katlego Mogale added: “The suspect had gained entry through the roof. They broke the tile of the bathroom between last night (on Sunday) after the concert and this morning.” However, Bieber is yet to comment on the news.

Brad Pitt on Angelina Jolie: ‘She is absolutely heroic’ RAD Pitt has praised fiancée Angelina Jolie, describing her B as “absolutely heroic” after revealing that she had a preventive double mastectomy. The Tomb Raider actress opened up about her decision to have the operation during an essay in the New York Times, with Ange telling how she discovered she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, which gave her an 87% chance of being struck with breast cancer. Pitt has now paid homage to Jolie’s courage for having the procedure, telling the Evening Standard: “Having witnessed this decision first hand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic. “I thank our medical team for their care and focus. All I want is for her to have a long and healthy life, with our children and me. This is a happy day for our family.” In her letter, Ange also spoke of Brad’s support throughout her ordeal, writing: “I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive.”

Samuel L Jackson on Avengers 2 role AMUeL L Jackson has revealed Sproached that he hasn’t yet been apabout a role in Avengers 2. The Django Unchained star, who plays S.H.I.e.L.D. boss Nick Fury in the Marvel movies, told Metro that he was unaware of contract negotiations. “I don’t know. They don’t tell me that kind of stuff. All I know is that I am doing Captain America 2,” he said when asked about the sequel. “It’s been cool. The Marvel universe continues to grow and get better. I think I have four or five pictures left on my ninepicture deal, so I will just keep showing up.”


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

SHOWBLAST on the heels of the success of Good Life album, J Martins has returned CHeOMING to the studio to create fresh beats in preparation for his next release. gushed recently, “I’m grateful to God that Good Life came, starting the year

J Martins returns in fresh beats

on a good note; that’s pretty much cool. I’m grateful to my fans for showing me love and support. First of all, Good Life was not a Nigerian song, if you really notice what we know Nigerian songs to be. But my fans also embraced it and gave their support as they’ve always done. But we have to return to the studio to work.” For all his Francophone friends and fans, J Martins has disclosed plans to drop a new song, featuring DJ Arafat. Entitled Touchin Body, the track, according to the producer, is a highly comic song. The latest works from his creative factory offer a beautiful split, a mid tempo hip hop number, Touchin Body relatively a club banger and Nkoli remix, a love song featuring MI, rave of the moment, Phyno and amazingly, comedian Basketmouth. Nkoli is rendered in smooth and soothing Igbo lyrics but with conjecture of mesmeric raps from two of industry’s front-liners. “There’s another song from my last album, which is called, Nkoli. Many people showed a lot of interest in the song when it was dropped. Now, there’s a remix of the song. But we’ll be releasing the audio first. For now, no albums; we’re just making good music all the way, that’s the best service I can render to everyone who believes in my artistry,” he boasted. For hip-hop lovers, ‘Touchin Body’ takes you swiftly on memory lane to how the genre affected our emotions and psyche. J. Martins realises the indispensability of timing in his craft and it explains why he’s not on the bandwagon to reel out songs and watch his fortune grow astronomically. His respect for art is legendary. But he won’t stray or allow his fans’ interest wane concerning his proficiency. “I cannot afford to keep my fans at bay, so we have decided to drop these singles this month. We’re just left to decide an actual date for it.” A lover of African sceneries in his choice of location for video shoot, whether or not he’s toeing the old lane, he explains; “Two audios are coming out this month, a video will follow in June. Of course, we will shoot part of the video in Lagos and we’re also going to shoot in the United States, Los Angeles precisely. We will be traversing Dubai, we have Paris and South Africa lined up as our choice locations this time around. But these choices largely depend on the shots I want to see in the video and what I want my fans to watch. Every artiste has his onions. He knows how to make something that’s not a run-off-the-mill. I’m bent on giving my fans something unique.”


By Chika Onwukwe

‘It’s time to up our game in Nollywood’ HOUGH she’s not the only actress and T producer in Nollywood, Lilian AmahAluko has carved a niche for herself in the

Quintessential Records berths ITH resolve to play big in the country’s W showbiz industry, a group of friends have come up with a new record company, with an artiste management arm, Quintessential Records. With two artistes Ibironke Oluwasey Lolada, otherwise called Inborn Drummer Boi and Kool Kid already on the label, the entertainment outfit has also brought in an experienced inhouse producer, David Jones to take care of the beats. A graduate of the Lagos State University, Inborn Drummer Boi s a songwriter and performer and drummer, who has been working underground in the industry, while Kool Kid is a talented chap, with eyes on the top. His determination to make it big informed his decision to join the new label to actualize his dreams. In a chat with the producer, David Jones, who is currently coordinating the outfit, the talented hit maker, who started singing from his Church choir, informed that necessary plans have been put in place to sustain the outfit for years. David, who has produced notable shows in the country, including AY show, Ay live, Ay Show on Cool FM and The Bovi Ugboma Show, as well as worked with artistes such as Obesere, Timaya, Sunny Neji, Zdon, Adaz, Tiwa Banks, Stan Anete, Spydaman and others is confident that the company will make noticeable impact in the nearest future. “Quintessential is a name you hear, you don’t know the meaning, but you want to hear it again. However, when you understand the meaning, you will discover it’s a perfect name. We want to make a statement in the industry; we want to come out today as if we’ve bee there for three years.” He informed that new singles from the artistes would hit music shelf later in the months. “Already, we have two artistes signed on the label; both of them have two singles each. The singles will be hitting the airwaves this month and I bet you, you will love them.”

industry, through extraordinary role interpretation and production of quality movies. Born in Freetown Sierra Leone, Lilian who hails from Ojoto in Anambra State is a popular face on television and a producer of note. For the thespian, acting and producing are intriguing, interesting and challenging, in the sense that as an actor, good jobs are not that many, yet a lot of refined actors are there scrambling for the roles. “Therefore, you don’t get as many jobs as you want,” she lamented. “Generally, the industry is financially challenged; even when you get a job, the pay may not be commensurate with what you will like to have.” From the production angle, “the terrain is not encouraging at all for producers. When you manage to source for finance to produce your work, pirates go to town and you hardly ever recover what you invested. But at the same time I enjoy it because that is the only thing I want to do. As challenging as it is, it remains my last bus stop”. Recalling her incursion into the make-believe industry, Lilian informed that her first job was as an actress between 1996-1997, when she starred in Richard Mofe-Damijo’s Out of Bounds, while still working as a banker, adding, “I did my first movie in the year 2000, which was Sweet Revenge with Emem Isong and thereafter, I went on to produce She Devil, The Triangle and Jungle Ride on my own. All the while I was working in the band.” Determined to make the best out of her movie career, Amah resigned from the bank in 2005, noting, “Today, I have starred in many movies and soap operas owned by indigenous filmmakers and M-Net international”. Though she had no formal training, Amah has always been in touch with book on film production. She stated, “I have read so many things about film production. More so, I have attended seminars and workshops on this area. I equally have in mind of going abroad later this year to acquire formal education on movie-making.” On the poor standard of some Nollywood films, the Vice President of the Movie Pro-

ducers Association of Nigeria (AMP) said, “most of our works are really not films but home video productions. But you won’t blame us because we are working within the limitation of environment, infrastructure and funding available. We do have trained filmmakers such as Tade Ogidan, Jimi Odumosu and others. These are filmmakers trained abroad that can match other filmmakers anywhere in the world and they have come out with classical works. All I know is that we have come of age; this is time for us to sit down and make films the right way.” Amah is an advocate of training and re-training among practitioners, no matter the years of experience, adding, “I advocate for practitioners like me, who do not have formal training, to get trained. For those of them who have formal training, who are doing well, let’s up our game. We have proved to the world that we are resilient, talented and we are enterprising people.” To the actress, acting is all about passion, noting, “There is no secret about it; I think I’m passionate about what I’m doing; I live and dream acting. Each time I get a job, I put in my very best and I know that acting is make-believe, asking somebody to believe that you are the character you are playing. When I get a script, I soak myself in that role. Once the director says ‘action’, I put aside Lilian Amah and become that character for that period.”

Butterscotch Evening in Lagos By Chika Onwukwe KO Convention Centre, E Eko Hotel & Suites, will today play host to the maiden edition of Butterscotch Evening, an event that will parade world-class performers and a master chef. In a media briefing held recently in Lagos to herald the initiative, organiser of the

show and head of Michelangelo Productions, Dotun Olakunri informed that singers such as Jonny Gill, Waje and Praiz will be on stage to render their scintillating tones. To spice up the evening, Bill Bellamy will take charge of the comedy stand, with TV presenter Yvonne Ekwere as the anchor. More so, the

award-wining chef, Aldo Zilli, will prepare a five-course meal for guests at the event. Olakunri stressed that the inaugural edition of Butterscotch Evening, “will deliver an awesome blend of timeless music, rib-cracking jokes and mouth-watering cuisine to the audience who are the reason for the evening.”

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Literature Countdown begins for Port Harcourt as UNESCO World Book Capital 2014

Operations Manager, Nigerian Publisher’s Association, Mr. Olawale Adebayo; Founder, Rainbow Book Club and Project Director Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014, Mrs. Koko Kalango; Programme Specialist for Culture at UNESCO, Abuja Office, Mr. Giovanni Fontana and Representative of Nigerian Booksellers Association, Mr. Dare M. Oluwatuyi at the Lagos press conference By Anote Ajeluorou HE countdown has begun as the attention of the book-lovT ing world turns to Nigeria’s oily Garden City, Port Harcourt, which will host stimulating activities around the book when it hoists aloft the World Book Capital flag in 2014. The countdown activities were announced last week at the weeklong Nigeria International Book Fair at UNILAG in Lagos when the Project Director and Rainbow Book Club president, Mrs. Koko Kalango excitedly presented action plan for the year-long book event scheduled for next year. Port Harcourt is the 14th designated World Book Capital after Yerevan (2012), Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010) and Buenos Aires (2011. Kalango, who was in Bangkok (current World Book Capital 2013) to witness the city’s taking over from Yerevan, Amenia (World Book Capital 2012), expressed her palpable excitement at winning the bid over 10 other cities, including foremost book city, Oxford, Britain. According to the amiable Port Harcourt-based book promoter, who has brought further honour to Nigeria with this event, “We shared our ambition in bidding. Port Harcourt beat 10 cities including Oxford to win the award. We are proud to be the first city in sub-Sahara Africa to bid and win. We need to make this known to the world. We’re at the London Book Fair and were encouraged by what we saw, by those who came to our stand to felicitate with us. Some British, who were in

Nigeria during the colonial era, even wanted to partner with us. “What we saw in Bangkok (current UNESCO World Book Capital) threw a challenge to us in Nigeria. We just felt that the Nigeria International Book Fair is an excellent platform to speak to the world about Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014. We have programmes that have popular appeal, which can change the landscape, and raise an army of changeagents in society through the programmes of World Book Capital”. On her part, Officer-in-Charge, UNESCO office, Abuja, Prof. (Mrs). Hassana Alidou, who was represented by Giovanni Fontana, expressed her delight for being invited to the official announcement of Port Harcourt as UNESCO World Book Capital City 2014. Alidou stated, “Every year, UNESCO convenes delegates from the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to grant the title of UNESCO World Book Capital to one city. “For 2014, Port Harcourt has been designated to be the first African city to serve as World Book Capital City since UNESCO created this programme in 2001. This designation reflects global recognition of Nigeria’s distinguished literary tradition. There is no doubt that this country has given humanity a number of towering writers and cultural figures, such as late Chinua Achebe, late Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa, Ben Okri, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Adichie,

Adebayo Faleti among others. “The implication of this honour is that Port Harcourt will hold the title of UNESCO World Book Day for one designated year, from April 23, 2014 to April 23 the following year. The designation of World Book Capital City also speaks to Port Harcourt’s capacity to inspire a debate on all issues related to the development of book culture in the Nigerian, African and the wider global context. During the designated year, it undertakes to organise and run a larger number of events around books, literature and reading. Parts of the programmes are expected to bring together the local and national book industries and puts books and book culture into the public eye. It attracts sponsorship and extra funding for book related institutions. “In light of the importance of National languages for literacy and cultural reproduction, UNESCO encourages you to promote literacy production in these languages in order to entice the development of multicultural and multilingual literate environment in Nigeria. It also encourages you to use ICT to make books accessible to all people. “Our relationship with books determines, to a large extent, our relationship with culture. Our world needs to understand the diversity of cultures and to develop much stronger intercultural skills in the minds of every man and woman. We need these skills in order to live together in heterogeneous societies. We need them in order to address our common challenges together. “While appreciating the unflinching vision of the founder of the Rainbow Book Club, for her energy and passion, I seize this opportunity to thank the Government of Nigeria, the River States Governor and the people and citizens of River States for this event, the importance it deserves”. On his part, Fontana advised that hosts of UNESCO World Book Capital, Rainbow Book Club should endeavour stretch and diversity the project’s programmes’ reach so a wider group of people could gain from them. He also said there was need to ensure sustainability of the World Book Capital programmes after Port Harcourt would have handed over the flag to another city in 2015 so as to continue the resonance of having the privilege to have hosted the august book event. Such sustainability, he noted, was key in deepening the gains derived from hosting the book capital. Nigerian Publishers’ Association’s Operations Manager, Mr. Olawole Adebayo, said Port Harcourt, as UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 would bring “great honour, opportunity and book reading culture to young Nigerians to develop them and the practice to express themselves through writing. Nigeria will be brought to the fore in book business”. Another ally of the world book project, Booksellers Association of Nigeria, represented by Dare Oluwatunji, commended Rainbow Book Club’s boss, Kalango, for getting Rivers State Government to be involved in promoting books and reading culture. He enjoined other states in the country to emulate Rivers State in doing the same and wondered the ripple effect it would be if other states did the same to broaden books and reading culture in the country. Oluwatunji said Port Harcourt as UNESCO World Book Capital would “promote Nigeria’s image abroad and would bring the book world to Nigeria and vice versa, a platform to sell Nigeria to the world beyond contributing to Nigeria’s economy”. He urged the Federal Government to support the project to ensure its success in view of what the country would gain thereby.


Time By Sotanmide Oluwatobi Moses

Four Nigerians make Caine Prize for African writing 2013 shortlist HE shortlist for the 2013 Caine Prize for 2013 shortlist comprises: Elnathan John co-publishers in Africa. T African Writing was announced two days (Nigeria) ‘Bayan Layi’ from Per Contra, Issue 25 Alongside Mr. Gus on the panel of judges this ago, and among the five stories chosen are an unprecedented four Nigerian entries. The Chair of judges, art historian and broadcaster, Gus Casely-Hayford said, “The shortlist was selected from 96 entries from 16 African countries. They are all outstanding African stories that were drawn from an extraordinary body of high quality submissions.” In describing the shortlist, Gus said, “The five contrasting titles interrogate aspects of things that we might feel we know of Africa – violence, religion, corruption, family, community – but these are subjects that are deconstructed and beautifully remade. These are challenging, arresting, provocative stories of a continent and its descendants captured at a time of burgeoning change”. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday, July 8. The

(USA, 2012); Tope Folarin (Nigeria) ‘Miracle’ from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012); Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) ‘Foreign Aid’ from Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 23.3 (Philadelphia, 2012) OV4bVlk_g; Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) ‘The Whispering Trees’ from The Whispering Trees, published by Parrésia Publishers (Lagos, 2012), and Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) ‘America’ from Granta, Issue 118 (London, 2012) As always the stories will be available to read online at and will be published with the 2013 workshop stories in our forthcoming anthology, A Memory This Size in July 2013 by New Internationalist and seven

year are award-winning Nigerian-born artist, Sokari Douglas Camp; author, columnist and Lord Northcliffe Emeritus Professor at UCL, John Sutherland; Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Nathan Hensley and the winner of the Caine Prize in its inaugural year, Leila Aboulela. Once again, the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will be given the opportunity of taking up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. The award will cover all travel and living expenses. The winner will also be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September 2013. Last year the Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer Rotimi Babatunde. He has subsequently co-authored a play, Feast for the Young Vic and the Royal Court theatres in London.

You own as much as I; That worth of utter treat, A token of dicey essence, Usual lot of diverse seeds. I hawk my split To Seek and Find, They price and pay As suit my wish. My money-sack and smiley yawn, Your Hellish stare and angered stance; Why the spite o native friend? Hoard the cry for market day. When he hacks you then and then, While you sleep your simple sleep, You run at a loss of fruitful days, And stand the chance of misery wants. Some you see that laid in grave, While the days he grants away, Some you see that thread the earth, Have come to learn his canny charm. Live and live and live and live, Your passing days in view of this: It is not a game so cheap, So set your trap with stingy sight.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Film Filmmakers seek withdrawal of appointment of marine engineer as film boss By Hassan Momoh RACTITIONERS of the Nigerian motion picP ture industry are still in shock. They are yet to smart off what hit them on Thursday evening when the Federal Government, in what has roundly been termed a show of lack of understanding of the workings of the movie industry, appointed a marine engineer as head of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC). Government had last Thursday named Engineer Danjuma Dabo as the new Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC). Dabo, one time Executive Director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is to succeed Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, the fourth Managing Director of the government agency who served out his eight years tenure as MD/CEO in March 2013. Adesanya is an accomplished filmmaker and film journalist so for his predecessors who were filmmakers and film historians and scholars. Mr. Tex Benibo, an Executive Director with the corporation was Managing Director in acting capacity until this Thursday’s appointment of Engineer Danjuma Dabo who is not known in film circles either in Nigeria or abroad. Practitioners of the motion picture industry have for a long time been clamoring for the appointment of professionals to man agencies like the NFC and the NFVCB that are connected to their operations. The practitioners have exploited so many avenues including holding private meetings with President Goodluck Jonathan and some of his aides like the Special Adviser to the President on Documentation and Strategy Oronto Douglas to drive home this request, but last Thursdays appointment of Engineer Dabo only proved that their request fell on deaf ears. Though yet to resume work at the Jos headquarters of the NFC as at press time, Engineer Dabo’s appointment according to a statement by the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation is ‘with immediate effect’. The statement which was monitored on television also named heads of 5 government agency including a new head for the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), the Nigerian Consumers Council and the Nigerian Inland Water Ways. Former Director General of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) Emeka Mba was named new DG of the NBC. Mba takes over from Engineer Yomi Bolarinwa who had months left to the end of his tenure as DG of the NBC. In fact Bolarinwa was on official assignment in Lagos and had even paid a courtesy visit on Governor Babatunde

Labaran Maku


Fashola when his appointment was terminated. Otunba Segun Runsewe who held sway as DG of the National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) had his appointment terminated too. The Ogun born administrator was replaced by lawyer and bank executive Mrs. Sally Mbanefo. Till date, no one, not even staff of the NFC has been able to reach Engineer Dabo. They also say they have not seen anyone by that name come to report as the new Managing Director and they don’t know anyone by that name. They say that the only checks they have carried out was on Google and three names popped up- one, a university don, another a marine engineer and former Executive Director of a Marine related agency and the third a local farmer in Bauchi. Even staff of the supervising ministry- the Ministry of Information who should know since, ideally the proposal for such appointment should come from them, cannot point to the Engineer Dabo that was appointed. A source however said that two men have so far showed up, at different times, but were tactfully told by a senior director in the office of the Minister of information to seek clarification from the office of the SSG as they heard the news of the appointment on

television and have no information on the Engineer Dabo that was appointed. ‘’Please you will have to go to the SGF office to identify yourselves and get your letters. They did the appointments and should know who they appointed’ the director said. A similar scenario almost played out at the office of the SGF but for an aide to the SGF who clarified that the ‘person appointed knows himself and will come for his letter’’. It was the confirmation by the aide to the SGF that settled the dust on the appointment. But if the dust settled there, it didn’t settle in Lagos where practitioners of the film industry vehemently protested the appointment of a non-professional as head of the film agency. The practitioners said they have long been clamouring for the appointment of a professional as head of the film regulatory agencies and so consider the appointment of a ‘marine engineer and a non professional’ as a slap on the practitioners. They threatened to boycott all government programmes including the planned centenary celebration and the proposed launch of the 3billion naira YOUWIN grant if the appointment of the marine engineer is not reversed. President of the Movie Producers and Marketing Association Norbert

Ajeagbu told the Guardian on Friday that the decision to appoint Engineer Dabo who was not known to anyone in the industry was ‘a slap on the practitioners’. He noted that it was disturbing to note that the same government that has shown enough commitment to improve the fortunes of the industry would now turn around to appoint a non practitioner to head a vital organ like the film corporation. ‘’It is the height of irresponsibility and one of the most ill informed decisions I have heard the government of President jonathan take in recent time and it is so unfortunate that the President have allowed people to soil his relationship with us’ lamented Ajeagbu who revealed that the practitioners have at two separate occasions extracted assurances from the President that only practitioners would be appointed to head agencies directly connected to the creative industries. ‘’So how come what we are getting is the reverse of such assurances. I don’t believe this appointment has the blessings of Mr. President’’ Ajeagbu said, hinting that the practitioners have mobilized to stage a protest if the decision is not reversed. President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) Zik Zulu Okafor described as ‘very odd’ the decision to appoint an engineer to head the NFC. He disclosed that the industry was going to protest the appointment of Engineer Danjuma Dabo as Managing Director. The industry initial protest has come in a form of an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan signed by the headship of all the guilds and associations in Nollywood. While affirming their support for President Jonathan’s transformation agenda, practitioners of the Nigerian motion picture industry said they ‘’completely disagree with the appointment of Engr. Danjuma Dabo as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation’’. The practitioners commended President Jonathan for being the first sitting President in public service history to ‘have shown tremendous support for the industry by consistently giving financial muscle to the transformation and development of Nollywood’’ but they said they were taken ‘aback by the announcement of Engr. Danjuma Dabo as the new Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation, (N.F.C). The practitioners argued that the film Industry’s capable of providing a veritable platform for socio – economic emancipation, to motivate and unite Nigerians towards having a deeper patriotic zeal for their fatherland and so they reasoned that the regulatory agencies of the Industry therefore, require purposeful, practical, dynamic and experienced leadership at the helm, especially during this transformational period.

