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On Probe Of Banks By Lawmakers

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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,575

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www.ngrguardiannews.com

Hard Drug Factories Spring Up In Lagos, Anambra By Tunde Akingbade CTIVITIES of drug barons

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now generate toxic wastes in parts of Lagos and Anambra States, forcing the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to seal off five houses and locations in the affected areas. The locations, according to the drug agency, have become contaminated and unfit for human habitation. To run the illegal drug laboratories, Nigerian drug barons hired three Bolivians and a Columbian to whom they make weekly payment of $35,000 just

• Barons Pay Columbian $35,000 Weekly • How Operations Generate Toxic Wastes • Locations No Longer Fit For Human Habitation, Says NDLEA to

retain their services. A source in the agency said the “scary issue” is reminiscent of the case of an Italian businessman, Gianfranco Rafaelli, who shipped over 8,000 drums of toxic wastes into the country 25 years ago. In a tour of what NDLEA described as “illegal drug factories of waste merchants, The Guardian identified materials, toxic and volatile chemicals

that could cause explosion. Many of these materials were loosely stored in toilets and bedrooms. Director-General of the agency, Otunba Femi Ajayi, said the proliferation of hard drugs might have accelerated the wave of crime in Nigeria. Wastes of mercury, lead and hydrogen were carelessly discharged in the surroundings and public drain. One of the

production centres in Lagos is sighted very close to borehole supplying water to the neighbourhood. A withered tree, suspected to have been “attacked” by toxic chemical used in formulating methamphetamine, a hard drug on the restriction list of the United Nations member states, was noticed in one of the compounds in Anambra State.

According to experts, Nigerians with cases of asthma, tuberculosis and related health conditions could have their situations compounded if they continue living close to the location. “Even those without health conditions are very vulnerable to toxic effect of the drug formulation,” the Agency said. In fact, there is a particular scary case in Anambra, where the drug baron cited his production facility in the basement of his house, just beside his mother’s bedroom and those of other family members. The sites, according to

experts, may not be habitable for years and may end up being demolished. Anti-narcotics agents, two weeks ago, expressed the fear that illicit drug money entering Nigeria could be used to fester insurgencies, similar to the case in Mexico, Colombia and Afghanistan. Already, NDLEA has been having discussions with environmental and drug experts at the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), United States and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) on how to decontaminate the houses and sites used for hard drugs production.

More on Page 20 CONSTITUTION AMMENDMENT:

Lawmakers Under Pressure Over Unfulfilled Promise • We Are Working, Report Will Soon Be Ready — Ekweremadu By Marcel Mbamalu (News Editor), Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja) OR failing to meet its ‘selfFNigerians set’ target of giving the much-awaited

Terrorism, Kidnappings in the land, cut-throat fees at the Secondary and Tertiary institutions… kids at the Army Children School Centre, Benin write their First School Leaving Certificate Examination with a better future on their minds...yesterday PHOTO: NAN

‘Jonathan Not Probing Obasanjo’- Page 2

FG Berates Al-Jazeera, Others On Biased Report - Page 3

Constitution amendment by June 1, 2013, pressure now mounts on both Chambers of the National Assembly to reset its priorities in line with the yearnings and aspirations of the people. R.A.C.E Achara, a professor of Constitutional Law, yesterday, expresses the fear that the present crop of lawmakers lack the necessary political will and capacity to give Nigerians a new Constitution, even as he argued that the process has already been complicated by NASS’ faulty moves. According to the lawyer, the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


TheGuardian

2 | Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

‘Jonathan Not Probing Obasanjo’ From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja HE Presidency, yesterday, T described as unfounded the media report that President Goodluck Jonathan intends to order a probe of the Obasanjo Administration because of the

former President’s “constant” criticisms of the Federal Government had no basis. The presidency’s reaction came in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Rueben Abati. He said the president

Bakassi Natives Petition Security Council, As Fresh Facts Emerge From Anietie Akpan, Calabar HE last is yet to be heard on T Bakassi, as natives of the peninsular have sent a Save-OurSouls (SOS) message to the Security Council of the United Nations, seeking the setting aside of the October 10, 2002 International Court of Justice judgment and the taking over of the territory by the world body. They also demand from Nigeria and Cameroon $200 billion as “special and general damages for the gruesome illegalities of criminal marginalisation, oppression, suppression, discrimination and ethnic cleansing” of the Bakassi people.” The natives, under the aegis of Save Bakassi Global Movement, said it derives its power to take its case to the Security Council from Chapter IV, Article 35 of the UN Charter, which says, “a state which is not a member of the United Nations may bring to the attention of the Security

Council or of the General Assembly any dispute to which it is a party, if it accepts in advance, for the purposes of the dispute, the obligations of pacific settlement provided in the present Charter.” A 26-page document, dated February 7, 2013 and which was addressed to the UN Security Council through the Secretary-General, was signed by High Chief Eyo B. EyoCobham on behalf of the body and was delivered to the United Nations two weeks ago. The document chronicled the history of the Bakassi people, the various treaties both local and international involving Bakassi, Nigeria and Cameroon and vividly enumerated reasons it feels the ICJ erred substantially by using what it called the defunct 1913 Anglo-German treaty to determine the Bakassi case.

remains fully focused on the urgent tasks of assuring peace, security and stability across the country to create the right conditions for rapid socio-economic development and will not be distracted from this objective by futile attempts to drive a wedge between him and other respected elders and leaders of his party. According to him, “the

President has nothing but the greatest respect for Chief Obasanjo’s very notable contributions to national growth and development over many years and far from taking offence or seeking retaliation, will always welcome objective criticism and advice from the very highly-regarded elder statesman. “What is more, President Jonathan regards his

Administration as a continuation of the unbroken chain of PDP-led governments started by Chief Obasanjo in 1999 which have worked tirelessly to entrench democratic governance and achieve rapid socioeconomic growth in the country. Rather than order a pointless probe of his predecessors, he will continue to do his utmost best to build on the solid foun-

dations for national progress laid under previous PDP administrations. “Therefore, speculations and suggestions of an impending probe of the Obasanjo Administration by President Jonathan are therefore nonsensical and should be dismissed by all right-thinking Nigerians as the product of the fertile imagination of mischievous political jobbers,” he said.

Chairman, 2013 Conference Planning Committee, Gbolahan Elias (SAN); Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Alooma Mukhtar; Chairman, Section on Business Law (SBL) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Gbenga Oyebode; and SBL Secretary, Olu Akpata, during the SBL team’s recent visit to the CJN on the forthcoming 7th Annual Business Law Conference in Abuja.

Constitution Amendment: Report Will Soon Be Ready, Says Ekweremadu CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 first thing would have been to “cut down” the Constitution to manageable limits and allow experts in the judiciary and the body of law to handle it.  “The way it is couched has made it unworkable as well as prone to losing its powers, because it is now dealing with almost every issue of minor said. Achara statutory,” He stated that, since it has become clear that the National Assembly can no longer deliver on the assignment, it should resort to a body of experts in History, Science, Political Journalism, Constitutional Law, among others, who are well versed in Constitution making, to already views harmonise expressed by Nigerians and present them to the National debate. for Assembly But officials in the two chambers of the National Assembly, yesterday, said the amendment process is still very much on course. Deputy Speaker of the House of Ike Representatives, Ekweremadu, who chairs the Constitution Review Committee, said the lawmakers have, as a matter of fact, been meeting in

recent weeks to resolve gray areas. Speaking on the Deputy Speaker’s behalf, Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche the said Anichukwu, Committee actually met in Lagos recently, after which the Secretariat and its consultants were asked to do further work in a few gray areas. He added that the committee members had met twice in Abuja since the Lagos retreat to clean up the report. “I guess the report will hit the floor of the Senate in no distant time”, said. Anichukwu A member of the Amendment Constitution Committee, Senator Magnus Abe, who declined to speak comprehensively on the development since he is not the spokesperson, also insisted that the committee is working in the interest of all Nigerians. According to him, the process is taking time to enable members of the committee efficiently address issues emanating from the country’s constitutional democracy, as well as seek solutions to challenges trailing from past experiences. He said: “Anybody looking at

the Constitution needs to look at it from that perspective and not how it serves the interest of the North or the West. You cannot develop the North without the West, you cannot develop the South without the North; it country”. one is But Prof. Achara insists that the National Assembly already has so much in its hand and, therefore, does not have the time to effectively handle the amendment. He added that it should constitute a body of  experts to look into the matter if it desires a new Constitution for the country. Speaking on the delay that has attended the process, Achara noted that NASS’ inability to come up with clear terms of motive and areas of amendment, especially between issues of policy and administration, constitute a clog to the process. “The time frame has passed and the reasons we can’t have it within that time frame is because of the system they adopted. There is cacophony of views, which, I think, has made complex. job the “Remember, the National Assembly has their job and other issues dealing with the country like the one now happening in the northern part. So, they are concerned with that and working hard to deal with those issues. For them to now go into this complicated problems of our Constitution, which is 320 sections, for them to amend it, they will not be able to do it within the time frame they have given to themselves. Achara said the sections requiring amendment border on national development. When the 7th National Assembly embarked on the mis-

sion to amend the 1999 year, last Constitution Nigerians were assured that the task would be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2013. The lawmakers, after one of its retreats in South South, moved the date to the beginning of June and proceeded with a national tour of all the constituencies to feel the pulse people. the of The overwhelming responses and memoranda received from different interest groups at various fora were also indications that Nigerians are enthusiastic to have a brand new Constitution that would address the socio-political challenges overheating the polity. For a country that is already drifting along ethnic and religious paths, it is hoped that the reviewed constitution would redefine the basis of Nigeria’s existence as well as fashion roadmap for accelerated development. But, hope seems to be fading as the committee failed to deliver within the time frame. Many have blamed the delay on upturned priority among lawmakers. Although several bills have been debated and passed by the Seventh Senate, greater commitment to the Constitution is expected of the legislators. In his inaugural speech last year, Senator Ekweremadu assured of his committee’s readiness to be time-conscious considering the relevance of the Constitution to national development and peaceful coexistence. In doing that, he also promised to adopt global best practices in ensuring that only the best is provided for Nigerians at

the end of the exercise. He listed issues on the front burner to include local government financial autonomy, state policing, devolution of powers of the federal government, fiscal federalism as well as gender equality. And when he was taken on the lingering issue of state creation, Ekweremadu said it was not among matters of first hand consideration in view of its strenuous process, a statement he later refuted. Shortly after the zonal tours, the committee appeared to have gone to bed, only occupied with issues of relatively less national importance. While most Nigerians maintained that crafting a quality Constitution that would capture the interest and aspirations of Nigerians should override the issue of time spent on blamed others it, Ekweremadu’s committee for keeping unnecessarily suspense. in Nigerians Many Nigerians share the view that the challenges confronting the nation emanate from the extant laws and as such, the committee should give the review the needed priority. But Mr. Eric Oba, a public lawyer, said if the constitution committee still finds time to meet and their work is in progress, time lapse should not be too much of an issue. “Our interest and focus should be on a Constitution that will capture the interest and aspirations of the Nigerian public”, he said. The need to amend the 1999 Constitution had begun in the fifth Assembly but the process was truncated and the baby

thrown away with the bathwater because a lot of people read political meanings into it. In fact, the action was taken basically because of Obasanjo’s controversial third term agenda. When the third term agenda was overwhelmingly defeated, the entire constitution amendment process collapsed. The sixth Assembly picked up the issue but it was, again, derailed by power tussle between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the of chairmanship Review Constitution Committee. The two chambers quickly resolved to go their separate ways and that saw the setting up of separate Constitution Review Committees aided by the Deputy Senate President for the upper chamber and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Sixth Assembly. The decision to go separate ways was a huge success as each chamber was able to reach conclusion on the areas of the Constitution that were slighted for amendment. Areas of disagreement between the two chambers were consequently harmonised at the conference of the two chambers. Although, the Sixth Assembly made history by amending the Constitution for the first time, the Seventh National Assembly saw amendment of the Constitution as open-ended. Thus, Constitution Review Committee of both chambers swung into action in late 2012 with a promise to deliver a federal new brand Constitution before the end of the first quarter of 2013.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

NEWS State Of Emergency FG Berates Al-Jazeera, Others On Biased Media Report By Femi Alabi Onikeku HE Federal Government has reacted to a video report by Al-Jazeera on ongoing military operations in the North East region of the country, saying the distasteful material titled: ‘Civilians among dead in Nigeria offensive’, is an untrue account of situations, and an attempt to “put the government and the people of Nigeria in bad

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light”. The Special Adviser to President Jonathan (Media and Publicity), Mr. Rueben Abati, in a statement, said the video is “that of the unfortunate incident that occurred in Bama on May 7, and has no connection with the current operation.”  He said: “If anything, the victims shown in the video were those the Boko Haram attacked before they launched

NATIONAL an offensive on Bama prison.” Abati also said that claim that the  man in uniform shown in the video is a Nigerian soldier cannot be sustained, “because in a war-like theater, anybody could have been clad in a military fatigue; and we have seen Boko Haram members appear in military fatigues in their propaganda videos.  Besides,

no soldier has left the frontlines since the beginning of the operations.” Describing the report as “irresponsible”, Abati said the government views “with grave concern” attempt by sections of the media, especially the foreign media to mislead the general public and the international community about the State of Emergency and military operations in Adamawa, Yobe

and Borno States. He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the  declaration of a state of emergency and the consequential security operations are meant to protect the civilian population and the territory from the macabre and dastardly assault on the Nigerian state by insurgents and terrorists. It is not an operation against innocent citizens as Al-Jazeera and others are suggesting.

Atiku Rejects Automatic Tickets For President, Governors ORMER Vice President Frejected Atiku Abubakar has again plans by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to tamper with the party’s constitution, with a view to granting automatic tickets to elected officers, particularly the president and governors. In a statement, signed by the Atiku Media Office, yesterday, the former Vice President said he would

challenge any procedure, either “consensus arrangement” or “adoption” that is contrary to transparent elections to produce candidates for all elective offices, including the presidency. Atiku was responding to another kite being flown by Chief Tony Anenih, chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, who has advocated that the party should give an automatic ticket to President

Jonathan in 2015. The former Vice President recalled that he was repeatedly in courts to challenge this undemocratic arrangement and that the courts ruled that the policy is alien to the PDP and Nigerian constitutions. Atiku said the principle on which he opposed this unjust policy, which he describes as a “travesty of democracy”, has not changed since then.

“My position remains that as far as PDP constitution is concerned, any attempt to change the party’s rule to favour the president as a sole candidate, in the event of his willingness to re-contest, is unconstitutional. The contest should be open to all that desire to pursue an ambition on the platform of the PDP,” Atiku said. While acknowledging that President Jonathan is entitled to seek the party’s ticket

in 2015, the former Vice President, however, insisted that Jonathan should submit himself to a transparent and fair process, just like any other party member. He argued that by foreclosing free and fair process of selecting its presidential candidate, the PDP might be sending the wrong message to Nigerians about its commitment to conduct free and fair elections for the entire country.

OPC Invites Kalu For June 12 Anniversary Lecture From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki HE Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has invited former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to deliver a public lecture at a programme to mark this year’s anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election believed to have been won by the late Moshood Abiola. In an invitation letter, signed by the National Coordinator of OPC, Otunba Ganiyu Adams, the group said Kalu is expected to speak on: ‘20 Years After June 12: Options for Survival’. Adams, the chief host of the occasion, explained that the lecture, scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Lagos, will attract decision makers, politicians, rights activists, diplomats and media practitioners, among others.

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Fashola Inaugurates Igborosun Water Scheme LAGOS By Tunde Alao AGOS State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, last week, commissioned the Igborosun Micro Water Scheme in Badagry Local Government Area of the state. The governor, (represented by Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru), said his administration is committed to the provision of potable water, especially for rural dwellers. He said the scheme would compliment efforts by the State Water Corporation. He said that his administration has delivered 445 water projects in rural and semi urban areas and has approved the construction of 28 additional ones. Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi, said the project would improve living standards in Igborosun and its environs. Chairman of Badagry Local Council, Husitode Moses Dosu, urged the people to maintain the projects.

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Fellow, Centre for Human Security (an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library), Dr. Judith Asuni (left); Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Director, Centre for Human Security, Prof. Peter Okebukola, at the Centre’s workshop on Building a Coordinated Approach to Flood Disasters in Nigeria, in Abeokuta… yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Population Commission Warns Govt On Rural-urban Migration From Joke Falaju, Abuja HE National Population Commission (NPC) yesterday released the Internal Migration Survey in Nigeria for year 2010, with a call on government to, as a matter of urgency, put in place deliberate policies to discourage migration to urban centres. The report stressed the need to develop essential strategies for job creation in rural

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areas, a move that would, in the long run, also address youth restiveness arising from unemployment. The survey, which was randomly conducted among 101,939 respondents in the six geopolitical zones, revealed that 11,257 were migrants, 11,209 non-migrants, and 1801 were return migrants. At the official presentation

of the report in Abuja, Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Festus Odimegwu, stressed the need for government to adopt best practices of managing migration, so as to promote balanced growth, reduce incidences of violence and better human resource utilisation. He said: “Government should adopt some of the best practices of managing

migration. Such practices include deliberate policies of discouraging over-urbanisation, assimilation of migrants and proper integration of return migrants, among others.” The survey, according to him, revealed that the highest percentage of migrants were persons with no education, followed by those with primary education, and the

least were persons with post graduate qualification. Odimegwu mentioned that the survey highlighted employment opportunity as a critical push factor that encourages migration in Nigeria, especially among youths, hence the need for a proper articulation of policies to address issues of employment and rural-urban drift for better socio-economic planning.

Lagos Assembly Summons Commissioner, PPP Boss On Lekki-Ikoyi Toll Bridge By Wole Oyebade AGOS State House of AsLCommissioner sembly has summoned the for Works and Infrastructure and the Special Adviser to the governor on Public Private Partnership (PPP) to explain proposed concession and tolling on the new Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge. The duo is expected in the House on Thursday June 6, 2013.

LAGOS Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, at a late plenary, on Friday, said the House couldn’t take a stand on concession and tolling without clarification from relevant public officials. Debate on the proposal has been ongoing since Tuesday. Meanwhile, the House has passed a resolution, approving the sum of N427, 766, 633,

Approves N427b for Security Gadgets 079k from the State Infrastructure Intervention Fund (SIIF) for the procurement of two units of Communication Infrastructure and Direction Finder Equipment. Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Ben Akhabueze, had earlier sought approval for the sum, saying that the procurement

is important to enhancing security in the state. The lawmakers had on Tuesday expressed displeasure at the concession and tolling on the new bridge, following the state government’s proposal seeking “ratification of the electronic tolling system operation, maintenance, concession terms and conditions

for the Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge.” Also begging for approval are initial maximum tolls of N250 for saloon cars; N300 for mini vans, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and light pickup trucks; N400 for non-commercial buses with a maximum sitting capacity of 26 persons; N100 for motorcycles with 200 cc capacity and above.

Fashola, Makinde Task Christians On Exemplary Living NATIONAL By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku  HE Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola has urged Christians to be shinning lights among men. This comes as Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Sunday Ola Makinde condemned activities of the Boko Haram sect, high rate of corruption in the country and poor state of infrastructure. He also commended the recent state of emergency declared in Adamawa, Bornu and Yobe States. The event was the opening ceremony of the 31st Council of Bishops of Methodist Church Nigeria, held at Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry, Lagos State on Friday. Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Rural Development, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, said the Bible enjoins people to be exemplary.

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

NEWS

NEWS Fayemi’s Victory: Shettima Hails Ruling From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri

BORNO ORNO State Governor, B Kashim Shettima, yesterday, hailed the Supreme Court’s judgment upholding the emergence of Kayode Fayemi as Ekiti State governor. He said the ruling has strengthened public confidence in the judiciary. Shettima, in a statement, described Fayemi as one of the few patriotic leaders the country has produced, calling on Ekiti people to support his administration. He said the state is fortunate to have Fayemi as leaderin a crucial time like now. The judgment struck out an appeal filed by former Governor Segun Oni, asking the apex court to reverse an earlier verdict that removed him from office. General Manager, Public Affairs, Exxonmobil, Mr. Paul Arinze (right), presenting the posthumous award of Leader Without Title to a representative of the Achebe family, Obi Achebe, during a colloquium organised by Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) in Lagos… at the weekend.

Achebe Bags Posthumous Award By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi ARELY eight days after the B remains of renowned writer and essayist, Chinua Achebe, was committed to mother earth in his hometown, Ogidi, the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) has honoured him with a posthumous award for his enduring legacies. Prof. Pat Utomi, who runs CVL, said Achebe is being honoured in the Leaders Without Title (LWT) series because he impacted society with his ideas without holding a political office. Also speaking at the colloquium in honour of the late Achebe, former editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Jahman Anikulapo, said Achebe was one writer many did not fully understand.

NATIONAL In his paper titled: When Life Imitates Arts, Anikulapo said, Achebe had not only blamed leaders for Nigeria’s backwardness, he had also, in his works, blamed citizens, who failed to hold their leaders accountable and responsible for their development. “I observed the recent controversies that followed, including the recent interview with Soyinka; I went back to read some of Achebe’s works. What really grabbed my attention is his contention about leadership. If you go back to Achebe’s works, in putting the leadership under the spotlight, he also points to followership,” Anikulapo said. Chairman, Onne Oil and

Gas Free Zone, Dr. Chris Asoluka, who was involved in bringing Prof. Achebe back to Nigeria in 1999, said Achebe was so insightful in x-raying the conduct of leaders, and that his works were more of prophecy than mere fiction. According to him, “Achebe’s art has provided a leeway for life; the real life experience now tends to gravitate towards Achebe’s art. If you look at his works from the point of political science, you will wonder if Achebe gave what seemed like a self-fulfilling prophesy, because with the conduct of the average politician in Nigeria, nothing seems new.” Asoluka said, “Achebe understood the subject extremely well, such that whenever he spoke, he spoke

with such uncanny insight. Initially, I disagreed with him, but in retrospect, Achebe is right with The Trouble with Nigeria, because the critical role of a leader is to mobilise his people, find solution and connect with the needs of his people. So, the absence of connection between those in leadership position and those, whose lot he claims he will address, has always been the bane of our political experience.” Asoluka noted that followership in the country is not as it should be, because people are more accommodating of corruption among their kinsmen than they would outsiders, especially when it has to do with looting at the national level. He said: “When a man is

given an opportunity to serve, there are two sets of expectations. That expectation will have what we call spatial relationship. The closer you are to the person in question or the beneficiary of the state, the more permissive you tend to be of his conduct, so that if your brother becomes a minister, it is like, ‘this is our opportunity to eat from the national cake’. But if this same person is far removed from you, you raise the bar for him.” Mr. Obi Achebe, who received the award on behalf of the late Achebe, said, over the years, Achebe stood for the values for which he was honoured and that what is most fortunate is that he lives on in the pages of his books.

Kwara Varsity Holds First Convocation, Graduates 231 By Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin PECIAL Envoy to the United Nations, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, yesterday, urged governments to prioritise the education of youths to  prevent their involvement in armed conflicts across the continent. Gambari made the call while delivering an address

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at the maiden convocation of the Kwara State University (KWASU). The event was held at the permanent site of the institution in Malete, Moro Local Government Area of the state. The envoy, who restated the role of learning, as bedrock of national development, said education should be accompanied with entrepreneurial skills to enable youths oper-

KWARA ate independently after graduation. Gambari, who is also the Chancellor of KWASU, said Africa’s growing youth population must be productively engaged to foster development on the continent. He urged youths to keep hope in Nigeria alive and con-

tribute their quota to national development. In his address, the Pro-Chancellor, Senator  Sha’aba Lafiagi, said the institution started on a sound footing through competitive recruitment of staff and a robust admission policy. He said the university has put in place social and infrastructural facilities to meet the needs of staff

and students. Earlier, in a welcome address, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, said the birth of KWASU was the result of diligent work by former Governor, Bukola Saraki. He assured people of the state of the institution’s determination to continue to produce quality students.

THE Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration has approved the request of a consortium of Brazilian investors to build a model satellite city in Abuja. FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, disclosed this during a dinner and interactive session he hosted in honour

of 50 visiting Brazilian businessmen at his official residence in Abuja at the weekend. He pointed out that the Brazilians would undertake the multi-billion naira investments under the land swap programme recently introduced by the administration to fast-track infrastructure and housing development in

NATIONAL NEW code of conduct to A serve as guide to private sector employers has been launched. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Clement Illoh, launched the code at the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) House, Lagos. A director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Ms. Sina Chuma-Mkandawire, said Private Employment Agencies (PEAs), by the their role, should work with various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to expose the activities of fake and fraudulent job advertisers. “It is hoped that the code of conduct would be a vital tool in the hand of Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria (HuCaPaN) to eliminate fake and counterfeit employment agencies in Nigeria,” she said. Dr. David MacRae of the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Lagos, said the code is a product of the activities implemented under the EUfunded project and is designed to enhance cooperation to fight trafficking in human beings from Nigeria to Europe.

Amosun Calls For End To HND/BSc Dichotomy

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Brazil Gets Nod To Build New Satellite Town In Abuja From Terhemba Daka, Abuja

New Employer’s Code Of Conduct Launched

ABUJA the nation’s capital. According to the Minister, the Brazilian investors are ready to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the FCT administration to define the legal and physical framework for the collaboration. He said the two parties have

resolved that the MoU would be signed before the Brazilians depart for home at the end of their visit. In addition to their participation in the land swap initiative, Mohammed announced that the Brazilians have also indicated interest in developing an industrial park, a monorail transport system, a world-

class hospital and a standard university in the FCT. The Minister had earlier, in a Power Point presentation, reeled out FCT’s numerous investment attractions such as centrality of location, excellent infrastructure, abundance of rich natural resources, relative security, neutral character and cosmopolitan ambience.

GUN State Governor, O Ibikunle Amosun, has called on the Federal Government to end the dichotomy between graduates of polytechnics and their counterparts in universities. Addressing the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) in Abeokuta yesterday, Amosun said polytechnic graduates are not inferior as presumed by some institutions. He observed that it is only in Nigeria that the segregation obtains.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 2, 2013

NEWS

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NEWS

Visa Requirements Hamper Trade, Job Creation In Africa, Says AfDB TRINGENT visa requireSto ments are major obstacles improved intra-regional trade and local service economy, Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mthuli Ncube, said at the weekend. Ncube, a Professor of Economics, who spoke at the closing session of this year’s AfDB meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, described Africa as one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. According to him, “visa restrictions imply missed economic opportunities for

intra-regional trade and for the local service economy such as tourism, cross-country medical services or education.” A high-level panel, organised jointly by the World Economic Forum and the AfDB, discussed the benefits of relaxing visa restrictions throughout Africa. ECOWAS Commissioner of macroeconomic policy, Dr. Ibrahim Bocar Ba, underlined that Africans mainly migrate to Africa. In ECOWAS more than 80 per cent of all migration is intra-regional. Nonetheless, Africans need visas to go to 80 per cent of

INTERNATIONAL African countries and these restrictions are higher for Africans traveling within Africa than for Europeans and North Americans.  In his opening remarks, Ncube, said, “the movement of talent and people is at the core of regional integration and is a core pillar of the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy.Twenty-five per cent of all trade in Africa is informal; it is the strongest in West Africa. If there were no visa requirements, informal sector trading would boom.” Leonard Rugwabiza, Direc-

tor, General Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda, shared the lessons of Rwanda, which has moved to biometrix border management, low restrictions on transfer of services in engineering and legal services as well as visas on arrival for all African citizens since January 1, 2013. Rwanda, with a limited number of embassies abroad, has also introduced e-visas in order to reduce the costs and time constraints of people in obtaining visas. “Since we opened our borders, tourism from

African countries has increased by 24 per cent and trade has actually shifted from Europe and North America to neighbouring countries. “Trade with neighbouring countries increased by 50 per cent last year, and 73 per cent with Democratic Republic of Congo.” Abdul Awl, Board Member of Dabashill Group, noted that, “the private sector is the engine of growth, and we all talk about improving the climate for business sector. Visas are a major barrier, and pose restrictions on doing business.”

North West PDP, Supports Ameachi As NGF Chair From John Akubo, Dutse HE People’s Democratic Party (PDP), could not have endorsed Governor David Jang of Plateau State as the chairman of the NGF because the party is known to respect leaders elected through proper democratic process, the National Vice Chairman North West Zone of the party, Ambassador Ibrahim Musa Kazauredeclared at the weekend. Kazaure also declared the support of the zone for Governor Chubuike Ameachi as the duly elected chairman of the forum. The National Vice Chairman, who made the disclosure, yesterday, in government house, Dutse, Jigawa State said, “Rotimi Ameachi is the democratically elected chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum.” According to him, “we are in a democratic era, we respect only leaders produced through election. The issue of governors forum is not entirely a PDP affair since it involves Governors from other opposition political parties, the general public should understand this.” Kazaure denied that PDP is behind the Plateau State Governor, Mr. Jonah Jang, as the new chairman of NGF, as it is a well-known fact that he lost the election.

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Govt To Curb Power Infrastructure Vandalisation From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja HE Federal Government T has stepped up efforts to curb the spate of vandalisa-

Director, European-American University, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dr. Luke Okojie (left); Managing Director/CEO, Mabseed Nigeria Limited, Dr. Abu Alidu Moses; and Deputy Head, Africa Operations, European-American University, Prof. Mike Nwaubani, at the conferment of Doctor of Science in Business Development and Entrepreneurship (Honoris Causa) on Dr. Abu Alidu Moses, at the Cofederation Nationale Des Travaileurs De Togo Lome, in Togo... recently.

Lamido Pledges To Implement Economic Summit’s Recommendations From John Akubo, Dutse OVERNOR Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has promised to implement the recommendations of participants at the three-day Jigawa Economic and Investment Summit organised by the State as part of its Democ-

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racy Day celebration. The governor, therefore, directed the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to build a one-stop-shop in the State for investors to access information on investment opportunities in the State. This came just as the

DUTSE Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Inuwa Sule Udi, on behalf of the House, assured investors that they are ready to make laws that will create enabling environment for investment.

The Governor in his remarks at the closing ceremony of the summit in Dutse said that the creation of one-stopshop facility would create synergy in investment strategies of the State. Lamido listed out priority areas to include agriculture,

education, solid minerals, manufacturing, infrastructure, ICT, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and others. He said efforts would be made to meet investment needs of all prospective investors.

Cocoa Farmers Target N100b Yield From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti

FFORTS by cocoa farmers E to increase their production and hit N100 billion target this year, during the week, received a boost. About 3500 farmers were in Ekiti State empowered to increase their production by over 100 per cent this season. Managing Director of Arjamaro Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Oladimeji Filani, whose company has been training the farmers on modern techniques on cocoa farming disclosed that Nigeria produced 200,000 metric

tonnes of cocoa last year, which translated to N70 billion, as against past annual record of over 600,000 . He was, however, optimistic that the country will hit 300,000 tonnes this year with several efforts being made by various stakeholders in public and private sectors. Filani, whose company is into buying and processing of cocoa regretted that Nigerian cocoa is no longer selling at premium, as a result of the sharp practices by the farmers that stock it with impunities such as stone

NATIONAL and chaffs. He said, “this has not only reduced the price of Nigerian cocoa at international market, but scared foreign companies from patronising it. As at today, Japan will not touch Nigerian cocoa because of dishonesty among some of our farmers that put stones and other impunities in the bag, so some foreign countries prefer to patronise Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire because their products are cleaner and better pack-

aged.” He enjoined government, both at the State and Federal levels, to do more to encourage cocoa production in Nigeria and stop relying on income from oil. He stated that there is a big market for cocoa and the country has better land texture for it than Ghana and other African countries that are making fortunes from it. “The lands we have in Ondo and Ekiti States alone are more than what Ghana has, yet Ghana has become the largest producer of the

farm produce in the world, pushing Nigeria to fourth position. Nigeria in the First Republic was not only the largest cocoa producer in the world, but made a lot of fortune that made the old Western Region financially viable than other regions. At the event that was held in Ijan Ekiti, the cocoa farmers were encouraged to form a cooperative society, and were given farming apparatus like chemicals including insecticides, fungicides, sprayers, raincoats, eye goggles, nose mask and hand gloves.

tion across the country to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians.  The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, stated this during the visit of Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ade Abolurin and his team to office in Abuja. Nebo, stated that his ministry will collaborate with all security agencies and other stakeholders to protect power infrastructure throughout the country. He stressed that power is central and critical to the Transformation Agenda of President, hence government would not sit back and allow unscrupulous elements to vandalise the equipment. The Minister explained that successive governments in Nigeria have expended billions of Naira in the procurement of power infrastructure, adding that such acts would derail the planned efforts at ensuring uninterrupted power supply. The Minister said that his ministry will leave no stone unturned in its quest of protecting power lines and transformers, which are key in the power chain. Prof. Nebo further revealed that President Jonathan has committed a lot of resources, both material and financial, to the sector, and as such stakeholders should not fail to provide electricity to Nigerians.


TheGuardian

6 Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile LAGOS

Poor Infrastructure: Community Leaders Petition Oshiomhole ONCERNED indigenes of Okpella, a kingdom C in Etsako East Local Government Council of Edo State, have petitioned Governor Adams Osh-

A MEGA CITY’S PARADOX! Bolder, nastier, uglier... Touts (Agbero) extort illegal monies from commercial bus operators along Oshodi-Isolo Expressway.

PHOTO: OLUWAKEMI AJANI

NURTW, Touts Return, Ridicule Traffic Law By Gbenga Akinfenwa and Oluwakemi Ajani

HE Lagos State government in August 2012 T banned the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), touts (popularly called Agbero) and other unions from collecting money from commuter bus operators in the state. Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, who unveiled the policy, said it would enhance the ease at which stakeholders in the transportation sector do businesses. “Henceforth, union activity is no longer allowed in all garages in the state. What they need to do now is operate the way other unions do, by using a recognised office. “No union members should be seen on roads collecting money from transport operators. It is illegal, and this is how it is contained in the white paper adopted by the state government,” Opeifa had said. For a while, arrests and the overzealousness of law enforcement agencies indicated government would win the war. And as if to confirm this, the touts took to their heels. The move brought a semblance of sanity to motor parks. Many residents, however, voiced pessimism, saying that with the government’s history of discontinuity at policy enforcement, the dogs have only a short while to bark, if at all, bite. Others argued that the rough and wildfaced money extortionists are a reserve army for politicians, as instruments for intimidation and rigging. They conclude that with such undercurrents, the directive would not last. Sadly enough, eight months after, the touts are back. It is business as usual at all motor parks and bus stops. Like the proverbial ram, which retreats and launches a fiercer charge, they now harass drivers with renewed frenzy.

In order to evade identification, they have put off their green and white coloured uniforms and done away with their whips. They lurk around in mufti, like ordinary passengers, run up to drivers and demand various illegal sums. For picking up or discharging passengers at parks, they squeeze out fixed amounts. In bizarre instances, drivers are even required to part with money for using U-turns. Avoidable chaos and traffic jams attend these activities, and stubborn drivers are made to face instant judgment, like the disappearance of a side mirror, wiper, seat, or a smashed windscreen. While the ban on use of motorcycles gains strength, the same cannot be said of the embargo on NURTW members and touts. Commuters bear the brunt of increase in fares after drivers have been forced to cough out N2000 daily at bus stops. This is besides N3000 or more paid for tickets. Many drivers shun certain bus stops to avoid some of these illegal demands. A driver, Ayinla Ibrahim, told The Guardian that the return of Agbero is frustrating drivers in the state. He also alleged that some of the touts pay bribes to the police and other law enforcement agencies to turn a blind eye. “Government should make the law effective, like the ban on commercial motorcycles. They extort us unnecessarily and government have closed their eyes to our plight,” he lamented. Another, Mr. Samson, said some drivers have hung their keys and joined the unions, considering the latter option more lucrative than driving around the city with little or nothing to show for the effort. “They (touts) make money regularly because commuter buses alway*s use the roads and pick or discharge passengers. If government doesn’t stop them, this frustration would con-

Many residents voiced pessimism, saying that with the government’s history of discontinuity at policy enforcement, the dogs have only a short while to bark, if at all, bite. Others argued that the rough and wild-faced money extortionists are a reserve army for politicians, as instruments for intimidation and rigging. They conclude that with such undercurrents, the directive would not last.

tinue,” he said. Passengers continue to groan under the pains of yet another law rendered impotent by a government’s inability to enforce its own directives. As a result, commuters pay more because touts indirectly determine fares. Several phone calls to Opeifa to comment on the state government’s effort at curbing the activities of touts were not answered. An SMS was also sent. As at the time of filing this report, the commissioner is yet to give any response. OMMERCIAL drivers and residents in LaC gos State have called on Governor Fashola to come to their rescue by removing touts from bus stops in the state. Some of the drivers who spoke to The Guardian lamented that the miscreants are making life intolerable for them with persistent forceful demands for money. A driver who plies the Ojota/Ikorodu route daily said the touts often dictate fares: “They tell drivers the amount they should carry passengers and name their share before bus conductors are allowed to operate. They might request N500. As a result, we also would step up the fare from about N50 or N70 to N150 or N200.” Mr. Sule Sanni, a driver said whenever he stops to pick up passengers, the touts demand N200. And if he refuses or offers to pay N100, they would damage his vehicle. He also blamed the miscreants for hike in fares and urged the government to get rid of them. Mrs. Funke Adeosun, a commuter, said: “If the government banned the use of commercial motorcycles (Okada), it can also ban Agbero in the state. In Ibadan, you will hardly see any tout in bus stops or motor parks. But in Lagos, the reverse is the case. They even dictate to drivers the fare commuters must pay.” Mrs. Muibat Omisore, a trader at the IyanaIpaja bus stop said that apart from forcing commercial drivers to part with money, touts also snatch bags from commuters at night. She prayed the government to rid the state of the nuisance.

iomhole on what they describe as “complete neglect of public infrastructure in the area” in the past five years. They said that the governor has ignored the area, which is about a 10-minute drive from his community, since he came to power. In a letter addressed to Oshiomhole, the group, under the aegis of Okpella Youth Circle (OYC), wondered why the governor would abandon the area, which “has always been the industrial hub of the state”. “We have witnessed rapid infrastructural development in various parts of Edo State, such as Benin City, Auchi and Uzairue, which, of course, is quite commendable. But no single project is extended to Okpella, as if the place is not part of the state. We do not know the parameter used to select communities that deserve social amenities and on what basis Okpella seems to have been disqualified,” noted the letter jointly signed by Johnson Jaiyeola and Sunday Ofemile. OYC said that the neglect of the area is so bad that a community, in April, had to raise N2m to repair the roof of one of its secondary schools affected by a storm. The group also questioned relocation of the Agricultural Produce Monitoring Board from Okpella/Okene’s boundary to Iyamo, Oshiomhole’s hometown; a decision it said implies that the kingdom has been ceded to neigbouring Kogi State.

Eko Lions Club Assists Cancer Patient By Gbenga Akinfenwa

KO Lions Club has aided the treatment of a 20EA Senior year-old girl, Omolara Onibudo, for cancer. Secondary I student, Omolara was diagnosed with cancer of the upper lip. She dropped out of school in 2010 when her case worsened with the disease disfiguring her lip and nose. But in November, last year, the Lions Club took up her case, with Senator Iyiola Omisore donating the sum of N2.5m for surgery. Club Director of Project, Lion Oluwadare Abimbola, said he came in contact with the girl on a bus, as he returned from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) where he had gone to visit another girl who was diagnosed with bone cancer. He said the plaster on Omolara’s upper lip caught his attention and he was moved with compassion to get the club to assist the girl. “We organised a press conference soliciting the sum of N2.5m and Senator Omisore offered to help,” he said. Abimbola said that Omolara had her final procedure last Monday and is completely cured. The recipient, who could not conceal her joy, was full of gratitude. President, Lion Rotimi Atanda, said the club would sponsor Omolara’s education to tertiary level.

Rivers Community Partners Foreign Investors By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt

GI community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local E Government Area of Rivers State has announced plan to host some international investors with a view to establishing a glass factory in the area. The investors are: the Mara Group (Uganda), JS Group (Pakistan), and Ghani group. Led by Ali Siddiqui and Ashish Thakkar, they are expected to arrive the community on May 30 to commence the Mara Group Foundation for youth entrepreneurship, and also unveil plan for the proposed Sombreiro University in Egi. A statement signed by President of Egi People’s Assembly, Mr. Chris Onyiri, said the initiative would create jobs for youths of the council, expand the economy and fuel growth. “Egi is an oil-rich community, but it is important that our people are encouraged not to rely on oil companies but be creative and industrious by absorbing the spirit of entrepreneurship. So, I see this as a welcome development.”


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

7

‘Help! Closure Of Obio-Akpor Council Is Killing Our Businesses’

CITYFILE

From Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt

HIS is not the best of times for commercial activities around T Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State; sales have plummeted with closure of the council, following a rift in the state’s chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party. Council staff who usually patronise the traders have been out of work for about two months now, and without salaries. A visit to the area showed idle and unhappy traders. Many sat with hands on their chins. Some played games on their phones. Others made calls. A mother of three children, Mrs. Patricia Uzoho, who sells roasted plantain and fish complained: “My experience, since the closure is frustrating. When things were normal and workers were around, I used to sell about 15 to 20 tubers of yam with many bunches of plantain in a day. But now, I cannot even sell off seven tubers. You can see that the situation is so bad. My children are in school. There are books and fees to pay for; we cannot meet up, due to poor sales.” Bayo Kayode, a graduate who sells mobile phones accessories, lamented: “All our customers come from the council. The lingering problem and the two-day warning strike in the state by the organised labour worsened the situation. I am disturbed about the effects, if this persists for the next two weeks.” Bayo reasons that since the political actors are yet to resolve their differences, the Head of Administration in the council should be allowed to assume responsibilities to enable workers return and earn salaries. “Things are daily getting worse. We are looking to God for miracles. You can see how dry everywhere is. Traders are idle. This place used to be very busy,” Bayo said. Another trader, Neka Bari, disclosed that whereas traders used to arrive at their shops before 8am, they now come very late, and sometimes don’t show up at all. “Since this crisis started business has been very slow. Sometimes, throughout the day, you might sell nothing. Since the workers are not here, we can not make meaningful sales,” Bari said. Some of the council staff said that apart from the trauma of staying at home, they are finding it difficult to meet financial responsibilities without salaries. They lamented the high cost of living in the country and appealed to the federal and state government to come to their rescue. Port Harcourt-based lawyer, John Chukwu, said it is wrong that the council remains sealed by the police, despite a court order directing them to vacate the premises. He described continued closure of the secretariat as political, saying the police cannot justify their claim of protecting the complex. The police barred the reporter from taking pictures of the council, police van and security personnel. A more distant shot was, however, successful.

“My experience, since the closure is frustrating. When things were normal and workers were around, I used to sell about 15 to 20 tubers of yam with many bunches of plantain in a day. But now, I cannot even sell off seven tubers. You can see that the situation is so bad. My children are in school. There are books and fees to pay for; we cannot meet up, due to poor sales.”

Sealed until... A policeman in front of the closed down Obio-Akpor council headquarters.

Mrs. Uzoho, like other traders, wait anxiously for the return of her key customers -the council’s employees.

Stop That Channel Noise, Madam Flights Minister! HE new airports, that is, the remodeled T terminals, are something like a cutand-nail arrangement; almost like

Flanked by Aderonke and Friends, inmates of the Centre for Destitute Empowerment Int’l, Idimu, Lagos, cut the cake to mark Children’s Day.

NGO Celebrates Less-privileged Children By Ikechukwu Onyewuchi

Non-governmental organisation, Aderonke and Friends, last weekend, visited the Centre for Destitute Empowerment International, Paiko, Idimu, Lagos. Founder, Aderonke Adeboye, said the move was inspired by need to show love to the inmates, in commemoration of the Children’s Day anniversary. “Most of these children didn’t choose where they are today; life chose their circumstances. I don’t like the fact that because of their challenges, they can’t have fun like other children. So, I always look forward to helping them,” she said. She lamented reported cases of orphanages being used as points of sale for children, describing the practice as pathetic and painful. “These are children that God gave. When people see God’s gift as a means to enrich themselves, I

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think there is a curse on them.” She, however, noted that the trend should not deter members of the public from lending support to orphanages and physically challenged children. She also called for stiffer punitive measures against persons involved in child trade. Pastor Samson Okoliko, who heads the Centre, said the facility provides free education and care for physically challenged and less-privileged children, as he gave assurance that it does not engage in unwholesome practices. Christian Chinedu, a 13-year-old physically challenged boy spoke of his love for Mathematics and desire to become a civil engineer. According to him, “I want to ask children out there to be focused on their goals. We have the same passion to achieve greatness. I urge them to work towards their goals and wish them a happy Children’s Day.”

Madam Minister will go to Hausa quarters, assemble masons, carpenters and other artisans and move them to site to work. Behold, the cut-and-paste construction is beginning to take its toll. At the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), for instance, the acoustics is apology; no one hears what the announcer says on the public address system because it is noise that oozes out instead of clear announcement. On a particular day, a passenger missed her flight because she could not decipher what was said. Add to this the poor cooling system. Yet, when we talk, one attack dog called media SA to Madam Minister will rain abuses and brand everybody a saboteur out to diminish the good work of Madam Minister. Mr. SA, what do we make of a situation whereby every announcement in the public address system register like Greek or dead Latin, never to be understood? Wait a minute. Isn’t CC looking for trouble here? We complain now about cases where this Greek or dead Latin language makes passengers miss flights; what about days when the acoustics don’t work at all either because there is power outage or that one maintenance officer forgot to apply the tools? In that case, one man will simply move

down the isles and mutter a few passive words to ‘stranded” passengers, suggesting that the flight is boarding. He could repeat this ritual twice, at the most, and the matter is closed. Of course, that becomes his alibi, even against any passenger who dared to sleep on any of the hard lounge seats. Even when the public address system works, the Nigerian American girls employed to do the job don’t even help matters. They simply struggle to talk through the nose; courting an alien sophistry not even found in those western models they try to imitate. Can someone somewhere beg Madam at the top to intervene with other useful options like hiring some fellows to beat a talking drum or gong to announce flight schedules, changes and other things? Precisely, let’s get a town crier from Ogbaru, in Anambra State, or somewhere in Edo State to do the job. Shekina. Ka Chineke mezie okwu!


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

8

CITYFILE

AIRPORT ROAD: A Promise Not Fulfilled

By Paul Adunwoke

N 2011, Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola visited the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road and pledged to expand it. However, nothing remarkable has been done to actualise this promise. Potholes on the road constitute an eyesore and a nightmare to motorists and commuters daily with attendant traffic gridlock. Residents have repeatedly drawn attention to the deplorable state of the road and the need to fix it urgently. They have also raised concern about non functional street lightings along the

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road. All these have not elicited any response from relevant authorities. Also, partial blockage by car sellers, furniture makers, commercial bus drivers and tricycle (Keke Marwa) operators, who have taken over a wing of the road does not help matters. Road users going to Apapa and Lagos Island through Oshodi experience daily a traffic snarl occasioned by gaping potholes. The narrowness of the road and darkness at night gives hood-

lums opportunity to harass persons whose vehicles develop mechanical trouble. Robbery is also rampant, as armed bandits waylay unsuspecting motorists. Kenneth Godwin, a resident, said: “It is a shame that both the state and federal governments have failed to rehabilitate this road. When Governor Fashola visited and promised to expand the road, I was very happy, not knowing that it will take this long to do it. It is affecting our business because most times the road is blocked. It is very narrow. Initially, I thought government cannot afford to neglect such an important gateway to the country but I’ve been proved wrong.” Another resident, Francis Matthew, a banker said: “The nonchalant attitude of the government is illustrated in the absence of streetlight on the road. This has led to armed robbers having a field day along the road.” “Indeed, hope was raised when the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) decided to rehabilitate the road and what looked like serious rehabilitation work started. “They started planting flowers on the median, closed down illegal car and furniture sales points and everybody thought the much-awaited expansion had started in earnest. The caterpillars and other equipment were, however, withdrawn. Operators of furniture and vehicles sale points re-opened for business, the pot-holes reappeared and it was back to square one.” A civil servant, Michael Abani noted that FAAN makes millions of naira from at the airport’s tollgate. “They should at least use the money realised at the toll to fix the streetlights on the route, all of which are not working and nobody is doing anything about it. I pass through the tollgate everyday on my way to work and I know how much I spend monthly. It is really telling on my purse,” he said. An official of FAAN who pleaded anonymity said: “The airport road is not under our control; it is a federal road but Lagos State government took it up for expansion, but couldn’t finish the job. The question should be asked the Lagos State government through its Ministry of Works, why it failed to keep its promise.” Mr. Fadoju Oluwatoyin, DG/CEO Africa Centre for Economics and Strategic Studies, who coordinates all commercial vehicles plying the road to Mile 2 and Oshodi, said it is very narrow and often causes accidents. “The narrowness is affecting our job because sometimes when accidents occur, the road gets blocked. If the federal government can expand it to six lanes, it will be a good thing.”

Y’s Men International Donates Equipment To LASUTH …Motivated by wife of member who survived robbery attack  By Tunde Akingbade

’S Men International, a voluntary organisation affiliated to the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) has donated specific hospital equipment to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos to help the hospital put smiles on the faces of patients at its Burns and Plastics Unit.   The donation was initiated by Mrs. Delphine Adenike, immediate past Club President of Y’s Men, Ikeja whose husband, Mr. Sunny Jegede, also a member of the Club, was shot by armed robbers about 18 months ago at Mowe, a fast growing town between Lagos and Ogun State. The shots almost shattered the left hand of Mr. Jegede, who sadly, lost the brother he wanted to drop at home in Mowe while they were returning from Ilesa, Osun State. Mrs. Jegede said at the ceremony that she initiated the move to donate the equipment as the Club President of Y’s Men International during her tenure in appreciation of what God did for her husband whose body was riddled with bullets by the bandits. The equipment were: 10 hospital beds; two bundles of bed sheets, each containing 10 sheets; two wheel chairs; several bundles of cotton wool; sterilisers, sunction machine and sanitary items, among others. During the donation, Mrs. Jegede said she hoped the equipment would be helpful to the patients both now and in the future. She disclosed that the Y’s Men International, formed in 1922 in Toledo, USA as a movement to support the growth of the YMCA, has been striving through the years to make the world a better place. Activities of the club in Lagos include: construction and donation of two units of three bedrooms at Amuwo Odofin, Lagos for the Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Nigeria (SCIAN); installation of boreholes and provision of consumables and cash to orphanages, and the sponsorship of a blind student through the university. Mrs. Jegede told The Guardian her experience following her husband’s admission at Bola Tinubu Ward after the robbery attack.

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“I was highly impressed and amazed by the way the consultant surgeons, doctors, nurses and everyone attended to my husband and other patients during the two months that I stayed with him in the hospital. I made the donation of the equipment my project as Y’s Men International Club President to show our gratitude.” Professor D. A. A. Oke, Consultant Cardiologist and Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, said the management is delighted that Y’s Men International deemed it fit to donate valuable equipment that are regularly used in the treatment of patients. Oke said the country needs more voluntary organisations to emulate the kind gesture of Y’s Men International. “What you have donated today is what we need for the day-to-day management of patients,” he said. The Chief Medical Director expressed his appreciation to the organisation: “You have, in no small way, done a great deed to us. Some of the equipment, like the Sunction Machine, will save a lot of lives. The dresses will prevent people from getting infected. I am quite pleased that your donation is specific. The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) now has a Burns and Trauma Unit at Gbagada. LASUTH has been charged with ensuring the unit at Gbagada Hospital is running.” He also revealed that LASUTH spends almost N1m monthly on free health. Present at the event were management officers of the hospital including Dr. Ayoade Adedokun, Director of Clinical Services and Training; Mrs. Kudirat Lawal, Director of Accounts; Mrs. Olajumoke Akinlawon, Director Hospital Administration and Mrs. Modupe Sode, Chief Nursing Officer (Appex). Members of Y’s Men International present were Mr. Sunny Jegede, who survived the robbery attack; Otunba Femi Oduntan, immediate past Area President for Africa; Pa. Sola Adubifa; Pa James Oguntoye; Mr. Segun Oduwole, past Club President; Mrs. Clara Adetuyi; Mrs. Esther Ajomale; Mr. Adebanji Oluniyi, Secretary, and Mr. Tunji Makinde. 

Mrs. Modupe Sode, Chief Nursing Officer and Professor D.A.A Oke, Chief Medical Director, receive hospital equipment from Mrs. Delphine Jegede, as Mrs.Olajumoke Akinlawon, Director, Hospital Administration and Dr. Ayoade Adedokun look on.

