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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,921

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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Jonathan extends emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno, Yobe From Adamu Abuh, Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja), Kabir Garba, Abiodun Fanoro (Lagos) and Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos) ITING deteriorating seC curity situation in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday issued a proclamation extending the emergency rule in the three North-East states. He also requested the National Assembly to approve the extension in the best in-

• Seeks N’Assembly’s approval • APC, MURIC fault forceful conversion of abducted Christian girls to Islam • Journalists, rights groups protest in Plateau • U.S. plane searches for kidnapped pupils terest of peace and security in the affected states. In a related development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

have condemned the reported conversion to Islam of the Christians among the over 200 school girls who were abducted by the Boko Haram group, describing the devel-

opment as totally unacceptable and downright unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the newly-registered Unity Party (UPN) has urged the Federal Gov-

ernment to embrace the opportunity for dialogue offered this week by the Boko Haram insurgents. Moreover, in continued quest for the release of the abducted girls, journalists in Plateau State, members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday held a protest march from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) headquarters in Jos to the state House of Assembly. Also, the United States (U.S.)

on Monday began flying ‘manned’ missions over Nigeria to track down abducted school girls as experts pored over a new video seeking clues to where they are being held, according to agency reports. Jonathan had last week during the presidential media chat hinted that he may seek further extension of the emergency rule, arguing that “without that, the security operatives in those places would be so frustratCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

AMCON assures of fairness in sale of Mainstreet Bank –Page 4 Suspected Fulani herdsmen attack Taraba villages, kill scores –Page 6

Stories on Ekiti guber polls –Page 7

INEC begins issuance of permanent voters cards on May 23 –Page 8

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo with pupils and students of his adopted school, Government Girls Secondary School, Kudai in Jigawa State on Monday. PHOTO: NAN

Court jails Isreali ex-leader, Olmert, for accepting bribes By Olalekan Okusan, with agency reports T was a day of reckoning Irael, for former Premier of IsEhud Olmert, who was yesterday sentenced to six years in prison for accepting bribes linked to a major property development in Jerusalem. The verdict came barely a week after a Thai court sacked Thailand’s erstwhile

prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, after she acted illegally by transferring her national security head. According to a report, Shinawatra, who was Thailand’s first female Prime Minister, was accused of abuse of power in improperly transferring Thawil Pliensri, her national security chief appointed by the opposition-led administration, in 2011. The ruling

ousted nine cabinet members who the court said were complicit in the transfer. Yingluck also faces a possible five-year ban from politics after anti-graft officials ruled that she should face impeachment proceedings. Broadcasting live from the court, Israel’s main radio stations said Judge David Rosen handed Olmert six years of jail term and a fine of a million shekels

($290,000/210,000 euros) over his involvement in one of the country’s worst-ever corruption scandals. The 68-year-old, who was convicted six weeks ago on two charges of taking bribes, is the first former prime minister of Israel to face jail term for corruption. “He held the most important and central position and ended up convicted of contemptible crimes,” the

judge said in passing the sentence. “A public official who accepts bribes is tantamount to a traitor,” he said, adding a finding of “moral turpitude” - moral unfitness to hold public office. Following a two-year trial, Olmert was convicted on March 31 of bribes to the tune of 560,000 shekels (now $160,000/116,000 euros) with the judge also say-

ing he had committed perjury. Even after his conviction, Olmert protested his innocence, saying he had never taken bribes. His lawyers were expected to appeal the sentence. The judge said the prison sentence would begin on September 1. The trial, which included 16 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


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2 | NEWS Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Court jails Isreali ex-leader, Olmert, for accepting bribes CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 defendants and took place over two years, was linked to the construction of Jerusalem’s massive Holyland residential complex when Olmert served as the city’s mayor. In 2010, Olmert was named the key suspect in the socalled Holyland affair on suspicion that he received hundreds of thousands of shekels for helping developers get the project past various legal and planning obstacles. It was learnt that the towering construction project, which dominates the city’s skyline, is seen as a major blot on the landscape and widely reviled as a symbol of high-level corruption. Wearing a royal blue shirt and khaki chinos, Olmert looked tired and subdued as he entered the courtroom. Judge Rosen described him as “very bright” and “personable” but said he and a fellow city official also convicted of receiving bribes had worked to “line their own pockets” but were “not regular criminals”. Olmert was fifth in line to be sentenced, with three earlier defendants convicted of giving bribes, receiving lower sentences than demanded by the prosecution. But the city’s former engineer, who, like Olmert, accepted bribes, was handed seven years of jail term.

In July 2012, a Jerusalem court found Olmert guilty of breach of trust but cleared him on two more serious charges related to the alleged receipt of cash-stuffed envelopes and multiple billing for trips abroad. He was fined $19,000 and given a suspended jail sentence for graft. The conviction related to favours that Olmert granted a former colleague while serving as trade and industry minister. Born south of the port city of

Haifa, he was elected to parliament in 1973 and became mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, after which he served as a cabinet minister, holding the trade and industry portfolio as well as several others. He became premier in 2006, leading the centreright Kadima party into government, but resigned in September 2008 after police recommended that he be indicted in several graft cases. However, Thailand National CommisAnti-Corruption sion (NACC) said it would not

extend its probe into a costly rice subsidy scheme to the rest of the caretaker cabinet as feared by officials of the ruling party. That could have seen the cabinet ousted and sent the kingdom spinning into a deeper political crisis. “The commission considers there is enough evidence to indict (Shinawatra) and refers (the case) to the Senate,” Panthep Klanarongran, chief of the National AntiCorruption Commission

(NACC) told reporters. If found guilty by the Upper House, Shinawatra could face a five-year ban from politics. The NACC said it is still considering whether Shinawatra should face criminal charges, which could see her getting a jail term. Her billionaire elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, lives overseas to avoid a prison sentence for corruption that he contends was politically-motivated in the wake

of his ousting by an army coup in 2006. Thailand remains stuck in a political quagmire with the ailing government staggering on despite a slew of legal challenges and protests on Bangkok’s streets. Anti-government protesters, who accuse the Shinawatras of poisoning Thailand with corruption, said they would appoint a new government, a move that would risk further political violence.

APC, MURIC fault forceful conversion of abducted Christian girls to Islam CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ed. We would prefer to pull them out than to allow them stay there and be frustrated.” Emergency rule was first imposed on those states in May 2013, extended in November 2013 and was to expire tomorrow. The President’s letter, which was addressed to both the Senate and House of Representatives is seeking approval for the extension of emergency rule in those states. The letter to the Senate was read by the Senate Deputy President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over yesterday’s session. The letter reads: “May I respectfully draw your attention to the State of Emergency Proclamation 2013, in respect of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, which was approved by the National Assembly. “By virtue of the provisions of Section 305(6)(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the proclamation aforementioned would have elapsed after six months

from the date of approval of the National Assembly. “However, after due consideration of the representations made to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the effect that, while substantial progress had been made to contain the situation and restore normalcy in the affected states, the security situation that necessitated the proclamation of a state of emergency was yet to abate. “The Senate had upon consideration of the realities of the security situation in the affected states that had been placed before it, graciously approved by resolution, the extension of the state of emergency for a further term of six months from the date of expiration of the subsisting period. “Distinguished senators, the security situation in the three states remains daunting, albeit to varying degrees, in the face of persistent attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect on civilian and military targets with alarming casualty rates. “In view of the foregoing, I most respectfully request distinguished senators to consider and approve by resolution, the extension of the proclamation of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states by a further term of six months from the date of expiration of the current term. “I look forward, distinguished Senate President, to the usual kind expeditious consideration of this request by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Please accept, as always, the assurances of my highest consideration and esteem.” The constitution dictates approval of the National Assembly for this extension from both chambers of the National Assembly by two-thirds majority within two days. In the letter to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Waziri Tambuwal and dated May 5, 2014, Jonathan justified the planned extension of the emergency rule in the three states. He argued that the action was borne out of the need to consolidate on the gains so far recorded in the war against the Is-

lamist group, Boko Haram. In a statement in Abuja yesterday, after an emergency meeting to deliberate on the Boko Haram issue, the party also described as utterly barbaric the action of the girls’ abductors in forcing them to make statements against their personal convictions. It reminded the abductors that Nigeria is a secular state and that the country’s constitution recognises the rights of the citizens to any religion of their choice, hence it is patently wrong and unconscionable to force any citizen to convert from one religion to another. ‘’This whole abduction saga has hit at the very soul of our nation. But just when we felt we had all witnessed the worst atrocity by the primitive and brutal group called Boko Haram, we are confronted with a totally repulsive scene of teenage girls, literally with guns to their heads, being forced to say they have converted to Islam. ‘’This is appalling, distasteful and unacceptable under any circumstance and we condemn it with all the strength we can muster,’’ APC said. The party urged the government to critically study the latest video by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, to see what other measures can be added to the ongoing international efforts to find and rescue the girls. MURIC, in a statement by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, insisted that “such conversion does not hold water in Islam because a non-Muslim can only be converted on his or her own free will.” “We reject the purported conversion of the kidnapped girls. It is cowardly, shameful, ridiculous and preposterous. It is sacrilege. We affirm authoritatively that such conversion does not hold water in Islam because a non-Muslim can only be converted on his or her own free will. “We have no iota of doubt that the girls were ‘converted’ under duress. Such ‘conversion’ is null and void under the Shari’a. The Glorious Qur’an is

very explicit in this regard as it says, “There is no compulsion in religion…” (Laa ikrahu fii ad-diin” (Qur’an 2:256). The UPN at a press conference yesterday in Lagos by its National Chairman, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, advised the government not to be carried away or deceived by foreign countries that may advise it not to negotiate with insurgents. The UPN also advised the government to be circumspect in accepting the U.S. government’s offer to assist, warning that that the U.S. may capitalise on the planned aid to achieve her long nursed ambition to have a military base in Nigeria. The party suggested that any form of foreign assistance must be in form of a rainbow coalition to be supervised by the United Nations. The party also said that the negotiation and exchange of captives be supervised by the UN and the Red Cross and should be carried out at a neutral ground. Yesterday’s procession in Jos included members of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) who marched to the Plateau State House of Assembly where the crowd was addressed by the Deputy Speaker, Joyce Ramnap. The State President of FIDA, Ladi Madaki, said Plateau State was supported when it had a similar crisis, adding: “Posterity will not forgive us if we keep quiet. Our appeal is for the girls to come out alive, unharmed and reunite with their families. The hope of all children in Nigeria is that there is a right to education, survival and exercise of free will.” “We have shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians and are flying manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government’s permission,” a senior administration official said, asking not to be named. It was not immediately clear what kind of aircraft were being deployed, nor where they had come

from. But a new video released by the Boko Haram group purportedly showing about 130 of the girls was being carefully studied by American experts in the hope it might yield vital clues as to where they are being held. “Our intelligence experts are combing through every detail of the video for clues that might help ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier Monday. “We have no reason to question its authenticity,” she added of the video. In the video, the Islamic militant group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said the girls may be released once Nigeria frees all the Boko Haram prisoners it has in custody. But that proposal has been rejected by the Nigerian government, and Psaki recalled that the U.S. policy is also “to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, including ransoms or concessions.” A 30-strong U.S. team arrived on the ground last week in Nigeria to help growing efforts to find the girls aged between 16 to 18, snatched from their boarding school in the North-East of the country on April 14. The White House said the team included five State Department officials, two strategic communications experts, a civilian security expert and a regional medical support officer. Also on the manifest are 10 Defence Department planners already in Nigeria, seven extra military advisors from U.S. Africa Command and four FBI officials expert in hostage negotiations. “We are talking about helping the Nigerian government search an area that is roughly the size of New England,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, referring to the region in the U.S. northeast. “So, this is no small task. But we are certainly bringing resources to bear in our effort to assist the government.” Psaki stressed the Nigerian authorities were “in the lead” during the investigation.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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NEWS Wednesday, May 14, 2014

AMCON assures of fairness in sale of Mainstreet Bank By Bertram Nwannekanma O ensure fairness and transparency in the divestment process of Mainstreet Bank Limited being implemented by Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the Corporation has selected reputable worldclass firms, Barclays/Afrinvest Consortium and Banwo & Ighodalo, as financial and legal advisers. Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor-designate, which is critical in granting regulatory approval for the eventual acquirer, is also being fully briefed on the issue with the view to ensuring a seamless divestment process.

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• Defends timelines for bidders AMCON’s Chief Communications Officer, Kayode Lambo, revealed this development yesterday in reaction to the reported investors’ concerns on the Corporation’s timelines for sale of Mainstreet Bank. According to Lambo, with regards to the on-going divestment exercise of Mainstreet Bank, interested bidders were only invited to submit their expression of interest within 9 days of the publication of the invitation in the acquisition of AMCON’s shareholding in Mainstreet Bank Limited. The number of days required

to submit an expression of interest, he said, is more than adequate for any serious buyer to respond with the required basic information of the entity interested to be admitted into the process, as well as their reasons and basis for the interest. AMCON further said that bid-

ders at this stage are neither required to conduct any due diligence on Mainstreet Bank nor are they required to provide any indication of valuation or pricing. The information requested from bidders are simple and basic details about their company’s history, experience, ownership and other general information that will enable

the advisers send further information to eligible investors. The sale of a bank, he said, is a standardised practice all over the world and at a latter stage, qualified bidders will have the opportunity to submit offers under a Request For Proposal (REP), and thereafter conduct due diligence exercise on the bank, which is

expected to take a longer time. “The current EOI phase is an initial stage in which basic information is required from intending bidders for simple reason of knowing the entities interested, while the whole divestment process, which is done in stages, is expected to take a minimum of four months”, he added.

Delta council poll holds October 25 By Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba RASSROOTS politics will take full swing in Delta State once again, as the state’s Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, has fixed October 25, 2014, for council election. The commission was inaugurated last May to organize, conduct and supervise council elections into chairmanship and councillorship positions in the state’s 25 local councils. DSIEC Chairman, Moses Ogbe, disclosed yesterday in Asaba at a meeting with leaders of political parties, that the date was painstakingly chosen after due consultations and having considered other variables before the commission. According to him, it will be utterly counter-productive for DSIEC to conduct the election at the peak of the rainy season. Besides, the commission would need to procure and produce all materials in good time before elections, wait for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to compile voters’ register and distribute permanent voter’s cards, among others. Ogbe added that since IN-

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EC’s operations would impact on those of DSIEC, and considering the need for now of voting age to exercise their rights at the polls, DSIEC would use the revised voters’ register for the council elections. “It will be necessary to state that the mandatory voter education programme that will help members of the commission to interface with stakeholders at the grassroots will also be undertaken before the election,” he added. “Based on these aforementioned reasons, it is obvious that the council election cannot be conducted earlier than the date proposed by this commission.” Meanwhile, the United Peoples Party (UPP) has welcomed the idea, hoping that DSIEC keeps to the schedule and is up to the challenge of making the election free and fair so as to obviate any form of rivalry between government and rival parties. UPP Chairman, Johnfreeman Chiadikabia, said the party would snatch the chairmanship mandate of Oshimili South from the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), especially as it has zoned the position to Oko area, where minorities have been complaining of oppression.

Deputy Chairman, Committee on Political and Electoral Matters, National Conference, Olusegun Osoba (left); Chairman, INEC, Attahiru Jega; Chairman of the committee, Ayocha Ayu and member, Sola Ebiseni, during the meeting of the committee with INEC management in Abuja … yesterday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

Southern Kaduna wants allegation of empty treasury against Yakowa proved From Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief OUTHERN Kaduna indiSterday genes in Kaduna State yesfaulted claims by Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero that the deceased ex-governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, left an empty treasury before his demise. They advised Yero to remain silence on the issue if he had no evidence that his late boss, Yakowa, left an empty treasury for him to pilot the affairs of the state. Besides, the embittered indi-

genes of the Southern Kaduna explained that soon after the death of the late governor in an helicopter crash in Bayelsa State in 2012, Governor Yero had at different forum claimed that the late governor left nothing in the coffers of the state. The Southern Kaduna indigenes, under the aegis of the Concerned Realists of Southern Kaduna Professionals, said it was time for the governor to stop persecuting their late son even as they were yet to come out of the shock caused by his death two years ago. They argued that “if the governor had concrete evidence that Yakowa left empty treasury, he should bring such forward rather than talking ill of the dead.” The Convener of the group, Dr. John Danfulani, who spoke at a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, explained

that no government around the globe has ever met a robust treasury, adding that it took leaders with ideas to create wealth for the sustainability of the state. Apart from asking Yero to halt the criticisms of Yakowa, Danfulani urged the governor to forget his dream of coming back to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the seat of power in 2015 because the people of Southern Kaduna had vowed to mobilise against him. The opposition to Yero’s 2015 ambition , he stated, is based on the governor’s posture on the crises in the southern part of the state, saying that the governor had deliberately abandoned the report of the peace and reconciliation committee which the late governor set up to bring lasting peace to the state. He added that Yero has not

only scuttled most of the projects initiated by the late Yakowa but has deliberately abandoned all projects meant for the southern part of the state. “Stop persecuting Yakowa in death, you remain unelectable in Southern Kaduna come 2015.You are insensitive to the killings ravaging Southern Kaduna and deliberately scuttling all projects started by Yakowa. “All the road projects and other projects initiated by Yakowa, which Governor Yero promised to continue with have been put on hold without sufficient reasons. Apart from the new Kaduna Bridge constructed by the late governor which was said to have been named after Yakowa, Yero has not found it worthy to name a significant institution or structure after the late governor,” Danfulani said.

COREN canvasses death penalty for culprits of collapse building From Adamu Abuh, Abuja EMBERS of the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN) yesterday canvassed capital punishment for anybody found having a hand in any incidence of collapsed building that often results in death and grievous bodily harm to the occupants and other people. The proposal was made by COREN’s National President, Kashim Abdul Ali, while leading a team of the nation’s engineers to participate in the on-going public hearing organised by the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives exploring ways to stem the serial incidences of building collapse in the country.

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Ali, who expressed concern over the high incidences of building collapsed, urged the lawmakers to amend the Criminal Act to pave way for the death penalty for those who cause persons to die due to their reckless conduct. He argued that the authorities need to emulate a country like Malaysia that has a similar law in place to curtail the ugly trend which, by COREN’s records, led to the untimely death of 229 and bodily harm to 548 Nigerians. Ali, who blamed quackery as the main cause of building collapse, disclosed that his outfit is on the verge of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Independ-

ent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) aimed at bringing public officials who compromise builders to build substandard houses in a bid to enjoy pecuniary benefits to face the full wrath of the law. The COREN chief who faulted the notion that poor cement quality in the polity is responsible for collapsed building noted that his outfit has been hampered by the law as it could not arrest and prosecute Nigerians that have been found indulging in the despicable act of developing structures that have caved in due to non-compliance with specification of building professionals.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | 5

News Fuel scarcity looms as NUPENG, IPMAN feud deepens From Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna, and Collins Olayinka, Abuja

HERE are strong indicaT tions that if not speedily resolved, the dispute between the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) may snowball into another round of fuel scarcity in the country. As a first step, the NUPENG National President, Igwe Achese, said in Abuja on Monday night that the union was beginning with the withdrawal of its services to IPMAN retail outlet and NIPCO

depots in Warri and Calabar. Achese, who spoke at the end of the union’s Central Working Committee (CWC), explained that the action become necessary in view of the court action instituted against NUPENG by IPMAN. And commending President Goodluck Jonathan for reassuring the nation that there would be no increase in prices of petroleum products, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday warned government functionaries and other oil marketers pushing for such increase to desist from the move. NLC Vice President, Com-

rade Issa Aremu, said that Nigeria was already fighting the insecurity posed by insurgents, and it would be insensitive for some top government officials, like state commissioners of finance and oil marketers to be lobbying for an increase in the prices of petroleum products. Achese disclosed that NUPENG has withdrawn its service from NIPCO pending the

determination of the case at the National Industrial Court (NIC), where NIPCO is seeking payment of demurrage to it by NUPENG. According to him, the decision to shut down Warri and Calabar depots was a reaction to IPMAN, which shut down the Warri depot on Monday. There has been an internal crisis in IPMAN, which led to the emergence of two factions of the association, with

one electing Chinedu Okoronkwo as president against the court order that proclaimed Lawson Obasi as same. Achese disclosed that NUPENG withdrew its services to NIPCO after the intervention of the State Security Service, Pipeline Product Marketing Company and other agencies failed to address the crisis. However, he said that NUPENG is not on strike.