How good distribution framework can check piracy, by experts By Gbenga Salau HE creative industry in Nigeria is T plagued by the activities of pirates. This is why the sector’s potential to contribute substantially to the nation’s GDP and create employment is still minimal in spite of the fact that products of the creative industry are not only consumed within the country but around the globe, especially products of film and music sectors of the industry. As part of efforts to collaboratively fight the menace, The Quartet, a body comprising of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC and the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB, organised a

stakeholders’ meeting with the theme, ‘Uniting against Piracy’. The former DG of NBC, Eng. Yomi Bolarinwa, who chaired the forum, said the meeting was an effort to provide a chance to rub minds, look at the issues from the perspectives of broadcasting, copyright and content and how regulation and enforcement could help in boosting the growth of the industry. He said, “Policies of member organisations of The Quartet are all aimed at aiding the growth of the creative industry. For instance, the NBC’s policy of 60 to 80 percent local content has over the years compelled broadcasters - both terrestrial and satellite-based - to turn to Nollywood for content in terms of music, soaps, drama, documentaries and

others. “As a result, whole channels and series have been created and running successfully. But is the creative community getting commensurate returns in its creative investment? Is there the right reward for the right product?” Bolarinwa disclosed that the need to create a seamless regulatory environment and foster cooperation among all sectors in the creative industry gave birth to The Quartet. The former Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation, Mr. Tekena Benibo, harped on the important of data, urging stakeholders to always make data available, as it was critical for planning and decision-making. He stated, “Data on the industry is

essential, because with a database, you can plan and take informed decisions. This is lacking in the industry because of lack of data. Most of the times practitioners are not willing to provide data. And we need to constantly update our data.” Many of the participants called for concerted efforts to provide a distribution platform that would check piracy. Gabriel Okoye, (aka Gabosky) a filmmaker, said the challenge of distribution would be overcome if there were distribution companies with outlets scattered all over the country. Another participant noted that 70 percent of the problems in Nollywood would be solved if the problem of distribution were conquered. He called for a distribution framework that is auditable.

On her part, former Acting Director General of National Film and Video Censors Board, (NFVCB), Ms Patricia Bala, said the way forward was to ginger up the distribution framework through review so that producers could recoup their investment, which would enable them to go back to reproduce other works. She further said that there were ongoing efforts to review the present distribution framework in order to provide the right distribution platform for the film industry. However, filmmaker, Mahmoud AliBalogun queried the modality for the forum, and said the agencies should have presented the challenges it was having in tackling piracy rather than making it another talk show as always.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



Heritage By Gbenga Akinfenwa IGERIA is fast attracting the attention of N the World’s cultural authorities to its rich cultural heritage. A new entrant to the world’s cultural arena is the first ever Sango Cultural Festival, which will premiere in the city of Oyo, Oyo State, Nigeria. Activities for the festival are gradually gathering momentum. This global cultural festival that will celebrate the Yoruba god of thunder Sango is being spearheaded by the Alaafin of Oyo, Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, a predominant traditional ruler in Nigeria. The plan to host the festival in the ancient city of Oyo is not unconnected to the historical place of Oyo as the beginning of administrative life of the Yoruba, a place where monarchical system first evolved. In the last few weeks, the monarch, Oba Adeyemi, who took on the onerous task of uniting people of Yoruba origin in over 40 countries of the world declared his intention to host the festival. Arrangements are ongoing to hold the festival later in August 2013. Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, whose firm, Logica Media Group has been appointed the media and event consultant for the project, has stated that had the monarch represented by his cultural ambassador, Dr. Paula Gomes, a Portuguese, agreed on internationalising the festival to a global level by appreciating all the requirements of a festival of this magnitude and how to go about it. The monarch, who brought to the fore the gargantuan importance of Sango to the cultural relevance of Yoruba people, was quoted as saying that “Sango without gain-saying was the most characteristic Alaafin that ever existed. You very well know the primordial importance of the Alaafin to the generality of the Yoruba monarchs.” Sango was the grandson of Oduduwa, who reigned and ruled Oyo and strengthened the historical Oyo Empire, which stretched as far as Togo and Benin Republics. Today, Sango still has extensive relevance in the cultural history of those neighbouring countries and beyond even to the faraway places such Brazil, Cuba and parts of South America. Oba Adeyemi further stated, “Sango as ‘the power of technology’ was key to the Yoruba race. Virtually every village, town or city of the Yoruba people has Sango followers, as his tool

Maiden World Sango Festival gathers momentum

Adeyemi is primary to all Yoruba Monarchs”. Indications are that the World Bank, international communities and all lovers of culture across the globe have started throwing interest in the maiden global cultural festival so as to make it a success and an event to be remembered for a long time to come. A World Bank official, Dr. Caroline Sage has shown the global financial institution’s interest in the festival and has consequently asked the Federal Government to support the Alaafin to make the festival a truly global affair.

While speaking further on the interest of the World Bank, Sage, who is a Senior Adviser on Culture, said the bank was interested in elevating the idea to a global standard, adding, “We have seen how influential the orishas and the cultural heritage of the Yorubas have been among the Americans and Caribbeans. We are prepared to support this course; we have told the organisers to ensure that logistics and security are intact around the festival. It will no doubt attract a huge number of foreign visitors”. On the level of preparedness, Otunba Ajiboye said, “We are really very serious about delivering a World standard festival; we can’t afford to let down the thousands of people that have shown very serious interest. The population of the Bahia State in Brazil is about 25 million people; they are all deeply rooted in Yoruba tradition; same in Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and a host of other places; they are eager to come”. The Ambassador of Cuba to Nigeria, His Excellency, Hugo Rene Ramos, also stated how much nostalgia existed among a huge number of people in Cuba about their ancestral roots. He noted, “We have a huge number of people that runs into millions whose religious faith are tied to the Yoruba tradition. Therefore this opportunity will provide a great nexus for the people to connect with their roots. The Cuban Government shall render every support and assistance necessary to ensure this cultural cooperation takes place between Cuba and Oyo. This, I shall do by sending a message immediately to Cuban Ministry of Culture and Yoruba Association to generate the right awareness and commence discussions on how they shall make the pilgrimage.” In the same vein, Prof. Fabio Lima, a devotee of Sango and a Brazilian, who spoke at the recent Ifa Festival in Oyo said, “I am moved to tears that this is the Oyo, the home of Sango that I have been hearing since I was born. That I could set my foot on this land in my

lifetime is great. “We shall do everything in Brazil to move over 40,000 people to Nigeria, if other things shall permit this. There are well over one million people in Brazil that will want to make this trip. We shall do everything possible to make this a reality; people shall attend the World Sango Festival enmasse”. According to Dr. Gomes, “I have been everywhere in the world researching African culture; Sango has unbelievably huge followers, enthusiasts and adherents from almost everywhere in the world. There are well over 20 countries of the world that have Sango followers although some call it Xango and some Chango. However it is called, they all still refer to this same powerful African monarch from Oyo.” According to the Alaafin, over five million visitors from all over the world are expected to attend the festival. He noted that the festival was willing to collaborate with the culture and tourism departments of the Federal Government, the six states of the South-westers Nigeria including Edo, Kwara and Kogi where Yoruba people live. He noted that Afonja of Ilorin was from Oyo, saying that the festival concerned all the 50 million Yoruba all over the world. “Once you are a Yoruba, you are concerned and involved in this festival,” he said. “The Oyo Empire was the strongest empire in West Africa nay Africa. We have a lot of cultural antecedents in Oyo; there are more than enough cultural monuments that can fascinate the world still in Oyo and other parts of Yoruba land. This is culture; we can’t as a people ignore our culture”. While his cultural ambassadors have been in touch with the World Bank and United Nation’s relevant organs, the monarch is hopeful that harnessing the over 100 million followers of Sango all over the world would not only be a great feat for Nigeria, it would also be a huge income generation and tourism channel to boost the country’s economy.

S Last Flight to Abuja, the new work A by Obi Emelonye gets set for conEmelonye excited about special effects of Last Flight to Abuja tinent-wide release on DVD, on May 20, the filmmaker has re-stated his belief that Nigerian filmmakers could excite the world with their talent if they learnt to exercise a little patience. Citing how it took him and his crew five months of studio work to achieve the thrilling special effects, which set the movie apart in most international festivals and award events, he said it required patience and creativity to forge ahead. He stated, “Emboldened by the success of my previous film, Mirror Boy, I set my sights on a more technically tasking project. I knew the challenges would be immense. To tell the story with the kind of visual realism necessary, we had to use a mixture of real-life footage, computer-generated imagery, 3D animation and visual effects. My team made up mainly of young Nigeria animators worked on the post production of Last Flight to Abuja for five months and what we got was a level of technical achievement that belies our micro budget. “I guess in today’s digital democracy, if you can dream it, then you can achieve it. This film really underlines that fact and I am happy that it has empowered a lot of young filmmakers to try and tell stories that

they would have been too scared to touch until now”. The film, which was inspired by the incessant cases of plane crashes in Nigeria, has won many awards at film festivals across Europe and America, capping it with the ‘Best

Cast of Last Flight To Abuja

Film by an African Abroad Prize’, which it won at the 2013 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, in April. Meanwhile as part of the programmes scheduled for the release of the film, the cast and crew led by

Omotola Jolade Ekeinde, Jim Iyke, Jide Kosoko and Obi Emelonye, would be handing out flight tickets to London to winners, who would emerge in a lucky dip. However, only fans of the film that complete and return the lucky dip coupons con-

tained in their film jackets would be qualified for the draw. Emelonye said, “The movie has garnered a lot of fans in the past 12 months, going from one country to another, and from one film festival to another. But now the opportunity has come to let these fans own what they have always desired. Interestingly, some lucky fans would also smile as the Nollywood Factory and her associates would be giving out flight tickets to some of our lucky fans at an event that would have the fans also meeting the cast and crew members so of the film”. Last Flight to Abuja, also the first Nollywood film to be shot mostly on an airplane, also featured the likes of Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Ali Nuhu, Jide Kosoko, Olumide Bakare, Franca Brown, Uche Odoputa, Anthony Monjaro, Uru Eke and Celine Loader amongst others. The movie is set in Nigeria and captures a group of everyday Nigerian travelers who board the last Flamingo Airways flight scheduled to fly from Lagos, the commercial city to Abuja, the capital, on a fateful Friday night in 2006.


THE GUArDIAn, Friday, May 17, 2013


ArtHouse Book on arts for launch UInTESSEnCE Gallery, formerly Falomo, Lagos, will present a Q new book on art alongside an art exhibition of masters and young artists tomorrow at its new place inside Park View Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Promasidor Quill Awards holds tomorrow HE Promasidor nigeria Limited, makers of Cowbell Milk, T holds the maiden edition of the Quill Awards tomorrow. The event is billed to take place at the Eko Hotel, at 5pm. The Awards is a platform in nigeria to reward journalists for dedicated news reportage on industry, education, corporate social responsibility & nutrition issues all year round. It covers five categories among which are the Brand Advocate of the year, Best Corporate Social responsibility (CSr) report of the year, Most Educative report of the year, Best report on nutrition and the Best Photo Story of the year.

Artmosphere holds in Ibadan tomorrow RTMOSPHERE, an art event featuring poetry, readings, literA ary discourse and music performance will hold tomorrow, May 18 at nustreams Centre, KM 110 Abeokuta road, Off Alalubosa GrA, Ibadan. Time is 3-6pm.

Argungu series 1 for exhibition rT Exhibition titled Argungu series 1, by Moses Ogagbob A opens tomorrow at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos and ends May 24, 2013.

The Trials of Brother Jero on stage at Eagles Park AGLES Theatre, in conjunction with Black Image, will present E Wole Soyinka’s phenomenal play, The Trials Of Brother Jero on May 26, 2013. Time is 3pm and 7pm at Eagles Park Hotel, Ikeja. The play is a satiric comedy that looks at religious hypocrisy through the many antics of its protagonist, Brother Jero. Jero, an insincere prophet succeeds in manipulating his gullible followers and keeping them submissive to him. He is able to do this because he knows that they long for money, social status and power.

Amusing the Muse continues

SBS puplis in performance

For the love of Dance, SBS mobs Shoprite By Florence Utor TAnDArD Bearers Primary School, Lekki, stormed the Shoprite shopping complex Lekki to emphasise the importance of the arts in human development when they performed to the admiration of those in attendance. The students who tagged their mob, For the Love of Dance choreographed different songs to the delight of their parents and shoppers alike. SBS is not a performing institute, according to the school’s superintendent, Mrs. Modupe Adeyinka-Oni but she explained the reason for the mob, saying education was not all about core academics alone, as SBS children were engaged extensively in the arts, music, drama and dance programmes with very exciting productions to show for it, which she said brought about innovations, articulation, confidence and disciplined minds. Adeyinka-Oni said the reason for her founding SBS was the challenge of the

ESIGnEr, Victor Ehikhamenor’s new body of work titled S D Amusing the Muse continues at Temple Muse, Victoria Island, Lagos, and ends on the 31st of May.

Encased opens on Sunday UKE Asidere’s art exhibition titled Encased opens on Sunday, D June 12 and ends 18, 2013 at Alexis Gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Music, comedy train to thrill Oshogbo ICE, LKT, Capital FEMI, Jaywon, and Nollywood actors, 9 Odunlade Adekola and Eniola Badmus have joined top Nollywood stars frolicking with actor-comedian, Gbenga

Adeyinka 1st GCOn. The music-comedy train, which created fun in excess to the citizens of Ibadan, would be moving to Osogbo, Osun State. Expected to hold on June 12, 2013, sources say the Osun State Government has endorsed the show. ––Compiled by Florence Utor

Lexcel Group out with Aspire “I am sure a lot of you will ask why Aspire? Positive aspiration is what keeps the world going. Growth comes from desire, and others, has launched an especially for something great in-house publication known or of a high value. Therefore, as Aspire, as a medium to this magazine is a call to showcase the giant strides it action designed to spur every has achieved with its subreader to that next, higher sidiaries over the years. phase”. The maiden edition of all colour, glossy Aspire magazine nnochiri also said that Aspire was unveiled to the public at a magazine had replaced the old Seamans News, which was forcocktail event held at Protea merly the in-house magazine Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. of nigeria Distilleries Limited. The editor of the magazine Lexcel Group is a conglomerand Category Manager of ate in the country, which operGrand Oak Limited, Mr. Charles nnochiri said the new ates in manufacturing, marketing and management servmagazine was designed to ices with over three thousand inform the general public of employees. Its manufacturing the accomplishments of the industries cover all types of companies under Lexcel Group in their quest to attain- wines and spirits, non-alcoing world-class status, adding, holic beverages, alcohol, agro allied products, plastic compo“Through this medium, we nents and clean energy. Its hope to keep everyone marketing company sells and informed on the happenings markets different FMCG prodin our individual companies and to ensure that the strong ucts of own companies and also of others. Its management resilient spirit of oneness we services wing provides advocate with our slogan – advanced management con‘Together we win’- is sussultancy for own companies tained. ExCEL Group, the parent company of Grand Oak, Lnigeria Distilleries Limited

By Florence Utor nEW entrant in the music scene is Fakayode razak, and his love for music is assured. Popularly known as Blaqprinx, rasak who realised his music talent at an early stage, said music is in his blood. He said his love for music grew stronger when he began to listen to Celine Dion and Sharon Twain. According to him, the two artistes were his idols and they “influenced my decision to also go public with my talent”. He emphasised, “I’m a natural when it comes to music but I’m not going professional only for the fame and money; it’s purely out of my love for music, and I don’t want to want the talent. I just began singing in the middle of nowhere. I mean, I could be walking on the road and be singing, causing stares from passers by before realising it and cautioning myself”.


size of the school her son attended, which was intimidating to him because of the large number of pupils in a class. She explained, “So, I remembered that I went to a small school which was familyoriented, everybody knew everybody and I thought that my child needed that sort of environment. So, I took the bold step and started Standard Bearers School. “We had great academic tutoring, but we were also big in the arts. At least three times in a year, I was on stage in concert; we had a great choir and I figured that it all helped to mould me as a person as it brought me out of my shell and made me confident and bold and every other thing just added on as a result of the arts. So, I decided that we needed to include a good arts programme at the centre of our curriculum so that even if a child comes in shy they can find their feet. What we do basically is to encourage the talents deposited in a child. “I also noticed that sometimes children

come into the school struggling academically but once the talent in them is discovered and they are encouraged to excel in it, they automatically pick up academically as well, because they want to receive the same accolades they have been receiving in the area of their talent. Ours is to find the talent and give them wings to fly”. Head of Business Development, Marketing and Admissions, Ada Ewezo added, “These days, children need to have some other talents to bring to the table as they grow. Even schools these days before admission wants to know what other talents a child is coming with so they could contribute to the schools they would be admitted. So we introduced the arts as a way of building the innate talents in them which they can use in the future whenever needed. Talent in arts is all spiritually and physically uplifting whichever way they choose to make use it”.

With Alujo, Blaqprinx storms the music arena Blaqprinx explained that he needed to finish his education before launching out. That was why he took the bold step only last year to go to the studio where “I produced a couple of songs I have written over the years”. Unlike other young men whose parents oppose their aspirations in going into entertainment, Blaqprinx is lucky to have parents who also recognised the talent in their son and were willing to support him after his graduation. He recounts that after his first two singles, Alujo and Gbagi relay, “My parents were really impressed with it. I even asked my father one day why he gave me his support and he answered, ‘Do you think I don’t know my children?’” Blaqprinx, who is able to flow with almost every genre of music such as Afro-hip-hop,

rap, Blues r&B, sees lyrics as the most important aspect of music “because that is the message you are passing across; so, it is important that a good musician should pass positive message to cause positive change to the listeners. I believe that one’s lyrics should have a sense of responsibility and give hope to the despairing. What I do with my lyrics is basically to inspire positively”. He, however, asked upcoming acts like him who might not have the support of their parents never to give up on their dreams. While using himself as an example of determination, he said, “Before I knew that I would get the support of my parents, I was using my pocket money to do everything that had to do with achieving my music career. The first two singles I recorded were from

my savings. I believe that if you are passionate about your dream, pursue it with everything you have, and with hard work, your dreams will come to pass.”


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


AutoWheels Lamborghini takes auto wheels to the next level • Unveils one-seater car

Front and interior view of Lamborghini Egoista inset Stories by Taiwo Hassan UTOMAKER giant, A Lamborghini, recently shocked the auto world with the debut of its masterpiece super car named Lamborghini Egoista one-off at its 50th anniversary celebration in Italy. The car, which comes in a sporty design with only oneseater, was the scenario of all guests during the company’s anniversary celebration. Lamborghini unveiled this surprise, a one-off car from designer Walter De Silva as a mark of class to show other automakers about the direction of future autowheels. Inspired by the look of Apache attack helicopters, powered by

a 600-hp V-10, Lamborghini gave the one-seater the inspiring name Egoista and what better way to recapture mindset of car lovers with crafting a super car with intent class. The company, which coined the car’s name from Saint Agatha, was aiming to revolutionise the world’s auto industry with an intent statement: “there is power in auto wheels.” Lamborghini’s Chief Designer, Walter De Silva: “I am very attached to this Italian brand, being an Italian myself. I wanted to pay homage to and think up a vehicle to underline the fact that Lamborghinis have always been made with passion, and with the heart more than the head... “This is a car made for one per-

son only, to allow them to have fun and express their personality to the maximum. It is designed purely for hypersophisticated people who want only the most extreme and special things in the world. It represents hedonism taken to the extreme, it is a car without compromises, in a word: egoista (or selfish).” De Silva said that the Egoista was designed expressly to violate the rules that limit roadgoing cars; it’s front end looks as if it could julienne a pedestrian, and there’s nary a five-mph bumper to be found. The stealth-fighter exterior sells its aeronautical wishes with such earnestness that it comes with “no step” warnings CONTINUED ON PAGE 45

Back view Lamborghini

Lagos Motor Fair: Avenues for harnessing Nigeria potential in auto industry OR a first timer, who is visFeighth iting the venue of the Lagos Motor Fair at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, he or she would think that what is going on there was a Lagos carnival festival because of the aerial of auto companies who turned up en masse to showcase their products.

During the opening day ceremony of the fair, it was greeted with colourful flags of many auto companies that operated in the country, including major oil marketers who came out en masse despite the heavy down pour to display their products to participants and

A stand at the Lagos Motor Fair in Lagos

customers. In any case, the turn out of various auto companies at the fair has summed up the event as the citadel for harnessing the abundant potentials in the nation’s automotive sector. The expo, which is eighth edition in succession, has

became the front burner for auto companies as it has put Nigeria on the map of international auto shows. Specifically, the auto show has become the avenue for testing the development of the nation’s automobile industry. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the fair, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola said that the motor fair had demonstrated that the state remained the hub for growth and development of the nation’s automobile industry. According to Fashola, the role Lagos State play towards the growth of the nation’s economic development could not be overemphasised, adding that for Nigeria to be adjudged with a successful international auto show, Lagos must always be the citadel for the organisers. “Lagos is so central to the development of the automotive sector that we cannot but do all we can to seeing that

this important market enjoys the full benefits of having a befitting auto show. We have packaged a show that could effectively be used by the participants and visitors to maximise the benefits derivable in the Nigerian automotive sector. He continued: “The Lagos Motor Fair remains the unparalleled gathering of established brands as well as new entrants and the range is wide. From passenger busses, cars, trucks, spare parts, accessories, lubricants, financials and many more.” Chairman, Organising Committee and Managing Director, Ifeanyichukwu Agwu said that the importance of continuously staging the show could not be overemphasised, adding that to be able to consistently host and take the auto show to world class standard required the support of stakeholders in the industry as well as the government. “I therefore call on the gov-

ernment, especially the Lagos State government to support our efforts at hosting this annual auto show to the standard that befits the state’s status as the fastest growing mega city in the world. The opportunities and potentials of Lagos motor shows is one the state could leverage on to promote economic ‘tourism’ which will give a big boost to her economy,” Agwu said. One unique lesson of the expo was the international affiliations, as there were many foreign companies that participated and took space to showcase their products. One of the foreign exhibitors was the CC auto FTZ, the distributors of FAW buses and trucks in Nigeria- a first time participant from the City of Changchun Municipal Peoples Government of the Jilin Province of the People’s Republic of China, which was led by the Deputy Mayor of the Province, Gui Guangli to the fair.