Lanre Ogunlesi, Member LIMGE board (left); Chike Onyejekwe, MD SNEPCo; Chief Taiwo Taiwo, President LIMGE and Mr. Olusegun Okebiorun, Comptroller General Federal Fire Service, flanked by fully kitted fire men at the Soft Launch of the new Ajele Federal Fire Station, in Lagos... on Friday.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 2, 2013

Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Sms only) abogbodo@yahoo.com

POL 701: Anatomy Of The Nigerian Politician ET’S start with creating justification for the mainstream, he must be seen to be loyal to the Lcourse headline. Usually in the university system, the cabal. No politician climbs up to the next level number is calibrated to underscore the without excellently scaling the loyalty test. Comclass or year of study of students. For instance, Pol 102 may designate some course for first year students of the Political Science Department. Precisely, it may be a second semester course as denoted by the last figure (2). The calibration will drop by a point to 101 if it is a first semester course, with a likely title: Introduction To Political Science. The point here is that understanding the Nigerian politician is an advanced political thought that cannot be adequately exposed and understood at the lower rungs of the academic ladder. The inherent complexities are most engaging and enough to constitute basis for scholarly inquisition at the doctorate degree level. This is why the subject matter of the Anatomy of the Nigerian Politician has to be aptly designated Political Science (POL) 701, not only to be studied by postgraduate students but those pursuing the ultimate laurel of a third degree. What drives politics in Nigeria does not apply universally. If we define politics as the art and science of power acquisition, we automatically accept that politics is a process that entails scheming and manoeuvring. It becomes very bad when the process replaces the purpose of politics, which is the acquisition of power for purposes of public service delivery. In Nigeria, quite unfortunately, politics is more about the process and less about the purpose. If a purpose is ever highlighted, the interpretation is even more horrible. And because this is so, it takes a completely strange set of attributes to qualify as a politician in Nigeria. Even when such attributes are virtuous in their universal context, they assume a vicious colouration in their local application. While loyalty, for instance, is a virtue in all contexts, it is one of the attributes that is making politics look more like a cultic practice in Nigeria. The political recruitment process is in the firm grip of a ruthless cabal of kingmakers. For a politician to launch beyond the wings to the

S usual, I was eager to watch ceremonies of A last Wednesday’s Democracy Day on screen, particularly the aspect that had to do with the president’s speech. That had been the ritual, but my neighbourhood hadn’t had electricity supply for weeks, so I had to pray that those in charge would release some energy to enable citizens watch the proceedings at Abuja from their homes. Without any request from the Presidency, I prayed fervently, that PHCN or whatever they are now called would not disgrace Mr. Presidents’ scorecard in the power sector, which I suspected would feature prominently on his list of accomplishments. Unfortunately for the Presidency and myself, there was no supply of electricity on May 29. As a newshound, I was still eager to hook on to an alternative source of energy, to power the screen. But I managed to shrug it off. That was not a day for me to subsidise this government, not on a Democracy Day, when government should, at least, pretend that it manages to do a few things. In other words, I was protesting, but I didn’t have the courage to miss out totally on the events holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. So, I decided to listen from the transistor radio. A few minutes into the ceremonies, which commenced at 10 am, after dignitaries, including Vice President Namadi Sambio had taken their seats and every body was waiting for Mr. President’s arrival, the Metro Station, which relayed the events lost touch with Abuja. No more signals! That was less than 15 minutes into the programme. I knew I had been conspired against. But I didn’t feel depressed because that had been the pattern for many years now. Millions of citizens have learnt to live without the State, hoping that one day, God would send real transformers. When it was 11 minutes to top of the hour, that is 10.49, signals were restored and I went back to the radio. I heard a few of Sambo’s opening remarks. Then the minister of national planning, Shamsudeen Usman took the stage and he had no kind words for a particular journalist whom he alleged misrepresented him recently. I happen to know a bit about that matter. The minister was quoted, he would say misquoted, as saying that Vision 2020:20 had lost steam and had to be replaced without another Vision, something in the neighbourhood of 2020:25. The reasons given for the shift in vision, according to the report was primarily because previous governments had failed to plan and invest in critical infrastructure.

petence is not so much a consideration here, as the preference is for ‘good citizens’ who will obey the laws and show respect to the established hierarchy and not hot headed ideologues who will refuse to pay homage as at when due and will be spoiling at all times like Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State for a fight with elders. At all level of political placement, the loyalty test is required. The local government chairman and even the councillor must be loyal. The minister, commissioner, aides and other political appointees must be loyal to the appointing authority. Competence is very secondary and it is the reason why a goat who passes the loyalty test with excellent scores will stand a much better chance than a Harvard trained technocrat, who has his/her head in cloud seven. Former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Audu Ogbe had his head in the sky and that caused him to write his resignation, some said, at gun point, to pave way for a loyalist called Ahmadu Ali, who had his head on the ground. All legislators at the national level and in the 36 states are where they are because they are loyal men and women to the controlling cabal. Usually, before elections are held, the loyalty test is conducted, by the contending political parties to sift the promoters from the pretenders. In the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the final list must be approved by the big man who owns the party. It is not any different in the PDP, except to add that the considerations are slightly broader to the extent that the final list of loyalists will derive from a consensus of the party oligarchs. It is called imposition of candidates in the local political parlance. The practice offends the fundamentals of democracy as a government of the people by the people and for the people. But that is a debate for another day. What is much more pertinent in the polity outside the security challenges posed by the Boko Haram insurgency is the crisis in the so-called Governors

Forum. It is a loyalty test that has been poorly managed. Specifically, it is contest between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi over who between them commands larger loyalty among the 36 governors, which to me is most unnecessary. Look at it this way: The 36 states are theoretically part of the President’s crowd and to that extent, he has a responsibility under the rules of engagement to secure his boundaries against infiltrators, which include Amaechi. By the same reasoning, Amaechi does not have, as they say in law, a locus standi in the matter at hand. He should be searching for loyal council chairmen and state as well as national legislators of Rivers State origin and not loyal governors. Is Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Delta or Ondo States part of Amaechi’s constituency as a governor? To say the least, the governor is interpreting his job description upside down and someone very close should tell him this and very fast too. If he is eager to appropriate the NGF as part of his electoral constituency, he should patiently wait till he becomes vice president in 2015. After all, he is known to exercise good patience when it matters most and with a bit of goodluck on his side, he will surprise everybody when the time comes by ascending from the doldrums onto the podium as he did in 2007, when he became governor from a hideout. For now however, the position remains that he has broken a golden rule of the gang and must be made to pay dearly for it. Amaechi does not have a defence because he is a signatory to the protocol and he had been practising same most religiously. Didn’t he, Amaechi, run the chairman of Okrika local government area Tamuno Williams out of office for being loyal to the wrong person, First Lady Patience Jonathan? What about the recent sack of the chairman of Obio Akpor local council, Timothy Onwubueliri by the state legislators for being loyal to Nyeson Wike, minister of state for education, himself a defecting loyalist of Amaechi? Oh, when it is within a state, it is ‘democracy in action’ and when it is between the Federal Government and the states it is ‘demonstration of crazy powers.’ Today in Rivers State, only few legislators both at the state and national Houses of Assembly are ranking. This is because Governor Amaechi saw in the 2011 general election an opportunity to get rid of all the troublemakers and load in loyalists at that level of the political leadership. Also, when the old board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was dissolved midway into the four-year tenure, the governor did not waste the opportunity to drag in a loyalist who was his best man at his wedding as managing director. That is good politics overall. What was then wrong if President Jonathan saw

SUNDAY NARRATIVE Alabi Williams williams.alabi@ngrguardiannews.com 08116759790 (Sms only)

Mr. President Didn’t Fail, He Didn’t Pass Either I recall that, miffed at what had become government’s recurrent pastime, to trade blame and look for excuses where vision becomes myopic and impossible to deliver, newsmen decided to dig into why national planning has become something like medieval weather forecast, more of guesswork. The subsequent reportage was explosive, and perhaps got minister Shamsudeen angrier. He probably felt some people were after his job. So, he waited for May 29, to deliver a well-rehearsed lecture on how ignorant critics of government’s micro-economic figures are. He needed to score a few points and perhaps, convince Mr. President that he remains the best visionary in town. He did not stop there. He praised Jonathan’s government to high heavens, for being the first president to package a mid-term policy report of electoral promises and deliverables. Then he scored the government very high in eight out of 14 indicators. President Jonathan became ecstatic, and he too gave Shamsudeen a pass mark. The next minister who took the podium was the coordinating minister of the economy and finance minister, Okonjo Iweala. She too was upbeat, doing almost a reckless over-speed, in her bid to reel out all that this government had achieved in just two years. From her point of view, it was an endless list and one would think she was talking about another Nigeria in some other planet. It seemed the outing was not designed to impress citizens, but to tell the President what they want him to hear, not for the purpose of bridging the widening gap between the Presidency and citizens, but to manipulate Jonathan and gain a stronghold on his thoughts. A discerning citizenry was likely to get worried, that their President had been hijacked by a cabal and might not listen to them anymore. Everything coming outside government, no matter how truthful and factual is seen as a salvo from the opposition camp. Then we see a combative government on a

Democracy Day, well prepared to take on anybody. The event did not look like a mind-robbing session between a government and the people, but an attempt to deny the truth and mesmerize the people. A few facts. Electricity supply is still very bad and it seems handlers of Mr. President feed him with half- truths. From the figures government reels out, what is probable is that bureaucrats use averages from highbrow areas, like Asokoro and government reservation areas to assume what is happening all over the country. That is not true. It is true, perhaps, that this government, more than previously, is investing heavily in the power sector; building the NIPPs, reorganising transmission lines and expanding pipelines to supply gas to turbines. That has not brought about any remarkable increase in generation and transmission. There is immense work in progress, no doubt, and citizens are not blind; and I’m sure they are kind enough to wait for all the efforts to mature. But to tell a lie against citizens, that they now enjoy endless supply of electricity is most unkind. Let Mr. President find out what is happening at the Papalanto gas power station in Ogun State, which was commissioned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo way back in 2007, but which does not supply power to residents in the Ewekoro axis. Let middlemen in the bureaucracy not confuse Mr. President with lies. There is a works minister who loves to grandstand, sounding very urbane, but does not know what citizens are going through along the Lagos/Ibadan and Lagos/Abeokuta expressways. When Bicourtney was chased out of Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, Mike Onolemenme gave the impression that a new contract had been signed with two firms. Today, that expressway is just the way it had been; choked with traffic, highly dangerous at night because it is unlit, with the surface completely chopped off, leaving a grinding bottom that is unfit for decent driving.

in the NGF election to choose a new chairman, a wide window to get off his back a troublesome gadfly that had been causing him anxious moments and bring in a loyalist who would strictly stick to instructions regarding the task ahead in 2015? In other words, it will help to keep this unending debate within the parameters of practical politics and avoid the temptation of introducing cold morals because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Let him without sin cast the first stone! Is it Governor Rochas Okorocha, who, reports say, has become a sole administrator without the balancing inputs of the legislature and judiciary in Imo state or the ACN governors who do not even have the magnanimity to accept a fellow progressive, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State as one of their own? Enough to say that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Meanwhile, the answers to the great questions raised lie in designing a new character for the Nigerian politician; a transformation that will make the politician take a position as part of a process and not the process itself. For now, the Nigerian politician has an exaggerated rating of his worth in the socio-political dynamics, a situation that can be effectively managed if the controls are in order. The greater tragedy however, is that the controlling institutions are comatose and that also is a product of the murderous operation of the politician who sees the dismantling of state institutions as a mark of excellent politics. While on one hand, the governors would want the judiciary and the police to maintain the full weight of institutional character in dealing with matters between them and the centre, they would wish, on the other hand, to act unrestrained if the matter were between them and council chairmen in their states. There is never a universal concept of justice. The truth is at once circumstantial and made elastic to accommodate the overflowing moral frailties of the politician, who manages almost always, to package and put across his inadequacies as a thriving national culture. One of the vices that have been fraudulently sustained over the years as a virtue is called loyalty. And since it has been accepted, ab initio, that being loyal to a godfather, governor, president or one seemingly subjective interest in the techniques of civil governance is good and even imperative, the people can only seek to cultivate a corresponding capacity to live with mediocre leadership. No good man or woman is loyal in the sense of the Nigerian politician. Only fools are and so there shouldn’t be murmurings if we have fools in the saddle. Action and reaction are equal and opposite as they say, even in politics. It was the same thing along Lagos/Abeokuta expressway, where Julius Berger had been driven out to pave way for an ill-equipped FERMA, which happens to be the infrastructure wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Mr. President, your citizens are groaning at Ota and Owode, where the state government that collects taxes along the route is very quick to remind hapless citizens that it is a federal highway. There are portholes and gullies all over the place and if you care, Mr. President, these are traps that are set for you and your party, come 2015. You will need to explain why your party loves punishing the people. Why would 14 years of PDP administration be such a pain in the neck; why would the contract to fix this Ota road drag for eight years, and then the works minister is signing new contracts all over the place? And how much of due process does government apply in all of these contracts, in terms of transparency and accountability? That’s another matter. Mr. President’s finance minister said more than 60 percent of citizens have access to public water supply? That cannot be true because this government does not have the good conscience and capacity to supply portable water. That era seems gone for good, when governments, state and federal did not shy from real investments that would make life easy and better for the people. I remember that remote villages were connected with public water some thirty years ago, but gradually, that infrastructure has collapsed, because democratic governments do not seem to connect democracy with development. Is it the federal government that supplies water to citizens in Lagos and Kano, the two largest cities in the country? It was good news to hear that Nigeria now exports cement. To where if may ask? But that is not even the point. If we have become self-sufficient in cement production, to the point that we now sell to others, why is it that prices cannot come down? Why is it that an industry that enjoys government protection does not give back to the people, in terms of reduced prices? These people enjoy waivers on behalf of citizens, but they take undue advantage of it to now export. Is that not criminal? Shamsudeen Usman said this is the first government to present a mid-term report of what it promised to do and how it has fared. Big deal! What is the excitement of a report, whether mid or full if it does not connect directly to the people? How much of private sector input went into that report for it to enjoy popular appeal and credibility? The journey from 2011 to 2013 is not an easy one. Citizens know, but you do not need to force anything down the public throat. I score this administration 39 percent, not good enough!


The GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

10

CITYFILe A Pinch Of N(u)ews A Laugh At Serious Issues

By Stanley Azuakola

Jang’s three point agenda he governor of Plateau state, Jonah Jang, has disclosed that contrary to popular knowledge, T he is not a daft old man who does not know his ass from his elbow. To show that he is brilliant and cerebral, Jang has developed a three point agenda as fictional Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), which he said would take the forum to greater heights. In a press briefing which he gave to journalists after meeting Pres. Jonathan in Aso Rock, Jang said, “You all saw the video of the NGF elections online and must have noticed how noisy it was, therefore my Agenda number 1 is that henceforth I shall write the names of noisemakers during every NGF meeting and submit the list to Aso Rock. The president has assured me that he would personally forward the names of noisemakers to the eFCC. My Agenda Number 2 is that henceforth camera phones would be banned during our meetings. We need the kids – sorry, the governors – to concentrate during meetings and not to be pressing their phones. We have hired security guards and protocol officers from some private universities to ensure that this ‘no camera phone’ rule is implemented. Lastly, in all things I will follow God’s will. And we know that in these our times, God’s will is represented in one man, so as Godswill keeps pushing us towards Goodluck as a Forum, we will continue to follow.”

Motorists Flay FeRMA, FG On Lagos-Abeokuta Road

Gov. Jang clarifies on God’s will N a related development, a close associate of Gov. Jonah Jang has expressed sadness that NigeIthem. rians did not understand the coded message which Governor Jang tried to communicate to Last Sunday, Gov. Jang had said during a church thanksgiving that “if you rig and succeed during an election, it is God’s will.” According to the governor’s associate who spoke with A Pinch…, it was not the Almighty God who Jang was referring to when he said that. he said, “To understand what exactly Jang was saying, you have to think. Who is the person who boasted during the Good Governance Tour of the Information Minister that he rigged the election in his state to install a senator? Was it not God’s will that made that rigging to happen? Of course it was done by God’s will! And it is that Godswill that Gov. Jang was referring to, not God’s will, if you know what I’m saying. The success of Jang’s faction so far, even though Jang did not win the election, is down to the amazing rigging abilities of Godswill.”

Pres. Jonathan to take week off to treat sore ass statement from the president’s special adviser on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, inA formed Nigerians that doctors at the villa have recommended that President Goodluck Jonathan should take the whole of this week off to relax his presidential buttocks. he said that this became necessary because the president was suffering from a severe case of sore ass, following the amount of ass kissing which he received last week. The president developed the sore ass when state governors mapped out his bum-bum with at least one governor from each zone choosing a part to kiss. The North West was represented by Gov. Aliyu of Niger, who mapped the biggest portion of the president’s backside to kiss because Niger is the biggest state in the country. Aliyu confessed to Pres. Jonathan that he was a master noisemaker and one of the 169, 999, 999 Nigerians with bad luck as the president is “the only man with good luck” on either side of the Niger River. In the South South, it was a fight between Dickson of Bayelsa and Uduaghan of Delta over who should represent the zone, but Uduaghan finally won the battle. he charged Deltans to support the president because he had the trademarked bum-bum of a South South man, which was very important as Nigerian politics is not only shitty but regional. Gov. elechi of ebonyi kissed the First Ass on behalf of the South east and told Nigerians to stop abusing the president as doing so was the major threat to Nigeria’s democracy.

CROWNeD CLOWN (CeeCee) OF The WeeK T was a week of undiluted clownishness. The governors continued in their dance of shame Iformance with Govs. Akpabio and Jang emerging as lead naked dancers. It has been a grotesque perindeed. Reuben Abati and Rotimi Fashakin threw away all restraints and turned official press releases into worthless statements garnished with personal insults and demeaning the offices they represent, especially Abati who speaks for our President. There were many others, but one story which touched A Pinch... was the release of some Boko haram suspects in Borno and Yobe. Kids between 10 and 17 years were among those released. One child confessed that he was given the sum of N5, 000 to burn down schools. What a sad thing! While governors are making a fool of themselves and camping in Abuja and the president is engrossed in a fight to become president again, the future is being stolen; kids are being raped of their innocence for N5000 or less. But the most hideous are those treacherous criminals who indoctrinate these kids, who put the fuel in their hands, who arm them, who send them on devilish missions, and whose own kids are not risked. Their day will come. They will answer for the bleeding they’ve wreaked on the motherland. It shall not be well with them. Clowns of the first order, they receive the CeeCee this week. - Follow A Pinch... on Twitter @stanleyazuakola

CITY SHOT

Sympathisers try to put out a fire that engulfed a goods truck along Apapa/Isolo Expressway... last week. PHOTO: PAUL ADUNWOKE

Roads, roads everywhere! But how motorable?

By Gbenga Akinfenwa hRee weeks after the attention of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FeRMA), Works T Minister, Mike Onolememe, and his Information counterpart, Labaran Maku, was drawn to the deplorable state of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, there is still no respite in sight for motorists. The rains have washed away palliatives on bad spots, as the ever-busy axis becomes a no-go area to motorists. While FeRMA flaunts its achievements in Abuja and other parts of the country, the same cannot be said in this circumstance, especially since the Ministry of Works took over rehabilitation from Julius Berger Plc, early this year. horrible potholes mar the road from Ile-Zik, through Iyana-Ipaja, Ile-epo, Ijaiye, Salolo, Adura, Ajegunle to the tollgate. This has resulted in frustrating gridlock and daily loss of precious hours. A journey from Oshodi to Sango, usually 30 minutes, now lasts three hours. With its emergency intervention -‘Operation Zero Potholes Programme’- to put all federal roads in good conditions, FeRMA, in March, gave the impression it was fixing bad spots on the axis. Their efforts, from start, drew criticism from members of the public who cited lack of expertise and reliance on manual labour to repair a road of such importance. The critics, it appears, are right, as the newly ‘rehabilitated’ areas have succumbed to the rains. Sometime ago, the Owode/Iyana-Ilogbo area was repaired. Unfortunately, the Iyana-Ilogbo end, which measures about 120 metres, is now in a deplorable state. Another saddening observation is that worst affected sections are left undone, as less damaged areas get ridiculous priority. The stretch opposite the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), close to Alimosho Local Government Secretariat is, at the moment, an eyesore. Though FeRMA erected a signpost, saying it is working in the area, some potholes are nearly 8ft wide and 4ft deep. Many vehicles, meanwhile, have run into some of these ‘rivers’. FeRMA should have prioritised this! In Salolo, close to Adura bus stop, the story is the same. A ditch at the middle of the road, coupled with an illegal U-turn, take the blame for a traffic gridlock that often gets to Meiran or Ijaiye, depending on time of day. Worst hit is the area opposite Sango Motor Park. Motorists on the 50-metre stretch are often glued to the spot for as much as 40 minutes. Last Tuesday’s heavy downpour did not help matters, as pedestrians and commuters were stranded for hours. Motorists have decried damage to their vehicles as FeRMA and the Federal Ministry of Works continue to trade blame on responsibility for repairing the road. An aggrieved motorist, Sola emmanuel, said the shameful state of the road indicates government’s lack of concern towards the plight of the masses. he called on state governments to repair the road, if the Federal Government remains witless. A trader, Madam Abike, lamented high cost of transporting goods along the road, as bus operators hike prices, alleging need to repair damage to their vehicles. The Guardian visited FeRMA’s office in Ogun State to speak with agency boss, Alexander Mazoya. he was said to have travelled out of the state for a workshop. An official of the agency in Lagos, however, said that the agency has put in place palliatives in Abule-egba, Ajegunle, Abule Taylor and other areas in Ogun State. Asked the amount allocated for maintenance of the road and who the contractors are, he said: “I work with FeRMA, I don’t know all these things. But if you call the Federal Controller of Works, he can tell you everything. If you need correct information, go to the Federal Ministry of Works.” The Minister of Works, and Information, might need to visit the road to see, firsthand, a remarkable ‘dividend of democracy’.


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 2, 2013 | 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Prophets Of Pan-Africanism By Adekeye Adebajo E EK ye first the political kingdom, and all else shall be added unto it.” Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah’s famous injunction continues to reverberate across Africa as it celebrates the golden jubilee of the birth of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). To understand the significance of this moment, we must retrace the history of Pan-Africanism itself. Europe’s “original sin” against Africa occurred at the Conference of Berlin in 1884-1885, when the rules were effectively set for the partition for Africa on the eve of the “Scramble” for the continent’s riches. Fifteen years after the Berlin Conference, the Pan-African movement was born when Trinidadian lawyer, Henry SylvesterWilliams, organised the first Pan-African Congress in London in 1900. This was the same year that African American scholar-activist William E.B. Dubois, the “Father of Pan-Africanism”, uttered the remarkably prescient prophecy: “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the colour line.” Between 1919 and 1945, five Pan-African Congresses took place in Paris, London, New York, and Manchester. These meetings were at first dominated by African Americans like Dubois. But in time, Africans and Caribbeans increasingly participated in them. Initially, the demands of these early Pan-Africanists were limited to education, economic development, and racial equality. Eventually, however, Pan-Africanism advocated African unity so that its cultures could flourish, unhampered by the denigrating influences of Western “civilisation”. Some sought refuge in an idealised African past, free of slavery and xenophobia, with writers like Martinique’s Aimé Césaire and Senegal’s Léopold Senghor developing the idea of négritude, which glorified black culture, looked back nostalgically at a rich African past, and affirmed the worth and dignity of black people. Nigerian Nobel literature laureate, Wole Soyinka, famously ridiculed the romanticism of this apolitical approach in wryly noting: “The tiger does not profess its tigritude, it pounces.” By the time of the fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester in 1945, the Pan-African movement had shifted its centre of influence to Africa. The conference was dominated by indigenous Africans like Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta, and Malawi’s Hastings Banda, men who later led their countries to independence. Dubois, in fact, was the only African American at the conference. He passed the torch of Pan-Africanism to Nkrumah in Manchester. Both Dubois and another towering Pan-African intellectual, Trinidad’s George Padmore, then worked as advisers to Nkrumah’s government. Both lie buried in Accra. A historic battle was waged for the soul of PanAfricanism, between a “radical” Casablanca minority bloc led by Kwame Nkrumah – and also involving Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Guinea, and Mali - and the majority of African states, grouped under the Brazzaville and Monrovia blocs, who favoured a more gradualist approach to continental unity. Nkrumah’s rejected vision of a “Union Government of African States” would have involved common economic planning (in-

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CONversation

cluding a common currency and monetary zone), an African military command, and a common foreign policy. The Ghanaian leader was widely distrusted by his fellow African leaders for backing armed dissidents, and even his union with Guinea and Mali concluded by 1961, proved to be short-lived, dying a year later. In May 1963, 32 African states met in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and signed the OAU Charter, effecting the disintegration of the three rival African blocs. The Charter clearly reflected the triumph of the gradualist, evolutionary path over the speedy, revolutionary course of the “radicals”. The document, however, rendered the OAU’s executive and administrative branches ineffective by according them only limited powers. Resolutions of the OAU Assembly were not legally binding, and the body lacked implementation mechanisms. The organisation’s Commission of Mediation, Conciliation, and Arbitration was also not a judicial organ and did not have any powers of sanction. Diallo Telli, the genial Guinean technocrat and first substantive Secretary-General of the OAU between 1964 and 1972, noted that Pan-Africanism had been born into an atmosphere of “complete alienation, physical exploitation and spiritual torment.” Telli would himself be starved to death in Guinean leader Sékou Touré’s prison in 1977. The threat of foreign intervention in the heart of Africa was symbolised by the martyrdom of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961 during the traumatic Congo crisis (1960-1964). This led to recognition of the need for what Kenyan scholar, Ali Mazrui, described as Pax Africana — a peace created and consolidated by Africans themselves. The OAU’s aspirations for Pax Africana were, however, destroyed by the “proxy wars” waged by the United States (US) and the Soviet Union in Africa, and the pyromaniac adventures of the French gendarme. The OAU did not bother to react collectively when Tanzania invaded Uganda in 1979 to depose the “butcher of Kampala”: Idi Amin had been elected as OAU chair in 1975–1976 despite killing an estimated 300,000 of his own citizens. But despite its shortcomings, the OAU deserves credit for its firm commitment to decolonisation and the anti-apartheid struggles in Southern Africa. The continental body doggedly and uncompromisingly pursued these battles, furnishing military and diplomatic support to Africa’s liberation movements. Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere chaired the OAU’s Liberation Committee that coordinated these efforts, which eventually culminated in the unprecedented imposition of United Nations (UN) economic sanctions on albinocracies in Rhodesia and South Africa. Salim Ahmed Salim served as OAU Secretary-General from 1989 to 2001: the longest tenure in the institution’s history. His main contribution was in the area of security. As the Cold War came to an end in Africa, the Tanzanian diplomat warned African leaders of the need to observe human rights and stop regarding the notion of state sovereignty as absolute. Between 1960 and 1990, no single ruling party had lost power in Africa. Salim finally succeeded in his efforts to establish an OAU conflict resolution mechanism in 1993. Nigerian scholar-diplomat Adebayo Adedeji, who headed the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) between 1975 and 1991, was undoubtedly Africa’s most renowned visionary of

economic integration. He oversaw the creation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) between 1975 and 1983. He also pushed the OAU to organise an economic summit in 1980 at which he championed the collective self-reliance and self-sustainability principles of the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA). These plans were enthusiastically adopted by African leaders, but then left to gather dust, even as an African Economic Community (AEC) was later envisaged for 2028. Less than 12 percent of current continental trade is intraAfrican. Mali’s Alpha Konaré, was the first chair of the African Union Commission between 2003 and 2008. His vision and eloquence were impressive, but there was often a lack of focus and reality about his approach to regional integration. In creating the African Union in Durban in 2002, it seemed at first that African leaders like South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, and Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika had finally realised that the grandiose plans and high-sounding resolutions of the OAU era could not bring about the continent’s economic integration. African governments were forced increasingly to recognise that economic development could not simply be legislated into existence. The glue that had held the OAU together for three decades – the liberation of Southern Africa — had now come unstuck. With growing poverty and continued insecurity replacing apartheid and colonialism as the common enemy, the OAU was forced to commit suicide in 2002 in the hope that the AU could rise from its ashes like the Egyptian Phoenix. Unlike the OAU Charter, the AU’s Constitutive Act of 2000 allowed for interference in the internal affairs of its members in cases of unconstitutional changes of governments, egregious human rights abuses, and conflicts that threatened regional stability. This was revolutionary in light of the OAU’s rigid, non-interventionist posture.  The AU is also seeking to establish an African Standby Force, consisting of five subregional brigades, by 2015. The organisation has identified the African Diaspora as a sixth subregion in its structures. This idea has, however, so far been devoid of substance. Another “Grand Debate” occurred at the AU summit in Accra in July 2007. This meeting revived some of the early battles of African diplomacy five decades earlier. In Africa’s contemporary battle, the gladiators had changed but the issues had not. Libya, under its mercurial leader Muammar Qaddafi, launched the vision of a “United States of Africa” that would be loosely modelled on the European Union (EU). Qaddafi came closest to Nkrumah’s Pan-African vision, calling for an appointed president and ministers, as well as a central bank. Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade advocated a limited continental government, with the AU serving as an embryonic federation with a common currency and appointing its own ministers. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni pushed for a subfederalism that would eventually culminate in a political federation un-

der a revived East African Community (EAC). This contemporary debate, however, seemed ahistorical, quixotic, and impractical. The lessons of the divisions of the 1960s had to be learned before progress could be made. African leaders in Accra in 2007 were presented with three options: first, to strengthen the AU and existing regional groupings; second, to create a “Union Government” by 2015 with executive powers in specific areas as a transitory phase towards a “United States of Africa”; and third, to proceed immediately towards a “United States of Africa”.  As in the days of Nkrumah, the more federalist vision of Africa (in particular, the third option) was rejected by African leaders. This was an idea whose time had not yet come. There appeared to be a lack of priority, sequencing, or reality in these federalist schemes. Putting old wine in new bottles would clearly not integrate Africa. African leaders must vigorously pursue the first option and focus on the hard work of strengthening and funding fledgling institutions that they have created, and establishing one effective economic pillar in each African subregion. Strong economies and stable democracies must be built. After all, there has to be something to integrate for integration to succeed. The “Grand Debate” of 2007 effectively turned out to have been another “Grand Distraction”. The new AU Commission chair, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is currently setting out a “Vision 2063” for the organisation in a year-long celebration, amidst the harsh reality that over half of the AU’s $278 million annual budget is funded by foreign donors.  Nevertheless, the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) has been active, while the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a useful governance monitoring mechanism, though it lacks “teeth”. The AU Commission has struggled in its first decade to establish its independence to take initiatives on behalf of its 54 members. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) clearly lacks the resources and capacity to develop the continent. The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) remains a talking shop, while the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) has failed to provide genuine civil society participation in the AU’s institutions. African leaders can still routinely ignore the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ unenforceable judgments. Algeria’s founding president, Ben Bella, famously implored his fellow leaders during the founding of the OAU 50 years ago: “So let us agree to die a little or even completely so that the peoples still under colonial domination may be free and African unity may not be a vain word.” The political liberation of Africa was complete in May 1994 when Nelson Mandela became president of a democratic South Africa. In a speech to the US Congress five months later, Mandela quoted his fellow Nobel Peace laureate, Martin Luther King’s famous words during the 1963 march on Washington: “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last!” Two of the twentieth century’s greatest PanAfrican struggles — the civil rights and anti apartheid battles – were thus inextricably linked. While Nkrumah’s political kingdom has now been achieved due to the efforts of our Pan-African ancestors, the quest for the socio economic kingdom continues. Dr. Adebajo is Executive Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town.

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

12 | Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial Returning Stolen Artifacts T is very unfortunate that a sizeable number of Nigeria’s priceless artifacts have been looted over time for sale in the international market, mostly in Europe and the United States. Today such great works of art adorn private homes, galleries, public museums and universities in other countries, all to the detriment of the country of origin. Worse still, recovery efforts have been largely futile. Also, whenever the works are traced to a location, no apologies or reparations are offered for such brazen theft of a people’s history and culture. The recent disclosure, therefore, that more than 60 such artifacts from museums in France, Canada, South Africa, Switzerland and the U.S. have been recovered is a welcome development. In fact, efforts of collaborating countries’ agencies like the French Customs Service that resulted in the seizure of five highly valued Nok Terracotta figures “found in the personal luggage of a traveler” in August 2010 should be acknowledged for future assistance. An advantage of keeping the treasures, for instance, is the prestige it confers on towns and villages where the treasures originated from. For example, Nok is a little town in Plateau State. (Records show that Nok arts came to light in 1928 when a certain Co. J Dent Young found a small terracotta head amongst the gravel from tin mining operations near the village of Nok and since then, these cultural materials were named after the village. Nigerian towns and villages need more of such global exposures. However, it is worrisome that more than a century after the British attack on the kingdom of Benin, which occasioned the carting away or the destruction of many of the art gems, pieces of cultural heritage of the country are still being allowed to be stolen. At least 28 bronze and six ivory pieces are believed to have been traced to the U.S Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (although about 10 Nok statues and one carved tusk were once legally returned by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Nigerian Consulate). Of course, the continued theft of Nigerian artifacts gives the country away as careless with its valuable resources and history. The country has had enough of senseless exploitation. A situation where its artifacts are floating everywhere or sold for virtually nothing to other cultural milieus that far appreciate the worth of antiquities is not acceptable. Again, it is a statement on the wrong attitude of government and its officials like museum managers and security operatives to public trusts.   It is encouraging that Yusuf Abdullah Usman of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) has raised hopes of a process of restitution and total recovery of the cultural goods from France and the U.S, citing the support of the two in particular. The authorities should seize the window of opportunity offered by the collaborative diplomatic efforts to ensure the protection, restoration and development of the people’s cultural heritage. This diplomatic engagement must, however, be in accordance with international laws and should certainly not be to the disadvantage of the country. It is not enough for the NCMM to threaten individuals, organisations and state governments setting up museums “without the necessary and statutory supervision, regulation and approval” contrary to Act of Parliament CAP 242 of 2000 because it has powers to approve and withdraw such endorsement. The NCMM will do well to step up its oversight functions to encourage compliance and enhance holistic protective measures in the overall interest of the country. All affected museums should also follow due process and regularise whatever anomalies there are in the running or management of the treasure houses. NCMM’s capacity for preservation, documentation exhibition, heritage and management should be strengthened further while collaborating with other museums through bilateral relations beyond the present level. Nigeria has so much to gain from preservation of its artifacts. The treasures would always be a tourist attraction, especially by art connoisseurs from all over the world. Government should jettison official tardiness and corruption and push the frontiers of development of the tourism industry, which, in spite of huge potentials, is far from being appropriately exploited. Nigeria could even push for the exhibition of the stolen artifacts in those places where they are currently located for a period and for a fee until they are eventually returned. In the light of the appreciation of Nigerian artifacts out there, local anthropologists should be proud to search for and unearth more.    

I

LETTERS

Mission To Rebuild Ogun In Progress IR: Ogun State Governor, Scame Senator Ibikunle Amosun into office at a time the state was in dire need of a man that would help salvage it from collapse and chart a new course for its development. It is now exactly two years that the Mission to Rebuild our dear state took -off with the mandate to bring about qualitative and affordable education, efficient health care delivery service as well as agricultural production/ industrialisation, affordable housing and urban renewal; and rural and infrastructural development/employment generation. The journey so far has indeed brought succor and aided in restoring people’s confidence in government as the present administration in Ogun is sold out to service to humanity and wealth creation. Looking at the spate of insecurity before May 29, 2011 compared to what was witnessed in the past, they are two parallel lines. With the huge investments of Senator Amosun-led administration in security, residents have been going to bed with their eyes closed while businessmen are as well thriving without any worry. This prompted the former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to disclose during his recent visit to Abeokuta that, ‘night life in Abeokuta is so superb compared to other states of the federation, in terms of safety.’ Little wonder Senator Amosun was awarded the Best Security Conscious Governor

in West Africa few months ago by Security Watch Africa in far away Ghana, among other awards he got both locally and internationally. The aggressive pursuits of the lost educational legacies which the Gateway State was in the past known for by the present administration had in these two years earned its public schools and students as well as teachers numerous laurels, including the President’s Teachers’ and Schools Awards 2012 Edition held in Abuja where Ogun clinched six major awards including National Best School Administrator, Best School Head Teacher in Nigeria, Best Primary School Teacher in Nigeria as well as 2nd Best Junior Secondary School, 3rd Best Primary School and 2nd Best Junior School Teacher. When the first flyover bridge in the 37 years history of our state was being

commissioned on the January 24, 2013,the former military administrator in Ogun, Gen. Seidu Ayodele   Balogun (rtd) frankly pointed out that, ‘I can’t believe in my wildest imagination that a bridge of this magnitude could be in this state at a time like this’. It is no news that the on-going road expansion projects in over fourteen places across the three senatorial districts of the state, with several flyover bridges being constructed simultaneously on the six laner roads are a good omen that good times are here. Besides, the ability of the present administration to take Ogun from the economic doldrums of N600m monthly Internally Generated Revenue to N4B monthly IGR as well as closing all leakages are pointers to the fact that we would soon be among the most economically viable states. Femi Onasanya, Abeokuta.

“Pope Defends Atheist: Atheists Who Do Good Are Good, Says Pope Francis”, May 24, 2013 IR: Pope Francis’ recent off comments about “the good” Sthing the cuff comments - some- by making specific reference that is rapidly, and unfor- to Catholic teaching. tunately becoming his trade mark - about faith, atheists, and salvation are due to mislead many and lead to the dissemination of moral relativism. It is true that those who “do good” can go to heaven (Matthew 25:31-46). However, the pope, in his attempt to engage atheists and humanists,  should have qualified his

Unfortunately many who read the pope’s comments will wrongly end up believing that their own version of “the good” - whether that includes abortion, contraception, homosexuality, genetic manipulation, divorce, etc. is tantamount to salvation. Paul Kokoski, 234 Columbia Drive, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

13

FOREIGNNEWS

Fresh Oklahoma Tornadoes Kill Nine UNITED STATES NEW series of tornadoes has A swept through the US state of Oklahoma, killing at least nine people, including two children, officials say. The tornadoes struck near the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, where 24 people were killed by a violent tornado nearly two weeks

ago. The latest storm struck during Friday’s evening rush hour, trapping many people in cars and causing traffic chaos. More than 60,000 homes lost power and heavy rain has caused severe flooding. Many streets were inundated with up to 4ft (1.2 m) of water. Storms also swept through

Missouri, where Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Centre said the severe weather was shifting eastward yesterday, towards Ohio and the Mississippi River Valleys. In the morning, Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma’s Office of the Chief Medical

Unrest Rages In Istanbul, Ankara URKEY has entered a second day T of violent protests, with fresh clashes between police and demonstrators in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara. The unrest began as a sit-in over plans to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, but escalated after police used tear gas. Tear gas was again fired yesterday at protesters in Istanbul and Ankara. In a defiant speech, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that the park project would go ahead. He also said that police would remain in Taksim Square to preserve order. Reports say that what began as a local issue has spiralled into more

TURKEY widespread anger at the government and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party. Hundreds of demonstrators marched over the bridge connecting the Asian and European shores of Istanbul in the morning to try to reach the main square. Police fired tear gas to try to disperse them and some protesters threw rocks. Police also fired water cannon and tear gas in Taksim Square as demonstrators chanted “unite against fascism” and “government resign”. Clashes were also reported in the Besiktas district. One Istanbul resident, who gave

her name as Lily, told the BBC’s World Service: “There are 40,000 people crossing the bridge between Asia and Europe today. All the public transport is on lockdown.” She said that police had dropped tear-gas canisters from helicopters overnight. “About half past one the entire city started to reverberate. People were banging on pots, pans, blowing whistles,” she said. TheBBC report in Istanbul says police from as far afield as Antalya are being drafted in to help quell the violence. She says the central Taksim district and surrounding areas remain cordoned off and bridges are closed to traffic.

Examiner, said nine fatalities had been confirmed, including two children and seven adults. Among them were a mother and a baby found in a vehicle that was hit by the tornado as it passed over a major highway - Interstate 40 - near Oklahoma City. Dozens of lorries were also overturned. Two other deaths occurred in Union City and one was in El Reno, west of Oklahoma City. At least 75 people were injured, with five of them critically, hospital officials said. Among those who took to the roads to flee the storm was 30year-old Brandi Vanalphen. “What got me scared was being

New Quotas For EU Workers To Be Enforced SWITZERLAND WITZERLAND, which is not an ShasEU member, says immigration reached unacceptable levels, with foreigners making up a quarter of the population. The Swiss have made a series of deals with the EU on the free movement of people in return for access to European markets.

Al-Qaeda ‘Chemical Weapons Plot’ Uncovered IRAQ HE authorities in Iraq say they T have uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to use chemical weapons, as well as to smuggle them to Europe and North America. Defence ministry spokesman

Mohammed al-Askari said five men had been arrested after military intelligence monitored their activities for three months. Three workshops for manufacturing the chemical agents, including sarin and mustard gas, were uncovered, he added. Remote-controlled toy planes were

Cleric Qaradawi Urges Sunnis To Join Rebels N influential cleric has called A on Sunni Muslims from around the Middle East to go to Syria to join the battle against President Bashar al-Assad. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian Islamist based in Qatar, told a rally in Doha that every Sunni capable of fighting should support the rebels. He also claimed Iran and the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, Mr Assad’s main allies, wanted to exterminate Sunnis.

SYRIA His call came as fighting continued for the control of the key town of Qusair. Rebel-held parts of Qusair, which is situated between Homs and the Lebanese border, are effectively blockaded by government forces and Hezbollah fighters, reports the BBC in Beirut. Conditions inside Qusair are said to be dire, especially for civilians and wounded trapped there.

also seized at the workshops. Mr Askari said they were to have been used to release the chemical agents over the target from a “safe” distance of 1.5km (0.9 miles), reports the BBC in Baghdad. All of the arrested men had confessed to the plot, and said they had received instruction from another al-Qaeda offshoot, he added. As the defence ministry spokesman spoke on Iraqi TV, footage was shown of four men with black hoods on their heads, our correspondent adds. Three of them were wearing bright yellow jumpsuits and a fourth was in a

stuck in traffic with sirens going off,” she told Reuters. “I started seeing power flashes to the north... I started driving on the shoulder. People started driving over the grass.” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said: “For reasons that are not clear to me, more people took to the roads, more than we expected. Everyone acted differently in this storm, and as a result, it created an extremely dangerous situation. “I think we are still a little shaken by what happened in Moore. We are still burying children and victims, so our emotions are still strong,” he added.

brown jumpsuit. Their arrests were possible because of co-operation between Iraqi and foreign intelligence services, Mr Askari said. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is believed the only offshoot of the Islamist militant network to have used chemical weapons. It detonated a 16 crude chlorine bombs in Iraq between October 2006 and June 2007. Chlorine inhalation made many hundreds of people sick, but no deaths resulting from exposure to the chemical were recorded, US officials said at the time. Instead, the bomb blasts are believed to have caused the fatalities.

The European Commission has warned that the quotas could jeopardise relations. The vast majority of immigrants to Switzerland come from traditional EU members like Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Correspondents say Portuguese seeking work will be hardest hit by the new scheme. The BBC in Geneva says on paper the Swiss have little to complain about. They have a jobless rate of less than 3 percent, higher economic growth than expected and a strong currency, she says. But there is concern in Switzerland about a growing influx of workers from poorer EU members. A recent government statement said the number of people arriving in the country had exceeded the number leaving by up to 80,000 in recent years. The Swiss government has come under pressure from both the rightwing People’s Party and the Green Liberal Party, which say immigration has reached unsustainable levels. The number of foreigners in Switzerland stands at almost 25 percent, many of them recent arrivals from EU countries where unemploy-

Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina ‘Ends Hunger Strike’ RUSSIA ARIA Alyokhina, a jailed M member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, has ended her hunger strike after 11 days, her friend has said. Pyotr Verzilov, husband of bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, said Alyokhina’s health was satisfactory. He said her demands over security for inmates at the prison colony in the Urals town of Berezniki had been met. Three Pussy Riot members were jailed after an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral in February 2012. Yekaterina Samutsevich had her sentence suspended on appeal last October. Tolokonnikova was denied parole last month. Alyokhina had been moved to a hospital in her prison colony on Tuesday. She begun her hunger strike after claiming prison officials were attempting to turn fellow

inmates against her by holding a security crackdown in advance of her parole hearing. She alleged that prisoners who formerly entered workplaces freely had to wait long periods for prison guards to escort them. Mr Verzilov told Agence FrancePresse: “Maria said that the prison administration took her on a special tour of the colony, to show her that her demands have been met.” He said the padlocks on buildings where inmates work had been removed. He also told Interfax that Alyokhina’s lawyer had filed an appeal against a court’s refusal to grant her leave to apply for parole. Alyokhina previously spent five months in solitary confinement after claiming that officials deliberately lodged her with hardened criminals and encouraged them to intimidate her. The Pussy Riot trio were jailed for two years last August after being convicted of a breach of public order motivated by religious hatred.

Protesters hurl rocks at riot police… yesterday during a protest against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul. Turkey police began pulling out of Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square, the scene of a second day of violent clashes between protesters and police over a controversial development project. Thousands of demonstrators flooded the site as police lifted the barricades around the park and began withdrawing from the square. PHOTO: AFP


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

14

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Jonathan and Obama

Implications Of Obama’s Continuous Stay Away From Nigeria By Oghogho Obayuwana Foreign Affairs Editor IGERIA has had its fair share American presiN dential (in)discretion. Since the first ever visit to Sub Saharan Africa (to the Gambia) by Franklin D Roosevelt in January 1943- an overnight stop en route from a conference in Casablanca, Nigeria had the “good fortune “of the first state visit of a US president to the area in March 1978 when Jimmy Carter came calling. Then came Bill Clinton in 2000. President George W Bush was to follow suit in 2003. So what is the furore of over a certain president Barrack Obama deciding not to come this time around? Signs of what was to come regarding an Obama showing up in Nigeria unfolded earlier in the month when visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Karen Hanrahan disclosed at a parley with select media men at the residence of the US ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley that it would still take a while for Obama’s visit to materialise. But why would the rankling even by well placed officials degenerate to the level where Nigeria is being made to look like an enclave of school pupils waiting anxiously for a president from distant lands in order to be assured of their tomorrow? Without much ado, what should count in receiving foreign presidents has to be what is made of these visits. Are they seen as mere back slapping, chest beating cacophonous encounters or opportunities to exchange and share ideas with genuine leaders and custodians of the development process from economically bettered climes? Now, when an American president leads a large delegation of those who matter in his country, to a country like Nigeria, he is more or less saying: Follow my lead. Ignore the epileptic power supply. The security challenge is a passing phase. Here is a country marching into a secure future. You can put your money here... “You’ve got to diversify this economy” Those were the thundering words of Bill Clinton who as president of the United (US) and in company of his daughter Chelsea, visited Nigeria in year 2000. Reflecting now on that sentence as well as the numerous hints at the way forward which Clinton carefully wove into his oratorical deliveries, diplomatic watchers think that not much has changed in Nigeria since the turning point of 1999 when Africa’s giant moved away from

the grip of military dictatorship. The economy is still mono-cultural. The country is still corrupt. The political class has still not found an elite consensus on governance and the internal contradictions and the national question remain unanswered. Tottering, Nigeria is now on the brink of being labelled a failed state. And if anything, it is that, the monster of religious fanaticism has grown bigger. Life is even shorter now, not less nasty but even more brutish. Suddenly so many things are being unearthed from Nigeria. The brutal killing of law enforcement officers by the Ombatse cult in Nasarawa State may just be one damning mirror reflecting the security concerns often expressed about Nigeria! Given the country’s manifest destiny, so much is expected by the world out there, of Nigeria. So much so that there is now disquiet only because the current occupant of the White House has overlooked Nigeria in his planned second Africa tour (July 26 to July 3). The first African-American president of the US would be visiting Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. This is coming after his fist visit in July 2009. The disquietude over president Obama’s perceived snub is generated by the fact that in today’s uni-polar world, a visit of the sole superpower’s president is literally taken to mean an endorsement of the governance structure, democratic trajectory as well as the aspirations of that country. Yes even though many were applauding the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), president Bush’s speeches and body language were not any departure from the standpoint that his predecessor-Clinton. A summary of these standpoints are that: Nigeria needed to build on her democratic fortunes. That Nigeria needed to combat corruption and uphold the rule of law no matter whose ox is gored. That Nigeria needed to build a society about which its future generations can feel so confident and in which they can actualise their dreams. So If after Carter, Clinton, Bush and the numerous out of office presidential visits, there is a rumble over the staying away of a foreign president, the real verdict must be found. Beyond diplomatic cool talk, this verdict which has more to do with perception cannot be found in the reasons advanced by the White House for the choice of American president’s Africa destinations! The White House had said “The president will reinforce the importance that the US places on our deep ad growing ties with countries in Sub-

Saharan Africa including through expanding economic growth, investment and trade, strengthening democratic institutions and investing in the next generation of African leaders” Ordinarily, one can argue that how can you talk of trade with Sub-Saharan Africa with a population of 860 million and Nigeria (having a huge chunk of that with a population of 160 million), the largest market on the continent seemingly not on this equation. This is even more so that Obama is expected to come with a wide array of leaders from government, business and civil society including youth, to discuss strategic partnerships on bilateral and global issues. One other White House sentence read that; “The trip will underscore the president’s commitment to broadening and deepening the cooperation between the US and the people of sub-Saharan Africa to advance regional and global peace and prosperity.” Nigeria is a regional leader but the Americans have the right to decide which country their number citizen visits at every given point in time! But we must learn to understand the thinking of Americans rather than applaud their presentations like some trepid children. For instance, during Bill Clinton’s visit, he declined to offer Nigeria any easing of its massive foreign debts. After holding hands with then president Olusegun Obasanjo, he ignored the latter’s over dinner appeal that the West had a moral responsibility to ease Nigeria’s debts, which stand at almost $30billion. That friend of Africa had in fact had to flat out long clattering wave after wave of applause saying during his speech to business and political leaders at the Sheraton hotel, Abuja saying “Cut all that clapping. I am not running political campaigns here!” Speaking to the Guardian on the issue, an international relations expert and former Dean Faculty of Social Science, University of Abuja, professor Abduhameed Ujo said all things are currently not equal in Nigeria’s bilateral relations with the US. He said; “This development (Obama not coming) is at a time when Nigeria occupies a strategic leadership position in Africa. In addition to the leadership position, Nigeria has cultural ties with the USA. It is the country with the largest black population resident in the USA with Nigerians occupying many positions in both public and private sector. In terms of bilateral relations, Nigeria is the largest market for crude oil to America. All things being equal, Nigeria should have been the first country to be visited by a US president of black origin”

But professor Ujo noted that the development “is not surprising to scholars of international politics, especially at it relates to US foreign policy after the Cold War which re-defined relationship with Africa countries to be based on good governance and support for human rights. From reports received from the US diplomatic mission in Nigeria, the Obama White House has not been comfortable with the development in Nigeria as it relates to good governance and human rights. Nigeria has been viewed as a ‘leprosy’ state which should not have the pleasure of a diplomatic contact with the US at the highest level” According to the foreign affairs expert, “The US is the leader of countries with liberal democracy. Its key thrust of foreign policy is to promote and protect values of such government globally. The refusal of President Obama to visit Nigeria on two occasions is more of a sanction to convey the message of dissatisfaction with what is happening in Nigeria. The failure of President Obama to visit Nigeria in 2009 was directly linked to the 2007 general elections, which were reported by international observers including NGOs from the US as the worst election in Nigeria. Recent comments by officials of the Government of the US expressed serious dissatisfaction with the level of corruption and human rights abuse in Nigeria. In view of the foregoing, a sitting US president will be committing political suicide if he comes to dine with a Nigerian leader” Ujo wants all who are now agitated to bear in mind that “The foreign policy of the US is guided by public opinion which could be exploited when a president cannot be sure of the overwhelming support of members of Congress. This is why despite his special relationship with Kenya, president Obama did not have the country on his itinerary as both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice President William Rotu have been indicted by the International Criminal Court at the Hague” President Clinton visited the farming village of Ushafa in the Federal Capital Territory in 2000, the community chief Muhammed Baba conferred him with the traditional title of Danmasanin Ushafa, meaning the most knowledgeable man in the village and adviser to the chief. Now, why has Nigeria not heeded the well meant advise of that fine figure who under a light drizzle, walked through the dirt paths of that small and picturesque village? And yet, he was an American president.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor HE recent savage murder of a British soldier- 25-year-old Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby in London by two fellow Britons is still generating ripples in the international political arena. Suspects Michael Mujahid Adebolajo (blood on his hands) and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale are products of the British society but in reporting the heinous crime, the western media and British establishment made sure they reminded everyone that the fellow were of “Nigerian extraction” The Bizarre happening has thrown up questions relating to Nationality. Now, what does the British law say about how to be a British citizen? Determining British citizenship in a very cosmopolitan world can be a bit complicated if you are not EnglishEnglish, Scottish-Scottish, Welsh-Welsh or Northern-Irish, Northern-Irish. By the time you begin to be NigerianBriton or Ethiopian-Briton or JamaicanBriton, there may be trumpeting and vexatious trouble lurking if you find yourself not nicely contained by the law. Your infamy would be celebrated with colouration and that is precisely what has happened in the case of these two Britons of “Nigerian extraction”. The United Kingdom (UK) Border Agency relying on the British Nationality Act 1981 has defined British nationality as stemming from being of British Citizenship, British overseas citizenship, British overseas territories citizenship, British national (overseas), British protected person and British subject. For instance, citizenship deriving from British overseas citizenship has to do with persons coming from areas formerly known as the British dependent territories. The territories are: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands and Dependencies, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, St Helena and Dependencies, the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Virgin Islands. (The sovereign bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia do not count as qualifying territories for nationality purposes.) Related to this is the fact that South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands were the dependencies of the Falkland Islands, but were not British

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The Killing Of A British Soldier overseas territories between 3 October 1985 and 3 December 2001. St Christopher and Nevis was a British overseas territory until 18 September 1983, when it became an independent Commonwealth country, while Hong Kong stopped being a British overseas territory on 30 June 1997 when sovereignty returned to China. Broadly, and ruminating through this maze, a British citizen is one who possess a British passport. In the case of Adebolajo and Adebowale, they hold the British passport, were born and bred in Great Britain and do not know their Nigerian roots. They had their education and training in Britain, have always eaten British Food and despite their dark skins, have British blood! It is unfortunate that this is happening after the infamous attempted charismas-day 2009 bombing of a Detroit bound airplane (Northwest Airlines Flight 253) by Umar Farouk Mutalab, sinisterly referred to as the “Underwear Bomber” as well as the on-going security challenge brought into bear by the Boko Haram insurgency. But the politics of dropping that phrase: Nigerian extraction rankles. That phrase is never used when reference is made to achievers and sporting stars like Gabriel Agbonlahor who plays his football for Aston Villa and the English National team, The Three Lions, or Andrew Osagie, UK’s reigning 800m champion, or Lawrence Okoye, British Discus Record Holder (68.24m), or Abiodun Oyepitan, British Olympic Silver and Gold Medalist, or Christine Ohuruogu, Beijing Olympic British Gold Medalist, or Eniola Aluko, British Olympic Female Football star, or Temi Fagbenle, British Olympic Basketball queen and several other thousands of British citizens with Nigerian connection. Holding a knife and meat cleaver in bloodied hands, 28-year-old Londoner Adebolajo, a British-born convert to Islam, connived with Adebowale to write their names in dust just a month after the Boston Marathon bombing and the first Islamist killing in Britain since local suicide bombers killed 52 people in London in 2005. Their condemnable action has now

revived fears of “lone wolves” who may have had no direct contact with al Qaeda but are all over Britain lurking to commit other crimes. The guy Adebolajo had always drawn some attention to himself. Adebolajo’s friend Abu Nusaybah told BBC that Adebolajo was asked by the MI5 domestic intelligence agency if he wanted to work for them. He said Adebolajo had snubbed their approach. He also revealed Adebolajo was once picked up by Kenyan forces and physically assaulted in detention there. Abu Nusaybah said after Adebolajo returned from Kenya, MI5 agents repeatedly called at his home. “His wording was: ‘They are bugging me — they won’t leave me alone.’ “But after him saying that he didn’t know these individuals and so forth, what he said is they asked him whether he would be interested in working for them. How jobless therefore was Adebolajo? Would he be found on that murder scenne if he had been working for the British authorities? Relatives of Michael Adebolajo have since released a statement sending their “heartfelt condolence” to Lee Rigby’s family, and saying there is no place for violence in the name of religion. The Adebolajo family said: “Nothing we say can undo the events of last week. However, as a family, we wish to share with others our horror at the senseless killing of Lee Rigby and express our profound … distress that this has brought on our family. We send our heartfelt condolence to Lee Rigby’s family and loved ones. “We wish to state openly that we believe that there is no place for violence in the name of religion or politics. We believe all right-thinking members of society share this view wherever they were born and whatever their religion and political beliefs. We wholeheartedly condemn all those who engage in acts of terror and fully reject any suggestion by them that religion or politics can justify this kind of violence. We unreservedly put out faith in the rule of law and with others fully expect that all the perpetrators will be brought to justice under the law of the land...And we pray for Lee

Rigby’s soul to rest in peace, for the Lord to comfort his parents and loved ones and provide all of us affected the strength and fortitude to cope with this tragedy. In all the circumstances and in respect to ongoing police investigations, this is the only statement we wish to give. We ask that we are not contacted for further comments.” But Britain’s security agencies appeared headed for a period of deeply uncomfortable scrutiny after the government said that it had been aware for more than two years that one of the two men suspected of hacking an offduty British soldier to death had ties to Al Qaeda This is especially so now that a Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that the ministry had provided “consular assistance” in Kenya in 2010 to Adebolajo. He had been arrested by the Kenyan police on suspicion of planning to join Al Shabab, an extremist group in Somalia that Britain has classified as a terrorist organization. . Security officials have also confirmed that. Adebolajo, and to a more limited extent Mr. Adebowale, had been known to British security officials for several years because they took part in protests in Britain that were organized by extremist groups, some of which involved violent clashes with the police. Newspapers in Britain have also carried accounts saying that Mr. Adebolajo had been heard in mosques and community centers in south London calling for

jihadist attacks in Britain. Promptly, Muslim community groups have condemned the killing of Mr. Rigby in unequivocal terms, and say that many British Muslims are deeply apprehensive over a number of incidents of hostile graffiti and invective since his death, despite appeals for calm from Prime Minister David Cameron, the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, and other prominent figures. Condemnations have also come from Nigeria. Apart from Muslim groups and the voices of prominent persons from the western part of Nigeria that Adebolajo and Adebowale are supposed to have their roots from. Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru had also issued a statement denouncing “the London evil act”. He was only reechoing the position of the federal government on the issue. It is instructive to locate the facts in this matter, in trying to connect Nigeria with Adebolajo and Adebowale. Encounters had thrown up his (Adebolajo’s) involvement in Islamic protests in Britain, his shave with the law in Kenya as well as being on some kind of watch list of the M15 and Scotland Yard. There has not been unravelled, a single tie with Nigeria. Yet Nigeria has been made the subject in the kind of international media and establishment politics that we must contend with today.

Tafida

OGUNSANWO: Nigeria Should Ignore Obama’s Snub By Kamal Tayo Oropo IGERIA is the most populous country in N Africa, and indeed the most populous black nation in the world; one of the biggest produc-

ers of crude oil and 6th largest exporter of the commodity to the US; has the third fastest growing economy in the globe; one of the biggest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations worldwide. Conversely, a perennial under-achiever, given its huge human and material resources, and now in the vice-grip of divisive terrorist elements on both sides of the River Niger. Easily the West African big brother, any sneeze from Nigeria, in spite of her challenges, could send more than cold shivers down the entire subregion. For these reasons, the good, the bad and the ugly, one would have thought any sustainable policy direction of the global police as represented by the United State of America would have Nigeria as the center-piece and nerve center. But since President Jimmy Carter’s visit in 1976, no sitting president of the United States has come knocking the country’s doors. President Bill Clinton did come, but he was already an ornament President on his way out of the prestigious White House. President Barack Obama’s continuous snub appears even more frustrating and may have exposed the frustration of many Nigerians who actually supported Obama’s ascendancy –– albeit more for filial reason. This is the second time that Obama is skipping Nigeria from his visit to Africa as the US president had excluded Nigeria during his first visit to Ghana on July 11, 2009. However, if filial arrangement is a key factor in

Nigeria should just ignore the so called non visit of Obama. We have fundamental problems of Identity and Direction to contend with inside the country. Others will beg to visit us when we put our house in order. We will lose nothing by the non visit of US President Obama deciding which country Obama visits, Kenya appears more hard-done by the second snub. Speaking to The Guardian on why Obama is again exempting Nigeria from his proposed visit to three African countries –– South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania, Professor Emeritus at the department of Politics and International Studies, Lead University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr. Alaba Ogunsanwo, perhaps in frustration, wants Nigeria to forget Obama and his visits and rather face up with the country’s domestic challenges. Indeed, as the two-time Fulbright scholar (1979 and 1986) pointed out, one can only go by the publicly given reasons for the omission of Nigeria. The first relates to the titanic fight against corruption, which the American administration, according to Ogunsanwo, erroneously believed the Nigerian government was engaged in before the advent of the current administration. “All knowledgeable Nigerians were aware that it was a phony war but US chose foolishly to believe in the genuineness of the fight. The current actions of the Nigerian leadership which confirmed the position of the ruling elite on the issue of what is called corruption must have been seen in bad light in Washington DC”, Ogunsanwo said. Continuing, the respected don and diplomat said, “the US would have felt better if the loud noise against corruption had continued to come from Aso Rock notwithstanding the reality on ground.” 

The second reason given by Washington DC relates to the fight against terrorists and acts of terrorism in Nigeria. The US government supports the fight against terrorism but expects the Nigerian Security forces to apply a level of sophistication, which Ogunsanwo said is presently beyond the capacity of any Africanstate. In his words: “Since 1992 when the Algerian government under the National Liberation Front embarked on a sustained campaign against the Islamists who were poised to massively win the elections of that year, the US support had been unceasing. The FNL has utilised methods considered necessary given the local conditions in that country. American and other western powers have been supportive. However the Algerian government has not requested any US President to visit their country.” Dismissing the importance of the US president’s visit, he said, “it will be unfair to see this as a reflection of inferiority or colonial mentality on the part of our officials. They did not demonstrate this mentality under General Abacha! It must, therefore, be from the higher level that the feeling has percolated.                       “Nigeria should just ignore the so called non visit of Obama. We have fundamental problems of Identity and Direction to contend with inside the country. Others will beg to visit us when we put our house in order. We will lose nothing by the non visit of US President

Obama”, he said Obama explained his inability to visit Nigeria during the trip to Ghana on the grounds of poor democratic credential and corruption, but the situation, in the thinking of the US government, is now worse as the aforementioned issues have now assumed a frightening dimension. On why he decided to visit Ghana then, Obama had said, “Ghana’s history is rich, the ties between our two countries are strong, and I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as President of the United States. “And I have come here, to Ghana, for a simple reason: the 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra as well“ A statement by the Office of the Press Secretary in the White House, while clarifying Obama’s visit to Africa, reads in part, “President Obama and the First Lady look forward to traveling to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania from June 26 – July 3. Obama is expected to reinforce the importance that the US government places on “deep and growing ties with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, include expanding economic growth, investment, and trade; strengthening democratic institutions; and investing in the next generation of African leaders. “The President will meet with a wide array of leaders from government, business, and civil society, including youth, to discuss our strategic partnerships on bilateral and global issues. The trip will underscore the President’s commitment to broadening and deepening cooperation between the United States and the people of subSaharan Africa to advance regional and global peace and prosperity.”