“Today, our members were locked out of the Warri Depot,” he said. “Those who are working are working under the rain. Their offices have been completely taken over. We are also appealing that those offices be opened for workers to go in and continue their administrative work.  Consequently, we are also withdrawing services from the Warri and the Calabar depots.

Nigerian students ready cars for inspection ahead Eco Marathon From Emeka Anuforo, Rotterdam, Netherlands IGERIA’S representatives at the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe, Team University of Lagos and Team University of Benin, are seeking to make Nigeria and the entire Sub-Saharan Africa proud as they fine tune their cars for technical inspection ahead of the competition. The two are the first teams from the region to participate at the competition, which started in 1939. Team University of Lagos is featuring a prototype vehicle named AUTONOV 11, while Team University of Benin will compete with its Tuke-Tuke. Yesterday, the students started preparing the cars, which were shipped directly from their campuses in Nigeria, for technical inspection. Technical inspection sorts perfectly prepared cars from those that need revisions. Twenty-five countries, 200 teams and 3,000 students will to battle for ultra energy-efficiency on the road after qualifying for actual race through the technical inspection. Both cars were produced by the students at their different campuses with support from Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Joint Venture (SPDC JV). Media Manager at Shell Nigeria, Precious Okolobo, said the Shell EcoMarathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles. According to him, “the events spark debate about the future of mobility and inspire young engineers to push the boundaries of fuel efficiency.” Meanwhile, the students are excited and eager to make Nigeria proud as they prepare for the international technical team to inspect their vehicles ahead of the race. Year 5 student of Production Engineering at the University of Benin, Adekola Adeyemi, who leads his team, told The Guardian: “We are putting finishing touches to our car while awaiting the technical inspection. “The whole journey started last year when we came on a see-it-yourself tour here in The Netherlands. We came to see other competitors. We were marveled at what students

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like us were doing. We then got challenged to go back home and build our own car. “As it stands now, we are 15 in the team that built the cars. The key thing in the marathon is the environment, apart from innovation. We are to use eco-friendly materials. The weight is also a key issue in the competition. We used fibre material in building the body. “We also used steel, because getting aluminum was a bit challenging. We sourced other materials locally. Our brake pads, for instance, were produced from palm kernel. Our interior fabric is our normal adire material sourced in Nigeria.” And for 400 Level student of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos, Segun Adebayo, when the opportunity first came, it sounded impossible, “but we are excited that it turned out well. I feel really excited. Before now, we used to see on Google and YouTube things like this and wondered if we could build cars like this. Now it is not anything spectacular anymore. “We have done a great work, by our modest calculation. I have seen teams who passed here and are amazed by the design of our car. That alone gives us hope that we are good. Other teams have come here to say our car looks special and different, so I don’t feel intimidated.” Manager of Team University of Lagos and Year 5 student of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Abraham Imohiosen, explained the process that led to the development of the cars thus: “To produce the vehicle, we had to first identify what we needed to do. “We had to work in the mechanical engineering, electrician engineering, material engineering and did a bit of publicity and sourced for sponsorship. We interviewed students of the faculty of engineering and faculty of sciences that would help with the task, and we found a few that were highly distinguished in their classes. “Right now, we are at about 89-90 per cent. There are some few technical issues that we need to address, for example, we have to fix our lock and work on the finishing of our motor controller, an integral part of our vehicle.”

Deputy Director, Information, Directorate of State Security (DSS), Mss Marylyn Ogar (left); Director, Information, Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Major General Chris Olukolade, Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri and the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Frank Mba, at the joint press briefing on the updates of Chibok School Girls Abduction video, held in Abuja yesterday.

Braithwaite dismayed over adjournment of suit against bank By Bertram Nwannekanma MINENT lawyer, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, yesterday frowned at the adjournment of trial in his N10 billion suit against Standard Chartered Bank by a Lagos High Court, Ikeja. The court presided by Justice Doris Okwujobi had adjourned till June 27, 2014, for ruling on the bank’s application seeking to strike out some paragraphs of the claimant’s reply to its amended statement of defence. However, Braithwaite, who took time off the ongoing National Conference to attend the trial alongside some expert witnesses, was saddened that the trial could not continue following the application. Expressing his frustration at the protracted suit, now in its fourth year, the octogenarian urged the court to ensure a timeous ruling on the “frivolous” application. Seeking an early ruling on the application, he said his witnesses were in court to testify on the matter. According to him, the claimant has taken time to respond to the defence application filed last Friday, even when he had eight days to do so, in order to ensure that the trial was not truncated. He noted that the defendant was capitalizing on the delay to

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further dissipate the res, having continued with construction, up to the 13th floor. In his submission, however, defence counsel, Adeniyi Adegbonmire, refuted the claims of consciously delaying the trial, stating that he had already started cross-examining the witness before the plaintiff sought amendment of his statement of claims. Adegbomire, who said the bank has right to build, stated that the matter delayed so far because the plaintiff decided to seek injunctive reliefs rather than pursue the trial. According to him, the motion on notice filed last Friday was based on the fact that the plaintiff decided to introduce new facts that should have been in his statement of claims in the reply to the amended statement of defence. Urging the court to strike out some paragraphs in the plaintiff’s reply, Adegbomire contended that allowing them would amount to foreclosing them from responding to the new fact. He argued that the reply to the defendant’s amended statement of defence dated February 28, 2014, contained allegations and averments that could only be validly and legally made in a statement of claim. Some of the averments, he said, referred to the issue of

fraud on the part of the bank, which would not give the defendant an opportunity to respond and therefore amounting to abuse of court process. He therefore urged the court to strike out the paragraphs containing such averments and hold that the plaintiff includes them in his amended statement of claims. Opposing the motion, however, counsel to the plaintiff, Razaq Okesiji, said the content of the claimant’s reply to the defence statement and witness statement on oath are relevant to the subject matter of the suit and necessitated by the averments in the amended statement of defence as well as the documents introduced by the defence, which were not in existence at the time of filing the amended statement of claims. He added that the claimant had neither departed, contradicted nor added any new item to his claim to prejudice the defendant. He urged the court to dismiss the application, as paragraphs of the claimant’s reply to the amended statement of defence and corresponding paragraphs of the statement on oath, which the defendant wants struck out, relate to the Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure in Nigeria and the bank’s failure to

comply therewith, which has always been the kernel of the claimant’s case right from the commencement of the suit.

PDP accuses Kano of plot to rig council elections From Murtala Mohammed, Kano HE Kano State Independent T Electoral Commission (KANSIC) is engaging council education secretaries for weekend’s council election in order to rig it, the Kano chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged. It alleged further that the plot was in connivance with the All Progressives Congress (APC). Kano PDP Deputy Chairman, Yahya Umar Gogobiri, told The Guardian that the education secretaries are political appointees and card-carrying members of the APC in their respective communities, insisting that the ad-hoc staff would only be there to carry out the script of its master. Gogobiri said the state electoral body was yet to publicise the electoral officers scheduled to conduct the elections across the 44 councils, insisting that it is against the regulations. He added that as required, the PDP met the April 18 deadline for submission of list of all candidates, while APC was yet to do same.


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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

NEWS Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Okorocha, Orji bicker over sacked workers

Suspected Fulani herdsmen attack Taraba villages, kill scores

From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri

From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo

HE alleged frosty relationFFORTS by Taraba governT ship between Imo State Ement to end on-going criGovernor, Chief Rochas Oko- sis in the state has not yielded

rocha and his Abia State counterpart, Dr. Theodore Orji, appears to be deteriorating as the former has decried the recent statement against him by Orji’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Ajunwa. In a statement on Monday, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA), Media to Okorocha, Mr. Sam Onwemedo, urged Orji to stop the animosity and embrace peace. The statement, The Guardian gathered, emanated from the recent incident at Heroes Square, Owerri on Workers’ Day in which Imo indigenes disengaged from work by the Abia State Government pleaded with Okorocha during the march past, to intervene on their behalf. The statement added that the strained relationship started in 2012 when the late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s remains was brought to Aba, where the residents booed Orji and applauded Okorocha. The statement reads: “There have been media reports stating that Abia State is unhappy with Imo over the sacked civil servants. The Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Ajunwa, also accused Governor Okorocha of not absorbing Imo State indigenes who were sacked from Abia by his government.” Orji also accused Okorocha of sacking about 2,133 Abia indigenes from Imo Civil Service and that his administration had since absorbed those concerned.

Akpabio rejigs cabinet From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo N line with his resolve to inIcabinet, troduce new hands in his Governor Godswill Akpabio has appointed new commissioners. They include the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Don Etim, who has served as Works Commissioner since 2007, while a former Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah was also reappointed. Other commissioners who have been in the cabinet since the inception of the administration but have swapped portfolios are, Emmanuel Enoidem, now in the Ministry of Special Duties, Eno Akpan, Lands and Town Planning, Mr. Godwin Afangideh, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Enobong Uwah, Environment and Mineral Resources among others. A press statement made available to The Guardian in Uyo signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, said the former Commissioner for Economic Development, Mr. Akan Okon now becomes the Commissioner for Finance, while one of the newly appointed commissioners, Mr. Ante Okwong becomes the new Commissioner for Economic Development. A former Speaker of the state House Assembly, Mr. Ignatius Edet is now the Rural Development commissioner, while Mr. Ekpenyong Enyina becomes the Special Adviser Bureau for Cooperative and

fruits, as many people were yesterday killed in Kugwana Village, Bali Local Council Area, by Fulani herdsmen. An eyewitness, who spoke with The Guardian, said the at-

tackers stormed the village in the early hours of yesterday, attacking worship centres where displaced persons from previous attacks were being camped. Also attacked were several worship centres in DanAnacha Village in Gassol Local Council. Confirming the attacks in Dan-Anacha, the

parish priest of the Catholic Church, Rev. (Fr.) Pius Aloysius, said 42 churches “have been completely razed by the attackers”. Aloysius noted that members of the parish have fled the area for safety, adding that Nongo u Kristu Ulser Sha Tar (NKST) where about 6,000 refugees were said to have

been camped, was also razed. Though the state government claimed to have brokered peace with the relevant stakeholders in the crisis-ridden areas, The Guardian learnt that efforts by the government to halt the killings were thwarted by herdsmen. Confirming the attack, Bali Council Chairman, Andy Yer-

Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha (right); Acting Director-General, National Pensions Commission, Chinelo AnohuAmazu and President, South-East/South-South Professionals of Nigeria, Emeka Ugwu-Oju (left), during Ihedioha’s arrival to the 2014 SouthEast/South-South Development Forum

Firm urges court to stay proceedings on Tejuosho market suit By Bertram Nwannekanma LAGOS State-appointed developer of the new Tejuosho ultra-modern market, Stormberg Engineering Company, yesterday urged a Federal High Court, Lagos, presided by Justice Okon Abang, to stay further proceeding in a suit instituted by Access Bank Plc against it. Counsel to Stormberg, Vincent Nwana, while moving the application for stay, stated that First Bank Plc is the sole financier of the new Tejuosho ultra-modern market in Lagos. Meanwhile, First Bank had earlier applied to be joined as interested party being the sole financier of the project but

A

was refused by Justice Abang. According to Nwana, the denial of First Bank, the sole financier of the project and granting Access Bank’s counsel the receivership of the market had occasioned gross injustice. He said the application to stay proceeding in the matter was in the best interest of justice and to preserve the subject matter of the dispute. But Access Bank’s lawyer, Kunle Ogunba (SAN), in his response, urged the court to discountenance with the application, adding that the matter had been determined and should not be reopened in the interest of justice. Submitting that the grounds of appeal in the matter were of

law, which required no leave as provided under Section 241 (1) of the Constitution, Nwana stressed that one of the grounds of his client’s appeal at the Appeal Court in Lagos was based on the refusal to admit a vital document which is the forensic audit report of Stormberg’s account domiciled with the plaintiff/respondent. He added that the judgment sought to be enforced was obtained by fraud through suppression and misrepresentation of facts. He also pointed out that neither the Lagos State Government, the real owner of the market, nor First Bank, the sole financier of the market, was put on notice before the consent judgment and the order

being sought to set aside were made by the court. The judgment and the order being sought to be set aside by the applicant were made on December 14, 2011 and January 20, 2012 respectively. Furthermore, Nwana submitted that the appeal of the appellant was predicated on the ground that the court, having made the order, cannot review its order again. Finally, the lawyer submitted that apart from the notice of appeal, his client had also fully transmitted the records of appeal, which should be sufficient for the court to stay proceeding. Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned till May 19.

ima, said: “I was informed of the crisis in my council, but I have been in Abuja for the past two days attending a seminar.” Also, member representing the area in the State House of Assembly, Gambo Maikudi, noted: “I have drawn the attention of the Speaker to the crisis and he (Speaker) has contacted the Commissioner of Police and the State Security Service (SSS). The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Joseph Kwaji, confirmed that the crisis started “at about 02.00 hours today” (Tuesday) and that the attack was carried out by “unknown gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.” Confirming that the casualties were of the “Tiv extraction”, “five persons” according to him, “were burnt beyond recognition” while “two” he added, “were macheted to death.” He disclosed that no arrest had been made but that efforts were on to arrest the perpetrators, adding that the worst hit villages include Maigoge, Kau and Jatau. The state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), other groups and individuals, were alleged to have pointed accusing fingers at the Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, for the unabated crisis. The killings recently compelled members of the state House of Assembly and the Senate Committee Chairman on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Emmanuel Bwacha and CAN to urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, curb the crisis.

Book for launch BOOK entitled: Rich CounA try Poor People; Nigeria’s Story of Poverty in the Midst of Plenty devoted to the paradox of Nigeria’s impressive growth rate side by side its deepening poverty, will be launched tomorrow at NECA House, Plot A2, Hakeem Balogun Street, Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos at 10.00 a.m. The book is authored by Prof. Banji Oyelaran Oyeyinka, the most Senior Director/Chief Scientific Advisor and Nigerian at the United Nations Headquarters.

Govt to patronise local solar producers From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja S part of the local content A policy being fine-tuned for the power sector, government

will patronise local producers of solar panels over their foreign counterparts, Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has said. Nebo, who inspected the Karshi Power Plant owned by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in Abuja yesterday, stressed that because of the Operation Light Up Nigeria scheme of the Federal Government, massive tons of solar panels would be required to power communities across the country, using solar. The minister assured that since the panels produced by NASENI were far better than many of those produced abroad, government would patronise the plants and en-

courage it to expand and build more of such across the country. He said: “We want to grow renewable energy resources utilisation and deployment in Nigeria. With the low level of electricity generation and transmission in the country, the only way to reach the rural communities is to ensure that we deploy as much renewable technology to reach communities that are far away from the national grid. “It was so good when we launched Operation Light-up Rural Nigeria (OLRN) that the leadership of NASENI contacted the Ministry of Power to partner with them. So, we felt that one way to do that is to come and have a visual, real technical visit to learn as much as possible from what they are doing because I would rather patronise them than patronise foreign companies. I would

rather create more jobs in Nigeria by utilising what they are doing.” On the potentials for the locally-produced panels, he stressed: “The potentials are so enormous, solar is the only thing you can deploy to every part of Nigeria and get electricity. We have challenges with wind because the onshore wind velocity is not quite amenable wind turbine, and only select part of the country would use that. Then for biomass, there are places we don’t have biomass and so on. “So, solar is a veritable tool for making sure electricity gets to every nook and cranny in Nigeria. I will say this is a learning visit and also to try to forge a relationship with NASENI solar company to ensure that we even train most of the technical people that will be going out there into the country to

deploy this technology in our rural communities. “There are thousands of youth who would like to do that and I am sure NASENI would be in a position to help us equip them and build that kind of capacity so that wherever we deploy this technology, there will be people to maintain and repair them to make sure they don’t collapse. “NASENI, as we have seen, has a very diligent methodology of quality control of making sure that whatever they sent out there is exactly what it is at the minimum. If it is 185w, they will write 180w, so you are actually getting it better than what you see on the solar panel label, and that is the way it should be. “That is why the Ministry of Power would like to collaborate with NASENI in the deployment of solar power technology in the country.” He commended the agency for pioneering local solar panel

production in the country, noting that government would continue to promote local content in the power sector. Nebo said: “The plant has excellent prospects but it needs to be encouraged. 7.5mw can only take care of a few communities. Many communities will need as much as 500 kw, so you are thinking of only 15 communities and there are local councils in Nigeria that have more than 15 communities. So, what NASENI is producing now is not enough but I believe that when we begin to patronise them and everybody else sees the need to patronise them, then they will grow their capacity to manufacture; and like we were told, they could move to 25mw and even replicate this round the country, which will help to push solar all over Nigeria, which I believe is one way we have quick wind of power deployed across the country.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 NEWS | 7

EKITI 2014

Fayemi

Ajayi

Fayose

Fayose decries Ekiti State’s huge debt profile From Niyi Bello Akure EOPLES Democratic Party P (PDP) in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, former governor Ayo Fayose has expressed dismay over what he called “the huge debt burden” incurred for the state by the incumbent government of Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Fayose told a gathering of Ekiti indigenes resident in Ondo State recently that he would address the huge debt issue if

given the opportunity to govern the state once more “because with proper management, our state does not have to go borrowing from anywhere.” He told the crowd of mainly PDP supporters, which include the Ondo State chairman of the party, Ebenezer Alabi, that the state is currently “owing over N20 billion to local contractors alone” and that several other billions have been procured from other sources.

He alleged further that the bulk of the contracts being awarded by the Fayemi administration have only nonindigenes as beneficiaries and that the development constituted “a massive capital flight and a drain on the state economy” even while local contractors were suffering from lack of government patronage.” The PDP candidate, who disclosed that his administration left N10.7 billion in the state coffers when he was removed

in controversial circumstance before the end of his tenure, said the economy of Ekiti was in sound footing before “the Fayemi crowd” came to saddle it with a debt yoke. Fayose also recalled how during his tenure, he had a very robust relationship with the organized labour and how “there was not a single day of strike compared to today when we are having series of strike action on daily basis”, a development he attributed to the fact that “we were always

paying salaries and allowances as at when due.” According to him, “things have actually turned for the worst in Ekiti today. When we were there, we constructed roads through virgin areas and invested so much in education and health facilities. But today what do we have, not one single new road was built by this administration. We are going to correct that.” He pledged an open and all-inclusive administration in Ekiti “that will take care of our peo-

ple at home without forgetting those of us residing outside the state. For those of us in Ondo State, we are going to speak on your behalf to the Ondo government so that you can benefit maximally.” He therefore urged them to come to Ekiti and pay active role in the coming poll by voting on election day stressing that “those of you who are not registered at home can still do so by transferring your voter’s card to Ekiti. We can still do it before the election is here.”