AuToWHeeLS 45

THe GuArDIAN, Friday, may 17, 2013

Porsche Cayman returns with improved trappings, fuel economy Stories by Taiwo Hassan He Porsche Centre Lagos T has unveiled the modified version of Porsche Cayman, one of world’s most celebrated sports cars with masterpiece features. The Cayman, according to the Porsche AG, was completely redesigned with exceptional trappings, adding that the newcomer is the third generation edition for the 2014 model year. A rear mid-engine, rearwheel drive and two-seater sports car, Porsche Cayman is an entirely elitist coupe derived from Porsche’s second and third generation Boxster roadster and the 911 Carrera. The Cayman has since it was introduced into the Porsche line-up seven years ago standout as the most entertaining and engaging sports ever. The company assured car lovers that the all new Cayman promises to set an even higher standard based on series of modifications

the automaker has added to make the car more powerful, faster and elegant than its predecessor. Specifically, the engines are up to 15 per cent more fuel efficient due to their petrol direct injection thermal management, electrical system recuperation and auto start/stop function when compared with its predecessor. Deputy managing Director, european Brand, Stallion motors Limited, owners of Porsche franchise in Nigeria, Julian Hardy, at a media press briefing to launch the third generation Cayman vehicle, in Lagos, said the styling of the new Cayman was evolutionary rather than revolutionary, adding that the newcomer has been upgraded with new optional features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ADC) for the first time. ADC controls the distance to the car ahead in traffic and the vehicle speed. According to him, the car comes with optional entry and drive keyless system that can be factory installed.

“Though at a glance the coupe looks remarkably similar to its sleek predecessor, a closer inspection reveals it is longer and wider than before, while the sharper edged design gives the Cayman a more aggressive stance. “For instance, the newly designed tailpipes of the exhaust system visually terminates at a low central point allowing the Cayman to get an oval tailpipe and the Cayman ‘S’ has twobranch dual tailpipes. The stallion boss said that the new Cayman was available in two versions of 2.7 litre and 3.4 litre, adding that the base (standard) Cayman was equipped with 2.7 litre flat six engine that was mounted on a six-speed manual transmission or optional seven-speed Porsche PDk, producing 275hp with 214 Ib-ft of toque which is 10 times more than its previous model. The Cayman ‘S’ on the other hand on the other hand is mated to an upscale 3.4 litre flat six engine that produces

ABC Transport expands cargo operations BC Transport Plc has com- fully operational in the next Abuja, has been outfitted to A menced the expansion of few weeks include Aspamda accommodate large-scale its cargo operations nation- North (ABC has an office in consignment and third wide. According to the company, the desire to strengthen ABC Cargo express, one of its many divisions was part of the strategy to improve service delivery to the public. Besides, it has acquired 12 new trucks for rapid delivery of goods across the country and established a maintenance depot in Amuwo odofin, Lagos. Also, the company said that ABC Cargo express has begun opening up new outlets for business, predominantly in Lagos State in line with the expansion programme. Some of the outlets that were already established in the state include 5, ojo Igbede road, by St. Patrick Bus Stop, opposite uBA, Alaba International market and along Lekki expressway, opposite Jakande 1st gate, Beside FCmB Bank. others that will become

Aspamda South) and Ikorodu. Commenting on the expansion programme, ABC Cargo express’ Chief operating officer, kamalendu Ghosh said: “Plans are already underway to fortify cargo operations in the north, with ABC kaduna terminal as the hub of northern operations.” According to him, the cargo warehouse in katampke,

party warehousing, adding that the move was aimed at increasing deliveries in the northern part of the country. He also said that with an adequate goods-in-transit insurance in place, “customers of ABC Transport can enjoy more peace of mind whenever they have to transact cargo businesses.” Ghosh added: “ABC Cargo express has installed a Java-

Porsche Cayman 325hp and 273 Ib-ft with sixspeed manual transmission or optional seven-speed Porsche PDk (automatic dual clutch).

based technology to enhance its e-waybill software, which not only enables the company to keep track of consignments, their movements and locations, but also disseminates SmS alerts/notifications to consignees for easy and prompt collection once their goods get to the specified terminal. All of this is expected to reduce delays and improve efficiencies in transactions and waybills and improve customer service on the whole.”

Lamborghini takes auto wheels to the next level CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44 uTomAker giant, A Lamborghini, recently shocked the auto world with the debut of its masterpiece super car named Lamborghini Egoista one-off at its 50th anniversary celebration in Italy. The car, which comes in a sporty design with only one-

seater, was the scenario of all guests during the company’s anniversary celebration. Lamborghini unveiled this surprise, a one-off car from designer Walter De Silva as a mark of class to show other automakers about the direction of future autowheels. Inspired by the look of Apache attack helicopters, powered by a 600-hp V-10, Lamborghini

gave the one-seater the inspiring name Egoista and what better way to recapture mindset of car lovers with crafting a super car with intent class. The company, which coined the car’s name from Saint Agatha, was aiming to revolutionise the world’s auto industry with an intent statement: “there is power in auto wheels.”

Hardy said that Porsche engineers placed high priority on turning of the Cayman not just to improve the driving performance and agility of the car to simultaneously enhance the comfort and everyday practicality.

electromechanical power steering has also replaced the previous hydraulic system in the Cayman to allow drivers experience the agility of the Cayman even more intensively, the european brand director affirmed.

Nigeria auto awards holds month end rGANISerS of this year’s o eighth edition of Nigeria Auto Awards (TNAA) have assured auto stakeholders that the event would come up at the prestigious eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos at the end of this month. In a statement, the organisers of the TNAA, On Wheels magazine, said it had finalised arrangements relating to the awards ceremony, adding that calls for nominations in the various car, SuV, truck, tyre and corporate categories haven been completed and nominees informed. managing Director/ Publisher of the On Wheels magazine, Jabez Aina-Scott said in the statement that organisers were working assiduously towards celebrating a decade of the pioneering of the event in less than two years from now. “The Nigeria auto award is a time tested and value driven

event, introduced eight years ago to celebrate people and industry practitioners who have made strenuous efforts to distinguish themselves both in brand building and market leadership”. Aina-Scott, while shedding inputs on nominations conducted recently for the awards, said that one of the following brands; Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, kia optima, Honda Accord and Ford Taurus may likely be adjudged as the winner of the “Car-of-the-year” award. He said that Hyundai elantra won the award last year. Also concluded at the nomination levels are several other segments that include this year’s trophy for the “best cardesign”, which was won by Land rover range rover evoque at the previous edition and features the Honda Crosstour, Ford Taurus and Hyundai Sonata for this edition.

Indigenous auto firm reiterates commitment to local production N indigenous auto comA pany, Innoson Vehicle manufacturing Company Limited (IVm), has pledged to

sustain the production of sundry vehicles that will meet the yearnings of

Nigerian people. Specifically, the company has unveiled new vehicles: purpose-built pick-up vans,

Some of the newly assembled pick-up vehicles at the company factory in Nnewi, Anambra state

new model Sport utility Vehicle, IVm light truck for the armed forces/security agencies and IVm G5 SuV for motoring luxury, respectively into the Nigerian market. The introduction of the new auto wheels was parts of its strategy to widen its product offering and consolidate on the success so far recorded by its buses and commercial vehicles in the country. Speaking at the launching of the specially built pick-up at the company’s Nnewi plant in Anambra State, few days ago, the Chairman of Innoson Group, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, said the pick-up was designed to help security operatives in discharging their duties without being hindered by the challenges that usually

go with their tough tasks. According to him, the vehicle, which is also known as IVm (Trop) Carrier has inbuilt security-related devices and accessories, like revolving lights and sirens for effective performance. Chukwuma said apart from being produced with top quality components, the vehicle has been tested in different harsh motoring conditions to confirm “Its ruggedness, suitability for the armed and law enforcement agencies and durability”. He assured users of reliable after-sales service back-up, adding that it would be a good buy for customers, considering that it is also “very competitively priced, and therefore, very affordable”. on the five-seater light truck,

the chairman said, the vehicle was driven by powerful engine, which is important for emergency security duties. Commenting on the other products, Chukwuma said the SuV flaunts the adequate room, styling and functionality which popular sportutility vehicles are known for, while the IVm G5 was introduced as having what it takes to tile the fancy of SuV lovers seeking comfort and performance without having to empty their bank accounts. “Indeed, Innoson Vehicle manufacturing Company has come of age. our activities are definitely in accordance with government’s ambition of boosting genuine development in the auto industry in Nigeria.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

BusinessTravel Sustaining airline business through quality service delivery

British Airways in front of the imposing Heathrow terminal 5. They unveiled four of the aircraft type last weekend.

By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi OST airlines in the world are now seeing M the importance of in flight entertainments to the growth and sustainability of their airline business. Many airlines have invested billions of dollars to constantly upgrade their services to boost their operations For Nigerian carriers, not much has been achieved in this area. The precarious state they have found themselves does not even give room for competition. Poor service delivery, constant delays and above all, the high fares are some of the things travellers are constantly subjected to. Dana Air and IRS airlines stand out in terms of quality meals and drinks they serve on an hour trip. Aside that, airlines from Europe, America and other parts of Africa have included in their in-flight menu meals that include Nigerian dishes. Other services are WIFI, mobile services; individual screens broadcasting languages and earpieces. The services in some cases may be free of charge in order to upgrade quality of

There are the best economy-class in-flight entertainment offerings in the air right now, as well as some air services that one might encounter on popular airlines that do move a lot of passengers. life on board and at the same time fulfills the needs of the passengers. There are the best economy-class in-flight entertainment offerings in the air right now, as well as some air services that one might encounter on popular airlines that do move a lot of passengers. Such as Virgin America has been voted the airline with the best in-flight entertainment system a few times now by various publications and airline associations. No other airline shares a name and ownership with an entertainment company like that airline. The airline has with it, an unusually easy to navigate touch-screen system, right down to a seat-to-seat chat system that allows you to

message friends and family in other parts of the plane. Movies, satellite TV, cable TV, music videos, radio, games, Google Maps and even books are offered, not to mention, but the ability to run a tab on your food and drink, and plugs in every seat. Also, travellers flying on Alaska Airlines starting this season will enjoy new aircraft seats that feature a personal space-enhancing design and are equipped with power outlets. The airline is also nearing a decision on an enhanced in-flight entertainment system that will allow customers to watch movies, television shows and other programming streamed to any Wi-Fi-enabled device. According to the Vice President of

Marketing, Joe Sprague, “Passengers have responded favourably to the innovative and comfortable Recaro seats on our 737-900ERs. “Two other features we know they want the most are power for their electronic devices and enhanced in-flight entertainment.” “Upgrading our other Next Generation 737 aircraft with Recaro seats, along with adding seat power and an improved in-flight entertainment system, will complement our award-winning personal service and make flying more enjoyable for our customers,” he added. Shortly after its launch a little more than a decade ago, JetBlue acquired the company LiveTV, and subsequently installed DIRECTV on all JetBlue planes, with a dedicated screen in every seat. A couple of years later, the airline added satellite radio, TV shows and movies to the offerings. Also Singapore airline with its new KrisWorld system has advanced in in-flight entertainment, including all the now-expected movies, audio, TV programmes, games and radio programmes, the system even has a USB port so you can use the system as a personal media player and photo viewer.

Emirates passes 39 million passengers milestone By Wole Shadare MIRATES has hit a record high of 39.4 milE lion passengers, an increase of 16 per cent over the last one year. With an increase in seat capacity-Available Seat Kilometres (ASKMs) of  18 per  cent the result highlights a strong consumer desire to fly on Emirates’ state-of-the-art aircraft. The carrier logged a robust Passenger Seat Factor, at 80 per cent, remaining consistent with last year’s results. The Emirates Group made the disclosure just as it declared its 25th consecutive year of profit and company-wide growth ending the year in a strong position despite continuing high fuel prices and a weak global economic environment. The financial year also ended with some positive newly reached capacity milestones

throughout the business.  Speaking during this event, His Highness (H.H) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman/chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said:  “Achieving our 25th  consecutive year of profit  in a financial year with our  largest ever increase in capacity across the network  is an achievement that  speaks to the strength of our brands and our leadership. “Throughout the 2012-13 financial year the group has collectively invested over $3.8 billion  in new aircraft,  products,  services  and  handling facilities  as well as the newly opened JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai. This investment has  resulted in an increased customer base and a rise in global brand awareness.  Every dirham that we earn is strategically  placed  back into our

business and  it is this tenacious approach that has allowed the group to maintain such strong and consistent profitability under challenging circumstances.”    In spite of the difficult operating environment, the group continued to invest in and expand on its employee  base, increasing its overall staff count  by 12 per cent  to  68,000.  Emirates continued with its growth plan and during the financial year  saw the largest increase in capacity in the airline’s history  receiving a staggering 34 new aircraft, the highest in any single year and an unprecedented achievement. Raising more than $7.8 billion, also a first, through a variety of financing structures, funded these aircraft.   Overall capacity measured in Available Tonne Kilometres (ATKMs) increased by 5.5 billion tonne-kilometres.

Other significant capacity increases include launching  10 new destinations across six continents, shipping more than two million tonnes of cargo for the first time and carrying an additional 5.4 million passengers over last year, the highest increase in a financial year.   In the 2012-13 financial year Emirates’ fuel bill increased by 15 per cent over last year to reach AED27.9  billion ($  7.6  billion). With  total  operating costs increasing by  16  per cent compared to a revenue increase of 17 per cent over last year.  Emirates airline operates two flights daily from Lagos. For families on the move, the airline provides dedicated children’s menus and activities, and ICE, Emirates’ award winning entertainment system, offering up to 1,400 channels of on-demand entertainment in every seat.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013



Airlines to deliver $6.4 trillion goods, three billion passengers in 2013, says IATA By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi IRLINES in the globe has been predicted to transport A over three billion passengers and deliver goods worth of $6.4 trillion in value in 2013, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Montreal recently. Speaking at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) environment workshop, the Director General, Tony Tyler said that it would be difficult to find an economic sector that did not have some link to aviation, adding that there were enormous additional scope for aviation to be a catalyst for economic development and prosperity. Meanwhile, IATA has described Africa as one of aviation’s smallest markets, which it said that the seeds of liberalisation were taking root and that the airlines in the continent were exploring different business models. However, it added that aviation’s ability to fulfill its potential, as a catalyst for economic growth and development in Africa, would require increased infrastructure investment by governments and a broad stakeholder commitment to improve safety. Tyler, who stated that no industry had a long-term future if it, was not sustainable, noted, “achieving our environment targets is a key element of our license to grow.” His words: “Aviation’s ability to grow is important. Aviation- enabled global connectivity is a force for good. Our positive impact goes beyond the millions of people for whom aviation provides jobs and the trillions of dollars in economic activity that aviation generates.” He explained that aviation’s sustainable development was as important to governments as it was for the industry itself, stressing that, alignment was critically important because the industry targets could only be met with a team effort that included governments. According to Tyler, governments must put more political will into sorting out air traffic management megaprojects such as the Single European Sky. He said that they had a critical role in setting the right incentives for the commercialisation of sustainable biofuels with a cost structure that the industry could afford. “The message to governments is that we are counting on them. International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)’s provisions for special circumstances and respective capabilities have proven capable of bridging gaps between states. But we need the non-European states that successfully opposed Europe’s unilateral plans to now be fully engaged advocates for a global solution,” said the DG.

Miami International Airport hotel room, Florida, United States

Bi-Courtney opens new facility at Lagos airport parts of Lagos. He added that the conference room was ideal for conferences, seminars, public lectures, trainings, Annual General Meetings I-COURTNEY Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), has opened (AGM), product launch and others.” He also explained that the decision to open the conference an ultra-modern Conference Room at the airport terminal. room was borne out of the desire of BASL to make MMA2 a oneAccording to the firm, the conference room, with a capacity for stop facility, where individuals, corporate organisations and 130 people, is located on the third floor of the terminal building. The fully air-conditioned Conference Room is equipped with facil- government officials at various levels could conveniently transact business in Lagos in one day and fly back to their various ities, such as comfortable conference chairs, in-built Public destinations same day.  Address System (PAS), a standard projector, mobile screen and “Our management believes that having the Conference Room Tea/Coffee Room. Spokesman for BASL, Steve Omolale-Ajulo, said: “Our Conference with all the required facilities is sine qua non for a 21st Century Room comes with free parking space for participants at our Multi- airport terminal that we are determined to offer the flying public and corporate bodies, desirous of holding their events in a Storey Car Park (MSC) which has capacity for 800 vehicles. Our serene environment like ours,” he added. location is strategic in nature with easy accessibility to various

By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi


Pensions issues and former workers of Nigeria Airways By Sheri Kyari IKIPEDIA says, Pension is a contract for a W fixed sum to be paid regularly to a person, typically following retirement from service. In their paper contribution to the Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences, Volume 3, No. 3.1, Quarter I 2012, ISSN: 2229 – 5313, ODIA, J.O and OKOYE, A. E., both lecturers at the Department of Accounting, University of Benin, Nigeria defined pension as the amount paid by government or company to an employee after working for some specific period of time, considered too old or ill to work or have reached the statutory age of retirement. It is monthly sum paid to a retired officer until death because the officer has worked with the organisation paying the sum (Adam, 2005:468). Pension is also the method whereby a person pays into pension scheme a proportion of his earnings during his working life. The contributions provide an income (or pension) on retirement that is treated as earned income. History of pension in Nigeria The lecturers also gave this as the history of Pension Scheme in Nigeria. “The pension system was introduced into Nigeria by the colonial administration. The first legislative document on pension in Nigeria was the 1951 Pension Ordinance, which has retroactive effect from January 1, 1946. The Ordinance provided public servants with both pension and gratuity (Ahmed, 2006). The National Provident Fund (NPF) scheme established in 1961 was the first legislation to address pension matters of private organisations in Nigeria. This was the first social protection scheme for the non-pensionable private sector employees in Nigeria. It was mainly a saving scheme where

both employee and employer contributed the sum of N4 each on monthly basis. The scheme provided for only one - off lump sum benefit (Ahmad, 2006).” Nigeria Airways former workers fell into the first category of the lecturers’ definition or the second of the three definitions, since some of them were already earning pensions or were qualified for pensions at liquidation in 2004 before the second pension scheme was introduced. And because the workers were public servants, the third definition did not concern the airline. It should be noted that Nigeria Airways evolved on January 22, 1971 following a name change from W.A.A.C (Nigeria) Limited a company that came to being when the Federal Government of Nigeria bought out all other ownership stake holdings of the erstwhile West African Airline Corporation on 23rd August 1958. With the foregoing 100 per cent acquisition and the new ownership, made Nigeria Airways a Nigerian Statutory Corporation and the Nigeria Airways Staff, bona-fide public servants who were employed served and retired as such until Nigeria Airways as a government company was liquidated in 2004 amidst all efforts to getting it privatised. Unfortunately, Nigerians also looked the other side when the Obasanjo administration took a decision against the citizens of this nation. Even against the advice of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Consultants not to liquidate but privatised. The workers of the airline in liquidation having been public servants and their employment governed by the laws of the land are entitled to their pensions from the federal government. The Constitution of the Federal Republic states clear-

ly; Section D, Subsection 173 (1) “Subject to the provision of this Constitution, the right of a Person in the Public Service of the Federation to receive pension or gratuity shall be regulated by law. (2) Any benefit to which a person is entitled in accordance with or under such law as it referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall not be withheld or altered to his disadvantage except to such an extent as is permissible under any law, including the Code of Conduct. (3) Pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service reviews, whichever is earlier”. (Extracts from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) Again, the government then put the cart before the horse when it did not evaluate airline’s assets before taking the decision to liquidate. The Liquidator may his soul rest in peace, after finding that the assets of the company were by far more than its liabilities asked a pertinent question. Why did government liquidate the airline? His public notice in the Daily Trust Newspaper of Wednesday, September 7, 2005 showed that the liabilities of the airline were a total of six billion five hundred million Naira (N6.5bn) after negotiations with trade creditors. However, the deed had been done leaving the workers with pathetic stories of death, sicknesses, penury, indebted to schools, landlords and many creditors. Many of their children have become pitiful sights to behold. The number of pensioners that have died due to avoidable sickness and issues are nearing one thousand and many more are on their sick beds without any hope for money to treat themselves. Young pensioners have gone to the world beyond leaving very young kids and widows without hope of ever seeing their children to

even public schools. When government took the decision to liquidate and consequently appointed the Liquidator, Barbington Ashaye, most unfortunately, it excluded a directive to address the pension rights of all the staff of the erstwhile national carrier. The liquidator, throughout his unfortunate assignment, maintained, even up to the time of his death that the responsibility of paying pension to the staff was not his, but rather, that of the federal government; the owners of Nigeria Airways, since the staff were public servants. The airlines’ workers especially, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere overseas, less the West African region, were paid twenty five years as terminal benefits which were enforced by the laws of Britain and other countries. This was quickly done to stave off diplomatic rows. The Nigerian government has chosen to toy with the lives of its citizens because life is cheap in this country. The demand by Nigeria Airways former employees is genuine, lawful and is an obligation on the shoulders of the country’s leadership. In the heat of 2006 to 2007, an Inter-Ministerial Committee was set up by the government to look into the pension issue and which engaged the services of an Actuarist, recommended a onetime final pay-off of 25 years pension also. In view of the pathetic and helpless condition of the former Nigeria Airways staff and with the support of the various Aviation Trade Unions, the federal government under the Yar’Adua/Goodluck administration came to the rescue of the pensioners by making an initial payment of five years in March 2008. • Kyari, a former staff member of Nigeria Airways writes from Lagos


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

NigeriaCapitalMarket NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 16/5/2013 PRICE LIST OF SYMBOLS

ThE GUArdiAN, Friday, may 17, 2013


NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 16/5/2013



Berger Paints shareholders approve rights issue hArEhOLdErS of Berger Paints Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s leading paints and allied products manufacturing company, has authorized the board of directors of the company to raise fresh equity by rights issue. The shareholders approved a proposal of the board to raise fresh equity from existing shareholders on the basis of one new share for every three at the 53rd yearly general meeting held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Tuesday. About 30 per cent of the rights issue will be underwritten by underwriter/underwriters. The shareholders also approved a dividend of 70 kobo per share. The company yesterday also commissioned a N650 million building materials and


related products shopping complex in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as part of its diversification strategy as well as consolidate the transformation agenda of the Federal Government of providing housing for all Nigerians. The complex is located in the Wuse ii district of the FCT and the income from the investment will have great impact on the company’s income in

Commissions N650m Abuja complex 2013. Berger Paints reported a profit after tax (PAT) of N179.9 million on a turnover of N2.5 billion in 2012 as against a PAT of N227.8 million on a turnover of N2.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2011 despite the difficult operating environment that pervaded the 2012 fiscal year.