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

ACHEBE TRIBUTE

The Last Parade Of The African Deity (At the African Command Headquarters of the Combat Regiment… Enter the top Brass, Officers and men; The GSO, Col. Tongue Cutter, Biko Harum, Major Olakankita Olakampo, Major 419 Utueke, Brigadier One Leg Atamuna, the Prince from Igalla land)

wensu, dangling a white cock, arrived from Uli. Reinforcing the dangerous company, Ojionu Abagana mystified the scene, by brandishing a basket, cupping some drinking water. IyaAgba uku, Nkanu WaWa deadliest Spirit, from nowhere Brigadier One Leg Atamuna: Give it to me! There is nothing made only two jumps and instantly the ugly Masquerade was like good or bad news in the Army. Good or bad, the boots up there on the NEPA poles. Without much gravitas, it started are on the ground. Col. Tongue Cutter Biko Harum: The C.I.C proclaimed A State eating up the frying, and lightening live wires!. The Renegrade Brigade and their Kill and Go Officers were transfixed in wonof Emergency on three Sharai States of the bomb-exploding der as the Ogba mgbada Akokwa sat on his box, (Akpati Ogwu) North. The war is finally declared. The faceless insurgents and right away from that box uncoiled a large spitting Cobra! crossed the red line when they blasted those three Luxury The Pandemonium was turning into an Earthquake when the buses in Kano. G.O.C mounted the podium. Suddenly, the G.O.C was instantly Major 419 Utueke: The quake of that blast was felt in China. transformed. His military wear turned into an all white apparThat Tsunami blast uprooted my containers in Malaysia. Ewoo! Umu Israel will never see the end of their blood flow in els of an Indian polo shirt on a Scottish quiltlike mbenu ukwu. The G.O.C nostrils breathing out tons of angry African bees, set this Niger Country! Major Olakampo Olakankita: The Heavy casually list include, the Renegrade Brigade to their heels as all eyes turned to The Tribune Publisher. Nigeria lost the only surviving son of Obodo Awu, the deadly Country Bee Masquerade from the the Sage in a motor accident not very far from the spot where dreaded Anioma Ewulu Community. This is the king Masquerade that knows no friends or foes. Before the G.O.C would his only brother died some 50 years ago. On this particular spot, Ibadan fire-eater and former N.C.N.C juggernaut, “Pecu- cough out another bee, the monster all red and black Ogre had seized the Casket. liarmess” Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu was crushed to death in G.O.C : Obodo Awu, the proud forward another inexplicable auto accident. flag of our ancestors, I salute you. Col. Atamuna: Remain on Attention, Col. By my traditional Otakagu, Ajofia, the Evil Forest, placing as the Prince of Igalla land the next SITREP is Okwomma Enugu Ukwu, entirely my call. The New York Senate, The BBC, Emwere Aka Ogbumadu of CNN, Sky News, Washington Post, New York Ogbunike… Members Times, Christian Science Monitor, The of the Masquerade Ebony, London Guardian, The ShangCult, on your hai Times, Nairobi Standard, Four behalf, I seek Presidents, Mandela, the world; to say Goodshriek with heavy hearts on bye to our the passage of the Last Book, son, The African Deity, The First Agaba World Citizen, ChinualuIdemogu Albert Achebe, mili. Agaba Idemili. We You are ordered to cover do his Memorial Program and so secure his Casket from in Abuja to his Internment at Ogidi. Sergeant Okon Bassey: The Judases, those Governors of Rome are at it again. They humare approaching the Casket, ble gratsiren wailing and whipping itude for the streets, behind an arthe privilege mored black column of of having 3,000 bullet proof Jeeps! come close to Major Olakampo one of the greatOlakankita: Sir, there is est citizens of an urgent call from a the Century. German Hospital… Chinua Achebe “General One Leg Ataas the Agaba Idemuna, this is the Dame. The mili is immortal. First Lioness of the African Recently, I was Tribe of Breasts, And Beasts. initiated into that (ATBB) Abuja. We are sorry for rarefied circle of imthe death of the Professor. On mortality as the behalf of my fellow widows, we Onyeamuma Odezudemand for the professor’s lost luigbo, Ogbueshi Asaba. In legs, his brains, his sexy black the sacred language of the beret, his body complete with his Ndichie Umen, I now seek to manhood. say Goodbye. Major 419 Utueke: Chineke! This Agaba Ogilisi Idemili, I greet you, Dame again! She wanted Ikemba’s onye nkuzi uwa, agwo ndu manhood. If she is seeking Umu Israel Amuma Niger na ekene yi; brains and body parts, let somebody call Ka omesia me. I’ m 419 Utueke alias, “Onitsha Black Udo diri gi Market.” I sell human tongues, fresh liver, Egwu egwu ana kidneys and human heads once the market closes at dusk. Major Olakampo Olankankita: (peering thru his military binoculars) Sir, I see movement to the right flank towards the direction of the Ogidi Kankafo. I suspect they are the well-nourished RENIGRADE battalion. Led by General Mark Golf, formally of the Abandoned Properties Ordinance Depot, Port Harcourt. Sprinting behind him is the Presidential Hopeful, Tombal boy, the permanently AWOL leader of the lower Asylum. Major 419 Utueke: Determined to grab the body and deliver to the highest bidder my kinsmen Senators of Rome have overtaken the wailing Jeeps. These Roman Senators did not raise any fingers of concern when Umu Israel were bombed in Kano; did nothing when students of Umu Israel had their throats cut inside their dormitories in one of the States the C.I.C has placed under Emergency Rules. Major Olakampo Olankankita: I can identify those Okoro chop-chop Senators. I see their massive protoplasm covered by Russian winter red caps….okpu ododo Col. Tongue Cutter Biko Haram: Sir, The Governors of Rome and the Senators of Rome have joined forces and their armada and sirens have surrounded the body of the African Literary Icon. Sir, you must give the orders or the Renegrade Brigade will assault the Casket. Sergeant Okon Bassey: Sir, the G.O.C is circling to land. You must call the Parade to Attention! …. the G.O.C , followed by a frightening array of monster masquerades, whose sudden materialisation from the thin air created a stir and retreat from all… the dreadful Otakagu came from Imo, Evil Forest smoking from his head, came from Nnewi, EkRIGADIER One Leg Atamuna: Col., muster the parade and B give me the SITREP Col. Tongue Cutter Biko Harum: Sir, we have sad news.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

NEWSFEATURE P/18 ‘AMBUSH TRAFFICKING’...

SPECIALREPORT P/20

Inside Nigeria’s Drug Cartel’s Factory

PERSPECTIVE P/24

Amnesty For The Boko Haram Insurgents

MO SPACESCIENCE

P/26 SPOTLIGHT P/30 ‘What We Are Doing Bunmi And Her Fairy Now (In Space) Is Just A Cake Tales Joke!’


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

NEWSFEATURE

‘AMBUSH TRAFFICKING’...

The VIO, LASTMA Connection

Traffick jam in Lagos...how many of these vehicles have new plate numbers? By Geoff Iyatse NCE upon a time, all one needed to drive in Lagos metropolis was a moderate experience and, for majority of road users, an expired or fake driver’s licence. That era may have, as well become history, as a new order seems to be evolving. And this is a fall-out from the new traffic regulations being implemented by agencies of Lagos State and Federal Government. But the implementation could smear the expected gains of the traffic law. Beside the Okota-Surulere Link Bridge, there is a park jointly operated by the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) and the Police Force. Road users, who breach driving rules, are simply ‘ambushed’ and dragged into the park, which used to serve as a construction site of the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), and ‘charges’ are finally read to offenders. Normally, the public officers, who have mastered the act of the trade, give an offender a lecture on the weight of the law he or she has broken. The person is also informed that besides the fine, he or she could spend weeks processing tax clearance to take possession of his or her impounded vehicles, which at the point of collection, could have attracted demurrage. The advice or warning, which sounds more like threat, prepares the ground for the real negotiation. Of course, at this point the ‘officers’ wait on their victims to plead for help. The usual response to such plea is: “How do you want me to help you?” That lays basis for bargain, which lasts for as long as the presumed offender is unwilling to accept that the offence is a costly one. Interestingly, the men in uniforms are always willing to help because the law gives room for “discretions since not everyone will be booked.” A convenient starting point, which has become the stock of the trade, is asking the lawbreaker to give a half of the fine, go away and ‘sin no more’. On May 15, The Guardian spent an hour with the supposed traffic team at Cele. Within the period, about 12 vehicles whose drivers violated seat belt rule were impounded. Except for a Toyota van whose driver could not raise the amount he was asked to pay all offenders were allowed to go after they had paid ‘settlement’ fee ranging from N5,000 to N10,000.

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HOSE who attempt to drive beyond the gate only do so at their own peril, as they are ‘charged’ for obstruction. In a worst case scenario, a van positioned at the end of the street, tows the ‘stubborn vehicle away.’ Those who allow situation to degenerate to that extent risk paying the cost of towing besides ‘settlement’ for the original offence. The team operating in the area is what one could describe as seat belt squad. They charge as much as N10,000 for the service of towing van alone while the victim also pays for failure to fasten seat belt. Then, there is another compulsory N2,000 an offender pays; the police call it gate fee. It is what every offender that is not smart enough to have settled before his vehicle enters the yard pays. Whether the tyres of the vehicle involved are deflated or not, every offenders pays ‘vulcaniser fee’, which is N200.

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In tough cases, offenders pay as much as N20,000 each to regain their vehicles. Once a vehicle is steered into the vast premises, its key is handed over to a tout who does not seem to be part of the operation. He disappears with the key and only resurfaces when every kobo is paid. The three Police officers who were part of the Cele team on May 15 cleverly distanced themselves from the ‘negotiation and extortion’ phases of the operation. When approached, one of them said they risked being reported to their boss if they meddled with the discussion. The LASTMA representatives did all the threats, negotiations and collections. According to a resident close to the park, these ‘extortionists’ make over N200,000 from the spot daily, which is shared by all including ‘their supervisors’. Perhaps, a team of the Vehicle Inspection Unit (VIO) operating at Mile 2 is more dreadful to road users. The unit is sup-

posed to rid the road of unworthy vehicles, but the Mile 2 team, in a clandestine manner, picks up vehicles coming from Badagry axis for negotiation. In a particular case on April 29, a Volkswagen Golf 3 car was impounded for plying on the federal road with expired vehicles documents. The owner paid N8,000 besides gate and vulcaniser’s charge before he left with the vehicle. While fake drivers’ licences are on the increase, it has become extremely difficult to obtain the card in Lagos State. About two years ago, there was a stalemate over the issuance, as the state government and Federal authorities were neck deep in words of wit on whose authority it was to give the licence. Though this has been sorted out, those who paid for the licence in 2011 have still not got their cards, just as VIO officials insist that licences’ issued in 2010 and 2011

Drivers’ Licence Racket On Gbagada By Gbenga Akinfenwa AWN breaks on the complex of Gbagada Licensing Office to reveal a long queue. The front of the office cuts the picture of a mini-market with customers: People are bargaining and scurrying past one another. Some are even rooted to a spot in an attempt to ensure they are attended to. But these are not customers. They are some of the few, who have turned the office to their new homes. Except perhaps, they don’t take their bath their. Perhaps, if they do, it will be better, as it will reduce the offensive body odour that ooze out from the queues. Located inside the Lagos State Social Welfare office, Somolu, Lagos, the place has become a market square for buyers and sellers of drivers’ licence. This Thursday morning, the number of people at the office was not envisaged. However, little by little, as time ticked, the length grew. By afternoon, it had become uncomfortably long. It was not a palatable experience at all, as the applicants queued directly under the scorching sun. As the reporter approached the queue, an official of VIO, waved him from his office. After some minutes of discussion, he discovered the serious graft

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and extortion going on there. He later opted to join others to get more information. For about an hour, it was as if the queue was not moving because most of the ‘racketing’ officials were busy attending to applicants. The reporter waited endlessly on the queue for over two hours to get a glimpse of the alleged extortion. It was the type of queue that could be called ‘bumper-to-bumper’, as everybody glued to one another. Sensing the impossibility of getting to the front with the long queue, he gave up the idea of staying on the queue after hours of waiting under the scorching sun and hunger. This reporter was recently given the contact of an FRSC, and when he called the official like a potential ‘customer’, the following conversation ensued: “Good morning sir, I want to renew my Drivers license, what is the process?” he asked in a very careful manner. “Come with your old drivers license, two passport photographs and N12, 000. I would be expecting you o,” the unsuspecting official responded. When he didn’t receive any call from the reporter, he called back two hours later, but the reporter ignored the call.

INCE the Federal Road Safety Corps (F Sdriver’s embarked on the campaign and issua licence and vehicle number pla

which it stated would conform with int standards and help the nation build a h categories of people driving vehicles in processing the license and getting it as has become a tall order. Obtaining and renewing valid drivers’ become more complicated than imagin the length and breath of the country, go agony experienced by applicants on dai From the information gleaned, the off N6, 500 but the total money to be spent up to N9, 500 or more. Many had applie and were still waiting to get their licenc new regime of drivers’ licence began in it had become more difficult to get. Without knowing it, the corps has cre ing post for touts and racketeers. Sudde Gbagada Licence Office and others like i country have turned Treasure Island. The boon, on the side, has opened new making money for the officers and thei who pose as middlemen in the chain. A sources, everybody involved makes mor


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

NEWSFEATURE when the crisis was on would have expired. The argument, therefore, is that applicants, who paid back then, are expected to make fresh payment to obtain the card. And it takes forever to process fresh licence unless an applicant is ready to pay extra for what is considered ‘Urgent Processing’. In many cases, it cost each applicant N15,000, if he wants to get the important card within a week or two. Otherwise, an average applicant will still wait for upward of three or more months. A driver with a fake drivers’ license paid N6,000 to avoid legal fine. They operate like the LASTMA point at Cele except that the gate charge is N500 while Vulcaniser collects N400. A particular victim said he opted for a fake licence because he could not continue to visit VIO office at Ojodu Berger, on the outskirts of Lagos, to renew temporal permit given to him every six months. He said he has not been able to obtain the licence three years after payment. “This is the problem I wanted to avoid when I went to pay for genuine licence. I paid about three years ago, but I have not even been called for photograph. Every six months, I have to go for a stamp to renew the temporal permit. When somebody asked me to come and do it for N5,000, I simply gave him the money. But I have to pay about N7,000 now for a fault that is not entirely mine,” he lamented. The Guardian gathered that a member of the team is specially detailed to brainwash offenders to timely cooperation and compromise so that the garage could accommodate more targets. At the popular Mile Two Garage, the name Rotimi rings a bell. Every tout, market woman, trader and security officer knows the short, shabbily dressed ‘terror’. His job specification at the park is to collect keys of seized vehicles, order vulcanisers to deflate their tyres, negotiate fees with victims and free vehicles whose owners have ‘settled’. He gets instruction from the VIO men, who pretend they are not aware of what transpires after vehicles are brought into the park, and implement the instruction to the letter. Rotimi, who has no official relationship with VIO, cuts the character of a bully and rogue. He abrasively tells victims what they will pay to get their vehicles released and walk away. Pleas that do not come from his ‘bosses’, who tactically distance themselves from the offenders, fall on the deaf ears of stubborn Rotimi. By 1pm on April 29, Rotimi’s record of impounded vehicles had filled two pages of long notebook, with each owner paying an average of N7, 000 to get back his or her car. The case of a particular couple was quite pathetic. The man wanted his wife to go home while he sorted out his trouble with the ‘lord’ of the park. But there was a snag, the key of their apartment in Okota was fastened to the car key that was labeled and kept in Rotimi’s student bag. And Rotimi insisted no key would be removed from the bunch until the owner was ready to claim his car.

Mad Comfort On Wheel By Daniel Anazia HE widespread poverty in the country has created a dislocated transport sector. This is evident in the poor quality of service. When The Guardian visited Ojota Motor Park, most of the vehicles were eyesores. Little or no proper ventilation. According to Engr. Niyi Ebitomiye, a passenger en route Ado-Ekiti, the vehicles should be suitable and comfortable for the passengers, but what do they get? “Most of the vehicles in the park are not air-conditioned and the ones that have inbuilt cooling system are not working. You can’t just come to the park and say this is the bus or car I want to enter because they all take turn to load. And because they take turn, you don’t know the one that is airconditioned and the one that is not,” he said. On the poorly ventilated space wagons such as the Nissan Previa he boarded, he said, “it is not convenient for us as commuters because when there is traffic on the road, the vehicle becomes hot and there is no way for fresh air to come in or for the saturated air to go out because the windows are somehow sealed.” Another respondent, Eyitayo Ayeni, said,

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Treasure Island

FRSC) ance of new te policy, ternational history of all the country, at when due,

’ licence has ned across oing by the ily basis. ficial price is t would sum ed long ago ces. Since the the country,

eated a tradenly, the it across the

w routes of r cohorts, ccording to re than dou-

ble their yearly income in a few months. People take home N50,000 on a good day to. HOUGH, it is claimed that the process involves T payments being made to the states’ Board of Internal Revenue after which the necessary driving tests will be conducted by the Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), who will then forward the successful applications to FRSC to produce their licences, investigations revealed that it is not often the case. Aside the unofficial levies paid by motorists, it was gathered that to get the license on time has now become an issue of highest bidder. A young man, who gave his name as Dikenwuse Osanugo, told The Guardian that it took him three days to get his temporary licence at the rate of N12, 000. He said that this was possible because he went through one of the officials. “The official price is N6, 350, but it is N15, 000 that they are collecting; because a friend gave me the phone number of one FRSC official, it was reduced to N12, 000,” Osanugo said. According to him, “it takes some people five days to get their licences, and it also depends on who you are, people like police and others have easy access than us, it is an issue of man-know-man.”

“it is very difficult to open the windows as a result of the way the vehicle is designed.” Ayeni added, “we don’t have a choice because it is what is available. We have adapted to it. In Nigeria, we easily accept anything given to us, and when we have a say, it does not in anyway count because the vehicle owners only care about their money. It would have been better appreciated if there were alternative.” He continued, “if government provides alternative, it is just for a period of time because maintenance is not our culture. We don’t always maintain government utilities. And because the private operators maintain their vehicles, you can’t dictate to them what to do; rather they dictate to passengers.” On the safety regulation by Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Julius Adekunle, a commercial bus driver, said, “the commission has given the rules and regulations which to a large extent are being implemented. However, some of the Corp Marshals are performing below the standard required of them as safety officers. They will see overloaded vehicle and flag it down, and after being compromised, they will let go.” According to FRSC, for effective implemen-

tation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme (RTSSS), all stakeholders, including the passengers, must cooperate. To this end, the passengers have considerable as well as fundamental roles to play in the scheme implementation and this role cannot be over-emphasised. The Scheme was created by law in the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR 2004) Section 115 made pursuant to Sections 5 and 10 (10) of the FRSC (Establishment) Act 2007. This section provides for the establishment of safety units by all transport operators so as to bring professionalism into the industry, promote and develop rapid safe, efficient and convenient transportation system in the country. While blaming passengers, Adekunle said, “we (commuters) are often the architects of our own problems. If a vehicle is not convenient, you can and should decide not to board it. But because a lot of us are always in a rush, we always end up inconveniencing ourselves. At public parks such as Ojota Central Park, the vehicles take turns to load and if you decide not to board the loading vehicle and wait for another take turn, it will not leave until it is filled. This is loss of man hour, and considering the state of our roads, you will like to get to your destination.” Mrs. Amarachi Moses, a mother travelling with her baby girl, said the overloading is more when it is night. “At day time, the drivers will maintain the normal number of passengers, but at night, they overload vehicle; both with goods and passengers. Aside from overloading, the fare is also higher at night. It is not convenient for me and my baby, but because we don’t have a choice, we just have to manage it.” However, Kolawole, a driver in the park and owner of a Toyota Sienna space bus, said the space bus is more convenient when compared to the conventional buses and there is just a slight difference in the fares. “The advantage is that it is more spacious and convenient compared to a bus”, he said. Designed to carry five passengers and a driver conveniently, the owners and drivers add two extra passengers to make it seven on board. This, Kolawole claimed, is approved by both the FRSC and the VIO. “Seven passengers are authorised by both the Road Safety and VIO. And I always put on the air-conditioner from Lagos to wherever we are going. The transport price is not the same with non-A/C. The difference ranges between N200 — N1000 between the A/C and Non-A/C vehicles, depending on the route. For me, from Lagos to Ado, the difference is just N300 with my car.”


20

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT

Inside Nigeria’s Drug Cartel’s Factory Tunde Akingbade FTER years of test running, importation and distribution Nigerian, drug barons have changed their strategy: they now produce locally, illicit hard drugs. And their raw materials are toxic wastes. This stunning discovery came 25 years after the Italian businessman, Gianfranco Rafaelli, imported over 8,000 drums of toxic wastes into the country and dumped some in the sleeping town of Koko in Warri North Local Council of Delta State. These merchants are generating toxic wastes, which are more dangerous than the ones received by Mr. Sunday Nana, the man who ignorantly harboured the Koko toxic dump for a monthly fee of $50 in 1987. In the past, drug pushers from Nigeria used to go through the traditional routes of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand and Latin American countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Nigeria used to be a transit route. Drug cartels have now designed and perfected an extremely dangerous method of locally producing and exporting hard drugs. The alleged drug barons were very smart, so it seemed. They felt instead of going to Latin America to procure their drugs and transport to America, Asia or Europe, they could as well bring Bolivian and Colombian drug manufacturers into the country. Investigations revealed that drug barons have shifted their basis to West Africa and this has also become worrisome to Untied Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United States and the Toxic drugs European Union are trying fourth illicit production site is in Awka, to assist Nigeria to combat the drug cartels Anambra State. through training of Tony Edi, 50, and Olisa Onyebuchi, 45, are the anti-narcotic agents. alleged operators of the laboratory at Balogun In one year alone, the National Drug Law Estate, off Lekki Epe Expressway, Lagos. They are enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized 335, 534. 34 cooling off in some cells in the country. kilogrammes of Cannabis; 530, 4033 kiloThe Guardian investigations revealed that five grammes of psychotropic substances; 3655. houses in Lagos and Anambra states used by 4904 kilogrammes of Cocaine and 11.6054 kilo- these barons have become contaminated, makgrammes of Heroin. A total of 920 drug offend- ing them unfit for human habitation. ers were prosecuted successfully by NDLEA in Also discovered in the homes used by the eight months. drug barons and the Colombian were high These barons brought in one of the best level of toxic fumes and contaminants. The Colombian hard drug makers, whom they paid National Drug Law Enforcement Agency $35,000 weekly. (NDLEA) has sealed off these houses after they In one of the production facilities, three were discovered. Bolivians — Yhugo Chavez Morena, 39; Ruben Extensive investigations in Lagos and Eastern Ticona Jorge, 21, and Yerko Artunduga Dorodu, part of the country where the 19 — were also sheltered in Satellite Town, Lagos first kinds of illicit production method of to produce hard drugs believed to be distribmethamphetamine, which was recently disuted in Nigeria and also destined for export to covered in West Africa was done, showed that Europe, Asia and America. hazardous mercury and lead wastes have been A suspected Nigerian drug baron, who lives in released into the public drainage system. his sprawling edifice in Festac Town, Lagos had Mercury affects nervous system while lead brought in the three Bolivians to help him in causes mental retardation in children. the local production of the highly dangerous Generally, public water supply is non-existent methamphetamine in Satellite Town, about two in all these areas and people depend on borekilometres away to his property in Festac Town. holes and streams for water consumption. He found a three-bedroom bungalow, which The Guardian gathered that these illicit factohe rented for two years at a cost of N1.5 milries are located in built-up areas where borelion. Bolivians were first brought with an holes and water tanks used for drinking are Argentine into the bungalow. Later, the not for away. Argentine was replaced with another Bolivian. Also worrisome is the uncaring nature and Thus began a silent and aggressive production desperation of the drug barons in of methamphetamine from Lagos. their quest to make money without concern The premises was secluded and hidden behind for the health of individuals near their illicit the high walls. Neighbours did not suspect and and dangerous factories of production. even the female-caretaker of the house was kept For example, the baron who built his illicit in the dark. factory in the Eastern part of The baron told her he had brought the Nigeria situated the factory in the basement Bolivians to merely reside in the where his mother lives. house so that they could easily work in his supAt these production centres, hazardous and posed ‘Agro Allied’ factory toxic materials were found. The in Agbara, Ogun State. pungent and toxic fumes were felt in the resiThe Bolivians rarely went out, The Guardian dential areas. The colours on buildings used for investigations revealed neighbours only saw production had been peeling of and the rooms them occasionally when they were being driven can no longer be habitable because of the out and back into the house. People thought smell of hazardous substances. they were just normal expatriates. The identity cards of some of the foreign To relax, they played football and would only barons being used for the local production, step into the next compound when their ball which showed that they are Bolivians, were disfell into the premises, until the landlady of the covered in the house used for the illicit drug house warned them to desist from playing the production when The Guardian visited with football into her premises. NDLEA operatives. Unknown to her, the Bolivians were into a real The Guardian discovered from the travel docugame of drugs perfected by a drug baron who ments found in the house of live in opulence in FESTAC 77 Town. This was the one of the alleged barons indicated that the special town built in 1977 to host the world’s fes- Bolivian had travelled from Santa Cruz to tival of African Arts and Culture. Bolivia, Sao Paulo with AREROSUQ Air and with The Guardian combed the buildings through a a South African Airways Boeing 737-300 to cocktail of hazardous chemicals and toxic lega- Johannesburg. He later moved to cy left by the drug cartel. Mozambique. This was possibly used as a decoy Identity cards of two of the Bolivians recovered but Lagos, Nigeria was the ultimate destinabore numbers; 4639612 and tion. 977978 respectively. In the world of criminals, they operate with There are other drug production factories in what is called The Devil’s Ajah as well as Jakande Estate in Isolo. The

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Trinity in some circles. This involves dealing in drugs, arms and toxic wastes to make money. These have crept into Nigeria since the execution of three drug barons: Bernard Ogedegbe, Batholomew Owoh and Alhaji Ojulope by the military regime of General Muhammadu Buhari in 1984. According to sources, the growth of The Devil’s Trinity has increased in the country. This must have contributed to the growing wave of terror in the country. For example, a baron, Mr. Kindreck Dion Lee, a 34 years old man who was declared wanted by Lancashire Constabulary Police Operation Greengate Team for allegedly importing The Devils Trinity; cocaine, cannabis, firearms and arms into the United Kingdom from Amsterdam was picked up in Nigeria by NDLEA officers after some years with a changed identity. He was born in UK by a Dutch mother and a Nigeria father. So he triple roots and he could claim them. Anti-narcotic operatives followed a lead and went on his trail. And when NDLEA operatives picked up Dion Lee, they found him with a Nigerian passport bearing his photograph and the name Olusegun Babajide. Experts said last week that the setting up of the NDLEA had curbed the drug monster with a toll on the life and blood on anti-narcotics agents. But a lot needs to be done on the part of the government to strengthen the agency. “If not for NDLEA’s awareness programme and prosecution of many people, a lot of people would have come into the drug business;” said a source which requested to be anonymous. However, barons like the one The Guardian combed their hideouts and production facilities with NDLEA operatives have devised means to beat the system. The Guardian investigations at the factories of the illicit hard drug production, which was not known to the residents of the various production estates confirmed the presence of residues and emission of dangerous gases. These gases cause instant damage to the lungs and can lead to death if they are inhaled. It was confirmed that the houses where the production of these drugs took place are still harmful to human health. A tree in one of the residences has withered due to the effect of the chemicals used in the drug production. The soil has been contaminated. Drugs and environmental experts say that such houses are still harmful for human habitation even after clean-up exercise. Methamphetamine is also known as Meth. Its street names are chalk, ice, crystal, speed and glass. It could cause anxiety, insomnia, confusion and psychotic features such as:  hallucinations, delusions etc.

Investigations show that meth is sold in some parts of Lagos very cheaply and a pinch can go for as little as N100, which is less than a dollar. It is also gathered that cartels make their money because of the huge demand by the dream of local militia, neighbourhood gangs (who sometimes confront security agencies) bandits and some poor artisans who are ignorant of the hard drug’s effect on human health. The drug barons live a lavish lifestyle in some of the world’s capitals. They have fleet of cars and houses built with the best convenience found in the First World. Mr. Lucky, a notorious Nigerian drug baron, who was one of the biggest drug merchants in Eastern Europe, told this reporter that barons have perfected dubious systems of selling their drugs even inside prison walls of most advanced economies. The baron who a was jailed in Russia for eight years before returning to Nigeria said that he began his dangerous business on the streets of Mushin, Lagos, one of the most restive and volatile regions of Lagos. He confessed that he sold drugs inside the Russian jail through a chain that has been perfected for years. One of the most notorious criminals in the Russian jail was once his client inside the prison. “Some of the boys used in the packaging are even brought from the villages and are very ignorant of the toxic effects of the drugs. They work on the drugs with bare hands,” a source noted, adding that some of them had unfortunately died and no one has linked their heath to exposure to high level of toxicity. There were fears that with the heat turned on these drug dealers in Lagos, some of them are running east wards and they may end up in other countries with porous borders. Anti narcotic experts stressed the need for collaboration amongst all security agencies, UN member states at local and international level. Otunba Femi Ajayi, Director-General of NDLEA, told The Guardian that the proliferation of hard drugs in the country is linked to the increasing wave of crime in the country. He said that it’s inhuman and wicked for anyone to embark on this kind of business in residential areas. While saying that the houses used for drug business are not habitable, the NDLEA boss, noted that those who live around the drug cartel’s factory are living in very hazardous environment. Apart from high level of toxic wastes generated during production, when methamphetamine enters the brain, it triggers a release of chemicals involved in mood regulation, he


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THE GUArDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

SPECIAL rEPOrT

A Voyage Around Monkey Village Tunde Akingbade T could have been just another adventure. Perhaps, a travelogue. But this journey was not. It was a voyage around Monkey Village. And possibly, journey to monkey business. Monkey Village!... The name sounded like a pawn. It seemed a name coined by jesters for their buffoonery. But it was not. This is the name of one of the locations where hard drugs are produced locally in Nigeria. It’s an Island between the Lagos Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. It’s not far from Apapa, Nigeria’s premier port, which accounts for the largest import and export in the sub region. The village is about 10 minutes by boat from the jetties in Victoria Island area, where the rich, the powerful and the diplomatic community live. Isolated and devoid of the hustle and bustle of Lagos, the Island has little presence of security operatives. No wonder, in a short time, it became a haven for criminal activities including hard drug production. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) recently raided some illicit drug manufacturing factories in the country and I was part of the team that went round to have a first-hand feel of the environmental implications and toxic level of the hazardous sites. There was excitement in the air, as we set out this early morning on our mission to unravel the tricky business of hard drugs

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manufacturing that was just sprouting in the country. Bearing in mind the deadly confrontation between the drug cartels and security agents in Colombia, Mexico and Bolivia, everybody was armed. But I wasn’t. My mind went to the photographs of young anti-narcotic officers gunned down by drug cartels recently in the line of duty. Many of them were cut off in their prime. As I thought about them, I remembered the agency could hardly pay for their burial expenses and other entitlements because of poor funding. My mind eyes wondered back to this assignment. There was no way I could chicken out with my earlier expressions of commitment to unravel the mysteries of the toxic legacy of drug barons and their factories. First, we had a near brush with a lock-wearing guy. Then again, we meandered through pot-holed riddled road leading to another secluded area, the Daily Times Estate. Once upon a time, Daily Times Newspapers was the pride of Nigerian journalism, having been set up in 1920s. The doyen of Nigerian journalism who fought colonialism against Britain worked there. The estate was built to cater for journalists and other staff of the newspaper. But now, it has become a drug baron’s factory site. Three Bolivians manufactured the illicit drug, methamphetamine, without anyone suspecting. As soon as we gained entrance into the premises, unpleasant smell hit us. The air was awful and everywhere choked.

The caretaker, a cheerful, light complexioned middle-aged woman joined us. We went through the three-bedroom bungalow complex and checked some things. The caretaker narrated how one of the barons had deceived her to get the property. She was told that they needed the property to accommodate three expatriates working on an agrobased company in Agbara Estate in Ogun State. Until their nefarious activities were exposed, neighbours, including the caretaker, were not allowed into the premises. Even when the caretaker banged the door to alert The ‘drug factory’ in Daily Times Estate them about the need to switch to public electricity supply from their electric generator, they never opened. Football was their only pastime. And the Bolivians only ventured out when their ball entered the next compound to pick it up.  The trip to Balogun Estate, Ajah, another drug factory site was tortuous. Only a sports utility vehicle could make it through the sandy, swampy and bumpy road that led to a wetland area. We combed the premises only to discover that some thieves had broken into the premises with a hammer. We spotted the hard drugs formulation factory inside. The method of operation was similar to previous Balogun Estate ‘drug house’ ones. While combing the premises, the Down the line, on the same terrain, was a borehole that was meant mobile phone of one of the antito supply drinking water. It shared narcotics agent rang. “The man has been freed? The the same ground level with the factory making it easier for rainwater court freed him?” the officer asked to wash toxic chemicals and drugs dejectedly. His face looked gloomy, as rain began to drizzle on us. residues into the water.

PHOTOS: TUNDE AKINGBADE I later found out from the officer that the court had just set a suspected drug baron free. “That’s what we get after we have nabbed these people,” remarked another officer.

Toxic Wastes Generated From Drug Production Are Deadly, By Ajayi divert. There must be meeting of minds, collaboration and cooperation between NDLEA and NAFDAC to prosecute the war against illegal drugs successfully.

Otunba Femi Ajayi, Director-General of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), is a biochemist and an environmental scientist. Ajayi, who was in the United Nations for many years, speaks with TUNDE AKINGBADE on the environmental implications of producing methamphetamine in residential areas.

I can also see an off shoot from this that the Ministry of Environment should also be involved because people’s health will be in danger if these chemicals get into the ecosystem? Yes, it’s very serious when you look at its bio-magnifications. You know the implication of the persistence of these chemicals in the soil? It’s possible that someone can get papers to bring 5,000 grammes and he will bring 10,000 grammes by beating officials. It’s something that calls to question the collaboration existing between government agencies. Do you have NDLEA and NAFDAC working together at the ports, as they should?

OUr organisation has been carrying out Y a lot of investigations and raids on clandestine laboratories of hard drug dealers. Can you give an insight into this? Yes, we discovered, either by happenstance or under fortuitous situation, about five clandestine laboratories. Four of them are in Lagos and one in Awka, Anambra State. I’m really worried that if we could stumble on five, it suggests that if we engage in systematic search, we might find more. I’m also worried about their location. Based on the reports I have read about these laboratories, in most countries of the world, they are located in forest reserves and remote areas. But here in Nigeria, reverse is the case. We also found out one in Daily Times’ Estate, Satellite Town. You can imagine that impudence. Where newsmen are living? More painful is the laboratory in Awka, Anambra State. It is located underground of a building where the mother or maybe grandmother of the baron lives. I don’t know whether it’s total wickedness or sheer ignorance. Well, it can only be sheer ignorance or how can you put something that is highly inflammable in your relative’s residence? With your background as a biochemist, and as someone in the field of toxicology, how hazardous are these materials? Very hazardous! Some of the chemicals are capable of killing human beings, instantly, like phosphene gas that is emitted through the conversion of ephedrine. So, if an individual is exposed to phosphene gas to a certain level, it leads to instant death. However, this is not the only effect. Some of the chemicals used in the production process have mutagenic and tetragenic effects. Mutagenic means that it can cause genetic deformity. Some of these

Ajayi can also be passed to offspring. If you have something that cannot only cause instant death but can be transferred to offspring, then, it’s more than terrible. There is also the issue of environmental impact. One of the terrible things about the process of producing methamphetamine is that when it is ‘cooked’, because they call what they are doing ‘cooking’, ordinary materials such as ephedrine emerge in a very inefficient process. More importantly, the process produces a lot of toxic waste that is released into the environment. It pollutes water supply because we only have boreholes in this part of the world. You can imagine the implications. The houses and the lands used for the production can be totally useless. The house there is totally useless. The environment is destroyed. It’s a serious issue. There are also emissions of toxic fumes from the walls of the houses that I saw? Yes, that’s what we are seeing. In the situation where people either ignorantly or deliberately, locate these things in residential areas, this is a mega death phenomenon. And that is why the dismal implication of these laboratories is grievous.

Those who are behind this dangerous business have the raw materials from somewhere and the finished products destined for another place? Why did we start to suspect that these could be inside the country? We found that there had been movement of these drugs from Nigeria to other countries and not the other way round. We thought it could have been coming through land borders or seaports. We found an increase in the volume of methamphetamine seized. When we found these laboratories, it confirmed our fears. Though ephedrine is a legal drug, it’s still a highly restricted drug. There is a national regulation on it. Every country determines what is nationally required for scientific or medical purposes. Licences are usually issued, not by NDLEA, but by National Agency for Foods Administration and Drug Control (NAFDAC), for people to bring these things. The problem is diversion from legal to illegal use. Obviously, there are dubious men involved in this? Oh yes! Another thing is that someone can get papers to bring them in, and then,

The United Nations has been working on the problem of persistent chemicals in the soil under United Nations Environment Programme and Basel Convention. The UNODC, which you also relate with, have also been doing much in this regard. Can you give us more insight? UNODC is more of a technical than funding agency. They have been giving us a lot of technical support; capacity building, and of course, there is also a European Union (EU) capacity building project. They want to help us on a cannabis survey in the country to know where the plant is found in the country and how they are processed and many other questions. It will be a comprehensive data as far as cannabis is concerned. That survey is about to start. They are also trying to help on drug use survey — to know how many people use drugs here and what is the profile of those involved with the use, treatment facility, and how we can cope. Then how much are we doing in the area of public enlightenment and awareness. Our drug problem in Nigeria now needs a lot of resources. We need infusion of advance technology. Gone are the days when we can go to cannabis farms and clear them manually or be tracing cannabis farm through oral information. We have to up the ante as far as technology is concerned.


Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

TheGuardian

THE GUArDIAn,Sunday, June 2, 2013

22

Junior Guardian SAY IT In FrEnCH! By Asuquo Dennis

Chrisland Gives Scholarship To Students

French Gender (3)

MOnG over 600 pupils that sat for the annual entrance examination of Chrisland Schools in March this year, the management of the school recently awarded scholarship to six pupils in acknowledgement of their brilliant performances. Speaking during the presentation of certificates at the school premises in Opebi, Lagos, the Managing Director, Mrs. Ibironke Adeyemi said the gesture was to reward hard work and excellence. “Since we are known for celebrating excellence, we are going to give six scholarship awards. We are appreciating the fact that their parents have really invested in them,” she said. Adeyemi explained that the scholarship was keenly con-

ONJOUR à tous! Just to refresh your memory: in the last episode of Say it in French! adequate space and time were devoted to treating French gender and the grammatical rules that govern its usage — and I’m sure you haven’t forgotten the examples that were given. In today’s package, which is the third part of this lesson, you’ll be given a detailed rundown of some other guidelines that will surely be of immense help to you whenever and wherever the issue of gender in French crops up. So let’s get started!

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For words that end in — oux, the feminine is formed by replacing the — oux with — ouse. Check out these examples. Masculine               Feminine un époux               une épouse                  (spouse) un jaloux               une jalousie          (jealous person) Please carefully study these sentences. Charles est un jaloux.     Susanne est une jalousie.    Voici mon époux, jean.              Voici mon épouse, Marie.        

 

Charles is a jealous person. Susan is a jealous person. Meet my spouse, john. Meet my spouse, Mary.

Most masculine words with — c ending have their feminine in — che. Here’re some examples. Masculine             Feminine Sec                        sèche                           (dry) Blanc                   blanche                       (white) Frais                    fraîche                         (cold or fresh) Franc   franche                     (frank/straightforward) Some illustrative sentences. Digest it if you can! Ce pantalon est blanc.     This pair of trousers is white. (masculine) Cette robe est blanche.   This gown is white. (feminine) Pierre est franc.          Peter is straightforward. Céline est franche.                  Celina is straightforward.

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SIZEABLE Solutions To Brain Teaser (7)

tested and the winners need to be celebrated and appreciated, noting that it was the first time the school invited the media and parents to the occasion. “When you have over 600 students that wrote an examination and some students came out on top, it is heartwarming. We believe in the abilities of these students. “We also give scholarship to indigenes of Idimu, Lagos where our college is located because we identified that not everyone can afford quality education,” she said.  The students awarded were Okoko Essien from Straitgate School (full scholarship into Chrisland College, Idimu); Owobu Allen Omongidale from Chrisland School, VGC (half scholarship); Akinnola Olukemi

COMMAnDO

FrIDAY

from Chrisland School, VGC (half scholarship); Ponle Bello from Chrisland School, Ladipo Oluwole (full scholarship), Funnaya Okey-Ilo from Chrisland School, Opebi (half scholarship) and Aduwari Anthony from Chrisland School, VGC (full scholarship). Mrs. Ini-Ibehe Okoko, a parent gave glory to God that her son’s hard work did not go in vain. “I feel delighted to be the mother of a recognised student. I strongly believe in his ability to become an international scholar someday. Apart from excelling academically, I pray that God makes him to be morally upright so that he continues to bring smiles to our faces and adds values to the society.” — Victor Olushola

OPPOrTUnITY

CULTIVATE

VICTIM

PrOVISIOn ALLEGE

For words that end with a consonant such as – s, – n, – t, and so on, the feminine is obtained by doubling the consonant and adding an extra – e. please study these examples. Masculine                     Feminine un cadet    une cadette     (the youngest in the family) un chien  une chienne                (dog) un lion       une lionne                   (lion/lioness) un chat     une chatte                   (cat/she cat) un hôte      une hôtesse                (host/hostess) un prince     une princesse          (prince/princess) un maître    une maîtresse         (master/mistress) un tigre      une tigresse                 (tiger/tigress) un âne    une ânesse                  (donkey) The list of these words is simply endless. See you next week! asuquodennis@yahoo.com Tel. 08030964502

FirstBank, LEGO Celebrate Children, Launch Youth Product IrSTBAnk and LEGO, the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of children’s toys treated some children to a nice time in celebration of this year’s Children’s Day. The young guests, who had lots of fun creating structures with Lego products, as well interacting with one another, later watched a cartoon at Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island and Silverbird Cinemas at Ikeja City Mall. The event served the dual purpose of showcasing a new partnership between FirstBank and LEGO to kick start a new initiative aimed at the youth segment of nigeria market. While unveiling a comprehensive programme that include three new products, exciting content partnerships, a dynamic website and CSr activities, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, FirstBank, said the partnership signposts the Bank’s quest to create a platform for nigerian children to express their creative talents, deploy their innate abilities to something positive while also instilling in them the culture of financial discipline. “In choosing LEGO as our partner for this project, we considered their brand values of creativity, fun, learning, caring and quality. All these resonate with us because they are values we hold dear. We are passionate about impacting the lives of today’s children in a positive way because we believe the future of this country is in their hands.” The initiative is targeted at children between the ages of 0 to 24. “There are subsegments, which are 0-12, comprising pre-school and primary school students; 1317, comprising Junior Secondary and Secondary School students and 18-24, comprising young adults,” Mumuney said. The first of the three products to be launched is kidsFirst, the product for the 012 sub-segment. The partnership with LEGO will give kidsFirst account holders access to

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Some of the kids at the event

exclusive LEGO events, contents and products. According to her, one of the strongest values of this initiative is the fact that all account holders have the benefit of operating their accounts even after crossing the age bar of each segment. With this partnership, children are also offered an exciting range of benefits, from the website, through to gifting, branded collateral and experiential engagements. Joshua Oluyadi, a 9-year-old pupil of Grange School Ikeja says as an account holder with FirstBank, he enjoys SMS messages sent to him by the bank on his birthdays. He also receives gift items and a premium gift when his account got to n150, 000. Mrs. Pat Bishung, who came to spend the day with her children, says she has stayed with FirstBank because of her belief in it. “I am here to have a nice time with my kids because FirstBank is always good at organising things like this. My children have accounts with the bank and they are enjoying lots of benefits for that.”

Pupils of Supreme Education Foundation School at the exhibition and free eye test in Lagos.

PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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CAMPUS

UI: Fire Guts Tedder Hall Buttery By Hammed Hamzat HAT would have resulted in a monumental loss to the nation’s premier university, University of Ibadan, and one of its oldest and most prestigious hall of residence, Tedder Hall, was averted with prompt intervention by students before the arrival of fire service, when a fire incidence, which started around 4:30am last Tuesday broke out in the mini-shop beside Block C. The cause of the inferno is still not known but a young boy whose mother occupied one of the shops, said: “I started feeling heat close to where I slept, I woke my elder brother but before w could get up, the smoke had covered everywhere. Immediately, we raise an alarm and students trooped out to quell the fire.” According to the hall chairman, Sylvester Oluoha, students’ prompt response ensured that the fire did not extend to rooms in Block C, which would have been disastrous. “The damage has been done, goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed, but we demand urgent reconstruction of this mini shop from the management as it is not only serving Tedderites but the entire students on campus,” he said. The hall warden, Dr. K.O.K Popoola, appreciated the relentless efforts put up by students of the hall and their neighbours from Mellanby Hall to put out the fire. Mr. Wale Olutayo, owner of Ebony cyber café beside the mini shop, whose computers and equipments were grossly affected, nailed the cause of the incident to an electrical fault.

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Hamzat is a 300-level student of the University of Ibadan Students assessing the extent of damage at the burnt buttery of Tedder Hall... last week.

What Is Great About Nigerian Students? By Nsisong Enang T was midday and as usual in the North, the sun was smiling wickedly and emitting dehydrating heat. This, however, didn’t stop me from attending the afternoon lecture. Almost approaching the Mass Communication department, I caught up with two friends heading towards the same direction and discussing their poor academic performances. They laid the blames for their woes on the lecturers. To my utter dismay, they were met by some students on the way and with a great gusto chanted “Great Nigerian students!” The reply was thunderous: “Great ever conscious Nigerian students.” Sadly, most students who brag about the so-called greatness are those whose brains are slow to boot up in class and their Grade Points (GP) are constantly kissing the withdrawal line; yet, they chant this slogan with such

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Students on the street during a recent protest

decay in most of the polytechnics is better told than witnessed while remuneration of lecturers is below par. However, there is the need to review this slogan of greatness for students to know when and how to apply it. This will help students conform to a lifestyle suitable for vigorous learning and excellent academic performance comparable to what is obtainable in other countries. Nigerian students must stop claiming greatness when the system managing their education is compromising every single thing that could enhance proper learning. They must begin to think differently to merit the symbolical meaning of the ‘Great’ slogan; else, the slogan will continue to reverberate with emptiness. Enang is a student of Bida Polytechnic, Minna

WISECRACKS

Bank Donates Fire Service Station To OAU By Kemi Busari and Dhikru Akinola S part of its Corporate Social Responsility (CSR), Wema Bank has donated a fire service building to the institution. The gesture, according to the Zonal Manager of the bank, Mr. Oluwasegun Olawepo, was motivated by the bank’s willingness to give back to the community. “It’s always good to be in a serene environment. We are proud to be associated with OAU. The university is serene, peaceful and accommodating for the bank’s operations. This is one of our several CSR projects because we feel it is appropriate to reward our community,” he said. Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bamitale Omole, thanked the management of the bank and challenged them to do more.

a frenzy depicting that of a cult group in procession. During election campaigns in departments and students associations, one is treated to an avalanche of grammatical verbosity in the guise of distorted and disjointed speeches to a bemused audience. But this is not reflected in their primary assignment, which is academics. But one cannot blame these students who misplace the real essence of greatness. What would one expect from students when the nation’s education sector is nose-diving and there is no proactive measures to address the situation. Students, therefore, have to bask in the veiled illusion that they are great. For instance, polytechnic students are currently idling away time at home no thanks to the ongoing indefinite strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP). The level of infrastructural

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. Proverb Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life - is the source from which self-respect springs. Joan Didion

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Never forget that it is the spirit with which you endow your work that makes it useful or futile. Adelaide Hasse One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination. Sam Levenson

LET US KNOW From left: Public Relations Officer of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Mr. Biodun Olarenwaju; Proprietress, Sunshine Nursery and Primary School, Mrs. Bisi Anyadike; Head of English Department, OAU, Prof. Segun Adekoya; and an official of the university at the presentation of N500,000 as contribution of the school to the 50th anniversary celebration of OAU… last week.

Every week, LIFE CAMPUS reports on events in students’ communities across the country. You can contribute by sending stories, gossips, reports on events and your pictures for Campus Faces to us at: templer2k2@yahoo.com or


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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PERSPECTIVE

Amnesty For The Boko Haram By Ben Nwabueze

HE criminal acts of violence and terrorism T perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists since 2009 have seriously endangered the life and property of Nigerians as well as the safety of the state. As if this is not tragic enough, the issue of amnesty for the insurgents/terrorists then suddenly erupted upon us to compound the already grave situation. The amnesty issue is like the Sword of Damocles held at the neck of Nigeria and threatening to sever the head from the body; or, changing the expression, it is like a keg of gunpowder dangling over the country and threatening to explode and splinter it into its different parts. Without exaggeration, this seems a realistic enough depiction of the situation in which the country finds itself presently; the situation is also tellingly depicted in cartoons in the Daily Independent newspaper of April 8, 14 and 23, 2013. Fortunately, President Goodluck Jonathan has saved us from this danger of the Amnesty Sword of Damocles held at our throat, by the emergency rule he declared in the three North East States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa on 14th May, 2013. As he announced in a nation-wide broadcast on that day, “we will bring them [i.e. the insurgents/terrorists] to justice.” That seems to bring to an end the destabilising issue of amnesty for the insurgents/terrorists. It was a masterstroke indeed. It is necessary that I should, at this point, re-state my personal position in this issue of amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists. I hold firmly the view that amnesty should not be granted to them under any circumstances, for reasons explained later below. How The Call For Amnesty For Boko Haram Was Turned Into A Clamour And President Jonathan Sucked Into Its Vortex Two remarkable developments had taken place with respect to the issue of amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists. The first is that the call for amnesty was turned into a clamour, by which is meant a vociferous, insistent and over-bearing demand. (The word “clamour” came from President Goodluck Jonathan while announcing the terms of reference for the in-house panel he set up on April 4, 2013.) The second development is that President Goodluck Jonathan got sucked into the vortex of the clamour. These two developments are not only remarkable but are also very significant. They are significant because of the questions to which they give rise, viz whether they were spontaneous events occurring on their own or whether they were tendentious events premeditated and pre-arranged beforehand and intended to hoodwink the President. The indications seem to suggest that they were a wellconcerted plot, a trap, which the President was expected to fall into. And he did, as expected. It is intriguing how the call for amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists was turned into a clamour – how it came to be backed by all or nearly all well-known Northern Muslim elders/leaders. The clamour was sparked by His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto and Supreme Head of the Moslem Faith in Nigeria, who, after the meeting in Kaduna of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), of which he is the President-General, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to grant amnesty to Boko Haram. Coming after the JNI Council meeting, the Sultan must be taken to have spoken for all Moslems in Nigeria. He followed this up by leading a delegation of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council to the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where the same call was made again. And so began the clamour. On April 3, 2013 the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), led by its leader, Alhaji Maitama Sule, also went on a delegation to the President at Abuja and made the same call. The bandwagon had been set in motion, and every Northern Moslem elder/leader was impelled to jump into it – former Heads of State Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former and incumbent State Governors, including Alhaji Balarabe Musa to whom amnesty should come at a second stage in a process that should begin with dia-

Jonathan logue, and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). President Goodluck Jonathan must have been put in a very difficult position rejecting a clamour sparked by the Sultan of Sokoto and backed by all the elders/leaders mentioned above. And he was indeed sucked into its vortex. What he was reported to have said at the Town Hall meeting in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, during his official visit to the State was not a total rejection of the call for an amnesty, contrary to reports in the newspapers about his intransigent stance against the amnesty call. This is what he said: “You cannot declare amnesty for ghosts. Boko Haram still operates like ghosts. So, you can’t talk about amnesty for Boko Haram now until you can see the people you are discussing with.” The words in italics debunk the view about his total rejection of the amnesty call. Expatiating on the Damaturu speech, government spokesmen later explained that the President never closed the door against the grant of amnesty to Boko Haram. Following the visit to him by a delegation of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on April 3, 2013, and true to the avowal that he had not closed the door against granting amnesty to Boko Haram, the President on the following day set up an in-house panel with the following terms of reference: (i) “to consider the feasibili-

ty or otherwise of granting pardon to the Boko Haram adherents; (ii) collate clamours arising from different interest groups who want the apex government to administer clemency on members of the religious sect; and (iii) recommend modalities for the granting of pardon should such step become the logical one to take.” Clemency and pardon do not of course mean the same thing. The in-house panel was, on April 17, 2013, replaced by a committee consisting of 26 members, only three of whom are nonMoslems from outside the North. The terms of reference of the Committee, as set out by the President at the committee’s inauguration on April 24, 2013, are “to establish a link and open up dialogue with members of the fanatical Islamic group; develop the framework through which disarmament will take place, and work out a sustainable option that will lead to the granting of amnesty.” The setting up of the committee (and the inhouse panel before it), with the terms of reference set out above, clearly shows that the President has been sucked into the vortex of the clamour, but it is the composition of the committee that bears out, at least impliedly, the caption in a write-up in the Sunday Independent newspaper issue of April 14, 2013 that the President has “capitulated” to the Northern Moslem Elders/Leaders. It is simply

Two remarkable developments had taken place with respect to the issue of amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists. The first is that the call for amnesty was turned into a clamour, by which is meant a vociferous, insistent and over-bearing demand. (The word “clamour” came from President Goodluck Jonathan while announcing the terms of reference for the in-house panel he set up on April 4, 2013.) The second development is that President Goodluck Jonathan got sucked into the vortex of the clamour. These two developments are not only remarkable but are also very significant. They are significant because of the questions to which they give rise, viz whether they were spontaneous events occurring on their own or whether they were tendentious events pre-meditated and prearranged beforehand and intended to hoodwink the President. The indications seem to suggest that they were a well-concerted plot, a trap, which the President was expected to fall into. And he did, as expected

incredible that an issue, such as amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists, which is so explosive and affects the vital interests of the entire country, should be entrusted to a committee consisting almost entirely of Moslems from the northern part of Nigeria, as if the issue is one for Moslems and for the North alone. The recommendations of the committee are of course pre-determined in favour of granting amnesty to Boko Haram. It is difficult to discern any rational and convincing rationale for the composition of the committee. As the Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Lagos Mainland Province, said in a report carried in the Daily Independent newspaper issue of May 14, 2013, “The committee is not embracing enough, as it is dominated by Muslims and Northerners probably because of the wrong impression that insurgency is a Northern affair.” Before even the committee was set up, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, had, on April 3, 2013 suggested that “government would be well advised to involve the right kind of people, across board”, and that “it should certainly include religious leaders” : see report in The Nation newspaper issue of Wednesday April 3, 2013. Dialogue, Not Amnesty, Is The Appropriate Approach The clamour for amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists has given rise, unfortunately, to a tendency on the part of many people to link dialogue and amnesty together as inseparable objects, even to the point of positing amnesty as a necessary condition for dialogue. Quite remarkably, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is among those that have exhibited this tendency. In a statement carried in the Daily Independent newspaper issue of May 14, 2013, it (ACF) said: “Without any form of mechanism in place by government that guarantees the security of the insurgents, nobody can reasonably expect them to show their faces.” ACF’s argument is clearly not tenable. Amnesty is not the way, certainly not the only way, to assure the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists of their safety if they come forward for dialogue, nor is it necessary for that purpose. Assurance by government, without an offer or a grant of amnesty, should be enough guarantee, if there is sincerity on both sides. Whilst there is some plausibility in the argument that some mechanism is needed to guarantee the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists of their safety if they come forward for dialogue, amnesty is not, and should not be, the mechanism needed. Without granting amnesty to them, which has the effect in law of wiping out guilt, government can give an undertaking not to prosecute them, which affects, not guilt, but only the exaction of punishment. Imperative Need For Peace As The Misguided Rationale For The Amnesty Clamour Peace, which is now so much talked about as if it had some sacred quality about it, is the rationale proffered for the clamour for amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents. No one disputes the imperative need for peace since, without enduring peace, there can be no sustainable progress and development, nor can the continued corporate existence of Nigeria be guaranteed. Yet, accepting the imperativeness of peace for the reasons stated above, the price at which it is to be or is being bought is a factor to be taken into serious account. The cost of peace must be carefully calculated to ensure that it justifies the grant of amnesty in all the circumstances of this case. Is it peace at all costs, no matter how outrageous, that we want? Issues of morality are involved in the question whether it is peace at any cost that we want. Our moral ethos and sensibility is outraged by the grant of amnesty to a terrorist group that has killed thousands of innocent people and injured thousands more, and destroyed properties worth billions of naira, without any legitimate cause, that is to say, without any legitimate grievance predicated on a wrong or injustice perpetrated against the legitimate interests of themselves and their communities. The words in italics are so italicised to emphasise the fundamental fact that differentiates the criminal violence and terrorism of the Boko Haram insurgents from that of the Niger Delta militants. No