PDP, LP, SDP members defect to APC, as Fayemi campaigns in Emure From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti)

• Governor’s wife hopeful of his re-election

S the June 21 governorA ship election in Ekiti State draws near, some

in the last three and half years. Mrs. Fayemi hinged her optimism on what she described as “unparalleled populist programmes and policies “ Fayemi-led administration has been implementing, which she noted has posi-

members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Emure Local Government Area of the state have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). They decamped from their parties and pledged allegiance to the APC in EmureEkiti, headquarters of the local government, when the campaign train of Governor Kayode Fayemi hit the town. The defectors include PDP candidate in the 2011 House of Assembly election, Mr. Ayo Boluwade; former LP Chairman in Emure LGA, Mr. Ayo Ajiboye, LP leader in Eporo Ward, Mr. Gabriel Omole and Social Democratic Party (SDP) chairman in the council area, Mr. Kolade Omotoso. The opposition chieftains who moved into the APC alongside their teeming supporters promised to work hard for the re-election of Fayemi whom they described as a governor who has performed wonders in Ekiti State. Fayemi at the rally predicted the downfall of the opposition in the June 21 gubernatorial election in the state. Meanwhile, wife of the governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi has expressed optimism that her husband, Dr. Kayode Fayemi will win re-election at the June 21 governorship election because of what the administration has achieved

tively changed the living standard of the people. She said, “This is an administration that has a vision and roadmap. This is an administration that has an agenda in terms of eradicating poverty. The edge we have over other people is that we

have a long range of achievements to point at within the last three-and-ahalf years of this administration. “For those who are scheming and planning to replace this administration, the news is that there is no va-

cancy because this administration is doing its best for the people of Ekiti.” Mrs. Fayemi spoke at the launch of Village Health Workers Scheme and presentation of cheques to Agriculture-based cooperative societies, organized by the state’s Millennium Development Goals office, in Ado-Ekiti.

The Ekiti first lady said that the Fayemi-led administration had a wide range of people-oriented achievements to flaunt, which she said was a marked difference between him and his predecessors. The governor’s wife implored them to do their best to reduce maternal and infant mortality to the barest

Why INEC won’t use card reader in Ekiti, Osun, by Jega From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Ado Ekiti ) and Ezeocha NzehAbuja

• Fayemi beats Fayose, Bamidele in opinion poll

ITING the keen interest genC erated by both elections, the Independent National Electoral

wise to use a pilot scheme in an election that will be keenly contested.” Jega also noted that in the next three month, the commission would have been done with Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) distribution, while reassuring that the commission is fully prepared to conduct free, fair and acceptable election come 2015. Jega, who affirmed that INEC is now prepared technically and in terms of personnel for the forthcoming elections, said he was optimistic that the forthcoming 2015 election will better organized than 2011, considering all the reforms and innovations introduced by the commission. “We are optimistic that technically INEC will organize a better, fairer and acceptable election in 2015.” Meanwhile, an opinion poll conducted by a group of eminent Ekiti indigenes has rated the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as the best candidate to win the June 21, this year governorship election. The group, known as Ekitipanupo is headed by Professor

Commission (INEC) yesterday explained why the commission would not use card reader in the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States. In another development, INEC, in its bid to bridge the increasing gender gaps and promote mutual partnerships between men and women in the operations of the Commission and its relation with relevant stakeholders, said it is working assiduously towards articulating a proper framework for mainstreaming gender through its gender policy. INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega stated this while receiving the United States (US) Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Sarah in Abuja, explained that the keen interest generated by both elections would not allow it to be used for the pilot scheme. Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his Osun State counterpart, Ogbeni Rauf But Jega said “It will not be

Akin Oyebode of the University of Lagos said the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate scored 85.29 per cent to beat other aspirants. The group disclosed that the opinion poll, which was coordinated, by Oyebode and its secretary, Mr. Kunle Oladele was according to them, conducted as a milestone intervention in the sustainable development in the state. According to the poll, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele of the Labour Party (LP) scores 11.76 percent; Mr. Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scores 2.94 per cent while Mr. Kole Ajayi of Accord Party scores 0.00 per cent. The group said, “The poll became necessary pursuant to the role of Ekitipanupo as the indigenous Ekiti people’s parliament. Considering the fact that the interests of Ekiti people rest on the prevalence of peace, order, good governance, infrastructure and socio-economic development, it was observed that 51.61 per cent voted YES for continuity of the progress recorded so far

while 45.16 per cent voted YES, with amends, where necessary in order to avoid past misdeeds and 85.29 per cent voted in favour of endorsing Fayemi for re-election for a second term as governor of Ekiti State. The group said, “Ekitipanupo, as the foremost, all-inclusive Ekiti socio-political group and indigenous intellectual roundtable that parades the best of the indigenes as members, representing most of the 131 towns in Ekiti State, we wish to intervene positively, as the need arises, in the state of affairs in our beloved homestead of Ekiti. Accordingly, our call for a free and fair June 21, 2014 election is in conformity with the discharge of one of the fundamental roles of the forum in the unfolding political scenario in Ekiti State. “Ekitipanupo recognizes the fact that every qualified candidate is entitled to contest for the Ekiti governorship seat. The forum is favourably disposed to the state being governed by the candidate generally considered as the best in relation to personality, track record, programmes and manifestos, especially relevance to the col-

lective interests and aspirations of Ekiti people home and abroad and, more importantly, the ideals that Ekitipanupo holds highly vis-à-vis the good and progress of Ekiti State”. Other members of the group include, Ifaki-Ekiti-born former Head of Nigeria French Village and President of Ifaki Progressive Union, Professor Ade-Ojo; former Chairman, Odua Investment Company Limited and former Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited, Sir Remi Omotoso; former Minister of Health and Human Resources, Julius AdelusiAdeluyi; former Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank, Chief Bandele Falegan and 81year-old reputable retired health practitioner, Madam Bimpe Okunade. Others are the Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Otuoke, Professor Bolaji Aluko; Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Professor Biyi Daramola; Mr. Kunle Oladele, a successful businessman; Igede Ekiti-born U.Sbased, University of Ife and Harvard-trained Bunmi FatoyeMatory, a U.S-based University Don, Professor Joseph Aina amongst others.


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NEWS Wednesday, May 14, 2014

INEC begins issuance of permanent voters cards on May 23 From: Joseph Wantu Makurdi ITH 275 days to the 2015 W general elections, the Independent National Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, has revealed that it shall commence issuance of permanent voters cards, PVC from May 23, 2014 in ten states of the federation among which Benue State would be one. Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Benue State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, who dropped the hint to journalists at the NUJ press centre in Makurdi yesterday said the issuance of permanent voters cards, PVC, is slated for May 23 this year while the continuous voters registration, CVR, would start in the state on May 28 this year. He noted that the commencement of the CVR as well as the issuance of the PVC, which are to be collected from polling units in the states are preludes to every election. The INEC Residence Commissioner further spelt out that those eligible to register in the 2014 CVR to include those who were not up 18 years as at 2011 and have attained the age now; those who had problems with the direct data capture (DDC) machines; and were not captured during the 2011 registration exercise as well as those who could not register in 2011 for one reason or the other. While advising voters to en-

sure that their names are in the voters’ register during the CVR, the INEC Commissioner maintained that it is only by doing so that they would be able to vote and know where to cast their votes. He further explained that the registration and display of the names of people that have registered would be

done simultaneously to enable voters to check and verify if their names were captured well and on the same day. “If a voter wants to verify whether his or her names are in the voters’ register during the period of the CVR, all he or she needs to do is to check from the registration center

or ward nearest to where he or she registered in 2011.” Yusuf intimated that those who registered in any part of the country do not need to register again as they only need to transfer their cards by applying to the REC through the Electoral Officer of their local government area where they reside.

He also informed that addendum or manual register would not be used in 2015 general elections and advised the electorate to ensure that their names are in the electronic register as it is only those with the permanent voters cards that would be allowed to exercise their franchise to vote.

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GAINST the backdrop of the work hazard they face daily in their profession, the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has given its support for women in journalism. In a statement contained in a letter to the Conference Director of Women in Journalism, Mr. Yomi Owope, UNESCO Regional Director Professor Hassana Alidou Halidou, UNESCO commended the organisers of 2014 Women in Journalism Conference taking place in Lagos next month, saying that is was timely and would go a long way in improving the practice of journalism in Africa. Halidou said, “UNESCO has always championed freedom of expression and of the press as a pillar for democratic governance and development of society. Indeed the freedom for women to practice jour-

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IGERIANS have been N urged to tackle the emerging problems affecting the country’s environment as a consequence of climate change. Director General of National Environmental Standard and Regulation Enforcement Agency, NESREA, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngeri Benebo gave the charge yesterday in Makurdi, Benue State capital while declaring open a two-day essential enforcement course for NESREA staff in its Benue field office. Represented by Director of Quality Control in the agency, Mr. Maiwada Umar, Mrs. Benebo stressed that there are many issues affecting climate change that if left unchecked would continue the degradation of the environment with all the attendant negative consequences.

By Emeka Nwachukwu EEPING to its vision of raisK ing entrepreneurs, Dominion Faith International

President Goodluck Jonathan with the outgoing High Commissioner of the Republic of Gambia, Angela Colley Iheme at Presidential Villa Abuja

Ajudua, the EFCC said allegedly collected the money from Bamaiyi while they were both in custody at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos between November 2004 and June 2005. The EFCC claimed that Ajudua and others still at large defrauded Bamaiyi through false claims that the

money represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison. Ajudua, who initially insisted that Bamaiyi be put on trial also for admitting that he offered bribe, pleaded not guilty to the charge after the

court refused his application. He subsequently applied for bail citing health grounds. Part of the exhibits filed in support of his application was two medical reports from the Lagos University Hospital, which indicated that he was suffering from kidney failure. But ruling on the bail application yesterday, trial judge,

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye held that there was no special circumstance warranting the court to grant the defendant bail. According to the judge, Ajudua had in the past refused to attend his trial when he absconded after been granted bail by another court in another matter.

UNESCO pledges support for women in journalism From John Akubo, Lokoja

From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi

Church trains 217 in skills acquisition

Court denies Ajudua bail again over alleged $8.4m fraud By Bertram Nwannekanma, Lagos and Abosede Musari, Abuja Lagos High Court, Ikeja yesterday rejected a bail application filed by Fred Ajudua, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly defrauding former Chief of Army Staff, Ishaya Bamaiyi of $8.4 million.

NESREA tasks Nigerians over environmental problems

• Wada’s wife okays Patience Jonathan’s women empowerment efforts nalism and to express themselves is a major aspect of this wider concept.” Professor Alidou also pledged the support of UNESCO in providing technical support and training during the conference, adding that ongoing consultations before the conference would be established to ensure its success. AOL Nigeria in partnership with UNESCO and the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University are putting together the first Women in Journalism Conference in Lagos on June 5 and 6, 2014. Women-in-Journalism (WiJ2014) is a global gathering of women journalists led by the likes of publishers Betty Irabor and Adesuwa Onyenokwe, veteran journalist and Member of the Federal House of

Representatives, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Mo Abudu, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, Toyosi Ogunseye and Asabe BabaNahaya. Others include Funke Aboyade (SAN), FunkeTreasure Durodola, Kadaria Ahmed, Stella Din Jacob, and Adaure Achumba among others. The conference will also welcome global players in the media with participation from women journalists around the globe. Lending a scholastic perspective to the Conference would be Professor Suzanne Franks of the City University, London. WiJ2014 will feature keynote speeches, trainings, mentoring and other opportunities for young and aspiring journalists, while providing networking between home grown and foreign journalists. Scholarship awards will also be provided to 50 young

female journalists sponsored by various individuals and organizations. WiJ2014 will hold at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos and is supported by Google Nigeria. The main objective of WiJ2014 is advancing Nigerian women in the media and inspiring the next generation of women and girls in issues relating with education, journalism, leadership and media enterprise. The mission is to provide greater opportunities and exposure to Nigerian women in journalism to be able to take on industry challenges, and compete locally and internationally in the 21st Century. Meanwhile, wife of the Kogi state, Hajiya Halima Ladi Wada, founder of Kogi Women Empowerment Network (KOWEN) has declared total support of the women of the state to the women

empowerment, peace initiatives of the wife of the president Mrs. Patience Jonathan, through mobilization, sensitization, economic empowerment, peaceful co-existence and development of women towards leadership positions. She said all these are in tandem with 35% affirmative action of the UN declaration. Hajiya Wada made the declaration in Lokoja at the launching of the pet project of Mrs. Jonathan, Women for Change and Development Initiative (W4CDI) in Lokoja recently. The first lady indicated that the synergy between KOWEN, Women for Change and PDP as a party, which has been ongoing, is to ensure Victory for the President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 general elections. She indicated that Kogi State is not known with any other party other than ruling PDP.

Church recently held a graduation ceremony for the 13th set of its Centre for Vocational Empowerment and Development (CVED) at the church’s Main Auditorium, Ipaja, Lagos. A total of 217 out of over 400 students, who enrolled for the programme graduated at the skill acquisition centre. Nigerians from Christians and Muslims backgrounds attended the three months intensive training programme. Executive Director of CVED project, who is also the senior pastor of DFIC, Rev. David Olatona, said the free skill acquisition programme is not just for church members. Rather, he said, it was designed to empower youths and adults of various backgrounds to face the challenges in the society. He charged them to make the best of their newly acquired skills towards adding great value to Nigeria and the

Firm organises education fair subsidiary of STPL Global, A Bruhas of India is organizing education fair in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt from Friday this week. In a release by assistant Vice President of the company, Dr. Vijay Kumar, the Bruhas is organizing education fairs at Lagos Sheraton, Ikeja on May 16, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island; on May 19, Rockview Hotel, Abuja on May 21 and the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt on May 23, 2014. Kumar said the Bruhas is a leading ICT education and consulting company in India with visible West African presence and headquarters in Nigeria. He said, “With her Nigerian experience of more than 15 years, the Bruhas showcases training centres for Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills in Lagos and Abuja.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | 9

PHOTONEWS

As a solidarity to the unification of the Nigerian states against terrorism, the Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri erecting the Nigerian National Flag at the site of the Nyanya bomb blast at the FCT, Abuja

A Commissioner at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Michael Onyia (left); Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of NCC, Okechukwu Itanyi, Director, Spectrum Admin of Ministry of Communication Technology, Festus Daudu, and Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Eugene Juwah, at a Telecom Consumer Parliament programme in Lagos…recently.

Members Committee on Political Parties and Electoral Matters, Alhaji Sani Zoro (Left); Chief Olusegun Osoba, Sen. Mohammed Kabir Jibril, as the National Conference resumes today, after the recess of the World Economic forum in Abuja…recently PHOTO LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

Chaly Boy’s mother, Mrs. Margaret Oputa (left); Charles Oputa and Deputy Speaker, House of Reps. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, during the deputy Speaker’s condolence visit on the family of late Justice Chukwudife Oputa, who died recently, at Charly Boy’s House, Abuja yesterday.

Nigerian Deputy High Commissioner to UK, Ambassador Oluwatoyin Lawal (left); and his wife Abiodun, share a happy moment with their son, Jide and his wife, Jumoke, who tied the knot at Haven Event Centre, Lagos.

Director, Voice of Salvation Charity Foundation, Mr. Paulinus Onyagu (left); his wife, Ngozi, Senior Public Relation Officer, Julius Berger Office, Abuja, Grace Ayoola, Public Relation Officer, Lagos, Suszan Obi and Public Relation Adviser, Julius Berger Plc, Mr. Clement Iloba, during the donation ceremony of one million naira to the foundation in Lagos.

Project Co-ordinator, Blood Donation Camp, Atul Kshztry (left); Voluntary Blood Donation Unit, Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee, Raman Grover, President Elect, Rotary Club of Lagos Palm Grove, Olayinka Animashaun, Group General Manager, Human Resources, Kewalram Chanrai Group, Ramesh Biswal, and Human Resouces/Administrative Manager, Babatunde Opatola, during the in House Blood Donation camp organised by Rotary Club of Lagos, Palm Grove Estate, Nigeria Red Cross Society and Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee in Lagos.

CEO, Sacred Beauty Artistry, Lola Maja Okojevoh (left); CEO, House of Tara, Tara Fela Durotoye, , Commissioner for Commerce & Industry, Lagos State, Sola Oworu, and Bolanle Okusanya Feyita; BMakeuppro, at the first ever Makeup In Nigeria Conference, held at Oriental Hotel, Lagos.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

10 Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WorldReport North Korea threatens to attack South ORTH Korea threatened N yesterday to “wipe out” South Korea’s government in a furious response a day after a Seoul official said the North “must disappear soon,” in an escalation of rhetoric between the rivals. The North’s powerful National Defense Commission called the South Korean comments an “intolerable” provocation that showed the South wants to take over the North. It said in a statement carried by state media that North Korea will launch “all-out ... merciless” strikes to “wipe out every last person” in South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s government. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman, Kim Min-seok said Monday that North Korea wasn’t a real country and existed for the benefit of only one person, a reference to its leader, Kim Jong Un. He said the North has no human rights or public freedoms. Kim’s comments followed a series of slurs by North Korea against the leaders of South Korea and the United States. North Korea’s media likened Park to an “old prostitute” and President Barack Obama to a “monkey” in recent dispatches. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said North Korea’s military hadn’t undertaken any suspicious activities. A

ministry official said South Korea is always ready to repel any provocation by the North. South Korea has been highly critical of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, including recent rocket and missile launches and apparent preparations for a fourth nuclear test. But the comments from Seoul on Monday are stronger than usual. South Korea tries to avoid publicly talking about anything that could be interpreted as a collapse of the North Korean government because of worries that the North would raise tensions.

UN to feed 6.5 million Ethiopians this year HE World Food T Programme (WFP) will help to feed nearly 6.5 mil-

Former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert arrives for a hearing in his trial for corruption linked to a major property development at the district court of the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv…yesterday. Olmert, 68, who was convicted on March 31, 2014 on two charges of taking bribes was sentenced to six years in prison and a fine of a million shekels ($290,000/210,000 euros) over his involvement in one of the country’s worst-ever corruption scandals. PHOTO: AFP

Russia ‘expects’ Ukraine rebels to comply with OSCE roadmap USSIA said yesterday that R it expected pro-Moscow rebels to comply with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE’s) roadmap for resolving the Ukraine crisis if Kiev authorities stop a military operation in the east and pull back troops. “We expect leaders of the self-defence forces of the Donbass and Lugansk (regions) to react appropriately if Kiev takes these steps,” the Russian foreign ministry said, adding it was “extremely important” to launch the roadmap as soon as possible. The coal-mining area of

Donbass includes parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The Russian foreign ministry said Kiev had to immediately stop “reprisal raids” in the east and pull back troops from the encircled cities and towns. “In accordance with the ‘roadmap’, it is necessary to free all political prisoners,” it said, adding that Russia had demanded Kiev stop “intimidating civilians”. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last week drew up the plan in an effort to help bring the proWestern Kiev authorities

and pro-Moscow militants in Ukraine to the negotiating table. Moscow said it was also important to investigate all instances of violence in the east and south, first and foremost the clashes and fire in the southern city of Odessa that claimed at least 42 lives earlier this month. “We call on the OSCE to secure agreement from Kiev

authorities to fully cooperate on these issues,” the foreign ministry said. “The implementation of... the ‘roadmap’ would create conditions for the start of a broad national dialogue aimed at reconciliation and an all-encompassing constitutional reform designed to prevent the country from further sliding toward catastrophe.”

lion Ethiopians this year, the United Nations agency said yesterday, with the country hit by locusts, neighboring war and sparse rainfall. “We are concerned because there is the beginning of a locust invasion in the eastern part of the country, and if it’s not properly handled it could be of concern for the pastoralist population living there,” WFP spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byrs told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. “And in the northern part of Ethiopia there has been less rain than average for the third or fourth consecutive year.” Ethiopia is also dealing with growing refugee numbers due to the conflict in neighboring South Sudan, sapping WFP’s budget for feeding new arrivals in the country, which is at risk of a shortfall as soon as next month. More than 120,000 South Sudanese have crossed over into Ethiopia in the past six months, mostly women and children who are arriving “famished, exhausted and malnourished”, WFP said in

Paedophile teacher abused scores as clues missed E was one of the most H beloved teachers in the world of international schools that serve the children of diplomats, well-off Americans and local elites. He was often the first to arrive in the morning, and last to leave. He led student trips to exotic places and gave out cookies and milk at bedtime. That was the public persona of William Vahey until a maid stole a memory drive from him in November. It held evidence that Vahey had molested scores of adolescent boys, possibly more during a four-decade teaching career. “He’s one of the most prolific pedophiles that we’ve seen here due to the sheer numbers,” FBI Special Agent Sharon Dunlap said.