Earlier, in his statement, the chairman of the company, mr. Clement Olowokande, told the shareholders that Berger Paints has entered into partnership agreement with KCC Corporation of South Korea in a bid to enhance its product offering in the Nigerian paint and coating market in the next

mid harsh operating enviA ronment, Unilever Nigeria Plc has posted a revenue of N55.5 billion in its 2012 operations, against N54.7 billion recorded in 2011. Besides, its shareholders also approved N1.40kobo dividend payout, which according to the company was at par with the previous year The company’s gross profit also increased to N21.6 billion, up from N20 billion in 2011.

nels in order to serve customers better. Besides, he said, “We have also concluded plans to embark on a major modernization of our ageing manufacturing infrastructure in order to secure efficient gains that will positively impact our turnover and profitability. The total funding requirement for this Capital development Plan has been estimated at N850 million.

holders increased by 32.5 percent to N16.3billion, compared with N12.3billion in 2012. Gross earnings grew by 19.8 percent, representing approximately N10.4billion additional revenue to the bank whilst Total deposits improved by 13.5 percent from N1.777trilion in full year 2012 to N2.017trillion in Q1 2013. Further analysis of the results show that Total Assets grew by 7.1 percent to N2.434 trillion in Q1 2013, compared with N2.272 trillion in 2012. Total Liabilities was N2.225 trillion in 2013, compared with N2.080 trillion during the corresponding period of 2012, an increase of 6.9 percent. in the same vein, Total Equity grew by 8.8 percent to compared N209.4billion, with N192.5billion in Q1 2012. Group managing director of the bank, , mr. Phillips Oduoza said, “the first quarter was an

excellent start to the year for UBA, with earnings and growth across our Nigeria and Africa businesses. Our focus will be maintained throughout 2013 with a goal of maximizing value across our businesses. “Our earnings provide tangible evidence that the course we have charted for UBA is the right one. We are pursuing market share growth in every region of Nigeria and Africa . We are optimistic that the process of regulatory reform will lead to a more competitive market for all participants, and in this context, we see emerging opportunities to fundamentally improve our market positioning. We will continue to strategically invest in our businesses, manage our expense and leverage our competitive advantage in service and convenience to win customers and take market share” said Oduoza

UBA records N15.6 billion profit in Q1 By Helen Oji NiTEd Bank for Africa has recorded a profit after tax of N15.6billion in its first quarter operations, against N13.1billion posted in the corresponding period of 2012.


This, according to the bank, represent an increase of 19.1 percent.  The Bank in its unaudited financial statement filed with Nigerian Stock Exchange on monday also recorded a profit

before tax of N17.2billion in Q1 2013, showing an increase of 12.4 percent, compared with N15.3billion achieved in Q1of 2012. Total Comprehensive income attributable to equity

Unilever records N55.5 billion revenue in 2012 By Helen Oji

few months. KCC Corporation is one of the largest paints and chemical manufacturing companies in the world. Olowokande said in order to maximize the full benefits of the anticipated improvement in the company’s product offering, the company would also commit substantial investment towards a major improvement in its present distributing chan-

The Chairman of the company, Nnaemeka Achebe, while reviewing the company’s performance at the at the 88th yearly meeting of the company in Lagos yesterday, explained that the company’s operating profit stood at N8.8 billion, higher than N8.1 billion in 2011, while earnings per share rose from 1.46 to 1.48 during the period under review. According to him, “our company defied the challenging national and economic circumstances with strategic

actions and investments which enabled it to weather the storms and deliver continued value to all its stakeholders. Unilever has emerged a stronger business and more than ever fit to win in the market place.” To consolidate on the performance, Achebe said the company has launched a transformation initiative, aimed at facilitating the cultural shift, which according to him was critical in realization of the overall goal of the company.

Achebe explained that part of the initiative was strengthening the capacity of its key stakeholders, especially the suppliers and key distributors to enable them to part of the transformation agenda, adding that it also invested in additional machinery to enhance production capacities and efficiencies. “The 2012 result further embedded Unilever Nigeria Plc’s positioning to win in the market place and withstand adverse business operating environment into the future.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


GlobalStocks U.S. shares slide over slow-paced stimulus warning .S. stocks fell, after the U Standard & Poor’s 500 Index extended a record yesterday, after a Federal Reserve official said the central bank may slow the pace of stimulus as early as this summer amid disappointing economic reports. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) lost 2.2 percent after the world’s largest retailer forecast second-quarter profit that was less than analysts estimated as the slow U.S. economy and higher taxes put pressure on consumers. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) surged 13 percent after reporting fiscal third-quarter profit that topped estimates. Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) jumped 10 percent as it plans to sell as much as $830 million in shares and debt. The S&P 500 (SPX) fell 0.4 percent to 1,651.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 33.84 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,241.85. Trading of S&P 500 stocks was 11 percent higher than the 30-day average at this time of day. “Today’s disappointing economic reports will set the tone,” Chad Morganlander, a Florham Park, New Jerseybased fund manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $130 billion, said by phone. “The U.S. economy is still struggling with lackluster growth and the recovery is far from self-sustaining, so equity markets are looking for guidance from central banks for their liquidity high.” The U.S. bull market has entered its fifth year. The S&P 500 has surged 144 percent from a 12-year low in 2009, driven by better-than-estimated corporate earnings and three rounds of bond purchases from the Federal Reserve. Equities extended losses this afternoon as Fed Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said the central bank may begin slowing the pace of its $85 billion in monthly bond-buying amid signs the economy is gradually gaining strength. “We could reduce somewhat the pace of our securities purchases, perhaps as early as this summer” and end the program late this year, Williams said today in the text of a speech in Portland, Oregon. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he would continue unprecedented stimulus until the jobless rate falls to 6.5 percent or inflation rises above 2.5 percent. Jobless claims jumped by 32,000 to 360,000 in the week ended May 11, the most since the end of March, Labor Department figures showed today. Another report showed the cost of living in the U.S. fell in April for a second month, the first back-to-back declines in inflation since late 2008. Housing starts slumped 16.5 percent in April, the most since February 2011, the Commerce Department reported. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly contracted in May for the first time in three months as new orders retreated and factories cut back on employment and hours. The market’s rally has pushed 193 stocks in the Standard &

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, recently.

Poor’s 500 Index, or 39 percent of the index, to their highest levels in at least 52 weeks, the most in Bloomberg data going back to 1993. The cumulative advance-decline line for stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange, representing the number of daily gains minus declines, reached a record 63,856 yesterday. Gains accelerate when corporate profits and the economy surprise a market dominated by skepticism, according to Laszlo Birinyi, president of Westport, Connecticutbased Birinyi Associates Inc. and among the first to advise buying U.S. stocks before the bull market began in 2009. He reiterated that the S&P 500 may climb 15 percent to 1,900 should it conform to bull markets that began in 1982 and 1990. “Everything is going up, it’s not just tech or industrials or dividends,” Birinyi said today in an interview with Francine Lacqua and Guy Johnson on Bloomberg Television in London. “It’s not just central banks. Earnings are good, the psychology is people are fighting the tape,” he said. “Basically the psychology is, ‘I missed it.’” The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), or VIX, rose 2 percent to 13.07. The equity volatility gauge, which moves in the opposite direction to the S&P 500 about 80 percent of the time, has slipped 27 percent this year. Nine out of 10 groups in the S&P 500 retreated today, with health-care and consumer discretionary shares dropping at least 0.9 percent. Wal-Mart fell 2.2 percent to $78.07. Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke has cut prices on

groceries and other necessities as the chain’s lowerincome shoppers deal with elevated unemployment and increased Social Security taxes. First-quarter sales at U.S. Wal-Mart stores open at least 12 months fell 1.4 percent, the first drop after six straight gains. Analysts estimated a 0.1 percent decline. The retailer forecast secondquarter profit will be $1.22 to $1.27 a share. Analysts had projected $1.29, the average of 24 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. An index that tracks homebuilder stocks slumped 1.6 percent as all 11 members

retreated. The gauge has gained 22 percent this year. PulteGroup Inc. (PHM), the largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue, dropped 2.4 percent to $23.40. D.R. Horton Inc. lost 1.9 percent to $26.91. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B shares slid 0.8 percent to $111.81 after S&P lowered the company’s credit rating. S&P cut Berkshire to AA from AA+, saying the downgrade “better reflects our view of BRK’s dependence on its core insurance operations for most of its dividend income,” referring to Warren Buffett’s company by its ticker symbol. Advanced Micro Devices Inc.,

which makes semiconductors, slid 13 percent to $3.80. The stock has surged 58 percent since April 15, sparked by Sony Corp.’s decision to use AMD chips for the next version of its PlayStation console. Technology shares rallied 1 percent as a group, with Cisco Systems surging 13 percent to $24. Cisco is benefiting as companies step up investments in data-traffic networks to accommodate users who are increasingly relying on smartphones and tablets to watch video and surf the Web. Tesla Motors (TSLA) gained 10 percent to $93.48. The elec-

tric-car maker run by Elon Musk said in a U.S. regulatory filing that it will use the proceeds from selling 2.7 million shares, valued at $229 million at yesterday’s closing price, and $450 million in convertible senior notes due in 2018, to pay off a federal loan and fund other operations. Kohl’s Corp. soared 4.6 percent to $51.98, the highest since November. The thirdlargest U.S. department-store chain reported first-quarter profit of 66 cents a share, while analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated 57 cents on average.

Nikkei falls on banks, weak capital spending APAN'S Nikkei stock average Jfrom fell on Thursday, reversing a fresh 5-1/2-year high earlier in the session, after banks offered downbeat earnings guidance and investors took profits in the face of doubts prompted by the breakneck speed of recent rises. The market was also dented by weak company capital spending by over the March quarter. Official figures published on Thursday morning showed Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected 0.9 percent in January-March from the previous quarter, but capital investment dropped 0.7 percent - inverting the market's expected 0.7 percent rise. The benchmark Nikkei dropped 0.4 percent to 15,037.24 points, after rising as high as 15,155.72, a level last visited in January 2008. "It's just a healthy correction after such steep rises in Nikkei. The stocks had moved

a little too fast," said Ryota Sakagami, chief equity strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities. "But it's difficult to predict how long the correction phase will last. There are very few investors who are pessimistic on the Japanese stocks in the medium to long term." Bucking the trend, Olympus Corp soared 18 percent and was the fifth biggest percentage gainer after the camera and endoscope maker forecast a 274 percent rise in net profit at 30 billion yen ($293 million) for the current business year through March. Japan's top three banks, however, forecast weaker annual earnings on Wednesday as aggressive monetary easing squeezes them out of the profitable government bond trade. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropped 3.6 percent; Mizuho Financial Group shed 3.1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group fell

3.0 percent. Market observers said that the central bank's plan to purchase 70 percent of Japanese government bonds, part of its aggressive monetary easing, would be negative for banks' profits. "If banks have strong lending businesses that can make up for the damage on JGB trading gains, there should be no problem. But company managements' risk-averse stance on capital spending indicates weak profits for banks," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. The Topix shed 0.6 percent to 1,245.23 in heavy trade, with 5.14 billion shares changing hands, a far larger than last month's average daily 4.31 billion shares. The short-term pullback has been widely expected. But in the longer term market analysts expect further rises in the Japanese market. U.S. star bond investor

Jeffrey Gundlach, who heads DoubleLine Capital LP, said on Wednesday that the benchmark Nikkei will hit 17,000 before year-end. Nomura Securities, which said that Japanese equities have become more sensitive to exchange rates once the dollar broke above 100 yen last week, predicted the Nikkei could reach 16,000 if the dollar steadily heads toward 105 yen. The index has gained about 45 percent this year helped by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's bold monetary easing and expansionary policies. On the back of strong jobs data in the United States and the dollar trading above the 100-yen mark, the Nikkei had already broke above 15,000, the level investors once had expected to see around midJune. The yen dropped to 102.76 yen against the dollar on Wednesday, its lowest level since October 2008. The Japanese currency last traded

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Opinion Can the banks be trusted? By Henry Boyo HE BANKERS Committee, which comprises the Central Bank of Nigeria and Chief Executive OfT ficers of the Money Deposit Banks resolved at the end of their meeting last week to remove ATM charges, and investigate alleged excessive charges imposed on customers. The Committee also agreed to increase lending, and reduce interest rates to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), to enable this sector generate employment, increase productivity and significantly contribute to the growth of the national Gross Domestic Product. Although the erstwhile horror of unending queues and rowdy scenes in banking halls may have been largely reduced, the current dispensation has evolved its own challenges. For example, the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) system is fraught with unsavoury challenges ranging from intermittent breaks in connectivity to card seizure by machines and the embarrassment of unexpectedly empty ATMs in times of need. Furthermore, there are constant media reports of the irritating hassles encountered when resolving errors generated by the ATM system in customer accounts. Other areas of dissatisfaction include covert, arbitrary monthly maintenance fees on ATM cards, after CBN abolished the N100 charge on thirdparty withdrawals. Some banks allegedly also still charge N500 monthly maintenance fee for current accounts and N5 inter-state commission on every N1,000 transaction, while other banks charge as high as N50 on SMS alerts in place of the N4 that GSM networks usually charge for text messages! Governor Lamido Sanusi curiously corroborated these allegations, according to media reports last week, when he confirmed that

the apex bank had recovered over N6 billion for customers that were ‘cheated’ (sic) by banks since CBN established a Consumer Protection Department a year ago! In reality, while the issue of ATM and spurious bank charges generally place a higher burden of frustration on salary income earners, the issues of access to credit and interest rates impact more heavily on corporate organisations, particularly the MSMEs, which form the traditional engine of growth in all economies. Incidentally, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) also noted at its recent quarterly press conference on the economy that “the credit situation is still a major problem for investors in the economy. As with the previous quarters, lending rate was well above 20 per cent. Many MSMEs still have serious challenge in accessing credit even at this high rate”. Consequently, the LCCI reiterated its call for both fiscal and monetary authorities to work together to ease the credit conditions, while noting that a conducive credit condition would help to stem the gradual crowding out of domestic entrepreneurs by foreign investors. The Lagos Chamber also called on government to give due consideration to economic diversification, so as to protect our economy from the impact of the volatility of crude oil prices. It is trite to remind ourselves that no country has ever successfully grown and/or diversified its industrial base and gross domestic output with cost of funds at over 20 per cent. Worse still, Micro and Small Enterprises, in spite of relatively more severe deprivations, are institutionally encouraged to patronize micro-finance banks, where they may pay up to six per cent (72 per cent per annum) for funds! The obvious question that evolves from the above discussion is whether or not the banks

can be trusted to work in tandem with the expectation and aspirations of our people and willfully improve the quality of banking services and reduce cost of borrowing to stimulate growth. The reality, of course, is that banks, like other businesses, are profit oriented and therefore attracted by risk-free prospects that yield bounteous returns; any attempt to reduce interest rates by fiat would lead to distortions that are characteristic of markets where scarcity or centralized price control prevails. Consequently, in successful economies, interest rate levels are not independently determined by fiat, but they are rather induced, by effective monetary policy and strategy by respective Central Banks; in other words, the Central Bank rather than commercial banks must bear the blame for prevailing oppressive lending costs. A payment system, in which CBN unilaterally substitutes hundreds of billions of naira allocations for numerically, relatively much smaller quantum of distributable dollar revenue, will continue to unleash the ever-present burden of excess cash in our system, and consequently predicate high CBN Monetary Policy Control Rates, which ultimately trigger higher cost of funds in the economy! Paradoxically, the same CBN, which constantly instigates the systemic cash flush, subsequently ‘altruistically’ steps in to stem the threat of inflation, and prevent liberal access to the cash surplus by potential borrowers. To this end, CBN would offer to pay mouth-watering double digit interest rates to borrow back from the banks, part of the huge cash flood it had earlier self-inflicted on the system. Indeed, it would be commercially inexcusable for any bank CEO to shun CBN’s offer to pay between 10 and 15 per cent to borrow back and

then keep idle money that government, itself, willfully placed as deposits in the bank accounts of MDAs in the first place. In other words, in spite of the usual CBN lamentation of its inability to force down interest rates to industrially friendly levels, the reality is that CBN, with its aggressive, probably reckless competition for loanable funds in the system, is actually the enemy of the real sector and not the banks! Indeed, CBN had, on behalf of the Bankers’ Committee, often defended as inevitable, the high cost of funds and the unusually wide divergence between deposit (about five per cent) and lending rates (above 20 per cent), as it claimed that banks incur peculiarly high operational costs, because of the hostile infrastructural environment, which presumably the real sector, including MSMEs are immune to. Paradoxically, after AMCON’s sinking of over N5000 billion of public funds into banks, customers still decry the quality of services, cost of funds remain above 20 per cent, industries remain prostrate, while poverty has deepened nationwide, but the banks are back to winning ways with stupendous profit figures being posted for 2012! So, in the light of the foregoing, can we really trust the Banking Committee to deliver on their promise to improve banking services and reduce cost of borrowing or is the present resolution of the committee the usual window dressing, akin to the exotic but failed promises of Soludo’s banking consolidation? With hindsight, unless CBN relinquishes its monopoly of the foreign exchange market, it may be fatal for anyone to hold their breath on the latest promises. • Boyo wrote from Lagos.

The twists in Ahiara diocese crisis By Alexius Ike S a Catholic, I believed that when the Holy Father, Benedict A XVI announced Msgr. Ebere Peter Okpalaeke as the bishop elect of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, on December 7, 2012, we had seen ‘’the white smoke’’ and some of us celebrated. That should have been the end of the matter. Since then I have been home several times and I have heard and seen things that should not been seen or heard in the Catholic Church. What is the bone of contention? Some priests are rejecting the choice of the current bishop of Ahiara diocese. There was an article in The Guardian Newspaper on Monday 6th May 2013, page 68, the grouse of the writer was according to him ‘’more than five hundred priests of Mbaise origin should have been given a fair chance of being considered for the position.’’ Did the writer sincerely believe that the Holy Father elected a bishop without considering the over five hundred priests from Mbaise? Who elects a bishop, and what is the process? In his book ‘’Selecting the Pope’’ Greg Tobin (2004:59) states “… The pope himself chooses each bishop for each diocese around the world, some four thousand of them, about 250 in the United States alone. From the eleventh through the early twentieth centuries, there were intense conflicts with peculiar governments and monarchs about who had the right to appoint bishop (who were once elected by local clergy). This was not resolved until the 20th century, when canon law was reversed to provide for papal appointment of all bishops of the Latin rite (which excludes some of the Eastern Catholic rite churches). Nowadays, sitting bishops submit list of candidates to the papal nuncio (the pope’s ecclesiastical ambassador) in the country. The nuncio investigates and narrows the list, then forwards the short list to the curial department, the congregation of bishops. That department then recommends the final candidate to the pope who makes the final decision, most often approving the nomination of the congregation.’’ In the Code of Canon Law (1983:66) chapter 2 canon 377#1 it states ‘’The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints bishops or confirms those carefully elected.’’ For anybody to call the pope’s elected bishop, ‘’a young and unknown parish priest is misreading the Code of Canon Law Can.378#1’’ To be a suitable candidate for the episcopate, a person must: • Be outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues and possess those other gifts which equip him to fulfill the office in question.