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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Insurgents/Terrorists nation, worthy of being so called, should condone, by covering it with the cloak of amnesty, such criminal acts of violence and terrorism not provoked or justified by legitimate grievances arising from injustice and wrong perpetrated against them and their communities by the government. Poverty, with the illiteracy and ignorance that are among its chief causes, is the common lot of most Nigerians, although more pronounced in the northern parts of the country than in the southern parts, is not, and cannot be, a legitimate cause for Boko Haram’s criminal and terroristic acts of wanton killings and destruction. The outrage against our moral ethos and sensibility occasioned by the grant of amnesty to the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists in the circumstances mentioned above is exacerbated by the fact that the effect of amnesty or pardon, as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, is not only to do away with the punishment prescribed for an offence, but, more importantly, to “blot out of existence the guilt, so that in the eyes of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offence”: see Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall (71 U.S.) 333, 381(1867). It would be a palpable outrage against our moral ethos and sensibility to erase so completely the guilt of the Boko Haram terrorists/insurgents for the killings, injury and destruction they have committed without any legitimate cause – to wipe out their guilt so completely as if they had never committed the offence. Morality would have been thrown to the winds. And justice too, more so if the families of the victims are to be left without compensation for their loss. We should not do anything so morally outrageous. In an interview reported in The Nation newspaper of April 3, 2013, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, a revered cleric, has emphasised the paramountcy of “moral imperatives” which must be met before ever amnesty can, conformably with those “moral imperatives”, be considered for Boko Haram, namely, “genuine repentance and a sincere effort to make amends” on the part of the Boko Haram sect. To consider granting amnesty to the Boko Haram sect without the “moral imperatives” being first met would portray Nigeria in the image of a country with no regard for morality. But far from showing genuine remorse and repentance for their terrorist acts unprovoked and unjustified by any legitimate cause, Boko Haram has instead exhibited gross defiance, as when, in rejecting the government’s contemplated amnesty offer, it (through its “purported head”, one Shekau) said that it “had not committed any wrong to deserve amnesty”, and that “on the contrary, it is we that should grant you pardon.” He further said : “We will continue to fight in the name of Allah until we establish Sharia. We will continue to fight the government and its symbols.” They have, despite the contemplated amnesty offer, continued to kill more and more innocent people and to destroy more and more properties with impunity and bravado. Peace, as the rationale proffered for the amnesty being contemplated for the Boko Haram – i.e. for insurgents/terrorists guilty of the heinous crimes against humanity committed without any shadow of legitimate cause – confronts two further issues nearly as problematic as the issue of morality raised above. First, will the grant of amnesty to Boko Haram in fact secure peace for Nigeria from the sect? Second, will it secure peace for the country from other ethnic militant or “militia” groups? In connection with the first issue, a preliminary point may be made, in parenthesis, that the prospect that amnesty might be granted to them has not secured peace for the country from Boko Haram, since it was after the setting up of the Boko Haram Amnesty Committee that the terrorist attacks at Baga and Bama in Borno State occurred, leaving hundreds of people killed and injured, including, most significantly, scores of policemen and prison officials killed and injured in attacks on police stations and prison yards. But it might be said that the attacks in Baga and Bama provide no reliable basis for reaching a conclu-

sion on the issue, since amnesty has not in fact been granted or even promised. Regarding the first issue, it seems to me a forlorn hope to think that deep – seated commitment, such as characterises the Boko Haram Islamic sect, to an ideology whose objectives are not political or economic, but are rooted in a fanatical desire and determination to impose on a community, a particular religion with its peculiar creed, its system of government and law, its culture and way of life, as well as its perceptions and view of the world, can be dislodged or jettisoned by the palliative of granting amnesty to its adherents. It is an illusion for anyone ever to think so. Sheikh Gumi, a renown Muslim cleric and the only notable Northern Moslem personality known to stand outside the Sultan of Sokoto’s bandwagon of those clamouring for amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists, exhibits an uncommon insight when he said in a statement carried in the Daily Independent newspaper issue of 3 April, 2013 that Boko Haram’s ideology is rooted in “a creed that must be crushed” and that “were Prophet Mohammed alive today, he would personally have led the way in exterminating the sect.” Boko Haram’s ideology, rooted, as it is, on the creed of the Islamic religion can only be dislodged by exterminating it from the mentality of its adherents, not by the palliative of an amnesty which, as earlier stated, is simply an illusion, in which we should not indulge. For, sooner or later, after enjoying the benefit of the amnesty for a period of time, the Boko Haram adherents would return to the sect’s ideological commitment to the creed of the religion of Islam and to their fanatical resolve to impose it on the entire region of Northern Nigeria. The period before the return would be simply a lull during which they would have re-armed themselves. All this is linked to the issue of establishing firmly the religious character of the Nigerian state, as provided in section 10 of the Constitution 1999. The issue is much too fundamental and transcendental not to be allowed to continue to be swept under the carpet for more than 12 years now; it must be fought out now and settled once for all. But whilst amnesty for Boko Haram should be ruled out completely at all times as an illusion, the door should not be closed to dialogue for whatever benefits it may bring, albeit only a period of lull. Even so, dialogue should not be embarked upon, unless and until the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists have been subdued and the government has established its superior power over them. On this point, I am in agreement with Senator Anthony Adefuye. As he says in an interview reported in the Daily Independent newspaper issue of 9 April, 2013 : “Nations must be strong [enough to be able] to defend in such a way that the terrorists, insurgents or militants will accept you as a superior power”. Government should therefore only dialogue with the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists from a position of strength, of a superior power. It seems that the emergency rule declared on 14 May, 2013 by President Goodluck Jonathan in the three States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in North East Nigeria is predicated on a realisation, albeit belated, of the truth or validity of the point made above, and is intended to enable the government to subdue the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists and establish its superior power over them. In a nation-wide broadcast announcing the declaration of emergency rule in the three States, the President said : “The activities of the terrorists and criminals…….require decisive response from government……[by the] taking of extraordinary measures…..to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists….All those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state, and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists……..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, we will win the war against terror.” (emphasis supplied) An end is thus put to all the toying about with the idea of amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists; they must be brought to justice. However, as the President stated in his

Ben Nwabueze

But whilst amnesty for Boko Haram should be ruled out completely at all times as an illusion, the door should not be closed to dialogue for whatever benefits it may bring, albeit only a period of lull. Even so, dialogue should not be embarked upon, unless and until the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists have been subdued and the government has established its superior power over them. On this point, I am in agreement with Senator Anthony Adefuye. As he says in an interview reported in the Daily Independent newspaper issue of 9 April, 2013 : “Nations must be strong [enough to be able] to defend in such a way that the terrorists, insurgents or militants will accept you as a superior power”. Government should therefore only dialogue with the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists from a position of strength, of a superior power. broadcast, the effort to subdue the insurgency/terrorism and establish the government’s superior power over the Boko Haram sect is without prejudice to “efforts at persuasion and dialogue [which] would continue.” It is clear from what is said above that I support the emergency rule declared in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States by President Goodluck Jonathan, but my support for it is on the supposition that the law of the Constitution regulating and limiting the power to declare emergency rule is duly complied with, especially, respect for, and non-interference with, the instruments for constitutional government established by the Constitution. As to whether amnesty for Boko Haram, if ever it is granted, will secure peace for Nigeria from the other ethnic militant or “militia” groups, the issue has triggered what has aptly been described as a “scramble” for amnesty among the latter groups; the scramble, on its part, has the potentiality to trigger criminal acts of violence and terrorism if their demand for amnesty is refused. The other ethnic militant or militia groups, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASOB), the O’dua Peoples Congress (OPC) and others, are gearing up for violence in the event that amnesty is granted to Boko Haram, and not granted to themselves. MASOB, as reported in the Daily Independent newspaper issue of 27 March, 2013, has declared June 8, 2013, from 6 a.m. – 4 pm, “a sit-at-home” day during which “all private, general motor parks,

major and minor markets, shops, schools, air/sea ports, public/business, banks shall be closed” to protest the killing of Igbos in the northern parts of Nigeria, promising to “match violence for violence if the mindless provocation continues.” We are thus heading towards a snowballing situation, which may be averted by decisive measures being taken by government to subdue Boko Haram, as by the emergency rule declared in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States by the President on 14 May, 2013 which, it is hoped, would have the desired effect. President Goodluck Jonathan deserves commendation for taking that decisive measure. We may end by noting the suggestion, seemingly absurd, as it may seem, by Senator Adefuye in the press interview referred to above, and which was intended to ridicule the whole idea of amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents/terrorists. He said: “Let us declare amnesty for all our young people whom we have not given jobs since they graduated, whom we have frustrated in everything they have embarked upon, let us grant them amnesty and give them equal opportunities to train and re-orientate their minds so we can have peace……..Once I know if I make trouble, I will be granted amnesty, then it will continue perpetually.” (emphasis supplied) Peace at any price, no matter how destructive of our moral ethos and sensibility as a Nation, becomes indeed a misguided and hallucinated panacea.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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SPACE SCIENCE

‘What We Are Doing Now Dr. Leo Daniels—a launch vehicle consultant for both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA)—is Provost at Kwara State University, where he is developing Nigeria’s first degree programme in Aeronautics and Astronautics. J.K. OBATALA met the 47 year old aeronautical engineer—who helped design ESA’s Arienne-5 rocket—in Abuja, during the recent Media Dialogue of the National Space Research and Development Agency. Born in a small village, near Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Catholic father of four has studied, worked and lectured around the world—and is credited with more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. Daniels has been a Visiting Professor at the University of California (Berkeley) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds two aeronautical patents in the U. K  Among other things, he stresses the importance of launch vehicle manufacturing, calls for an indigenous aircraft industry and speaks candidly about the limitations of Nigeria’s Space Programme. Daniels and his France-born Nigerian wife reside in Gainesville, Georgia U.S.A. Just for the record, you are professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Kwara State University? ’M Provost at Kwara State University, Ilorin. I was brought in to build an Engineering Programme, from the bottom up — with emphasis on Aeronautics and Astronautics. It’s the first academic effort, ever, in this country, to look at Space Systems, including launch vehicles, for space transportation and human space exploration…. What, in a nutshell, is “aeronautics” and “astronautics”? They are distinct but overlapping disciplines. That’s why we’re offering them together. “Astronautics” is the body of scientific research and instruction that deals with space flight.   Space, according to the United Nations, begins 100 km beyond Earth’s atmosphere and doesn’t end. It is that part of our environment that is referred to variously as the “cosmos” or the “universe”. “Aeronautics” is the science of atmospheric flight. It is concerned with the movement of both rockets and winged aircraft through the air.   A spacecraft must first pass through Earth’s atmosphere to reach space. It is important, therefore, to understand both the dynamics of the atmosphere and the forces at work in space. It should be noted too, that while all conventional spacecraft are rockets, all rockets are not spacecraft. Guided and ballistic missiles are rockets. But their flight trajectories lie largely in the upper atmosphere. How far along are you in getting the programme set up? It’s getting to two years now. We’ve got 200level students in six programmes—Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer... …We’re recruiting professors in each of these areas…and building gradually towards

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Lamentations Of Leo Daniels…      a degree programme. But the most important area, for us, is Aeronautics and Astronautics… You’re from Akwa Ibom. How did you end up at Kwara State University? I was brought to Kwara State by Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the former Governor…I was giving a lecture at Harvard University… and came to the notice of Prof. Wole Soboyejo… President of the African University of Science and Technology. One thing led to another. And here I am. My interest in going into this high-tech kind of thing, is to see if Nigeria can develop a programme in aeronautics that would point us, not only towards space exploration, but also an aircraft systems industry…We need to think about manufacturing aircraft. That’s refreshing to hear. I think Nigerian policy makers may be a bit too practical. Pragmatism seems to be stunting the growth of indigenous self-reliance and collective self-confidence. Yes! Your programme at Kwara State University obviously isn’t “practical” now. But an aircraft or space industry will never become a reality, unless someone does what you are doing. Exactly! They don’t know how difficult it is. The space faring nations used 50 years to get to where they are. They started with small, small efforts. And they invested a lot of money. Sometimes they failed. But failure didn’t kill the programme. They kept going. 

What is being done in Nigeria, is a drop of water in the ocean…They get foreigners to send satellites into space. All that is, to me, too elementary. But as long as you can take it into space, it doesn’t matter how it gets there! The most important thing, which I would really want this country to invest heavily in, is an aviation industry…. An aviation industry is absolutely essential… Yes. It’s essential… This leads me to a curious anomaly. At none of the many conferences I attend, do participants talk about manufacturing—which is necessary for what you are trying to do. You may have noticed that I discussed manufacturing a little bit, during my presentation— when I was talking about “re-entry systems”… the re-entry system of a launch vehicle for hypersonic flight That’s faster than the speed of sound. Hypersonic flight is sustained in the neighborhood of about 10 to 15 minutes during re-entry. The temperature is about 1600 degrees Celsius. If you’re face with the challenge of re-entry, you need to manufacture a system that will withstand the time and temperature you are flying through. You bring the materials together, to create a composite structure. That is where manufacturing comes in. It means getting to the workshop, cutting materials, joining them together and

Aeronautics is nothing like going to heaven. It sounds very big. But it’s simply careful manufacturing systems, put in place, so that when you roll it out, you know you have a system you can rely on. All these aircraft that are being manufactured, that’s what they do.

making it happen... Aeronautics is nothing like going to heaven. It sounds very big. But it’s simply careful manufacturing systems, put in place, so that when you roll it out, you know you have a system you can rely on. All these aircraft that are being manufactured, that’s what they do. If Nigeria is going to do this type of thing, it means resuscitating the steel industry… I wanted to mention that. Thank you for saying it. But I didn’t want to cause a political problem at the Media Dialogue… Yes. I can understand that. I was watching the strained faces of the SSTL executives. They didn’t like what you were saying at all! Yes. I didn’t want to just jam this thing on them. But the steel industries at Ajaokuta and Aladja were built, how many years ago now? That industry is dead. No steel is rolling out. Yet this is fundamental. This is the bottom line. I mean, you can call it, the basic thing that this country needs to have—i.e., to rollout steel. Steel will give us the kind of manufacturing industry we’re looking for. In aeronautics, we’re also looking at aluminum materials. We’re looking at titanium materials. We can manufacture all of those items here. Nigeria has all of these things… Yes. Nigeria has it. We are very rich, when it comes to natural resources. But the issue here is, do we have the culture? Do we have the temperament? We certainly have the expertise to do it. But let’s look at curriculum development, which I’m involved in at Kwara State University. I’m facing a lot of constraints… I mean, a lot of challenges. Nigeria has a decrepit educational system, which it seems, can never be changed.  Look, Charles Stark Draper, who started the famous instrumentation laboratory at M.I.T.,

CONTINUED ON PAGE 23


HE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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SPACE SCIENCE

(In Space) Is Just A Joke!’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 which now bears his name, was not a physicist to begin with. He first read psychology, at Stanford, then came to M.I.T and took degrees in electrochemical engineering and physics.          Psychology?... Psychology… Yet he turned out to be one of the best scientists ever! But you wouldn’t know his background, because he was given a lot of mathematical education. The point I’m making, is that everybody in our educational system should know mathematics and physics up to the 300 level. That was what helped Draper to change over from the social sciences to the physical sciences...  Then you’re talking about astronomy. You’re going to learn about stars. You’re talking about space exploration. If you want to be independent, as an African, you have to do these things. We have to go into space, like everyone else is doing. If you want to really have national security, for example, you need an aerial surveillance system—which means you have to be in space. You’ll also need to master robotic avionics. In the U.S.A., for instance, I’m teaching a course called “Intelligent Unmanned Vehicles”. An intelligent unmanned vehicle is one that can fly without a pilot… It’s a drone?... Yes. I’m talking about the drone system. The system is integrated with sensors and a lot of other reconnaissance tools. You don’t need to go anywhere. You just send these things to fly around and gather data…or carry weapons… I’m trying to introduce this into the curriculum of Kwara State University... It will take about ten years before we come to a full programme of intelligent unmanned vehicles. Other things, such as designing structures, could be done in five years—if we have adequate funding and the right people to work with. What kind of reaction are you getting to your effort at Kwara State? Well, let me tell you the truth. When I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms. But the challenge I’m facing now is funding. So I have to go out of my way to source money from the Tertiary Educational Trust Fund (TETFUND), which is the former ETF (Educational Trust Fund). I’ve gotten them to invest and buy equipment. This is the only indigenous source of funding available that will help us build that kind of programme. Other funding initiatives are focused outside this country.  Will foreign donors actually fund a strategic programme like this? Oh yes. Yes. There is the International Training Agreement (ITA), which provides support for malaria eradication efforts, as well as special programmes like ours. We also work, financially, with several other institutions. We’ve signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Princeton and Columbia Universities, for instance. We are also about to sign an MOU with Harvard. M.I.T. is very restrained. But we might be able to get something in the future. We’ve signed an MOU with the Korea Advance Institute of Science and Technology… Is that South Korea? Yes… Kwara State University is making an impact in many, many ways. The key area is engineering. The connectivity, with other institutions around the world, which we have achieved in three years, is huge. Also, the kinds of people they are bringing in to build this programme are of a very high quality. They don’t come for money. I certainly am not there for personal gain. My consultation fee alone, in the U. S.A., would carry me. I don’t need to work. I consult for NASA. I consult for the Arienne-5 rocket programme of the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as with Boeing and Lockheed Martin. When you say ‘consult,’ what do you mean? What does that entail? If they want to design something, for example, they’ll look at various configurations and take an option. But before they decide, they will bring me in to advise them, as to the advantages of doing it this way or that way. When advising them, I rely on my background, my experience with launch vehicles. They are currently building the Ares V/Ares I launch vehi-

cles, to take U.S. astronauts to the Moon. This is under the NASA Constellation Programme, which I also consult for. I advise them on matters such as system integration and structural dynamics… You mentioned ESA. Are you involved with the Arienne-6 spacecraft? No. Arienne-6 is still in the developmental stage. But I did consult for the Arienne-5 rocket, which is presently the main working vehicle for ESA. They use it to launch most of their satellites into orbit. I generally consult for heavy use and re-useable launch vehicles… You know…the typical Space Shuttle type rockets that can be refurbished and used again after each mission.        How did you get started with launch vehicles? When I finished my Ph.D., at the University of London and Queen Mary, I worked for one year as a Research Fellow at the Centre for National Research in Science (C.N.R.S.) in France...from where I was recruited to the European Space Agency (ESA). After three years in France, I returned to the U.k. and started a research programme at Cambridge and at Crownsfield University, in Milton Keynes. From there, I went to University of California at Berkeley, as a visiting professor—and got interested in launch vehicles. Were you ever actually part of a vehicle design team?     Yes. Before moving to the United States, from the U.K., I worked with a joint project of the European Space Agency and NASA, called the “Crew Return Vehicle”... NASA and ESA wanted to build a reusable rocket, so astronauts could leave the International Space Station and return to Earth safely, in case of an emergency. But the European Union and the U.S.A. couldn’t reach an ownership agreement. So the project was canceled—after two years of work. The spacecraft had actually been tested and was ready to go. In fact, if you go to the Houston Space Centre it’s there…[He shows me the vehicle on the screen of his Blackberry phone]…I use it as background…That is what we built. It would have replaced the Space Shuttle. What this really means, I suppose, is that, given the resources, you could help make Nigeria a serious space-faring nation? That was my original intention. That was the benchmark. I wanted to position Nigeria in aerospace—an area that is very, very difficult to get into. If you can build a launch vehicle, you’ll also be able to build an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)… This is a very sensitive subject. But I’m an Astronomy/Space Science columnist; and my views are well known. “Space for national development” is fine, as a way of raising public awareness. But policy makers are going to have to move beyond this eventually, to a manned space programme.  Putting astronauts on other people’s rockets simply is not going to get Nigeria anywhere… Oh yes! You are quite correct…. Launching a man in space is something that could be done, if we would build capacity from the bottom up and create a manufacturing base. Train our students… Get the curriculum right… and push the envelope in that direction. Ten to 20 years from now, you’ll see results...But you can’t continue to give your launches and payload production out to overseas experts…I’m happy to see that NASRDA is at least thinking along these lines. But they are thinking too small… Do you think “space” should become something like a national ideology? That everybody should be mobilized towards the achievement of specific objectives? You know, what the Indians did, very effectively, was to use the media to raise public awareness. Nigeria should do the same thing... If you give it to government, to really get this thing going, it may not work exactly the way we want it to. But it will galvanize the public. Use the media to campaign about the space programme… I noticed that two things are missing in Nigeria. One is a tradition of popular science—i.e., science for the common man. This, in fact, is what motivated me to start my Astronomy column, in The Guardian, 11 years ago. The other is science fiction—which is very strong in most other countries.

Oh. I will tell you, my desire to do what I’m doing dates back to a class I took in Russia. Anyway, I started as a medical student at Obafemi Awolowo University. Then I got a scholarship to study medicine in Russia—then the Soviet Union. I studied for about three years; and I did not like it. I was the best student in the class. But I told myself, I had to leave. There was one Russian professor, who was teaching me physics. He was explaining Einstein’s famous formula, E=MC2. The way he was explaining it motivated me. So I said to myself, “Wow. I’m getting to look at something that will give me fulfillment. Right from that time I changed. My mom was very angry. “Why are you changing? I want you to be a doctor!” But she didn’t know I had found something I wanted to do. I wanted to go into physics. So I went to the professor and said, “I want to be like you”. He asked me if I were serious. I said “Yes”. He then invited me to his office. Books were piled up everywhere. He said, “Take this book, go and read it. Then come back”… The book was written in Russian. You read Russian? Yes. I speak Russian, fluently. Do you speak any other languages? Well, a bit of German; and I struggle with French. But I’m not fluent in it. Of course, I speak my mother tongue, Ibibio.     O.k., go on with your narrative. So…I was fascinated. I was carried away. I said, “How do I get into this?” In the Soviet Union, a foreigner could not go into aeronautics and astronautics—because of the secrets they were hiding. But he introduced me to another professor, who opened up and said, “Come. I will take you to somewhere…” He took me to a science school, where they

put native Russians who were learning aeronautics and astronautics. He showed me a pencil that they took into space—a pencil that could write, even if it dropped in water. He showed me so many things about space... You withdrew from medical school? Yes. I started taking Mathematics, Physics and everything…People were calling me a fool! They said I was crazy! “Why do you want to do this?” But here I am. I don’t regret it. I told my Mom I would…obtain my doctorate degree, to satisfy her urge to have a “Doctor” in the family. “With a Ph.D.,” I said, “you can still call me “Doctor”!  She agreed; and I moved on. So how do we get to the point, where the world will take us seriously? …If Nigeria is serious about becoming a space faring nation, we have to define our priorities. What we are doing now is just a joke! I’m serious, when I tell you that. It’s not the fault of the Director General of NASRDA, Dr. S.O. Mohammed. I applaud him for what he has done so far. The problem is at the policy level. It’s conceptual.   Nigeria simply is not ready for the kind of thing I’m interested in, such as the manufacture of launch vehicles that can carry a man into space… What NASRDA is doing now is a quick-fix. The challenges we should be preparing for require 50 years to master. We ought to be looking into the future, to see where our strategic interests will lie. Why should we invest in space? It’s because we want to be competitive, now and forever. We want to define and work out our national destiny, without external constraints. We don’t have to ask Surrey Satellite Technology to design a spacecraft for us. It’s something we can do. It’s an engineering problem…

Dr. Leo Daniels, U.S. based Lainch Vehicle expert and Provost at Kwara State University.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

28 SUNDAYMAGAZINE

NEWSPEOPLE

ODI: ‘Destruction Mindset Undemocratic, Compensation Is Justice Delayed’ By Gregory Austin Nwakunor

But the organs have been politicised and peopled by persons who have not taken the assignHE world loves the bandwagon, but not ment with the required vigour and aggression Chief Oghenovo Charles Majoroh. He does it requires.” not see anything special about celebrating The elder statesman says: “People should look birthdays that have round figures. Landmarks back and remember that these interventionist better define this for him. And he’s right. organs derive their being from the findings of This Sunday evening, friends, family memthe Henry Willinks Commission report of 1958, bers and some media men, who have come to which over five decades ago, recognised the ‘party’ with him on his 67th birthday, surneed to treat this riverine part of Nigeria with round him. Majoroh, the Principal Partner special care and attention.” and founder of Ardek Nigeria Architects and To him, a constant reminder should be in Majoroh Partnership, Architects, Planners and place at the swearing in all senior officers for Engineers, is really home and dry. the ministry and NDDC to imbibe the vigour He is on traditional Urhobo dress — the kind and sense of urgency their tasks require. of dress that draws predator nearer and whis“In essence there have been some successes pers masculine spark. The former President of but the conflicting roles of state government, the African Union of Architects smiles as he local councils, Federal Ministries and these talks about motivation to celebrate in a quiet agencies have not been properly streamlined. way. The yearnings and aspirations of the Niger And the landmark? Delta have been partly fulfilled and will be fur“Odi compensation,” he breathes. ther improved upon when the “contra-tendenAt 67, does he feel fulfilled? cies” are streamlined,” he quips. “At 67, I can plan to do the job starting at 68 when I still have all my faculties, remember IS reaction to the deadlocked Petroleum Inthe entire training etc. to do the job,” he redustry Bill at the National Assembly and sponds with a knowing laugh. how can the nation get out of the standoff and Since he doesn’t wear his religion like cruci- move the all-important sector of the economy fix, he didn’t cross himself in gratitude that he forward? is 67. The reality had begun to settle on him He begins: “There are five major blocs or interlike a fire dust that this year’s birthday will be ests currently highlighted in the unfortunate different when he heard the High Court judg- face-off: The petroleum industry experts who ment in favour of Odi. He smiles again. see the old regime for exploiting our petroOnly recently, N36.7bn compensation was leum resources as outdated, inimical to the enawarded to the community, which is in vironment and skewed unfavourably to the Bayelsa State over the military invasion of the advantage of the international oil companies village during the President Obasanjo admin- (IOC).” istration. Majoroh continues, “the northern elements “The N36.7 billion compensation for the Odi who do not have oil and consider anything that community is justice delayed,” he says, makmay benefit the oil producing areas as an issue ing it sound as if he is the community’s coun- that must be opposed even if there are prosel. “Fortunately, it is not justice denied, as the found benefits for the generality of Nigerians.” wheels of justice grind slowly, but surely.” He adds, “the international oil companies He continues, “honestly, the kind of military who want the status quo ante to remain.” The mindset that resulted in the Odi invasion and new oil finds in several parts of Africa which are massacre must be expunged from our democ- being used to pressure Nigeria’s Production racy permanently. Never again must this kind and marketing prospects to remain stagnant; of military rascality be tolerated in the coun- and The increased production in America try without clear accountability and reproba- (from ‘fracking’), which used to be our main tion.” market now, putting a downward pressure on According to him, “unfortunately, so many Nigerian’s sales and demand.” years of military rule in our country has pracHe argues, “many flimsy reasons are being tically militarised the political structures and used to punch holes in the passage of the bill culture. We all, therefore, have a collective re- foremost of which is the 10 per cent provision sponsibility to eradicate these military vesfor the benefit oil producing communities. tiges and impunities from our democracy. Whereas, this is strictly meant to be taken from The money should be managed directly by the the profit after tax of the oil companies, therepeople themselves for the exclusive reconfore, it has no impact on the distributable pool struction of the town and the rehabilitation of available to all parts of Nigeria. The vociferous the citizens.” refusal from the nort to pass this bill simply beIs he comfortable with the 2014 terminal cause of that provision can only be attributable date set by Federal Government on the to primordial envy rather than economic Amnesty programme? issues.” Majoroh, who, in his over 35 years of practice According to him, “there is urgent as an architect, has designed and executed need for concerted persuasion of many projects with clientele ranging from the ‘refusniks’ to the important bill. Federal and state governments to parastatals, They need to be told about the danprivate organisations and individuals, says, gers inherent in not passing the “the programme has greatly influenced the bill on time particularly given the reign of peace in the Niger Delta and taken a ever changing balance between whole generation of youths and able-bodied the cost of production and the men out of the creeks and into the productive cost of sales as the USA sector of our communities.” pushes for new energy He insists, “I do not know what made the sources, creative forms 2014 deadline necessary, but surely until the of renewable finds to goals of the programme are substantially met compete for the same (particularly the training and re-absorption of shrinking market.” the fighters into the mainstream of society) He says, “discussion then setting a specific terminal date may be on this very strategic counterproductive.” bill should be shifted The Urhobo chief says confidently, “if, howfrom the narrow conever, this date is based on purely financial fines of the National Asconsiderations, then the cost benefits of the sembly to the wider Amnesty should be weighed against the prob- plains of the people able oil production losses as well as absence of and constituents who the existing peace in that region.” have not been influRecently, the Ministry of Niger Delta and enced by the intense NDDC have faced criticism and backlash. lobby of the IOCs. It Some pundits have even questioned their calls for a national deability to fulfill the aspirations and yearnings bate spearheaded by of the people of the Niger Delta. the leadership of all They are, however, not alone. Majoroh is strata of our country, with them. He explains earnestly, “the spirit to be kicked off by the behind the idea is novel and well meaning. President himself. He

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out effort in the UPU to our neighbours to form bridges for mutual benefit for the future. The recent past political experiences have been bad for us and the UPU will in due HEN you replay the Urhobo Nation of time find ingenious ways, working with all your teen years and place it side by side with present day Urhobo, in terms of socio-po- stakeholders to fashion a way out of the tunlitical development and national recognition? nel for this generation of Urhobo and the next,” the architect demurs. What emotions come to you? Few years ago, you advised Urhobo to come Majoroh draws a deep breath and suddenly out with a roadmap and to create machinery says, “an organisation of 80 years ought to have a much more organised plan for succes- for discussing the way forward and to bring sion so that this should no longer be an issue. together divergent groups in Urhobo Land? Has this been achieved? What role would you We need a re-affirmation of our understandplay or have played towards this? ing of the vision enshrined in our constitu“I still believe in what I postulated at that tion.” He confesses, “more strategic thinking based time. Particularly in the need for the creation on relevant data collation and analysis; elimi- of institutions and systems, which should be nation of unnecessary internal squabbles and in place to make the leadership more impera more open, collective and inclusive decision sonal, such that in coming leadership should see and continue to execute a road map set up making process.”  by previous occupants of positions in the orHas the Urhobo of your dreams been ganization,” he says with a slight self-conachieved? “I have diligently held all the positions in the sciousness. His suggestions towards a greater, unified, presidential hierarchy without upsetting or Urhobo Nation. over stepping anyone even when the vacanHe cackles, “I have been involved in the cies and opportunities beckoned. That is my study of the antecedents of UPU for almost 15 mantra,” he smiles again. years of stewardship and pupilage, having Urhobo political leaders during the postcolonial era, and the years following Nigeria’s worked with three President Generals. My intention is to hit the ground running because independence were recorded to be selfless, culturally conscious and immensely patriotic. of my previous background of service in UPU.” Having served in various capacities in the naHowever, reverse is the case today, what could tional executive of the UPU all through the be responsible and what would you proffer? years, why are you always a Deputy President“That is essentially still present in some of General?  our leaders. What are missing are a seamless He draws a long laugh, worming himself to leadership transfer and the institution of a his guest. “The answer is simple, like I said earminimum number of years of incubation as well as evidence of interest and participation lier, I am a systems man, I believe in studying well before doing something. I do not like to from younger years in Urhobo affairs before aspiring to the top of the leadership pack,” he take a job and not do it properly. That is I do not like shame.” admits. He continues in the lacerated voice of As a top national executive the confessional, “ in the Nigerian Inof the Urhobo Progressive stitute of Architects, I served sequenUnion (UPU), you wontially from third to 1st Vice President der what has been the before becoming President. My response of the union record there is open for all to see. I to the threat from have planned (six years ago) to ethnic neighbours? move home before the end of 2013 He points out to do this job for my people. that He says, “I know for a fact that the the threats current President General is a and challenges friend, an officer, and genare more internal tleman. A man of honour. than external. He does not desire a tenure “There has been elongation and has told me that pera sonally; and also trusted mutual friends. I also do not believe in tenure elongation because there are concerted reachmany more Urhobo sons and daughing ters (competent and eager) waiting to serve. I state this as a Christian and fully aware of the ancestral consequences to any Urhobo man who lies or does not keep his word or promise. So, you may ask where is this heating up of the Urhobo polity coming from? What is there to gain apart from must own the PIB project, and not pretend to be an uninterested observer.”

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

NEWSPEOPLE

Gamaliel Onosode @ 80 By Sunny Awhefeada

T is no longer news that Mr. Gamaliel Oforitsenere Onosode has attained the milestone age of 80. The many congratulatory messages in almost every national newspaper congratulating the old man on his attainment of the very significant age left nobody in doubt regarding the place of Onosode in public consciousness. The story of the sunny side of Nigeria’s evolution would be incomplete without recurring references to him. His life has been one of dedication to national service qua nation building. Onosode is a national treasure having served Nigeria most diligently through the era of colonialism to the tortuous experience of post-independence. He belongs to the generation that dreamt great dreams about the future of Nigeria as the nation evolved from a colonial enclave into an independent entity. But, some dreams die fast and things didn’t hold for long for the country he romanticised. Nigeria couldn’t sustain the ideals upon which his grand dream was built. As an octogenarian he must now be looking back ruefully and asking if this was the country he gave his all in his prime. Onosode like other concerned members of his generation must now be weighed down by the bogey of misrule that has plagued Nigeria. They would be amazed at the incubus called corruption, petrified by the insecurity assailing the land and appalled at the malignant poverty buffeting the majority of Nigerians. Gamaliel Onosode “simply Mister” was born on 22 May 1933. He hails from Ughelli, where I have resided as a teenager since 1990 and now raising children. He attended the prestigious Government College, Ughelli (GCU) before going to the then University College, Ibadan to study Classics, the doyen of all academic disciplines. When he graduated in 1957, he made history as the first university graduate from Ughelli Kingdom. Onosode is a boardroom legend whose exploits are far out of the ordinary. His distinguished and unblemished career in a festering setting like Nigeria remains intriguing. Born into a family with deep Baptist conviction, Gamaliel Onosode is Nigeria’s face of integrity. A seasoned technocrat, Onosode began his long run of meritorious service with the then Colonial Development Corporation later known as the Commonwealth Development Corporation in 1957. His brilliance and enthusiasm was soon to earn him a 15-month training course in Business Administration in England. The intellectual menu during the training was made up of courses in Company Law, Office Organisation, Book Keeping, Accounting, Economic Theory, Applied Economics, Commercial Statistics and more. The experience turned out to be life changing as it armed him with the necessary tools that turned him into a colossus in the boardroom and business world. Onosode’s career took a new direction when he became an Executive Director with NAL Merchant Bank in 1969. He was later to become the Chairman and Chief Executive of the bank. His dizzying record of successes earned him many other corporate appointments and by the 1990s he was

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Chairman of over 20 blue chip companies. Onosode was at a time synonymous with Cadbury Nigeria Plc as well as Dunlop Plc. He had also chaired different national committees including the Presidential Commission on Parastatals in 1981, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Working Committee from

1985 to 1989 and later the LNG Limited from 1989 to 1990 and the Niger Delta Environmental Survey. He was not too long ago the Chairman of Zain now Airtel Communications Ltd. Onosode’s path also veered into politics. He was appointed as Nigeria’s Presidential Adviser by the Shehu Shagari government in

1983. However, he had no time to deploy his magic wand to economically turn Nigeria around before a band of soldiers led by General Muhamadu Buhari overthrew the regime. The transition to civil rule programmes of the 1990s also saw Onosode squaring up for politics without success. He tried vying for the Presidency, but Nigerian politics is not for gentlemen like him. When the National Political Reform Conference took off in 2005, Onosode led the Delta State delegation and voiced his golden opinion regarding the Nigerian project. Before then he had chaired the Delta State Think Tank between 1999 and 2001. He was also the Chairman of the Governing Council of more than three universities including the University of Ibadan, his alma mater. As Gamaliel Onosode clocks 80, many of us at home, home being Ughelli, feel that he has given more than enough to Nigeria. We yearn for him to return home and live among us so that the younger generation can draw inspiration from him. How great would it be for him to live in Ekiugbo-Ughelli and pay occasional visits to his old school, Government College, Ughelli about two kilometers from his house and give the students pep talk. It would also be stimulating for him to mount the pulpit at the First Baptist Church in Ughelli on Sunday and preach the gospel in his now famous emphatic cadence. For now he is like a myth and not a reality to the people at home. In fact when I first saw his name in a newspaper in the 1980s, I had mistaken him for a Yoruba! Mr. Gamaliel Onosode is simplicity personified, yet he is highly principled. Dignity and integrity remain his watchword. He is a gentleman per excellence. In spite of his well-garlanded shoulders, he has distanced himself from titles and other unnecessary accessories the well to do are known to give anything for. He has been honoured with more than eight honourary doctorates, but never will you see Onosode answering the honorific “doctor” or “chief”. He has remained endearingly Mister or Deacon Gamaliel Onosode. He is a worthy role model in a country that is seriously lacking in ethics. His peers are Mr. Christopher Kolade, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and a few others. I often wonder how many members of their generation or their protégés imbibed the virtues that made them the ideal personalities that they are and for which they are acknowledged. Nigerians very badly need to rethink themselves and their commitment to selfless service, integrity and other touchstones of patriotism. Ours is a sinking nation and only the virtues for which Onosode and his ilk are now seen as avatars can redeem our country. For now let Nigerians rise and toast to everything good to Mr. Gamaliel Onosode the grand dandy at 80! • Dr. Awhefeada teaches Literature at the Delta

Sorting Out Sundry Questions About Emergent Matters By Adidi Uyo

S the Government tries to sort Boko Haram out by prosecuting its emergency rule in the three northern states, a.k.a. BAY states, and as the governors try to sort themselves out after their bizarre chairmanship election in Abuja, what can any perplexed aficionado of language find more exhilarating and edifying than trying to sort out the sundry questions which these two emergent matters have unleashed upon our public space and our collective psyche? That is to say, our business on the language train today is to separate or arrange the various questions being asked about the emergency rule and the imbroglio emerging from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election according to their class, kind or type. To be sure, the business was actually kicked off at the end of the last excursion on the language train, when fellow travellers were asked whether they could see the point in describing a given question about emergency rule, to wit, QAER1, as unfair, opinionative, benign, or substantive. And the question was: “Do you think imposition of emergency rule would address insecurity situation in affected states?” Before we deal with those four categorisations, though, let me quickly state that questions may be sorted out by using numerous factors, which in the main pertain to the asker, acceptable or appropriate response, substance, and language, specifically, the type of words and sentences involved in framing them. And to reiterate a point made in the last ride on the language train, questions, like language, generally, do tell us something about the learning, disposition, and social state of the person asking them, all factors that may also be used as a basis for sorting them out.

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Now, unless the person who was asked QAER1 is a military strategist or high ranking intelligence officer, how could he possess the knowledge or information to adequately or properly answer the question, “Do you think imposition of emergency rule would address insecurity situation in affected states?” Not even GEJ himself can confidently answer the question. Because the interviewee does not have the requisite training and does not occupy a relevant position, that question may be deemed unfair. Specifically, questions may be classified as fair or unfair based on the criterion of appropriateness.

LANGUAGE ON PARADE It is true, of course, that based on substance questions may be categorised as factual or opinionative. Certainly, QAER1 is opinionative and there is nothing wrong with that. And the question is benign as well. Suppose the interviewer had framed his question thus: “Do you think imposition of emergency rule would worsen the insecurity?” This would be a malignant question, for the choice of the word, “worsen,” rather than “address,” implies having some effect, in this case, a harmful effect. Finally, does QAER1 deal with a serious or light matter? Based on weight of a matter, that is, weightiness, questions may be classified as substantive or trivial. Well, I don’t know about you, but I would say that the aforementioned question is a very substantive one, especially, when we consider how the Government goes about managing the various aspects and fallouts of the emergency rule. Talking about weightiness, and simultaneously moving on to the other emergent matter, how would you sort out some of the

questions about the gubernatorial imbroglio that have trailed the Abuja NGF chairmanship election? For purposes of distinction, we crave your indulgence to label the questions, QAGI, short for Questions About Gubernatorial Imbroglio. The label QAGI may be expediently pronounced “kwaghe,” because it serves to remind me of something that I am enormously enamoured of: that special music and dance ensemble that belongs to the part of the country one of the chief combatants in the saga comes from, I mean, the Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang. Here are a few of the questions that many Nigerians have been asking, the first four paraphrased, the fifth one presented verbatim. QAGI1: “If 36 leaders cannot hold a free, fair, and credible election among themselves, how can they be part of those who would conduct elections for 160 million people?” QAGI2: “Is it true that some of the governors almost turned from voters to boxers during their chairmanship election?” QAGI3: “What lessons are the governors teaching our children and generations yet unborn about how to conduct elections?” QAGI4: “Since when did our governors become members of the Reformed Alawada Theatre?” QAGI5: “Shouldn’t comedy have its limits and limitations even in a country that has been a long running theatre of the bizarre, where reality is often blurred by the inanities of its leaders?” QAGI5 comes from an opinion piece in The Nation of Thursday, May 30, 2013. Written by Gbenga Omotoso, the article is titled, “When Governors Go Gaga.” If you ask me to sort out this question on the basis of weightiness, instead of categorising it as substantial or trivial, I would just say: Tragicomic.


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SPOTLIGHT

Bunmi And Her Fairy Cake Tales Bunmi Aremo, MD, Precious Cakes and Confectionaries is also a sugar artist. She recently went down memory lane to tell BISI ALABI WILLIAMS her fairy cake tales. UNMI was inspired to start a confectionery in 2002 when she needed to bake a birthday cake for her little son on his first birthday celebration. Ordinarily, one would have thought that the Home Economics graduate from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi should be able to bake a cake effortlessly, but this was not the case, as she couldn’t. She discovered to her consternation that she only knew the theoretical part of the process and not the practical. Her set in the university didn’t have the opportunity to practise what they were taught. So, Bunmi had to seek the help of a friend to teach her how to bake for her little boy. Little did she know that this cake would be the beginning of many wonderful cakes and cookies she would be baking in her lifetime. While baking the cake, she picked a very difficult design from the cake book. And instead of discouraging Bunmi, her friend gave a flimsy excuse and took off. By the time she came back three hours later, she found to her astonishment a very beautiful cake and that was the beginning of it all. She has successful baked her first cake! Bunmi’s friend was impressed by her friend’s ingenuity. ‘I can’t believe you made this cake. It’s so beautiful. You can make a business out of this,’ she said to Bunmi. This compliment gave birth to Precious Queen’s cake and cookie business. “I used to bake overnight and my husband would supply all the big supermarkets in Abuja. He was very supportive. People loved and appreciated the cakes. They were customised to meet customers’ taste.” Business was so good; she was making good money and could hardly meet demand. She sold to all the big names in Abuja and its environs. Everyone wanted a bite. Soon, she started having issues with NAFDAC who stopped her from supplying the big names. “I didn’t have a choice. The only way was for me to secure my NAFDAC registration. This was a major challenge for me because though I had a very good product but I didn’t have the financial muscle,” she reminisces. This development got her working on her registration. But shortly after, her family moved to Lagos. This helped her to take up the challenge of improving on her products recipes. Interestingly, this was the same period she got into the short bread cookie making business. People also loved and accepted the cookies. In Lagos, her feasibility study and quality control proved positive. Things were looking up and within three months, she got NAFDAC certification for her Queen’s cakes and cookies. She also got a place in the incubation centre. With good branding and support from friends and family, she plunged into the market fully. Her brand name is Panalina and is getting stronger. And everywhere she goes, people call her Panalina. She is elated by the fact that many young people are very eager to learn the art of cake baking. This has been a great source of strength. But what makes Bunmi tick is the fact that her cookies and cakes turn out unique. She loves the compliments she gets everywhere she goes. Her preference for cookie business is largely because there are no cookies that are homemade and which costs as little as N50. “I always feel great when people say to me: ‘Your cookies and cakes are tasty and nice and the packaging is unique. This has opened all kinds of opportunities for me,” she says.

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Growing up HIS was very challenging and tough for her. She is the fifth child in the family and as a child she loved challenges. Her parents wanted the best for them. Bunmi was very hardworking and diligent and everyone including, friends, neighbours and family members all liked her. During the holidays, she would buy a lot of things to share on her way back home from school. She was everyone’ sweet little darling. She spent hours cleaning the house, surroundings and even sweeping the street. She was and still is a homemaker. Back then, Bunmi said their landlord used to look forward d to her homecoming although some neighbours accused her of overdoing things but this did not deter her from helping to keep the general surrounding clean, washing the family rugs and that of their neighbours. She also planted and tended vegetables and flowers in the street. This effort paid off because it got her first job at President Paints. “One day, I was trimming the street flowers in the rain, and the Managing Director saw me cleaning. When he learnt that I was a graduate he asked me to come and see him in his office. He gave me a job in the Accounting department. I spent two years on that job”. When she got married, the neighbours were happy for her although they were a little sad that their darling girl was leaving them for good. While working in the accounting department, she enjoyed her job and the team spirit that prevailed in her workplace but her one dream was to develop her life and career. Though she loved paid employment, she knew that she needed to move on to greater challenges. So she resigned her job. She didn’t actually set out to make cookies; it was something she stumbled on. “Cookies are great fun, especially for children who love its crunchy taste. They come in handy at children carnivals, Christmas parties, Easter picnics and birthday parties. My greatest selling point was my decision to customise my cookies to suit customers.”

Like other Nigerian entrepreneurs, Bunmi has had her fair share of the frustration of doing business in Nigeria. “To have a good cookie business, the piping of the product must be right. Piping is what determines the taste and texture of the cookies. My major challenge in moving the business to the next level to meet demand was three fold. “First, purchasing a piping machine to pipe the cookies. The task of raising the money for the machine was a huge one but I was able to achieve this by collaborating with a machine importing company. Another major challenge was that of getting a conventional oven worth over six million Naira. She is presently seeking to enter into lasting partnerships with people who believe in her business. Then there is the issue of electricity. “PHCN is in the habit of cutting off power supply when the company needs it most. Our peak period is 6pm to 2am and PHCN only supplies power outside this period. Despite the fact that we have two big gen-

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BUNMI

erators, we still need a 40 KVA, which is about N2.2 million. “This can be very frustrating especially when you have a good product. This is what is affecting many Nigerian businesses and government is not doing enough to help us. And it is only by growing the economy that Nigerian leaders can sit comfortably among the comity of nations and raise their heads high”. She urges government to design scholarship that can support and drive start ups and growing businesses to make real impact. It can come in form of securities services and effective teamwork. “Some of the principles that I have practiced, which have helped me so far is for young business people to aspire to be the best in whatever field. In aspiring to be the best, they should work on their personality. I have maintained a strong financial discipline. They must eliminate waste and bureaucracy. Above all, they must maintain an open and honest system with customers and colleagues”.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

LAFETE Forbes Set To Celebrate Africa’s Best At EbonyLife TV Launch By Gregory Austin Nwakunor O Abudu has conquered a lot of challenges. With EbonyLife TV, she seems set for a tougher one. And judging by the quality of work being put to the soon to be launched TV channel, no doubts, another conquest is close by. Located in Tinapa, Cross River State, it is the first global Black entertainment network in Nigeria, and indeed, Africa. The channel’s vision is to be the preferred global network for premium African entertainment, by creating original, premium and inspiring content with an African soul that showcases the best of Africa for a global audience. Already, plans are underway to honour leading lights in media, entertainment, business, innovation, politics and the economy in Africa. Considered by analysts and industry watchers as potentially one of the biggest and most prestigious events in the continent this year, the awards hold on June 30, 2013 in Lagos. The TV channel will be launched Pan Africa wide on the DSTV platform (Channel 165) on July 1. The awards, which are coming after months of intense research and a thorough verification exercise by Forbes, will be presented by Steve Forbes of Forbes Media, world renowned establishment, which has become an insignia of distinction across the world for recognising worthy business decision-makers, investors and progressive individuals for making real impact around the world. Lined-up for honours are four African presidents — Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, for his administration’s support to the Nigerian media and entertainment industry; John Dramani Mahama of the Republic of Ghana and Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, for presiding over two of the best countries to do business in, globally; and Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa, for presiding over the first African country to host The FIFA World Cup. Also to be honoured are Tope Shonubi, Tonye Cole and Ade Odunsi (founders of Sahara Energy Resources Limited) for their contribution to the Nigerian oil and gas industry; Isabel Dos Santos, for being the richest woman in Africa; Uzoamaka Maduka and Toyin Odutola, for being celebrated as young African achievers. Those who also made the list Joke Silva, for her contribution to the development of the film and TV industry in Africa; King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Onyeka Onwenu, Sir Victor Olaiya and Innocent (Tuface) Idibia, for their contribution to the development of African music and Deola Sagoe, for her contribution to the development of African fashion industry. Cross River State government, MTN, Nigerian Breweries and the United States Government support the event.

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about pleasing our viewers and meeting their needs in an ever changing world.” In the last few months, the TV channel has announced important breakthrough in the treatment of love, sex, violence, relationships and marriage with its innovative and creative upcoming programmes. With Love Lounge, it hopes to help “nurture the relationship you have into the relationship you want.” The fun, cheeky and informative 60-minute talk show employs the convergence media formats of Radio and TV in the sense that it is broadcast on ELTV and multicast on Beat FM 99.9. Love Lounge is set to approach the issues of love, sex and relationships in a professional, mature and creative way. It is designed as a platform where people can unravel the mysteries of love and provide answers to sensitive questions that people have but are probably too afraid, shy or careful to ask. The issues include ‘How to cope with being dumped’, ‘Women who beat their husbands’, ‘Partners who have addictions’,  ‘Sex tips’, ‘Homosexuality in Africa’, and so much more. When it is eventually aired, it will stimulate maximum listener/viewer participation and would see the Show’s presenter, Oreka Godis, navigate her way through the woes of love with expert advice, taking questions from listeners and some celebs by way of calls, BBMs, SMS, email, letters, interactions online, blogs, Skype and podcasts in what has been described as a convergence model on steroids! The TV is also set to bring six countries together in a programme that showcases African culture and tradition. Titled, The Fattening Room, the programme journeys into this unique culture of Efik people of Nigeria — practiced when young women enter a house of seclusion to learn everything a woman needs to know about running a home, raising children that are as good as gold and managing to keep her husband happy and at home. In the programme, six ladies — Roselyn Ashkar, a fashion model and media journalist from Ghana; Sally Berold, an adventurer and skateboarder and freelance experiential marketing specialist from South Africa; Stephanie Unachukwu, a designer and fashionista from Nigeria, Patricia Kihoro, a singer, actress and radio personality from Kenya; Tshepo Maphanyanye, a publicity and public relations executive from Botswana and Limpo Funjika, a business development manager and aspiring TV presenter from Zambia — become women after experiencing the inner chambers of this tradition. According to Abudu, “The Fattening Room is a true testimony of ‘if you can think it, you can do it’. As a team, during one of our strategy sessions about a year ago in Tinapa, we wanted to develop and produce a reality show that showcased the rich culture of Calabar that is now home to EbonyLife TV and we thought what better way to do that, than the Efik tradition of ‘The Fattening Room’!

Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media, Steve Forbes The TV channel also added a very important tor. He is also a widely respected economic prognosticator, who is the only writer to and highly strident voice to the global fight have won the highly prestigious Crystal Owl against domestic violence with the wrap up Award four times. The prize was formerly of the filming of yet another of its flagship given by U.S. Steel Corporation to the finanreality programmes, Screen Divas. The programme offers viewers an unprece- cial journalist whose economic forecasts for the coming year proved most accurate. dented, unscripted and unedited glimpse Forbes is the author of Freedom Manifesto: into the world of four of Africa’s most eclecWhy Free Markets are Moral and Big tic Nollywood stars, Funke Akindele, Rita Government Isn’t, co-authored by Elizabeth Dominic, Kate Henshaw and Uche Jombo, as Ames (Crown Business, August 2012); How it showcases not only the glitz, glam, and Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and gloss, but the struggles of their interesting Free Markets Are the Best Answer in Today’s lives outside the regular world of makeEconomy, co-authored by Elizabeth Ames belief. (Crown Business, November 2009); and A key highlight of the reality series shot in Calabar at the Studio Tinapa is the collabora- Power Ambition Glory: The Stunning Parallels between Great Leaders of the Ancient World and tion of the Nollywood divas on the producToday… and the Lessons You Can Learn, cotion of a short film titled, New Horizons, a authored by John Prevas (Crown Business, soul-rending flick that spotlights the plight of women across Africa who have to bear the June 2009). He also wrote: Flat Tax Revolution: needless pains of domestic abuse, a crime far Using a Postcard to Abolish the IRS (Regnery, 2005); and A New Birth of Freedom (Regnery, too familiar but rarely spoken about. 1999), a book of bold ideas for the new milThe wrap up of Screen Divas, which is comlennium. ing fast on the heels of the wrap of the filmForbes serves on the boards of The Ronald ing of Sistaz!, another of the TV channel’s Reagan Presidential Foundation, the flagship programmes, and which is being Heritage Foundation and The Foundation for hotly followed by the production of a numthe Defense of Democracies. He is on the ber of other exciting entertainment, reality and drama programmes, is in furtherance of Board of Overseers of the Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Centre and on the Board of the new Channel’s mission of being the first Visitors for the School of Public Policy of in Africa set to produce and broadcast over Pepperdine University. He previously served 700 hours of premium, original and inspiron the Board of Trustees of Princeton ing content with an African soul for a global University for 10 years. black audience. Born on July 18, 1947, in Morristown, New Jersey, Forbes is a celebrated writer and edi-

ET to broadcast the best of African conStransmitting tent, the TV station will immediately be to and watched in over 46 African countries and by over 8 million viewers. The TV’s Roll Out distribution strategy also includes major international platforms in the UK, United States, Brazil, Canada and other parts of Europe. EbonyLife TV’s programming cuts across drama, comedy, reality, lifestyle, talk, magazine, feature film and factual and is poised to reach a global black audience through an exciting multiplicity of media platforms, including TV, Web, Mobile, Apps and Live Events. “The launch of EbonyLife TV will ensure that our programming touches on all the key passion drivers of our target demographic, issues of the heart, love and relationships being one of those passion drivers,” says Mo Abudu, Chairman and CEO of EbonyLife TV. She continues, “in a very responsible and enlightening way, we deal with a number of sensitive issues, concerns and questions that are paramount to us all, but we often feel restrained by society from asking those questions or dealing with those issues. Now we are excited to announce that there is a forum and platform for discussion with our panel of experts. And we are going the extra mile by encouraging our viewers to send their questions, concerns and issues to us through a variety of platforms, SMS, facebook, twitter and on our website. We are all

Michelle Pennington, Snr. VP, Multichoice Africa Pty Ltd and Mo Abudu, Chairman & CEO, EbonyLife at the Channel Distribution Agreement Signing in South Africa with Multichoice for the launch of EbonyLife TV, to broadcast pan Africa wide on the DStv platform.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 2, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday June 2, 2013

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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ARTS

THE READING NATION

‘And The Man Cried’… Wole Soyinka, Almost (1) By Segun Oyekunle HAVE read almost every encomium on Prof. Chinua Achebe, and I don’t think it can ever be enough to add another one. In fact, I feel I must add this one because none has mentioned the man’s desire to shoot his works in film, which was totally aborted by the debacle that was Things Fall Apart the film, variously called Bullfrog in the Sun. I also seize this opportunity to link it to the Nigerian film industry and the need for our writers to participate in it. This story started at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) African Studies Center. I had had the privilege of watching the film before I met him. The film was produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and Ed Mosk, starring John Seka and Princess Elizabeth Toro of Uganda. The way I got to see the film needs the telling. And so also is my discussion with the Prof on the film, which initiated our future relationship. I studied film at the graduate level at UCLA after I got my first degree in Theatre Arts in ABU Zaria. We used to sit at the UCLA North Campus Cafeteria for lunch and discussions on how we could solve all human problems and save the world! North Campus afforded us the opportunity to meet many distinguished scholars from all over the world who were visiting professors to UCLA, particularly African visiting professors on sabbatical at the African Studies Center, as well as the Center for Strategic Studies. That afternoon most of us on the table were from the Film School. You know, UCLA Department of Film, TV and Drama boasts as the Best Film School in the world. I would not argue with that. It was and is very much favored by Hollywood. It was and is the abode of Hollywood Film and TV Archives. All the films ever made in Hollywood are kept there. And UCLA took a heavy advantage of that in using the films to teach us how to make good films. Hollywood film stars come in and out at will for different kinds of Campus Programs. They even appear in student films, when they are not busy. And to sharpen their art. The Film School is separated by Sunset Blvd from Bel Air, the abode of these uber rich and famous of Hollywood stars and movers and shakers. The implication is that their offspring, relatives, etc., attend UCLA just across the street. UCLA students in general have the opportunity to relate with them. So that afternoon we were sitting with the son of Samuel Goldwyn Jr. [of the MGM – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer fame] who was a student at the Film School. I told him I had won his father’s creative writing award, the Samuel Goldwyn Creative Writing Award for my screenplay, Broken Cells. The Award Ceremony was held in his father’s huge spread in Bel Air. He was quite pleased to hear that an African had won it for the first time and asked where in Africa I came from. I said Nigeria. “Nigeria! Things Fall Apart!” For a moment I didn’t know what to make of it. Was he talking about the Nigeria state or the famous novel? He soon helped me out. “The film! My father produced it! I can show you!” “Wow!” I said. I heard it was produced and I had been longing for the opportunity to see it. We quickly organized with now late Prof. Teshome Gabriel who taught the course ‘Film and Society’ at UCLA Film School, and secured the Film School’s state-of-the-art theater. [The UCLA Melnitz Hall Theater has to be state-of-the-art because Hollywood producers such as Francis Ford Coppola, an alumnus of UCLA [of “The Godfather’ series fame] loved to preview their films to us students there first before they premiered them to the public.]. Things Fall Apart the film was a special screening to all of the UCLA community, and, because the classic book was widely read in the university, it being part of the Literature courses, the theater was packed full to the brim for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as it came out to be. After the film, I had never been so sad! Those who saw it were as stunned, totally stunned. I had read all the Prof’s works up to that time. The film I saw was not the Things Fall Apart that I and all who had read the eponymous book came to see. The film had com-

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Oyekunle bined the trilogy — Things Fall Apart, No Longer At Ease and A Man Of The People — in one fell swoop, and made such a monumental mess of it. It was not the acting. Seka and Toro did their best. It was the storytelling on celluloid. It was in this state of mind I was when Prof. Chinua Achebe came to visit UCLA. I believe he was being canvassed to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. He did several readings of excerpts from his works, both novels and poems at UCLA and around town in Los Angeles to full houses. I made sure I did not miss a single reading. Los Angeles being the world capital of hero worshippers, at least this was a real star, an intellectual who was a genuine star. Many dusted up their old and new copies of his works and brought them for his autograph. And he diligently, humbly, patiently obliged them all, even thanked them for reading his works. Then I got the opportunity to sit one-onone with him at UCLA Center for Strategic Studies. Just the two of us. I was accorded the opportunity by the African Studies Centre to sit with the literary giant because I was supposed to be this hot shot Nigerian film student who had won a couple of prestigious creative writing awards for two of his screenplays. And, ever willing to lend a hand to a budding young writer, he readjusted his very busy schedule to accommodate me. Needless to say I was star-struck! Hollywood hero worship had rubbed on me, some. But this was not just a Hollywood hero. This was a literary hero who always attracted a huge crowd anywhere he went. It is therefore not every day you get to sit with such a world renowned literary star! In fact there are not many people who can claim that opportunity. Mine is especially

unique – I had met Kongi himself, Prof. Wole Soyinka at UCLA several times, when he was in exile, and at a King Sunny Ade concert in town in Los Angeles. I also got a glimpse of him recently in the University of Ibadan when he gave the inaugural Geoffrey Axworthy Memorial Lecture. Prof. Axworthy was the first Director of the School of Drama at the University College, now UI Ibadan. It was on my way to Ile-Ife for the First Nigerian Dramatists Convention, organised by Prof. Osofisan, where I met Prof. Pepper Clark. I had gone as the MD of Abuja Film Village International Ltd to plead with Nigeria’s best and experienced creative brains to participate in the Nigerian film industry, and help raise the standard of the industry to the next level. Nigeria remains the only film nation in the world where her published and world renowned authors are not participating in her film industry. It is a travesty and it is part of the goals of FCTAowned Abuja Film Village International to help correct that. Seeing Prof. Clark and chatting with him completed my meeting with the living tripartite of the four doyens of Nigerian writers – Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. Chinua Achebe, and Prof. Clark. I never met the fourth, Christopher Okigbo whom the Nigerian literary community lost to the civil war. If you say I was fortunate and rooted, having shared these creative giants’ company, besides knowing them through their works, you are absolutely right. You cannot underrate a word or two of encouragement from those who have achieved, particularly in your field. It is forever imprinted in the mind of a youth who aspires to be like them. So I sat one-on-one with Prof. Chinua Achebe.