The discovery has set off a crisis in the community of international schools, where parents are being told their children may have been victims, and administrators are scurrying to close loopholes exposed by Vahey’s abuses. Apparently, not even Vahey’s victims knew they had been molested. The double-cream Oreos that he handed out were laced with sleeping pills, enough to leave the boys unconscious as he touched them and posed them for nude photographs. Vahey attempted suicide in Nicaragua after his maid stole the drive. He survived, but killed himself on a second try, stabbing himself to death at age 64 and leaving hundreds of former students wondering if they

had been abused. There were decades of missed opportunities to expose Vahey, starting with an early California sex-abuse conviction that didn’t prevent him taking a series of jobs exposing him to children. In 1969, Vahey was arrested on child sexual abuse charges after police said he pinched the penises of eight boys, ages 7 to 9, at an Orange County, California, high school where he taught swimming. Vahey, then 20, told authorities he had started touching boys without their consent at age 14. He pleaded guilty to a single charge of lewd and lascivious behavior. He received a 90-day jail sentence and five years’ probation, but he was allowed to leave the country in January 1972.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday May 14, 2014

11

Politics The National Conference Debate

‘It’s failed before it started’ In the face of global embarrassment caused by the activities of Boko Haram, which culminated in the adoption of schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State last month, the Chairman, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Mr. Peter Ameh, has expressed doubts that the ongoing national conference will serve as solution to the nation’s numerous socio-political, economic and security problems. In particular, he flayed the Federal Government for its failure to tackle the situation with the seriousness it deserved. He told Bridget Chiedu Onochie in Abuja that if funds appropriated for addressing security challenges were judiciously utilised, Nigeria would have been able to acquire necessary equipment and manpower to counter activities of the sect early enough. SSUES arising from the National IThose Conference who are gathered there are people looking at Nigeria from a narrow point of view; those who have small vision of what the country should be are those gathered at the conference. This is because anybody, who sees himself as an Igala man or Ijaw man at the conference has failed. When people begin to look at themselves as people representing certain tribes or families, those people are not willing to see Nigeria grow beyond where it is and that is the problem with the confab. These are people, who have been there since 1960 and partook in most of the decisions that have kept Nigeria backward. You just gathered the same people and expect Nigeria to move forward! What are they going to say if not the same decisions that led us to where we are today? There should have been elements of blend: bringing fresh minds and those who see Nigeria from a broad perspective and not in units into it. And that is why the conference, to me, has failed even before it started. We, as PPA, wanted to be part of it because it is our right, as a registered political party under the law, to be part of it but we were left out of it. That is no problem but you can see that they are not heading anywhere. Why Nigeria appears to be losing the war against insurgency It is because government has not been proactive in its approach. One thing needed for any organisation to succeed is the strength of the man at the helm of affairs. If President Goodluck Jonathan had shown enough commitment towards winning this war, people on ground would have woken from their slumber and the situation would not have degenerated to where we have to invite foreign aid. Their presence in Nigeria is a total acceptance of the country’s failure to tackle its challenges. The war against insurgency in the world is about Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as well as intelligence gathering. If we must stand assured as a nation that we have the capacity to win this war, we must put money where it should be and take care of the welfare of the military personnel who are doing the job. There are speculations that the boys are neglected and hungry. If it is true, it is a serious matter because that alone can make them compromise their positions. Those who are involved in trying to put this (insurgency) to a stop must be well encouraged. Time has come for us to do something very critical about the security situation in the country because if what is happening here happens elsewhere in the world, that country will disintegrate. So far, over N1 trillion has gone into addressing insecurity in this country. If that sum was properly utilised, we would have achieved success. If there were scanners in our streets, we would not have experienced a situation where bomb blast occurred somewhere and few days after, it happened again at the same spot without the culprits being

Ameh fished out. It is all because the budgetary allocation for security issues has not been judiciously utilised. Where are the equipment procured with the money; where are the scanners on the highway? Why should our security men be subjected to unnecessary risk by opening vehicle boots to search for explosives? N the alleged activities of the sect from OI think neighbouring countries there is conspiracy within our borders. If the nations around us are not doing anything to help us, we should consider closing down our borders. I am insisting that if the countries along our borders are not willing to assist us in solving this problem, they will be the worse for it. If anything happens to us, they will share in the effect.

I think the President should close Nigeria’s borders with neighbouring nations for now and whatever business we have to do, we should do it within and with other countries that have our interest at heart. I strongly believe that there is conspiracy from the borders because the Armed Forces are doing everything possible to win this war but because of the conspiracy from the borders, their efforts are being thwarted. But we have the resources and manpower to man our borders no matter how porous they are. Even if it means mounting a security check at every 60 metres, we can afford to do so. The essence of government is to protect life and property. If the borders are our problem, we should close them. Americans did it and the world did not crash. We have the strength to do anything so far it

Those who are gathered there are people looking at Nigeria from a narrow point of view; those who have small vision of what the country should be are those gathered at the conference. This is because anybody, who sees himself as an Igala man or Ijaw man at the conference has failed. When people begin to look at themselves as people representing certain tribes or families, those people are not willing to see Nigeria grow beyond where it is and that is the problem with the confab

will help in saving the lives of Nigerians. That is what matters for now because if there is conspiracy against us, we must fight it out. If the crime is coming from the borders, the President must stand on his feet and forget about friendship and bilateral relationships so as to save the lives of those who voted him into office. Suspected sabotage of government’s efforts If you have nine children, you cannot expect all of them to be straightforward. If there were systems in place to checkmate activities of defiant among the military or government functionaries, they would have been tamed. Those feeding information to Boko Haram sect would have been easily picked up. It is a big problem to have an institution where the person at the helm of affairs is stronger than the institution itself. Once the person leaves, people forget about the institution. It happened in NAFDAC, and it happened in the EFCC where people in charge were stronger than the institutions. Institution is meant to out-live those that work there at every point in time. Need to recruit more men into the Armed Forces We have the best Armed Forces personnel in Africa. You could see it from the Liberia and Sierra Lone civil wars. These are people who had gone and conquered in other countries. I think there should be a strategic plan to tackle insurgency and the welfare of the military should be structured into that strategic plan to the extent that if they die in the course of duty, their families will not suffer. It is not all about recruiting more people into the Forces but the ability of the government to put things into proper place to encourage people to do certain things. Impact of the current Minister of Defence in the whole situation The man knows what is right. He should stop working with the old plan. It is time we designed a new road map to tackle insurgency. If you come into office and keep relying on the old map that had failed consistently, you will also continue to fail. There should be a new plan on what to do in the areas that this war is very hot. If our soldiers have been doing well in other countries, why won’t they succeed in their country? The issue of resources and how they are spent is the cause of the problem and not the ability of the military. Why PPA went to sleep after the 2011 elections As I said, institutions should outlive individuals. We have problems but these problems have not been able to weigh us down. That is why we are still here because we believe in this party and true federalism we have always preached about. After the 2011 elections, we have done a lot of things and right now, we are preparing for congresses across the country. We have told everyone who cared to listen that we will participate in every election come 2015, including presidential election. We are strong enough to do this and we are putting every structure in place to ensure we succeed in whatever we do.


TheGuardian

12 | Wednesday, May 14, 2014

www.ngrguardiannews.com

Conscience Nurtured by Truth

FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011) Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816

Editorial A cry for our missing girls AVING advertised its gross incapacitaH tion, having demonstrated in word and deed its cluelessness over the whereabouts of the abducted girls, the government has, at least, found a wholesome diet in the humble pie by accepting the offer of assistance from the United States and United Kingdom governments and other countries willing to offer such. Beyond this, however, the Administration should also be ready to face the consequences of such international intervention. For over three weeks after the traumatising abduction of 276 girls by members of the Boko Haram, Nigerians have been at a loss over their location and condition. Amidst consistent bombings and killings, the news of the missing girls was even drowned by a plethora of routine government activities. After all, as Information Minister Labaran Maku was alleged to have stated at a briefing, it seems that incidents like these do not stop the government from working. But that is before the voice of the people triggered a groundswell of reactions that evoked a feeble government response. This slow, tacky and inept response of the government has been viewed as deliberate, giving credence to all shades of interpretations. Was the government genuinely interested in the plight of the girls, their parents and well-wishers? Are Nigerian leaders so emotionally disconnected from the predicament of ordinary Nigerians? How would the President, Vice President, Senate President, any governor or minister have reacted if their daughters were so abducted? Thanks to the commitment of Nigerian women and other influential women leaders around the world who mobilised their folks to consistently and tenaciously protest this scandalous inattention, the world has now come to appreciate the gravity of the senseless assault on Nigeria. There is no doubt, therefore, that the inaction of the government, as observed in its obvious incapacitation, its lack of diligence, and seeming disregard for the plight of the masses and people outside the precinct of power, is responsible for the viral worldwide reaction to the abducted girls. True, in concord with the sentiments

echoed by many well-meaning illustrious Nigerians, the complexity and multilateral dimensions of the Boko Haram insurgency justify a request for international assistance that is long overdue. Ordinarily though, internationalizing a nation’s problem is never in that nation’s best interest. That the Americans are offering help is, in the first place, an indictment of the Nigerian government. But now that the government has called on the international community for help, it is pertinent to ask: What quality and manner of assistance are the American and other nations’ troops and officials offering? What are the collateral advantages and the collateral damage before and hereafter? Are they going to use Nigeria’s resources? Who commands the operations? Given the unconvincing outing of the nation’s military operatives so far, are there command structures well-heeled to carry out the operation to rescue the girls? Deluded by a sense of continental pride, fitting advisers of this government may likely counsel that American troops should assist in so far as they are guided by Nigerian military commanders, and that the rescue mission be oriented towards the desired result: rescue the girls and leave Nigeria. But this seems unlikely, because Nigeria, at best, is not yet so strategically integrated for a national cause to define America’s intervention in Nigerian terms. Besides, sophisticated as they seem, foreign troops are reputed to respond pragmatically to crises without undermining their own imperatives. Their rules of engagement are carried out on their own terms. Their presence in any locality is one of the most potent means of destabilisation; it upturns cultures and ‘liberates’ peoples. Nowhere have these troops taken a military tour of duty that ever remained the same. Is the Nigerian government prepared for this kind of intervention? And are Nigerians ready for the implications? Several lessons derivable from the politics of the Chibok Girls abduction are instructive for government’s preparedness for foreign intervention. Nigerian leaders must understand that the world

LETTERS

AGF’s role on human rights proposal IR: The recommendation by SCommission the National Human Rights that 41 persons who were allegedly indicted in judgments of Tribunals and Courts of competent jurisdiction of committing various acts criminalised by the Electoral Act such as forgery, perjury and breach of trust reassures us that there are people in government institutions who recognize the need to wage an implacable war against electoral and other impunities. The Commission has creditably done its work; it is now left for us as citizens to do all in our power to make sure that the recommendation is not

trashed or made to gather dust on the shelf of the Attorney General of the Federation. We can begin by insisting that the Attorney General ensures that the 41 persons are prosecuted before the end of June 2014 to demonstrate clearly the aversion of his office and possibly of the government in which he serves to electoral brigandage. Fortunately, the report of the Commission leaves little room for dilly-dallying. It attaches decisions of competent courts and tribunals that have not been set aside on appeal and, apparently, in respect of which the time for appealing

has since elapsed. The AGF must be told in clear terms that what he does with the report may well determine how his tour of duty will be historically assessed.    Unless we send to prison those who take delight in perverting the electoral will of our people, we can never make democracy work in Nigeria. In sum, if democracy does not work then our people will continue to live in abject poverty as political desperadoes continue to hijack power for their base purposes. I shall be monitoring the AGF closely on this as my own token of support for his onerous work. • Bamidele Aturu, Lagos.

has changed. If there is one thing that should be clear, it is that the world is governed by citizens and not by people who sit in government houses; and that the supremacy of the citizens in governance is a well-established democratic culture, that has been augmented by information technology. Which is why the global campaign, ‘Bring Back Our Girls’, upon hitting the social media, is no longer a local affair but an initiative of global publics that attracted the support of the most influential persons of the world. If Nigerian leaders still live in denial of this blunt fact, they condemn themselves to a fool’s paradise. Furthermore, the latest development has exposed the ignorance and ineptitude of the ruling class. The glaring absence of a consensual understanding of the Chibok incident at the corridors of power exposes the levity with which a situation as crucial as this was being handled. There were imputations of all sorts concerning the motives of the abductors to the extent that leaders could not say whether the girls were abducted or not. Even the First Lady, in a most stunning distraction accused the Borno State governor of complicity in the saga, accused others of cooking up the abduction, and lampooned a protest leader by yelling: “You are playing games. Don’t use school children and women for demonstrations again”. The moral pulpit that the First Lady’s position should be has never been brought any lower! Moreover, the Nigerian military gave the impression they were in charge of the situation. Big money was voted for the exercise, resources deployed and emphatic promises were made by the military high command.

Alas, as situation reports have revealed, men in the trenches seem the most demoralised and the wonder remains if it was the same breed of Nigerian soldiers, who, on foreign missions, triumphed over other rebellions and insurgencies with remarkable success. Since the beginning of this year alone, this newspaper, just as other reputable newspapers around the world, has done incisive editorials on the point at issue, but there is hardly the requisite listening ear in the Nigerian government. The Jonathan administration can no longer act in the illusion that everything is under control; it must now accept that it has been living in denial and deceiving the populace. This unfortunate delusion was aptly captured by the paradox of an insensitive government without a good sense of priorities that deployed 6,000 troops to Abuja for the just concluded World Economic Forum for Africa, whilst the troubled spots are manned by scanty, illmotivated, demoralised troops for whom such postings must be nothing other than a punishment. As has been captured by the world’s media, last week’s show of force in Abuja may have kept delegates to the World Economic Forum safe, but Nigeria’s government has shown that it cannot protect its people, attract investment and lead the country to its full potential if it cannot contain an insurgency. Even now that foreign help has been accepted, there should be no rest until the girls are found. Like all humanity, we cry from the heart: Bring Back Our Girls.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014 13

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Opinion Serious trouble ahead for Africa By J.K. Randle HILE the debate rages as to whether Pope W Francis I should honour the invitation to visit Nigeria, matters took a completely different turn with the trenchant plea from our South African brothers and sisters to the Vatican that the spiritual cleansing of Africa should start at the southernmost tip – South Africa. The essence of their petition was captured on CNN’s “Inside Africa” programme anchored by Aisha Sesay last Sunday. At a press conference in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, Ms Thuli Madonsela, the ombudsman and feisty corruption fighter accused President Jacob Zuma of benefitting unduly from using state money to carry out lavish improvement to his rural residence in Nkandla at the cost of 246 million rand (US $23 million/£stg 13.8 million). The original estimate for the work in 2009 was about 27 million rand and the ombudsman launched her investigation in 2012 when it was reported by the “Seventy senior elders”, who had been protesting against the over domination of the accounting profession by “The Big Four” firms of international accountants, that 206 million rand had been spent. According to Ms Mandonsela, the president tacitly accepted the implementation of all the measures at his residence and has unduly benefitted from the enormous capital investment in the non-security installations (e.g. Olympic size swimming pool for six wives) at his private residence. She gave President Jacob Zuma 14 days to respond to her report before parliament. However, Zuma’s accountants agreed that some of these measures (improvements) can be legitimately classified as unlawful and the acts constitute improper conduct and maladministration. An unrepentant Zuma had consistently and repeatedly told parliament that he used his own family funds to build his homestead in Nkanda in the province of KwaZulu-Natal where he comes from. To make matters worse, his accountants and lawyers swore to an affidavit that while it could be “legitimately construed” that President Zuma had misled parliament over the extravagant renovations, nevertheless it was a “bona fide mistake”!! Ms Madonsela held her ground and remained adamant that the expenses on private property were unethical. They included cattle enclosure, swimming pool and fitness centre to enable the president to cope with six wives. In her recommendation to parliament she said that the president should refund the cost of unnecessary renovations. It has turned into a major political scandal and controversy as Zuma faces re-elec-

tion this May. However, he is relying on a government probe which last December cleared him of any wrongdoing and claimed that the improvements were needed for security reasons. Last December, a massive global audience watched in utter disbelief and agonizing embarrassment when President Zuma who has been in office since 2009 was booed at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president. The Vatican “refusniks” over the Pope’s visit to Nigeria insist that Africa is a “Black Hole” with trouble everywhere – Ethiopia; Somalia; Liberia; Congo Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Sierra Leone; Libya; Mali; Uganda; Central African Republic, etc. Ahead of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund spring meeting in Washington DC, World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim on CNN classified Nigerians and Indians among the poorest in the world. According to him, two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries – India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. The World Bank has shared its template with Nigeria’s National Office of Statistics which is headed by the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale. They both measure poverty by using the one-dollar-a-day benchmark. However, the United Nations under Bank Ki-Moon and United Nations Development Programme which is headed by Helen Clark quantify “extreme poverty” by access to the basics of life – sanitation, food, shelter, healthcare, education and water. According to Africa’s detractors, even Malawi which under its new female President Joyce Banda offered a glimmer of hope has crumbled at the altar of corruption and scandal. Indeed, it was Michael Nevins, the British High Commissioner to Malawi who let the cat out of the bag. He blew the whistle on BBC: “We want the government of Malawi to put its house in order by implementing financial systems that will not allow pilferage of public funds. In the meantime Britain will withhold £stg 17 million of aid.” On Al Jazeera television, Henry Chingaipe, a Cambridge-educated expert in corporate and civil governance spoke from Malawi: “This did not come as a surprise to many of us. The donors simply lost themselves in singing Banda’s praises. We were somewhat intrigued watching donor countries falling over themselves to provide aid despite glaring evidence that a large chunk of it was being siphoned off by corrupt officials.” For much of this year, Malawi has been embroiled in a slew of financial scandals. Relatively junior civil servants and clerks were found with

huge stacks of cash in their kitchen, cupboards, pillowcases, handbags and even under their hats!! The more daring and reckless ones splashed out on state of the art cars as well as super mansions to “dryclean” (or launder) stolen money. This has prompted Britain and other donors to withhold US $150 million (£stg 90 million) to Malawi pending the conclusion of a forensic audit for which a UK firm has been engaged. The irony and paradox of it all is that Malawi which is one of the world’s poorest nations made a vigorous effort to clean up its act when Joyce Banda became its president two years ago. In her inaugural speech, she announced to a widely cheering audience that she had sold her predecessor’s £stg 9 million private jet as well as fleet of 100 super luxury limousines and armoured cars. The crowd went wild when she declared: “We are a poor nation. Malawi will no longer be used as a piggy bank by kleptocrats who are addicted to plundering the coffers of the state. It is common knowledge that we rely on donor agencies for about 45 per cent of our budget.” To the consternation of even her own most ardent supporters, Joyce Banda was recently filmed flying on the private jet which she claimed had been sold. African magic!! Recently, about 70 civil servants together with the usual suspects – businessmen and politicians went on trial for deducting almost £stg 100 million “at source” (from the treasury!!). Indeed, a minor civil servant was found with US $300,000 in the dashboard of his car. Inevitably, the sordid scandal has galvanized media frenzy both locally and internationally. It has been tagged “Cashgate” and owes its genesis to gunmen who attempted to assassinate Paul Mphiwiyo who is the Budget Director as well as being a very close ally and confidant of Joyce Banda. Six bullets were fired by the gunmen and each bullet triggered off speculation that the voice may have been that of Esau but the hand was that of a former minister. How strange that a whole minister should resort to self-help. The former Minister of Justice Jacob Ralph Kasambara, has been charged with attempted murder as well as “drycleaning” and money laundering. The World Bank and IMR estimate that 35 per cent of the budget simply vamoosed during 2004 to 2014. It is almost exactly equal to what Malawi received from donors during the same period. Even though Fahad Assani who is the new Minister of Justice (after the exit of Kasambara) has told Fox News and Reuters that the arrest of a “big fish” is imminent, Joyce Banda is seeking re-election this May. She appears deter-

mined to bluff her way through regardless of the scandal. However, the money that has disappeared keeps getting bigger and bigger. A top government official confessed that she bought 10 luxury buses valued at U.S. $2 million illegally while one of Banda’s party chieftains has admitted using ghost companies to divert more than US $10 million of government funds. Following the recent arrest of Joyce Banda’s senior finance officer in connection with “Cashgate” scandal, lurid stories in the local press have not only linked other officials in the President’s office with looting of state funds, they have hinted that Banda herself was a beneficiary of the plunder and brigandage. The damage to her reputation has been monumental particularly in Britain which is her largest donor. Indeed, several UK newspapers have published editorials warning that the scandal calls into question Banda’s determination to fight corruption and she herself could be damaged beyond redemption. Perhaps that is what prompted Joyce Banda to sack not only the disgraced Minister of Justice but the entire cabinet. However, the World Bank was somewhat miffed when on CNN she blamed the scandal on a loophole in an electronic accounting system which was installed by the World Bank. According to her, it was the loophole that was massively abused by unrepentant corrupt government officials. As for Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe is having a swell of a time. His 90th birthday party was truly spectacular. No expense was spared. He made it very clear that he had no intention whatever to surrender power. His pact with the war veterans is sacrosanct – they fought for independence and they are entitled to the spoils of victory. The sharing of the booty must accord due recognition to the real fighters. The inheritors (or those who want to inherit) must wait their turn. When President Mugabe rose to speak at his birthday party, the first half was devoted to mocking Nigeria. He had forgotten how much aid and other resources Nigeria committed to the struggle in Zimbabwe (previously Southern Rhodesia). Then he tore into his arch rival and erstwhile Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangira. He quoted a string of lurid revelations about the alleged romantic escapades and sexual excesses of the leader of the opposition. It was with considerable glee and unrestrained relish that he reminded his guests that the press had published stories that the leader of the opposition had impregnated the sister of his dead wife. • Bashorun J.K. Randle OFR, FCA is Chairman & Chief Executive JK Randle Professional Services Chartered Accountants Lagos. E-mail: jkrandleintuk@gmail.com