• Be held in good esteem • Be at least 35 years old • Be a priest ordained for at least five years • Hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred scriptures, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic Sea, or at least well versed in these disciplines (P. 67). Can 378#2: The definitive judgment on the suitability of the person to be promoted rests with the Apostolic Sea (P. 67) In no way has anybody found the pope’s choice, Mgr. Ebere Peter Okpalaeke wanting in any of the above, except that he is not from Mbaise diocese. Many of the lay faithful do not say that none of the five hundred priests of Mbaise origin is worthy of the bishopric appointment. The problem here is that certain people are trying to bring ethnic consideration as the only criteria for making the choice of a bishop in the Catholic Church. Let us not forget that a bishop could one day become a pope. Would we want him to see himself as an Mbaise pope or a pope of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? Let us not presume, as we are being made to believe, that all Mbaise priests have joined this protest. Sadly I have been to mass where a priest talking from his pulpit has told parishioners to deal with any priest or person carrying placards canvassing opposing views. I would have thought that the lay faithful should be left to their conscience. We were taught in catechism about choice and consequence. Unfortunately some of the rebelling Mbaise priests are insisting on inciting the laity to take up arms against the bishop elect. This is against the teachings of the Catholic faith. This is against the oath of obedience and loyalty taken by some of these tribal priests. We must remind the tribal priest that they are many priests of Mbaise origin serving outside Mbaiseland. Rev. Father David Ihenacho should not trivialize and ethnicize the Catholic faith and procedures. I candidly advice Rev. father David and his group to choose the part of humility and allow the Catholic Church that made them who they are today, blossom in Mbaise. We respect you as ordained priests of the Catholic faith. Why then do you turn round to incite Catholics, to reject a constituted authority of the pope? Your article urges the people of Mbaise to muster the ‘’moral obligation to fight injustice wherever it rears its ugly head’’. Is the pope being accused of injustice because he followed the procedure as written in the Code of Canon Law to elect a bishop? If pastoral growth in Mbaise is undermined, it is not because the pope elected a bishop of nonMbaise origin, it is because the flock is confused when they see

some priests openly oppose the pope’s choice. According to Rev. Father David’s article the church should be assisted to save face. I do not believe that any true catholic will ask a priest to do what is wrong to save the face of the church. The Catholic Church will do what ii believes is right even if it has to lose face. The writer says ‘’that the popular opinion among Catholic of the diocese is to bare the shamed face of the church in this part of the world in order to help tackle the problem of prevalence of injustice in the Catholic Church.’’ Can you believe what you are reading? This is a priest writing about the Catholic Church. He definitely has a choice to make after writing this. Treachery is not too strong a word. Disloyalty is more generous. The writer asks the bishop elect not to come to Mbaise because ‘’Jesus Christ in sending out his disciples told them that whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the street and say the dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you’’ (Luke 10:10-11). ‘’There is no place the Lord Jesus says that if a town fails to receive you, you should go and mobilize and invade them’’. Bishop elect, Msgr Peter Okapalaeke has not mobilized and invaded anybody. I think this part of the article is a huge joke and amazing scripture translation. Why then do we make martyrs of priests killed because of their faith and because they will not go away? If the martyrs of Uganda had gone away and not shed their blood I do not know what would have happened to the church in Africa. The apostles were imprisoned and killed because they would not go away. You would rather they went away. Would we be Christians today? The article talks about pride. Who is proud, the humble servant sent to you or you who say you are a better candidate than him? The most unfortunate thing about these is that the Catholics in our diocese are confused. How can a priest on the pulpit incite parishioners to ignore the pope’s choice and take up arms against those who accept the bishop elect? During the Eucharistic prayer in some parishes the bishop elect is not remembered. Finally we built a cathedral in Ahiara diocese and named it Mater Ecclesiae. Do we believe that Mater Dei will watch us destroy it? I appeal to Rev. Father David and his followers to humbly accept the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, respect the oath of obedience and loyalty to the Catholic Church. I pray that someday, Rev. Father David can be elected a bishop of the Catholic Church anywhere in the world. • Ike is a Catholic of Ahiara Diocese living in Lagos.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

Opinion Achebe (Ikejimba): When comes such another? By Chike Momah HINUA Achebe was a compelling figure, straight out of a Biblical saga. He was also, rather more prosaically, a friend who C was so close, he was like a brother. A few hours after his death was blazed around the world, I received a condolence call from a member of our Dallas, TX Igbo community. This friend asked me if I was sure Chinua and I did not share an umbilical cord. Another person, this time a Reverend gentleman, expressed his condolences in rather more risqué language. “Your friendship with Chinua,” he said, “reminds me of the biblical story of David and Jonathan.” I would be lying through my teeth if I said I was not flattered by the language in which the two condolences were couched. But while I gloried in the way my friendship with Chinua was perceived by these two gentlemen, two things struck me about the manner their perceptions were expressed. The reference to Chinua and I sharing an umbilical cord will be easily recognized for what it was: a humorous turn of phrase. But when the clergyman reached for his Bible in search of relational equivalences, he lighted on one of the most emotional passages in Holy Scripture: David lamenting the death of Jonathan, whose love for him, David sang, “was wonderful, passing the love of women!” The love of women? I ask you! The clergyman’s biblically inspired phraseology also set me thinking in an unusual direction. I thought about it for a long while, and then – eureka! – it hit me. Chinua Achebe’s story, the saga of his life, is a story of almost Biblical proportions. He rose so far above his humble birth, and above his innate humility – as a human being, a classmate in school, and a friend – that nothing about him seemed ordinary. And, amazingly, his stratospheric rise to greatness, fame and universal acclaim was, at least, twice predicted: first, in 1943, by his and my primary school Headmaster, Mr. Okongwu, as sagacious an observer of humanity as you are likely to meet; and, about a dozen years later, by Chinua himself, albeit innocently. Chinua did not prophecy, in so many words, that he would, one day, be a great man. But, about two years before he even began to write his epochal novel (Things fall apart; published in 1958), he wrote the following words to a mutual friend: “Yes, there may be many stars in the firmament, but some shine brighter than others.” My memory, at my fairly advanced age, is like a sieve but, as near as I can remember, those were his exact words. I know this because I saw and read the letter he wrote to the friend, and I was involved in the sequence of events that led to that innocent prediction. The mutual friend, I am happy to relate, also achieved considerable success, in his own right, as a novelist. Glory be! Headmaster Okongwu’s prophecy was couched in more

straightforward and unambiguous language. In 1943, as I was sweating over my preparations for the entrance examination to Government College, Umuahia (G.C.U. – a boys’ high school), along came my Headmaster. He regarded me for a moment or two, and then uttered his immortal words: “If,” he said, “you do well enough in the exam to gain admission to the school, I predict you will there meet a boy called Albert Achebe, and Albert will make the rain that will drench you!” (This was a boy he last saw in 1940, when Chinua was 10 years old.) In the upshot, I gained admission to GCU. Chinua also did, on a merit scholarship! This was in January 1944. The rest is history. In the middle of 1944, our first year in high school, Chinua was promoted, with five other boys, to class two. First drenching! From then till his high school graduation in 1948, he was the best student in his new class. That same year, he won a merit scholarship (one of only six or seven awarded that year) to the University College, Ibadan (U.C.I.). To study Medicine! U.C.I. was then the only institution for tertiary education in the country. He changed courses at the end of his freshman year, and I caught up with him one more time. This was in 1949. We both graduated, Bachelor of Arts, in the same subjects, in 1953. Throughout those four years, our professors and lecturers, again and again, let us know that Chinua was, not only the best student in the class, but also the best writer of English. He achieved the best result in our degree examination. Second drenching! I need not belabour the point. More drenching followed, fast and furious! Within five years of our graduation, Chinua published Things fall apart. Other novels followed, and success followed hard on success. The inevitable consequence followed. Chinua, force majeure, began to shift out of my orbit. He discovered, as his friends did too, that he had been drawn onto a world stage – to all of humanity, and not just to a narrow circle of friends and admirers. He was, as I have dared to proclaim elsewhere, the best writer of English that I think I have ever read. He is, for me, its most mellifluous exponent. If the reader disagrees with this spectacular claim, I plead that beauty is in the beholder’s eye. I speak for myself and, perhaps, for a continent. There is no writer, living or dead, who has demonstrated, in greater measure than Chinua, the ability to weave a tapestry of words taken from the Queen’s English and from the proverbs and aphorisms of his own mother tongue, Igbo. He certainly rose above the British colonial quagmire to which our people were condemned for a century and more, to write the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, Stevenson and, yes, even Conrad, with a mastery that takes the breath away. When we were reading those authors, in high school and in college, we did not think – we dared not think – that we would produce a Chinua Achebe. Later, he was to pick a bone or two with

Conrad’s racially slanted writings, but that is another story! I might have sometimes been tempted to look at Chinua, and think (again, Biblically): Is this not the carpenter’s son? But I can say, truthfully, that I never succumbed to that temptation. He bestrode my world like the colossus that he was, and I rejoiced with him as he scaled the heights of literature to its pinnacle. No, he was no mere carpenter’s son for me. During the years Chinua and I were in high school and university, my contacts with the senior Achebe were few and far between. My memory of him is, at best, very sketchy now. But Chinua’s old man was no carpenter, though I have no doubt that he was largely responsible for chiseling Chinua, in his formative years, into the exquisite product that has dazzled the world for more than half a century, since Things fall apart was published in 1958. Chinua should have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel Prize committee members are probably the only persons, on earth, who know why he was denied this recognition of his literary stature, and of his influence on more than two or three generations of African writers. And on other writers worldwide! Tony Morrison (the Nobel laureate) acknowledged Chinua as one of her main literary inspirations in writing about her own people. Chinua’s most celebrated contemporary and fellow Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel laureate, also acknowledged Chinua as a trailblazer. Enough said! Chinua now belongs to the ages, his work on earth magnificently done. No one could have asked for more from even a genius of his breath-taking dimensions. Regrettably, Chinua had to live out the last 23 years of his life wheelchair-bound – the result of a vehicular accident in 1990. This is the reason, above all else, that my wife, Ethel and I (and Chinua’s other friends) are especially appreciative of the love and devotion of Odozi-ngwulu, his beautiful wife, Professor Dr. Christiana Achebe – Ana to Chinua himself, Christie to the rest of us! My appreciation also extends to their children, Chinelo, Ike, Chidi and Nwando, of whom one is a medical doctor, and the other three achieved doctorates in academia. Apropos of this, Ethel sometimes teasingly told Chinua he was the least educated member of his family! I was his bestman when he married Christie, and he was godfather to my son, Chukwudi (Chidi). His last book, There was a country – the story of Biafra, and of man’s inhumanity to man – was like a concluding and thunderous exclamation mark on his life as a writer! The buzz it generated has scarcely died down, as I write this. I stand, in humility, in the shadow of his greatness and, yes, of his almost Biblical stature! In the language of the Bard, when comes such another? • Momah, from Arlington, Texas, wrote this tribute as a second revision of a piece (Reflections on Chinua Achebe) which he wrote in 2000, and revised in 2007.

Dominican angels of maternal/infant health By Nwachukwu Egbunike N the cluttered conversation about Nigeria, bad news sells. However, there are many who Isilently work for a change and hardly make a noise about their work. It is easy to criticize, a critique hardly provides solutions; but to walk a talk, valour is imperative. And for unostentatiously being a pillar to women and children, cutting the cold hands of death from snatching this vulnerable subset of our society for the past 10 years; the St. Dominic Catholic Hospital, Ogungbade Village, Ibadan deserve our praise. Although Ibadan hosts the foremost health institution in the country, that alone cannot (and should not) cater for a city with an estimated population of about two million people. Considering also that most of the inhabitants of Ibadan live within the fringes of the city, then one appreciates the context of my praise for these nuns and their hospital. And as such, the burden of primary health care falls on non-forprofit and religious institutions that are propelled by social justice. Now the grim statistics: Nigeria ranks as second in the global maternal and infant mortality deaths. In 2010, an estimated 608 deaths per 100,000 deliveries in Nigeria was recorded. According to UNICEF, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age daily. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world. Yet in “The Changing face of Global Child Demographic”, the authors, Danzhen You et al (The Lancet, Volume 381, Issue 9868, pages 701-

703, March 2, 2013) insist that this ugly trend is gradually being changed. They note that: “by the middle of this century, almost one in every three births and nearly one in every three children younger than 18 years will be in sub-Saharan Africa… Several factors will contribute to realisation of this scenario, such as improving child survival and continuing high fertility rates in sub-Saharan Africa, which contrasts with sharply falling rates in the rest of the world.” But there are many things that the number crunching above did not and cannot capture. It is the voices behind these numbers; the anguish of the mothers crying for their dead children, the shattered hopes of families who lose both mother and/or child, and silent toil of their care-givers. The unsung heroes who have provided affordable and qualitative primary health care to rural and semi-rural Nigerian women are hardly recognised. And within these ranks, one can easily situate the courage of the Dominican Sisters of Nigeria. These nuns have championed primary health care through the St. Dominic Catholic Hospital, Ogungbade Village, Ibadan since 2003. The Dominican Sisters of Nigeria are part of the global Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Sienna. The charisim of the Sisters of St. Dominic is spreading the compassion of Christ to others through educational and medical apostolic work. St. Dominic Hospital in Ogungbade Village is a materialisation of the missionary spirit of the Sisters. And in this case, the essence is captured in health – reaching all through the compassion of Christ, especially in children under five years and pregnant women.

St. Dominic Hospital had an interesting history. The Sisters of St. Dominic had established their convent in Ogungbade Village, off Ife Road, in Ibadan. Soon the community, which apparently had no other source of medical intervention, started bringing their sick ones to the nuns. As the traffic of patients continued to increase, the sisters began a clinic in a small boy’s quarters with the community. They had barely up to 10 members of staff and most of their patients were treated as out-patients with few admissions. Obviously they did not do surgeries and had to refer difficult labour cases to other hospitals. This growing demand prompted the need for a more formal structure. Thus in 2007, the sod was turned and within three years, (2010) the present St. Dominic Hospital was commissioned. The hospital has 64 beds with an array of medical professionals: doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, paramedical and administrative staff. They run a 24-hour service and have consultants in various specialities involved. Such areas are obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics, general surgery, urology, neurosurgery plastic surgery, cardiology and paediatrics. They have free malaria tests for children and free malaria treatment for our pregnant women. St. Dominic Hospital also offers medical outreaches to many of the villages around us, giving health talks and treatments. This includes collaborative effort with NGOs involved in HIV prevention, especially mother to child transmission. They are also engaged to foreign capacity aid; for instance, they are expecting a team of U.S. orthopaedic surgeons to perform leg deformity corrective surgery before the end of the year.

However, it has not been a stress free walk for St. Dominic Hospital. While it took courage to walk their talk (better still to walk the path laid out by the needs of others), there are still many hurdles to skip. And in the words of the Medical Director, Dr. Taiwo Obisesan: “we are anxiously looking forward to see a well equipped and well staffed hospital serving the community, involving in various research works, collaborating with similar organisations here or abroad. Above all we hope in the nearest future to be able to train house officers, nurses, and medical laboratory scientists and run Residency Programme in Family Medicine and other areas.” Nonetheless, it is disheartening that treacherous craters litter the path to this hospital. As a matter of public interest, the Oyo State Government should urgently extend its current road construction drive to Ogungbade Village. For the erosion on the road that leads to St. Dominic Hospital might easily induce a pre-term labour in a gravid woman. A bit of asphalt on that road will certainly do the sisters, the hospital’s patients/staff and the entire community some good. The future of Nigeria’s health care system revolves around primary health care. The life of many women and children lies precariously and only a systemic intervention can reset this rot. Nonetheless, this sustained and deliberate change has to be propelled by a collective effort from public and private concerns. That is why St. Dominic Hospital deserves praise because despite all odds, they have faithfully carried this burden for the public good. • Egbunike wrote this in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of St. Dominic Catholic Hospital, Ogungbade Village, Ibadan.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


FridayWorship By Afis A. Oladosu In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful

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

“Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve… among which four is sacred… do not, therefore, perpetrate injustice against yourself in it…” (Quran 9; 36).

The month of Rajab is here

NCE again, dear brethren, we are back to the path again. The month of Rajab is here again. Rajab is a great month of in the sight of the Almighty (SWT). It is incomparable in eminence and glory. It is deemed to be a month specially favoured by the Almighty such that wars and all acts of violence even against forces of evil are prohibited. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) is reported to have said: “Verily, Rajab is the month of the Almighty, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan the month of my Ummah; whosoever fasts a day in the month of Rajab will be granted the great reward of Ridwan (attainment of eternal bliss); the wrath of Allah (SWT) shall be distanced from such a person and the hell fire shall be closed against him.” About a week ago, the Muslim world began the countdown to the sacred month of Ramadan. It did when the crescent, which signalled the beginning of the month of Rajab, appeared in the horizon. The month of Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. Arabic linguists would remind us that the lexical definition of the word Rajab, particularly when it is converted to the tri-literal verb –rajaba, means, “to respect”. In other words, the word Rajab speaks to the essence of the month- a month in which Muslims are expected to con-

duct themselves with dignity and decorum. The month of Rajab is that in which the journey to the ultimate month- the month of Ramadan begins. The month of Rajab is regarded as one of the four sacred months in Islam. The other months are Muharram, Ramadan and Dhul Hijjah. But why is the month sacred? The month is held in awe and reverence because Almighty Allah, the Creator of heavens and the earth, demands that from us. In fact, He reveres and adores the month in His Majesty. This explains why He says “do not perpetrate injustice against yourself during the sacred months.” Why is it that Allah holds the month in reverence? He does that based on His will and wisdom, The will of Allah is unknowable; the wisdom of Allah is intractable. But that which is indubitable is this: Allah forbids all acts of violence during the sacred months except when the Muslims come under aggression. Notions of the sacredness of the four months are also found in pre-Islamic annals. During this period, the Arabs used to consider warfare an infraction of Divine will. The month of Rajab is equally held sacred, as has been mentioned, because it comes as a prelude to the months of Sha’aban and Ramadan. Each time the crescent announcing the beginning of the month of Rajab appeared, Prophet Muhammad (may


Allah’s peace and blessings be on his soul) used to supplicate to Allah in the following words: Allahumma baa-rik-lanaa fi-rajab wa sha’ban wa bal-lig-na shah-ra ramadan “O Allah, make Rajab and Sha’ban blessed months for us, and grant us the blessing of witnessing the month of Ramadan (that is, prolong our life up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings).” Put differently, the month of Rajab is a divine blessing to the Muslims as it opens the floodgate of divine redemption and salvation for those who, among the Muslims, would be willing and ready to avail themselves of its inestimable values. Perhaps the greatest reason why this month enjoys an iconic status in Muslim weltanschauung is that the prophet’s journey from the earth to the presence of Almighty actually took place during this month. Allah alludes to this important journey in the Quran where Allah says: “Glory be to Him Who took His servant (Muhammad) on a journey one night from Masjid-alHaram (in Mecca) to Masjid-al-Aqsa, whose vicinity We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs: surely He is the One Who is the Hearer, the Observer.” (Quran 17:1). Otherwise known as al-M’iraj, the prophet’s journey to the heavens began in Makkah, unto Jerusalem, from where he was guided in the ascen-

sion to the heavens by Angel Jibril (upon him be peace). Readers who are interested in the details, the dynamics and the miracles that occurred to the prophet during the journey, should go to The core of the message, which the prophet (upon him be peace and blessings of Allah) brought from Allah for the Muslim world is the observance of the five daily prayers; that the observance of the Salat is the template of Islam and the membership of the Islamic commonwealth. The prophet’s ascension to the heavens, an event which occurred during this month of Rajab, equally functioned as a marker for the spiritual in contradistinction to the hypocritical. In other words, during this month, Abu Bakr son of Abi Quhafah became a Siddiq as a result of his unshakeable belief in the supra-normal and for his trust in Allah. During this month, some among humanity particularly during the time of the prophet equally crossed the Rubicon. They traversed the spectrum of belief to unbelief and infidelity. By disbelieving in the ascension of the prophet some of the unbelievers in Makkah lost the opportunity to enjoy eternal bliss and forever too. Their circumstance reminds me of the tendency in humans to grumble when opportunities come their way. When it rains, humans complain of lack of sunshine; sometimes when they are

blessed with daughters they become disconsolate because they desire sons. We often miss life opportunities because we are incapable of recognising the rahmah of Allah for what they are. Some among humankind would learn about and appreciate the truth in the message of Islam only after they have left this world. Brethren, the month of Rajab is also significant because in it the battle of Tabuk, which took place in the ninth year after the Hijrah from Makkah was fought in defense of Islam. It was also during the month of Rajab that the second Oath of Aqabah took place. It was during the month of Rajab that Salahudin al-Ayyubi rescued Jerusalem from the oppression of the oppressors. Ironically, brothers and sisters, it was during the month of Rajab that the Ottoman Caliphate in Turkey was liquidated by the combination of external powers in collusion with forces within the Islamic community, which preferred the specious to the real. Now how should you conduct yourself during this month? It is useful and reasonable that you endeavour to do as much of good deeds as you can in it. Keep regular prayers and fast as many days in it as possible but do not go to the extreme of saying you want to fast the whole 29 or 30 days. The prophet did not recommend that for us. Seek forgiveness of your sins as many times as you can. A recommended formula goes thus: Astaghfirullah wa asaluhu a-tawbah –meaning: “I seek forgiveness from Allah and penitence”, and endeavour to give Sadaqa - charity and alms giving. The prophet says: “The best of you is the one who is most compassionate with the creatures of Allah.” (


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

Sports Ahead Brazil 2013 Confederations Cup

NNYA to use football against crime in slums

NFF warns players over Del Bosque’s mind games, adjusts Eagles’ programme From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE Nigeria Football T Federation (NFF) yesterday urged players and officials of the Super Eagles not to be carried away by the recent comments of Spain’s Chief Coach, Vincente Del Bosque, who rated Nigeria as the best team in the African continent with the capabilities of winning the Confederations Cup. The NFF, which said that winning the last Africa Cup of Nations was not enough to rate the Super Eagles as the best team in the continent, urged the team to concentrate and train hard for the Confederations Cup like others not minding the claims of Del Bosque. NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu, while reacting to the comment credited to Del Bosque, noted that a team is only rated from its last match, insisting that going by the Super Eagles last game, it will be an exaggeration to rate the team as Africa’s best for now. He assured that the team would be given all the necessary support to represent Africa well the in Brazil, adding that the international friendly against Mexico would be used to prepare the players for the task. “Every team now prepares for Nigeria as if they are playing World Cup finals. Let us not allow the mind games of Del Bosque to get into our heads… also let the coaches not be carried away by that and work very hard for us to come on top in the month of June,” Amadu warned. The NFF scribe also dis-

closed that the federation has adjusted the team’s programme for the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying games against Kenya and Namibia. According to Amadu, the earlier plan that the Eagles will arrive in Windhoek a day to the match has been changed, adding that the team will now stay and train in Namibia four days before the match, which comes up on June 12. “Administratively, we are doing our best to put everything in order, particularly when you are preparing for the series of matches that we are faced with between end of May to end of June. We are playing Mexico in Houston on May 31 and the team will be travelling tomorrow. “The boys from here will travel via Lufthansa airline for a training camp in Germany until the 28, when they will be joined by their foreign based colleagues for the remaining 11 days of training in Nuremberg, using the Adidas facilities. “They will travel on May 28 to Houston for the friendly match with Mexico, which is really very important for our preparations for the Confederations Cup. Mexico you know is in group A with Brazil, Japan and Italy. It will help us a lot if we can test the ground before we go to Brazil. That is why it is important that we play the CONCACAF champions. “The team will return to Germany on June 1, and they will transit in Frankfurt for a day before they leave for Nairobi, Kenya for the world cup qualifier against the Harambee Stars,” he said.