Seeing Prof. Clark and chatting with him completed my meeting with the living tripartite of the four doyens of Nigerian writers – Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. Chinua Achebe, and Prof. Clark. I never met the fourth, Christopher Okigbo whom the Nigerian literary community lost to the civil war. If you say I was fortunate and rooted, having shared these creative giants’ company, besides knowing them through their works, you are absolutely right. You cannot underrate a word or two of encouragement from those who have achieved, particularly in your field. It is forever imprinted in the mind of a youth who aspires to be like them.

His humility floored me. How can somebody so great, the “Oga at the very literary top”, be so humble! I studied, worked and lived in “La La Land” [Los Angeles] for so many years and saw firsthand “Stardom” Hollywood style! Hollywood has Grades – A, B, C, even D Star Lists. In my book, Prof. Chinua Achebe belonged to the A+ List, if there ever was such a List. In no time, he untied my tongue by starting the conversation, and I quickly raised Things Fall Apart, the film. “Sir, I recently had the privilege to see what they call Things Fall Apart the film, have you seen it?” I almost felt I should never have raised the film or asked the question. There was a moment of silence that lasted an eternity. The passionate but quiet emotionalism, the bond that existed between the author and his best work, or may be not his best work [Arrow of God is, in my humble opinion], but the work that will forever define him, quickly swelled to the surface. Suddenly tears welled down his two eyes, creating two canal paths down his cheeks and dropping down on his clothe. Yes, this great man actually cried. He didn’t clean the tears. There was no Kleenex tissue around. No one was expecting that there would be the need to wipe out any tears from the teacher or the pupil’s eyes. I didn’t know how to respond. Then I remember President Bush, the two of them crying on different occasions. Yes great men do cry! If a luminary such as Prof Achebe, who had proved all his life that there was not an ounce of pretence in his blood could cry, the lesson among other lessons I took from this first encounter is to have enduring passion, even to the point of crying on what one believes in. At one breath I was relieved that he felt the same way I felt about the film to the point that it made him cry. On the other hand, as a film student, I wanted to know more about what went wrong, especially at what point things went wrong in the making of the film. “They stole my works,” he said. Oh yes, that sounds familiar. Hollywood will “steal” your work when it feels it can get away with it. If you ever wonder why there are so many IP [Intellectual Property, i.e., screenplays, synopsis, treatments] infringement law suits in Hollywood, it is because it is common for them to infringe on someone else’s property. How many times have scripts, especially what they call “unsolicited material”, i.e., creative material submitted not through an agent, they purportedly throw in the dust bin, how many times have they ended up on the screen with a different title, making millions of dollars, until the owners identify them, and told them, “They have taken too much for the owner to see” [Chinua Achebe], and there begins the rigmarole of lawsuits. Most often, they know they are going to be sued, and they are willing to risk it because they know they will make more money, much more than what they will be compelled by arbitration, or the courts if it ever reaches there, to pay the owner. Of course, it was not different with Things Fall Apart. The Prof let them know they not only have taken too much for the owner to open wide his eyes and mouth in amazement at their brazen and audacious robbery, they have actually emptied the barn. He sued. The lawsuit has prevented the film from being seen beyond one or two special screenings in Los Angeles and Atlanta. As far as I know, it has never been publicly released, up till today. There were other elements to our encounter and conversation. It dawned on me that I was being mentored in his most gentle way. I was encouraged to continue writing, even though I had “switched” from Drama, as it were, to filmmaking. He even proposed that I should write the screenplay to Things Fall Apart, which would have been the crowning achievement of my embryonic film career. What an epic film it would have been. But I could not because of the lawsuits that surrounded, probably still surrounds Things Fall Aparttill today. TO BE CONTINUED Oyekunle is MD/CEO Abuja Film Village International Ltd. 3arufa@msn.com


THE GUArDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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LAFETE

BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI

Around and about Nollywood...

shaibu70@yahoo.com

Eyengho is FIAPF Vice President

a statement signed by the NFC’s Head of Public Affairs Brian Etuk thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for his appointment as the fifth CEo of the agency assured that his tenure as CEo will witness tremendous improvement in the service delivery of the Corporation’s mandate.  Dadu acknowledged the giant strides recorded by his predecessors in office, and stressed that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that he (Dadu) contributes his quota to the growth of the NFC and the Nigerian Film Industry. Dadu stressed that operations of the NFC was going to be “Business in Character”, within the framework of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. He assured filmmakers, members of the various industry guilds and associations, including other stakeholders of better days ahead. Earlier at the handover/takeover ceremony held at the NFC’s Headquarters in Jos, the Executive Director (operations) and Acting Managing Director, Mr. Tekena Benibo, who was represented at the ceremony by Mr. J. B. olayishade, the Corporation’s Director of Administration, stated that Management and Staff of the Corporation were indeed pleased to have Dr. Dadu as the new Chief Executive of Nigeria’s Apex film agency, the Nigerian Film Corporation. Benibo noted that Dr. Dadu was inheriting a formidable workforce, very dedicated to the spirit and character of the NFC and mostly, a vibrant Nigerian Film Industry.

rESIDENT of the Association of P Nollywood Core Producers (ANCoP), Mr. Alex Eyengho has been elected as the Vice President of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). With his election, Eyengho made history as the first African to occupy the high office in FIAPF. Created in 1933, the Federation is a recognised global trade organisation dedicated to the defense and promotion of the legal, economic and creative interests of film producers throughout the world. The election of Eyengho came during the General Assembly of FIAPF held in Cannes, France on May 18. recall that through the efforts of ANCoP and the former regional Secretary for FEPACI for West Africa 1, Madu Chikwendu, Nigeria became a member of FIAPF in May 2011 at the Cannes International Film Festival in France. Eyengho thanked FIAPF members from over 28 countries of the world for the confidence reposed in him with the election, stating that his victory was not for ANCoP alone, but for Africa. “My election is not about me or ANCoP. It is about deepening the Nollywood brand. It is about attracting maximum respect to Nigerian film producers at the international level. It is about Nigeria. It is about Africa. This is a confirmation and testimony to the fact that we are on the right track in Nollywood. The election is over. We must get to work immediately,’’ he said. Delta State-born Eyengho holds a first degree in Mass Communication from the Federal Polytechnic, oko, a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Liverpool, and another Master’s degree in Media and Communication (MSc.) from the Pan- Atlantic University, Nigeria. Eyengho, who is also the President of the Association of Itsekiri Performing Artistes (AIPA), has produced, directed and acted in films such as Oma tsen-tsen and Nanna of the Niger Delta; AMAA-nominated Suara La; Beyond Obligation (1 & 2), Ogodobiri, Judgment Day, Second Coming, Scruples, A Queen for Domingo, Back to Africa etc.

New film boss to fight piracy, produce Cartoons in local languages newly appointed Managing THE Director/Chief Executive of Nigerian

Fun, excitement at Nnenna and Friends children show UN-SEEKErS, who attended the Nnenna & FTheatre Friends Children’s Day Show, at the National Iganmu, Lagos, were overwhelmed Eyengho Film Corporation (NFC), Dr. Danjuma Wurim Dadu, assumed office last Wednesday with a pledge to re-engineer the Corporation for the transformation of the country’s film industry and make it one of the best in the world. Dadu said he would pursue sustainable programmes and activities in order to reposition NFC to tackle trends in film development. The NFC boss said he would work towards the corporation’s production of cartoons in the three major Nigerian Languages and Pidgin English. Speaking at the handover/takeover ceremony, Dr. Dadu in

by the spectacular presentations of the multitalented Nnenna & Friends Music and Dance Group; the outstanding performances by Benita, Papa Ajasco & Company, comedian Akpororo, Linda; dance groups Trace and The Commissioners; as well as the exceptional MCs - wapTV’s very own omo Nla and Mazi Ukpaka. Several corporate bodies interested in child development, including Indomie Noodles, ribena, Procter & Gamble, Promise PE Gold, Toasties Bread Chips, Panda Paracetamol, McVities Happy Faces and StarTimes, partnered with Wale Adenuga Productions in actualising the renowned entertainment company’s promise of putting together the most amazing Children’s

Day show in Nigeria with brilliant performances, tight security, conducive environment and lots of gifts and prizes to go round the audience members. The event, which was attended by over 6,000 kids and their families, was fully recorded and would be televised on wapTV (on StarTimes) across Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique, Central Africa republic, Democratic republic of Congo, Burundi and Guinea to be enjoyed by the channel’s millions of viewers.

Shindig for Lanre ‘Mama Awero’ Hassan today oDAy at the Blue roof of the LTV 8 on T Lateef Jakande road, Ikeja, Friends, family members and colleagues of the veteran actress, Lanre Hassan, who is better known as Mama Awero will gather for a grand reception in honour of her golden jubilee on stage. The likeable actress, mother and grandmother, who was born on october 3,1950 to the family of Alhaji Adisa rufai Hassan and Alhaja rafata Asake Hassan of Imaro compound IsaleEko, Lagos, began her theatrical career five decades ago. Married to Mr. Aliu Adeshina, their marriage is blessed with children. Mama Awero as she is fondly called had her early education at Saint Peters Primary School, Faji, Lagos between 1956 and 1963. It was however in 1963 that her love for acting became immense. A pioneer member of young Stars Concert Party, which later transformed into ojo Ladipo Group, under the late ojo Ladipo who was popular as Baba Mero. Later, she received mentorship and trained formally in acting under the guidance of Chief olude, a foremost drama scholar who ran the then Lagos School of Dramatic Arts. This was between 1969 and 1971. When ojo Ladipo died, the ojo Ladipo Group was renamed Awada Kerikeri organisation (AKo) and Mama Awero stayed on. She has not looked back since then and has not done anything else apart form featuring in movies, television and stage productions. Todays shindig is powered by Deji Etiwe run Albasit Communications and it is supported by City People Entertainment Company, and LTV. Time for the shindig is 2pm and performance is by King Saheed osupa.

With Champions Event, NGO charts a new course for Nigeria BY CHUKS NWANNE orrIED that the country is W still far behind expectations of founding fathers, a group of concerned Nigerians came together last year to set up a non-governmental organisation, Foundation for Value Transformation (FVT). The initiative, according to the founders, is aimed at actualising the immense potential of Nigeria for greatness and well being of its people. The platform brings to the table a globally validated process to indentify and drive shared national values that provide firm foundation for national cohesion and growth. The core objective of the organisation is to stimulate societal values that support economic growth and good quality life, as well as promote cohesive national values to strengthen unity and diversity in the country. Creating platform that will support leaders in building sustainable high performance system, as well as develop a stakeholder network for national trans- Caulcrick formation are also tops the organi- Country Manager of UPS observed sation’s agenda. that great nations are built on Using researched based cultural strong pillars of values shared by transformation tools, FVT initiates the people, which provide the foundialogue among leaders and stake- dation and guiding spirit for their holders, including civil society constitutions, laws and behavioural organisations, labour, politicians, expectations. religious groups and youths, with “Despite its outstanding credenthe hope of evolving a culture that tials for greatness, there is a heartdelivers a future with remarkable felt cry from Nigerians today for a improvement for all. clear path out of the jungle of dysIn a chat with the founder and functional socio-political system Executive Director of the NGo, that has trapped the immense enerSegun Caulcrick, the former gy of our people. The whole purpose

of FVT is aimed at good quality life to all Nigerians; it is a nationwide initiative. The people of Nigeria have the power to determine their destiny and FVT is committed to mobilizing citizens to once again discover the path to sustainable greatness,” he said. According to Caulcrick, who is also the Executive Director of Courtney Inglis Consulting, a firm that focuses on maximising   enterprise performance by facilitating the development of human capital

through innovative processes and tools, changes in systems often times comes from the leadership. “Everywhere around the world, leadership drives change. However, what you find though in our environment is that the leadership is enmeshed in the current system and they seem to benefit from it, making it difficult for them to lead that change. So, you really need an external influence to get them to make that change.” Through its ‘Deep and Wide’ strategy, the initiative seeks to engage various stakeholders, including the civil society groups and youths, to come together and speak with common voice in demand for change. “Deep’ in the sense that we are looking at creating cells from State to Local Government levels of people, who will be engaged in looking at our values and how to embed those values in the society around them. The ‘Wide,’ there are other organisations at the local level, who are involved in similar struggle; they are expected to interact with them. So, we are engaging on the local level, the state level and national level,” he noted. Though the organisation has come out with clear-cut tactics for its operation, there’s also room for partnership with existing groups, who are interested in leading the country to greatness. “There are lots of people, who are also looking at a way to change Nigeria; it’s going to be a teamwork. The idea is to engage our effort together and move Nigeria. What we want to have is a platform that will

give people a voice and that’s why we are looking at our values.” To the Executive Director, mindset plays a vital role in forming the behavioural pattern of individuals, assuring that the organization has perfected plans on how to change negative perception of the people towards Nigeria. “If you are looking at changing behaviour long term, then you need to look deeper; you need to find the values that should drive new bahaviour. From then, we can then demand from the government that these are the values we want to see in our system. And if that is not forthcoming, then we want to engage with them on how it can be done.” The problem in Nigeria, according to Caulcrick, is that people have power to demand change, but they don’t use it. “We always feel, ‘I’m alone.’ But if we can come together, then we can demand those things. A lot of things are happening in the country that is not right; we talk about it for some time and we forget. There’s no organised body that helps to sustain the action. If we have a network of people, who are interested in the future of this country, they will help in sustaining the tempo. The change you see in other country is no a personal thing; it’s always teamwork by people who are committed.”


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THE GUArDIAn, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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HEALTH

The Facts, And The Truth About Health By Moji Solanke

HE difference between facts, and truth, is that facts vary from place to place, time to time, and person to person, while truth is unchanging and unchangeable. This is the case as it regards health. Here are a few examples of health facts. Before the Twentieth Century, the use of leeches was considered beneficial for health, and was a popular form of treatment for several ailments. By the Twentieth Century however, this form of treatment was considered unscientific, even harmful, and was shunned by the medical profession, as a credible form of treatment. Yet, in an interesting turn of events, more recently, the use of leeches in medicine has begun to regain a considerable degree of approval in plastic surgery. Again, in some countries, heat is considered the best therapy for treating a swelling, or

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fever, while in another country, ice and cold presses would be employed for the same type of symptoms. In other instances, a case that one medical professional may consider incurable, another may deem a minor ailment. research once concluded that certain substances in food, such as egg yolk, chocolates or alcohol were inimical to health, while newer research is reversing that opinion. Such is the nature of health facts. It therefore becomes obvious that facts about health are not reliable at all. In order to discover the truth about health, it is imperative to start with the source of all that is immutable or unchanging. Most would agree that, given the changeability of human nature, the right place to seek for the truth about health would be the spiritual, the source of which is divine, Many individuals of faith agree that God is the immutable source

of spiritual qualities. The word ‘Truth’ is usually accepted to be a quality, attribute, and even a synonym of God. reasoning practically on the subject, the conclusion can only be that the truth about health is that it is good, because God is good. God does not create, support or approve of disease. Deeper reasoning also reveals that God cannot even know disease, since ‘He is of purer eyes than to behold evil’. His absolute purity prevents knowledge of anything contrary to His perfect, holy nature, yet God is all-knowing. As radical as this may sound, it is true; and more and more, this truth is being proved to be true. A point of interest is that the word ‘health’ has its roots in the word ‘wholeness’ or ‘holiness’. Many people around the world are deciding to entrust their health to God, and they are finding, not only healing, but more importantly, they are finding that even the liability to be ill, is reduc-

ing. In Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, the author, Mary Baker Eddy, a Christian healer, whose astonishing record of healing reverberated around the world in the nineteenth and Twentieth centuries writes: ‘God, good, can no more produce illness than good can cause evil and health occasion disease’. She says further that man is not thoroughly healed until the liability to be ill is removed. Her Christian method of spiritual healing continues to be practised with significant success around the world today. That said, it is entirely up to the individual to choose to go with the facts, or stay with the truth about health. It requires spiritual discipline to stay with the truth, but the reward is that all who choose this path, find that it has beneficial and practical effects on health. m_asolanke@hotmail.com

Health And Your Mind

Mind And The Kingdom Of Heaven (2) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

n the previous articles I told you that despite the presence of the Old Testament at the time of Prophet Hosea in the land of Israel, it never prevented him from seeing the truth at that time that his people were perishing because of lack of knowledge. It could be said that the same scenario prevailed as at the time of Jesus in the same land of Israel. Despite the active presence of the Old Testament at that time, the tragic influence of the leadership of the Pharisees did not allow his people to make the correct sense of the truth of the OT. What could be said to be the real truth of the OT could be deciphered in the statement of Jesus when He said that ‘the Pharisees would not go into the kingdom of heaven and they would not allow those who want to go, to go in’. This statement could be taken to mean that what ought to be the proper approach to religion that the OT could offer was going wrong under the teachings of the Pharisees. As I concluded in the last article, what could be said to be the nature of the knowledge that was going wrong gives rise to the topic now in question ‘mind and the kingdom of heaven’. The aim of this is to convince the world at large beyond reasonable doubt why it is important for them to begin to see the intrinsic relationship between the kingdom of heaven or God and the concept of the mind. The concept of the average man in the world about heaven is that of an abode, a space outside the material world. For intellectual convenience, there is nothing really wrong with this conception because in intelligent discussions where the concept of knowledge in itself is healthy, when you use the term ‘heaven’, the context in which you use it as a concept to represent something beyond man or above man will still be understood in concrete terms rather than in abstract terms. ‘Heaven’ as a concept in healthy intellectual circles will be concretely recognised for what it is — the store house of unquestionable intelligence. What then is intelligence especially in the context of this discussion? it is about the mechanism of operational laws whose

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empirical certainties can be substantiated in a discernable linkage between cause and effect. Discernible linkage between cause and effect will give you a perception of order. Order is the chief characteristic of an intelligent operation. It is not chaotic. It can lend itself to an enlightened explanation. So if probably you have heard it before that ‘order is the first law in heaven’, this foregoing explanation would have made it clear to you why ‘heaven’ from a healthy intellectual explanation would have been referred to as the store house of unquestionable intelligence. It may also prepare your mind to appreciate why in healthy intellectual circles God Almighty is better recognised as either

The Supreme Intelligence or Universal Mind. It is in an effort to bring the nature of God away from abstract religious understanding that every human being on earth independent of religious contamination can identify with. It helps to easily introduce what I have been calling the rule of intelligence into the proper dimension of religious understanding that in due course may help to remove the stress of understanding and conflicts that religion is inflicting on all of us.

Ayo-Vaughan, a psychologist, lives in Lagos. babatund_2@yahoo.com

Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, (rght) deworming Miss Aderinola Onipede to flag-off the May, 2013 Maternal and Child Health Care Week at the School of Nursing, AdoEkiti... last week

Practical Psychology By Passy Amaraegbu

OnSIDEr this scenario – the landlord made a fifty percent increase of the house rent; electricity supply to the house has been disconnected for three months, out of four children, two are out of school because the Okoguns cannot afford the school fees and worse still, after six months of unpaid salary in the office, the courier company where Mr. Okogun works as a supervisor has been threatening to lay him off due to financial crisis in the office. Consequently when Mr. Okogun alerted from the bus that fateful Wednesday morning and gave the conductor a two hundred naira note expecting to collect a fifty naira change but the latter refused to oblige hell broke loose. In addition, the teenager wide-eyed conductor replied, old man, you have no change. Are you the only stranger on this route? Go home and rest jor! In a jiffy, Mr. Okogun’s mind went wild. He felt so wounded and oppressed that, he hit the conductor severally with his clinched fist. It was other passengers who rescued the boy from his hands. normally, Mr. Okogun would never (and excepting for this occasion) engage in such a barbaric act. He is a phlegmatic and taciturn gentleman who could hurt no fly. However, the accumulation of several distresses and denials, troubles and trials plus the mounting challenge of his inability to confront them created the underlaying foundation to use the undesirable encounter with the teenager conductor to dispense his anger. The idea is that if he couldn’t handle these other huge economic challenges because of the stronger personalities involved, he can as well channel his aggression towards this weak one, he could handle. Displaced aggression is a form of defence

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Displaced Aggression (1) mechanism (the means whereby an undesirable stimulus can be avoided or controlled). Defence mechanisms are meant to be temporary avenues of handling stressful stimuli in one’s environment. Individuals who resort to habitual use of defence mechanisms end up as dysfunctional personalities. There are several other types of defence mechanisms such as denial, reaction formation, repression and their likes. Specifically displaced aggression refers to substituting the object of one’s anger with another, preferably, a weaker one. It involves redirecting one’s anger and frustration from the original stronger target (usually the source of the frustration) to a substitute target (usually, a weaker one). There exist some conditions that fester or motivate the occurrence of displaced aggression. First, the personality who manifests displaced aggression is offended. He is disturbed and distressed, troubled and tested. In the case of Mr. Okogun, financial crisis was the source of his distresses. Again, the individual is involved in a form of trouble that he perceives is beyond his ability. Several unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem create greater discouragement and in some extreme cases, depression may set in. Furthermore, the victim also cannot confront the perceived offender and consequently, seeks for another avenue to vent his anger. In this case, Mr. Okogun couldn’t

confront his landlord, employer nor the officers in charge of electricity in his area. Even if he did, he would be polite and solicitous in his approach. Operating from such a disadvantageous mental and emotional repertoire, Mr. Okogun was already a time-bomb waiting for the right moment to explode. Displaced aggression is one of the explanations for such ugly situations when noble minds turn around to become ignoble, temperate become intemperate and the disciplined succumb to corruption. All around us, we see the manifestation of displaced aggression – some husbands defeated outside, turn around to harass their wives; wives in turn, pour their anger on the house helps while the latter violate the children. In the office, the chairman and board of directors harass the chief executive, and the latter turns to the management team and the unpleasant aggressive mood goes down until the staff in the last rung of the organogramme is poisoned with anger. The questions are; how should one handle displaced aggression? Caught up in the web of aggression, what should one do? Most of the time, victims are either ignorant of their condition or they deny it entirely. Therefore solution will begin by first acknowledging or recognizing that one is a victim of displaced aggression. For instance if Mr. Okogun was conscious of the fact that he was acting under enormous economic pressure, he wouldn’t have attacked that teenage conduc-

tor. At other moments, he had received worst treatments from conductors but he neither displayed any sign of anger nor violence. Our people say that it is the pressure of fire that makes crayfish to bend. When the pressures of life accumulate or pile up, it is better to handle them in a positive and creative way than to resort to violence. One of such positive approaches is dialogue. Create opportunity to discuss the source of the trouble. Dialogue is the soul of progress among contending parties. It has solved several human problems and continues to stand as the honey which cements human relationships at various levels. Even if the discussion leads to violence, it will still come under control. It is always better to discuss than to disband. We can agree to agree or disagree or even disagree to agree or disagree. Yet, it is crucial that the offender and offended hold a discussion. Where this fails, displaced aggression is inevitable. The unexpressed displeasure must find an outlet; and sometimes in the form of undesirable and destructive form such as murder, arson, genocide, or other atrocious crimes. Finally, each of us should understand that violence can never solve our human problems. Violence leads to more violence. We need to exercise self-control as well as help others to do so. Live and let others live. It is only in an atmosphere of peace that significant progress can be achieved. drpassy@yahoo.com


TheGuardian

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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

IbruCentre Do Women Really Have A Right To Preach? Gone are times when women were to be seen and not heard. These days, they have affirmed vibrant presence in all fields of endeavour — politics, banking, manufacturing, sports, etc. But in some churches, and especially mosques, they are not allowed to lead prayers or mount the pulpit and preach. It could even be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a woman to become an Imam. CHRIS IREKAMBA and OLUWAKEMI AJANI take a look at centuries-old brick walls of doctrine and seek fresh interpretations on the role of women in religion.

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‘Women Can Function In The Area Of Women Affairs, Ushering, Choir, But Not To Teach Over Men’

(PASTOR LAZARUS MUOKA, General Overseer, The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries)

COR. 11:3 “but I would have you know, that the head of every 1head man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the of Christ is God.” 1Tim 2: 11-12 says, “let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. Verse 12 “but I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” The Scripture makes it clear that public religious teachers should be men, not women. Man has this prerogative from God; so, it’s not a man-made precept, rather divinely arranged from creation by God. For man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Verse 9 “ neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Cor. 11: 8-9). However, it does not mean women are not assigned roles in the church. They can function in the areas of women affairs, ushering, choir, childcare, home/family care, motherhood and others, except teaching when the church is assembled for public worship. God has allotted to both genders different spheres of duties, and one should not usurp the other while performing his or her duty.

‘Women Can Share Their Educational Knowledge In Conferences, Religious Gatherings, But Can’t Lead Prayers’

(ALHAJI SHERIFF YUSSUF, National President of Nasrul-Lahi-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT)

HE order in Islam is that men are to lead prayers and that T is the way God has ordered it, ‘I have created the man to be the leader, to take charge of all the other creations that I have put in the world.’ So, in any gathering men take the lead, especially in prayers. But not withstanding that women and men are encouraged to seek learning, seek knowledge, anybody that has a deep understanding of a subject is encouraged to share it with other Muslims; this is why you can see women address the congregation on a subject. Women are not to preach because preaching is connected to prayer and whosoever leads prayer will preach. But in educational gatherings, in conferences, even in religious gatherings, women are allowed to address the congregation, share their knowledge. Women can address the congregation but they are not to lead prayers. Women cannot also be an Imam.

‘In The Work Of God Women Play Subordinate Role’

(BROTHER GODWIN IFEACHO, Chairman Executive Board, God’s Kingdom Society (GKS)

N the work of God women play a role subordinate to men. They are not to lead men. (Genesis 2:23; Genesis 3:16) The Scriptures make provision for priests, prophets, bishops, pastors and deacons, all in the masculine gender. (Exodus 28:1; Hebrews 5:1; Numbers 12:6). A few women are reported in the Scriptures to have led the Jews at some point in their history. These were aberrations occasioned by their degeneration from the way of God. For this reason God lamented for them thus: “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths,” (Isaiah 3:12). Our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles maintained the same standard by appointing only men to the ministry — Mark 3:13-19; 1 Timothy 3:1-5. St. Paul put it in black and white that women should not preach in the church or lead men. He stated: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law,” (1 Cor. 14:34, 35). “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp

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authority over the man, but to be in silence,”1 Timothy 2:11-14. He added: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant,” 1Cor. 14:37, 38. The Bible gives allowance for women to teach fellow women. (Titus 2:3-5) The statement in Acts 21:9 that Philip had four daughters, virgins, who prophesied means that they could preach the word of God with considerable facility, obviously to fellow women. That women are not allowed by God to preach the gospel does not mean they are in perdition or servitude. Women are to support the work of God, in other ways for their salvation, but not as pastors. See Luke 8:3; Matt. 26:6-13; Philippians 4:3. If we want to serve God we must do it as He has enjoined us and not to please ourselves, for His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8,9) “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:3,16).

‘We Do Not Prevent Women From Mounting The Pulpit To Preach’

(Rev. FRANCIS EJIROGHENE WAIVE, General Overseer, Fresh Anointing Missionary Ministries Inc., Warri Delta State)

HURCHES that don’t allow women to mount the pulpit to C preach has to do with their interpretation of the Pauline Epistles, which they give to justify their traditional segregation and discrimination against women. In Christ there is no male or female — Gal 3:28. The old order is only in existence in places where men have refused to accept the word of God, thereby exalting their tradition above God’s word - Mark 7:13. We do not have such practices of preventing them from mounting the pulpit. This is because we do not do selective and subjective interpretation of scripture. We base our doctrine and practice on the whole counsel of God’s word. We do not look for scripture verses that tend to, on the face of it, support our cultural norms. We interpret scripture with scripture. There is also the need to balance the Old Testament with the New or else we will not be practicing Christianity, but Judaism. The fact that biblical ignorance is high in Christendom is well known. There are so many church leaders, who have not read the Bible for themselves. And because men have traditionally been in leadership in every sphere of life, there has been a tendency for them to hold on to power as it is.

‘Women Can Be Lay Readers, Assist Priests In Giving Communion, But Not Priest’

(Msgr. GABRIEL OSU, Director, Social Communications, Lagos Archdiocese)

HE Catholic Church accords women a pride of place in its liturgy. Indeed, this is evident in the fact that they constitute the majority of members of the consecrated life. In other words, we have more nuns than priests and deacons put together. They also serve as lay readers, churchwardens, hospital, school administrators and others. We have many female saints and role models such as Saints Theresa, Rita, Mary Magdalene and others. Women have also been instrumental in the setting up of schools, hospital, nursing homes and monasteries. Also, we have many women, who are members of the top hierarchy of the church such as Parish Pastoral Council and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. We, even, have some Rev. Sisters who are allowed to assist priests in giving communion during Mass. The only office they are not allowed to occupy in the Catholic Church is that of the Priesthood. All men, who through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, have become priests or Bishops participate in Christ’s priesthood. They act in persona Christi Capitis, in the person of Christ, the Head of His Body, the Church. But that does not mean the

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Church considers women as inferior, neither is it against women preaching or teaching the word of God. We have some of them, who are consecrated evangelisers; they are given the official permission to spread the gospel of salvation and they have been doing very well. Since the Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has been much more liberal in incorporating women in the affairs of the Church.

‘Women Don’t Preach’

(SENIOR EVANGELIST YUNUSA IDOWU,

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Parish Pastor, Celestial Church of Christ, Ogo Oluwa Parish)

E do not give women the privilege to preach in the W house of God, because men are head of the church. It’s even so in the Bible. For the fact that Christ died for us; we should abide by the rules and regulation. Women don’t have right to preach the word of God in the church because from the bone of the man God created the woman. God Himself is a man and if He wants to send a message He uses a man. We have spiritual women, notwithstanding; they don’t have the kind of mind that Men have. Women do not have the power to preach in any Celestial Church. The practice can never fade away.

In The Church, There Is No Male And Female

(HIS EMINENCE SUNDAY OLA MAKINDE, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria)

E are ordaining women in our church, we have women W preachers, we have ordained women priests. In the church, there is no male and female; so, you can’t segregate, you can’t divide because God made them male and female. You don’t de-emphasise that. In fact, among the orthodox churches, it is the Methodist and Presbyterian that are ordaining women, and we don’t regret it. It is a milestone and if it is a barrier; we have broken it. It’s not a law and it doesn’t happen in every church.

Odutola Retires As BSN Boss HE General Secretary/CEO of The Bible Society of Nigeria, T Rev. Fred Odutola will retire from the organisation with effect from July 31. Rev. Odutola, who has put in 55 years in the organisation rose through the ranks to be the General Secretary/CEO of BSN in 2000. The retiring CEO, who is the longest serving staff of BSN having joined the organisation in June 1, 1958 as Lagos Area Secretary, brought in exceptional leadership style and managerial acumen that has transformed the organisation to an enviable position. During his tenure, BSN became the leader of other 40 Bible Societies in Africa in growth and Bible distribution. In recognition of his contributions, he was elected Chairman, United Bible Societies Africa Area Board in 2009. An alumnus of Wesley College, Ibadan; University of Lagos, Akoka; Lagos State University, Ojo; Oxford Brookes University, UK; Haggai Institute Singapore; International Christian Publishing Institute, Colorado Springs; and Triune Biblical University, Washington, USA among others, Odutola is currently pursuing his second Doctorate degree in Management in the University of Phoenix, Arizona, USA.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

IBRUCENTRE

Sunday School Covenants Memory Verse: “And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly” Genesis 17:2. Bible Passage: Genesis 9:1-17 Introduction N Gen. 17:2, our God, El-Shaddai told Abraham, “I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” Definition A covenant is a sacred solemn, sealed and binding promise made between two or more people, orally or in writing, sometimes accompanied by symbols and rituals. When God is involved, the promise is usually conditional on the other party keeping his side; Isa. 59:21, Jer. 31:33, 34, Gal. 3:15-

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...With Pastor Enoch Adeboye 18. In the Bible, God made Israel several conditional promises. God covenanted with Noah, Abraham, and David, Gen. 9:1-17, 17:4-5, Ps. 89:3-4. Noahic Covenant: Gen. 6:18, 9:8-17. This is a covenant, which set out clearly the promises to and obligations of Noah. Abrahamic Covenant: Gen. 17:7-21, 17:1. This covenant is generational and led to others: — Promise of Canaan. The Sinai or Mosaic Covenant: Ex. 19:5-6, 24:7-10, 31:18. Davidic Covenant: 2 Sam. 23:5. The new covenant Jesus initiated a new covenant between us and God, Jer. 31:31-34. Under this new covenant, Jesus died in place of all sinners, Heb. 9:23-28, Jn. 1:29. His blood truly cleanses us of

A Case For The Nigerian Child By Gabriel Osu RAIN up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he “T will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. THE little girl of eight lay asleep on a pavement by the corner of the road, a tray of oranges by her side. Dressed in worn-out clothes and with no slippers on her feet, one could easily mistake her for a destitute. But Biola (not real name) is no a destitute. Rather, she had been compelled by her parents to hawk oranges while the rest of her mates study in school. Little Biola is exposed to all sorts of dangers. She could be knocked down by a car, kidnapped by ritualists or raped. Such is the lot of many of our children today. May 27 of every year is usually set aside as World Children’s Day. It is a day we reiterate the fact that children are the future, hence the need to give them a pride of place. All over the Federation, gaily dressed school children came out in their thousands to engage in match past parades while the state governors or their representatives took the salutes. As usual, long-winding speeches were made, coupled with promises on

how to secure the future of the Nigerian child. But in reality we know the prevailing situation. We live in a society where little or no attention is given to our children. Many of them lack proper feeding and are often subjected to all forms of molestation. Child-labour is the order of the day. It is no overstatement, therefore, to say that millions of our children are exposed to very harrowing experiences. The frequent killings brought about by militants, kidnappers and terrorists have turned our children to orphans with no parents to care for them. The quest for economic empowerment have caused the once cherish family units to come under severe attacks, as divorce cases continue to grow by the day while the children are left to bear the brunt. What sorts of children are we breeding? What kind of leaders of tomorrow are we nurturing? The Federal Ministry of Education estimated that about 12 million Nigerian children are currently out of school. What are we doing about this alarming figure? At the end of the day, most of these children would end up, as maids and houseboy to other families were they would be exploited and rendered vir-

sin, I Jn. 1:9. As many as received Him even to them that believed on His name He gave power to become sons of God. John 1:12. Conclusion This new covenant is the ultimate and best deal for mankind. It is wrapped in grace and etched in the precious blood of the Messiah. It is written on our hearts and minds. It offers a new way out of death and destruction, disease and poverty, sorrow and shame. It is a deal you cannot afford to refuse. Become a covenant child of God today. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

tually useless to themselves and to their society. Only recently, some security personnel uncovered some baby booming factories in some Eastern parts of the country where children are ‘produced’ and sold out to interested buyers like mere goods or goats to be slaughtered. What has our society turned into? What effort are we making to change these negative trends? As parents and adults, we all have a grace responsibility to nurture our children. The government also must show more commitment to the welfare of children. The present security challenge we are now witnessing in some northern parts of the country can be traced, to a large extent on lopsided upbringing. Most of the members of the Boko Haram sect could have been more responsible citizens had they been well nurtured during their formative ages.  “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it,” Proverbs 22:6. As a father who wallows in drunkenness, have you taken time to ponder the fact that there are thousands of couples, who are looking for the fruit of the womb? Some are willing to do anything to get a child. And here, you are not appreciating these wonderful gifts God has graciously given to you at no charge. Remember that your child did not beg to be born. It was given to you by God to be nurtured. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward’ Psalm 127:3. Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos

Islamic Group Condemns Woolwich Killing By Omiko Awa HE Nasrulahi-l-Fathi Society (UK & Ireland) have joined Muslims all over the world to condemn the barbaric murder of a serving British soldier in Woolwich, South East London. In a statement signed by the Zonal Secretary, Rauf Mohammed-Noah, the group said, “while our thoughts go to the family of the fallen military hero, NASFAT declares unequivocally that the dastardly act is not in any way a true reflection of the ideals of Islam or is it in any way reflective of the teachings of the Holy Prophet (SAWW). “We, as Muslims continue to respect the rights to freedom of association, especially the religion of every member of the society, adding that it identifies with the position of the Prime Minister that nothing justifies the action.” Mohammed-Noah also enjoined people of all faith not to allow the unfortunate act to affect the tradition of the peaceful and cordial relationships that exist among them. The group called on all its branches, including those in the mission to devote this week’s Friday sermons and Sunday’s prayer meetings to educate the congregations on the gravity of taking lives outside the justice system, and Islamic teachings on peaceful co-existence in a multi-religious community.

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President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Felix Omobude (left), Administrative Secretary, Pastor Akinwale Akinola and Deputy President, Pastor Paul Adefarasin at a press conference on state of the nation in Lagos… on May 22, 2013.

By S.K. Abiara PROPHET or prophetess is a man or woman chosen by God to speak for Him and to tell of events in the divine plan to his or her target audience. Some people were anointed into this office in the Bible times and God is still doing the same today. God in I Kg. 19:15-17 instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha, as the prophet who would succeed him. Elisha’s job was to work in Israel, the northern kingdom, to help point the people back to God. At this time, the

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God Anoints For Divine Purposes southern kingdom was ruled by Jehoshaphat, a king devoted to God. The term king (ruler) generally describes someone who has ultimate authority and power over his subjects. In the Old Testament, it can mean the ruler of a tribe, ruler of a city. Both Saul and David were anointed as kings over Israel (1 Samuel 10; 16:13). When an Israelite king took office, he was not only crowned, he was anointed. The coronation was the political act of es-

tablishing the king as ruler; the anointing was the religious act of making the king God’s representative to

the people. A king was always anointed by a priest or prophet. This anointing ceremony was to remind the king of his great responsibility to lead his people by God’s wisdom and not his own. Samuel said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the leader of his people Israel.  When you leave me today, you will see two men beside Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah, on the border of Benjamin. They will tell you that the donkeys have been

found and that your father is worried about you and is asking, ‘Have you seen my son?’ “When you get to the oak of Tabor, you will see three men coming toward you who are on their way to worship God at Bethel…”I Sam.10:1-8. Let me make it clear here that God is aware of every person that is in one position of authority or the other. Long before the people of Israel asked for a king, other nations around them had human rulers.  When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of

Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet.  Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha!”-I kg. 19:15-18. As you can see God’s anointing can come on anybody to carry out unique assignment.

Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.uk


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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IBRUCENTRE War Against Occultism, Witchcraft And False Religion (2)   Springs Of Wisdom By Gabriel Agbo CCULTISM is a worldwide menace. It is an evil that the believers must quickly stand up to combat. This is necessary and very urgent because of its threat to the spread of the gospel. It is the most formidable threat to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Unfortunately, today, these occult practices are already creeping into the church. Recently, I asked a young Christian man, born in a Pentecostal church, who his mentors were. And I was shocked to the marrow when he mentioned some notorious cultists. Why? Just because they have money and are connected to the people in government. My heart bled. This is just a sample of the extent the devil has gone to deceive our youths. I am so much worried about the next generation of the church. And what are we doing about this? Nothing! We are just busy with Jamborees, while the kingdom of Satan is consolidating everywhere in the society. Yes, man’s lust for power, money and fame has made him venerable to this satanic onslaught. There are people that can go any length to get rich. There are others, who are crazy about power, political or spiritual, to control or even harm others. Yet, others want to be known everywhere, they want fame. Because of these, they have bowed down to Satan in exchange for these worldly temporal possessions. They refused to learn from our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, who overcame the devil in the wilderness. Why is God against occultism? This is because it is evil. It originates from Satan; the archenemy of God. And its practices totally violate the laws of God. The com-

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mon activities you find in occultism are: idolatry, blood and human sacrifices, sexual perversion, deception, divination, sorcery and secrecy. All these are detestable to God. Let’s look at them one after the other: Idolatry Every form of occultism and false religion is idolatry. And God frowns at this; in fact, He told the children of Israel that it was His main reason for displacing the original occupants of the promise land — Canaan. To also show how detestable this is to God, in Exodus 20:1-5, it was the first item in the commandments He gave to the Israelites (by extension to all mankind). This commandment is very clear. God is saying that He cannot share His glory or worship with any image, creature or being in heaven, on earth or under the earth (waters). This instruction is so important that He pours it out just after introducing Himself. You noticed that? Occultism questions the supremacy of God, so, when you worship objects, creatures, spirits, angels, prophets, the sun, the moon, the stars, Satan, principalities, demons and others, God said that you are questioning His authority and place in creation. And it is very detestable to him.  Satan is the head of every occultism practice and extends this through his demons and human agents. God variously warned Israel against idolatry. In fact he will always punish them each time they indulge in this by allowing their enemies to defeat them or send them into exile. You don’t need any idol. God said that you should worship Him through Jesus Christ. That’s all! Rev. Agbo is of the Assemblies of God Nigeria. gabrielagbo@yahoo.com

Sam Ogrih, his wife, Lauretta Sam-Ogrih, Richard and Tonye Ntan at Inspire the World Benefit Dinner organised by SEE Inspirations Magazine at SEE Centre (LASU Lekki Complex), Km 29/30 Lekki Epe Expressway, Oko Ado, Lekki Lagos… last Wednesday.

Speakers At Convention Blame Insecurity On Neglect Of Family Unit From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja HE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stanbic IBTC Plc, Mrs. Sola T David-Borha, has blamed the insecurity and other social vices bedeviling the country on neglect of the family unit. Mrs. David-Borha, who described the family as the foundation of any society, urged parents to reorder their priorities to ensure that their children grow up in the right path. At the Sisters’ Convention organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Harvest House Area), two weeks ago, in Abuja with the theme ‘Above Rubies’, the CEO noted that the country is going through challenging times, adding that women have a role to play in addressing the insecurity challenges in the country. She said, “we need to bring up our children in the fear of God and respect for the constituted authority. Women are the pil-

lars of every home, they are the ones who keep peace and stability, they should work to ensure stability in the home front and the society.” David-Borha stressed the need for women to be given more opportunity to contribute their quota in the development of the country. The convener of the programme, Deaconess Moyo MuyiwaAdebayo, who decried the high level of crime and moral decadence in the society, called on political leaders to seek Godly wisdom in the process of addressing the challenges confronting the nation. She said: “The Nigeria I knew when I was growing up is no longer the Nigeria of today. In those days, you can leave your children under the care of your neighbour and they are safe, but these days, everybody is afraid of the next person as people are being kidnapped by their loved ones.”

Beyond Threats Of The Enemies (3) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka N the past, I used to worry about a lot of things, the size of the church, attendance, congregation and others. Now, I have come to realise that it has nothing to do with me; my concern has focused to ensuring that our members are doing the right thing. People who stand on the truth always have problem with the world, because the world system believes that nothing can happen unless you cut corners. Whatever God wants to achieve in your life, He will achieve, with or without that person you think God wants to use. Greatness is from God and not from man; no man can promise you greatness because the man’s greatness is not by his own power. I can only promise you something that I can guarantee; something I can get by my own power. All power belongs to God. In Psalm 62:11, the Bible says, “God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God,” (NKJV). Also, in Deuteronomy 8:18, the Bible says, “but remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” Promotion, success and victory are all from God. Nobody can kill you before your time; no one can put off the light of God in you. I pray that the Lord will convert the evil plans of your enemies to your promotion, in Jesus’ name. You should stop getting scared by the threat of the enemy. Once you give your life to Christ and make Him the Source and Owner of your life, nothing can happen to you unless He permits it. If He agrees to it, it is for

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a reason, maybe a test of your faith, which may eventually lead to your promotion. You need to get to a level in life where no matter what happens; nothing can change your relationship with God. This is one of the ways to overcome the threats of the enemy. One of the most important keys for any Christian to possess is patience. We need to have trust in the Almighty because His timing is different from ours. God is the owner of your life; He decides when you will go home to be with Him. There is a level you get to with God that He will put you in a position to decide this. In Philippians 1:23-25, the Bible says, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.” Here we see Apostle Paul toying with the idea of going to heaven or staying to do the work because of the brethren. You are beyond death threat, nothing can take you before your time; not even affliction from your enemy. One thing with God is that He will never waste His investment; He is more patient than any man that you can imagine. He never gives up on any of His children. God never sees our case as hopeless even when we do. If the person trying to kill you does not give up, he will die suddenly.

Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com

By PASTOR W.F KUMUYI

The Greatest Desire Man Can Have E are often so preoccupied with our own problems that W we do not have time to consider what others are experiencing. It was not so with our Lord Jesus Christ whose teaching on the Mount began when He saw in the crowd that gathered around Him, a need for spiritual direction, a desire to be aligned with the Almighty God. Merely looking at them, he was moved with compassion. They could not help themselves. They lacked the strength, energy and sustaining grace to live as God prescribes, hence, He opted to teach and guide them on the path to take. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,” He declared to them, “for they shall be filled.” He knew that the judgment of God on the earth and the fear of eternal damnation in hell are enough reasons to make men desire righteousness. Those who sincerely seek this new life, will sooner or later be satisfied, and be filled with the fruits of righteousness, namely, joy, goodness and knowledge, desired physical blessings, wisdom and spiritual understanding, the power of the Holy Ghost, and the fullness of God. There is no limit to the infilling and fullness of any true believer who is thirsty for God. Hunger and thirst, in the natural, are indicative desires that show you are alive and not dead. Though you might not be saturated yet, but when you hunger and thirst after righteousness, it shows that you are spiritually alive. True spiritual yearning and thirst for God’s righteousness moves the believer into the action of prayer, for “as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” The spiritually alive manifests a longing, a passion and a desire for righteousness. Physical thirst has the power to redirect your thoughts, imagination and feelings and get them focused on the possible solution. Then, you passionately seek to satisfy that quest. So also is hunger for righteousness. When the thirst or hunger for righteousness is in you, material things, friends, people, opportunities and privileges will not be more important to you at that moment. Many people are so indifferent to spiritual things because they are not thirsty and hungry for them; they are satisfied without their present state. Even when God wants to fill them with His righteousness, He does not find any desire in them. But when they are awakened from spiritual deadness, when they surrender their lives to Jesus Christ and become saved, suddenly their need, thirst, desire for God is aroused. Such a passion of thirst in them is an individual, internal and intense desire. Similarly, it is an increasing, incomparable, interminable, instructive or influential desire. God is ready to fill all desirable people with His righteousness, according to His promise. But He first tests them to find out how thirsty they are before releasing the blessing. He does not waste precious resources of the Kingdom on those that do not need them. God wants us to manifest thirst before He pours righteousness upon or into us. “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring,” He says. He does not grant righteousness, as an experience, to just anyone. He gives it to those who manifest and reveal their heart-hunger and earnestness for it. The only thing that satisfies a child of God is righteousness. There is something deadly wrong with a Christian who is not thirsty after the righteousness of God. God’s promises to fill the thirsty with righteousness are great. But we must thirst and respond to His call so He can fulfill them in our lives. For one, He has given humankind His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sin and make full provision for our righteousness. If you passionately desire His righteousness, “…he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God imparts His nature of holiness to those who are alive in Christ and thirst for it. And if you have not experienced the promised fullness of righteousness, it is because you have failed to do your part of passionately desiring it. If you desire and seek Him with faith He will fulfill His promise. When God makes promises He fulfills them, if the conditions are met, “for he is faithful that promised.” Righteousness is not a product of human endeavour, trial, struggle or work. It is a provision of the grace of God. A study of the word “seek” in both the Old and New Testaments reveals a list of things God commands us to seek after. But many Christians today do not seek the fullness God provided for through the vicarious death of Jesus Christ. When you examine yourself sincerely and compare the list of what you seek with what God asks Christians to seek after in His Word, you will discover a yawning disparity. The same applies to Christian assemblies whose posters and handbills display their passion and emphasis and what they call people to seek. But if the church is going to please God and remain at the centre of His will, it must abandon all the temporary but legitimate things, and begin to seek His righteousness. God has provided for that righteousness for all. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Today, if your desire is so intense, and you seek the Lord in prayer, He will fill you with His righteousness. REFERENCES: Matthew 5:6; Psalms 42:1,2; 63:1,8; 84:2; 143:4-6; Psalm 42:1, 2; Isaiah 44:3; 41:17,18; 55:1-3; Psalms 37:3,4; 21:1,2; 145:16-18; Hebrews 10:22,23; Isaiah 44:3; Psalm 37:4; Hebrews 10:23; Psalms 48:9,10; 118:19-21; Isaiah 45:8,24; 46:12,13; 51:1,5,6; Hosea 10:12 and Matthew 6:33. (All scriptures are from the KJV).


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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IBRUCENTRE Synod: Imparting People For Good Leadership RT. REV. ISAAC CHIJIOKE NWAOBIA is the Bishop of Isiala Ngwa South, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Ecclesiastical Province of Aba. At the just concluded first session of the second Synod of the church, he spoke with ISAAC TAIWO on the theme of the Synod, governance, the youth and others. Success of the Synod HE Synod tagged: “Rise Up! Journey To Transformation”, was a success with the spiritual enrichment of lives of participants. Besides this, it gave us the privilege to hear last year’s report. We were also blessed by the different speakers. The previous year’s theme was Discipleship, which had to do with commitment to follow the Master. Many, who responded to that theme stopped at a level, so this year, we decided to do a follow up. It is premised on the demand for those who have embraced the spirit of discipleship to rise from their spiritual slumber to the next level of total transformation of themselves and others. The first theme calls for total repentance and true followership while the second makes the disciple to move forward, be spiritually equipped for his or her calling. Relevance of the theme to governance Leadership is all about people and human development. People that are privileged to work as leaders in government offices are public servants and are the engineers and pilots of government policies. Policy makers must be transformed to be able to tailor their reforming programmes towards lives, because it is certain that one cannot lead in a transformation agenda without first transforming him/herself. This is called for those in government to repent, be honest and act with good conscience. Leaders, themselves, need to be transformed before engaging in the process of transforming others. For their work of transforming others to be result-oriented, they must act like servants. Follow up and expectation The Church leadership would continue to monitor the effectiveness of the theme in the lives of members in the various parishes, as their representatives at the Synod are also expected to impact what they have learnt during teachings and seminars on the congregation with a view to carrying everyone along, so that, the church would produce leaders who are honest, committed and possess the spirit of servant-leadership. Partnership The Church is not only producing and developing potential leaders, but also partnering with the government in educational development. While the Church partner with

By Pastor Lazarus Muoka

The Benefits Of Trusting God

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“When we walk with the Lord; In the light of His word; What a glory He shed on our way; While we do His good will, He abides with us still; And with all who will trust and obey.” HE above popular hymn, has elaborately spoken how and T why we should trust God. Trusting God is one of our cardinal duties to God as our Creator, but many do not believe

Nwaobia the government in establishing schools, she is also developing future leaders. Youth We are planning of empowering the youth, so that, they can useful to themselves and the society. We have nonetheless started an agricultural programme for them on a small scale and with more money coming our way, we will expand the programme. Democracy Day Democracy in Nigeria is a nascent one. Leaders should have listening ears and human heart like Nehemiah, so that, God can do what He wants to do in His own way for His people. Message The Church should rise up to the message of uprightness, holiness and righteousness. It should also be careful with the spirit of money, while truly serving the Almighty God.

‘The Problem In Nigeria’

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Pastor TONY OKAFOR is the President, Men of Praise International Fellowship, Lagos. In this interview with SEYE OLUMIDE and TUNDE AKINOLA, strongly believes that man has deviated from the original plan of God and until the people as a nation improve on their value system, fear God and have respect for the rule of law then would the country move forward. Increasing number of churches and mosques HE fact is, religion has not only failed the country, but humanity. Christianity is not actually a religion, but a way of life. Christianity has a kingdom concept and not a religion. Religion is man’s way of trying to reach God and men have devised different ways of achieving this. And with what is happening globally, I stand to say that religion has failed humanity, it has failed Nigeria as a nation. When you talk about Christianity, it is impossible for Christianity to fail, but what we see around us are men practising religion in the name of Christianity. To save the nation First, we need to go back to the basics of Christianity. Do you remember what Jesus told Nicodemus in the Bible? Nicodemus had seen different sphere of life, so he acknowledged that no man could ordinarily do what Jesus was doing, except God be with him. The essence of what we do, is follow the old patterns, the old practices our fathers laid down, which we call Christianity. Christianity has life values, which include righteousness; you do not practice it, you do not emulate it, you live it. This is what we call being born again. People have bas-

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Living Waters

tardised some of these things, they take being born again to mean going to church or being religious. No! There are values people need to see in you, and when a man lives by these values, it becomes impossible for him to fail because he is carrying a divine nature: a nature that cannot fail. Values The values are things that live in you. When God created man, He did not create man, for man to stay, God created an estate called a Garden. But that estate, religion has destroyed it. Secularity has destroyed it, which is why there is no institution standing today from banking to education to what-have-you. They have all collapsed. It is all about self. It is all about what I am going to get. But in Men of Praise we carry the values of God, we go back to the instincts of God. That is why we go into business, not the way the world does their business. We don’t do business based on best practices; we do it based on kingdom practices. God’s own practices. We are trying to restore it because the Bible says that the generations, the nations are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, not the manifestation of ministers or politicians. But of the sons, who will restore them to their liberty, who will restore the damaged bridges, the damaged institutions; bring them back to their original purpose of God. Why did God create the Garden, only for man to wake up and destroy it? So, what we do at Men of Praise is we go into business; I will call them businesses because it is business. We harness the resources of the country, using what we call core values. These values have to do with integrity, honesty, truth, accountability and so on. Apart from these businesses, we also try to tackle poverty, not from the angle of you give the man today; tomorrow he comes back to you. No, we tackle poverty from its roots by taking men back to the original principles of God, telling man to keep the garden; so, we are going back to entrepreneurship. Programmes for the youth We go to schools to talk to the youth about the values of life, because they are the leaders of tomorrow. We need them in all spheres of life, so it is not about money, but the core values of life. With this what would be in their minds would be ‘how can I expand the kingdom of God? How do I replenish? How do I multiply the values I am carrying? How do I touch lives? So, the plan is, as we move along, we carry the children and youths for a better society. Inspiration Very soon we will celebrate our fifth anniversary. We started the ministry, as a group of friends coming together to socialise, think about our lives, and how to move forward in life. And in the process, the vision dropped; that there is need for a change and there is need for the kingdom of God. That was how it came to being.

this. In fact, they do not believe that God can deliver them, make them rich, help them recover what they have lost, give them children or heal them. Some have even concluded that God can never forgive them of their sins. However, one undisputable fact is that from the Bible days to date, nobody has reposed confidence in God and be disappointed. He has delivered those in bondage and promised those with heavily burden rest. He is also extending His mercy to any sinner that would repent of his/her evil ways. So, it is clear that with God, all our aspirations are possible. Phil 4:19 says, “but my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” So, hope on God and you will never be disappointed. Mt 8:16 assures us that Jesus is the hope for the hopeless. Dry your tears and cast your burden on Him, according to 1Pet 5:7. Why we must trust in Him  One of the reasons for doing this, is that with Him all things are possible, irrespective of the problem or who is behind it. What matters is that He has all the power to positively change your situation. He has the power to give children, job, heal the sick, make the lame walk, the blind to see, deaf and dumb to speak and hear and others. Whatever you are going through today, if you invite Him into your life, He will deliver you. Psalms 62:11 says, “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard that power belongeth unto God.” God alone has the power to do all things; hence He alone should be trusted. Babalawo has no power; those charms on your waist or pocket have no power, neither your boss nor friend, because all power belong to God. So, why do you trust that Babalawo or friend, etc. Why do you still consult that sorcerer or fear that man in your office? Note, none of them has power to deliver you from sin or your bondage. Jesus healed all that came to Him; He cares for you and is ready to change you for the better. Don’t give up hope, no matter what you are going through; believe in Jesus and He will restore you.