The colonial roots of Boko Haramism  By Anthony Akinola NE legacy of disunity bequeathed in Nigeria by the British O colonialists is the unequal educational development of the North and the South.  The assumption of the iniquitous Boko Haram ideology, “western education is evil” has its genesis in the once hostile attitude of the northern traditional rulers to that subject.  A building with a faulty foundation would always be a dangerous one, the sad story of Nigeria. The comparative superior position the South of Nigeria holds in Western education was not because the colonialists favoured the region over and above the North; on the contrary, the colonialists’ bias was towards the North.  The disparity between the two regions emanated from the fact that the activities of Christian missionaries, the  de facto pioneers of education in the colony, were restricted to the South and the pagan areas of the North.  The hostilities of the Emirs and Islamic clerics of the North to Western education were appreciated by Lord Frederick Lugard (first Governor General) and his successors.    Neither were enrolments into the comparatively few government schools encouraged in the North as they were in the South, not least because of the need to preserve the prestige and authority of the Emirs.  The colonialists acquiesced in sustaining the fear the people had for traditional authority in order to ensure the success of the indirect rule system, a rule through the chiefs.    The system was a great success in the

North, compared with the South but the basis for that success has become the problem of today. It must, however, be acknowledged that the British did not seek to create a nation that would, in the long run, be more important than theirs.  They were, first and foremost, motivated by the economic prosperity of their own people.  To this extent, there is a limit to which the British should be blamed for Nigeria’s woes.  The blame rests with a leadership that has been unable to redirect the course of history. Most of Nigeria’s political leaders since independence from Britain in 1960 have come from the North.  Were they to have been visionary, they would have appreciated the need to redress the historic imbalance in education between the regions of the Nigerian federation.  It is not that they do not know that education is important.  In fact, their own children receive education in the best schools and universities Europe and America can offer.  That they seem comfortable with the poverty and servitude that surround them is amazing. The Nigerian political leaders, be they from the South or the North, have been either corrupt or condoned corruption. The story of the nation’s oil wealth has been about their huge overseas bank accounts, big mansions, private jets and conspicuous consumptions.  They and their surrogates invite foreign artistes to perform at the weddings of their sons and daughters, while beggars converge around their premises for crumbs. The economic terrorism of a tiny minority ensures Nigeria remains poor and underdeveloped despite abundant

material resources.  It would require a new generation of leaders, who are less corrupt, to re-write what has been a disturbing history. Education and jobs are essential for tolerance in any society.  The Boko Haram insurgency Nigeria has been confronted with is a complex mix, a phenomenon that defies a singular explanation.  There are elements of religion as well as poverty; the latter helps in the recruitment of desperate individuals  by the principal ideologues.    The sophistication of the Boko Haram operations, outsmarting the military in the manner in which they have been doing, suggests the outfit benefits from the collaboration of experienced international terrorist groups. It is hard to know the extent to which Boko Haram is being supported or encouraged by politicians; President Goodluck Jonathan once said there were members of Boko Haram in his “government”.  In a nation of contrasting and conflicting sentiments, it would not be inconceivable that there could also be Boko Haram sympathisers within the military itself. Suffice to say that leading politicians have been pointing accusing fingers at each other, making all sorts of insinuations. A possible intervention by the international community could unmask the sponsors and masqueraders of the “faceless”  Boko Haram .  The sect’s abduction of more than 200 school girls from their dormitories may have alerted the civilised world to the evil ravaging Nigeria. • Dr. Akinola wrote from Oxford, United Kingdom


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14 Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Opinion Banks’ jumbo profits injurious to development By Emmanuel Babs Adisa BUSINESS enterprise is regarded as one in A business to make profit, more so banks that seek to help their customers to be on the profitmaking paths. However, banks operating in developing economies and particularly observable in Nigeria declare from time to time what could be described as high levels of profitability in comparison to business operators in other sectors of the nation’s economy. The said apparent excessive profits, otherwise described as ‘jumbo profits’ are considered by a certain school of thought as detrimental or injurious to the survival and growth of their business customers, especially if such profits are derived from perceived or observable excessive charges, in particular interest charges on loans to bank customers. About 40 years ago, I was made to sweat it out in the KL (Koncerns Leitung) offices in Switzerland trying to get two of the foreign directors of my employer/company accept the need for higher profitability in our operations in Nigeria whilst they justified their stand of no subsidy on products’ transfer prices to achieve higher profitability. Many foreign-owned companies operating in the country were seen to be doing very well especially as could be detected from the published Annual Reports & Accounts of these companies, most especially the various banks declaring jumbo profits whilst, as the Financial Controller, I took the low profit levels achieved by my own company over a period of time as a challenge and a poor showing of my professional competence and standing. I wrote some reports and made recommendations, including product contribution levels, to get the company into the profit-making companies’ category. The said foreign directors endeavoured to disillusion me about high profits disclosures regime or craze in Nigeria in the 1970s, de-

nouncing especially the banks declaring jumbo profits and were thereby seen as ‘ingloriously milking’ or exploiting consumers of their services and/or products. It was not right! Forty years after those conversations that prompted my observations of the commercial performance profile in Nigeria, the banks continue to upstage other sectors of the economy to the detriment of the desired progress in national development efforts because of both policies inconsistencies and weak enforcement of sound policy formulations observable in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Reports. Agriculture has, for illustration, long been identified as a sector considered unattractive to lenders and financiers in Nigeria and the CBN’s response since the 1970s was a directive that banks should reserve about 40% later adjusted to 30% of their loan portfolio to Agriculture. In the 1970s, the CBN used to report on compliance of this directive including especially the infractions by some of the operators and the disciplinary measures taken by the regulatory agency. What is the position today? Insistence on this directive or its modification is inevitable and its compliance should be mandatory to continue in operation as a bank/financier in the country. Other longterm fund lenders would include Insurance Companies, Pension Funds and Properties Investment companies, etc. The gab of a trader nation is not difficult to observe and the banks have no qualms about facilitating assistance to businesses looking for quick returns because of the bankers’ gains and the needful security of their investments but all to the detriment of the nation’s development agenda especially on Agriculture and agricultural production and Housing development. If no one is interested in long-term lending to these sectors, how can the objectives of the usually well-articulated policies be realised for the benefit of the nation? Banks

operations in an economy are meant not merely for personal gains but also involve some roles in the nation’s economic development. Both the regulatory authorities and the operators should once again examine the roles of Nigerian banks in relation to their set objectives and avowed roles in the development of economic activities in Nigeria. In the recently concluded Oyo State Economic Summit, the issue of prevailing interest rate structure in the economy that virtually prevents investments in certain areas came to the fore in the submissions or contributions. It needs a serious study and decisive action including, if inevitable, ‘an administrative fiat’ on interest rates that could well be in the single digit figure and without untoward or unwholesome effect on the economy. The Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning, Oyo State lamented the effect of the high interest rate structure on borrowings for Agriculture, Housing etc. This critical issue is a deterrent that must be addressed if we are not going to continue paying lip service to agriculture/agricultural development and housing projects growth in the country. The problem of unrealistic interest rates of around 25% and above is not addressed but usually almost treated as fixed or given or made reference to oftentimes as unavoidable or sacrosanct without a good study to enunciate the interest structure of a developing economy. How do some countries have, maintain or even sustain for decades interest rates as low as 3% for long term borrowing in Agriculture, Housing, Oil Explorations, Research etc. and about 7% to 9% for others. A ‘Tun’ of 2% to 3% between deposits and borrowing is not out of place. The roles and effect of financial intermediation might need some study and regulations in the interest of an appreciable pace of the economic growth of the nation. The workability of an administrative fiat on interest rate

structure, if backed by appropriate legal framework, would be devoid of chaos, acrimony and rancour after the initial resentment and resistance by the gullible financial or investment-income ‘hawks’ could have subsided. The interest of the public in achieving a growing economy should over-ride the interest of ‘such interestrate slashed impoverished’ few. The use of an ombudsman is in the best interest of business enterprises in Nigeria’s business environment of today! The economy still largely operates on product pricing using ‘what-the-market-can-bear’ and not on the efficiencies of production, marketing and enterprise managerial capacities. Should the producer be forced by market forces to sell at some competitive prices and thereby continually report losses one period after another, the banks would have fewer enterprises standing year after year. The banks might remain at some point the only business enterprises standing after they would have inadvertently sent their customers to their early ‘graves.’ The jumbo-profit syndrome of banks in particular is not expected to last this long in Nigeria but our country people seem to be reflecting some high degree of observable docility in very many fronts, ‘suffering and smiling till thy kingdom comes’. High and unusually high profit levels to be appreciated and celebrated should be derived from efficiencies of operations, planned cost savings, business diversification or restructuring and products and other innovations and not on the gullibility or, put mildly, as the haplessness of the customers. The economy and its rate of growth is adversely affected. A holistic reform of the bank interests’ regime in Nigeria would have an unusual salutary effect on the development of Agriculture and Agricultural production, Housing projects and SMEs. • Emmanuel Babs Adisa, FCA. a chartered accountant, wrote from Ikeja, Lagos.

FG’s transport sector privatisation agenda By Kabir Bello HE Federal Government’s recent disclosure of its plan to T privatise the transport sector should gladden the hearts of Nigerians and potential investors alike. Considering the important position of the country as the largest economy and most populous nation in the African continent, which lately had the honour to be the first in West Africa to host the World Economic Forum (WEF), the direction that its transport sector is taking should be of interest in public discourse. The decision of the Federal Government which was taken at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja was specific in its objective: “To open up the transport sector to the public for private participation”. According to the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who highlighted the FG’s intention on this issue, four bills aimed at transforming the sector were discussed in detail: The National Transport Commission Bill; the Nigerian Ports and Habour Bill; the Nigerian Railway Bill 2014 and the National Inland Waterways Bill 2014. According to Maku, government is working on an economy that focuses on the future, and one that is not expected to rely on the government, but on private sector and its participation. Indeed, he was on point when he explained that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration would “involve the private sector in the development of the infrastructure in airports, seaports and waterways”. The fact that he added that government could no longer continue to run the sector on its own and that the best way to further improve Nigeria’s economy is to create new policies for different sectors of the economy that will drive private sector participation rather than for government to just continue to pour in money on investments really appears to have captured the essence of private-sector driven economy that most developing countries like Nigeria now subscribe to. But keen analysts of the Nigerian economy, particularly how successive government’s policies tend to disrupt or even outright derail progress, will appreciate why Federal Government’s latest interest in transport sector privatization deserves to be discussed and interrogated. And perhaps no better way to engage the beautiful postulations from gov-

ernment, while we await the report of the committee working on the framework for the bills, is to remind government and the nation of a few courageous men in our land who had ventured into massive investments in the private sector but who have been made to suffer from either policy inconsistency or deliberate frustrations from government agencies. This is an important area to examine because public trust and interest of potential investors can only be convincingly won if those few individuals who have stood up to be counted for the right cause in the transport sector are seen to be treated fairly. The case of Dr. Wale Babalakin’s BiCourtney Ltd comes handy as a reference point in private investment in the transport sector. The company was the first to build and operate an airport – the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) 2 in Lagos – which, seven years after, is still standing firm as a world-class infrastructure. It is important, therefore, that the experiences of the promoters of such a project, which did not have the luxury of the kind of legal framework and the assurance of removal of bureaucratic bottlenecks that the Federal Government is now promising, ought to be taken on board if the intention of the Jonathan administration regarding these four proposed bills is to be taken to heart. However, the stories that have trailed the success of MMA2 are sufficient to jolt investors and get the nation pondering. Government has failed woefully to honour its agreement with MMA2. It violated the most important clause of the agreement which is exclusivity. It has gone ahead to compete with MMA2 next door. How can a government that is promising reforms in the transport sector compete with its own concessionaire? As if that was not enough, government has refused to honour court rulings. Not only did BiCourtney win its arbitration against government, it has also won in the High Court. The Federal Government and other stakeholders have lost six appeals against this judgment and yet the government is not complying with the agreement. The same Babalakin’s BiCourtney is also being vilified over the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway concessioning which the Federal Government curiously terminated in 2012. But a careful and unbiased assessment of the issue would reveal that out of the three years and six months that BiCourtney had the con-

cession, direct delay by the Federal Government was two years, 10 months; rains accounted for another six months which showed that in effect, in a period of three years and six months, BiCourtney only had two months to work properly and did commence the work through Borino Prono. I am aware of the level of work that is currently ongoing on that important Lagos-Ibadan road, but anyone who is knowledgeable about and sensitive to issues of law and legality would not miss the point that it might not be totally over as far as the legality of that purported termination of BiCourtney’s concession is concerned. Like the MMA2 issues, investors and discerning public would be interested in seeing how the final resolution would go beyond the mere award of contract on the road to Julius Berger Plc and RCC. For example, when was the tender for that job done? If there was no tender, wouldn’t the contract be deem illegal? Again, it would be asked, if indeed there was a tender, then the process must have taken place while BiCourtney was being misled into believing that it had a concession with the Federal Ministry of Works. The point of interrogating government’s recent interest in the transport sector is that if the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway concessioning ends in arbitration, wouldn’t the Ministry and its contractors be seen to have, all along, been working for the concessionaire who may likely find justice in court? Well, the Federal Government has since set up a committee chaired by the Attorney General of the Federation, Bello Adoke, alongside the Minister of Transport, Umar Idris, with participation from key stakeholders to work on the bills and present them to council for discussion and final approval. In fine-tuning the bills before their presentation to the National Assembly for consideration, it is pertinent to see the government applying wisdom and sincerity in pushing the needs for these bills. Such a legal framework is a welcome development, no doubt, but it cannot function effectively and fairly without an appreciation of certain good reference points in the sector that will ensure that potential investors are no longer subjected to needles injustices of frustration, heavy losses and regrets. • Dr. Bello, a socio-economic analyst, sent this article from Abuja.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014 15

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

TheMetroSection Briefs

MMIA: Shame of a nation!

Arolasebi Asubiojo, 78, for burial Saturday HE death has occurred of T Mrs. Victoria Arolasebi Asubiojo at the age of 78.

• Road users complain of pervading darkness on Airport Road, Lagos at night By Isaac Taiwo IRST impression matters a lot. And, the impression a first-time visitor to Lagos through the international airport at night would be to experience darkness that pervades the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Though dotted and beautified with electricity poles, most times, the lights are never functional. For a country christened “the giant of Africa” and in a city known as commercial nerve centre of the nation, it is, indeed, a national embarrassment. The situation on the road is also not palatable for motorists who cannot drive very well at night as they battle with the reflections from headlamps of vehicles coming from the opposite direction. The darkness also poses a security risk as men of the underworld could take advantage of the situation to attack those going and coming from the airport. Commenting on the situation of the road, a civil servant, who simply wanted to be identified as Ola said: “It is highly surprising that a road leading to an international airport should be left without light everyday.” “Such a situation only gives an impression that the authorities are not very security-conscious because evil people could hide under the cover of the darkness to commit their atrocities.” “Knowing that people who ply the road are made up of those travelling outside the country or those coming back, they could attack people indiscriminately and that is why the authorities concerned have to ensure there is light always on a route leading to an international airport.” “Then, come to think of the impression those visitors entering into the country would have of the nation and some of these people could be coming into the country for the first time.” “To the best of my knowledge, this situation has persisted for a long time and one would think that by now we

Funeral rites begin on Friday, May 16, 2014 with Christian wake at her residence No 27, Ijuku Street, Okebedo Quarters, Ilawe-Ekiti at 6.00p.m. He will be buried in her New House Ita Otu area, Ikere road, Okebedo Quarters, Ilawe-Ekiti on Saturday, May 17, after a funeral service at St. John’s Pro-Cathedral Catholic Church, Ilawe-Ekiti at 10:00am. Entertainment of guests follows at St. John’s Primary School playground Ilawe-Ekiti. She survived by children and grand children including an elder sister.

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New book on taxation honours Fowler BOOK book, entitled “The A Rudiments of Nigerian Taxation” published by ASCO Pub-

MMIA Road, Lagos should have overcome that.” “Something like this can even lead to reactions from investors entering the country for the first time” he said. Another civil servant, Michael Edun, described the situation as an ugly one, saying since it is Federal Government’s responsibility, everything boils down to politics. “I wonder why something as important as this should be politicised. Those that are in authority are supposed to be patriotic and what should be uppermost on their minds is the comfort and security of the people.” “They have also travelled far and wide. One wonders why they find it difficult to replicate what they see in other international airports abroad.”

PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO

“When plying the road that leads to the local airport, too, at night, it is sometimes very strenuous to wade through because it is either there is no light or the light is so dim that the light from on-coming vehicles would be penetrating straight into the eyes of drivers driving in the opposite direction.” “I think the Federal Government can borrow a leaf from Lagos State government and see how the state has been able to fix regular light from Airport to Maryland.” “Oshodi Bus Stop that used to be a den of area boys is now a haven for motorists and passengers alike, as there is light always everywhere.” “The same thing has been replicated at Iyana Ipaja and people move freely

up to midnight without fear.” “I think if the state government can do this, the Federal Government should be able to do more,” he said. One would have thought that the money being collected at the Federal Airports Authoroty of Nigeria (FAAN) toll-gate that had even been reviewed upwards, would be used to illumine the roads to both the International Airport as well as the local Airport. When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Yakubu Datti, attributed the incessant blackouts on both the road to Murtala Mohammed Airport and the local airport to construction works going on at the airport.