Musa, Ogude out of Mexico friendly IGERIA have left out N Ahmed Musa and Fegor Ogude from their friendly against Mexico in the U.S. later this month due to club engagements. Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi told that Musa and Ogude have been allowed to stay back at their various clubs because of important matches. “Fegor’s club did not oblige our request for him to join the team. They said they need him for an important league game,” Keshi said. “For Musa, his club would be involved in the Russian cup final at about that time we will be playing the friendly. But they are still on the 30-man list and I expect them to be available for the World Cup qualifiers.” Musa’s Russian army club, CSKA, are chasing a league and cup double this season. The Eagles face Mexico in

Houston, Texas, on May 31 as part of their build-up for two World Cup qualifiers in Kenya and Namibia as well as the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil all next month. Keshi has also defended his choice of Werder Bremen striker Joseph Akpala, ahead of Michael Eneramo to replace injured Emmanuel E m e n i k e . The former Mali and Togo coach said, “I have seen Akpala play and I know what he can do on the pitch. Unfortunately, I have not been able to watch Eneramo play, but I have spoken with him and he understands that his time would come.” The Super Eagles were expected to depart Abuja yesterday for a training camp in Germany with players from the domestic league, while the foreign professionals would join them next week.

From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE Nigeria National Youth T Award (NNYA) has initiated a football competition aimed

Super Eagles’ Ogenyi Onazi (left) shields the ball from a Burkinabe defender during the final game of the South Africa 2013 Nations Cup. The Lazio midfielder is one of the players listed for the World Cup qualifiers and the Brazil 2013 Confederations Cup. PHOTO: AFP.

at empowering the teeming population of slum dwellers in the country. The competition, which is billed to commence in June at designated centers across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, according to the NNYA Director, Jopiar Gupar will feature only youths within the ages of 14 to 23 that are strictly resident at the slum areas of the country. Gupar noted that the football competition would help keep the youths busy, adding that it would begin from the states, where winners will emerge to represent the six geo-political zones of the country at the national level. He added that the various zonal representatives will converge in Abuja to determine the national champion. The director, who disclosed that the programme has been specially arranged to run for a three-year period, revealed that the national winners will be sponsored to an exchange programme to Kenya, courtesy of he Kenya president award, which also runs a similar programme for slum dwellers in the east African country.

AFN boss hails Elegbeleye’s appointment as NSC director general BENGA Elegbeleye’s appointment as the director general of the National Sports Commission (NSC) has been described as one of the best things to happen to Nigerian sports. Making the declaration yesterday, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Solomon Ogba, who last Tuesday got a fresh four-year mandate to lead the country’s athletics, thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for giving the NSC a personality that understands the sports sector. “This is a case of a square peg in a square hole. We in AFN are thanking President Goodluck Jonathan for this appointment, which we believe will compliment and strengthen the progress being made by the Minister and Chairman of the NSC, Mallam Bolaji


Abdullahi, to take Nigerian sports to the next level,” observed the former Delta State Sports commissioner. Elegbeleye was appointed to replace Dr. Patrick Ekeji, who retired last month as the director general of the NSC after serving for eight years. The new director general, who hails from Ondo State, was born on October 1, 1960, the day of Nigeria’s political independence. As a politician, he was a local government chairman before ascending to the House of Representatives in the 2007-2011 term, where he represented AkokoNorth/East/West Federal Constituency. While in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, he served as the vice-chairman of the Sports Committee.   He was also a member of the Dominic Oneya Football Reform Committee, whose

report is yet to be implemented. Elegbeleye holds a B.Sc degree and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration, as well as, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

New NSC director General, Gbenga Elegbeleye.

Sunshine Stars demand N400m from Lille for Oboabona UNSHINE Stars have asked SEuros Lille to pay two million (about N400m) for Eagles defender, Godfrey Oboabona after the French club tabled half that sum. reports that Lille have put on the table a million Euros (about N200m) for 22-year-old Oboabona, who shone at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Lille thus met the first valuation of the Nigeria club for the player, but Sunshine have now demanded double that a m o u n t .

“Lille have through an agent made a bid of a million Euros for Oboabona, but Sunshine Stars say they now want them to double that figure,” a top source said. “Sunshine through a top official wrote directly to Lille and not through the agents demanding for two million Euros,” he added. Efforts to reach Sunshine Stars’ general manager, Mike Idoko, were not successful. The versatile Oboabona, who could play as a right back, central defender or defensive midfielder, has attracted a lot

of interest from across the big leagues in Europe after he shone at the 2013 AFCON, which Nigeria won. He was recently reported to be on his way to trials with top English Premier League side, Arsenal, but Sunshine officials have since dismissed this. The player himself has said God will decide where he moves to in the summer. He told “There are speculations and inquiries from many clubs, but I don’t know where I will end up. God will decide and chose the best for me.”

Athletics, tennis, scrabble events begin at FMCG RACK and field events of T the maiden Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) will commence tomorrow, as teams also file out their squads for tennis, table tennis, scrabble and draught. In the football event, which commenced last week, Unilever and PZ Cussons will seek to earn their first points against opponents that started the tournament on winning notes in the Games. GSK, 3-1 winners over Unilever on the opening day, will file out against PZ Cussons, surprise 4-3 losers to Dufil Prima that will seek to extend their winning to two in two games against Unilever. PZ Cussons’ Tayo Ogunji is the man that GSK will have to keep an eye on as despite his side losing in the first game, he hit the net twice and is tied on the top scorers’ log with two other players from Dufil Prima and GSK. A defeat tomorrow will spell the end of Hot Robb squad in the race for the title, just as a win for GSK will mean automatic qualification for the finals. Dufil Prima’s Siju Thompson will line up against Unilever in the second match of the day seeking to romp into the lead in the race for the Golden Boots. Hotshots, Thompson, Ogunji and Toyosi Ilori of GSK are all set to make the tournament golden with goals as they attempt to propel their teams to the finals of the first ever FMCG games football trophy.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Davis Cup Africa Group III Play-off

Nigeria, Egypt in deciding encounter, Botswana, Zambia play for pride By Olalekan Okusan EAM Nigeria and host, T Egypt, are expected to put everything into today’s deciding match of pool D of the ongoing Europe/Africa Zone Group III of the Davis Cup Championship, while the only thing at stake in the Botswana and Zambia match is pride. The Clifford Enosoregbeinspired side yesterday wasted no time in dismissing Zambia to set up a final group clash against the high-flying Egypt. In the encounter against Southern African side, Enosoregbe, who has been in fine form since the first match against Botswana, started the onslaught with a two straight

set win of 6-1, 6-3 over Nkumbu Chonya. Henry Atseye paid for his loss against Botswana’s Phenyo Matong in game one with another resounding win of 64, 6-4 over Zambia’s Edgar Kazembe to give Team Nigeria a 2-0 lead. Like what they did against Botswana on Wednesday, the pair of Shehu Lawal and Abdulmumuni Babalola completed the rout with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 win over the duo of Kombe Mabo and Henry Banda to win 3-0. Also yesterday, Egypt’s highest ranked player, Sherif Sabry started the campaign for the North Africa against Botswana with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Shingirai Muzondiwa,

while Mohamed Safwat increased the lead with a 6-1, 60 victory over Phenyo Matong. Karim-Mohamed Maamoun and Karim Hossam completed the win with a 6-1, 6-1 win over the pair of Matong and Innocent Tidimane to give the host a 3-0 win again in their second group match. As it is, Egypt is still topping the group after its two matches ended 3-0 while Team Nigeria managed to beat Botswana 2-1 before yesterday’s 3-0 win over Zambia. The Benson Ishicheli-captained side needs a total victory against Egypt to be sure of fighting for the two slots available in Group II in 2014. Also in pool A, Algeria came back from their loss to Morocco on Wednesday to record a 2-1 win over Cameroun, while in pool B, Zimbabwe confirmed their superiority in the pool after recording another 3-0 win over Ghana. The Zimbabweans had on Wednesday beaten Kenya 3-0. In pool C, the fight for the top spot is between Namibia and Madagascar after Madagascar also defeated Rwanda 3-0, while Namibia recorded an overwhelming 3-0 win over Rwanda on Wednesday.

Shehu Lawal is one of the players expected to lift Team Nigeria over Egypt today.

How Nigeria junior athletes can conquer in Ukraine, South Africa, by Ojokolo By Gowon Akpodonor ORMER African 100m FEndurance women champion, Ojokolo says Team Nigeria’s junior athletes can only triumph at the fast approaching Africa and World Junior Athletics Championship in South Africa and Ukraine respectively if those with the interest of athletics at heart could speak in one voice. The Africa and World Junior

Why we engaged coaches on contract in Lagos, by Oshodi By Olalekan Okusan HE engagement of coaches on contract by Lagos State has been justified by the Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi, who said there is need to assess the performance of the tacticians. Speaking at a ministerial briefing yesterday, Oshodi, who listed some of the activities of the ministry in the last 12 months, added that it became necessary to place the coaches on contract in line with what obtains in other countries. “All over the world, coaches are engaged on contract basis because it is their performance that determines whether


Godfrey Oboabona is a product of the Ondo State grassroots sports development programme.

Mimiko U-18 International Soccer Tourney Braga president leads other European chiefs to Ondo By Tony Nwanne RAGA FC of Portugal B President, António Salvador is expected to lead other European football chiefs to the first Mimiko International Soccer Tournament, tagged: MISTON 2013, which kicks off on June 5 in Akure. Sixteen teams drawn from within and outside the country are expected to vie for honours at the championship, which holds in venues in Akure, Owo and Ikare Akoko. Vice Chairman of Caring Heart Sports Foundation, which is organising the championship, Akin Akinbobola told journalists in Lagos yesterday that 16 clubs have registered for the competition, adding that some of the teams are coming from overseas. According to Akinbobola, who listed the foreign teams as FC Braga of Portugal, Ask of Cyprus, Yerima FC of Cote d’Ivoire, as well as one each from Ghana and Togo said all the participants have paid their registration fee of $500 each. He disclosed that the teams

would be paid participation fee from which they would cater for their accommodation and feeding, adding that the kick off the competition would be preceded by a novelty match involving a team trained by Governor Olusegun Mimiko against a side trained by his wife, Oluremi Mimiko. “This initiative is a purely private sector driven event aimed at giving indigent talented footballers the opportunity to be discovered by local and international scouts, who will be there to cover the competition. “The MISTON will pitch young boys from Ondo State against their peers from across Nigeria and other foreign countries. The competition would help them develop their talents, expand their horizon, and make them potential stars that could in the future represent Nigeria. “The novelty match on May 29 is one of the avenues we will generate funds for the championship because every player on that day will pay for his jersey.


their contracts would be renewed or not. For us in Lagos, we place emphasis on performance and we believe that the contract we give these coaches will make them to realise that if they didn’t do well, their contracts would be terminated. So, we are just following what obtains in other parts of the world and we believe Nigeria will begin to do this as well,” he said. He also assured that the sporting facilities across the state would be put to use, as over 12 tournaments in various sports would be staged monthly, adding that this would help to make the facilities functional, while maintenance would be ensured as well.

Athletics championships will hold in June and Ojokolo, who is one of the coaches preparing Team Nigeria athletes at the University of Port Harcourt, believes that team spirit and encouragement from lovers of athletics was what the athletes need to excel. The former Afro-Asia 100m champion pleaded with critics of the Solomon Ogba-led leadership of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) board to sheathe their swords, saying, “those criticising the AFN at the moment are not doing athletics any good. Since I retired as an athlete, no president of the AFN has given youth athletics championship the kind of boast we have witnessed since 2009. “The strength of Nigeria’s

athletics is in the youth and Ogba has demonstrated his love for the game by investing so much in the youth programmes. I think the best way to develop our sports is to encourage him,” she stated. Speaking further, Ojokolo, who ruled the Mobil Track and field championship for more than a decade, said: “We know how things were before he took charge of athletics in this country. I thank God he won, but our people should learn to encourage others for things to move on in this country.” On preparation for the African and World Junior championships, Ojokolo revealed that the athletes are in top shape, adding that Team Nigeria would make the country proud.

MTN’s Football Scholar thrills Odegbami, Adepoju national team FandORMER stars, Segun Odegbami Mutiu Adepoju have described the MTN Football Soccer youth development initiative, which gives talented children football and academic scholarship, as one of the best things to happen to the Nigerian youth. Speaking during the unveiling of the third season of the

Green Eagles’ former Captain, Segun Odegbami, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN, Kolawole Oyeyemi, Chief Executive Officer PPM, Ghandi Olaoye and Super Eagles’ former star, Mutiu Adepoju, at the press conference to kick-off the season three of the MTN Football Scholar in Lagos…on Wednesday.

initiative, the duo praised MTN for making the dreams of aspiring soccer stars come true. Odegbami, who, during his active playing days combined academics with football, explained how extending education alongside soccer to young talents has been his vision. According to him, this is the best way to ensure that the future crop of Nigerian players and those, who couldn’t make a living through the game have some other careers to fall back on. “The MTN Football Scholar is the only initiative in Africa that combines education with soccer among all youth development initiatives, across the continent,” he added. Also speaking on the initiative, Adepoju cited examples of his team-mates in his playing days in Spain, who were now medical doctors and lawyers, and admonished the select soccer stars, Sampson Isaac, Ekeh-Shadrach Chizoma, Oyeniyi Adebare and Sefia Tega Joel, who have already secured admissions into colleges in the United States and Canada, to represent the nation well and keep their focus.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


Heroes Of A three-pointer’s decades of For more than two decades Tayelolu Adeniyi-Mash has been involved in basketball different capacities, and she has never at any moment regretted embracing the game. From her primary school days at Methodist Primary School, Akure, to her secondary education at St Dominic’s High School also in Akure, Ondo State, Adeniyi-Mash never hid her passion for sports. Her stars started shinning at Methodist School, where she first began competitive sports, representing her house in different events in the inter-house sports competitions. But it was at St Dominic’s High School that she fell in love with basketball and athletics. Even as young as a 14-year-old class three student, she was voted the most valuable player (MVP) of the now-rested Vitamalt U-17 Basketball Championship in 1985, which made her an instant star in Ondo. When she left secondary school her desire to attain great heights in the game was such that she was forced to trick the Ondo State Sports Council to allow her join the Nigeria Police Force. But her parents’ indifference to the force forced her to quit the game. But determined to make it big in basketball, she pitched her tent with the Eko Fliers, now Dolphins Basketball Club and First Bank Club, where she featured for the banker’s team for 14 years. She was part of the first Nigeria women team to win medal at the All Africa Games when the Tigress claimed bronze at the 1995 All Africa Games in Harare, Zimbabwe, while she was also in the bronze medal-winning team to the 1999 edition in South Africa. But injury prevented her from the team in 2003. With First Bank, she won series of laurels, including the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) player of the year award at several occasions. The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Physical Health Education (PHE) graduate also featured for the school in the NUGA Games. Fielding questions from OLALEKAN OKUSAN, the National Institute for Sports (NIS)-trained tactician said her romance with sports has opened windows of opportunities for her, including giving her a husband. ROWING up in Akure, the Ondo State capital, G afforded Tayelolu Adeniyi-Mash the opportunity to embrace sports early in life, as she became involved in various sporting activities during her primary school education. Like every other pupil, she was involved in athletics and the season of inter-house sports competition was a time she always looked forward to. “At Methodist School, we were fond of taking part in athletics and I was also actively involved in it. Inter-house sports competitions was a time we were always looking forward to because this helped us to interact very well among ourselves. I never had the opportunity to represent my school because I was too tiny to compete with the seniors, but I was very active in the school when it comes to sports,” she narrated. For her secondary education, Adeniyi-Mash moved to St Dominic’s High School, where she continued with athletics and at a time became the school 800 metres champion. But it was in the basketball court that she found expression for her latent talents. She was introduced to the game by a senior student in the school and from there she could not look back. “There was a day we were playing in the school compound and one of our seniors, Peter Makanjuola, invited some of us to join him in playing basketball. He (Peter) was very tall and when he saw me he initially told me I would not be able to play the game because it is meant for tall people. “But I insisted that I would join them and I did. I was regular in all the training sessions organized at the Ondo State Sports Council and I became the only player among my colleagues that finally embraced the game whole-heartedly. “From there, I started devoting more time to basketball and I was part of the pioneer team of the school where we took part in series of the tournaments within the state in the 1980s,” she explained. Just like a golden fish that had no hiding place, Adeniyi-Mash was singled out from the school team to join the state’s junior team. “I was very good at three point shooting and this most times helped my team to triumph in series of competitions we took part in. My performance in most of the state’s school competitions prompted the state coaches to invite me to the state team. “I teamed up with the state junior team and in 1988, we travelled to Lagos to take part in the famous Vitamalt U-17 Championship. I was in class three and in my first outing in the competition I was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the championship.” Even with her star beginning to shine, her parents disapproved her participation in sports. In fact, her mother did everything possible to discourage her from taking part in sports. She said: “At several occasions, she will assign me some difficult house chores in order to keep me at home and whenever I went behind her to

take part in sports, she would discipline me very well. But I was never discouraged, as I was determined to make it big in the game. “But the day I won the MVP award at the Vitamalt tournament, I was told to invite my mother and the whole school stood still for me to receive the award. All the major media in Ondo State were present to cover the event. This reception thrilled my mother that she decided to leave me to take active part in sports. “After the event, I became an instant hero in the school and this also led the school management to select me as the sports prefect.” As the school sports prefect, Adeniyi-Mash led the school to a lot of competitions and in athletics she dominated the 800 metres event in the school. “As the school prefect, a lot of students looked up to me both on court, track and in class. I had to balance this to remain relevant to the students. “Despite my involvement in sports, I never allowed my studies to suffer because I knew that my mother was really trying her best to give me the education. I had lost my father before I was made a prefect. So I needed to be able to combine sports with my academics. Aside the reception I got after the MVP award at the Vitamalt tournament held in Lagos, I was offered scholarship by the Governor Olabode George-led government for my performance. “So I did not pay school fees throughout my time in secondary school from class three,” she said. On the two occasions that Adeniyi-Mash featured in the Vitamalt tournament, Ondo State finished runners up, but she claimed individual awards for her performance. After her secondary education, the Ondo State Sports Council employed her. She represented the state at the 1991 National Sports Festival in

But the day I won the MVP award at the Vitamalt tournament, I was told to invite my mother and the whole school stood still for me to receive the award. All the major media in Ondo State were present to cover the event. This reception thrilled my mother that she decided to leave me to take active part in sports Adeniyi-Mash


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

School Sports romance with basketball Bauchi. But her desire to make it big in the game prompted her to join the Nigeria Police with the intention of playing for the Police team. “I knew that there was nothing for me to prove in Ondo State again and I desired new challenges, but the Ondo State Sports officials did not want me to leave because they knew my potentials in the game. “But I had to convince them that I was invited to the Police team’s camp in Lagos. So they allowed me to leave thinking that I would return after the camping. But as young as I was then I joined the police and I was at their college in Ikeja for several weeks undergoing training and also playing for the police team. “But my mother and my brother, who was now my father, were not aware of my joining the police. Even when I got to the police college, so many of my colleagues were wondering why such a young girl was looking for in the police. But at the back of my mind, it was basketball that made me to join the police,” she said. Continuing she said: “I was playing for the police team and I was also doing the course at Ikeja, but when my family discovered I was with the police, they told me to quit and I Adeniyi-Mash (third from right) with the women national team – Tigress agreed to quit the force. After quitting the police, I had to leave the police team as well. So I training tour of Cuba. In one of the international outings of the joined the Eko Fliers now known as Dolphins Basketball Club to continue with my career.” men’s team, D’Tigers, in Athens, Greece, At Eko Fliers, Adeniyi-Mash looked up to top Adeniyi-Mash and four others in the women players like Josephine Akiga, who was in the national team accompanied the team and it national team, but she noticed that most of was there she inked a deal with Esperous Basthe players in the national team featured for ketball Club of Athens in 2000. First Bank Basketball club. This also fired her “I was determined to fulfill my desire of playto up her game to be able to team up with the ing in the WNBA, so I was looking for an opportunity to fulfill this. in 2000, I was among financial institution side. “I wanted to play for the national team, the five female national team players that acwhich was my dream as a player but I knew companied the male national team to the that for me to make it to the team, I needed to World Championship in Athens, Greece and join a top team like First Bank. So after leaving when we got there I started doing trials with Dolphins, I pitched my tent with First Bank clubs. and it was while there that I got a call up to “Eventually, I signed for Esperous Club. While I was playing professionally in Greece, I was althe national team in 1995. “Fortunately, I joined the national team in ways invited to the national team. Also some doing, you must work hard for it. That was preparation for the All Africa Games in of the my teammates in the national team has what helped me when I was in the national Harare, Zimbabwe in 1995 and in the team, I also got scholarships to study in Oklahoma team. I never had any course to be harassed met with players like Akiga, who was a fan- University in United States. Fortunately for by any coach or player because I worked hard tastic player I loved to be like,” Adeniyi-Mash me, I was also offered the scholarship to the for my place in the team.” university and I tried to apply for visa in On quitting the national team, Adeniyisaid. With her eyes on the Women National Bas- Greece but I was told to return to Nigeria be- Mash, a trained National Institute for Sports ketball Association (WNBA) league in United cause my work permit in Greece would not (NIS) coach, took up the task of her tutoring his former team, Dolphins. She is she is now States, Adeniyi-Mash became an integral part allow me to get the visa in Athens,” she said. of the Tigress that she was part of the first Adeniyi-Mash returned to Nigeria and “when running a camp called Swimgman Shooting Nigeria female team to win a medal at the All I got to the America Embassy I was not given Camp, which is meant to teach kids how to Africa Games when the team settled for visa because they said I was already a profes- shoot in basketball. sional player and that it would not be possible It was while playing the game that she met bronze in Zimbabwe. After the games in Zimbabwe, she returned for me to be given the visa. I told them I her husband and their courtship was conjuto First Bank and while with the team she got wanted to further my studies but they re- gated in 2006 and the marriage is blessed admission to study Physical and Health Edu- jected me. This really pained me because I with two lovely kids. With the 1994 national league trophy with First Bank cation (PHE) at Obafemi Awolowo University knew that if I got to U. S. my dream of playing in the WNBA would surely come to pass. So I (OAU). She was part of the OAU team to the 1996 had to return to Greece. I was invited to the West Africa University Games (WAUG) hosted camp for the 2003 All Africa Games, but I twisted my knee along the line, which preby University of Benin (UNIBEN). “I knew that I was making some money play- vented me from playing at the games. I was ing basketball but I thought of what would with the team to the training tour of Cuba.” Aside missing the 2003 All Africa Games happen to me if I copped an injury. Since I knew that my parents wanted me to go to through injury, Adeniyi-Mash was really bitter school, so I tried and was able to secure ad- with the way she narrowly missed out from mission to OAU to study PHE, which I believed the team to 2006 Commonwealth Games in would help me in my game and make me rel- Melbourne, Australia, blaming the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) for their inabilevant after my career. “I was playing for First Bank as well studying ity to secure visa for her and some officials. Explaining her shooting ability, Adeniyiat OAU,” she said. With First Bank, Adeniyi-Mash won a lot of Mash said: “I think shooting three points was laurels, including the National League in one of the assets that stood me out among the 1994, as well as taking part series of club team. As a player, I knew I had to work hard to championships in Mali, Gabon, Togo and make the team and I was not ready to seek before making the team. Senegal. For the eight years she played for the na- “In whatever I do, I always strive for the best. tional team, she was known as a three-point So I trained personally everyday to perfect my shooter and at various times her skills helped skills in shooting. My day starts at 5am with a the team to triumph. But before the 2003 All work out and then shooting for two hours beAfrica Games in Abuja, injury prevented her fore I joined the team in the daily training at from featuring for the national team, even 8am. though she was with the team during the “So for you to be the best in whatever you are Adeniyi-Mash (standing in the middle) as coach of Dolphins