Ughelli Diocese Holds Synod By Gabriel Kpagban HE first session of the sixth Synod of the Diocese of Ughelli, T which was held in St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Owhrode, Udu Local Government Area of Delta State from April 27 to May 1 attracted over 100 delegates to the headquarters of Owhrode Archdeaconry. It was the first time the town founded in 1917 would host a Synod. With the theme O Church, Keep The Lord’s Commandments the guest preacher, Rt. Revd. Alex C. Ibezim, Bishop of the Diocese of Awka, noted that the church is in her lowest ebb in terms of keeping the commands of the Lord, adding that the Lord’s commandments are based on love for God and our neighbours. “No one can keep the commands except he or she is enabled by the Holy Spirit. As such I urge you all the clergy, laity, legal men and others to strive to keep the commandments.” Also speaking, the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel, Most Revd. Friday Imakhai, who led all the bishops of the province during the presentation of the bishop’s charge called on government to review the NYSC scheme by making it a regional programme. In his views, the proposed arrangement would make Corps members to be conversant with their region rather than what is currently obtained where Corps members are sent to the northern part of the country where some have been mercilessly killed. He rejected the proposed amnesty for the Boko Haram members and called on the Federal Government to first build the churches burnt, compensate those whose property were destroyed and pacify those whose loved ones were killed before talking of amnesty. The Synod enjoined all Christians to be united, to pursue peace, live a holy life and be obedient to those in authority, apart from calling all Nigerians avoid infringing one another’s rights, as a way of promoting peaceful coexistence and hasten the development of the country. The Synod also commended the Delta State government for establishing the Delta State Transport Company (DSTC), distributing tricycles to the people and renovating schools while calling on the Federal Government to give adequate attention to the Delta Steel Company Ovwian-Aladja, whose staff had not been paid their salaries for quite a long time now. Synod wants government to reactivate the plant so that it can provide employment for youths in the country.


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IBRUCENTRE ‘See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matt. 18 v 10. 1992, Dr. Esther Nzewi, of the then Alvan IoutNIkoku College of Education, Owerri, cried in a public lecture: ‘all living things know what to do with their young ones, but parents of today don’t.’ Parenting (or child training) is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. The biological parents of the child in question also do it, though governments and society play a role as well. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent blood relations. Others may be adopted, raised in foster care or placed in an orphanage. Whichever way it is realised, the Bible enjoins parents to do their work conscientiously. Sometimes, parents forget that children are gift or heritage from the Lord (Ps. 127:3). Hardly do they make enough time for the training of the young ones. It is sad to note that in some families the tasks of children upbringing are left in the hands of maids some of whom are inexperienced and ungodly. Some wild behaviour we notice in some of

From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor

Parenting our young people could be traceable to the absence of parenting. The resultant effect to most of our young people is that some now belong to secret cults, engage in criminal activities such as armed robbery, kidnapping, prostitution and others. The biblical admonition is that children should be taught by their parents ‘Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,’ (Deut. 6:7-9). As parents do we have time to teach

and listen to our young ones? Moses’ mother taught him, even in the house of Pharaoh. It is true; most parents are under pressure due to economic downturn in the country, as a result they tend to focus more on making money to the neglect of their young ones. In most families, father and mother leave the house as early as 6.30am in pursuit of financial reward and return very late when most of the children have gone to bed. But for how long shall this continue? Remember, our children will sit exactly where we are sitting today and will take over from us in different corporations, companies, churches, politics and others. But are we doing well enough to prepare them for this handover that must come to pass? The earlier we begin to

Southsouth Bishops Back Jonathan On Emergency Rule By Obire Onakemu HE Association of Bishops from the Southsouth region of the country, recently, in Delta State, threw their weight behind President Goodluck Jonathan for declaring state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the Northern part of the country. The Bishops, who visited Archbishop God-Do-Well Awomakpa to congratulate him for his recent election as Chairman, Christian Association of Nigerian, CAN, Southsouth region, also said the Niger Delta Bishops Forum is in full support of the President’s fight against terrorism in the country. Over 30 Bishops from all the Niger Delta States, who attended the meeting, unanimously adopted Archbishop Awomakpa, as Chairman, Niger Delta Bishops Forum (NDBF), and also elected other executive members for the body.

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Welcoming the clerics, Awomakpa, said it is time for religious leaders to come together to restore sanity in the region, adding that the increasing cases of indiscipline, immorality and indecent dressing in churches have to stop to avoid God’s anger. He lamented the emergence of false men of God in some churches, wondering why a pastor would divorce his wife and publicly claim God directed him. He said: “this erroneous doctrine should not be allowed to infiltrate the churches, adding that Christians, especially women should be cautioned against indecent dressing to avoid the wrath of God.” Awomakpa stated that NDBF would continue to support government for peace to reign in the country, saying it is time the Church rises to its responsibility of ensuring that only God-fearing persons are allowed into the seat of power.

Catholic Women Leaders Urge Genuine Love Among Nigerians By Geoff Iyatse HE Lagos Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women OrganiT sation (LACCWO) joined their mother body, the World Union of the Catholic Women Organisation (WUCWO), and colleagues across the world to celebrate this year’s Catholic Women’s week with the theme Love in Action. The weeklong event, whose open ceremony took place at Our Lady Mother of Perpetual Help, Victoria Island, Lagos and culminated at Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Ilupeju with awards to priests and parishioners, who have promoted the cause of womanhood centred its teachings on acts of charity and faith. Held from May 12 to 19, the programme also had a workshop for the youth. Addressing guests, Mrs. Lilian Famoroti, LACCWO President, said, “it is important to building a society where conflicts are reduced to its barest minimum, noting that the world would have been a better place had people demonstrated genuine love for one another.” Famoroti called on leaders at all levels to take interest in the wellbeing of their people as a way of positively impacting on them. According to her while many believe love is gradually disap-

pearing among the younger generation, the Catholic youth group has formed different organisations through which they help the needy among them. She noted that such moves could only be established on love, adding that better role modeling would encourage the youths to do more. She informed that LACCWO has in the past few years established different platforms through which they reach out to orphans, widows and the needy in the society. She disclosed that the organisation is partnering with the Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW), to rehabilitate some of the commercial sex workers deported from Europe. Coordinator of the committee, Rev. Sister Patricia Ebegbulem, who was honoured for her anti-human trafficking campaign, said many go into prostitution because they were not shown true love, stating that over 70 per cent of the females COSUDOW has met have terrible experiences that could lull even descent person into the act. Ebegbulem contended that social ills such as human trafficking, armed robbery and youth gangsterism would reduce drastically if parents, guardians and relations show adequate love to their children, assuring them that they have people they could depend on.

The Three Races Of Life By Patrick Esho HETHER we understand it or not, we are all in a race W set by God, Hebrews 12:1; and it is an endurance one, Hebrews 12:2-3. This race is of three dimensions —life, destiny and the soul. The race of life starts from conception and winning it depends on the side of the divide the child is coming from. There are, basically, two sides of the divide in the affairs of life  — the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. It is either we are of God or Satan, there is no sitting on the fence. Matt. 6:24 says, “no man can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other or else he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Satan).” A child from God is dedicated to God after birth, while the one from Satan is dedicated to Satan in his shrine or coven. This dedication to Satan is to devour the destiny and the soul of the child, 1 Peter 5:8. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “the thief (Satan) cometh not, but for to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Satan is not afraid of the child in his camp because he knows the child will obey him if he maintains his hold on him/her. But Satan will do everything possible to stop the child from God from coming into this world because he knows the child will grow up to be a thorn in his flesh. So, he plans to destroy or truncate the child’s destiny after birth. The race of life starts from the womb and runs throughout ones lifetime. From birth, it is the responsibility of the child’s parents to intercede and fight spiritual battles on

his/her behalf until the child comes of age. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “for I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace (good) and not of evil, to give you an expected end. God has already determined how we shall end and his decision is that He wants us to end well. God has already predetermined the destiny of every man before he is born. Whether we attain that destiny or not is determined by the individual. The race of the soul also begins at conception. It is our ultimate and most important race. It is the race that takes us to our final destination, heaven or hell; that is eternal life or eternal damnation. As we run the race of life and destiny, we must also have the race of our soul in focus. The Bible asks in Matt. 16:26: “what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul?” It is better to live a short life and make heaven than to be a Methuselah, who lived for 969 years and, probably, ended up in hell. The ultimate winner is the one that wins the race of the soul. When you win the race, a celebration party awaits you at the gate of heaven, where you will receive a great commendation from God, Matthew 25:21. God is willing to help us win the three races. David said it Psalm 23 and Jesus confirmed it in John 10. Esho is Senior/Presiding Pastor, Rabboni Ministry International Inc., Lekki Phase 1, Right Side, Lekki, Lagos. rabboni.ministry@ymail.com

think seriously of this the better for us. Jesus was right in urging us today not to neglect, overlook the young ones. Their angels are daily before the Father in heaven reminding Him about these fragile ones. It is our prayer, therefore, that parents will sit up and do this God given assignment in the way it will please God our Father.

Ven. Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org

What Is Miracle? By Moji Anjorin Solanke N its original meaning, a miracle is any act, event or experience that could only come from God. This meaning has, however, metamorphosed into what is now seen as the occasional activity of God that enables one to achieve an unattainable goal. The Bible assures us in Matthew 19, that there is nothing impossible to God, therefore the sense of limitation and impossibility arises from the human sense. Miracles should therefore rightly be a marvel to the human sense. But man must never lose sight of the fact that a miracle is natural to man because it’s natural with God. God is able to do abundantly above all that we ask and think, (according to Ephesians 3), and He is able to do so constantly, not once in a while or only to a deserving few. How then can people experience the miraculous more in their lives? How can an individual get the miracle Jesus promised his followers, as recorded in St. Mark? How can Christians obey the commands of the Messiah, to go into the world, preach the gospel, cast out demons, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and heal the sick? How can one emulate Apostle Paul in having dominion over deadly poisonous vipers, surviving the various shipwrecks that are so prevalent in human life?  By studying the Bible as well as other literature that are worthy of elevating one spiritually, though subordinate companions to the Bible. One of which is the textbook, Science And Health With Key To The Scriptures written by Mary Baker Eddy. Many are finding this book an invaluable resource in their bid to learn how to experience the miraculous. The Bible, however, cautions that not all signs and wonders or miracles are from God. Magicians, sorcerers, witches, false prophets and Satan (the very epitome of evil) also perform marvels, either to support false religions, or to deceive the elect of God (Matthew 24). It is imperative, therefore, as the First Epistle of John admonishes us to, ‘try the spirits whether they are of God.’ No man can do true signs and wonders unless God is with him. Indeed, Acts and Romans remind us that in God we live, move and have our being; and nothing can separate us from His presence. Healing by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit is clearly the work of God; and any man that attributes the power of healing to himself or to a particular human being as a personal attribute has clearly missed the point. God does not share His glory with any other god or man. So, true miracles are from God alone, and come through absolute faith in His ability and loving power. Such miracles are permanent, and this includes healing. Everyone is expected to witness the activity of God, since God, who is Love itself, is willing and able to give man all good things. And this comes, when individuals cease to limit God in any direction, trust and His immeasurable love. Then, the miraculous shall become an every day, reliable occurrence — the normal and natural.

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Solanke is of the Christian Science Committee on Publication - Nigeria West

Healing The Only Antidote To Nigeria’s Woes, Says Okoh By Gbenga Akinfenwa HE Senior Pastor of Sovereign Word Church, Egbeda, Lagos, Antoni Okoh, has identified healing as the only antidote that can transform Nigeria from its present dilemma to a better country. He noted that the transformation of the country is in the hand of the churches, saying if not for the churches, Nigeria would have been torn apart by political and tribal conflicts that have been a major obstacle confronting it in recent past. Speaking to the press on his church’s programme, Day Of Recovery, slated for June 9 at Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Lagos, Okoh affirmed that Nigeria is already going through a gradual recovery process. He noted that the quarterly programme would be aired live on Cable TV for nine hours, adding that for the past 10 years that the programme has been consistent, and has been a source of blessing to countless Nigerians. “The programme is meant to deliver people from bondage, heal the sick, minister salvation, breakthrough and others,” he said.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013 43

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Business Rumundaka Wonodi is the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (also known as Bulk Trader) He was former Technical Adviser and Head, Regulatory and Transaction Team of the Presidential Task Force on Power set up by President Goodluck Jonathan. Bulk Trader, whose board is chaired by Fina nce Minister and Coordinator Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has the mandate of purchasing and reselling power to consumers of electricity and recoup the cost of investment in power generation. In an interview with EMEKA ANUFORO, Wonodi spoke on how Bulk Trader would ignite interest in the power sector. Background to the establishing of Bulk Trader WAS appointed by the President as the pioneer MD/CEO of the Bulk Trader while working at the Presidential Task Force on Power where I led the regulatory and transaction monitoring team. Among other things, the team was responsible for the midwifery of Bulk Trader in conjunction with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). Bulk Trader was established, specifically, to drive the private sector investment in power generation. Expectantly, when there is adequate and sustainable generation, the distribution companies can flourish because they will have more electricity to send to customers. When it comes to generation, transmission might cause a bottleneck in the short-term. But for a country that is looking to power its economy and provide high quality of life for its citizenry, I don’t think the government will sit idle and not tackle the issue of transmission constraints. So, being a catalyst for the private sector investment in generation, we believe that the industry as a whole would benefit from improvements in transmission. How will NBET catalyse private investments in power?   We do so by guaranteeing those who invest in generation that when they produce, or have the capacity to produce, they will be paid. This prevent situation where distribution companies are not able to make payments for power purchased from the generation companies. Also, we share pro rata (by percentage allocation) power that we purchase from generation companies, to the distribution companies. That guarantees investors guaranteed that they would have some predictable measure of supply, which they can distribute among their customers. Take Egbin Power Plant, for instance. If Ikeja Distribution Company is guaranteed around 13 per cent, any given day Egbin Power Plant is producing, you can expect 13 per cent of its output. The same goes for output from Geregu, Kainji Dam, Shiroro, Afam Power Plant or any other power plant that enters into Power Purchase Agreement with Bulk Trader. That means distribution companies can plan while generation companies can have confidence. What went wrong in the past that the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) sought to address? Like you know, the PPAs have two parties: the supplier of power and the buyer. The buyer in this case is Bulk Trader, and the buyer’s obligations include making payments for power that it receives at the agreed price. The seller, which is the supplier, is either constructing (if it is a new power plant) or maintaining a power plant and making sure that it is able to produce and supply power whenever it is required. The seller has obligations, and for each obligation it meets, it receives a reward, which is payment. The buyer, who is the Bulk Trader, also has obligation to make payment tied to its reward, which is getting power delivered to it. However, in the PPAs are different levels of risk allocation where you allocate responsibilities within the contract to each

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‘Bulk Trader To Restore Confidence In Power Investment’ party. And each party tries to meet the responsibilities and where they do not, there are penalties and clauses that provide incentives for people to do what they need to do. For instance, if we say within the PPA that a power plant needs to be maintained regularly and kept at a level of performance, and for any reason that does not happen, the system will address the issue. For example, instead of generating 100MWs as agreed, it generates 90MWs, there is a penalty to the supplier or the operator of the power plant to motivate the seller to do what needs to be done to get back to 100MW. On the other hand, if, for any reason, the buyer takes less than the amount of power that it is supposed to absorb, there are provisions in the contract that say the buyer should rectify the situation as soon as possible. Without going into the technical details, that is how PPA works. What have you done so far and what should the country expect? There are two major pathways through which we act as a catalyst for private sector’s entrance into the electricity industry. Through privatisation, investors come in and take over government assets in distribution and generation.  The second way is what we call Greenfield investments, which are primarily new investments in generation. Since we were set up, we have been working in these two paths.  In the privatisation, we provided the PPA, which would be inherited by successful bidders of the generation companies. We also provided vesting contracts, which allow us to sell power that we buy through the PPA to distribution companies. These agreements have now been executed. They were executed on February 21 so that when the buyers have made all their payments, and taken over all the relevant agreements, they will have a PPA that they

can use to sell power to us and vesting contracts through which they can receive power from Bulk Trader. We have to complete the documentation when they come in to incorporate their unique nature, especially if they have to raise funds. There will now be supplementary parts of those agreements to accommodate their lenders, or their unique structure. On the Greenfield path, we have been talking with a number of IPPs and we have now executed the first model PPA. It has taken this long because the first of this contract type will be the leader, the model for all the other projects coming. So we needed to be sure that we got it right. We have enjoyed support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in developing that agreement. They provided us with some technical consultants. We have also enjoyed support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and have enjoyed support from our external counsels, a local and a Washington based firm.  We are still in negotiations with about 3 more critical projects. One other thing, to give details about our guarantee, the Power Purchase Agreements are expected to be backed by some credit enhancement instruments from the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance. We started the negotiation on a letter of support to back our PPA in case of termination but now we have moved to a Option Agreement that does the same thing but makes it clear that upon termination the federal government will take over the plant at a price that depends on the reason for termination The whole idea is to give lenders the comfort that their funds can always recovered from a project if there is a need to terminate a Power Purchase Agreement, and the Bulk Trader is required to make a payment that might be beyond its balance sheet, the Federal Government is expected to step to make that pay-

ment and take over the asset. A PPA terminate due to either the buyer is at fault or the seller defaults; maybe the seller is unable to maintain the power plant as he should and is unable to supply the power, the Federal Government or the Bulk Trader could say, you know what, I think it is time for you to get out of this power plant, I will buy it as scrap value. So the shareholders loose all their investments in that and government buys it as a cheaper value.  To make that payment, if the Bulk Trader does not have the ability, the Federal Government will support it.  If it were the fault of the buyer, which means that the Bulk Trader probably is not making payment or there are some other conditions beyond us, could be unexpected gas transportation or transmission constraint, and government is not able to put back the transmission, under these far-fetched situations, or for any reason, it is the fault of the buyer, government will still come in on behalf of the Bulk Trader and maybe pay and take over the asset so that investors can have assurance that the investment is not in vain. Where would your funding come from? Because we are still starting up, the Federal Ministry of Power budgets for us under appropriation for some of our capital support for operations. We are also a market participant as such we receive proceeds from the market.  The ultimate goal would be for the Bulk Trader, just like the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), The System Operator (SO), and the Market Operator (MO), to be funded through the market without recourse to the government. We are all working towards ensuring that the reform would result in a viable sector that would pay for all its associated costs. But in the short term we will continue to receive support through appropriation for our operations.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

BUSINESS

UNDERGROUNDECONOMY

Aba Shoemakers Threatened By Unhealthy Imports, Poor Infrastructure

Ariaria shoemaking line.

By Chijioke Iremeka BA shoemakers are cring wolf; their grouse being that the business, which once made the Araria market an African destination for footwear buyers, is being asphyxiated by poor infrastructure, low patronage and unhealthy imports from China and nearby countries. Citing lack of government support, access roads and power as major reasons for business failure, the shoemakers, under the aegis of the Powerline Shoe Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Ariaria International Market Aba, Abia State, now push for a ban on importation of finished shoe products. Driven by efforts from the Southeast region, specifically the Araria Market, an unstructured Nigerian shoe industry had, in the 1970s and 1980s, produced and exported finished products; until, according to the entrepreneurs, Chinese shoes came to make local manufacturing less significant. Even now, China’s shoe market thrives at the expense of Nigeria’s simply because no real effort is being made to expand the sector that currently employs over 50,000 youths and contributes reasonably to Abia State government’s revenue. With regards to shoe making, Mr. Goodluck Nmeri, the president of Powerline Shoe Manufacturing Association of Nigeria and director of NMERI Shoes Ltd., said Ariaria was once Nigeria’s pride among the comity of African nations. He regrets that foreign competitors are now able to produce neater products with the aid of effective cutting and heating machines, a situation that poses serious threat to local manufacturing. According to Nmeri, Nigerians’ penchant for foreign goods forces local manufacturers to imitate foreign-made shoes; hence, they (Araria shoe makers), sometimes, imprint marks like made-in-Italy on their products. “This industry employs over 50,000 people, including apprentices, their masters and suppliers,” Nmeri disclosed. “I included suppliers, because, we collaborate with sellers, who supply us materials like leather, gums and others on credit. But, since four years ago, we have a deplorable condition due to the fact that China and United Arab Emirates (Dubai, to be precise) entered our business and sell within the industry. “We make better shoes than China and Dubai but Nigerians prefer foreign-made shoes, and that is why we put ‘Made-in-Italy’ in order to sell ours. China’s shoes last only for few

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Artisans Accuse Govt, China Of Killing Enterprise Use Stoves As Heating Machines months but Aba-made shoes lasts for more than two years. Since they prefer foreign brands, we put those names to enable us feed our families. “For the past three years, we have been attending seminars organised by government and private companies with a view to encouraging us to label our products ‘Made-in-Nigeria.’ OW, many of our artisans no longer go N with that deception. In some cases, you will see the stamp alone without name, while some have carved made-in-Nigeria stamps. “We have a problem with quality control due to lack of machines. We need money to produce in large quantity. We have asked the leaders to give us machines and soft loan to help young school leavers join the business and stop depending on white-collar jobs. This industry has the capacity to take thousands of both able and disabled young men and women off the roads. “Unfortunately, our demands do not go beyond this State. The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the World Bank came here to train us on how to improve our products but the problem remains low patronage for Aba-made shoes. “They prefer that of Dubai and China, which do not last long; hence, the industry is dying day by day. We do not have apprentices. They have all joined Okada and tricycle (Keke) ridding to fend for their families since the market is no longer generating enough income.

Government should support us. Obasanjo banned importation of finished products. Importation of finished products of any kind in the country is bad for the economy. Government knows what to do about it. We don’t have light here. I have been working with this stove as my heating machine for the past one month and no white man can withstand the heat I get from this stove

“Those elderly and experienced shoe makers, who could not stand the hunger, have also joined Okada business too. Some are now bricklayers. For me, I have stayed too long in this business and there is nowhere for me to go. We are already in prison here and people are dying prematurely due to lack of money. “Aba shoe industry has gone a long way generating revenue for the country but the country has refused to recognise this. Cameroonians come to Aba to buy shoes, bags and belts. The bags out there are going to Cameroun, Ghana and Equatorial Guinea. If not for God, this industry would have gone under. “We are suffering here and we do not have conducive environment. We don’t have good access roads; the moment it rains, we are in trouble. Electricity is like HIV that does not have any cure. If you see it now, the next moment, it is gone, and nobody knows; yet we work and sleep here. “Government should be supportive. We have gathered the skills and knowledge that nobody taught us; Nigerians should encourage us. Foreigners entered into the country and started doing what they want because government has failed to support and recognise this industry as the pride of the country. Chinese came in here and took samples of our shoes and brought them back in another way and in large quantity. “Chinese designs are picked from us and put together with a special kind of gum. We locally manufacture our gums and most times, it makes our work last less than what it should. My fear is that if we die, this industry might fold up because we don’t have apprentices anymore due to lack of patronage and government support. “Nigerians, especially women, patronise Chinese shoes and bags because they are flashy; women like flashy things but not durable. This has affected our economy because when they buy the Chinese shoes, it will go bad within few days and they will buy another one. That is, building Chinese economy at the expense of Nigeria’s. “During the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo, this industry had some great peace. Obasanjo, through several of his intelligent economic policies, put food on our tables. Then, all the African countries came to Aba for shoes. They pay cash and asked us to produce certain number of shoes for them.

Importation of raw materials for shoe making will do us more good than importation of fully coupled shoes from Dubai or China. We have the capacity to provide the country’s need for footwears. The shoe industry in Abia will soon go the way of many dead manufacturing plants in the country if the government fails to do something about the importation of finished shoes “We worked with high morale, because there was market for our products. But the story is no longer the same with the current administration. There are all manner of fake shoe products coming into the country and nobody is saying anything about it. “President Jonathan and Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, during their campaigns, had visited Ariaria market and promised to bring development, especially light and good road networks to the market; but, after they won the elections, they abandoned us. Jonathan, who claimed to know our problems, has forgotten about them. “The Minister for Commerce and Industry came to Abia State and Ariaria was among the places he was to visit. That day came, we came out with our scissors and equipment to welcome him but the Governor barred him from coming to Ariaria market, because there was no single road to the market. They drove him round the town and within a short while, he was taken to the Airport. “But my annoyance with the Minister was that he never visited this market; yet, he went back to Abuja and broadcast that he visited us. He said that we didn’t have any problem, that Ariaria market is well developed; whereas, nothing is working here. But all these were lies; or do you see development of any kind here? Government should not kill this industry, for it has great potentials. “Every country has a business that their forefathers handed down to them. In China, there is Agriculture; so, why do we want to kill this with our own hands. The Aba-made shoe is the only industrial product that Nigeria is

CONTINUED ON PAGE 44


HE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

45

BUSINESS franchise holder for fuel dispensing machines in West Africa since the manufacturers “don’t have any presence in Africa” yet. He faulted the assumption that marketers make abnormal profits during scarcity, arguing that they have to contend with middlemen who double prices as well as activities of vandals. “And we do everything to ensure that our customers get fuel to buy even to our detriment,” said Gbemisola, who argued that the tension created by scarcity rather impacts negatively on companies’ bottom line. On expansion drive, he said the company has drafted several plans to turn Fatgbems into a conglomerate, saying growing the company into a diversified entity is his “my primary mission. “But before that can be done, we need to consolidate on the gains of the founding father. At the moment we have 24 outlets, I was able to add one more outlet to the existing 23 before my father died. My plan is to increase by two or three yearly. We shall be adding another one before 2013 ends. “We operate more in the Southwest but the plan is to go beyond that and become a leader in the sub-Saharan Africa. Many of the major players in the upstream and midstream sectors started as downstream operators. For us, part of the plan is to evolve into a major player in upstream operations. And we are working towards achieving that already,” he continued. Gbemisola disclosed that the company has concluded arrangement to embark on major rebranding to firm up its identity. On this, he said: “Very soon, our filling stations will be wearing new logos and colours. We want to develop a new work environment, which will culminate in courteous dedication of staff to the highest level of customer service delivery. We will retrain the old staff to fit into the new vision of the company. Though, you will agree with me that people are always resistant to change, especially if they are so fixated on the old order. “I believe in growing an entity with people that have stayed with you to build an institution during the premature stage. I equally believe in a reward system that is fair to all. I see of fuel dispensing machines who have ex- a new Fatgbems run as a world-class business organisation. And to achieve this dream, I pressed willingness to partner with the would be open to fresh ideas from consultcompany. Through the partnership prospects, he said, Fatgbems could emerge ants or joint venture partners.”

HERE is a perception in Nigeria that when ‘Under-dispensing, T an entrepreneur dies his business goes with him. But Chairman of Fatgbems Nige-

By Geoff Iyatse

ria Limited, Mr. Kabir Gbemisola, says the assumption does not apply to his firm. Gbemisola who took over from his father, Fatai Gbemisola, who passed on in April, said he has recorded moderate improvement barley two months he has taken charge of the company just as he unveiled plans to steer the company to greater heights. Gbemisola, a turn around manager, lamented that petroleum products’ adulteration and under-dispensing have become serious challenges in petroleum retailing. He said unscrupulous individuals have inflicted pains on Nigeria through adulteration of products such as diesel. He, however, said his company has distanced itself from such unwholesome practices. He said stiffer penalties and closer monitoring would help to reduce the tide. Noting that he is at home with the history of the company, he said: “Prior to my coming on board as the Chairman, I had always operated as Executive Director (Operations) while my late dad was in charge of administrative issues.” The new chairman disclosed that his major objective is to diversify the oil marketing firm and improve on its customer service delivery. He said the company would want to play in the upstream segment of the industry in the nearest future. “Those who met us at the recent Oil Technology Conference (OTC) in the United States wondered why we were there. But the truth is that oil and gas business is a huge area that has lots of opportunities for all operators. Essentially, the thinking is that OTC is an upstream affair. That is not true.  It is about being exposed to new technologies in the area of oil production and exploration. And for every refined petroleum product, the ultimate target is to get to the end-users. And we, in the retail market, are the link between producers and consumers. Hence, we also need the latest technology to dispense petroleum products just as exploration and refining do. We were the first indigenous downstream operator at the conference because we want to get necessary technology

Adulteration, Cripple Downstream Operations’

Gbemisola

to move to where we want to be,” Gbemisola noted. He said the conference gave him opportunity to establish contacts with manufacturers

UNDERGROUNDECONOMY With Electricity, Raw Materials, Modern Machines, We Can Turn Ariaria To World-class Industry CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45 known for. “Government should emulate Obasanjo’s economic policies and save this industry from extinction.” Mr. Kingsley Udo Kalu, another cobbler at the market, corroborated Nmeri’s position, saying that influx of finished shoe products, preference for foreign-made shoes, as well as official

Bales of shoes for export.

neglect by state and federal governments rendered the industry inactive. He explained that exports from Aba-made shoes had earned the country huge revenue, adding that ban on importation of finished products would help the sector grow. “Importation of raw materials for shoe making will do us more good than importation of fully coupled shoes from

Dubai or China. We have the capacity to provide the country’s need for footwears. The shoe industry in Abia will soon go the way of many dead manufacturing plants in the country if the government fails to do something about the importation of finished shoes. “I have what it takes to help myself and family but China has dominated the country and killing our business. If I offer my own product for sale at N1000 with quality leather, China will do theirs with inferior leather and sell at N600. “Nigerians value foreign-made products a lot. They will always go for cheaper China products and regret it later. Let there be reduction in importation of China shoes. Ordinary, materials should be brought in but finished shoes affect our work badly. “If I can’t make money out of what I’m doing to pay my children’s school fees, then, I will not want my children to go and suffer what I suffered. If the boys in this arena abandon this industry to face robbery, who will remain in Nigeria? “Most of our colleagues have joined keke and okada riding for them to eat, since nobody patronises the Aba shoe industry. “Government should support us. Obasanjo banned importation of finished products. Importation of finished products of any kind in the country is bad for the economy. Government knows what to do about it. We don’t have light here. I have been working with this stove as my heating machine for the past one month and no white man can withstand the heat I get from this stove. Nigerians are strong people and they are not lazy. We can produce what to wear ourselves, but we need machines and electricity. Let them bring in raw materials and we will do the rest.

But my annoyance with the Minister was that he never visited this market; yet, he went back to Abuja and broadcast that he visited us. He said that we didn’t have any problem, that Ariaria market is well developed; whereas, nothing is working here. But all these were lies; or do you see development of any kind here? Government should not kill this industry, for it has great potentials


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

46

BUSINESS

‘How Reps Will Probe Banks Over Tax Remittance’ From Adamu Abuh, Abuja EMBERS of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance is bent on determining the actual amount paid as tax by each of the 21 banks in the country, from 2008 to 2012, and ascertain whether, or not, remittances were made in accordance with laid-down rules and regulations. The Guardian learnt that officials of most of the financial institutions have complied with the May 27 deadline issued to them to respond to questions posed by the Abdulmumini Jibrin-led committee. The committee, which also expressed the readiness to look into the books of agencies in the Aviation and Telecommunication sectors on matters of tax remittance, has engaged a consulting outfit to help it achieve this goal. The investigation was primarily informed by the need to enhance internally generated revenue from both public and privately owned institutions in the country. The resolve was further reinforced by the startling revelation by the Acting Executive Chairman of the Service, Alhaji Kabir M. Mashi, that some of the banks (who are also tax payers) that collect money on behalf of government have not lived up to expectation. Questions posed to the banks by the Finance Committee, among other requirements, border on: signed audited account, signed self assessment form, profit before tax (PBT), profit after tax (PAT), taxation assessed and tax paid. Other posers were payment to the FIRS – actual amount paid in tax year and amount assessed but outstanding,

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whether the banks have ever received a query from the FIRS on tax due, whether the banks have ever been levied penalties and interest and if yes, how much is involved; how much has been paid as tax, how much was waived (with supporting documents). The banks were also asked to submit documents comparing the amount in their self-assessment report with actual amount paid - per self-assessment report, actual for the year, and explain the difference. The lawmakers also want to verify whether, or not, any of the banks collect taxes on behalf of the FIRS. They are to list all type of taxes collected, amount collected per each type of collections – comparing targeted amount and the amount that was actually collected. Banks are also to confirm if all remittances during the year were received within the time stipulated by the FIRS, list out all amount remitted late by stating the period clearly, state what penalties were levied by FIRS for non-compliance, list all tax audit queries including date, amount and period involved with late remittance of tax collected on behalf of the FIRS. Jibrin, who insisted that top ranking officers in the mould of chief operating officers of banks are to appear on behalf of their banks in the course of the committee’s technical session billed to start tomorrow, had, during an interactive session with officials of the FIRS, claimed that his committee was privy to complaints of some of the banks defaulting in remittance of taxes. Justifying the measure, he said the move was primarily aimed at ensuring that the Federal Government has adequate funds to implement the 2013

budget. He said the House is keen on averting a dangerous situation, whereby government grapples with a deficit of N1 trillion, as was the case in last year’s budget. “We don’t want excuses of lack of funding for the budget. Other sources of revenue generation are the independent revenue sources. We would go into it to build up government revenue and ensure it is paid into the consolidated revenue fund to implement the budget. “We recognise the importance of our banks to the economy and revenue generation. We want them to do more. We have received complaints relating to tax complaints by some of our banks. We would go everywhere to look for money for government. We would ensure such monies are not lost, hidden or taken away.” Members of the committee were taken aback when they were informed by Mashi that one of the 24 banks that is both a tax payer and one of the revenue collecting agents for government is yet to remit revenue collected in the last three years. Jibrin also directed FIRS officials to clearly spell out the level of compliance and the timeliness of remittances made by each of the 24 banks, warning bank executives not to misconstrue the measure by his committee as yet another probe of the banking sector. Mashi, who promised to make details of remittances by banks available to the lawmakers, acknowledged that there were cases of banks not remitting taxes as and when due, as well as other constraints like non-existence of tax identification number placed on its ways by ministries, departments and agencies of governments (MDAs).

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in charge of Financial Sector Surveillance, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, and Dr. Lucy Newman, Managing Director, FITC at the FITC’s Products launch.

Micro-finance Bank Pays 10 kobo Dividend To Shareholders By Emmanuel Badejo ATISFIED with the bank’s performance, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Micro-Finance Bank shareholders have hailed the 10 kobo dividend payment approved by the bank’s board of directors, saying that the bank has out-paid and outperformed its peers in Nigeria’s financial system. The shareholders also commended the board, saying that

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they have done well especially in growing the deposit base of the bank, imploring the management of the bank to make loans accessible to the shareholders by removing all the barriers to accessing loans from the bank. The shareholders, who spoke at the bank’s shareholder forum in Lagos at the weekend, urged the board to increase the bank’s branch network by giving it even spread that reflects its owner-

ship structure. “The NPF has national spread and as such, we want the bank to have presence in every part of Nigeria especially in Onitsha, Aba, Uyo, Eket. This branching networking will enhance the value of the bank and also increase its deposit base”, the shareholders reasoned. According to them, the leap from 2 kobo dividend paid last year to 10 kobo this is a quantum

leap, urging the board to do a rights issue for the shareholders. The bank, they said, has growth prospects, describing it as a goldmine still waiting to be exploited. Its Chairman, Mrs. Florence Adebanjo, had earlier urged the shareholders to bare their minds and ask question on the bank’s products and services, its activities and strategic focus for

Work Place Culture: Difference Between the UK and Nigeria (1)

the first one year of my working life in Nigeria. Iwasspent The other twenty three have been spent in the UK. I pretty young when I worked in Nigeria, and it was

By Helen-Linda Azodoh

so brief, it did not leave any lasting impressions. I have been spending a fair bit of time in Nigeria lately, and have been amazed at the stark difference in the work culture between Nigeria and the UK. In Nigeria, it is common to walk into an office and find the receptionist with her head on the table, sleeping. This is unheard of in the UK. The receptionist would face serious consequences if that was to happen. This is not to say that people do not feel sleepy at work. Of course they do, but you do not indulge it, instead you down as many cups of coffee as is necessary to keep you awake or you step outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. Under no circumstances, would a member of staff openly take siesta at work. Of course, I realise the hot weather does not help. But this is the more reason why people should eat light meals at work. It never ceases to amaze me the sort of meals and portions Nigerians have for lunch at work. People eat things like a massive plate of pounded yam, huge plate of rice and beans etc. for lunch! How on earth would one function effectively at work after such a heavy meal. On the other hand in the UK, most people eat very light lunches, like a salad or a sandwich. For the ones that eat cooked meals, portions are generally a fraction of what people would eat in Nigeria. Attitudes in the work place are generally different from the UK. I once visited an organisation in Nigeria where there were a few people waiting in reception area. One or two of the people waiting were so relaxed that they sat comfortably back on the sofas and proceeded to sleep like they were in their houses. Nobody seemed to bat an eyelid as it seemed to be a normal occurrence. You would never find that in any organisation in the UK, except of course you were in a bus garage or a similar set up! It is socially unacceptable. The receptionist in this same organisation was busy having very personal and loud conversations on her mobile phone, pacing up and down the reception and did not seem to care who was listening. When she was not on the phone, she was chatting noisily with some of the waiting visitors and was generally generating a lot of noise. Again, if this was in the UK,her job would definitely be on the line. It’s just not a done thing. The other great difference in work culture is time keeping. In the UK, if a meeting is scheduled for a 9 o’clock start, every participant knows it means the meeting absolutely starts at 9 o’clock. Likewise, if one has a 9 o’clock appointment, you know it means nothing but 9 o’clock. However, I have come to learn that a 9 o’clock meeting in Nigeria, means anytime from 9 o’clock! How is one expected to plan their day under such circumstances? I have known people book meetings for the same time for different individuals, because they know fully well none of them is likely to turn up at 9 o’clock, that is, if they turn up at all. I personally do not see how anyone can effectively manage their time when you are unable to effectively allocate time slots. I once booked an appointment with a hairdresser in Nigeria for 11 o’clock. I worked out how long I was likely to be at hers, seeing that I had secured my time slot. On that basis, I booked my appointment for a very important meeting later. Half an hour prior, I called her up to let her know I was in her area and to find out if 11 o’clock was still viable, as I do not have the patience to sit around and wait. She assured me she would be in the salon at 11 o’clock. Come 11 ’clock, I confidently walk into the salon, only to find out the lady was nowhere in sight. I called her up and she assured me she was round the corner and would be with me in no time. I took this to mean she was literally round the corner and expected her to turn up in about 5 minutes or less. Ten minutes later, there was no sign of this lady. Being mindful of my next appointment and at this time beginning to suspect she might be giving me a taste of Nigerian time keeping, I called her again and asked her bluntly how much longer she would be. To my utter consternation, she told me she was still a long way away, as traffic was heavy, and she expected to be at the salon in about 45 minutes. I was shocked. I asked her why she could not have told me that earlier rather than give me the impression she was a few blocks away. What stunned me the most was the fact it did not cross this lady’s mind that I might have had other things planned for the day, and might appreciate some warning, effectively allowing me the opportunity to reschedule my plans if she was unable to make the appointment. The fact that I might have other plans seemed totally lost on her.

Azodoh, Chartered MCIPD (London), is a human resource consultant based in the UK. She is also MD of Orchardview HR Solutions, accompany that provides HR training to organisations in Nigeria. Email:helen.azodoh@virgin.net


THE GuARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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BuSINESS Challenges Facing Small Enterprises, By Business Trainers By Bisi Alabi Williams R. Doyin Salami, a faculty member of the LaD gos Business School and member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has identified inadequate business know-how as a major reason for banks’ unwillingness to lend to the small business owners. Salami made this known during FATE Foundation 2013 macro-economic outlook session at in Lagos. He said entrepreneurs have to see their businesses beyond dogmas and unrealistic belief of succeeding even where people do not understand what they are doing. According to Salami, beyond the challenges of finance, infrastructure and human capacity development, a major challenge confronting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is the lack of business understanding. This, he said, is the reason a lot of SMEs in the country are struggling to survive. He noted that the onus is on the entrepreneurs to present opportunities and bankable projects that are attractive to financiers. Over time, SMEs in Nigeria have not performed well and have not played the their role in supporting economic growth and development, experts say. SMEs contribute 46.54 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in nominal terms, according to the 2012 Enterprise Baseline Survey. This compares with approximately 60 per cent Minister Of Information, Labaran Maku (left); Leader Of the Brazilian Trade Delegation To Nigeria, Mr Luiz Fernando Mainardi; Nigerian Ambassador To Brazil, Vincent Okoethe sector contributes to the Chinese economy as dion; President, State Department Of Agriculture, Livestock and Agribusiness, Rio Grande Do Sul, Claudio Pereira; and Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria, Joao Andre Lima, at end of 2011 and 70 per cent it contributed to during the Delegation’s Visit to Minister Of Information… on Friday. PHOTO:NAN Ghanaian according to a university of Ghana study. A 2013 outlook on Nigeria’s SMEs envisages capacity development needed to help people build sustainable businesses and access to finance, as key challenges the sub-sector will face in the ongoing year. Thus, on cost of financing, he said, ducive environment for busiwould afford local and foreign ‘‘Although loans and advances by deposit money By Oluwakemi Ajani game.” He commended Oyo banks (DMBs) are recovering considerably, prenesses to thrive. investors opportunity to seal State Government for making RESIDENT of the National Indeals while offering exhibitors vailing lending rates put borrowing from DMBs the state business friendly. stitute of Marketing of Nigeria Adeyeye said government need to create conducive atand visitors a lifetime opportu- out of the reach of most small and medium enPresident of the Oyo Mega (NIMN), Mr. Rotimi Adeyeye, has mosphere by putting necessary nity to buy and sell at competi- terprises, and therefore they have to resort to miTrade Fair, Mr. Delight reiterated the call on the governcro financing.’’ Owoyemi, said the 10-day event, tive prices. ment to create an environment infrastructure in place and instituting independent regulaHe president said the fair will kick off at the Lekan Salami that support for business tory agencies. would attract at least 30 sponStadium on August 9. He said growth. He said: “When government sors and over 1,000 exhibitors. the purpose of the fair is to pubHe made the call in Ibadan, Oyo runs businesses, they put licise major brands in the state He revealed that arrangements State, during the unveiling of themselves in the awkward po- and create a window for poten- have being concluded to enlogo of the forth-coming “Oyo sure free traffic and maximum tial investors to assess market. N an effort to engender self-sufficiency among Mega Trade Fair. He said the duty sition of being both the player security. Owoyemi noted that the fair youths in the country, Alcatel-Lucent Foundaof government is to provide con- and the referee in the same tion recently donated $20,000 to support SOS Children’s Villages’ Youth Empowerment Programme, a vocational/entrepreneurship and leadership training for young Nigerians. program can really contribute towards the By Daniel Anazia The training will support 20 young adults includgiving them international experience. bottom line. Our company in Sub-Saharan ing unemployed graduates, vocational trainees The CIS platform does just that.” HL Express, a division of Deutsche Post Africa posted strong growth last year, conThe program employs innovative learn- and final-year students, in learning entrepreneurDHL, has described its innovative Certi- tinuing to drive the economic growth of the ial, leadership and life skills that will help them ing methodologies to train employees fied International Specialists (CIS) and decontinent, and I believe that CIS is a big part face day-to-day challenges and give them a jump across all functions on the fundamentals velopment programme as a major factor of this growth and our success”, he said. start into the world of work. of international shipping, enhancing driving its growth in African market. He noted that the importance of the CIS National Director of SOS Children’s Villages, their knowledge of essential aspects, The programme, which is delivered to programme, as solution to skill gap in subNigeria, Eghosa Erhumwunse, who received the such as import/export documentation, every employee across the company’s Saharan Africa, continues to widen as forgeography and global expertise, as well mock cheque from Amr K. El-Leithy, President of global network, has also been a key intereign direct investment (FDI) increases and Alcatel-Lucent for Middle-East, Africa, Turkey and as transport regulations and processes. vention in Sub-Saharan Africa, bridging the demand for talents outstrips supply. Azerbaijan and Hatim Zougari Country Manager Buday said: “The training sessions are skill gaps and providing comprehensive “One of the major challenges facing any delivered by employees trained facilita- of Alcatel-Lucent Nigeria, thanked Alcatel-Lucent training for employees. multinational company operating in Subtors. And through video interviews, it has Foundation for their support and contributions, According to the company’s Managing Saharan Africa is the lack of adequate trainwhich, according to him, made the Youth Empowalso engaged former executives of the Director, Randy Buday, in 2012, DHL Exing and education systems, which company in telling the story of the entre- erment Programme a reality to enable twenty press division recorded the highest earnsometimes fall short of global standards. youths undergo training in entrepreneurial and preneurial roots of DHL and the values ings in its history and this would not have While we believe we attract the best and leadership skills. that helped the company become a been possible without active workforce. He said: “We are delighted seeing Alcatel-Lucent as brightest talent on the continent, we know global leader in logistics.” “CIS has played a fundamental role in the there is a critical need to provide additional a reliable partner supporting our work with chilCIS have been delivered to over business performance of the company and training and make our African employees dren and youths in Nigeria. 100,000 employees in more than 220 we have seen how a change management feel part of the global network, while also

Government Tasked On Conducive Business Environment P

Firm Gives $20,000 To Ophans I

Courier Firm Attributes Performance To Staff Training D

GTBank Wins‘African Bank Of The Year’ Award uARANTY Trust Bank has been conferred with the 2013 African Bank of the Year Award by the African Banker Magazine at a well-attended ceremony held on May 29, 2013 in Marrakech, Morocco. The African Banker Award recognises financial institutions across the continent on the basis of corporate governance practices, service delivery and products. Winners of the

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Award are expected to have consistently reported strong financial performance and contributed significantly to the quality of service offered by the financial services industry within their country and across the continent. Shortly after the award, Omar Ben Yedder, the publisher of the African Banker Magazine said: “We are delighted that Guaranty Trust Bank has won this award.

Indeed, it has been a good evening for Nigerian banks and GTBank has consistently played a leading role in banking in Nigeria. Prudently run, with strong values, it continues to set new standards in banking. Its successful foray in international markets reflects strong fundamentals of a leading institution in Africa.”  Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, attributed the feat to hardwork, disci-

pline and well-defined operating strategy that enable GTbank meet and surpass customer expectations. Agbaje described customer satisfaction and service excellence as foundations of the bank’s business, even as he said that GTBank would continue to listen to its stakeholders and institute innovations that allow it provide services that surpass its stakeholders’ needs.

Etisalat Introduces 10k/Sec Community Billing

TISALAT Nigeria has unveiled the revamped E Easy Cliq, which enables customers on the platform would enjoy 10k/sec tariffs in addition to bonus on incoming calls, free monthly 90MB data and free midnight intra-network calls. Chief Commercial Officer of Etisalat, Wael Ammar, explained that the new offering would enable customers enjoy more value from the network. “The revamped Easy Cliq gives customers access to lower tariffs based on their daily spending. This unique tariff plan is such that when a customer has uses N25 in a day, his/her tariff to all networks drops instantly.”


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

Birthdays OYEWUNMI, Oba Oladunni, Soun of Ogbomosoland, businessman was 87 on Monday, May 27, 2013. Born in Ogbomoso, on May 27, 1926, he had his elementary education at St Patrick Primary School, Oke-Padre, Ibadan, Oyo State from 1932-40. He also attended Ogbomoso People’s Institute, which later transformed into Ogbomoso Grammar School. He cut his business teeth by trading in consumer goods, which later culminated in his appointment, as distributor for the French owned trading firm CFAO in 1954. In 1967, he formed a limited liability company named J.O Oyewunmi and Co. He ascended the throne in 1973. He was conferred with the title of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2002. He was appointed Chancellor, Plateau State University, Bokkos on Thursday, August 25, 2005. He was appointed a member of the Joint National Committee of traditional rulers and leaders of thought set up in November 1995. He was honoured with the Doctorate Degree in Business Administration at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Og-

(MNIM) and a COREN registered Engineer.

Oyewunmi

Martins

Udoh

Momodu

bomoso on April 23, 2010.

tional Productivity Award, among others.

MAKINWA, Pastor (Dr) Samson Iyiola, businessman, administrator, mentor will be 62 on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. He was born into the family of Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Samuel and Juliana Makinwa in Ondo town, on June 4, 1951. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Techo-quip Limited among other companies. He is the presiding Pastor of Kingdom of Light Ministries with its headquarters at Idimu. Some of his award includes: ECOWAS International Gold Award, Merit Award of Excellence, RMRDC Award of Service, 1995 African Industrialisation Award, Award of Excellence in Human Development, Na-

MARTINS, Archbishop Alfred Adewale was 54 yesterday. He was born on June 1, 1959 in Abeokuta at Sacred Heart Catholic Hospital, Lantoro. Attended St. Augustine Primary School; St. Theresa Minor Seminary, Oke-Are and SS Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija, Ibadan. Holds a Masters degree in Philosophy and M. Litt (Philosophy) from the University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland. Ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church on September 18, 1983. Served as Assistant Administrator, Holy Cross Cathedral, 19831984, Taught at St. Gregory’s College, Obalende between September 1984 and 1986.

Also served as the Priest-inCharge of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Maroko. Seconded as Graduate Assistant to SS Peter and Paul Seminary, Ibadan where he worked and lectured between 1988 and 1996. Appointed Bishop of Abeokuta on October 24, 1997 and installed as Bishop on January 24, 1998. Appointed as Archbishop of Lagos by Pope Benedict XVI on May 25, 2012 and installed on August 4, 2 0 1 2 .

attended primary school and proceeded to National High School, Abia State. He attended Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria and went further to obtain higher qualifications in transport at Canada Institute and London City University, London. He has 31 years professional experience in air traffic navigation services with bias in safety management for surveillance, calibration and logistics. He had his first appointment in 1980. Member, Royal Aeronautical Society (MRAeS); National Association of Air Traffic Engineers; International Federation for Air Traffic Safety Electronic Association (IFATSEA); Nigerian Institute of management

Managing Partner, Jumbo Chambers, Lagos, Jude-David Ogochukwu Mbamalu (left); MD, Denem Int’l Agencies Ltd, Dennis Mbamalu, Chief (Engr.) Gerald Mbamalu (Ogene Ojoto); Chairman Caporn Industries Ltd, Jude Nnamdi Mbamalu and Marcel Mbamalu, during the Service of Songs organised in honour of their deceased sister, late Mrs. Uzoamaka Ethel Amobi (Nee Mbamalu) at the Ajao Estate Grammar School, Ajao Estate, Isolo, Lagos…on Thursday.

UDOH, Mazi Nnamdi, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), is 53. Born to the family of Udoh from Arochukwu Local Government, Abia State in 1960, he

MOMODU, Chief Dele, scholar, teacher, administrator, writer, polemicist, reporter, columnist, photographer and publisher of Ovation Magazine is 53. He bagged a first degree in Yoruba Language from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, in 1982 and bagged a Master’s degree in Literature-in-English in 1988. He taught A-level Yoruba at the Oyo State College of Arts and Science in Ile-Ife, from 1982-83, while on National Youth Service. Between 198385, he was private secretary to the former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Chief Akin Omoboriowo in May 1988; he got his first job as Staff Writer with the African Concord Magazine, owned by the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. He also started a public relations outfit, Celebrities’ Goodwill Limited. He was the presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in April 2011 general election. Compiled by Gbenga Akinfenwa, gbengaherkin@yahoo.com

Director, European-American University, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dr. Luke Okojie (left), Managing Director/CEO, Mabseed Nigeria Limited, Dr. Abu Alidu Moses and Deputy Head, Africa Operations, European-American University, Prof. Mike Nwaubani, at the conferment of Doctor of Science in Business Development and Entrepreneurship (Honoris Causa) on Dr. Abu Alidu Moses held at Cofederation Nationale Des Travaileurs De Togo Lome, in Togo.

Chief Regulatory Officer, NAFDAC, Ms. Nwabunike Ebele (left), CEO Vowels A. A., Dr. Omoniyi Akinleye and Senior Executive, Client Service, Absolute PR Ltd,  at the launch of Idee’s Stew Mix... on Thursday.

Director, Stallion Home Savings and Loan Limited, Sunday Ngbanwa, Managing Director/CEO Johnson Akhidenor, Chairman, Toyin Adeyinka and Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Mrs Olukemi Manliki at the Bank’s 17 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos.

Senior General Manager, Alcatel-Lucent Nigeria, Peter Schubert (left), Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Rahaman Bello and HR Director of the company, Mrs Adebimpe Ayo-Elias at the launch of the GNext knowledge transfer project in Lagos.

Charter President, Lions District 404B, Adebisi Gbolagade (left); District Governor, Stella Agbokun; Head Teacher, Parako United Primary School, Igbile, Ijebu, Ogun State, Mr. A. Adenuga, President, Akowonjo Lions Club, Hassan Olasunkanmi and District Treasurer II, Olusumade Adekunle during the commissioning of the borehole sunk by Akowonjo Lions Club for the school.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

49

BUSINESSAGRO

CPO: Agric Minister, Plantation Owners Forum Agree To 35% Stories by Fabian Odum

the local oil palm industrial sector in FlevelOR the country to survive and get to the next of exportation of produce, and its processed variants, the dumping of crude palm oil from Asian countries and tactically, ECOWAS nations should be nipped in the bud. In a unified voice, the Minister of Agriculture and the Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria (POFON) are against any reduction of tariff from 35 per cent or granting of waivers on crude palm oil importation. The minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, in addressing Oil Palm Business groups in Abuja recently said that the performances of the stock of Okomu Oil Company Plc and Presco Plc at the Nigerian Stock Exchange were quite encouraging for the agriculture sector therefore, it would serve the nation better to stimulate growth and development of the rural areas as well. A communiqué released by POFON after a stakeholders’ meeting in Benin City shows that it is disturbed by the reports of concession and waivers being granted to traders to import CPO and refined products, in spite of the 35 per cent tariff. It reminded the President and minister of Agriculture that any such moves would be in ‘flagrant disregard to the assurances given during FG’s budget speech not to grant concession and waivers to import commodities that we have the capacity to produce in the country.’ Adesina said, “The fact that we are having a discussion on whether we should lower tariff, so that we could be importing makes absolutely no sense… it is shameful to talk of importing CPO; we should be exporting.” The Minister said there is nothing stopping

the ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS) from being re-visited since it appears, from statistics, that there is a disguise applied to dump CPO in Nigeria especially from Benin Republic, Ghana and Ivory Coast. So far, according to the minister, 1.4 million sprouted nuts of the high yielding Tenera seedlings were distributed free. This is to help farmers recapitalize and revive their farms. However, on the heels of the meeting by plantation owners, the resolve to deal with, ‘the collapse of the domestic palm oil market and the survival of the business,’ was to pursue the following options: POFON Intervention – to increase oil palm production and enhancing CPO supply in Nigeria. Towards this, POFON members according to the communiqué, have embarked on the on-going projects: • NIFOR to continue and sustain oil palm seed/seedling distribution to small holders and estates under Oil Palm Transformation Agenda. • Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc to continue its milling capacity upgrade by 70 per cent from 35 tons FFB/hr to 60 ton FFB/hr. • SIAT to continue and sustain the rehabilitation of former Risonpalm to increase supply of industrial quality CPO. • PZ-Wilmer to achieve 50,000ha plantation including their holdings in Biase Ltd and Eyop Industries plus accelerated small farmer schemes. • Presco to continue its plantation expansion at Ologbo • DANSA Agro to commence planting of its initial 10,000ha plantation this planting season and JB farms to complete its milling capacity expansion and start additional Greenfield development.

Participants at the training of farmers on fish smoking by the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Oshodi in collaboration with Lagos State Commercial Agriculture Development Office (LASCADO) at Ojo Military Cantonment, Lagos recently PHOTO: PAUL ADUNWOKE

FG, Fisheries Stakeholders Condemn Sea Piracy, Proffer Solutions FFORTS are now being E geared towards tackling the challenges of sea piracy and other issues, which have threatened the economy of the fisheries subsector as marine fisheries stakeholders discussed in a conference in Lagos last week. Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, noted that armed robbery at sea should be tackled since the life of the fourth largest non-oil foreign exchange earner was at stake. He said the sector is a key pillar in the economy bringing, aside foreign exchange, food and nutrition security, income and employment generation and poverty alleviation into the nation’s kitty. Adesina lamented the hardship and even loss of lives of crew members, valuable items such as fish and shrimp products, communication and navigation equipment worth several million of naira at the hands of pirates. In the past decade, records show that, ‘more than 400

fishing and shrimp vessels had been attacked since 2002 while 120 shrimp vessels were attacked by sea pirates and robbers from January 2012 to date.’ Adesina stressed that the socio-economic cost of armed sea robbery and other vices scared new investors due to increased risk factor in investing in the country, adding that it led to decrease in fish production and retrenchment of the work force. In a similar vein, foreign exchange earnings, he said dropped with reduction in the number of fishing vessels from 250 in 2009 to 122 this year. To address the challenges facing the sub sector, the minister revealed that the Ministry will establish two Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) stations in Lagos and Calabar. In addition, he said, “Six petrol vessels had been procured; sensitisation campaign against sea piracy intensified and was collaborating with regional and international bodies to checkmate the activities of sea pirates.” Participants at the strategy

and talk shop, were in agreement that the subsector needs a lot of action to combat criminal activities against the business and leverages in resources to increase the impact in national economy. Issues like registration of artisanal fishing boats, supply of AGO (Automotive Gas Oil), Kirikiri Dedicated Fisheries Terminal, and Export Expansion Grant (EEG) among others dominated the session. As the meeting came to a close, a number of decisions were reached and decisions made as follows: mandatory installation of a minimum of Class B Automatic Identification System (AIS) on all fishing vessels operating in Nigerian waters. that fishing vessels operators should give adequate information to the Nigerian Navy about the movement and operations of their vessels for effective protection at sea. greater synergy among security agencies, fishing operators and Federal Department of Fisheries. There should be regular

quarterly consultative / interactive meetings among major stakeholders in the fishing industry to promote such synergy and strong advocacy against piracy, including sensitisa-

tion and awareness campaigns should be intensified. Regular raids and destruction of armed sea robbers’ camps, and points where criminals are known to operate from, should be

carried out by security agents while security posts should be established at the mouths of creeks (flash points).