Akwa PDP stalwart alleges assassination attempt on his life From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh Uyo HE immediate past Board Chairman of Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company Limited, Mr. Soni Udom, has alleged that he was attacked by five unidentified gunmen who came to assassinate him at his office premises, along No. 7, Umo Essien Street in Uyo. Udom told newsmen in Uyo last week that the assailants gained entry into his office under the guise that they were looking for a place to let. The Director General of Umanah Okon Umanah campaign organization further said he was outside the state on Tuesday when he received a call at 2.34p.m. that some gunmen had raided his office in Uyo. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, who refused to attribute the attack to his involvement with the former Secretary to the State Government, said from the information he had from his workers, the gunmen were

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Udom sufficiently armed, with some having two pistols strapped to their waists. “I was highly disturbed about the mission of the gunmen because since I began to use office in the last seven years, there has never been a single incident of criminal operation in broad daylight around this neighbourhood. “On my return to the state on Wednesday, I noticed that the operation was something else.

the state prior to the 2011 elections, a former Deputy Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Uwem Udoma, called on the state government to come to the aid of its citizens, as failure could lead the defendless to look for alternative means of defending themselves. He alleged that a senior officer of the present Akwa Ibom State government had threatened to deal with Udom, if he continued to oppose the senatorial ambition of a certain candidate, charging Udom to open up before he is killed. Confirming the incident, the Spilled blood from one of the suspected assassin’s fingers state, Police Public Relations OfAccording to eye witnesses, the armed, some with two pistols ficer, Mr. Etim Dickson, said gunmen, five in number, came strapped to their waists. When from the information the police into the premises and held some of them started picking gathered, the incident was not hostage the security man and assassination attempt but phones from my staff, one of other officials and staff includ- the gunmen shouted “is that armed robbers who raided the ing students on Industrial building. what we came for?” and shot Training and NYSC members at him, cutting off his finger.” “The truth is that the incident gun point, seized their phones “But in spite of the serious in- was not an assassination atand started ransacking the oftempt, based on the report we jury, he still went into all the fice room-to-room, breaking other rooms, broke the toilets received. The armed robbers into toilets to look for me.” raided the building, stole to look for me,” he said. “The gunmen, according to Describing the situation as a phones, money, other property, eye witnesses, were welland started to shoot one anreplica of what happened in other,” he said.

lishers, a foremost indigenous printing firm, written in honour of Mr. Babatunde Fowler, the incumbent Chairman of Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, will be presented to the public in Lagos on May 16, 2014 by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye, and will be reviewed by Mrs. Bimpe Balogun, the First Female President of CITN,” according to the Chief Executive Officer of ASCO Publishers, Dr. Abiola Sanni.

Church marks seventh anniversary HE Success Evangelical MinT istry Int’l will mark its seventh anniversary from Friday, May 23 at 9.00am to Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 11.00am at the church auditorium, along Ofada Road in Obafemi/Owode Local Council of Ogun State. The theme is:’ “My Doctrine Is Not Mine.” Host is Pastor Kingsley Ibanga.

Chester John for HR conference in Lagos HE forthcoming HR LeadT ers Africa 2014, which will hold from June 9 to June 11 will welcome to Lagos, ground-breaking guru Chester Elton, the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, All In. Chester will bring the latest thinking on motivation, leadership and engagement and discuss how positive leadership and fostering an organizational culture of belief can triple a company’s productivity. Chester has authored and coauthored six New York Times best sellers in a row including “The Orange Revolution” which took the concept of teamwork to the next level. In addition to Elton, the third edition of the three-day conference will also feature heads of HR who will speak on the latest HR developments that have the greatest impact on business strategies today. Edward Haines, show director of HR Leaders Africa, commented: "Over the last three years, HR Leaders Africa has developed into Africa’s most respected must- attend event for regional HR professionals.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

16 Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Briefs Tension in Imo over lion’s escape from zoo From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HERE is tension and palpable fear in Owerri, the capital city of Imo State and its environs over the escape of a lion from Nekede zoo, in Owerri West Local Council. A statement by the Imo Police Command, signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Andrew Enwerem, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), which was read on the Imo State-owned Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) radio, on Monday and yesterday, alerted members of the public about the escape of the lion and urged them to be mindful of the situation.

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Agra Innovate for launch in Nigeria FROCET, a Nigerian-based A conference, exhibition and training organiser and

Informa, the largest publically owned exhibitions and training provider in the world, are launching Agra Innovate: a new Nigerian exhibition and conference being staged at the Landmark Conference and Exhibition Centre, shortly to open at Oniru Estate, in Lagos ofrom November 18 – November 20, 2014. Agra Innovate will bring Nigerian policymakers, farming and food businesses together with the best of the international agribusiness technology and investment community. “The profound reconstruction and modernisation of Nigerian agriculture that’s being led by President Goodluck Jonathan and Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina (Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development) has rightly gathered respect throughout Africa and the wider world. Many international agribusiness organisations are now establishing or expanding their operations in Nigeria and partnering with Nigerian businesses to help accelerate innovation and share in this unfolding success story,” states David Ross, Project Director for Agra Innovate.

‘Badagry community walks for good health By Seye Olumide

HE over 2000 members of the Otto Awori Local Community Development Area (LCDA), Badagry Division of Lagos were not just excited but commended the Lagos State government for flagging off the Ministry of Rural Development Community Health Walk in the area to educate the people. The health walk, which was organized by the Ministry of Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, was aimed at creating awareness among the members of the various rural communities in the state on the benefits and importance of regular exercise to the body. Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to the Government on Public Health, Dr. Mrs. Yewande Adesina, emphasized the need to embrace Health Walk if people desire to live long. Adesina commended the Ministry of Rural Development and the Commissioner, Mr. Cornelius Ojelabi for moving the idea of the Health Walk, describing it as a “life saving venture for people.” She noted that adding weight is not a sign of healthy living but health

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Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Mr. Olatunde Agoro (left), Special Adviser on Rural Development, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe, Special Adviser, Public Health, Dr. Mrs. Yewande Adesina and Commissioner, Ministry of Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi at the flag- off of Ministry of Rural Development Community Health Walk in Badagry Local Council… recently. challenges. According to her, “Having big tummy, if not checked, could lead to health challenges like hypertension, sight problem, kidney failure and others. It is, indeed, important to embrace health walk and other form of exercises at least 30 minutes everyday to avoid hypertension, sudden death, stroke and others related diseases.”

She noted further that regular exercise helps the body system to shed weight and ensure constant beating of the heart “it is not compulsory to do exercise on the road but people can also do it at home by walking on the stairs regularly or adopt other forms depending on the space.” She also emphasized the need for people to be conscious of what they eat, say-

ing: “it is necessary to eat less fat and avoid sugar, instead people should use vegetable oil for cooking which, is cholesterol free.” On regular consumption water, Adesina said, “People should endeavour to take more water instead of all the refined drinks and juice and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables,” while she also discouraged too much consumption of red meat but more of beans for their protein intake. She emphasized the importance of regular check ups in the hospitals to ascertain the state of health of an individual to prevent sudden death. The Health Walk, an initiative of Ministry of Rural Development is expected to be a quarterly affair rotated among the five administrative divisions of the state: Epe, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Badagry and Lagos Island. Also present at the event were Special Adviser on Rural Development Mr. Babatunde Hunpe, House of Assembly member representing Badagry and Chairman House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Ibrahim Layode, Chairman Otto-Awori LCDA, Kayode Robbert, Chairman Badagry Council, Mr. Moses Dosu Husitode, and the Vice Chairman Ojo Council, Mrs. Chichi Funmi Gbadero.

Pastor arrested for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old girl From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE Enugu Police Command on Monday arrested a pastor for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old girl. The arrest of the pastor, whose name was given as Johnson Uneabunso of the Truth and Salvation Ministry, Iwollo Ezeagu Local Council of the state, fol-

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lowed a complaint by the mother of the victim, Mrs. Cynthia Odii. A statement from the Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu, Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the incident, said “ the pastor is also the landlord of the premises occupied by the victim and her mother.”

Amaraizu added that the incident was committed at about 8.00a.m. on Wednesday, May 7, adding that a fullscale investigation has commenced on the development. The statement read: “Following an outcry and a complaint by a woman identified as one Cynthia

tion has commenced into the alleged incident just as the alleged pastor is helping the police in their investigations.” He called on the public to remain law-abiding, promising that the Police waere always available for information and would respond effectively to their security needs.

Odii of Anike Iwollo in Ezeagu Local Council on the alleged incident of unlawful carnal knowledge of her 12year-old girl on 7/5/14, at about 8.00a.m. by her landlord identified as one Pastor Johnson Uneabunso of Truth and Salvation Ministry Iwollo Ezeagu Local Government, a full-scale investiga-

NPA, World Bank pledge to sustain HIV/AIDS enlightenment programme at Lagos ports HE Nigerian Ports AuthorT ity (NPA), in collaboration with World-Bank sponsoredAbidjan-Lagos Corridor Organisation (ALCO), has vowed to continue to make an in-road towards the reduction of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) pandemic among transporters and road-users. According to the NPA, statistics has shown that the group is winning in its public enlightenment and sensitization campaign to reduce

the spread of HIV/AIDS among truck drivers, adding that the year 2013 was a success and pledged to sustain and improve the momentum this year.  Speaking at a public enlightenment programme on HIV/AIDS at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex, Apapa, in Lagos, the Chairperson of the NPA/AIDS Enlightenment and Sensitisation Standing Committee, Dr. Comfort Datong said the campaign was aimed at informing truck drivers about the scourge of HIV/AIDS in the society and

the need for prevention and control. She said the campaign was a World Bank initiative to see that there is high- level awareness among transporters and road users. According to her, the project is aimed at increasing access to HIV prevention, basic treatment, support and care services by vulnerable groups, with particular attention to workers, migrant, sex workers, customs and immigration officials, and the local populations living and working along the corridor, espe-

cially at the border towns. “In Africa, long-range ground transport is a major route for the spread of HIV. Drivers and their assistants stay overnight along their way and can spend days at border crossings waiting to clear customs and border formalities. She continued: “These rest stops and delays provide multiple opportunities for sexual encounter that can transmit HIV and other STIs. This puts truck drivers, other mobile workers, sex workers, and the people who live along the route at increased risk for

HIV.”  Datong said about 30 million people live along West Africa’s main East-West route, which stretches from Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire to Lagos in Nigeria. Also, 14 million people travel along the corridor each year, and the route is essential to the region’s socio-economic development. She, however, commended the Managing Director, NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi for his support to the Standing Committee, adding this is the key towards the achievement recorded so far.

NSE sensitizes students on rudiments of engineering at career talk overcome those fears and become conversant with the subjects. O sensitise the “leaders of He said: “We normally emtomorrow” on the profesbark on career talk so that we sion called engineering, its can sensitise the leaders of toimportance to human existence, the benefits that come morrow on the profession with it and the guidelines to called engineering, because as entering into it, the Nigerian we found out, most of them Society of Engineering (NSE), are scared of sciences; not only Apapa branch, has continued scare of sciences, they hate to take career talks to second- mathematics. So, we try to make them know the benefit ary schools in Lagos State. This time around, the career of engineering to the society and the world, what it takes to talk went to Mavir Leaders be an engineer, how to study College, Olodi Apapa, Lagos where science students of the mathematics because you need mathematics to unlock senior classes and junior your engineering and also class students were given talks on the rudiments of the other science subjects; and definitely too, mathematics is profession. Speaking at the event, Chair- the foundation upon which engineering is built upon. We man, NSE, Apapa branch, also try to put a synergy beEIbrahim Aledu said that tween them and NSE.” with the prevalent cases of Speaking to the enthusiastic students running away from science as a result of their fear students, the Technical Secretary, NSE, Apapa branch, for mathematics and other Sunny Ejeje, enlightened them calculation-related science subjects, the society found it on the subject requirements needed to gain admission into necessary and important to the university to study engisensitise them on how to neering, different branches of

By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku

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A cross-section of students of Mavir Leaders College, Olodi Apapa, Lagos during the career talk organised by NSE...recently engineering and what they handle, how many years it takes to read engineering, titles given to individuals who read engineering based on the higher institution they attend (University and Polytechnic), guidelines to becoming NSE member, registered engineer and so on. He, however, told them that the most important thing to becoming an engi-

neer is having passion for science subjects. According to him, “before you can gain admission into the university to study engineering and become an engineer, you must be a science student with great passion for science subjects, which include mathematics, further mathematics, technical drawing, physics chemistry and bi-

ology. You must pass five of these relevant subjects including English language, which is compulsory for gaining admission into any Nigerian university. “There are so many branches of engineering and there are no limits to engineering. Before you are referred to as an engineer, you must be a registered engineer and this you can achieve after working for, at least four years, after graduation and acquire what is referred to as cognate experience and then apply to be admitted to the Nigerian Society of engineers (NSE). You must also have a Bachelors of Science (B.sc) or Bachelors of Engineering (B.eng) depending on what a particular university is awarding; and in the case of Higher National Diploma (HND) holders, you must get a post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) on the course you read in school before you can be admitted.” Ejeje further brought to their notice that it is Council for the

Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) that regulates all aspects of engineering in the country, which include engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans and also the body that gives one the authority to append the acronym “Engr.” in front of his name after firstly, becoming a member of NSE and then, certified by them. Meanwhile, the NSE chairman revealed that the society will establish a relationship with Junior Engineers and Technicians Society (JETS) of schools within the branch’s influence to help them in areas of their subjects that they encounter difficulties studying and also organize project competitions for them where they will be told to submit little designs for assessment. These, he said would make them start the art and practice of engineering at a young age. The students asked relevant questions on areas that seem hazy for them and where they should be assisted by the engineers.


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Business Eleme Petrochemical to get N704b investment boost by 2019 By Mathias Okwe (Abuja) and Roseline Okere (Lagos) NDORAMA Eleme Petrochemical Limited (IEPL) has unveiled plans to invest $4.4 billion (N704 billion) in its operations by 2019. This, the company believed, would raise its profile as the largest petrochemical company in Africa. The Managing Director, Manish Mundra, made this disclosure while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Privatisation,

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•Pays N2.3tr tax to Govt led by its Chairman, Senator Olugbenga Obadara, who were at the plant last week in continuation of their oversight visits to privatised enterprises in Rivers State. Mundra said that $575 million (N92 billion) had been injected into the company since privatization and that N33.9 billion (N5.4 trillion) had been paid as dividend to the Federal and Rivers State governments since its acquisition from the federal government in 2006.

According to him, from the N33.9 billion dividend, N8.71 billion was paid to Rivers State and N25.2 billion to the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Mundra disclosed that the company also paid about N15.61 billion (N2.3 trillion) in taxes to the federal and state governments. These include value added tax, customs duty, withholding taxes and Pay As You Earn (PAYE). He explained that the company, which is currently the largest integrated olefins

producer in West Africa, has a work force of 1585, most of who are Nigerians. He added that production had increased from four percent pre-privatisation to 77 per cent and that the company plans to increase its production to 325,000 metric tons per annum in 2014. He informed the committee members that as part of plans to diversify, IEPL had embarked on the construction of a mega-sized fertilizer project comprising 1.4 M MTPA nitrogenous fertilizer, a gas pipeline and jetty proj-

ects, targeted to be completed in 2015. “The fertilizer plant will be located within the confines of the existing site measuring 361 hectares and will occupy approximately 38 hectares. The main project components involve 2,300 MTPD ammonia plant, 4,000 MTPD urea plant, 4,000 MTPD urea granulation plant with associated offsite and utilities”, he added. To sensitize the public on its fertilizer brand, the MD said IEPL had commenced the importation of fertilizer branded in the name of Indorama which was making steady entry into the Nigerian market. While appealing to the Federal Government for tax exemption, he suggested that the tax regime in Nigeria should be based on the quantum of investment made by a company operating in the country. While at Notore Chemical Industries Limited, Onne, the Head of Projects, Bode Agagu, who received members of the committee, said the company plans to increase its production from 500,000 metric tons to 750,000 per annum and to build a new plant in partnership with a Danish firm. He said since it took over

management of the company, it had successfully carried out a Turn around Maintenance (TAM) which increased the company’s production by 30 percent. Agagu said the company was able to access 2,000,000 farmers directly last year in 2,500 communities in 30 states of the federation. He said Notore had through its activities last year, earned the Nigerian economy N30bn in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that in 2014, it had lined up several initiatives among them, is a functional database for Nigerian farmers. Agagu appealed to the Federal Government to put in place thorough safe guards to check gas pipeline vandalism as gas was critical to its operations. He further asked the Federal government to construct a rail line to link the company to the ports in order to ease the haulage of its product. Obadara, said the Committee embarked on the oversight visit to get first hand information on the successes and challenges of the privatized companies and to assess their compliance with the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) and the Post Acquisition Plan (PAP) they signed with government.

Russia’s trade policy under fire at WTO HE European Union (EU) T accused Russia at the World Trade Organisation

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Dharnesh Gordhon; Chairman, David Ifezulike; and Company Secretary, Bode Ayeku, during the 45th yearly general meeting of the company in Lagos, on Monday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Minister, at $50m Shongai recycling plant, pledges support for local investors By Olawunmi Ojo HE Minister of Industry, T Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has reassured investors, businessmen and manufacturers of Federal Government’s commitment to improving the investment climate in the country and supporting local industries to become competitive. Aganga stressed that the government has been trying to achieve this by enacting the right policies and framework, and creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The Minister made this disclosure while on a tour of Sona Group of Industries’ newly commissioned Shongai Technologies Limited and $50 million Shongai recycling plant in Sango-Ota, Ogun State. The plant is the first of its kind in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. The Chairman of Sona Group, Arjan Khemchand

Mirchandani, while welcoming the minister to the new facility, called on government to support local industries by creating the enabling environment as a way of encouraging them to venture more and produce locally. The Sona Group consists of nine companies with business concerns spread across key sectors of the economy. And in seeking government support in a variety of areas affecting production and manufacturing in the country, Mirchandani specifically called the minister’s attention to the disproportionate duty and tariff regimes paid on importation of raw materials as against finished goods on the other hand. He observed that situations

such as the payment of low custom duty on imported rival finished products was capable of discouraging local production. Mirchandani therefore pleaded with the minister to grant manufacturers duty concession and rebates on some of their raw materials in other to enable competitiveness of finished products with those imported into the country. Responding, Aganga said government also reckons with the need to do a review of the tariff regimes to encourage local production as against importation. “We have been trying to do something in recent time. We noticed there is a disconnect between our

import duty rates and current realisation. In the past, we were heavily dependent on importation, but today, we have so many people producing across the value chian, which means that we need to realign the tariffs to ensure that it is not cheaper to import a finished product than importing the raw materials. “So, the tariff list released not too long ago is our first attempt to harmonise and get things right. We know there are still areas where we need to adjust and we are working on that. We have had contributions from various industries and we would take your requests as part of that. Government’s role is to CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

(WTO) on Monday of failing to do anything to reduce trade friction while the United States said Moscow was implementing more trade restrictions. Although Russia and the EU have both launched two trade disputes at each other in the past year - including one apiece last month - the European Union says Russia's illegal trade restrictions go beyond the ones already taken to the WTO. "There's a real concern about a lot of issues," EU Ambassador to the WTO Angelos Pangratis told reporters after a meeting of the WTO's General Council, where he listed the EU's concerns and said Russia had failed to resolve a single one. "This is a situation where we see an important (WTO) member not having the overall attitude that is expected." At the meeting, U.S. Ambassador Michael Punke reeled off a shopping list of areas where Russia had failed to stick to WTO rules or failed to communicate its

policies since it joined the global trading club in 2012, according to a transcript. Russia in turn has already criticized the United States at the WTO for imposing economic sanctions on Russian individuals and companies, following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea peninsula, saying they are a breach of WTO rules. Punke said the United States was very concerned by "a general rejection by Russia of one of the underlying goals of the WTO - the reduction of barriers to global trade, acutely demonstrated by recent trade actions aimed at Members particularly reliant on trade with Russia." He mentioned Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Moldova as victims of Russian trade restrictions, as well as U.S. exports, and said Russia had tried "to at best obfuscate and at worse increase" various import tariffs. "More broadly, we note that Russia is moving increasingly to build walls around its CONTINUED ON PAGE 18


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ARM leads indigenous firms in $1b power project financing By Joshua Nse and Helen Oji HE ongoing power sector reforms in the country is set for a boost as Asset & Resource Management Company Limited (ARM) leads in co-sponsorship and equity investment of $1 billion 450MW Azura-Edo IPP project being developed near Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria. Contracts and debt financing agreement for $750 million transaction has been completed, while a further $300 million is being invested by Seplat Petroleum Development Company plc, in new gas processing facilities at its Oben Gas Plant, which will supply the AzuraEdo IPP with the project's fuel gas requirements. The financing comprises long term debt and equity committed by a consortium of local and international financiers led by the lead sponsor, Amaya Capital Limited, and co-sponsored by other equity investors including ARM. The financing also incorporates a number of novel features for the Nigerian market, such as the financial support provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria through a Put and Call Option Agreement, the first Nigerian power project to benefit from the World Bank’s recently developed ‘Partial Risk Guarantee’ structure, specifically created to meet the developing needs of emerging markets worldwide, and political risk insurance for equity and commercial debt from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), part of the World Bank group. The Managing Director of ARM Infrastructure, Opuiyo Oforiokuma, said “We are very pleased to be involved in a flagship project of the calibre of the Azura-Edo IPP, and to have a role in developing the project to this stage and investing equity in it. “Besides, the superb efforts of the high-quality team of co-equity investors led by Amaya Capital, including ARM; and the impressive array of international and local banks involved in the debt financing; the level of collaboration from the

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Federal and the Edo State Governments, and the local communities, has been highly commendable. “Africa, and West Africa in particular, needs more projects like this. We see tremendous infrastructure investment opportunities throughout West Africa, and not only in the power sector. Through our investment in the Azura-Edo IPP, ARM is pleased to be at the forefront of the effort to bring Nigeria’s power generation up to the standard required for the country to become

Africa, and West Africa in particular, needs more projects like this. We see tremendous infrastructure investment opportunities throughout West Africa, and not only in the power sector. Through our investment in the Azura-Edo IPP, ARM is pleased to be at the forefront of the effort to bring Nigeria’s power generation up to the standard required for the country to become globally competitive. globally competitive”. The Azura-Edo IPP is the first of a new wave of greenfield project-financed IPPs under development in Nigeria, and comprises a 450MW open cycle gas tur-

bine power station; a short transmission line connecting the power plant to a local substation; and a short underground gas pipeline connecting the power plant to the country’s main gas-

supply. It represents the first phase of a 1,500MW power plant facility that is targeted to come on stream in 2017, and forecast to create over 1,000 jobs during construction and operation. ARM’s investment in the Azura-Edo IPP is planned to be made through the new $250 million specialist Infrastructure Fund that ARM is setting up in partnership with Harith General Partners Proprietary Limited (“Harith”) of South

Africa. Through the Fund, investors will be able to gain exposure to a wide variety of infrastructure assets across various sectors (transport, energy, and utilities) in West Africa, and primarily in Nigeria. The Fund is managed by an experienced, multi-disciplinary fund management team based in Lagos, with more than 60 years combined infrastructure experience in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world.