So for you to be the best in whatever you are doing, you must work hard for it. That was what helped me when I was in the national team. I never had any course to be harassed by any coach or player because I worked hard for my place in the team

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


SchoolSports Milo Secondary School Basketball Championship

Lagos tips Ogun for grand finale title, as Delta wins Western confab final By Olalekan Okusan ITH what they experiW enced during the final of the Western Conference of the Milo Secondary School Basketball Championship, Lagos team – International School, Lagos (ISL) believes Ogun’s Adedokun International School has what it takes to rule during the grand finale. Even before the Conference final played at the Liberty Stadium, Coach Ernest Ijeoma of ISL never doubted his lads ability to dominate the Ogun team, but his hope was dashed when the Ogun team confirmed their dominance in the explosive encounter. Ijeoma blamed his team lose to his players, saying, “they refused to follow my instruction throughout the match.” “I want to be sincere with you that the Ogun team will be unstoppable when it comes to the grand finale

because they have some fantastic players that every coach will be willing to have in his team. They are fully fit in all department of the game and they are going to be a worthy champion when the finale holds in July,” Ijeoma admits. “Despite the Ogun team’s performance, I think my players failed to follow my instructions and this caused the loss. But in all, we are hoping that we will get one of the wildcards to be part of the Lagos finale,” he added. To emerge champion in the boys’ event, Adedokun International School Ota, Ogun State defeated ISL 35-29 points in an explosive encounter. An elated coach of Adedokun International School, Akindele Peter, whose side played without a reserve after some members of the team were screened out by the organisers, attributed the victory to God’s

Action from the Lagos State Baseball and Softball Association-organised schools tournament.

Owumi, Omughele counsel players ahead Delta Governor’s Cup semis By Gowon Akpodonor LAYERS of the four schools that will do battle in the semi final of Delta Governor’s Cup football competition have been told to make good use of the opportunity to lay the foundation for their soccer career. Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogwashi-Uku, DonDomingos School, Warri, Edjekota Secondary School and Alegbo Secondary School, Effurun will do battle


in the semi-final scheduled for May 22 in Asaba and Agbor. Two ex-internationals, Davidson Owumi and John Omughele said in separate interviews during the week that the students would have a lot to gain if they give the competition the best attention it deserve. “Apart from the immediate financial and material gains, a competition as the Governor’s Cup gives you the opportunity to lay the foun-

dation of your career,” Owumi, a member of the Technical Study Group, said. “I started from school football in the old Bendel State and I can say that for one to be a successful footballer, you have to make good use of the like competitions Governor’s Cup, Principal Cup, inter schools games and the Academicals. These boys must count themselves lucky to have played to this stage of the competition because there are so much to gain.”

Effortswill defies downpour to stage health walk T was fun and excitement all flex their muscle while having not giving up despite the IEffortswill the way as parents and staff of fun. downpour. Schools, Ejigbo took Earlier in his address, the “We have been focusing on Players compete at the 2012 grand finale of Milo Secondary School Basketball Championship held at the National Stadium. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Bola Immaculate marks inter-house sports meet HE 2013 Inter House Sport T of Bola Immaculate Montessori School, Owutu, Ikorodu will hold today at the Open Field beside Landmark College Hostel, Unity Estate, Ojokoro, Owutu, Ikorodu. According to the Head Teacher of the school, Godfrey Omoluwa, four houses; Faith (Yellow), Love (Green), Joy (Blue) and Peace (Navy) would compete during the one-day event. “Yellow House won the overall trophy at the last meet and we expect other houses to give them a tough fight for the trophy this year,” said

Omoluwa. Omoluwa disclosed that series of events have been lined up for this year’s edition of the meet, which include 25m, 75m, 100m, 200m, 4 x 100m (relay) as well as 4 x 400m races. “There will also be old students’ race, parents/teachers race as well as invitational relay races from invited schools. The chairman of the day is Pastor Erhiotor-Pat Efe while the Father of the day is Mr. O. Oluwagbemiga and Mother of the day is Mrs. Adogbeji,” said Omoluwa.

to the street last weekend to mark the maiden health walk organised by the school’s Parents Teachers Association (PTA). Led by the Proprietress, Mrs. Bosede Adeyemo, the PTA Chairman, Obafemi Alonge and the participants were supported by the officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Lagos State Ambulance Unit with the take off from the school premises along the Isolo Road before halting at Hostel Bus Stop in Egbe. Despite the heavy downpour that nearly marred the exercise, all the participants completed the three kilometers walk with no casualty recorded. There was an aerobic session at the end of the walk, which lasted five minutes. PTA boss said the health week would be annual event in the school calendar, adding that the essence of the walk is to enable parents and teachers to

our children through interhouse sports and other invitational school sports, which have brought laurels for the school. We decided to host this walk so as to boost our mental state of health. I want to commend everybody for

guest speaker, Dr. Jonathan Esegine attributed several factors like sickness, mental problem, government policies, natural disasters, crime, traffic and poor business performances as the causes of stress among Nigerians.

Toyibat wins LAPSSDA football tourney OYIBAT School has T emerged champions of the football event of the 9th Lagos State Private Schools Sport Development Association (LAPSSDA) tournament. The tournament was held at the Agege Stadium and it also featured track and field events.  Toyibat Schools defeated Alimosho Local Government 5-4 on penalties after regulation time ended 1 -1 to lift the trophy at the end of proceedings. Coach of Toyibat School, Peter Eneojo said the school is well known not only for academic excellence and also in sports. He explained that the competition is preparatory to a major tournament the school will take part later in the year. Meanwhile, LAPSSDA Secretary, Samuel Ogunfowora said the essence of the competition was to help groom fresh talents for the country and also take the minds of youth off social vices.

Athletes compete at the maiden Premier Lotto Lagos Schools Athletics Championship held at Teslim Balogun Stadium. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

European Football

Chelsea set for £100m summer spree HELSEA will build on their C Europa League success by going on a £100m summer spending spree, according to outgoing interim Manager, Rafa Benitez. Having overseen the 2-1 victory over Benfica in his penultimate game in charge, Benitez expects there to be several new arrivals at Stamford Bridge during the forthcoming window. “Chelsea will be much better next season because they will spend £100m and they will sign three or four players,” Benitez told Spanish radio. “They have good young players like Victor Moses, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Cesar

Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Fernando Torres, Oriol Romeu; they are all improving and they all have potential. “The foundation is already there. The future is bright for them.” Speculation has intensified that Jose Mourinho will return to the club this summer with reports he is due to leave Real Madrid, and veteran Paulo Ferreira is hoping the rumours becomes reality. “It’s not just me, I think everyone wants to see him come back,” Ferreira said. “This means titles and that is what the club wants.

Euro glory a team effort, says Cole SHLEY Cole praised the colA lective will of Chelsea following the last-gasp Europa League win in Amsterdam. The England left-back was making just his third appearance in the competition, but emerged with a winner’s medal to add to his extensive collection after Branislav Ivanovic’s stoppage-time header sealed a 2-1 victory over Benfica. It has been a successful week for the Blues, who last Saturday won at Aston Villa to all but secure a return to the Champions League they won in 2012 ahead of Sunday’s final game of the Premier League season at home to Everton. “I’m not too sure how many (medals) I’ve won, but I still enjoy the feeling of winning,” Cole told Chelsea TV. “I think we’ve got that mental-

ity never to give up. You look at the weekend against Villa we never gave up, kept the pressure on. “We dominated clear-cut chances and we’re lucky we’ve got Brana with his big head to score the header.” The victory saw Chelsea win a trophy at the eighth attempt this season and it was an unexpected success, given they tumbled into the Europa League only after suffering the ignominy of becoming the first holders to exit the Champions League at the group stages. Cole was determined to savour the triumph and insisted it was a squad effort, with everyone playing their part, including the likes of injured captain John Terry, forward Eden Hazard and Cole’s leftback Deputy, Ryan Bertrand.

Chelsea players celebrate their Europa League trophy after beating Benfica in Amsterdam

I will miss Ferguson, says Mourinho OSE Mourinho says it will not JTrafford be the same visiting Old without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm of Manchester United. The self-titled ‘Special One’ is widely expected to leave Real Madrid this summer to return to Premier League football with Chelsea. And with Ferguson taking charge of Manchester United for the final time this weekend before retiring, Mourinho admits he will miss seeing the United boss in the opposite dugout. “It will be difficult to go to Old Trafford, especially for the first time, to play against

Beckham retires from soccer AVID Beckham’s glitterD ing career as the world’s most recognisable soccer player is over. Yesterday morning the 38year-old Englishman


announced his retirement from the game, after winning the French league title with Paris Saint-Germain. The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA

Galaxy and PSG player has become not only one of the greatest names in world soccer but also a global icon. After captaining his country for many years, Beckham also became the first English player to win league titles in four different countries. Beckham released the following statement, confirming his retirement from the game. “I’m thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level,” Beckham said. “If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over one hundred times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy. I’m fortunate to have realised those dreams.” Beckham’s time with the English national team was monumental, winning a record 115 caps as an outfield player and he reflected on his success with England.

Manchester United without such a figure in the opposite dugout.” Jose Mourimho “We will all miss him and for me it will be difficult to go to Old Trafford, especially for the first time, to play against Manchester United without such a figure in the opposite dugout,” Mourinho told The Offside Rule podcast. Asked why Ferguson will be missed so much, Mourinho said, “he is unique and probably Manchester United are a unique club because they gave the manager the conditions to do the job he did. “Everybody knows that the beginning was not easy for

UEFA Champions League him. Everybody knows that it took him three or four years to win the first piece of silverware and Man United gave him the conditions to do an incredible job. After that he was unique, absolutely unique. “The number of trophies he won for Manchester United in English football is absolutely amazing and to manage for more than 20 years is incredible.” Mourinho built a strong friendship with Ferguson from the time the two managers met in a Champions League last-16 match in 2004 when Porto knocked United out of the competition.

Casillas has had terrible treatment at Madrid, says Xavi BARCELONA star, Xavi has labelled the treatment Spain teammate Iker Casillas has received at Real Madrid this season as “terrible.” The goalkeeper has been exiled from the first team by Jose Mourinho and regularly criticised by the coach in public, with the Santiago Bernabeu boss preferring to select January signing Diego Lopez between the sticks. Xavi has been dismayed to


see his club rival and international colleague go through such a hard time and says it is not what a player of Casillas’ standing deserves. “I don’t like to see an important player like Iker going through something like this,” he told a press conference. It is terrible and I don’t like it at all. Not so long ago they were putting him forward for the Ballon d’Or and now he’s being discarded.

Heineken Planet final ticket winners divided over Bayern, Dortmund HE five fans sponsored by T Heineken beer to watch the UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and their arch rivals, Borussia Dortmund, at Wembley stadium London, are sharply divided between the two German clubs. The Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, in their second consecutive final match, will take on Borussia Dortmund at the 75,000 capacity Wembley stadium in London, which would incidentally climax the 150-year celebration of the Football Association of England – the oldest football body in the world. Expectedly, all the five fans on Heineken’s fully sponsored journey to the final are united in their excitement at being the best among several UEFA Champions League fans in Nigeria that participated in a contest last month in Lagos to decide who enjoys this once in a life time two-day trip to London. However when the match starts at exactly 7:45pm Nigerian time, the friendship and excitement of the earlier visit to tourist locations in London will take the back stage because all five winners are sharply divided on the two finalists they will support in the epic match. Diana Nwajiaku-Smart, the only lady among the inventive traveling crew will not hide her excitement at seeing Bayern Munich lift the trophy at the end of the match as she hopes to have her picture taken with some of the prominent players of the Bavarian side. “This is their year after the pains of losing the trophy on home soil when undeserving Chelsea won via the lottery of a penalty shootout. I want to see Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben celebrating as opposed to the sobbing of last season’s final at the Allianz Arena,” she expressed.

THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013


To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country. I knew every time I wore the Three Lions shirt, I was not only following in a long line of great players, I was also representing every fan that cared passionately about their country.


Accolade as iconic

Beckham retires AVID Beckham is to retire from football D at the end of this season after an illustrious 20-year career. The former England captain made 115 appearances for his country and 394 for Manchester United, winning six Premier League titles and the Champions League. Beckham, 38, signed a five-month deal at Paris St-Germain in January. “I’m thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level,” he said. PSG have two more games before the end of the season, at home against Brest tomorrow and away to Lorient on 26 May. Beckham, who donates his salary with the newly crowned French champions to charity, has made 13 appearances since moving to Paris. The Leytonstone-born midfielder has played for United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG, lifting 19 trophies including 10 league titles. He is the only English player to win championships in four countries. “If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over 100 times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have realised those dreams.” Beckham joined United as a trainee in 1991, making his first-team debut the following year and signing his first professional contract in 1993. He became one of the world’s most highprofile sportsmen during his time at Old Trafford - and a global celebrity following his marriage to Victoria Adams of pop group the Spice Girls in 1999. Then came a move to Real Madrid in 2003 with whom Beckham clinched La Liga in

2007 before switching to the United States with LA Galaxy. He was loaned to AC Milan during the MLS off-season in 2009 and 2010, and his stay in the US ended when he signed for PSG. Beckham made his England debut against Moldova in 1996 and captained the side from 2000 to 2006, making his 115th and final England appearance in a 3-0 win over Belarus in 2009. “To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country. I knew every time I wore the Three Lions shirt, I was not only following in a long line of great players, I was also representing every fan that cared passionately about their country,” he said. Beckham was the first English player to score at three consecutive World Cup finals and has the joint-second most goal assists in European Championship finals history. He played a significant role in the successful bid to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London and in March of this year became the first sportsman from outside of China to be invited to become the ambassador for the sport in the country. “Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love,” added Beckham. “However, I feel like I’m starting a new adventure and I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead. I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.” UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “David Beckham has been an outstanding footballer throughout his career. Not only that - he has been a brilliant ambassador for this country, not least if we remember all the work he did in helping us win London 2012.” England manager, Roy Hodgson added: “He’s had a glittering career, iconic status, and I wish him well in the future.” Beckham concluded his statement by thanking his family. “I wouldn’t have achieved

what I have done today without my family. I’m grateful for my parents’ sacrifice, which made me realise my dreams,” he said. “I owe everything to Victoria and the kids, who have given me the inspiration and support to play at the highest level for such a long period.” Sven-Goran Eriksson says David Beckham will be remembered as the “world’s biggest sports personality” after the player announced his retirement yesterday. Beckham was Eriksson’s captain throughout his tenure as England manager from 2001 to 2006. The Swede said: “He’s a fantastic footballer, fantastic man and probably the world’s biggest sports personality. “I don’t think there is any other football player more popular than him. He was a very, very good captain.” Eriksson, who is now technical director of Al Nasr in Dubai, added: “I remember all the matches with England and all the travelling - airports, hotels - it was all about Beckham, all the time.” The 65-year-old said his abiding memory of Beckham’s England career was the stoppage-time free-kick he scored against Greece in 2001 to ensure qualification for the 2002 World Cup. “David had missed many free-kicks during that game, but was mentally very strong to take it when it was almost overtime, and he scored,” he said. “His biggest quality was that he was extremely professional in everything he was doing - and his right foot was not bad. “In some way I suppose he will stay in football, I’m quite sure about that, as an ambassador or a coach. Anyway, he will be linked to football, I’m absolutely sure about that. I’m not sure he wants to be a manager.” Former England players have also paid tribute to Beckham. Gary Lineker described Beckham as a great role model, tweeting  that he is a “wonderful player, global superstar and a magnificent ambassador for England and football”. Gary Neville, who played alongside Beckham at Manchester United and England, added: “He has probably been the most influential player out of England in transforming football. The impact he has had is enormous.” Another ex-England team-mate, Darius Vassell, added: “He’s never really strayed from the football side of things and some of the younger players can aspire to be like him. He’s a great ambassador for the sport. Lee Sharpe, who played alongside Beckham at United early in his career, said his achievements in football “have been remarkable”, adding that he will “achieve a lot” in whatever he goes on to do in his career. Beckham did not play for England under current manager Roy Hodgson, who has been manager of the national side since May last year. But the former West Bromwich Albion boss hopes Beckham will remain in football in some capacity. “David is a man with many talents and a lot of people will now be offering him different jobs, but I’m rather hoping we will be able to keep him in football,” said Hodgson. “I congratulate him on a glittering career and wish him well in the future, whatever he chooses to do.” Football Association chairman, David Bernstein called Beckham a “great of the game”, adding: “David always played with the greatest passion and became an iconic figure in our national game. I am sorry to see him go but wish him and his family very well in his retirement.” FIFA president, Sepp Blatter described Beckham as an “inspiration to millions”, tweeting:  “David grew up as a football-loving child and achieved his dreams, and unquestionably inspired millions of boys and girls to try and do the same.”


THE GUARDIAN, Friday May 17, 2013

Nadal struggles to beat qualifier Gulbis

Murray will make it to French Open, says Rusedski REG Rusedski expects G Andy Murray to play in the French Open. The world number two gave a pessimistic assessment of his back problem after pulling out of the Masters event in Rome on Wednesday, stating he would be “very surprised” if he made it to Paris. Murray struggled with the injury during the clay-court season last year and revealed he has experienced pain on and off for the past 18 months. The Scot will have a scan tomorrow before sitting down with his team to decide whether or not to play at Roland Garros. With Wimbledon coming only two weeks after the French Open and the US Open later in the summer, where he will defend his first grand slam title, Murray is keen to make sure he does not compromise his chances at either of those tournaments. Rusedski, though, thinks the 26-year-old will be extremely reluctant to miss such an important event. The former British number one, who will be a pundit for British Eurosport during the French Open, told Press Association Sport, “it’s a concern but most players have various injuries and niggles during their careers.

“Once he gets the results of the scan then we’ll know more but if there’s a chance he can play I think he’ll go for it. If he wants to be world number one, which I’m sure is one of his goals, then it’s a massive tournament. “Of course he’s got to think about his future and if it’s something that could affect the rest of his career. He’s also got a tremendous amount of points to defend later in the summer but I’ve got a sneak-

ing suspicion that he’ll play.” If fit, Murray will go into Wimbledon as one of the big favourites having reached his first final last year, where he led Roger Federer by a set before losing in four. The Scot’s mother, Judy, indicated that will be at the front of his mind when he makes the decision whether or not to go to Paris. “Obviously the goal is to be in peak condition for Wimbledon,” Judy Murray


IX-TIME champion, Rafael Sworst Nadal overcame one of the opening sets of his

told BBC Sport. “The scan will let him see what the injury is and what needs to be done. Often you pick up niggles when you change surfaces. Each surface brings its own problems and challenges. This back issue has been rumbling for a week or so. “It’s not so easy on the clay. There is a lot more twisting and turning. He needs to be cautious and I’m sure Wimbledon will be his priority.”

career to edge Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 yesterday and reach the Italian Open quarter-finals. Nadal’s performance, and sometimes sluggish movement on the court, raises questions about whether he will be able to successfully defend his title at the French Open. The year’s second Grand Slam starts in 10 days. Nadal will next face fourthseeded David Ferrer, who advanced when Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany withdrew because of dizziness. Nadal, however, was far from his best, especially in the first set, in which Gulbis

jumped to a 5-0 lead and even had a point to close out the set at love. But Nadal, who has reached the final in all seven tournaments he has played since returning to the circuit in February from a sevenmonth break because of a left knee injury, eventually began to win the longer points while the carefree Gulbis started to commit more errors. Nadal won last week’s Madrid Open but his run of eight consecutive titles in the Monte Carlo Masters ended last month with a straight-set loss to Djokovic in the final. Nadal said this week he now trains for about 50 minutes a day compared with two hours a year ago.