TheGuardian

50 | THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cover NGF:

One Kingdom Two Kings By Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki

IVERS State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi stands out as one of the state governors who promote reading culture in the country. However, becoming the centre of the buzz, nay whirlwind of the NGF commotion, questions his power of comprehension. Some analysts have tried to fathom why Amaechi did not remember Chinua Achebe’s wisecrack that ‘those whose palm kernels are cracked by a benevolent Chi should not forget to be humble.’ And being a Christian, the Rivers State strong man ought to reflect and note that the scriptural promise that faithful believers ‘should know more than their teachers,’ is a blessing that carries with it a great burden! Yet as a politician whose metamorphosis runs from being made a Speaker of the State House of Assembly, through a miraculous restitution to a governorship, to the national turf as major player via the NGF, Amaechi ought to be well versed in the Nigerian political mischief dictum that ‘if you Tarka me, I Dabor you’. Still as a graduate of present day Nigeria University system, His Excellency should not have forgotten that the nation’s political party system simulates a campus cult, where ‘odas is odas’. And as a lawyer, Amaechi should know that when the Nigeria Constitution excludes courts from prying into the internal business of political parties, that amounts to an ouster clause of sorts. Putting behind the moderating influence of the above scenarios, Governor Amaechi insisted on re-contesting the post of NGF chairman, even against the designs of his immediate constituency, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). And having taken the plunge to make a political statement and recreate history, PDP, like the Octopus, has fought back; stinging the Governor with politically life- threatening venom. To every discerning observer of the unfolding power play between the Rivers State helmsman and the PDP, (read the presidency), the current travails of the governor was a showdown waiting to happen. First, emboldened by his exalted position as the number one governor in the country, by virtue of his chairmanship of the NGF, Amaechi used the contest for some oil wells between his state and the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan, Bayelsa, to parody the first citiz e n . Then there was the (in)famous altercation between the NGF chairman and wife of Mr. President, Dame Patience Jonathan over the former’s demolition of Okrika waterfront, (Her Excellency’s community). But if those could be excused as domestic affairs mutual to the frontline Niger Delta political

R

actors, the issues surrounding the establishment and management of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) betrayed Amaechi’s acts of ‘rebellion’ to the thought stream of his party, PDP. May be too, the governor disdains the news media. If not, he should have heeded British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC’s) demand on activists and public intellectuals to speak “your truth quietly.” It is still open to conjecture, whether his ascendance to the position of NGF chairman opened the Rivers State chief executive to the ‘forbidden fruit’ of Southwest opposition politics, such that he held no scruples talking ‘his truth’ to power (PDP). Hence, despising the implications of his actions and utterances, Amaechi continued his activism replete with Southwest ideology. In all these (rascality?), it was evident that the chairman of NGF drew inspiration from the National Assembly politics, especially the strategy that threw up Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Standing on the shoulders of members of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and a few ‘rebellious’ PDP legislators-elect, with a sprinkling of their colleagues from the All Nigeria People’s Party, (ANPP) Tambuwal emerged Speaker at the expense of the PDP anointed candidate, Mojisola Adeola- Akande. Amaechi, by his actions on the chair of the NGF, therefore seem to relish the way Tambuwal and his supporters rubbished further the PDP power sharing arrangement a la zoning. It does not take rocket science to note that that development put the Jonathan’s presidency on the canvass of political weakness! Enter the APC! The mobilisation of some political parties to forge a merger, to ostensibly supplant PDP and Jonathan’s presidency, had some impact on the Amaechi-Presidency face-off. Feeling that they were shortchanged by the death of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, not long after President Jonathan mounted the saddle as President, northern politicians in PDP began fresh moves to assert their right to return of the presidency to their zone. As the subtle campaign gathered momentum amidst fears that Jonathan might most likely seek a second term mandate, Amaechi presented himself as an ally of the North. Sooner than later, permutations linking him as possible Vice Presidential material gained currency. Unconfirmed reports said the Rivers   State governor once approached Vice President Namadi Sambo with the suggestion that if he decides to run for the 2015 presidency, he should count on his (Amaechi’s) tacit and financial support. Whether Sambo passed the information to his principal is neither here nor there, but before long, Amaechi’s excess-

es laid credence to his pernicious propaganda against Jonathan’s second term ambition. It was against this background that words started making rounds that Amaechi and other dissident PDP governors, alongside Speaker Tambuwal had finalized plans to move en masse into the inchoate All Progressives Congress, (APC). The warp and woof surrounding the APC amalgamation threw up new political thinking within the PDP. Efforts were made to moderate Amaechi’s tough stance against the Presidency. A nocturnal visit by the troika of Chief Tony Anenih, Alahaji Bamanga Tukur, the PDP Board of Trustees, national chairman and Prof. Jerry Gana, to Amaechi at Rivers State Governor’s Lodge failed to wean the governor away from his opposition to whatever Jonathan stands for. It became evident that the northern governors seem to understand the scriptural saying that, ‘one’s enemy should be those of his household’ and saw in Amaechi a good source of distraction for Jonathan. And to heighten the show of political wickedness, PDP went to the same Niger Delta to select a chairman for the newly formed PDP Governor’s Forum to take the fight back to the NGF chairman. Hence, Amaechi saw the NGF election as a golden opportunity to perfect the Tambuwal strategy, just as some PDP governors from the North gave him the necessary support to shame Jonathan. What is yet to dawn on Amaechi and his group is that vilified as he is, Nigerians still see Jonathan as a civil President and not a bully. Not even the cloud surrounding the grounding of Amaechi’s (Rivers State’s) aircraft diminishes that. On the other hand, the Rivers State governor may as yet, fully understand his public perception as a man desperate for power for its selfish, rather than group interest. Amaechi, by losing sight of the geo-ethnic coloration of the power play has made things easy for his traducers. For instance, many now see his stand against the declaration of state of emergency as clear evidence that he had long lost interest in the progress or public approbation of PDP. How can the North not laugh away their joke that after all, Niger Delta cannot play as a team or handle power? “Sick as he was, did any northern governor show brazen interest to upstage Yar’Adua,” they assert. Relishing his ‘victory’ after the recent NGF election, Amaechi showed off his ‘conquest’ by metaphorically driving himself, in a gesture suggesting that, “I am back on the driving wheel and in charge.” But his suspension from the PDP, which some insiders say is to pave way for full investigation into the governor’s many instances of anti-party activities is PDP’s way of telling him that, “we own the road, where is your driver’s license?”


51

THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

COVER

RIVERS: Bruises In The Aftermath Of A Disputed Election By Kelvin Ebiri NE major characteristic of politics is how O prone it is to disagreements. Disagreements are sometimes so strong and persistent that it becomes problematic to really resolve them as exemplified by the disputed outcome of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election (NGF). Curiously, though not entirely unexpected, the outcome of the result has been marred by controversy due to refusal of  the pro-President Goodluck Jonathan governors led by Governor Jonah Jang (now factional chairman of the NGF) and Governor Godswill Akpabio (chairman PDP Governors Forum) to concede defeat to the Amaechi group. There are insinuations that Amaechi contested  the NGF election contrary to the wish of President Jonathan, who is believed to be nurturing the ambition to seek re-election in 2015. Most of the President’s supporters in the Governors’ Forum and particularly in the Niger Delta think Amaechi has ulterior  plans to use the Forum as a launch pad for his own purported vice presidential ambition come 2015, even though Amaechi has repeatedly denied that he plans to contest the election. The NGF election has generated a lot of controversy such that truth appears to be real casualty. Governor Amaechi who got 19 votes out the 35-vote cast as illustrated by a video recording, has insisted that the election was free and fair. Whereas, the arrowhead of the pro-Jonathan forces, Governor Akpabio has descried the NGF polls as a sham and that Governor Jang, who got 16 votes is the authentic NGF chairman. Amaechi, while reacting to Jang’s claim wondered why people prefer to believe some things that are not true or not supported by the evidence. “We (governors) agreed to voting, and all the governors voted. So, any governor who said he didn’t vote is lying against the nation because all of us are on oath to govern properly; so, we should not lie. Every governor voted; you will see the video.  If we leaders of Nigeria today are refusing to accept the results of a properly organised election, supervised by the Director General of the Governors’ Forum, and somebody brought a paper that was signed in April; if you check that list, it was signed in April and you brought it on May 24 after the governors had finished voting, then what is that? That list is not part of our election,” said Amaechi. The outcome of the election has polarized the Niger Delta region and assumed ethnic coloration. Someone like Anyakwee Nsirimovu has lauded Amaechi’s victory irrespective of the odds against him, while the likes of Ijaw activist, Asari Dokubo has accused the governor of being treacherous. Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition  (NDCSC) chairman, Nsirimovu, said the NGF poll which returned Amaechi is a vote for principled democracy, and a deadly attack to submission to civilian tyranny and its resultant impunity, which has pervaded Rivers State and the nation in the past couple of weeks. He stressed that despite all the grandstanding by the enemies of democracy, as represented by Governor Akpabio, the will of the body of thirty-six state governors have spoken. “NDCSC calls on governor Amaechi who showed exceptional  bravery and courage in standing up in the face of naked show of tyranny and impunity, to use same courage in consciously and deliberately authoring participatory democracy, where democratic structures are no longer mere facades, where popular sovereignty, accountability of rulers, freedom of speech, assembly and the rule of law, in which all citizens are equal before the law, no one is above the law, become the rule, not the exception in Rivers State. The peoples of Rivers State must become his primary constituency, the focal of all rational policy actions and outcomes, not the known cliques who tell tales for their own stomach sake solely,” he said. Nsirimovu has, meanwhile, urged President Jonathan to discourage any proliferation of crisis or sow seeds of crisis, by implicitly or

Amaechi

NDCSC calls on governor Amaechi who showed exceptional bravery and courage in standing up in the face of naked show of tyranny and impunity, to use same courage in consciously and deliberately authoring participatory democracy, where democratic structures are no longer mere facades, where popular sovereignty, accountability of rulers, freedom of speech, assembly and the rule of law, in which all citizens are equal before the law, no one is above the law, become the rule, not the exception in Rivers State. The peoples of Rivers State must become his primary constituency, the focal of all rational policy actions and outcomes, not the known cliques who tell tales for their own stomach sake solely, expressly urging his allies to accept the result of the elections of the NGF, withdraw forthwith the parallel egoistic parades of Mr. Akpabio, who is clearly a very bad loser, and  his colleagues, as this is quickly brings Mr. President’s democratic standing to its lowest ebb in a global world that is watching most keenly. But former Ijaw Youth Council president and leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Asari Dokuku, has labeled Governor Amaechi as traitor, on the premises of the governor’s alleged vice presidential ambition, which is deemed as a threat to the aspiration of President Jonathan. He argued that the outcome of the NGF elec-

tion and the controversy that has trailed it is a reflection of the Nigerian state.  According to him, the election has exposed the cleavage in the political structure of the country further. To buttress this, he pointed out that apart from Governor Amaechi and his Imo State counterpart, all the governors in the former Eastern region supported the pro-Jonathan candidate. “For me, this is a great victory for the people of the South-South and the Southeast in our march. So anybody who is on the other side of the divide is a traitor.  Yes, he (Amaechi) is. I have always said it that he is a traitor and he will be treated like a traitor,” said Dokubo. He said the  goals of the people of the SouthSouth and the Southeast is to be at par with the other geopolitical zones and have equal access to political positions and gains. Hence, should anybody from the old Eastern region has an ambition that is at variance with that of his people, then the person is a traitor. Last Monday, while Amaechi was still basking and relishing his 48th birthday, the National Working Committee of the PDP announced his suspension from the party , an action which the governor has described as most bizarre and tantamount to political witch hunt. The national executive of the PDP had suspended the governor based on a petition by the Rivers State PDP faction led by Felix Obuah, which alleged that the governor had refused to reinstate the suspended Obio-Akpor Local Government council chairman, Timothy Nsirim and 17 councilors. The council officials were suspended by the Rivers state House of Assembly who had already dragged the PDP to court. It will be recalled that the PDP chairman in Rivers State, Felix Obuah, who is an ally of the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, had in April issued  a 48 hour-ultimatum to Governor Amaechi to explain the true status of the State’s Bombardier BD 700 Global Express jet, or risk disciplinary action. Obuah, who the Amaechi faction of the party has persistently accused of being a usurper due to the fact that he did not participate in the March 2012 state congress that produced Godspower Ake as chairman, is believed to be acting a script, whose ultimate end is the removal of the gover-

nor from office. Obuah has meanwhile refuted this allegation. Governor Amaechi has denied involvement in the suspension of the Obio-Akpor officials and has questioned the rationality of the PDP NWC  action, which he accused of political victimization. “Now, if the House of Assembly therefore decides to suspend the council chairman, how does it affect Governor Amaechi? Am I involved? So you can see that the party is witch hunting. They called an emergence meeting of NWC by 7 am, when everybody wasstill looking for how to take their bath. If our party obeys rules, law and order, the matter is in court, can the House do anything when the matter is in court; can anybody do anything? Do we really want to obey laws? Are they obeying laws?” he asked. Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) Hon. Dakuku Peterside, has described the suspension of Governor Amaechi as a bad omen and a major setback to Nigeria’s quest for true democracy. “This news is baffling and a major blow to lovers of democracy because it violates the right of an individual to associate freely, to vote and be voted for in any democratic process. The NGF is not an extension of PDP, thus not governed by the constitution of the PDP. This is also a major impediment to PDP’s future as a party, as Amaechi is seen in Nigeria today as one of the most outstanding governors. What would it benefit a political party to suspend its most performing governor?” he said. Another member of the House of Representatives representing Etche/Omuma federal constituency of Rivers State, Ogbonna Nwuke, has dismissed the allegation that Governor Amaechi wants to ruin President Jonathan’s ambition in 2015. According to him, there is nothing that stops the President from recontesting in 2015 if Nigerians accept him. “ What we are saying is that we ought to put our house (PDP) together and you cannot achieve that with intimidation. With what Amaechi has done in terms of development in Rivers State, such a person cannot betray the aspiration of the Niger Delta,” said Nwuke. Retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte, has criticized those plotting against Governor Amaechi  and has urged  politicians to uphold the truth, justice and accept fairness. “As all of us know, they are all conspirators. The conspiracy runs foul when it is directed towards a wrong motive. When it is a conspiracy which is destructive, which is oppressive and which makes it difficult for the common man to admire what is going on, then there is a foreboding of anarchy,” said Karibi-Whyte. Political observers, like  Kingsley Kalu, said the ruling PDP deserves to be blamed for lack of cohesion and the party’s disastrous performance at the NGF election.  He has urged the President, who is the leader of the PDP to prevail on the party to lift Amaechi’s suspension and stop moves by some centripetal forces in Abuja from destabilizing Rivers State. Kalu told The Guardian that the loss of the propresidency candidate to Amaechi’s group is a pointer that the PDP has a lot more hard work to do ahead of 2015. Elections, according to him, are about people and they must ensure that they appeal to all Nigerians and not just a section of the country like the South-South and Southeast, where majority of their governors allegedly voted for Governor Jang. At the time of filing this report, Obio-Akpor council secretariat remains barricaded by the Police despite a Federal High Court order directing an end to the siege and a planned statewide industrial action by labour unions. There are signs that some pro-Amaechi state lawmakers might have joined the Abuja forces against Governor Amaechi, as part of a grand ploy to impeach him. That could be a herculean task. Between five to eight lawmakers are alleged to have been compromised and are making moves to impeach the governor. But they may not gather enough numbers to go ahead with the threat.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

52

COVER

ONDO: Mimiko’s Explanation And A Bewildered Audience From Niyi Bello, Akure S the people awaited the arrival of Dr. A Olusegun Mimiko at the Babafunke Ajasin Auditorium Akure, venue of last week’s May Day lecture, attention shifted to the video footage of the NGF election of May 24 and many people were seen showing the clip to others through various hand-held devices. It generated debate among the crowd about the inability of leaders to hold a rancor-free election. The informal discussants were unanimous in blaming the country’s leadership, as represented by the governors, for lacking the unity of purpose and commitment to promote matters that affected them, thereby exposing their weaknesses when it comes to handling serious matters of national importance. Many were more interested in ascertaining the role played by Mimiko in the contest, which Mimiko himself said almost led to fisticuffs among “their excellencies.” During the lecture, titled “Democracy, Security and Development: The Challenges of Ondo State as a Catalyst Agent,” which was delivered by Professor Bola Akinterinwa, Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), references were made to the NGF election when the lecturer said something about leaders not being able to put their houses in order. The expectant crowd appeared to be waiting for Mimiko, who sat at the high table, to say his own side. When after the lecture one participant Mrs. Remi Ibitola asked about the possibility to organise a credible general election, when a group of only 36 state governors could not organise a successful exercise, the hall erupted in an applause. In his reaction, Mimiko heaped the blame of the exercise on Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and his group, whom he said adopted arm-twisting tactics to perpetuate himself in office asking. He said; “Why did Amaechi, as an outgoing chairman refused to step down and had to preside over an election where he was a contestant? Somebody asked me why as a governor, I didn’t step down when my second term election was holding and I said, if I was INEC, I probably wouldn’t go through any election. I would simply have written the result for myself. “It is never done. You cannot be a judge in your own case. But Amaechi insisted and of course, the venue was his house even though we protested vehemently. They brought out ballot papers and boxes whose origins we don’t know. We don’t know whether the ballot papers were marked and of course, they were not serialized. “We said no. Let us have an open election and let everybody signify his preference by raising his hand. We believe if you believe in something and you have signified your intention publicly, you, as an adult with conscience, should be able to own up to it publicly too. But they said no, it

From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba Y taking on his party, the ruling B People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in his headlong rush to be the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi may have lost faith in the admonition by  the celebrated writer, Prof. Chinua Achebe, that it is only a drunk who challenges his personal god, which the Igbo people called chi to a wrestling bout. Like a loner, Amaechi has since chosen to maintain a splendid isolation from his colleagues in the South-South geopolitical zone.  In open defiance of the order by the party not to contest the position, he stood and reportedly won, an action that has resulted in his suspension by the party, of which he is a foundation member way back in 1988. When he took potshots at fellow Niger Deltan and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe early this year, it was quite obvious that he was on a collision course with the powers that be. While some lionized him for lashing out at Orubebe for non-performance, especially over the slow pace

Mimiko must be by secret balloting. “At a point they said I should come and play some role in the exercise, but I said I was not going to have anything to do with it. It was a preplanned thing and they had their answers already even before the exercise. “Now they are showing a video of the exercise. The whole thing lasted about three hours and what they are showing is less than 10 minutes. Ask them to show the whole event and see what transpired before the so-called election. “The second day, 18 governors came out to say that the results of the so-called election could not have been a reflection of their votes. That has introduced doubts in the integrity of the election and some Nigerians don’t seem to understand the underlying factors in the controversy.” Turning his attention to the youths, many of who were brandishing devises showing footages of the controversial exercise, Mimiko said, “the greatest undoing the youths of today can cause to themselves is to fail to avail themselves the use of modern communication technology, which has made information available at your finger-tips. “You don’t have to wait long before a correct version of information is got. So all these people who are trying to deceive Nigerians with half-

truths about the NGF election are only whipping up the sentiments that they are the underdogs. “Nigerians should be able to investigate and get the truth out of this matter, instead of being sentimental about somebody who falsely claimed that he is being oppressed. The truth is that Jonah Jang is the chairman of the NGF.”  Although many of the praise-singers present in the hall applauded every sentence of the governor, the countenance on the faces of the quality crowd, including traditional rulers, captains of industries, senior politicians and top government functionaries, showed that the explanation could not hold any water. Many who spoke to The Guardian wondered how Mimiko, who is a crusader of one-man-onevote, which he projected before the last gubernatorial election in the state, which he won and who had always expressed his belief in the sanctity of the ballot paper, would support any position that is contrary to his belief. They said it is “un-Mimiko” to have insisted on rejecting the result of an election in which he participated and a clear winner had emerged?” Some of the people expressed disappointment and wondered why Mimiko should offer himself in a dispute involving the Peoples

Democratic Party (PDP), of which he is not a member, and in the alleged tussle between two brothers-in-law of the South-South geo-political zone, referring to President Goodluck Jonathan, whose wife, Patience, is an indigene of Amaechi’s Rivers State. A particularly irked politician from Mimiko’s Ondo town said he found it difficult defending the role of the governor in the matter as, “his action in rejecting the result of the chairmanship poll and relying on a pre-election document could not be defended by any democrat who believes in the ballot as an agent of change in a democracy. “The governor just told us that Amaechi did not step down but he didn’t tell us why they voted at the end of whatever fracas he said the footage of the video didn’t show us. In any case, the most important part of the event is what was recorded and shown to the public. If those against Amaechi had walked out of the venue without participating in the election, it would have been a different matter.” At the other end of Akure, where the state branch of the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) was holding its general meeting at the same time that the Democracy Day lecture was holding, it was a sweeping condemnation of the governors who rejected the emergence of Amaechi. A communiqué released at the end of the parley and signed by its coordinator, Dr. Bayonile Ademodi stated; “The recent unedifying aftermath of the seemingly ordinary election of the chairman of the NGF is only indicative of the malaise afflicting the Nigerian system. “No genuine representative of the people anywhere in the world will exhibit the type of behaviour seen of our so-called leaders! The fault lies nowhere else but with the dysfunctional unitary system that has been imposed on a country of multiple nations and in which the country Nigeria is nobody’s property.”  The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidate in the last governorship election, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, condemned Mimiko’s role. Akeredolu said; “what we are seeing at the national level is what we have been experiencing in our state for years now. All these pretenders to the tenets of democracy would soon be exposed for what they are and our people will be free from their pretence that is causing us not only our freedom, but our well-being, which is being frittered away on daily basis.” Perhaps the most pertinent question being asked by many of the respondents to Mimiko’s involvement in the NGF’s chairmanship election imbroglio is why the Ondo governor, whose public profile depicts a polished and urbane personality, who is always on the side of the majority as a respected democrat, should join the group of those who detest the outcome of an electoral exercise, having himself being a victim of antidemocratic forces before.

Amaechi: A Loner’s Battle Of Wits of work on the strategic East-West Road, others took the faceoff with a pinch of salt, reasoning that the main target was President Goodluck Jonathan. The shots fired in anger by the governor were actually diversionary, some swore. Going by his antecedents, Amaechi comes across as a loner and dogged fighter, an anti-establishment man who will always stand on his feet no matter how hard and high the obstacle may be. Remember he was once lucky when he took on the PDP establishment way back in 2007 and defeated then Governor Celestine Omehia, to become the governor of the oil rich state. From being a pariah whose candidacy developed k-leg and was avoided like the biblical plague, he suddenly became the number one citizen. Charity, they say begins at home, but as NGF chairman, it is quite obvious

that apart from Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the other South-South governors of Delta, neighbouring Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River all PDP members were never on the same page with Amaechi. He seems unfazed as he laboriously paddles his canoe. Ironically, it was a fellow South-South governor, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who ordinarily should have had fellow feelings for him that mobilised against him. At the recent conclave of the SouthSouth and South East governors in the Delta State, Amaechi was noticeably absent. While deputy Governor Tele Ikuru stood in for Amaechi, all the others were present.  Even with the presence of other political heavyweights like  like chief Tony Anenih, the chairman of the Board of

Trustees of the PDP and frontline Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, the beleaguered Rivers’ governor still kept away from his colleagues. At the meeting, the unmistakable odour of 2015, which Jonathan seems to be interested in was at the heart of the meeting, yet Amaechi kept his distance from the gathering of his tribesmen. At a similar parley organised by Uduaghan in Asaba on Sunday, January 2011  to drum support for Jonathan shortly ahead of the April 2011 election, Amaechi was personally present as the going was still good. With the main opposition parties merging into the All Progressives Congress (APC), the calculation is that Jonathan cannot afford to have issues at home. Unlike Amaechi, the case of Oshiomhole who also stayed away from the meeting was fully understandable, as his party is currently spearheading the merger

talks. Uduaghan seemed to have summed up the feelings of the South-South governors last Wednesday during the Democracy Day celebration, when he made a passionate appeal for the people of the zone to rally round Jonathan. Uduaghan let it be known that as a son of the South-South, it is out of place for fellow Niger Deltans to attempt to pull Jonathan down instead of supporting his transformational agenda fully. Uduaghan said: “Jonathan has done well. As a state government, we are giving him our maximum support to succeed. The politics of Nigeria is still very regional. It is a game of interests. We must struggle for the interests of Delta State and the Niger Delta. We should give him our maximum support. He is human. We should not be in the forefront of those criticizing him. Nobody from the region should be in the forefront of the campaign to pull down our son, the president. It is not right and should not be encouraged.”


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Sunday, June 2, 2013 53

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Saraki: The Immortal Oloye @ 80 By Raheem Adedoyin E would have been 80-years old on May 17, 2013, but Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki (aka Oloye) did not live to celebrate this milestone. He had, indeed, during his 75th birthday anniversary in 2008, declared a strong desire to mark today’s birthday. But sadly, the political icon died in his sleep in his house in Ikoyi, Lagos, last November — six months to the magic day. His death shook the whole country, but it was pleasing to his biological and political family that Oloye exited in a hale of glory. In an environment brimming with so many unofficial biographers of this theorist and practitioner of grassroots politics, following the Saraki personae had been a passion. From a man who started out as a loser in the Federal House of Representatives polls in 1964, Saraki was the archetype long-distance runner in Nigerian’s ruling political marathon. His rising visibility did not suffer from this temporary setback, as he was to become a member of Constituent Assembly, which produced the 1979 Constitution. One of the most colourful politicians of the Second Republic, his emergence as Senate Leader was a vote for unity in the midst of poignant diversity. When the Senate was inaugurated, there were five party leaders with Dr. Olusola Saraki representing the NPN, Senator J.A.Oduring his 75th birthday anniversary. Odebiyi (UPN), Senator Jaja Nwachukwu (NPP), Senator Idris Kadi (GNPP) and Senator Ibrahim Barau (PRP). But so dramatic was the motion moved by Senator A.D. Rufai and seconded by Senator J.O.A. Odebiyi of the UPN calling on the Senate to make Saraki the Senate Leader that it continues to draw comparison to today’s appalling antagonistic politics. One enduring attribute of his political

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odyssey is a neversay-die spirit, which had seen him weathering the tempests of Nigerian politics. Even in the Second Republic, with the ruling party without an absolute majority, Saraki, the consummate arbiter, was the bulwark in the National Assembly rallying relative stability for the Shehu Shagari presidency. Family, that Oloye exited in a hale of glory. Saraki, as far back as 1979, had become the colossus who would not only influence the course of national politics, but would also determine who would be elected or removed as governors in Kwara State. With six governors in his kitty — Alhaji Adamu Attah (1979), Chief C.O. Adebayo (1983). Allhaji Sha’aba Lafiagi (1992) Alhaji Mohammed Lawal (1999) Dr. Bukola Saraki (2003) and Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed (2011), it was clear who determined the occupant of Kwara Government House. His success in building an octopoidal political empire was traceable to the building blocks of generosity and loyalty nurtured oas an adopted

sonver time. The various testimonials during his funerals proved that the late Waziri’s generosity is legendary. Those who ceaselessly trooped to his “Ile Loke” residence for family support bore tribute to a philanthropist par excellence. For the Waziri of Ilorin, God certainly loves a cheerful giver. In a way, that divine instruction that givers never lack appeared to be the working secret of this exponent of grassroots politics. With loyalty as a strong point, the Sarakite political machine bore cultic visage and Sarakites his tribute would die for their leader. This is because the leader had never abandoned his people in their hours of tribulations. He was an unusual Godfather – who installed with no commitment other than the general good of his people. He was the only patron saint that continued to spend on an elected officer long after victory at the polls! Such was the Waziri and his politics. I have very fond memory of Oloye; I relish the

grueling but exciting electioneering campaigns with him since 2002. I remember his numerous acts of generosity both in Nigeria and abroad; I remember his defining meeting in London in June 2011 with Leader Senator Bukola Saraki (CON), Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and two other key officials of Kwara State government on the way forward in Kwara after the 2011 general elections; I remember, as a member of his entourage, the state reception he was accorded in Ghana in September 2011 during the wedding ceremony of his close friend and former SecretaryGeneral of the United Nation, Mr. Kofi Annan. I remember, most importantly, his gracious, intimate and confidential sessions with me as his adopted son, and also notably, his oftenexpressed wish that Kwara remains politically stable and economically prosperous — a wish that has courageously and admirably engaged the time and resources of his successor-son, Senator Bukola Saraki. True to his spirit of generosity and undiluted love for Kwara, Oloye was until his death a great pillar of the Ahmed administration and political mentor of the governor who has been the Chief mourner. Till date, the governor continues to give the credit for his success in life to Oloye’s financial empire and political structure. Although Oloye is already immortalised in the minds of the people, it is assuring that official immortalisation is underway with the planned renaming — with due process being folisn’t) wed-of the Kwara State University as Olusola Saraki University. But for a man who served the nation so selflessly, it is desirable that a monument be named after him too by the federal government, even if it will be the Ilorin International Airport as recommended by the Federal House of Representatives. Adedoyin is Special Adviser, Communication Strategy Government House, Ilorin

To Rescue APCON By Frank Ndu Ndibe F there is any move, which the Goodluck Jonathan administration has taken, which is remarkably path breaking for the Nigerian advert industry, it is the decision to do away with the awful practice of making the serving chief executive of a local agency the chairman of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). About a month ago, the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria announced the president’s approval of Ngozi Enyioma as the new APCON chairman, taking over from Lolu Akinwunmi who doubles as the managing director of Prima Garnet Advertising. Enyioma is not the CEO of any agency. Therefore, his appointment is a welcome departure from a controversial tradition. It is a breath of fresh air. Both President Jonathan and Information Minister Labaran Maku deserve kudos for charting a different direction for the industry. Every communication researcher has always known that all has not been well, especially in recent times with the Nigerian advertising industry, like many aspects of our national existence. But I, for one, did not imagine that the mess is on a grand scale. Of course, it has always offended public morality and our notions of justice and fair play that every APCON chairman has all along been the chief executive of a local advertising firm. There is nowhere it is permissible that a person plays the role of an operator and the role of a regulator simultaneously. It is like making the chief executive of a pharmaceutical or food firm the director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and he holds both positions at the same time.  Can the CEO of, say, an indigenous oil producing company serve concurrently as the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the agency, which regulates the Nigerian petroleum industry? Can a player be the referee in the same football match? If any evidence was needed to demonstrate the inherent conflict of interest in the terrible practice of the chief executive of an advertising agency doubling as the APCON chairman, it has come with dramatic force in the past few months. Immediately Prima Garnet, an agency founded and owned by the outgoing APCON chairman, lost the huge Airtel account to an interna-

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tional firm, APCON began to roll out measures to drive away person able to puzzle out any message in this paragraph? Put all multinational agencies from Nigeria. It did not matter to succinctly, the local advert industry is in dire need of technical APCON that the steps are diametrically opposed to the capacity building. Federal Government policy on foreign direct investment In her famous article on the Nigerian advert industry, Aguiyi(FDI). All manner of nasty tricks in the book have been Ironsi, an erstwhile Newswatch editor, raised significant quesemployed to create an atmosphere of unprecedented xeno- tions about ethics and values in the practice of advertising in our phobia. The outgoing APCON leadership claims that it has country. She took exception to the infamous practice of agencies been fighting for indigenous firms. Yet when the Airtel refusing to pay news media for published adverts and refusing to account was given to STB MacCann, a wholly owned indige- pay staff salary while the CEOs “live large like the Joneses”, buynous firm, APCON refused to let go; it has refused to this day ing exotic and swanky houses abroad. This practice has over the to vet and approve the Airtel advert materials sent to it! In decades pitted the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria other words, the outgoing APCON leadership would approve (NPAN) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), on Airtel adverts only if they come from Prima Garnet, owned by the one hand, and advert agencies, on the other. Rather than the APCON chairman! address this unprofessional practice in a frank and fruitful manMoral turpitude is not the only cataclysm befalling the ner, Nwosu, Okogun and Alumona fell short of openly endorsing Nigerian advert industry. Take capacity. The chief executives the practice where Nigerian advert executives live like of three advert firms a few days ago syndicated an article enti- Hollywood stars while staff are not paid. As you are reading this tled “Advertising Wars: Separating Facts From Fallacy”; it is piece, some agency staff are owed for months, and these employbeing run in different newspapers. The article is a response to ees go to neighbours, friends, colleagues and relatives to borrow the eloquent comment on the industry by Louisa Aguiyi- money to pay utility bills, medical bills, eat, pay rents, fuel their Ironsi against the background of APCON’s capping of inter- vehicles, and pay school fees of their children and wards. It is a national investment in Nigerian advert agencies at 25 per quintessential case of “monkey dey work, but baboon dey chop”. cent. The article by the trio is full of grammatical errors, and It is regrettable that the outgoing APCON leadership has failed the few sentences without serious grammatical howlers are woefully to tackle serious issues like this, which hurt the reputadull, drab and jejune in a way that makes them pretty mean- tion of the industry profoundly. Rather than provide a solution ingless. to the nasty practice, the APCON leadership has been preoccuHere is a typical example of a paragraph written by the troi- pied with undermining the entry of international agencies, ka who are supposedly communication specialists: “A multi- which will inject much needed foreign capital into the industry, national entered the Nigerian market about four years ago enhance technical capacity and raise professional and ethical and took an office space in Victoria Island, Lagos. Its 10-mem- standards. Worse, vested interests are fighting ferociously to ber staffs (sic) were involved in B-to-B high level product mar- retain the ancient regime, that is, to force the Federal Government keting to a small clientele in the construction and agriculture to bring back the outgoing APCON board so that the status quo sectors. At this stage, the company did not see the need for FDI or the decadent order will remain in the advert industry. These protection from government. But today they are keen on set- characters must realise, in the name of all that is decent, that ting up a factory in Nigeria and are in the process of Nigeria is no Banana Republic, a country where anything goes, a approaching government with a (sic) $180m FDI and seeking nation where values and the common good have absolutely no some investment concessions. This is understandable and meaning. The advert industry has been in an inelegant state. It straightforward”. No, it is neither understandable nor must now go in a different direction. straightforward. It is instead communication and English at Ndibe is a Lagos-based legal researcher and contributor to news their lowest ebb anywhere in the world. Frankly, is there a media.


TheGuardian

54 | Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion The Woolwich Killings — More Questions By Femi Fani-Kayode OME things just don’t add up when it comes to the Woolwich killings. There are certainly more questions than answers. Let us examine the facts. An off-duty British soldier by the name of Lee Rigby was walking down the street in the charming and peaceful London suburb of Woolwich. All of a sudden, and out of the blue, he was randomly selected and run over by a car, which was being driven by two young black men. After they hit him to the ground with the car, the two young men jumped out of it, armed with machetes, knives, a rusty old pistol and a meat cleaver, and in a deep and uncontrollable frenzy amidst shouts of ‘’Allahu Akbar’’, proceeded to take his precious life by carving him up, mutilating him, butchering him and beheading him in full public glare. This all happened barely 100 metres away from Rigby’s Army Barracks home. The attack began at 2.30pm whilst the soldier gave up the ghost at approximately 3pm on a four-point inter-section roundabout and crossroads. Immediately after finishing their gruesome act, the killers then conducted their own impromptu press conference, brandishing knives and meat cleavers in blood-soaked hands, with random members of the public asking to be filmed and quoted whilst their clothes were soaked, drenched and dripping in human blood. After their ‘’press conference’’ ended, they moved to the other side of the road and calmly waited for the police to arrive. They had all the time in the world to do so but they plainly refused to run and attempt to avoid arrest or the imminent arrival of the police. According to eye-witnesses (and I watched the footage on CNN) the police took no less than 30 minutes to get to the scene and confront the two killers. They did NOT get there in the nine minutes that they are claiming. When the police eventually arrived instead of surrendering peacefully to them or attempting to run away, the two young men charged at them brandishing their knives and meat cleaver in a menacing way and attempting to shoot their old and rusty pistol. Unfortunately for them the pistol exploded in the hand of the individual that tried to use it. They were promptly shot, wounded and disarmed. Yet before the police arrived, another rather curious incident took place. A strange yet very courageous Scandinavian woman, who just happened to be sitting on a bus that was driving past, told the bus driver to stop when she saw the carnage that was being inflicted on the dying soldier, got off the bus and calmly walked over to the killers even as they were still killing him. She then proceeded to have a detailed conversation with them asking them why they were doing what they were doing and assuring them that in the end they would lose the fight because it was ‘’just them against m a n y ’ ’ . Is this not a rather curious encounter? Who really was that Scandinavian lady and who does she really work for? Is she a genuine hero or is she what, in security and intelligence circles, is known as a controller? Is she part of the system because to do what she did took immense courage? So many questions still need to be asked and answered. For example,

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JAW JAW By Didi Onu

why did the police take so long before responding? Why were the killers given all the time in the world to conduct a graphic, loud and unofficial press conference in the streets with members of the public after beheading and carving up the young soldier? Even more curiously, the police and intelligence agencies have now admitted that these two young men were “known to them”. If that were the case, how come they were never put under close surveillance, monitored, questioned or arrested? Why did all this have to take place at exactly 3pm in the afternoon, at that location (a crossroads of four junctions) and on that date? Why did the assailants have to cut off their victims head, hang around there for thirty minutes whilst ranting and whilst soaked and covered in their victims blood? Why did the killers insist that only women could come near the dying body of their victim? Why was this whole thing allowed to happen and to drag on like it did for 30 uninterrupted minutes by the authorities? Why did the police refuse to move in even though numerous members of the public were having detailed conversations with the assailants? Was this whole thing some kind of statesponsored illuminati-style human sacrifice? Was it designed and orchestrated by the authorities to create more terror in the land and to give them the opportunity to introduce more draconian laws, curb immigration and do away with even more civil liberties on the grounds that they wish to fight the very terror that they themselves created. Are we not being fooled again by the ‘’powers that be’’ and the state just as we were over ‘’9-11’’ and over the murder of Princess Diana, both of which were clearly inside jobs with strong illuminati connections. If anyone doubts this assertion they ought to do themselves a favour and find the time to watch David Icke’s revealing documentary titled ‘’9/11-It Was An Inside Job’’. It is on YouTube. They can also find his numerous books and watch his

and the truth will be exposed. Yet the questions just keep coming. Is it possible that those two British boys of Nigerian descent were under some kind of ‘’Peter Powers’’-type hypnosis and mindcontrol system, which was triggered off by something or someone. In many of his books and videos David Icke has alluded to the usage and existence of such capabilities by the more advanced intelligence agencies in the world for the last ten years and he has cited many examples of such usage. Initially, I was skeptical about his assertions until I listened and read carefully and I cross-checked the examples and the events that he cited. After that I was convinced that he was right and ever since then I have acknowledged the fact that we live in an exceptionally dangerous world where only the dullard would rule anything out. Back to the two young men that killed in Woolwich. Were they cultivated, ‘’programmed’’ and used by agents of the illuminati in the British establishment to carry out this gruesome operation and this monstrous sacrifice? It is relevant and interesting to note that the two suspects were not just British citizens of Nigerian descent but that they were both Muslim converts. That is to say they were both brought up as Christians and then somewhere along the line they converted not just to Islam but to its most extreme and radical brand. They became dangerous Islamists that were prepared to kill for their faith. Who cultivated them and took them to this point and how did it get so bad? More importantly will this whole episode not give the western powers and the British people another reason to demonise Islam and target mosques and Muslim clerics? Is that part of the plan and the wider picture? Is the whole idea to create the atmosphere for vicious reprisal attacks against Muslims and Nigerians in the U.K? Is all that I have written here far-fetched? You may believe so but I don’t. And neither have I gone mad. The devil is real and the illuminati is its tool for world control and domination. It has been around for years and those that are part of it operate in the deepest secrecy. Yet even if you do not agree with me on anything that I have said here, the questions that I have raised are legitimate and they are indeed food for thought. In this game, there are no coincidences and everything happens for a reason and has its own symbolism and purpose. As far as I am concerned, only David Icke can crack this Woolwich nut and unravel its secrets and I look forward to the day that he does. Meanwhile I pray that the soul of Officer Rigby rests in perfect peace and I urge every Nigerian that is resident in or that is visiting the UK, especially if they are Muslims, to be exceptionally careful in their movements and in their dealings with the British people and authorities. There is far more to this whole thing than meets the eye and whether anyone likes to admit it or not, sadly, there will be some kind of backlash against our people at some point.

numerous documentaries on the murder of Princess Diana. Their worldview will change dramatically after that. Back to Woolwich. Are there not clear parallels between the Woolwich incident and the Boston bombings, which took place just a few weeks ago. Are there not similarities in the profiles of the two sets of killers in both incidents? Both operations were conducted in full public glare and in the afternoon. Both operations were carried out by two Americans and two British citizens respectively each of them with a foreign heritage and family ties with nations that are rife with and that are being torn apart by Islamist terror. In the case of the Boston bombers, the two perpetrators had strong links and family ties with Dagestan and Chechnya. In the case of the Woolwich incident, both perpetrators had equally strong links and family ties with Nigeria. Both sets of killers were Muslim fundamentalists and both sets were ‘’known to the intelligence agencies’’ of their respective countries. Both countries in which the murders took place, i.e. Great Britain and the United States of America, are the greatest allies and leaders in the war against terror and they are both committed to standing ‘’shoulder to shoulder’’ with one another in that fight. Is it not strange that similar acts of terror will take place in the two just a few weeks apart and that those acts of terror were all carried out by people with similar profiles and virtually the same age. The coincidences are just too many and things just don’t add up. The performance of the British police particularly has opened up the door for a lot of speculation. They made so many mistakes. Yet I can assure you that the British police and intelligence agencies are NOT that sloppy. They are amongst the best, if not the best, in the world and they just don’t make mistakes. There is far more to this whole thing than meets the eye and there is also a sinister purpose and agenda to it. The full picture has not yet been shown to us and perhaps it never will but little by little, those that are Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation. well-versed in these matters will work it out


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COVER From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo OLITICAL observers in Akwa Ibom State said P what happened in the Governors’ Forum is a ‘cool war’ that had beclouded the body for months, if not years. They blame it all on 2015 To them, the man at the center of the storm, Rotimi Amaechi is seen as a threat to the unclear second term ambition of the incumbent Present Goodluck Jonathan. To the politicians, the Rivers State governor’s alleged interest to become the number two citizen come 2015, will compromise his position as chairman of the governors’ body, as well as frustrate the chances of Jonathan. To them, the role played by the chairman of the Forum of Peoples Democratic Party Governors, chief Godswill Akpabio, in determining the chairmanship of the Forum is not out of place. Elder Ntienyong Inyangmme said; “Whatever people would say about our governor in his role during and even after the NGF election does not matter because he was doing what is expected of him as PDP governors’ leader; we in the state are proud of him.” To him, Akpabio was right to ensure that somebody with absolute loyalty is made the chairman of the Forum, so that party does not witness crisis come 2015. “In politics, it is hundred percent loyalty and nothing more, so what transpired was not a gang-up against any governor.” Corroborating that view, the chairman, Rules and Business in the Senate, Senator Ita Solomon Enang said it is a thing of happiness to the people of the state and Nigerians that Governor Akapbio is not a domesticated governor; that for him to have his voice heard at the national level is a plus to the state, above all for the PDP governors to listen to him is also a good development for the country. Enang said of the events in NGF; “I am a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and that is a matter playing out in the realm of body of governors, and so it is making the political system and space very active and it is laying precedence, it is creating lessons in the polity. As for the substance of the issues of the Forum, I am not competence to speak on it. “But for the action of our governor, taking a role at the national level on national politics and coming up to hold a position and is acceptable by his colleagues, I think the peo-

Akpabio

AKWA IBOMITES: We Are Proud Of Akpabio’s Role

ple should be happy that we do not have a domesticated governor, that we have a governor that is able to take a role, have a say, take a step at the national level and others will say yes and follow him. “On the controversy at the Forum, I will plead my privilege not to go into it directly, but I want to commend the governor of Akwa Ibom state for steering up to be recognised at the national level and being acceptable to lead as chairman of PDP governors; and of course, as chairman of PDP governors he has to steer the PDP and governors in a direction where his opinion would be in the best interest of the PDP and democracy in Nigeria.” Speaking in same vain, the state commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah said governor Akapbio is chairman of the PDP governors and his sole responsibility is to galvanize the PDP governors and ensure that they work together in the interest of the party and government of the country.” He argued that the seeming controversy in the PDP is not going to tear the party apart, rather it is going to strengthen the party the more. “It is part of democratic process, people must come together and agree on what to do, choose who they want to choose and follow who they want to follow; that is freedom, freedom of political association, expression of doing what you want to do, so the PDP governors are working for the interest of their party and you will see the PDP emerging stronger,” he said. Speaking on this issue, a veteran journalist, Mr. Aniefiok Udonquak, observed that the role of Governor Akpabio in the matter was that of stabilizing the national polity. According to him, “You can see because of his commitment and determination to issues of national interest he has become a rallying point in the country and coupled with his development stride in Akwa Ibom, he has become a factor in the country. In democracy, people are bound to disagree, so it is not a gang-up, it is a normal process in democracy. “In fact, it would have been a surprise if the result of the election was accepted by all, it happens even in advanced democracies; elections have always been contentious, that of NGF is no exception. The idea that what transpired is a gang-up against Governor Amaechi is a nonissue.”

Nigeria Governors Forum, The Story Of Power Mongering By Aloysius Omro OING by the sheer amount of ink, G broadcast airtime and valuable man-hours that have been dissipated in analysing the outcome of the recent chairmanship election of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, close watchers of the polity will no doubt be asking how an entity, which has no foundation in the nation’s constitution emerge to stamp a pervasive presence in the nation’s political space. So powerful is the forum now that the Presidency, which itself cuts the picture of a limitless power machine, has shown more than passing interest in who eventually leads it. That 36 governors who are supposedly products of democratic processes involving millions of voters in their states could not agree on the simple and straight forward outcome of their election raises fundamental questions about the origins, antecedents and ultimately, the purpose of the organisation. Questions are therefore being raised about how and why, a body that should have ordinarily served the purpose of comparing notes, is now wielding a discomfiting amount of influence, both for the power mongers in Abuja and in the polity as a whole. A close scrutiny of the origins of the Nigeria Governors Forum is bound to show that just like the nation’s unwieldy presidential system, the idea of governor’s fraternising was borrowed from the United States. In other words, the NGF comes across as one of those ideas that were poorly

from the United States. A brief excursion to the US will bring to the fore the truism of this assertion, and help in understanding what a forum convened with the interest of the Nigerian people at heart would have been doing. The National Governors Association as the United States calls it’s gathering of state helmsmen is a bipartisan organisation of the nation’s governors. It was formed in 1908 to promote visionary state leadership; share best practices and speaks with a collective voice on national policy. Because it serves as a collective voice on public policy, the NGA in the US is regarded as one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organisations. Its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths. According to the association’s website, “the NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. “NGA also provides management and technical assistance to both new and incumbent governors. Through NGA, governors identify priority issues and deal collectively with matters of public policy and governance at the state and national levels.” Interestingly, the Nigeria Governors Forum in its mission statement subscribes to the goal of devoting the platform to policy advocacy.

However, the reality that most Nigerians are used to is that of the forum being constantly deployed for the advancement of the personal political objectives of the governors. As such, while the NGF says it is for providing a common platform for collaboration amongst state helmsmen on matters of public policy; to promote good governance, sharing of good practice and enhance cooperation at the state level and with other arms of government and society, the reality on the ground looks totally different. One of the very action that pointed at the fact that the Governors Forum was not a group convened with the interests of Nigerians at heart surfaced in 2009, when a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was reportedly signed with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government by four state governors - Bukola Saraki of Kwara, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State - Governors’ Forum, to train Nigeria’s state chief executives on governance. The public outcry that greeted that proposal, not only stopped what would have been

another wasteful jamboree, but also put the searchlight on what the governors actually sought to do with their fraternity. So rather than project the image of an association founded to serve the real interests of the people, and a platform for state chief executives to compare notes on the challenges of governance, share experiences and generate broad-minded solutions that would uplift their states and strengthen the nation, the Governors’ Forum began to emerge not only as a lobby group of sorts, but as an institution. It was a ploy to make a body that is patently unconstitutional an institutional part of the nation’s democracy. In no time, the governors began to appropriate political space. They needed something akin to lebensraum, so they used the advantage of their numbers to harass the centre. The obstinate manner in which the forum engaged with other relevant stakeholders in the polity almost buried many laudable ideas. When the idea of a Sovereign Wealth Fund was muted to serve as a vehicle for

A close scrutiny of the origins of the Nigeria Governors Forum is bound to show that just like the nation’s unwieldy presidential system, the idea of governor’s fraternising was borrowed from the United States. In other words, the NGF comes across as one of those ideas that were poorly from the United States.

saving some of the nation’s wealth in order not to fritter it away carelessly, the governors drew their swords. For them, the money should be shared and spent. The N18, 000 minimum wage, which was passed by federal authorities in 2011 did not have the blessings of the governors, many of them complained bitterly of not having the revenue to pay their people that paltry sum. Similarly, a time came for the governors to support the people during the subsidy protests, they never did. That was a period when the Nigerian people needed their state chief executives to stand behind them and support the movement for a transparent and equitable oil and gas sector, but as usual, the state helmsmen buried their heads in the sands and waited for the storm to blow over. Today, many of them are superintending over the sharing of the subsidy largesse that was obtained from what is akin to the blood of Nigerians. Today, a multi-billionnaira secretariat of the Forum, plays host to a full-fledged secretariat and a director-general presides over the bureaucracy. Where did the money come from? Obviously from funds belonging to ordinary Nigerians in what is supposedly a commonwealth of all Nigerians. This makes it apparent why the ordinary Nigerian will surely not give a hoot if the forum tears itself apart in its ongoing internecine war. After all, the forum has never stood on the side of the people, but for the interest of 36 powerful musketeers.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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COVER

FAYEMI: NGF Will Bounce Back

Under Amaechi Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi was a key player in the intrigues that have dogged the politics of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), which culminated in the disputed election of May 24. In this interview with the Head, Southwest Bureau of The Guardian, MUYIWA ADEYEMI, Fayemi expressed optimism that the Forum will bounce back under the leadership of Rivers State Governor, The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) is a body not known to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, yet it is a powerful bloc nobody can ignore its relevance; how do you explain this? ELL, it is trite to say the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is not known to the constitution. But let me just say that the Forum is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) under the Companies and Allied Matters Act. So, even if it is not in the constitution, there can be no question that it has contributed to the deepening of this democracy. What is power, anyway? Power is the ability to wield influence in order to achieve one’s objectives. So, even if it is true that the NGF is not a statutory body of the Nigerian Constitution, you must not forget that the office of the governor is a constitutional office and governors by virtue of their office are automatically members of the National Economic Council (NEC) and members of National Council of States (NCS). These are the highest policy making advisory bodies to the Nigerian President in the Nigerian constitution. As you may be aware, NGF regularly meets before the meetings of those constitutional bodies to aggregate their position. This is where many people misconstrue the role of the NGF Chairman. The chairman of NGF, Governor Rotimi Amaechi never spoke as Amaechi, he was the voice of his colleagues, who have reached a consensus on a number of issues; excess crude, Sovereign Wealth Fund, state police, constitutional reforms, polio eradication campaign, peer review mechanism, these are issues Amaechi, or whoever is in that position will speak on, on behalf of his colleagues. It is not his own opinion, not necessarily his own beliefs; it is the position that has been taken by his colleagues. Finally, Nigeria is a federation of federating units; governors are the most important figures within their own federating units. And these federating units are coordinates, they are not subordinates, they are equal. Until recently many Nigerians do not take cognizance of the activities of the NGF, but in the last one year, people begin to see it as a powerful body, especially in challenging the Presidency I do not necessarily agree with you, but NGF is a young institution and it came into being in 1999. You will recall that it was in the second republic that we actually had governors, not colonial governors, but elected governors. Until then, we had regional blocs or ideologically functional blocs. You either talk of Southern Governors, Northern Governors or Progressive Governors and populated by parties like UPN, NPN, NPP, PRP and GNPP, but we didn’t have a formal national Governors’ Forum as we now have it. The current NGF is modeled after America’s National Governors Association. It is in the nature of things for such bodies to grow in reputation, credibility and popularity, based on the results achieved on matters of interest to its members. So, even if you are right that many were not aware of our activities in the early days, the ability to

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Fayemi

put up a united front on issues like health, education, infrastructure, federation accounts etc, has endeared NGF to a wider section of the populace. What gave NGF a more popular breakthrough in the public psyche in recent times was the patriotic role it played in the assumption of office of the current President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan. You will recall that in the heat of the crisis, when the late President Yar’Adua was ill and a cabal within the Villa deployed all manner of subterfuge to prevent President Jonathan from coming into office, NGF stood up to be counted on the popular side of that struggle, by leading the struggle against this cabal in collaboration with the National Assembly to enable us to have the Doctrine of Necessity. This was the work of NGF under the leadership of its former chairman, Bukola Saraki, now a Senator. And everybody gave kudos to Governors Forum for playing that critical role. That was a historic moment in the life of our country and this has been the nature of NGF. It is a forum for constructive intervention in the polity, a forum for peer learning, it is a forum for constructive pressure on the leadership at the national level, because governors also have interests and some of these interests include what we have described consistently as the manipulation of the Federation Account by the Federal government, through illegal deductions from the account, and this is one of the contentious issues with the President and the Federal Government. We have consistently insisted that you cannot shave our heads behind our back, for you to take money belonging to any of the con-

“What has 2015 got to do with the election of the chairman of the NGF; nothing? I am not clairvoyant, but I went to school, I can make a distinction between two things, 2015 will take care of itself as far as I am concerned. We are not opposition governors but governors from different parties, not PDP, which is the dominant party in the Forum. NGF is for all governors, regardless of their party affiliation. It is not a forum for PDP Governors, to that extent we also have interests and our interest in this case is not to become puppets to the PDP administration. If that is what is meant when they say we are behind Governor Rotimi Amaechi, they are not correct. stituent units that make the federation, we must be part of that decision, rather than learn belatedly that the money had been removed arbitrarily, which has often been the case. And that has led us to a campaign in the constitution reform process for the separation of office of Accountant General of the Federation and the Accountant General of the Federal Government. These are fundamental issues

that have created misunderstanding that led to the somewhat negative reaction to Governor Amaechi in the Presidential circle and in the Federal Government circle. But these are issues that we have all collectively agreed on. All the issues we have in the Supreme Court, all the 36 governors contributed to hire lawyers, including those on the other side now. These are the contentious issues between us and the Federal Government. It is not personal, it is political. The reality is that we all refer to the President as our President, we respect his office, but we also feel strongly that we all have constitutional responsibilities to our people who elected us and to Nigeria collectively, and we must not do anything to shirk those responsibilities that have been placed on our laps. So, if anyone is saying that Amaechi is doing this, wanting to become a President, it is not to our knowledge that he has ambition to contest for Presidency, if indeed he has any. My reason for voting for him is that he has shown strength of character in an environment in which courage is in short supply, he has shown independent leadership, and he has shown responsibility in protecting the integrity of the Forum and the yearning of the governors. He has never deviated from any decision taken by the governors by consensus, even if those decisions might put him into trouble at the Presidency. It is important, however, to stress that our votes were not anti Presidency votes, neither were they pro-Amaechi votes. They were simply aimed at guarding the independence and integrity of the Forum jealously, as a body of elected governors, not a partisan body along party lines, even though we are politicians, it is a body based on our interests collectively and individually. Peer learning is one of the major functions of the NGF but the body in recent times, seems to be playing politics more than its real function? What do you mean by playing ‘politics more than its real function’? Isn’t politics the judicious allocation of resources? I don’t agree with you, whoever said we play more of politics there is not familiar with what we do at the Forum, after all you said the activities of the Forum was not that known to many Nigerians until now. When you go to NGF you will see a body of records, information covering all spheres. We discuss education in our states, we discuss health care collectively, we have a joint campaign on Polio; we just had a Governance Fair in the Southwest that brought together all the six states of the Southwest. It was held in Lagos last week.    What did we do there? We looked at what Lagos is dong best that Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun can learn. What does Ekiti do better than other states? Ekiti’s Social Security Scheme was adopted for all states in the Southwest, Ondo’s ‘3is’ development initiative was recommended, Osun’s ‘OYES’ was recommended. If you are not within the Forum, you may not know anything like that is happening. This Governance Fair has been held in three zones before it got to Southwest. Two states have just completed Peer Review Mechanism Process of the Governors Forum; Anambra and Ekiti, others like Lagos, Niger and Rivers are being assessed now, this is the scheme we all volunteered to participate in, a peer learning scheme. The reason why the leadership of NGF became an issue is simply that with growth in every organisation comes competition. Democracy evolves and it always evolves from consensus to election, because competition increases with evolution. While it was easy for governors to agree to a consensus in 1999, it is not necessarily the case now. And it is not always that consensus deepens democracy, it could also lead to the tyranny of the majority. Why do we have proliferation of governors

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COVER

A Tall Order For Frail Jang From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos HE script is still playing and Governor T Jonah Jang, factional chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is not joking at all. Last Friday, he commissioned a new office for the AGF, in company of 14 antiRotimi Amaechi governors. Thereafter, they paid a visit to the Presidency leaving the realm of rhetoric to practical politics. Jang did not put himself forward for consideration as NGF chairman; but those who wanted to douse the high-wire tension shopped for him as a compromise candidate that could be acceptable to all, in place of either Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State or Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi. They had to look inwards for a more politically neutral person. Some people even said that he was able to garner 16 votes was quite commendable. There is no love lost between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Jang is not the outgoing type, preferring to manage his Plateau issues qui-

etly. But now, he has joined the fray, where others had refused to be dragged in between a supposedly South-south affair. Plateau people do not see anything wrong in Jang’s new office. That is why there has been an avalanche of congratulatory messages from the people. And because nobody wants to be seen as an enemy, even those who may have differed with the governor have opted to keep sealed lips. They do not want to comment on the issue except those who are ready to praise sing. Shortly after he was pronounced winner, by the President’s men in Abuja, Jang

Jang

stormed Yakubu Gowon Airport Jos, on Sunday, May 26, where he was received by his Deputy, Ambassador Ignatius Longjang, commissioners, special advisers, political aides, loyalists and other stakeholders. He told reporters that he did not indeed bargain for what came his way. But he was however quick to add that his emergence was “God’s work and will.” He attributed his emergence to the divine grace and intervention. He could only respond to three questions as his Director of Press Affairs, Mr. James Mannok barred journalists from further

probing. Jang said, “I did not bargain for what I have got. But that is God’s Will. Well, as far as I am concerned, I have been given an assignment and by the grace of God, I will do my best to unite the Forum to make sure that the Governors’ Forum has the right leadership for the people of Nigeria because we are governors that govern the states. “We are bound to work together with one another. The NGF leadership election or selection or whatever you want to call it, should not divide the governors. We have one purpose. We were elected by the people and we have to work for the people. We have worked with Governor Rotimi Amaechi very successfully and Amaechi should just come down and work with me so that we can continue to give Nigerians the right leadership for electing us as their governors,” he added. He said since he had worked with Amaechi as chairman of the NGF, he expects him to work with him so that they will collectively give the nation the right leadership. Whether Jang has energy to withstand the heat when 2015 comes in full swing is what