Vice President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Dr. Teju Somorin (left); President/Chairman of Council, Mark Dike and Acting Registrar/CEO, Adefisayo Awogbade, at a press conference to announce the 16th yearly tax conference of the institute in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Minister pledges support for local investors CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 create the right policies and enabling environment for businesses to thrive, and we are committed to doing just that,” he said. The minister said Nigeria is lucky to have President Goodluck Jonathan, who is focussed on industrialisation, in the saddle, stressing that the nation could not continue exporting raw materials and importing finished products.

He disclosed that government was working to reinvigorate existing industries by putting in place adequate measures to protect local industries from unfair competition, and stimulate expansion of domestic production capacity. “We have to produce what we consume and consume what we produce. That is what is going to grow our economy and create jobs. We also know that no country has been able to grow its

economy by entirely exporting its raw materials like we have done in the past, we have to be self-sufficient. That is why the President in February commissioned the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP). “The NIRP is a plan that is holistic. It looks at areas where Nigeria has competi-

tive and comparative advantage; sectors where Nigeria can be the first in Africa and be among the top 10 in the world. “So to be competitve, we have identified seven areas. The first is that we are working to ensure that our industries have affordable finance, and secondly, that they have infrastructure inclusive of power and rail. Third is for skill, we want to ensure they have the right

skills. There are jobs all over the country, we just do not have the requisite skills. Four is about standards; we want Nigerians to consume what we produce but we must ensure that the products meet the standards locally and for export. Five is about ensuring that we have the right investment climate. Six and seven is about patronage; making sure that we buy what we produce,” Aganga stated.

Russia’s trade policy under fire at WTO CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 economy, whether through implementing trade restricting measures such as those already mentioned or by adopting import substitution and local content rules that have the same trade restrictive result," Punke said. Pangratis told reporters that Russia's trade policies were "not convincing". Most of the WTO agreed, he said. "The vast majority are on our side, no doubt. There are around a dozen who spoke which is already a big number for this kind of meeting and shows the pressure and intensity of the way people feel." But he said Russian negotiator Maxim Medvedkov, who defended Russia's interests at the meeting, had made "an effort to reply with

some detail". The EU on Monday widened its sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow's annexation of Crimea while the United States has recently threatened to impose further sanctions against Russia. Punke told reporters that U.S. sanctions on Russia were legal. "We made our statement in there and we indicated that we take our WTO obligations very seriously, we indicated that we carefully considered our obligations in establishing the measures that were discussed, and that we're extremely confident that the actions that we've taken are WTO consistent," he said. He declined to say if Washington could invoke national security as a reason

to restrict trade with Russia, which is allowed under a part of the WTO rules known as Article 21. But Medvedkov said the national security argument would not be justified for at least some of the sanctions against Russia. "Those measures that they have in place are punishing for example one company in Russia that is producing soft drinks, just because the people in Washington don't like the owner of the company. If it's (justifiable under) Article 21 I would be very much surprised." Among the countries who spoke in favor of the European Union and the United States were Switzerland, South Korea, Norway, Japan, Ukraine, Canada and Australia, according to an official present at the meeting.


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TaxWatch IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Conscience Nurtured by Truth

TheGuardian

World Economic Forum on Africa 2014

By Taiwo Oyedele

We cannot continue to measure success simply by reference to the amount of foreign direct investment coming into Africa or the fact that people are still investing. Rather we should compare “what is” to “what could have been”. If we make it easier to do business, the risk premium required by investors will reduce and more potential businesses will become commercially viable leading to more jobs.

ONGRATULATIONS to C Nigeria and Nigerians for the successful hosting of the 24th World Economic Forum on Africa. According to Rosler Philipp, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, the event is one of their best regional forums ever. Apart from being incident free, the level of attendance and active participation by political leaders and business executives was impressive. A number of resolutions were reached, business deals signed, initiatives launched and promises made. In all ramifications, the forum

How to use taxation as an enabler to attract and retain investment, forge inclusive growth and create jobs. can be adjudged as very successful but we now need to build on the momentum and ensure to implement the recommendations. The theme of the forum was “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs”. This was very apt and timely not only for Africa but also Nigeria. Perhaps one area that did not receive sufficient attention is the ease of doing business and paying taxes. We all know that Africa is rising but the growth is from a very small base and inequality is rising even faster. If we must recover the lost decades, Africa must grow at a faster pace without leaving any segment of the society behind. A significant part of the growth on the continent to date has been by accident, rather than as a result of a deliberate action plan or design. To some extent, it is like the popular saying that if you are already down then the only possible way to go is up. So without a robust strategy you may end up falling and rising intermittently and therefore not making any real progress. There is no doubt that to attract investment we need infrastructure, stable electricity, access to affordable finance, availability of quality human capital, consistent economic policies and regulatory framework and so on. All these have to be complemented with investment friendly tax

policies and administration. Unfortunately there was too much focus on tax incentive at the forum and very little on the tax system as a whole. A much bigger incentive for investors is tax simplicity and certainty. While the other factors required to attract investment may take a long time to accomplish and involve huge financial outlay, reforming the tax system can be done relatively easily at little or no cost to government. To really forge inclusive growth and create jobs, taxation can be used as an enabler. In the past few years, about six out of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. Coincidentally, six out of the bottom ten countries on the ease of Doing Business (a survey by the World Bank) are also on the continent. The eleven indicators used by the World Bank to determine the ease of doing business are (1) Starting a Business (2) Dealing with Construction Permits (3) Getting Electricity (4) Registering Property (5) Getting Credit (6) Employing Workers (7) Trading Across Borders (8) Enforcing Contracts (9) Resolving Insolvency (10) Protecting Investors and (11) Paying Taxes. The picture is the same on the global competitiveness index by the World Economic Forum. We cannot continue to measure success simply by reference to the amount of foreign

direct investment coming into Africa or the fact that people are still investing. Rather we should compare “what is” to “what could have been”. If we make it easier to do business, the risk premium required by investors will reduce and more potential businesses will become commercially viable leading to more jobs. To create jobs, we need to encourage investment not only in capital intensive projects like oil & gas or telecommunications but more in labour intensive ventures such as construction, manufacturing and agriculture. In all of these, taxation can be used as a catalyst. Forging inclusive growth requires a pro-

About PwC PwC firms help organisations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a network of firms in 158 countries with close to 169,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com/ng

gressive taxation system to reduce inequality. People who earn more should pay more taxes to create a social safety net for the poor. But this also requires that tax revenue must be utilised to provide infrastructure and social services. As Africa continues to grow inequality has grown faster thereby widening the gap. This is clearly not a sustainable model. Some of the most equal countries in the world are able to achieve this through taxation such as Denmark and Norway. From a taxation point of view, this will require that the minimum income exempt from tax which is currently N200,000 per annum be increased significantly while a higher tax rate should be introduced for higher earners. In similar fashion, there should be more reliefs and lower corporation tax rate for small companies. Commencement rule which imposes double taxation on start-up companies should be abolished. With the rebasing of our GDP, it is almost certain now that Nigeria will become one of the largest 20 economies in the world by the year 2020. We should have the same goal of becoming one of the top 20 countries on the ease of doing business and paying taxes. This is definitely achievable and we can learn from the experience of Rwanda which now ranks 32 due to deliberate reforms in the past few years from

being one of the lowest in the world. Another key area to ensure inclusive growth is regional integration. The level of trade between African countries is abysmally low despite the huge opportunity presented by the large population and growing middle class. Ironically there is not even a single double taxation treaty between West African countries while the number of treaties between any two countries within Africa is quite limited. In order to use tax as a catalyst for inclusive growth, of course, complemented by other initiatives, focus should not only be on tax incentives to attract investment. In fact, if tax waivers are not properly managed it will create the opposite effect of inclusive growth and job creation, that is, unemployment and widening inequality as a few investors will gain undue advantage making others uncompetitive.

Taiwo Oyedele is a Partner and Head of Tax and Corporate Advisory at PwC Nigeria. He is a regular writer and public speaker on accounting and tax matters. Blog with Taiwo for indepth analyses, unique insight and superlative perspective on tax matters: www.pwc.com/nigeriataxblog. Subscription is free!


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GUARDIANENERGY Power privatisation incomplete, says Amaechi pg 27

Gas flaring reduced to 12%, production hits 8.4 bcfpd pg 26

OIL

Oando, others harp on business transparency pg27

POWER

GAS

WEDNESDAy, MAy 14, 2014

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OPEC generates $978b yearly from crude oil sales By Roseline Okere EMBErS of Organisation M of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), have planned to undertake 116 upstream projects worth about $270 billion between now and 2016 time frame. Already, the Federal Government of Nigeria earned about N630.14 billion from Petroleum Profit Tax, royalties and domestic crude oil and gas sales in February 2014, according to data released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Besides, OPEC member coun-

tries have generated an average of $978 billion yearly from crude oil sales. The oil cartel also received $4.9 billion over the same period of which tax is approximately $665 billion less. But the organisation feared that investment decisions and plans like this can be heavily influenced by such factors as the global economic situation, price volatility and unfavourable policy measures adopted elsewhere. It expressed its commitment to continue to do what is best for the market in spite of the

various challenges facing the industry. OPEC’s Secretary-General, Abddalla Salem El-Badri, who made this disclosure it the current issue of the organisation’s yearly report, said that commitment to long-term planning and investment was undiminished. El-Badri said that 2013 generally witnessed prices moving in the $100–110/b range, a range that was accept- able to producers and consumers alike. “Outages, supply disruptions and improved macro- eco-

nomic indicators have driven price increases, while lower refinery appetite, production increases and generally higher inventories have weighed on prices,” he observed. OPEC Secretary General, said that speculative activities continued to play a role and had widened both the upside and downside price movements. “That is why it is important to keep a watchful eye over speculative activities, particularly with the relaxed monetary policies seen in a number of major markets today.

“It is vital for the market to focus on actual market fundamentals and to continually look to mitigate extreme volatility and excessive speculation.” El-Badri added that given the long-term nature of the oil industry, especially when looking at investments, one needed to also pay close attention to future years and what could be done to help provide more stability in the long-term price. “Let me stress here that longterm oil prices and fluctuations cannot really be managed and that any price

forecasts cannot be made with absolute certainty. Noone has the capacity to do this. There are always unknowns. “What can be done, however, is to provide a strong framework for the future. And this begins with the short- term I have just mentioned. “We need to continually work towards a balanced market between supply and demand — a market with adequate and flexible spare capacity and storage for both crude oil and refined products to counter any shortterm turbulence.”

Poor capacity threatens N2.8tr oil, gas investments By Sulaimon Salau F urgent measures are not put in place to deepen capacity in the country, about N2.8 trillion ($17.5 billion) worth of investment in the nation’s oil and gas sector face the risk of capital flight. The Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Oluwole Oluleye, who made this disclosure at the just concluded Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Houston Texas, lamented past experiences where a bulk of spending in the industry ended offshore through procurement and services, which ordinarily should be available within. The anormaly, according to him, thus created jobs for foreigners at the expense of Nigerians. Oluleye, however noted that for the Nigerian Independent Exploration and Production (E&P) companies and service providers to bid for the crucial jobs, there is an urgent need to develop their capacities and competencies with respect to planned projects between now

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and 2025 in three key E&P areas including engineering, procurement and services. “This is the condition that we desire to change but in an attempt to change this situation, there is a challenge we might be confronted with,” he said. According to him, if the trend is allowed to continue the nation may lose huge opportunities in the three areas: services which includes marine ($3 billion), drilling ($1 billion) and training services ($500 million); procurement of equipment components ($11 billion); and engineering ($2 billion), a total of $17.5 billion. In other to tackle these challenges and tap the huge opportunities therein, he said the PTDF has drawn a strategic target to develop the human assets required to help indigenous companies grow their capability to access and execute jobs in the industry. Oluwole, who lamented that about 80 per cent of drilling engineers, technicians and safety personnel are unemployed, while only 20 per cent are gainfully employed, said these grad-

uates have been harnessed and assimilated into a maximum of 12 months intensive training and competency development in the areas of drilling, subsea, oil field related operations and certified to a global standard. According to him, the first sixmonths in a class room and simulated operations and in the last six months in a real live ongoing project to consolidate their competency, and they would be issued a global industry certification - International Well Control Forum (IWCF) certificate in drilling and related operations. Already, he said 15 engineers have been successfully trained under the drilling engineering training program and engaged in the industry, 11 underwater welders were trained & certified in France to handle offshore fabrication activities, over 1500 graduates were trained under the engineering design training programme, and over 300 graduate engineers from the training programs have been successfully integrated into companies to gain hands-on experience.


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ENErGY Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gas flaring reduced to 12%, production hits 8.4 bcfpd By Sulaimon Salau NDICATIONS emerged that the increasing utilisation of the nation’s abundant gas resources have forced its gas flaring down  to about 12 per cent recently. Nigeria was once rated among the highest gas flaring nations after russia, but recent projects being put up by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the Federal Government had ensured that that the hitherto flared resources were being channeled for economic use. It was estimated that Nigeria lose about N8.615 billion ($53.846 million) in one

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month, as oil firms in the country flared about 53.846 billion standard cubic feet of gas in December 2013. But government sources told The Guardian recently, that the loss has ‘reduced drastically’, as some many of the gas utilization projects are on stream, while others are at different stages of completion. He disclosed that flaring has reduced from  30 per cent in 2010 to less than 12 per cent in 2014. However, the Minister of Petroleum resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, recently disclosed that the na-

tion’s gas production has increased from 2.4 billion  standard cubic feet per day (bscfpd) to about 8.24 billion scfpd, representing about 1.1 per cent of global gas production. Alison-Madueke, who was optimistic about the local firm’s contribution to the development gave an example of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which has made an entry into the domestic gas market with the commissioning of 100 million scfpd Oredo Gas processing facili-

ties. She said: “With the acquisition of these assets NPDC is now the biggest producer and supplier of gas into domestic market, contributing over 450 million scfpd through Oredo and Utorogu gas plants,” As a result of this development, she said, total gas production would increase from 7.7 billion scfpd to 8.24 billion scfpd, representing 7 per cent increase compared to 2011. According to her, plans are at advanced stage to supply a further 100 million scfpd through NNPC/Pan Ocoan joint venture’s Ovade gas

plant by the end of this year. “The phase II of Oredo gas plant when completed in second quarter of 2014 will also supply 5 metric tones per annum of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to neighbouring states as part of our green revolution,” she said. However, she stressed that the company has installed a 9000bpd auto sampler at Ogharefe in 2011 to ensure accurate crude accounting for Oredo/Oziengbe field production.

Masters Energy commissions mega station in Warri By Roseline Okere ASTErS Energy Oil & Gas M Limited, an indigenous oil and gas company, has commis-

Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu (left); Chairman Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Emeka Ene (middle) and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, GIL Automation, Lawal Gbolahon at the Nigerian pavilion of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston-Texas.

Standard Chartered, others commit $750m to power plant. By Roseline Okere HE Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria is leading other banks to make available $750 million facility for the Azura-Edo Power Project. The plant,  an Independent Power Plant (IPP),  is projected to add 450 megawatts to the national grid in the first phase. It is also expected to  peak another 1,500 megawatts to national grid in  the project’s final completion. Speaking on the  bank’s role in the flagship project at a signing of  key industry contracts and confirmation on the debt financing agreement in Abuja recently, Standard Chartered Bank’s Managing Director, Bola Adesola, de-

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scribed the project as one of the most innovative initiatives  undertaken by the  private investors in a drive to reposition Nigerian’s economy on the path of sustainable development. Adesola who identified poor electricity as a major hurdle to efforts targeted at boosting non-oil sectors as well as its contributions to  GDP, expressed optimism that the Azura Power Plant would serve as a template for  other investors to learn from and invest in the power sector of the country. “Today marks the official milestone signing ceremony of one of Nigeria’s first privately funded power plants in 15 years, the Azura-Edo Power

Plant. The signing coincides with the World Economic Forum Africa event and reiterates Nigerian Government’s commitment to addressing Nigeria’s power supply gap through positive reform in the power sector.’’ According to her, the power generation from this transaction is expected to tangibly impact Nigeria’s economic growth and the banks are proud to be part of this and Standard Chartered in particular is proud to be playing an important role in progressing and structuring the transactions by acting as structuring bank and Global Mandated Lead Arranger” She said: “The bank’s  advisory, structuring and financial

contribution to this transaction forms part of its  $2 billion pledge to President Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ campaign launched last year, which aims to bring electricity to more than 20 million Afrcias within five years. She  disclosed that the Bank was  on course to exceed our $2 billion target well ahead of time, which is more than 20 per cent of the total private sector commitment. The ceremony also witnessed the signing of an Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract with Siemens and Julius Berger Nigeria; a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement with Seplat; and an Operations & Maintenance contract with PIC Marubeni.