UEFA Champions League final awaits fans on GOtv HEN one thinks of the W world’s biggest annual sporting events, an avid foot-


ball fan will immediately think of the UEFA Champions League. This is a league that is composed of Europe’s best talent from the domestic leagues, and is sprinkled with theatrics, drama and a sheer display of prime talent. The UEFA Champions League is also a tournament that has been dominated by long-time rivals and Spanish powerhouses, Real Madrid and Barcelona. But this season, that domination has come to an end.

On Saturday, May 25 at 8.00 pm on GOtv’s SuperSport Select, GOtv’s GOgetters will be treated to a spectacle that is a moment in history; two of Germany’s Bundesliga stalwarts, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, taking on each other. This game will not only be a chance at UEFA glory but an opportunity for the longtime adversaries to prove who deserves to be called the ultimate champion: Bayern Munich, which thrashed Barcelona a dizzying 7-0 aggregate, or Borussia Dortmund, which stood up to Real Madrid’s feistiness.


THE GUARDIAN, Friday, May 17, 2013

GolfWeekly 11 to represent Nigeria at U.S. Kids European Golf Championships in Scotland TOTAl of 11 teen golfers A will represent Nigeria at this month’s U.S. Kids

Abuja-based professional golfer, Aminu Baba taking little Miss Mariam Dan-Bello through the basics at the driving range of the IBB Golf and Country Club, Abuja PHOTO: ENO-ABASI SUNDAY

How Nigeria’s dream came crashing at Cameroon International tourney Stories by Eno-Abasi Sunday IGERIA’S dream of winN ning the Cameroon International Open Golf Championship for a record third time, came crashing on the final day, when the duo of Gift Willy and Oche Andrew Odoh faltered in the final round. It was the second time in as many weeks that Willy was missing the chance of walking away with the lion share of the winning purse of a major tourney in the continent. Only penultimate week, an opening day gaffe on the 18th hole denied him the a taste of victory in far away Gabon, where he, his compatriot, Oche Andrew Odoh and some African nationals bided for honours at the 18th Moanda Open Golf Championship in the central African nation. Willy’s error in the Gabon event was good for defending champion, Ghana’s Vincent Torgah, who after overtaking the Nigerian, steadied his game and obtained victory

with a robust five-stroke lead, pocketing the top prize of $10, 000 at stake. He carded a total of 282, six under par to push Willy to the second spot. At the Cameroon tourney, which was played on two golf courses last week, the two Nigerians were again in contention for the trophy and prize money going into the closing round at the likomba Golf Course in Douala, after

their first three rounds results placed them in the top three positions as Willy posted +2 (having played 73, 71, 74) and Odoh stood at +3 (having shot (75, 73, 71). The Nigerian flag bearers, however, attributed the turn out of events to the stress they had to contain with going into the tourney as they were forced to play 36 holes in one day, having missed the first day’s play

due to flight cancellation by Cameroon Airlines Corporation (CAMAIRCO). The cancellation was just hours before their flight was scheduled to leave libreville, Gabon, where they participated in the 18th Moanda O p e n . “I think we collapsed under the weight of the stress we had undergone prior to the event…either of us could have won the event,” Odoh,

who finished third stated. “It was very harrowing experience, we were just lucky that the organisers were ready to accommodate us in spite of the flight connection issue we had. But then, you can’t have it all,” Willy added. Frenchman Frederick Coupiliab, won the €30000 tourney on his debut while defending champion, Emos Korblah settled for second position.

Odoh, Tarimo shine at Olu of Warri championship FTER a 72-hole battle at the A Shell club, Ogunnu, near Warri, Delta State, Minna, Niger State-based Martin Odoh emerged winner of the professional event of the 1st Olu of Warri Golf Championship. Odoh’s win was his first since 2011 when he lifted the Osun Open trophy at the MicCom Golf and Country Club, Ada, Osun State. In the same event teenage

star, Youdeowei Tarimo stunned the field of over 120 players to lift the overall amateur prize after he carded 69 one under par in his round of play. Odoh, trailing by seven strokes at the start of the third round surged forward to displace third day leader, Chukwudi Okoro, who failed to hold onto a lead in the tourney, which had a different leader on all three days.

Edet Umoh and Chukwudi Okoro shared the lead after round one, Ikeja-based Chidi Tobias led the second day with a six under par (64) but gave it away and was replaced by Okoro on the third day. Chairman of Delta State Golf Association, Daniel Mayuku expressed delight at the level of competition in the professional’s round saying, “it just means that a lot of players were working on their game

and victories won’t come easy again. It is a good development.” Meanwhile, Pam David from Dragon Golf Club in Jos finished one shot behind Tarimoh therefore beating Emein G. a homeboy to the third spot. The five-day event with N5m pro purse was in commemoration of the 26th coronation anniversary of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II.

European Golf Championships taking place in Gullane, Scotland, where they will vie for honours alongside over 500 other children from 30 other countries. The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Kids Golf International (KGI) Academy, who is also the Oloni of Eti-Oni in Osun State, Oba Taiwo Thompson, will lead the kids to the championships. About four of the kids are United States-based while the Nigeria-based one play out of different golf clubs in the country including Ikoyi Club 1938, Enugu Golf Club, Enugu State, Sagamu Golf Club, Ogun State, Kaduna Golf Club, Kaduna and Rayfield Golf Club in Plateau State. They include Georgia Oboh, Anita Uwadia, Chinwe Obuaya, Avani Prashanth, Kenile Offili, Jordan Thompson, Manji Gimsay, Diana Osmond, Chiemere Isife, Paul Odoh, Osiregbeme Egbakhumeh and Samuel Manchang. Preparations for their departure, according to Kids Golf International (KGI) Nigeria have reached advanced stage just as the affected teen golfers were said to be joggling their practice with academic works elegantly. However, Odoh would not make the trip, which also serves as a qualifier for Callaway World Golf Championships in San Diego, California, United States from July 14th to 19th because his examinations falls within this period. The children will be chaperoned by their parents, relatives and some government officials to the three-day international developmental programme, which runs from May 28 to 30. Gullane, venue of the tourney, is just minutes drive from Murifield, where this year’s British Open championships will take place. The players and their parents or chaperons will depart the country early next week to afford them time to settle down and practice in Gullane, and Thompson, who will be at the head of the KGI delegation has expressed delight at the quality of Nigerian representation. The monarch said he was delighted with the calibre of the players in the team describing them as dedicated and hardworking teenagers who are determined to come back with sil-


THE GUARDIAN, Friday May 17, 2013

While it’s certainly true that Woods is the most scrutinized golfer on the planet, watched by millions every time he enters a tournament, it’s impossible to ignore the pattern that’s developing: that time after time, when given the opportunity, Woods chooses the interpretation of the rules that’s most favorable to him. Each situation isn’t a huge deal when examined individually, but within a body of work they matter, especially when considering where he’s headed – straight at Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.


Woods in stormy waters again, invites cloud of suspicion ARELY a third of the way B into the 2013 golf season, Tiger Woods has already found himself the focus of three different rules controversies. He’s been questioned for his behavior on the course and, in effect, called a liar for his comments off it. He was penalised two strokes for an illegal drop at

the HSBC Championship in January, nearly got disqualified from the Masters after an illegal drop there and this past weekend was questioned for giving himself a favorable drop in the final round of The Players Championship. And if that weren’t enough, Sergio Garcia accused Woods of a breach of etiquette dur-

ing their third-round pairing on Saturday at The Players, leading to a he-said-she-said exchange from four course marshals, two of whom essentially called Woods a liar, two who defended him. All of this leads to the question: Why is this happening to Woods again and again? While it’s certainly true that Woods is the most scruti-

nized golfer on the planet, watched by millions every time he enters a tournament, it’s impossible to ignore the pattern that’s developing: that time after time, when given the opportunity, Woods chooses the interpretation of the rules that’s most favorable to him. Each situation isn’t a huge deal when examined individual-

ly, but within a body of work they matter, especially when considering where he’s headed– straight at Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. Let’s get this out of the way. There is absolutely no indication that Woods is cheating on the golf course. None. No golfer in history has been as closely monitored as he is. In an age where hi-definition television viewers can pick up when a ball rotates by a single dimple, there’d be nowhere for Woods to hide. But there is latitude in golf, which is a game officiated by the players themselves. So it’s worth an inspection when a player interprets the rules in a way that consistently benefits him. Consider, for instance, the infamous “loose impediment” ruling from the 1999 Phoenix Open. There, Woods hit his tee shot into the desert alongside the 13th hole; the ball came to rest behind a one-ton boulder roughly the size of a dishwasher. Woods asked whether the boulder was considered a “loose impediment,” meaning it could be moved without penalty. A rules official assented, and Woods asked members of the gallery to haul the boulder out of the way. They happily obliged, and Woods would go on to birdie the hole. And we already have three separate events in 2013 where Woods’ interpretation of the rules has come under scrutiny: • At the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, Woods (with the blessing of his playing partner Martin Kaymer) took a free drop after his ball was embedded in a bushel of vines. He was later assessed a two-stroke penalty for taking an illegal drop, and that was enough for him to miss the cut. • After putting his approach shot into the water on Hole 15 during the second round of the Masters, Woods took a drop behind where he hit his initial approach. That’s illegal, and he was assessed a penalty the next morning. Only through some legalistic gymnastics was Augusta National able to find an interpretation of the rules that kept Woods from being


disqualified. • At The Players on Sunday, Woods hit a ball into the water in the final round on the 14th hole. Both Woods and playing partner Casey Wittenberg agreed that the ball had hooked hard into the water, even though Woods had turned away from the tee shot before the ball even hit the water. Woods took a drop well up the fairway, rather than playing back from the tee, where it appeared from some replay angles to have last crossed land. You see where we’re going here. In every instance, Woods was conceivably within the rules– or at the very least could claim to be acting within what he thought were the rules– but in each case, he opted to err not on the side of caution but on whatever side benefited him. In one case, it got him sent home early; in another, he escaped that fate by the thinnest of margins. Golf also has expectations for player conduct on the course, and yet Woods constantly pushes that boundary as well. His tendency for screaming profanities on the course keeps broadcast directors up at night. Crowding competitors on the tee, walking off the green and taking the gallery with him before his opponent has finished putting, standing in sight lines … one man’s gamesmanship is another’s poor sportsmanship. This just-inside-the-lines style has become Woods’ trademark, and it leads to a perception that he cares only about what benefits him best. It’s worked quite well for him so far, but as Woods resumes his march into golf history, we’re entering new territory. Imagine for a moment that Woods had won the Masters in April, giving him major win number 15. Considering a sizeable faction (including some of his peers) believed he should have been disqualified from the tournament for the illegal drop, what then would we have made of his pursuit of Nicklaus’ record? What would history have made of it? It doesn’t seem that Woods considers public perception– his one public apology in the wake of the cheating scandal had all the warmth of a hostage video – which, of course, is his right. But while perception doesn’t always match reality, it can serve as a pretty accurate indicator of what’s causing the rumblings. In this case, it’s Woods’ interpretation of the rules of golf. If Woods was under heavy scrutiny before 2013, it’s only going to get more intense now that he is firmly back on track in his pursuit of Nicklaus. As Barry Bonds can testify, pursuit of a legend is hard enough; pursuit of a legend under a cloud of suspicion is a lonely road. Unlike Bonds, Woods has it in his power to dispel any concerns about his approach to the game. But so far, he’s shown little interest in doing so. He can certainly argue that he acted within the letter of the law. But can he credibly argue that he acted within the spirit of it? Culled from yahoosports


Friday, May 17, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Dolapo Aina “Writers don’t give prescriptions; they give headaches” Anthills of the Savannah - Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) “The moving finger writes, and having written moves on; nor all thy piety and wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line. Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it,” Edward Fitzgeral (1809-1883) in the Rubbaiyat of Omar Khayyam. “Writing is very easy. All you have to do is sit in front of a typewriter keyboard until little drops of blood appear on your forehead” - Red Smith “Language has not the power to speak what love incites. The soul lies buried in the ink that writes,” - John Clare N the evening of Friday, March 22, 2013, I stepped Ipages; into the cyberspace and after opening several web my attention was arrested by a headline in The Guardian newspaper website. The headline indicated that Prof Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, the foremost Nigerian poet, writer, author, essayist and social commentator, had passed on the previous Thursday. Nelson Mandela had once called him “the writer in whose company the prison walls came down”, and credited him “as the author who “brought Africa to the rest of the world”. Someone described Achebe as “a great man and academic star who was fearless to tell the truth as he saw it.” For someone who hardly reveals verbal exclamations in not-too-familiar surroundings, I had to exclaim “Ha! Oh my God!” According to Microsoft Encarta, Prof. Chinua Achebe, was born in 1930 in Ogidi. He was a Nigerian novelist and poet, widely recognised as the father of the African novel. His first and most influential novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), was written partially in indignation over the distorted and dehumanised representations of Africans in European fiction. The novel set the theme for Achebe’s later works: The changes brought about by Western influences on traditional African society. Unsentimental and often ironic, Achebe’s writings vividly conveyed the culture and the speech of the Igbo people. Born in Nigeria, when Nigeria was still a British colony, Achebe studied at a missionary school and earned a degree in English literature and history from the University College of Ibadan (now the University of Ibadan). He subsequently taught at various universities in Nigeria and the United States, including a long tenure as professor of languages and literature at Bard College in New York State. Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart in response to British colonialism and its human consequences. The book describes how the Igbo society began to fall apart after the arrival of European colonisers and missionaries in the late 1800s. Achebe’s subsequent novels No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987) describe the struggles of African individuals to bridge the gap between European expectations and African values, practices, and ways of life. In these novels traditional African society is repeatedly destroyed. The unblemished truth must be stated here, not until I read the first two chapters of There Was A Country did it occur to me that I hadn’t actually read any of Chinua Achebe’s books (Arrow of God, No longer At Ease and Arrow of God to name a few). How this eluded me during my secondary schools days, I can’t say. I discussed this disturbing finding with an acquaintance, who also confirmed likewise. The closest we got to Things Fall Apart was the TV series adaption of the globally-acclaimed book which was aired on state TV (NTA) in the early 80s. Anyone who watched the TV series would easily remember Okonkwo, perhaps the best-known character in modern African writing in English. And would definitely recollect and possibly hum or chorus the soundtrack to the TV series. Sometime in the final quarter of 2012, I was bombarded with a “barrage” of There Was a Country commentaries, reviews et al in the pages of news papers. I was not intimate with the uproar until I was at Business Hallmark newspaper, when the publisher (a former commissioner of information for Anambra and an avid reader) pulled out the hardcover copy of the acclaimed book and the excited uproar amongst the editorial board was evident. According to the publisher, a close friend from the North gave him a copy during the Muslim festivities as a gift. From then on, any comment on the book was devoured, scrutinised and analysed by me. But as the reader would attest to, there is nothing as fulfilling as experiencing an historic event. And there is nothing like creating your own history (for big thinkers in the global scheme of things). In the month of December 2012, I was held up in official duties, when I came across the paperback edition of the book. In a typical writer’s euphoric delight, I read with relish the first two chapters with the occasional pause to reflect on the masterpiece cum class-act of writing I read and saw before my eyes. I marvelled at the simple English I read. I was swept off my feet (not like a football defender’s tackle) by Chinua Achebe’s play with understandable grammar intertwined with witty-Igbo proverbs. There were occasions; I believe I must have shaken my head sideways like a bachelor who has finally found his angel. Other times, while reading the first two chapters I must have nodded my head like the proverbial Agama lizard. All the head movements because I concluded without any inkling of doubt, that the book was, is and

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The African writer whose pen had a conscience would still be a writer’s delight, a masterpiece of literal reckoning. I had to drop the book because of work and also because I was still engrossed in another book. I concluded that I would get the original copy (royalties must go the writer) and also original copies of his other books. To be candid, any writer worth his/her salt must read or must have read a Chinua Achebe book. For young Nigerians who are desirous for information on what transpired pre, during and post the civil war, There Was a Country is another addition to the collection which includes the civil wars books by Fredrick Forsythe and Prof. Wole Soyinka. Though, I haven’t read Wole Soyinka’s book on the civil war - The Man Died. During the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970), the government arrested Soyinka and held him in solitary confinement from 1967 to 1969—for 21 of the 27 months he was in prison. His time in jail prompted him to write the verse collection Poems from Prison (1969; republished as A Shuttle in the Crypt, 1972) and the prose work The Man Died (1972). But one thing about true writers is this, “true writers write and say it, the way it is”. Sometimes people in authority see or say that “writers’ utterances might seem and sound undiplomatic; (undiplomatic when lilies and “chicken-liveredry” have been or are being made of supposedly vocal men.” But hardly do writers sell their conscience (unlike an erst-

while popular Friday columnist whose articles after crossing over are to say the least, an attempt at staining our collective intellectual fabric). To use this present generation’s poetic state of literal mind, “real writers stay true to the game they proclaim, even if it hasn’t yet brought them fame and any deviation of the writer’s conscience is considered a shame.” The coined statement encapsulates Chinua Achebe. All what he said and wrote about Nigerian leaders, he reiterated for years. I remember he rejected national awards on two occasions (awards which now look like a “collection of civilised corporate cronies, convicts and celebrated criminals”). Twice Achebe was offered national honours. Twice he rejected them, arguing that “he was not one that would pose as holy in the day time and be in cosy alliance in the night with people he accuses in the day time”. And that “he was one who believed an elder should not eat his meal atop a heap of malodorous rubbish.”And as expected, the Rottweilers of the then president swung into action by going all out to discredit his rejection. When this scenario played out some years ago, I asked Chief Pius Oladapo Odebiyi (now late), a prolific publisher during his time, for his take. I informed him then, that as a young writer, accepting a national award from any Nigerian government for now would be going against my conscience. Several years down the line, my conviction hasn’t moved an inch. The famous British

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movie director - Guy Ritchie, former husband of Madonna (the pop star), rejected a knighthood from the Queen, on the basis that he wanted to be amongst the normal Britons and not carrying suspended shoulders. He wanted to be able to move freely amongst the populace. A day after Achebe departed this world, reading through Twitter exchanges between Femi FaniKayode and some of his followers, who believed Achebe should have accepted the national awards, I pondered and I ask thus, why then are genuine writers termed the voices of the masses or the vocalised writings of the vocally suppressed masses? If the globally-acclaimed writer had picked up any national award from politically and ethically discredited and jaundiced administrations, would honest, point-blank, open-hearted encomiums be this massive for him? Even those politicians who apparently hadn’t read but wanted some political currency from the publication of There Was a Country are all “falling in line” like obedient soldiers to eulogise his creativity and uncompromising integrity. Anyone who met him must have witnessed all this sterling qualities (Governor Babatunde Fashola’s body language spoke volumes when both of them were at an event in America late last year 2012). Anyone who ever heard his numerous interviews on the BBC(I heard the last one on BBC World Book Club hosted by Harriett Gilbert in 2008/9 and wrote down his advice on being a good writer) would surely have noticed a simple but principled witty elderly man talking. Forget the deliberate oversight of the Nobel committee for literature, we can re-write another literal world record, you know. Nigerians should make it a priority to buy only original copies of all Chinua Achebe’s books. The royalties must not go to “overclever” book pirates in Asia and their collaborators in Nigeria. Long before Nigeria gained her independence, Chinua Achebe had already set the ball rolling for African writers. African writers and particularly Nigerian writers (genuine writers and not sell-outs) should keep the ball rolling and in no way compromise their life-long painstakingly garnered credibility for several pieces of silver. “No Judas can flock with writers who are the masses’ shepherds.” Chinua Achebe never did. As far as Achebe was concerned, a writer or any artist for that matter was first and foremost a human person with deep human feelings and ethos. Not even when, Curtis Jackson III (the rapper better known as 50cent) offered Chinua Achebe $1million to make use of or rather buy the rights of the title Things Fall Apart for a movie project, did he compromise his integrity. But with the 50cent issue, we might never really know whether it was sentiment that was involved. Considering the fact that a lot of young Nigerians know more of 50cent than the writer, maybe an understanding then between both parties could have brought the prestigious writer’s classic book to the attention of this present generation. As someone opined in an article: “Although Achebe mentioned lizard in almost all his works, the honourable man of letters never learnt the art of lizarding. Chinua Achebe was not just a writer; he was a distinguished writer with the best and noblest of human virtues. A non-hypocrite. A nonbully.” Another opined that “Mr. Achebe was a gentle rebel who refused to shake the necrotic outstretched hands of corrupt leaders. He was an old breed, a wise man from a different generation who could not stand the wanton looting of Nigeria’s public coffers.” What this great African writer has entrenched in young writers is that as we mature and become more analytically precise (like Navy SEAL snipers) in our writing and critical (like the Booker Prize Committee) in our reading, we must begin to understand ‘‘the enormous power that stories have, and how much this power is moulded by who tells the stories and by how they are told’’. Also, that young Nigerians especially writers shouldn’t sell their birthrights for the simple excuse that they are hungry. Our soul and conscience as young Nigerians (and I daresay catalysts for change) should be non-negotiable. Even though, Twitter has made loads of young people literally lazy to conjure up at least 500 intelligent words rather than 140 characters. Someone opined that “volumes have already been written and a lot more is still to come on the life and times of Professor Chinua Achebe. His works will last as long as English literature with an African slant is taught worldwide.” Chinua Achebe’s departure has re-emphasised that the only person who can immortalise you is YOU and you better do it in your lifetime. He did his in his lifetime. Above all but most importantly, one would also hope that this great writer with a clear-cut conscience also sorted out his own salvation. Because at the end of it all, this is what truly matters. As inquisitive as a writer’s mind is, I can’t but ruminate on this again. I am quite baffled he was never awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Definitely, a deliberate oversight. • Aina wrote from Lagos.

Fri 17 May 2013 The Guardian Nigeria