… A Precursor To 2015 By Kamal Tayo Oropo O one gave him any serious chance at challenging the fedN eral might to snatch a successful re-election as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. The odds were staked high against him. But Rivers State governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has temporarily prove cynics wrong and dared anyone to under-rate him as the battle for 2015 begins to take shape. President Goodluck Jonathan may be the Commander-inChief (C-In-C) of the Nigerian Armed Forces, but Amaechi may be emerging as political generalissimo in Nigeria’s slippery political terrain. Despite efforts by President Jonathan to entice Northern governors and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Amaechi won by 19 votes to 16 for Jonah Jang, Plateau State governor, a late entrant to the race and protégé of Jonathan.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 56 forum, East, West, North, Southsouth, are these not unnecessary distractions? Not at all. In every democratisation process, the democratic struggle is waged on many fronts, the NGF is the national body of governors, the Progressive Governors’ Forum is put together by governors who share the same political ideological orientation, that is why it is called the Progressive Governors’ Forum. The Southwest, the Southeast, the North, the BRACED states are zonal forums, where members discuss matters of zonal interests and everything come together at the national forum. It should not surprise you that if you look at the voting pattern in the last NGF election, you probably will also detect zonal dynamics. And that must have been informed by likemindedness. How would you react to the insinuation that the opposition governors are behind this crisis with the hope of benefiting from it in 2015? What has 2015 got to do with the election of the chairman of the NGF; nothing? I am not clairvoyant, but I went to school, I can make a distinction between two things, 2015 will take care of itself as far as I am concerned. We are not opposition governors but governors from different parties, not PDP, which is the dominant party in the Forum. NGF is for

Amaechi’s sin may have stemmed from his purported interest to serve as vice presidential running mate in 2015. For appetizers, the federal aviation authorities grounded Amaechi’s executive jet under some bureaucratic excuses. Almost simultaneously, an Abuja High court delivered what many believed to be a politically toxic verdict, ceding control of the ruling PDP in Rivers State to an anti-Amaechi party executive. Amaechi’s woes were only just beginning, as he was quickly served, for breakfast, a blatant and badly choreographed series of maneuverings –– the new PDP executive in the state quickly issued a series of directives to both factional party faithful and even the elected government of the state, with the aim of antagonising the governor and create an atmosphere of confusion. Lunch quickly followed, the Nigeria Police Command in the state acted in a clearly partisan manner to protect the antiAmaechi forces in the state. It occupied the premises of a duly constituted local government and overrun the premises of the

all governors, regardless of their party affiliation. It is not a forum for PDP Governors, to that extent we also have interests and our interest in this case is not to become puppets to the PDP administration. If  that is what is meant when they say we are behind Governor Rotimi Amaechi, they are not correct. Factually speaking, Governor Jang also has some of the non-PDP members in his support too. Governor Obi of APGA and Governor Mimiko of Labour Party voted for him and were some of his most vocal promoters. It is therefore not correct to say opposition or governors from the other parties are the ones causing crisis in NGF. Governors voted according to their own interests, according to their own reading of who will be pursue the interest of their own party and their own state and that is perfectly legitimate in my view. For example, if you are a governor from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), it is no secret that we are very passionate about fiscal federalism and about reducing the powers at the centre through devolution and making states and local governments more accountable.  I am sure you know that Amaechi is also very strong on those issues.  It is therefore not difficult to come to the conclusion that the best way to go is to vote in a chairman who will

not tie us to the apron strings of the Federal Government. With the current polarisation of NGF, do you see the forum operating as a united body in the nearest future? Absolutely yes. We are all adults, capable of resolving our differences. And to the best of my knowledge the first statement that Governor Amaechi made after winning the NGF election was a very reconciliatory remark, he appealed to all to sheathe their swords and forget all that had happened. He appealed to all of us to continue to work with the President in order to take Nigeria forward and deepen our democracy. I think we all agree with him because it is not a battle between the President and the Governors’ Forum. We are in the project of developing Nigeria with the President leading us. And anything we can do to ensure that project does not suffer; I believe we will all do it. I know there is a lot of discussion going on, on both sides on how to bring the matter to an amicable resolution, devoid of recrimination, devoid of fingerpointing, devoid of external interference. As a scholar and pro-democracy activist, are you not ashamed about the actions and utterances of some governors; some lied that there was no election, only for the video recording of the event to proof them

State House of Assembly. Not done, the police reportedly withdrew police security from a sitting local government chairman for daring to openly express support for Amaechi. Taken together, these events and actions indicate clearly that Amaechi’s troubles are coming directly from the presidency. The footprints are all too familiar: presidential political displeasure with a governor, followed by the unleashing of the instrument of state to intimidate and harass; EFCC, spurious allegations of wrongdoing, the use of the security apparatus to partisan ends, the recruitment of political jobbers and miscreants to create confusion, compromising the judiciary to justify a forcible takeover of the administration of the state are all gimmicks no longer strange in this clime. These developments came in the immediate aftermath of a series of Abuja meetings between the President and some governors in a bid to convince them to avoid re-electing Amaechi for another term –– the ultimate diner prepared to finally humiliate the governor.

wrong? In the heat of the moment, we all make statements that upon reflection do not endear us to the public. That happens sometimes when tension is high. But I think these are the things we have to put behind us. But I think the media is also being unfair to some of us.  It is clear to all now from the video we released that there was an election and it was free, fair, credible and transparent, but some were insistent on aborting the pregnancy simply because the baby delivered was not acceptable to them.  This is very reminiscent of the annulment of the June 12 election. People should apportion the blame fairly. We stood for the integrity of the process and we would have accepted if Amaechi had lost because to us, it was not about Amaechi but about the independence and integrity of the NGF. Do you think people can still trust these governors after creating such confusion? Well, I have no comment on that. What is the way out of this logjam? The way out is for all of us to try and regain the trust and confidence of Nigerians, because I believe you are right that we have disappointed Nigerians with this and I apologise on behalf of all of us for that. If election concerning just 35 voters could be so controversial, what happens when millions of Nigerians

would vote in 2015? This election was not just about 35 or 36 people, but these are people leading over 155 million people. It is about the integrity of the process. But just 35 ballot papers and what could have happened if it was not recorded? Let’s look at it from the bright side, that this taught us to be very vigilant and eternal vigilance is the price to pay for this democracy. At all times we must have our head properly screwed on and be alert to protect our democracy. The video itself is an evidence of that, and there are clear lessons to be learnt on this, we must always stand on the side of truth. If Governor Amaechi calls a meeting now, do you think the 19 governors that voted for him will attend the meeting? I don’t have any doubt in my mind that all of them will attend the meeting, but he will not call a meeting now, we have advised him not to call meeting until everybody is back on the same page. We need to appeal to all to sheathe their swords, let’s try and bring all our people back. And I understand that similar moves are being made from the other side. Thank God the Presidency has come out to say the President is not intervening in the NGF affairs and I want to commend the President for this.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

POLITICS

OKUROUNMU: Jonathan’s Administration Is • Tinubu And Former AD Governors Are Behind Divisions In Afenifere Senator Femi Okurounmu served as senator between 1999 and 2003 under the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). The outspoken senator, who represented Ogun Central Senatorial District, spoke to CHARLES COFFIE GYAMFI on a number of issues, including politics in the Southwest, granting amnesty and recognition to ethnic militia and why corruption has become intractable. How will you rate the Jonathan administration, in terms of performance? ONATHAN’S administration has been handicapped by his predecessors, the baggage he inherited and the manner in which he came to office put him at a disadvantage.  He inherited baggage of liabilities from the preceding regimes, starting from Obasanjo’s regime to Yar’Adua’s; he inherited a baggage of liabilities that is hampering his effective performance. He cannot fight corruption, corruption has got worse but the blame is not all his because it is part of the liabilities he has inherited. But some people see him as a very weak leader, not firm enough to take tough decisions? You know in politics you have to give people a long rope to pull, sometimes, patience is important in politics. Sometimes if you rushed to take some actions people will blame you even though you are right. He gave these people (Boko Haram sect) a long rope to pull, he even gave them offers, which annoyed many Nigerians and if these people were clever and embraced those offers, this latest development (State of emergency) wouldn’t have come up. Most Nigerians didn’t like these offers, offer of dialogue and offer of amnesty. In fact, a lot of us were hoping that those things would not be accepted because we didn’t like them, but at least by offering them, the President has shown the world that he is a leader who was ready to operate in a peaceful and fatherly way to stop this rebellion. But since those people rejected the offers now that Jonathan has come down heavily on them he has the whole nation’s support behind him. On a national scale now, would you say the federal government is doing enough to fight corruption? Well, those who are familiar with my writings and statements know that I have been attacking various governments, right from former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, for not doing enough to fight corruption. When I was still writing my Tribune Column, I hammered Obasanjo seriously for not doing enough to fight corruption. I accused him of being corrupt himself. In fact, I accused Obasanjo of breeding corrupt leadership, encouraging corruption and cultivating corruption. Would you say things are better now? Of course not. In fact, things are getting worse. Obasanjo ensured that things would get worse by the way he handed over power. To begin with, before he handed over, he had his third term ambition, which in fact, capped his corruption through the way he bribed and bribed the National Assembly. In fact, he escalated corruption in the National Assembly to a level we have never known before and you know once a lion tastes blood, it will start to kill and eat human beings. So the kind of corruption that was never known before in the National Assembly, Obasanjo introduced it by bribing them to have a third term in office and since then, nobody has been able to reduce the corruption in the National Assembly. It is mounting everyday and before Obasanjo left office, after he had failed to have his third term, he decided to install somebody who would more or less, boost his ego. He handpicked Yar’Adua and Jonathan for that purpose. But in handpicking Yar’Adua, he ensured that Yar’Adua would not be able to fight corruption, because who are the people who funded Yar’Adua’s campaign at Obasanjo’s request, people like James Ibori who were already indicted for serious corruption. He had their files, they were already indicted by EFCC, he had their files in front of him, they too were aspirants for the Presidency, so he (Obasanjo) called them and

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Okurounmu said look, you cannot contest, if you do we will bring out your file and you will go to jail. He therefore ordered them not only to step down for Yar’Adua but also fund Yar’Adua’s campaign. So with their corrupt money, they funded Yar’Adua’s campaign. Those who should have been put to jail by Obasanjo were made to go and fund Yar’Adua’s campaign with the money they had looted. That made Yar’Adua to give them soft landing when he got into power. Yar’Adua could not therefore prosecute them, in fact, they became the closest associates of Yar’Adua, wining and dining with him at Aso Rock. That is why nobody could prosecute Ibori, even when they prosecuted him in Nigeria, they could never convict him. All these people were the people who actually financed Yar’Adua’s campaign, to enable him to become the President. Corruption got worse under Yar’Adua because he could not do anything to these corrupt people and that gave licence to everybody to be corrupt. That is why impunity is so bad; impunity demonstrates to other people that if people can steal so much money and nothing happens to them, why shouldn’t I steal my own? That is why those in government or close to the government began to steal money, believing that nothing can happen to them and truly up till today nothing happens to them. Civil servants have learnt the lesson, everybody has learnt the lesson, all Nigerians have learnt the lesson that the way to survive in Nigeria and be a big man is to steal money. Sadly, the notion is that you better steal a lot of money because if you steal small money they will put you in jail because you won’t have enough to bribe the Judge, but if you steal a lot of money you will have enough to bribe everybody, including the

Judge and you will still have enough left over. Things have gotten to a ridiculous stage now, in fact, the Judges are the most corrupt now, the level of corruption in the judiciary is higher than anywhere else because they know that these people have looted a lot of money. When you take a corrupt man before a judge, the judge is happy at the opportunity to take part of the money and allow the case to hang on forever, it will never be concluded. What are the ways to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in Nigeria? There are two ways; one way is for the people to wake up and begin to condemn corruption. As it is today, a lot of us just pay lip service to condemning corruption, because we are all waiting for our own opportunity to also have the chance to steal our own. A lot of young men today are all looking for opportunity where they too can have their hands in the national purse and steal their own. So they are not against corruption, but rather they too want to partake in it. Unless we change that, unless we have a way of changing the attitude, orientation of our young people, if we can have a way of mobilising the young people, change their orientation, a kind of national orientation for the young people, if we can have that, it will promote change. Another way, I think is to give stiff punishment to convicted corrupt persons. If we are ready to do that, that is the easiest way, but the government at the top will not do that as I have said. The government cannot do it. If am the president and you are the one who funded me to be president and you are the most corrupt man in Nigeria, will I imprison you, if all my associates and friends are corrupt, will I imprison them? That is the problem we have today and our peo-

The move to have APC is a good one because a party must have national spread since we all still believe in one Nigeria. The more national spread a party has, the better for our democracy and if you have a party that can contest effectively against the PDP, the better for our democracy. I think the most successful election we have had was the one between the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) when Gen. Ibrahim Babangida mandated a two-party system. If we have two nation-wide parties that are very widely spread it is good for our democracy

ple don’t have the mentality of the North African countries, where they can continuously rise up and say no. Nigerians do not want to die and in any country where people are so intimidated by death, where they are so afraid to die, it is difficult to come about progress. Progress through public reaction is very difficult because every public reaction involves some danger to yourself, your person and in the Nigerian society nobody wants to expose himself or herself to any danger. That is the problem we have. Does the pardon given to Alamieyeseigha affect the fight against corruption? It falls under what I have said; Alamieyeseigha was a substantive governor while Jonathan was his deputy. Definitely, the President doesn’t see Alamieyeseigha as a person to be disgraced, convicted or humbled. He sees him as somebody that has already been disgraced, who must be liberated and brought back to prominence and rehabilitated. Such behaviour encourages people to become very corrupt. What do you think of recent revelations that the Federal Government is planning to contract Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) to protect NNPC pipelines in the South West? Well, to begin with, what is the rationale for having OPC; OPC came into existence to champion an ethnic nationality struggle, struggle for freedom from oppression, freedom from marginalization, to see that the Yoruba are not second class citizens, that was the reason for OPC’s emergence. In other words, OPC was a response to the failure of government to provide fair and just governance for everybody. That is what OPC was found to respond to. A good government should make it unnecessary to have ethnic militias like OPC, what the government should do is to encourage good governance, improve security for everybody through the police and other security agencies and ensure fairness and justice, so that nobody feels he has to organise any militia to fight for his own right or to fight for justice; that should be the proper duty of governance. Government should not succumb to recognising these ethnic militias, as if to say they are now part of institutions of governance.  They are not part of institutions of governance; they are responses to bad governance. By the time the government begins to award them contracts, government have, in fact, accorded them recognition and you give them such lucrative contracts, you encourage other militias to spring up because people will now feel that the easiest way to have government’s recognition and have a piece of the national cake is to organise and threaten government. That is why for a long time we have opposed Boko Haram and amnesty for them because amnesty for Boko Haram is rewarding terrorism and as we have always said, it will encourage other terrorist groups to spring up. So I am opposed to awarding oil pipelines protection contract to OPC, the same way I am opposed to awarding the same to the militants of the Niger Delta. It is wrong, it is the government that is giving these people recognition and rewarding the taking up arms against the government. Whether we like it or not, these people are taking up arms against government, we cannot be rewarding that so I am opposed to the contract. There seems to be division in the Progressives’ camp; what is responsible? It is an open and public knowledge that the Progressives are divided. For example, when we talk of the Progressives in this country, the ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria) as of today are believed to consist of Progressives, because a lot of the members of ACN were members of the AD (Alliance for Democracy). In fact, it was the AD that became the ACN and the AD was the one that really championed Nigeria’s democracy and opposed Military rule as Afenifere. We opposed Gen. Abacha’s regime and later formed the AD because we didn’t want to operate with the conservative parties of Abacha; we thought we couldn’t work with those conservatives who supported Abacha all along, that was why we formed the AD. One could say the AD, which has now transformed to ACN are Progressives. At the same time, the Labour Party (LP) in Ondo State was part and parcel of this AD,


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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INTERROGATING 14 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY

POLITICS

Handicapped By His Predecessors’ so they too are Progressives and that is why we supported Ondo State during the last election. There are others who don’t even belong to either ACN or LP, but are leaders of the NADECO Movement. Though they are Progressives, they don’t belong to either of these parties because they don’t believe these parties quite represent what we stood for originally, they have lost focus. We are still progressives; for instance, I don’t carry a party card today. Chief Olu Falae, who was our AD presidential candidate doesn’t belong to either of these two parties and there are many of us like that who didn’t belong to neither ACN or LP or Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The truth of the matter is that the Progressives are scattered, there are Progressives now in LP, ACN, AD and even PDP. As soon as the AD was dislodged, many of the members went to PDP and today they are part and parcel of PDP; so it is no news that the progressives are scattered, we belong to so many different parties now and to make matters worse, there are moves, to more or less revive some of the past progressive parties like the UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria). You would have known that Dr. Fredrick Fasehun is trying to revive the UPN and there are also moves to revive the Social Democratic Party (SDP). In fact, the SDP is already revived, so there is now a party, which is now known as SDP, this is supposed to be for the Progressives. How we are going to get all the progressives to belong to just one party is the next target. Is that possible? It is a big challenge, nothing is impossible but it is a big challenge. Afenifere is also divided, what is responsible for that? Again, during the NADECO struggle from 19951998, the struggle against Abacha was championed by NADECO and as Abacha’s terror was unleashed on the people, especially on NADECO, a lot of NADECO people withdrew, leaving just a small group of people, committed, dedicated people, mostly Afenifere leaders to fight Abacha to the end. So these Afenifere leaders were the ones who midwived the political party that contested the election as AD and when the people saw that AD was very popular with the people, a lot of progressives came under the AD umbrella as Afenifere, as at that time there was this slogan that “AD is Afenifere and Afenifere is AD.” So when we became a party, we were still Afenifere, we just became a political party just by coincidence, because the rest of the country then had already been swallowed by Abacha and AD did not have the resources and the time to really go and canvass throughout the length and breadth of the country, because the time was very short. So, AD was more or less confined to the Afenifere within the Southwest, so that was why we have the slogan, “AD is Afenifere, Afenifere is AD.” But after we got to power, the first indication of a crack was the struggle for the presidential candidacy of our party. We had two candidates contesting for the position, chief Olu Falae and the late chief Bola Ige. The choice of one candidate created some misgivings among certain people within us and that was the beginning of what you may call a crack and this continued till we got into government. People who have other agenda, apart from having misgivings about the choice of our presidential candidate, others who had their own private agenda exploited this crack. For instance, our AD Governors who always wanted to assert their independence from the Afenifere leadership felt that now that they had power they could assert their independence. They saw it as an opportunity to exploit that division and assert their independence. This led to some kind of rebellion by the AD governors against the ACN’s traditional leadership, the traditional centre of authority of Afenifere. That was the beginning of the crisis that led to all the splits we have today and that is why a lot of the traditional Afenifere leadership are not in ACN because they don’t support the leadership of the party, which is deemed to have departed from the original principles and ideology of Afenifere. Would it be right to refer to those who caused the division as rebels?

A good government should make it unnecessary to have ethnic militias like OPC, what the government should do is to encourage good governance, improve security for everybody through the police and other security agencies and ensure fairness and justice, so that nobody feels he has to organise any militia to fight for his own right or to fight for justice; that should be the proper duty of governance. Government should not succumb to recognising these ethnic militias, as if to say they are now part of institutions of governance.  They are not part of institutions of governance; they are responses to bad governance. By the time the government begins to award them contracts, government have, in fact, accorded them recognition and when the government accords them recognition and you give them such lucrative contracts, you encourage other militias to spring up Well, I won’t call them rebels because that might suggest something negative, but certainly they refused to line up behind the leadership, so they went their own separate ways and refused to acknowledge the authority and the leadership of Afenifere and that led to the split. Is it not a good idea if Afenifere came together to speak with one voice on behalf of the Yoruba? There are many ways in which Yoruba can come together to fight their cause. We may not call ourselves Afenifere, we can call ourselves different names. The important thing is to fight the Yoruba cause, we may even come together under a non-political umbrella, but as long as we agree on the Yoruba interest and how to pursue them, even with us being under different political parties, we can still fight a common cause and join forces in the common struggle. When it became difficult to get the various factions to come together, some of us approached our Mama, HID Awolowo because she too was involved in efforts to bring everybody together under Afenifere, but even her own effort failed. Efforts were made, more than five years, trying to bring the group together; traditional leadership, the governors and everybody came together, even before Papa Abraham Adesanya died. The split as I told you started immediately after the 1999 election, it became worse in 2003 when we had two different conventions, one convention was held in Abuja, the was held in Lagos. The one that was held in Abuja was the authentic convention, but because their (AD Governors) intention was to hijack the party, they organised a separate convention in Lagos, which was organised by Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Of course, they had all the resources, so the crack became very wide. We

Okurounmu

then had two different people pretending to be national chairmen; we had Senator Akinfenwa, who was elected in Abuja and chief Bisi Akande who was elected in Lagos. It was Akande’s faction of the AD that metamorphosed into the ACN. In spite of that, we continued to make efforts to bring everybody together, Abraham Adesanya, Afenifere leader made reconciliation efforts until he died, but he did not succeed. Before Adesanya died, he made Fasoranti to act for him, even on a sick bed. He said Fasoranti should act as a leader but the governors refused to recognise Fasoranti as the leader, they chose Senator Ayo Fasanmi of Osun State as the leader. We now said if the two groups are to come together, then we must have a neutral person to bring them together. We set up a neutral Yoruba leadership committee comprising people who are not partisan politicians, but who enjoy respect in Yoruba land. We appointed that committee to effect the reconciliation of the two factions. The late Justice Kayode Esho headed the committee and everybody knows that Esho was not a politician. He was a respected leader of integrity. He was appointed to head this committee, members of the committee included Rt. Bishop Gbonigi, Rt. Bishop Ladigbolu, Prof Toun Ogunseye and others. They held several meetings to try to reconcile the two groups, the former AD governors, in fact, refused to attend the meetings. Several meetings were called but they refused to attend. They said they would not even seat together with traditional Afenifere leadership – Fasoranti, Ayo Adebanjo, Olanihun Ajayi, late Ganiu Daudu, myself and others. They refused

to attend the meetings and when we found out that this committee could not succeed, we went to brief Mama Awolowo how far we had gone. We felt she was the only one left who could try to bring the two factions together, so she too tried. She invited both sides to several meetings, but if a meeting were scheduled for tomorrow, the former governors would go and see Mama a day earlier, to tell her that they will not be at the meeting. When we showed up for the meeting on the appointed date, the governors wouldn’t be there. Mama still called other meetings, but all the meetings she called were not honoured by these governors, so when we found that they would not honour the meetings, a number of us advised Mama at that stage that, instead of just giving up and allow Yoruba land to disintegrate, there was still something we could do. We said if we could not come together politically because Afenifere was a socio-political organisation, if we cannot bring all of us together under the same socio-political umbrella, at least all Yoruba could be brought together under one forum, where we can talk about Yoruba interests and people of all political persuasions could be free to be in that forum. That was the origin of the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF). The idea of the YUF was to have a forum where, even the quarrelling politicians could all feel a sense of belonging as Yoruba people, all you need to come there is to be a Yoruba man, whether you are in PDP, ACN, APC or any other party; a forum, where all Yoruba can come and sit, identify Yoruba interests, articulate those interests and see how we can together champion those interests. How far has YUF achieved that objective? The former AD governors still refused to attend, they do not attend but some of their members who feel sufficiently persuaded attend as individuals, but the former governors try to discourage them from attending as they themselves do not attend. Would you consider Afenifere Renewal Group a breakaway from the main body? It was a splinter group of younger elements, who in attempt to, more or less, pull the rug from under the established leadership, was formed by Tinubu. He thought one of the ways he could fight them was to get these young men to do the job for him and of course, you know our young men of today, if you give them money they will follow you. So he funded them and made them to establish this Afenifere Renewal Group, with a view to more or less, supplant the real Afenifere but the experiment has been a failure. The Advice I will give is that we should, for now consolidate the Yoruba Unity Forum. If we consolidate the YUF and fortunately, as I have said earlier, when you come to the YUF, you don’t come as a party man, you drop your party affiliations and just come in and we don’t ask any party member not to come in, every party is welcome, every political associations is welcome. May be if we consolidate the Forum and we are able to articulate the Yoruba interests and join hands together in pursuing those interests, ultimately a number of us may find out that we are so identical in our interests that we could then go out and form another association, which is political. That will not take us away from the Yoruba Unity Forum, but we can then still find people of enough identity goals that can then re-establish Afenifere, the way we use to know it, which still belongs to the Yoruba Unity Forum because even now, Afenifere belongs to YUF. What is your view regarding the emerging All Progressive Congress (APC) The move to have APC is a good one because a party must have national spread since we all still believe in one Nigeria. The more national spread a party has, the better for our democracy and if you have a party that can contest effectively against the PDP, the better for our democracy. I think the most successful election we have had was the one between the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) when Gen. Ibrahim Babangida mandated a two-party system. If we have two nation-wide parties that are very widely spread it is good for our democracy. I have already said my reservations about the ACN, but as for the principle of a political party having more national spread, I will say it is a good idea.


THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

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POLITICS

INTERROGATING 14 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY

OSOBA: How We Handle 2015 Will Determine Future Of Nigeria As the nation celebrates yet another year of unbroken civil rule, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, said the fact that the nation is still forging ahead after 14 years of democratic rule is not due to the effort of the politicians, but that of the average Nigerian, who has been very tolerant. OURTEEN years into the current democratic Fthedispensation has the political class met with expectations of the electorate? WE are actually starting on a wrong premise, talking about this so-called May 29. May 29 to many of us is a terrible day. This is so because on May 29 2013, it will be exactly ten years since former President Olusegun Obasanjo bastardised democracy in this country, when he brazenly rigged 2003 elections. Mind you, this is not only because it got some of us out office, but because it was a time Obasanjo turned electioneering into a great fraud in this country. For example, the present Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alhaji Sarki Tafida, after the 2003 election, had phoned some eminent Nigerians in Lagos that he had lost his senatorial election bid in Kaduna State, only for him, on the following day, to hear his name on the radio as the winner of that election. Professor Jubril Aminu, had actually conceded defeat in Adamawa, but the following day he was announced the winner. Therefore, May 29, to me, is a date that takes me back to the sad memories of the days of the NNDP of 1965, when the demo altered all the election figures in the then Western Region of Nigeria, an action, which eventually led to chains of events culminating in the coup of 1966. Despite these problems, there must have been some kind of progress or changes over the years. What are the areas you think the country has generally done well? I will praise the ordinary Nigerian for his or her tenacity and ability to bear all kinds and manners of tribulations. I think the glory should go to Nigerians; that for the past 14 years they have been able to sustain democratic system in the country –– that to me is the greatest gain; that we have been able to keep current democratic dispensation together for 14 years. Therefore, we can say with a little bit of pride, that we have been able fend off the incursion of the military into the political arena. That is the greatest progress I can say we have made; and that goes to the ordinary Nigerians, who are ready to tolerate ill-brazen actions, including the unpopular third term agenda. In spite of this, culture of impunity seems to remain prevalent among politicians, without due recourse to the citizens. Don’t you think there might be peoples’ revolt eventually in Nigeria if things continue in this manner? General election year, 2015, will determine what will be the next state of action. We are already in the kind of Arab spring situation. The demonstration against the removal of subsidy on petroleum product, that was beyond demonstration against subsidy, it was a foundation for the kind of Arab spring in the country. How the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) boss, Dr. Attairu Jega, handles 2015 elections will go a long way in determining the future of this country. If anyone dares to tamper with 2015, there will be a massive revolt. I only hope that common sense will influence the leaders and make sure we manage the 2015 election very well and transparent as best as possible. Accusing fingers are being pointed at some of you in the opposition political parties that you are not so united and at the same time not tolerant of opposing views. While you and your friends are doing your thing with the All Progressives Congress (APC) others like Chief Olu Falae-led Mega Summit Party and Dr. Frederick Fasehun-led Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) appear to be doing theirs separately. Why this apparent disunity? I am not against any group of individuals coming together. Like you said that we are being accused of not showing tolerance. This is

the time we need to show people making such insinuations that they are wrong. It is the right of anyone to associate and also to even be opposed to us, which must test our ability to be able to tolerate opposition as we hope to gain power in this country. The only one that is quite disturbing to me is that of the so-called UPN. It is causing me serious pain in my vein –– this so-called resuscitation of Unity Party of Nigeria. I do not like the way they want to bring in the

that is why we are all concerned about him. We Yorubas all embraced OPC, either you are PDP or ACN or whatever political party you belong to in the country; OPC is apolitical. I believe he should continue to nurture that body. Fasheun is not a politician and he can never be a politician. He should also not bring Awolowo’s name into it because he was not one of the known apostles of Awolowo or his followers. This is why I quarrel with him. He has the right to support whoever he wants to support as a person. He has the right to campaign as an individual for President Goodluck Jonathan anywhere and anytime he wants to. That, I concede to him. All I am saying is that he is a great son of Yoruba, but now trying to unfairly drag in the

Osoba name of Papa Obafemi Awolowo, who was pername of another great Yoruba man and wanthaps the most astute politician in Nigeria, a ing to use his (Fasehun) success as a leader of great Nigerian and founder of one of the greatthe OPC. The two do not go together; one will est political parties Yorubas have produced. rubbish the other. This is what I am saying. Dr. Fasheun, who is trying to resuscitate the You think Fasehun is being sponsored by other Unity Party of Nigeria, is also a great Nigerian. A interests? man who is respected and a man who has No, I wouldn’t go that far on Fasehun. It is just spent the better part of his life fighting for the that he may be a non-suspecting person. He is ordinary people and democratic institutions not that kind of person who that we have now; even is easily given to being after we got into the used. I will concede that General election year, 2015, will detercivilian governance. him –– he’s a strong mine what will be the next state of action. to He suffered detention character. And that’s under the military and We are already in the kind of Arab spring why this UPN thing is even under Obasanjo, a puzzle to me. I still situation. The demonstration against the still a civilian president, to want to see him; to removal of subsidy on petroleum product, argue this thing out the point that he had to be moved to Amerthat was beyond demonstration against with him face-to-face. ica for major treatWould that mean that subsidy, it was a foundation for the kind no ment. effort has been made of Arab spring in the country. How the In- to reach out to some of In the history of the Yoruba, his space is aldependent National Electoral Commission you who are political ready written in gold, leaders the zone and (INEC) boss, Dr. Attairu Jega, handles were being a founder of the in the defunct UPN 2015 elections will go a long way in deter- of the Second Republic? Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), an organiI don’t think Dr, Fasemining the future of this country. If anysation that does hun has reached out to one dares to tamper with 2015, there will community policing anybody of any serious in the most honest and be a massive revolt. I only hope that com- political influence in the responsible manner. A –– at all. And surely, mon sense will influence the leaders and zone man who has done he cannot do it alone. make sure we manage the 2015 election That is why I am saying that much does not need what he is now Dr. Fasehun does not very well and transparent as best doing at the age of need this action that as possible. near 80. he’s taking. The OPC will Since he was so successnot follow him into this. ful with OPC, don’t you think that should be The organisation is peopled by very responsione of the reasons for people like you to supble, respectable and decent people in the comport him in his latest attempt to resuscitate the munity. Many of them are professional people, UPN? who are not interested in politics. The OPC is a non-political organisation and Are you envisaging the kind of identity that be-

deviled the Afenifere? No, no, no. Dr. Fasehun in this matter will be a lone ranger. I don’t see him carrying the OPC into any political party neither do I see him gaining any serious political foothold. But speaking of the Afenifere. There is a fresh attempt at uniting members. Where do you belong in this regard? I am totally opposed to the Chief Reuben Fasonranti group. Why this? The reason being that our elders were supposed to settle discords between us back then in the Alliance for Democracy (AD), especially between the Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa group and Chief Bisi Akande group. Suddenly, they went to Akure and endorsed Akinfenwa, without due regard to the other group. That was the day I decided to break ranks totally with them. Elders, who are supposed to find solutions to the problem, now became part of the problem. Yet, these are same old reasons. Is there really no way of letting bygone be bygones? What kind of bygone can be bygone, when you bring all manner of characters into the fold? Bringing in people who do not know any thing about Afenifere and people who have done as much as they could do, tried to destroy Afenifere. You are now bringing in such people. If anything, you are even destroying it the more. And you can see the reaction of some of their friends, like Chief Ayo Adebanjo – I feel sorry for him. What expectations do you have for the APC in 2015? Nigerians will never forgive us if we don’t come together in bring some decency to governance in this country. We are not desperate for power. But in any decent democracy, there must always be an alternative – a strong alternative. The PDP has been roughshodding on this country for 14 years – 14 bad years. As we are talking now, there has not been regular power supply to the whole of Ikoyi for the past one month. There is serious sense of insecurity. Infrastructure has gone into total decay. After 14 years in office, the PDP is tired; they too must admit this. In any decent society, there is usually a necessity for change. Even God, in His infinite mercy, created different kinds of seasons; winter, summer, harmattan of raining periods. There are always differences in climatic conditions. So, why shouldn’t now be a change after 14 years? We are coming together to show that Nigeria is greater than any individual. Many of us are no longer interested in any office. In this task, is there no way of bringing in other coalitions like that of Falae-led group? Yes, Falae is also a very strong member of the progressive family. He was also close to the Awolowo family, having been a classmate of Segun Awolowo. But I had had cause to tell him to his face that, ‘we are the Southwest’. That was the day General Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar and himself, came to talk to us in the then Action Congress, and he (Falae) said the group was not coming to see the whole Southwest because some of them are not in the AC. I reminded him of the philosophy of Awolowo when there are two or more contending groups within the group – Falae could not reply. Awolowo believed that when there is a disagreement within the rank, the contenders should go into the field and whichever group is able to carry the majority of the grassroots along should prevail and be the superior group. We, in the ACN, were the superior group in Yorubaland and our appeal to Falae and our elders is to recognise that factor. They should face up to the fact that our group has gone into the field, we have contested elections and we have results to show for it. They are the ones that should now embrace the philosophy of Awolowo, which I believe they subscribe to. Whenever there is a political disagreement, you go back to the grassroots and whoever is able to carry the grassroots is the superior group.


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, June 2, 2013

COVER

INTERROGATING 14 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY

OKECHUKWU: We Shall Put This Democracy To Real Test In 2015 Osita Okechukwu, national publicity secretary, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) writes on 14 years of democracy. NE of the famous definitions engraved in O stone and which many of us memorised about democracy is the one by one

tality rate, human prosperity or poverty index are worse today than in 1999. Despite unprecedented rise in oil price, which cushion our mono-economy. During the late General Sani Abacha’s regime between 1994 and 1998 a barrel of oil hovered around $15 -$18 per barrel. Providence, supporting our democracy, astronomically increased international oil price from $22 per barrel in 1999 to $145 per barrel in 2004, 2005 and has not gone below $90 as at today. Available records show over N50 trillion accrued to our Federation Account and yet, there is huge deficit in electricity supply, good road network, modern rail line, petroleum refinery and poor social services. The Public Accounts Committee recently opened the pandora’s-box; by exposing how a slush fund, by the name Natural Resources Fund of N1.5 trillion was set up in 2002 and monies withdrawn at will in a less than transparent manner. To worsen matters, the legislature returned with democracy; but there is no State House of Assembly in any State of the federation that exercises its oversight mandate. One stands to be corrected that they are all rubber-stamp parliament and even the National Assembly, which barks at times, has regrettably been

of America’s renowned presidents, Abraham Lincoln. It was culled from his address at the Guttersberg, which defined democracy thus ‘government by the people for the people.’ It could be recalled that the Guttersberg address was inspired by the gruesome death of soldiers who died in action defending the United States of America in the civil war, which engulfed the nation. Lincoln’s definition remains timeless for democracy is about the people, on whom sovereignty resides; democracy accordingly, unlike monarchy, dictatorship and dynasty is founded on the altar of common good, which is designed to enhance peoples’ welfare and security. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under Chapter Two- Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, like Hummarabi Code, Magna Carter, US Constitution and other grundnorms of democracy upheld the truism that the primary purpose of government is welfare and security of the people. Therefore, the hope of the people for better life under democracy motivated Nigerians to fight for the return of democracy after the 1993 annulment of presidential election won by late Chief MKO Abiola. Consequently, high hopes were raised that the culture of impunity will be a thing of the past; that the legislature, which was outlawed will be back on stream and the judiciary, which has been less than independent will be independent. One may opine that relative freedom returned with democracy in Nigeria. Freedom, though abstract in a sense, remains the most prominent dividend of democracy, as Nigerians enjoyed openness, expression of opinion freely, unfettered access to information, and with the Freedom of Information Act, can access or probe any information, unlike under military dictatorship. On the minus or down side are legion of unintended paradox. Unintended paradox, for a lot of people are still dumb founded at how our critical infrastructure and social services collapsed; mor- Okechukwu

converted into a Trade Center. As a Trade Center our distinguished Senators and honourable Members more or less, are preoccupied with how to share the proverbial national cake, more than how to enhance or make life better for the greatest number of Nigerians. The judiciary, as well could not escape the corruption surge, which democracy in Nigeria was unable to contain or heal. The helplessness of our judiciary was more exposed by the deluge of post-election disputes, which besieged the courts. Post election disputes rose from over 1000 petitions after the 2003 sham elections to almost 2000 petitions after 2007 sham elections; as our elections were correctly dubbed by the then mastermind, ex-president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Do-or-Die. The climax was the Supreme Court judgment of the 2007 presidential election, which ended in 43 verdict; making the Chief Justice of Nigeria to cast the deciding vote, very rare in history. In an attempt to proffer an answer, one can trace the monumental corruption, which governed our democracy not only to the greed of our people; but to an inchoate economic policy adopted by the ruling party – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The economic policy was adapted from the Washington Consensus or Chicago School of

thought, which in simplicita says that government has no business in business. That the state should only provide the enabling environment, while the private sector will drive the development process. As usual, the Nigerian factor crept in and the proponents of the economic policy did not properly examine and diagnose the medicine being administered to a primitive economy. They forgot or mischievously ignored the fact that 98percent of the so-called captains of industry has no industry or even pure water factory. They only carry brief case, chasing the Petro-Dollar. An economic policy, which is only suitable for the advanced countries of the world, where the economy is strong, and welfare provided and public sector had already upgraded its critical infrastructure that you can meaningfully adapt the Washington Consensus. The unpleasant outcome was that the motto of the PDP becomes Share the Money, while its ideology is Food is ready. The scenario above shows how the over $16 billion expended on electricity did not provide commensurate power supply. It must be said that democracy still remains the most appropriate vehicle for our development; especially with the national consensus, which gave birth to granite merger of the four major opposition progressive political parties. The merger of Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Congress for Progressive Change and Civil Societies Organisations is no doubt a game changer. Game changer in the sense that 2015 elections will be fought on common ground and the winner will not take all. In other words, none of the two parties can win the presidency with more than 52percent. This will make it impossible for any winner not to delude itself as the largest party and big for nothing party of Africa. It will actualize the core ingredient of liberal democracy, where two dominant political parties are mostly prevalent. This invariably means that at each election the electorate is presented with clear choice and where in actual fact no one party rules per se. In sum, 2015 elections will be free, fair and transparent, not only because of the independence or transparency of INEC or because it will be a referendum of the incumbent; but on the truism anchored on the equal strength of the two major contending parties - PDP and APC.

OSEH: We Have Not Learnt From The Past Olusegun Oseh is a political scientist and the deputy Organising Secretary of the Edo State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He spoke to ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU in Benin City. We have had 14 years of uninterrupted civilian rule since 1999, what is your view? E are still crawling, as a matter of fact, we have not learnt from the past. As a political scientist, democracy is the government of the people for the people and by the people, but do we have that? Check the political parties, we don’t have internal democracy, so we have not learnt anything and I strongly believe that for us to imbibe democracy, we need to go back to our orientation, we should change our value system. This idea of seeing politics as a zero sum game should not be so, we should see politics as a variable sum game, where, my winning equals your los-

W

ing because when you take politics as a zero sum game, it becomes a winner takes all and that is why you see this craze for do or die, people want to maim, they want to kill just because they want to acquire power, whereas in democracy, if we are ten and six say A should go let it be. But we like to circumvent the rules to aggrandise positions. So far, we are still crawling and I pray that God should touch our hearts so that we will actually practice democracy.  What is responsible for this stagnated growth? It is because we have imbibed a culture of military autocracy and if you look at those who have been recycling themselves as politicians, they are the military apologists and because they have amassed ill-gotten wealth, they want to foist themselves on the people. If you go to the nooks and crannies of this country, you see people with integrity, but they can never make it because to start with, they are not money bags and because of the abject poverty in the land, you discover that the masses have become corrupt, they

want to be bribed before voting and these people who are military apologists masquerading as politicians circumvent the tenets of democracy. That is why you see that we are still crawling and until we imbibe this idea of putting round pegs in round holes and what can a person achieve and not necessarily what money you can get from such a person, from such a system, we cannot move forward. So we need re-orientation and prayers for God to redirect us in this country. Has there been any political party since 1998 that has shown the tendency of enhancing the country’s democracy? To me as a progressive and among those trained by late Awolowo, most of the political parties we have had have no ideology, we worship people, you see a man becoming very rich overnight but nobody wants to ask the source of his income. I have been in politics for over 35 years now; a lot of people ask what have I gained because of my style of politics. We need re-orientation and people who are selfless; who believe that going to politics is about service and not to

amass wealth. If we have plethora of people that think along that line, you will discover that we will move ahead in this country. Why for God’s sake, do you want to go into politics, you go and buy salt, you buy fish and rice and start sharing to people who want to vote for you and the man who will actually deliver on the dividends of democracy, will not have the money to buy all that? So there is endemic corruption in the system and until we have a change of mind, we will continue to crawl. But what I believe this country needs is a revolution and it will come just like it happened in Egypt and across the North African hemisphere. There are people who are graduates for more than a decade, they have been looking for white- collar jobs, why not think of self- reliance, there is nothing wrong if you learn trade and do it well and then earn money for yourself and even employ labour. But because of the orientation, a lot of people go to school, no jobs, but they want white- collar jobs,

which are not there. The PDP has been in charge at the federal level, has it done enough? They have performed abysmally poor by my assessment. For instance, Jonathan has come with transformation agenda, what has he transformed? Electricity is still epileptic, it is abnormal to have electricity, what is now normal is to have alternative source (generator); so they have not impressed the average Nigerian, rather, they are lining their pockets with naira. There is a lot of corruption in this country and anybody who wants change will be pulled out of the system. There are a few names that are good, it is not the political party that is bad but the operators who believe they should beat Nigeria so that they can be hero-worshiped, that should not be. We need a Jerry Rawlings in this country but because of the multi-ethnic nature of this country it might be difficult, or people are too conscious of not dying. If APC emerges as a political party, we will be tending towards a two party system in this country and that will bring the desired change.


TheGuardian

62 |Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sports Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Eagles joined by some officials doing a lap of honour after their victory at the AFCON 2013

Super Eagles qualification for this month’s Confederation Cup in Brazil, coupled with two World Cup qualifying matches, handed the squad a breathtaking line-up of matches. Even after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had written to FIFA for some of the matches to be re-scheduled, not much changed. YINKA ADEDIPE, ENO-ABASI SUNDAY and LEKAN OKUSAN, write that these engagements would stretch the team to the limit as they bid to prove their rating and status as African champions. T the end of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, A Nigeria’s Super Eagles, after a master-class performance at the Confederation of African Football (CAF)-organised tournament, emerged the continent’s football champions.  Not only that, five Eagles, including goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama; defender, Efe Ambrose; midfielder, John Obi Mikel, forward, Victor Moses and striker, Emmanuel Emenike, made the Cup of Nations “All Stars Team” for their splendid display. That top finish did not only earn Nigeria its third continental crown, it also bestowed on the African champions, the right to play in this month’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.  As with other victories of this sort, coupled with the comment of the head coach, Stephen Keshi, in the wake of the vic-

Super Eagles’ Hectic Sc As Test Of Strength, Re tory that “The sky is the limit for this team,” a lot is expected from the team, especially as it bids to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The team is also expected to be a worthy African representative at the Confederations Cup, which many football lovers prefer to describe as the “Festival of Champions.” Indeed, the Eagles are faced with a June like no other, where they are to battle other continental champions for pride in Brazil, as well as qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which will also take place in the South American country. Just above a year ago, the senior national football team could not qualify for the continental soccer fiesta, but with the victory at the unusually close tourney, the team appears to be in the eye of the storm.

Having prosecuted the international friendly match against Mexico, which ended 2-2 in the early hours of yesterday, the Super Eagles are due to play at least six games between June 5 and 23, with the possibility of another two by June 30, if they go all the way in the Confederations Cup. Confronted with the crowded schedule, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had approached the world’s football governing body FIFA, to secure an adjustment to the hectic schedule.  According to its spokesman, Ademola Olajire, “We looked at our fixtures for the summer and saw that it was too crowded, so webrought FIFA’s attention to it, and they have effected some slight changes.”  The slight changes effected by FIFA means that the Eagles would now take on Kenya on June 5 in their 2014 World Cup


63

THE GUARDIAN Sunday, June 2, 2013

have to bear their talons sufficiently on any opponent if they must emerge from these contests with their fine feathers unruffled. This has led many football followers to call on handlers of the team to set their priorities right in order not to lose out on the main showpiece. This development perhaps prompted newly appointed technical director of the NFF, Shaibu Amodu to declare that securing a ticket to the Mundial was the number one priority of the Federation as anything other than that would amount to misplaced priority. The former Super Eagles coach who qualified the team twice for the World Cup finals asked, “What’s the point in winning a World Cup dress rehearsal and missing out on the big party next year?” He added, “The World Cup is a crucial one for the country. For us, it is the most important tournament...the fans and media expect Nigeria to win the Confederations Cup, but it is less important to the team and country to be honest.” The 55-year-old veteran of continental battles at both club and country levels, was, however, quick to caution the team to be wary of the matches against the central Africans, as well as the southern Africans as they could serve as banana peels in the Group F, where only three points separate leaders Nigeria from the Kenyan side who are first from the bottom. “There are tricky games ahead in the World Cup qualifiers and one slip can easily change the complexion of the group,” Amodu stated, adding “every game now is a cup final for them (Eagles) and people should stop piling undue pressure on the team.” Both Keshi and former coach of the Harambee Stars of Kenya, Nigeria’s Christian Chukwu are in sync with Amodu on the need to tread carefully in the two matches in other to avert avoidable slips.  “Yes, it is good to test yourselves against some of the best teams in a competitive level but it is not a competition to prepare the Super Eagles for better assessment,” Keshi stated adding that “when you qualify for the World Cup, which is on a global stage and the biggest tournament in the FIFA calendar, you will come face to face with the best teams from around the world. “Kenya, Malawi and Namibia all want to stop Nigeria, we should focus our energy on beating them and secure a ticket to play in 2014. No one remembers who won the last Confederations Cup because the World Cup quickly erases everything. That is how big and important it is.” In an interview

chedule esilience qualifier, two days earlier than originally scheduled. The African champions will then travel to Windhoek to play Namibia on June 12, two days earlier than the original schedule. After that, the team would fly straight from Windhoek, via Johannesburg, South Africa to Belo Horizonte in Brazil, for their opening match of the Confederations Cup against Tahiti. With this arrangement, the squad would have at least three days of recovery time ahead of that game on June 17. Their other group games are against Uruguay on June 20 and Spain three days later. From the scenario above, the Eagles would

with Supersport.com, Keshi stressed further, “I will choose qualifying for the World Cup each time. Yes, the FIFA

Confederations Cup is also good but nothing beats or compares to the FIFA World Cup, that is the real deal. Emenike That isattempts to outwit a Malian opponent in a past encounter

where I aim to be and where I want my players to be playing. “Make no mistakes, we will give the tournament (Confederations Cup) our best shot, but it is really to come back next year as one of Africa’s representatives at the World Cup that we are working towards,” he states. Chukwu, who also coached the Eagles, has warned of dire consequences should the Super Eagles still bask in the euphoria of their victory when they confront the Kenyans in the second leg of the 2014 World Cup qualifier. He has also urged handlers of the team to use the forthcoming Confederations Cup as preparations for the World Cup qualifier against Namibia, rather than treat it with kid gloves. According to him, “In the first leg of the World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar, Cross River State, what really pulled us back was the fact that we were over celebrating the victory we won in South Africa. That affected our performance, because we sort of lost concentration, focus and the needed seriousness.” On what kind of encounter he sees of the match against the Kenyans, he said, “I see a very tough game because getting a draw in Nigeria has given them a very big morale boost. So we should not underrate them the way we did in Calabar. If we do, we may pay dearly for that. “However, I know that we have an edge over them because of the experienced and more exposed players that we have. This is where we have a big advantage over them and I believe that if we capitalise on that advantage, we would overcome them in Kenya. But in terms of fitness, stamina and the rest, the Eagles should be ready for the Kenyans, who are very athletic,” the Rangers of Enugu legend stated. Reacting to Coach Stephen Keshi’s comment that qualifying for the World Cup was more important to him than the Confederations Cup, Chukwu said, “the two exercises were important, but the World Cup qualifier is more important to us because as African champions, we need to be at the World. But if I were to be in his shoes, I would focus on the Confederations Cup as part of preparations for the World Cup qualifier.” Former Super Eagles midfielder, Ademola Adesina thinks the crowded schedule could serve as a blessing in disguise for the team as it would help to keep the players in tip-top form especially now that now that most European leagues are off-season. “The tight schedule for Eagles is a good development because it will help the team to be in top shape especially as most European seasons have ended. I am particularly happy that this will help the team at this point in time. After watching them play against Mexico on Saturday, I think the tight schedule will indeed help in putting the team in good shape for any challenge,” he said. Adesina who is confident that “Keshi knows what he is doing,” stressed that “with what he did at AFCON in South Africa, it is clear that every player, whether Europe or home-based will have to fight for his shirt in the team. The era of automatic shirts being given to players in the national team is over, so I am happy with what Keshi is doing with the team.” He expressed optimism about

Nigeria’s qualification for 2014 World Cup, saying the Eagles has all it takes to make it to Brazil. He, however, added that discipline should never be compromised else things go awry. His words, “I have no doubt that the Super Eagles will make it to Brazil, but my concern is players’ discipline, which needs to be taken seriously. The players must listen to the coaches, follow all their instructions and not play to the gallery in any of their matches. Only this will help their campaign and I am sure the players know the importance of playing at the World Cup, which is the biggest stage for all players.” On his take in the June 5 encounter against the Harambee Stars in Kenya, he said, “It will definitely be a difficult match because there are no minions in Africa football any longer, especially considering how they played against Eagles in Calabar.” For former Eagles winger, Friday Elahor, the African champions would have to be at their best if they must wrestle the World Cup ticket from other contenders in the group. Insisting that the game against Kenya remains a must win for the team, he maintained that the friendly game against Mexico should put them in good stead for the clinical finishing, which they need to keep hope alive after the unimpressive first leg. “The game against Kenya is a must win for the Eagles if they must have any chance of qualifying for the World Cup. A win will put the team in a good position and it will also bolster their confidence ahead of the other clash against Namibia,” he stated. Elahor added that having won the Nations Cup; the Eagles would have to prove to the world that that victory was not a fluke. However, “The Confederations Cup is a dress rehearsal for the World Cup and so not a must win for the Eagles, so they have to commit their energy into securing a World Cup ticket. Having said that, it would also be good to put up a respectable outing at the Confederations Cup as African champions,” Oliha added. He also said that absence of Victor Moses, who has been very good on the flanks for club and country, should not destabilise the team as it was blessed with capable replacements. Said he, “Moses has become an integral part of the team, but I don’t think we should bother ourselves over his absence due to injury because Keshi already has a system of play that any new player can fit into. And I believe the absence of any player should not cause the team too much worry,” he added. The Senegal “92 Nations Cup star also called on the NFF and Nigerians to support the team in its quest to make it to the World Cup. Far from the concerns expressed by many after the duo of Moses and Kalu Uche elected to opt out of yesterday’s friendly game against Mexico, as well as, crucial World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup, exinternationals, Emmanuel Okala and Moses Kpakor are of the belief that their absence will not deplete the fortunes of the African champions in these trying times. In fact, while Kpakor is of the opinion that with the way Keshi has tinkered with the team, capable replacements were abundant in all departments, Okala believes that fringe players would have the chance to prove their mettle in these positions. Okala, Rangers Football Club of Enugu and Green Eagles legendary goalkeeper said, “both players have done well for Nigeria in the recent past. Now that they are ailing, it is important for them to be allowed to take care of their health considering the importance of good health to athletes in particular and humans in general.” He said because of their pedigree, “they would be missed by the team no doubt, but this is what the team handlers can handle. Besides, their absence will give opportunities to fringe players to prove their worth. For Kpakor, a former Super Eagles manmarker, “Moses’ injury has been very evident since he returned to base from the Africa Cup of Nations. That I think explains why he has only been starting from the bench for his club in most games in recent times. However, “because of the work that Keshi has done by raising the team’s profile and also building a side where individual talents blend, I am very sure there are capable


TheGuardian

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Congo World Cup Warm-up Cancelled After Visa Rejection WORLD CUP warm-up A match between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea scheduled to be played in France yesterday was scrapped because Congolese players could not get visas. The Congolese federation said a group of home-based players and support staffs, due to join their Europebased colleagues at a training camp in France before the friendly at Saint-Cyr, were denied visas, causing the cancellation on the eve of the match. It is the second straight year the Congolese have had to ditch plans to train in Europe before key World Cup qualifiers. A match in Ajaccio with Ivory Coast this time last year was also called off after domestic-based players were refused visas. Belgian and French consular officials in Kinshasa have regularly denied visas for Congo footballers since the disappearance of three players from a national team training camp in Paris ahead of a World Cup qualifier in 2004. DR Congo play Libya in a qualifier on Friday in Tripoli and then host group leaders Cameroon on June 16 as they bid to stay in contention for a place at the 2014 finals in Brazil.

Super Eagles’ Brown Ideye shooting his way in the friendly match against Mexico in the early hours of Saturday. It ended 2-2

Eagles’ 2-2 Draw With Mexico Thrills Nigerians By Gowon Akpodonor, with Agency Reports HE 2-2 draw recorded by the Super Eagles in yesterday’s early morning friendly match against CONCACAF giant, Mexico, in far away United States of America has received tremendous praise from soccer loving Nigerians. The African champions and 10-man Mexico settled for a 2-2 draw in the friendly played at Houston, Texas, USA. Over 62,000 fans watched the game at Reliant Stadium. Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, ex-Eagles midfielder, Ademola Adesina, said he was highly impressed with the result saying: “Getting a 22 draw with Mexico is something we should celebrate. Many people will say that it was just a friendly match, but considering the strength of Mexico in World football and the fact that the match was played at their backyard, I will say the Eagles did a good job. I am very proud of them.” Speaking further, Adesina, who made his debut at Libya ‘82 Africa Nations Cup in Tripoli, where he scored Nigeria’s first goal said: “The result will serve as a moral boaster for the Eagles, especially in this ‘busy’ month of June.” Some other Nigerians who stayed awake to watch the

T

• I’m Proud Of The Boys, Says Ademola Adesina • We Could Have Won, Says Keshi encounter equally showered praises on the Eagles for matching the highly rated Mexicans skill for skill. Mexico were the better side for the first 23 minutes of the game as the Super Eagles were confined to their own half. Manchester United point man, Javier Hernandez, popularly known as Chicharito, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, hit the bar in the

10th minute after beating Austin Ejide in goal for the Eagles from six yards. The Mexicans created a lot of chances within that period only to convert one, when “Chicharito” finally put the ball into the net beyond Ejide in the 21st minute. Brown Ideye had earlier found the back of the net after he was set up by Portugalbased John Ogu in the 17th

minute, but the effort was ruled offside. Ogu did well in his first start for the Super Eagles. Eagles fought back and won a penalty, when Elderson Echiejile’s goal-bound shot was handled by a Mexican Pablo Barrera and the resulting penalty was converted by Ideye in the 29th minute to restore parity. Barrera was issued a straight red card and

ejected. Ogu made it 2-1 for Nigeria when his 20-yard left-footed shot was deflected into the net in the 40th minute by Torrado. Nnamdi Oduamadi’s effort in the 63rd minute hit the bar. Chicharito completed his brace in the 70th minute, when he tapped in from close range to beat substitute goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who came in for Ejide. The goal ensured there was no victor, no vanquished in the high-profile encounter. It was Chicharito’s 36th goal in 46

appearances for his country. He is good for fifth all-time on the Mexican national team. Mexico is preparing for three World Cup qualifiers: at Jamaica on Tuesday, at Panama next Friday and home against Costa Rica on June 11. Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi said at the end of the match: “We should have won convincingly because they had 10 men and we had 11, It doesn’t play out that way.’ “We were up, and we were thinking that was it. We lost our focus and concentration, and they came back to score.’’

I Want To Posses Ball Like Messi, Shoot Like Ronaldo, Says Pepsi New Kid, Mba By Gowon Akpodonor EWLY crowned Pepsi N Football Academy (PFA) best player, Chigozie Mba has said his dream is to become world celebrated football stars, like Argentine forward, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. Pepsi’s grassroots football development initiative

through the Football Academy received a massive boost at the weekend as Mba was selected for a two-year full scholarship at Brooke House College in United Kingdom. The selection process, which took place at Agege Stadium, Lagos entailed rigorous exercise from field skill display, ball intelligence to general comportment on and off the

field. Two other Pepsi Academy youngsters, Falana Oladayo and Obi Chukwuma were selected as first and second runners-up to be on standby in case for any reasons Mba is unable to travel for the scholarship. Mba becomes the 13th winner of the Pepsi Football Academy UK scholarship, which was established in

2006. Michael Oluwatosin who is presently plying his trade in the Portuguese league was the first recipient of the scholarship. Speaking with The Guardian at the occasion, Mba said his aim was to hit the top in soccer saying: “I always have a dream that I will become a celebrated football star one day and I am working towards it.

Published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotline Lagos: 7736351, Abuja: 07098513445 All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. (ISSN NO 0189-5125) Editor: E-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com ABRAHAM OBOMEYOMA OGBODO • A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation •ABC

For now, I like to posses the ball the way Messi does and shoot like Ronaldo. That is what I have been practicing on the pitch and I pray it works out for me.”

Mba


Sun 02 June 2013