“We are continuing with this initiative in all our gas fields,” she said, adding that NPDC had commenced delivery of 85 million scfpd of compressed wet gas to National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) through the integrated gas handling facility. Meanwhile, Utorogu non associated gas project, which it took over from Shell Petroleum Development Company, is expected to add 200 million scfpd to the domestic market this year.

sioned its mega station in Warri, Delta State. The company said in a media statement on Monday, that the ultra modern mega station situated along Warri-Sapele road was commissioned to ease petroleum products availability in the city. Declaring the station open, Operations Controller, Department of Petroleum resource (DPr), Jerry Odegbunam, commended the company for establishing such mega station in Warri and tasked them to ensure compliance to all DPr’s laws in the conduct of its business. He said: “There is no doubt that you have built a mega station that is a beauty to behold; but I want to charge you to ensure that you operate by the rules since DPr frowns at any sharp practice and will not hesitate to met out appropriate punishment for any infringement of its laws The Head, retail Business, Masters Energy, Benjamin Solarin, informed the residents of Warri that the new mega station is an extension of the company’s desire to make petroleum prod-

ucts available to Nigerians at affordable price. According to him, the company is a leading player in the downstream sector and has build goodwill and integrity over the years. The company has a pedigree of performance, and provision of quality petroleum products at government’s regulated pump price. He assured residents of Warri town that they would have value for their money because “the integrity of our pumps is not in doubt and we will deliver excellent customer service that are yet to be witnessed in Warri.” Head of retail Operations, Masters Energy, Fidelis Okafor, said that “everything had been put in place to ensure that the new mega station is not starved of products. He reiterated noted that the new station is very important to us for many reasons. We cannot just open a station of this size and starve it of products. Mechanisms had been put in place to ensure that the station has product at every point in time.” The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Masters Energy, Vincent Ajala, said the sitting of the mega station in Warri is in recognition of the town’s importance and great economic potentials that are yet untapped.

NLNG facilitates youths’ training programme in S’Korea IGErIA LNG Limited HHI and SHI. We want to enN (NLNG), through its sure the right technology skills wholly-owned subsidiary, are transferred to help develop Bonny Gas Transport Limited (BGT), is facilitating the training of 180 young Nigerian technicians by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in South Korea. The beneficiaries are to acquire requisite competencies and skills in ship building, as part of Nigerian Content Development activities agreed between BGT & HHI as contained in the contract for the construction of two new LNG Carriers for Bonny Gas Transport. Of the 180 technicians traveling to Korea for the threemonth programme, the best 28 will remain to join in the construction of the six new vessels. NLNG Managing Director & Vice President of BGT, Babs Omotowa, said: “Our commitment to Nigerianisation and Nigerian Content practice is strongly based on professionalism and competence and has enabled us groom Nigerians and companies that today compete on the world stage. “Every action we take in Nigeria LNG Limited, we seek to help build a better Nigeria. That is why so many gains are riding on these contracts with

our maritime industry and this procurement provides us a good opportunity. There are other gains but this human capacity development stands out and we are proud to be contributing to capacity development and job creation for Nigeria.” BGT a subsidiary of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) was established in 1989, to provide shipping capacity for NLNG projects. It owns 13 of the 23 vessels in Nigeria LNG’s fleet – by far the largest in Nigeria which deliver liquefied natural gas to customers spread across different regions of the world. Nigeria LNG Limited is the most significant arrow-head of the federal government’s quest to eliminate gas flaring and derive value from the country’s 187 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. NLNG is owned by four shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC (49 per cent), Shell Gas BV, SGBV, (25.6 per cent), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15 per cent), and Eni International (N.A,) N. V. S. a. r. l (10.4 per cent).


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Power privatisation incomplete, says Amaechi From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt HE rivers State governor, T Chibuike Amaechi has described the privatisation of the power sector as incomplete and contradictory. The governor stated this when the Senate Committee on Privatisation and commercialization, led by its Chairman, Olugbenga Obadara, during a courtesy visit at government House, Port Harcourt . Amaechi lamented that in the past seven years, the state government has been buying gas from Agip and Shell in billions of naira, and the federal agencies have been collecting the revenue without remitting anything to the state. He said that the state government was able to build 88 substations, which are yet to be commissioned to enhance electricity supply in the state. According to him, though the Federal government claimed to privatised the power sector, the rivers State government facilities are still being used to generate and distribute power without payment. Ameachi said: “We generate 545 megawatts, and we are also building another 180 megawatts, and before the end of this year, we will have 715 megawatts. We asked them, how do we get 24 hours power supply, and they told us, we should invest 13 billion naira more. We have already paid 5 billion naira as take-off grant, and our target is that before the 2015 elections we should have regular power supply. We are funding now, and when the project is completed, the federal agencies collect the funds and nothing comes to us.” “The privatization is not complete, the federal agencies collect the money we invested

and own the infrastructures or we are ready to buy you out and own the power distribution network in Port Harcourt. We are tired of complaining about power. On your way to the federal government Afam Power Station, also ask them to show you the state government Afam Station. “Our 180 megawatts have been completed and we are building another 180 megawatts. We have the Omoku Power Station, Eleme Power Station, and the TransAmadi Power Station that has about 130 megawatts. So, we have enough power supply. But, the problem is that federal agencies collect the funds. If they pay us half of what they are owing us, we assure you, we will run 24 hours power supply, because we are only funding it and getting nothing out of it. This arrangement is not conducive for the state”, Amaechi said. He disclosed that his administration started creating employment opportunities by building over 140 Primary Health Centres and over 300 Model Primary Schools, which created job opportunities in the State. He hinted that his government has created the Banana Farms that has created jobs for over 2000 persons and revived the risonpalm, which now employs over 5,000 workers. “I am very sure that the establishment of farms will go a long way to reduce the recruitment of Boko Haram members. The Federal government must take education, employment and reduction of poverty as priority. We do appreciate the challenges the federal government is facing now”,

Mikano, Schneider sign partnership deal on power By Roseline Okere IKANO International LimM ited and Schneider Electric have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which enables both companies to leverage on their respective areas of strength for their mutual benefits. It will also enable a stronger and broader diversification in energy and automation management. Under the terms of the agreement, Mikano is expected to sell and distribute the full complement of Schneider Electric’s world class low voltage electrical distribution solutions using its extensive geographical spread across Nigeria. The low voltage products consist of transformers, medium voltage circuit breakers, distribution boards among others. The agreement will also enable Mikano grow its business portfolio and benefit from Schneider Electric’s products and solutions especially for its own needs in generator control panels and systems. According to the Managing Director, Mikano International Limited, Christian Farine, the products range will fit the full market requirements in Basic and in Advance features for Low voltage

products as well as a full range in medium voltage products. “These products will be added to the already existing quality products distributed by Mikano, who will ensure availability of Schneider Electric products across the country through our different branches in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano. Mikano sales team will be available to provide technical support for all questions related to the Schneider Electric products”, he said. Describing the partnership as a welcome development, he said it would provide powerful strategically-related values and amplify their sales and technical network. “It is to provide our valued customers satisfactory solutions for their power requirements with quality products at competitive pricing and committed to maintaining customer satisfaction by consistently meeting and exceeding their expectations”, he said. The country president, Schneider Electric, Marcel Hochet also lauded the technical expertise of Mikano, saying the partnership will quite enjoy the enormous talents and huge network of Mikano which eventually will bring value proposition to all end users. Besides, it will also enhance productivity and make it easier to work together. 

Executive Vice Chairman Techno Oil, Nkechi Obi, being presented with the Techno Oil’s award as “the most innovative and impactful company in the downstream oil and gas” by the Deputy Vice-President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Nike Akande, during the 2014 Commerce and Industry Awards held in Lagos recently.

Oando, others harp on business transparency By Roseline Okere ANDO Plc in conjunction with the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) of the World Economic Forum, hosted a breakfast meeting to discuss business transparency on the continent. The meeting was a backdrop to other events at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and took on the theme of inclusive growth and the role business transparency have to play in achieving this.  A cross section of companies operating in Africa and attendees of WEF were given the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with operating and promoting clean business practices.   reiterating the importance of business transparency at

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the event, Senior Director, Head of Centre for global Industries WEF said: “Transparency makes your business more resilient and risk free”. According to him, a community of Chief Executive Officers who are committed to a business society free from corruption would give rise to sustainable growth within their companies,  industries and countries. group Chief Executive, Oando Plc, Adewale Tinubu, added: “There’s clearly a new world order, companies need transparency to grow and raise capital, and the world demands it in everything. Corruption is no longer fashionable”. He encouraged the government’s effort in creating a corrupt free business environment. The event also served as a

platform for the soft launch of the Clean Business Practice Initiative (CBPI) an indigenous private sector-driven anti-corruption body set up to compliment government efforts in fighting corruption in Nigeria. By committing to develop and implement anti-corruption practices in institutions, systems and processes, the initiative aims to help level the playing field in trade, commerce and industry.  CBPI’s board include amongst others Chief Compliance Officer, Oando PLC, Ms Ayotola Jagun; further evidence of Oando’s continued involvement and efforts both locally and internationally to be an active member and advocate for clean business.  PACI is a global, multi-industry, multi-stakeholder

anti-corruption initiative set up by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to raise business standards and to contribute to a competitive, transparent, accountable and ethical business society. Since its inception in 2004, the PACI principles have served as a call to action for businesses around the world to commit to zero tolerance of corruption in all its forms. Oando became an active member of PACI in 2008 and its involvement in anti-corruption initiatives has played a major role in the organizations success story as noted by the Chief Compliance Officer, Ms. Ayotola Jagun who further encouraged collective action as a viable means of fighting corruption and changing the business landscape in the country for the better.

Nigeria shines at offshore tech forum By Sulaimon Salau ArTICIPATINg at the world’s most prestigious oil and gas event, Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), was one of the most enviable values the nation owes the world. The just concluded OTC in Houston, United States, would always hold record on Nigeria’s quality outing exhibiting the inherent potentials in the country through an appreciable number of delegates that committed resources to be part of history. However, the organisers of the conference has also announced a new record height of delegates at the conference. According to a statement made available to The guardian, the attendance at the annual conference reached a 46-year high of 108,300, the highest in show history and up 3.3 per cent from last year. The Chairman, Senate Committee on gas resources, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, who was among those that led Nigerian delegation to the conference, described the

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participation as a natural progression from the past outings. She said: “I was quite delighted with the natural progression in our participation at the oil and gas conference here in Houston. The outing of Nigerians and indigenous companies are very impressive. I noticed lot of developments and improvements with regards to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), whereby the areas of priority in Nigeria are being exhibited here by showcasing what Nigeria has in stock for the world. “I am also impressed to see that a lot of Nigerians are now going into the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, which shows that not only are we in the downstream side, we have equally gone up to compete with the International Oil Companies based in Nigeria, and a lot of Nigerians are now being found in some service sectors for the offshore projects,” she stated. However, the OTC data indicated that attendance sur-

passed the 2013 total of 104,800 and the sold-out exhibition was the largest in show history at 680,025 ft², up from 652,185 ft² in 2013. The event had 2,568 companies representing 43 countries, including 163 new exhibitors in 2014. International companies made up 44per cent of exhibitors. The Chairman of OTC, Ed Strokes, said: “OTC’s great success this year is yet another validation of the great vision inspired by the founders who created the conference in 1969. Clearly the deep and broad coverage of the technical program, flanked and supported by excellent panels, executive keynote presentations, distinguished and spotlight award winners, as well as thousands of displays of the latest in new technology at the exhibition, continues to demonstrate the power of collaboration from our member engineering and geo-science societies and trade organizations moving the offshore oil and gas industry forward safely, sustainably and with due

consideration of environmental protection.” This year’s event featured nine panel sessions, 29 executive keynote presentations at luncheons and breakfasts, and 308 technical papers. Speakers from major, independent, and national operators; federal and regional government officials; academia; and more presented their views on a wide variety of topics while discussing views on the current challenges and future directions of the industry. OTC’s Spotlight on New Technology recognized 12 technologies for their innovation in allowing the industry to produce offshore resources. Safety and environmental protection, always key areas of focus at OTC, was at the forefront of many discussions. Several sessions also delved into new opportunities in Mexico. Additional highlights included a number of discussions about the impact of the unconventional revolution onshore on the offshore deepwater industry.


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Money WEFA: Surmounting misconceptions, prejudices on African issues

Jonathan By Kamal Tayo Oropo T the end of discussions during the 23rd World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, held in Cape Town, South Africa, while policy inconsistencies, lack of strategic vision and inability to investigate and get convictions were identified as major weaknesses in Africa’s fights against corruption. The continent also has to surmount other obstacles, including global misconception of the continent as well as prejudices based on overblowing crises in the continent out of proportion; if the latest rounds of talks held in Abuja would not amount to another jamboree, ending with more questions than answers. Giving fillip to this fear, the UN UnderSecretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Carlos Lopes, who lamented the continuous marketing of the continent as a country, when it is a continent of 54 countries, which, by 2040, will have the largest workforce in the world, by 2040, Africa would be more urbanised‚ connected and educated. But many, including the UN chief, wondered how Africa, which has twice as much per capita than India, more cell phones than India and less poor people than India was still seen as a country. Lopes also underscored perceptions on risks and uncertainties, which with respect to investing in Africa, have been made to look like reality. “While some issues may be real, there are many advancements that bust perceptions of corruption, lack of growth and lack of capacity, among others”. Participants at the Abuja forum, just as they did during Cape Town forum, observed that lack of strategic vision has made corruption to lead the continent’s narrative while countries like Malaysia, Indonesia are able to project their narratives on their strategic visions and less on corruption. The need for consistency in regulatory frameworks and policy was canvassed, “as it reduces the meddling of government in areas where the private sector is meant to play.” Consistency across administrations is important to ensure that investors play fairly. “Investors do not always like regulations,” said a participant, while highlighting the commodity boom super cycle, which led to an increase in profits of mining companies “by at least 200 per cent, yet tax revenues in the affected countries increased by only 30 per cent.” Largely, Africa has a growing middle class. With increased incomes, the emerging picture shows a continent where two-thirds of its growth comes from consumption; as a result, Lagos has a much bigger purchasing power than Mumbai. But for the continent to reap the demographic dividends, it must address the ques-

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Paul- Kagame tion of infrastructure, which is necessary for industrialisation and for bringing the continent’s rural areas to the global market. In this regard, a significant amount of money is needed to realise the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and since markets do not invest in these kinds of projects, the session underscored the need for alternative sources of funding. “The good news is that money exists in Africa –– but a shift in mindset is needed to tap into the half a trillion dollars sitting in African Central Banks as reserves,” stressed the panelists last year. PIDA projects could be broken into ‘short-range projects’, all aimed at a long-term goal. Another major source of concern is the perception that Africa is lacking in skilled personnel, though many believe that, rather, the continent had been on the cutting edge of innovations. However, branding and marketing of these innovations fails beyond the borders. Many African economies are run by informal sector, where banks do not come to the party and so the entrepreneurs in these informal sectors do not grow. The myth that must be busted is that these informal entrepreneurs cannot grow into big business even with appropriate financing. However, the lack of depth in the capital markets is real and it limits the possibilities for innovations to grow. Further, the perception that “54 countries constitute one country where there are no positive stories to be told” could be attributed to failure by the media and the lack of attention to marketing by African governments. Another key emerging issue was information gaps created by lack of country assessments. In addition, experts wondered whether those doing business in Africa might be contributing to the myths. Doing so, they said, creates entry barriers for potential competitors, and keeps resident players laughing all the way to the bank with premium returns. “It is important to be here in Africa to understand the context; one has to understand where to invest and why one is investing,” stressed an investor. While it is true that recent years have brought a renewed interest in Africa as the next big investment destination given its strong growth and dynamic demographic trends. More than 20 African countries — close to half — have already reached the middleincome mark and 10 more are expected to join by 2025. A growing population and a trend towards urbanisation show potential for a large emerging middle class, while political stability has favoured better economic policies. This optimism has been reflected widely in

Kenyettaa the international press, with The Economist hailing Africa as the hopeful continent and Time magazine seeing “Africa rising”. Indeed, it is reminiscent of the awakening of many Asian economies a few decades ago. But, according to chief economist and senior director at the World Economic Forum, Ms. Jennifer Blanke, there remain vast challenges to attaining a sustained Asian-style growth path in Africa. “Improving competitiveness and fostering regional integration are an important part of the story of how the continent can achieve this goal,” she said. Africa’s population of 1billion — set to increase to 1.6 billion by 2030 — has the potential for a massive economic boost through a demographic dividend similar to the one seen across much of Asia. Yet, benefiting from this trend will require African economies to properly train and create employment opportunities for the 10-million new entrants to the job market every year. Competitive economies are those that have in place the institutions, factors and policies that drive productivity and thus support high and rising living standards and growth. The Africa Competitiveness Report 2013 shows growth has so far not been sufficiently matched by improvements in competitiveness. Blanke, in a recent report co-authored with an economist in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network, Caroline Ko, disclosed that competitiveness is uneven across the region: countries such as South Africa and Mauritius are reasonably strong but 14 out of the 20 least competitive countries in the world hail from Africa. African economies trail other emerging regions such as Southeast Asia and Latin America on the basic building blocks of a competitive economy, such as effective governance and institutions, adequate infrastructure and education. Reports show that only half of the population in Africa attends secondary school, and a mere 10 percent go on to higher education, compared with close to 40 percent in Latin America and Asia. And, despite rapid mobile telephone adoption and success stories such as the M-Pesa mobile money exchange system in Kenya, as well as mobile upsurge in Africa’s biggest economy –– Nigeria, information and communications technology uptake remains considerably lower than in other regions, which have been moving even faster to adopt them. The region’s transport infrastructure is a major barrier to more diversified, highervalue-added activities. Poor roads, insufficient port capacity and outdated railroads make it difficult and expensive to do business and get goods to market at the national level as well as hampering trade and greater regional integration. This, according to Blanke and ko, is aggravated by high levels of

corruption, insufficient property rights and poor governance in many countries, which make it exceedingly difficult to address effectively many of the other problems. Such shortcomings continue to constrain most African economies to producing basic goods and remaining insufficiently diversified. While it may also be true that Africans are suffering less from war, hunger and poverty, and benefiting more from rising disposable income, education enrolment and internet connectivity. Set against decades of misrule and misfortune, this is cause for celebration. But it raises another question, which is how Africa can best deliver the prosperity and security its people so richly deserve. Africa is no longer seen as an investment destination for only the brave or reckless; it is now a mainstream business proposition. Drawing from the 23rd WEF theme “Delivering on Africa’s Promise” was chosen to ask that very question. While Africa may be going through a period of unprecedented growth, there has never been more urgency to build on this momentum or a greater fear that the region may miss its historic opportunity. Africa is the world’s most fragmented economy, making regional integration an important opportunity for boosting competitiveness. Despite many regional trading initiatives, much remains to be achieved. In 2011, sub-Saharan African economies exported a mere 12 per cent of their goods within their region, compared with 25 percent in Southeast Asia, 49 percent in North America and 65 percent in the European Union. For Asia, increased regional trade over the past two decades has also boosted its ability to export to other regions: trade in developing Asia more than doubled between 1995 and 2010, while trade in sub-Saharan Africa stagnated at a level below 2 percent of total world trade over the same period. It is common knowledge that trade policies in Africa have traditionally focused on facilitating access to developed-country market economies. This is a very different approach from the one taken in Southeast Asia, where trade polices focus on developing regional value chains that link into global value chains. These efforts have been accompanied by competitiveness-enhancing policies targeting the institutional framework, facilitating business across borders and mobilising the region’s talent pool. In other words, regional integration is not an end in itself, but a reinforcing process that requires addressing competitiveness challenges within the country to lay the basis for a strong and striving private sector and increased productivity. For Africa, the lesson is to focus on enhancing national competitiveness and reinforcing regional integration: when these efforts go hand in hand, they can be expected to reinforce one another. States.

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Money How Boko Haram imperils Nigeria’s future By Melinda Gates

Weeks after the April 14 kidnapping of 276 Nigerian girls, worried families and supporters have blamed the government for not doing enough to find them. Their cries have spread worldwide on social media under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. From regular people to celebrities, Melinda Gates believes in this piece that the global outcry over the girls’ abduction has shown the fact that empowered women are key to a nation’s fortunes think of myself as an “impatient optimist.” Imuster There are times, however, when it’s harder to the optimism, and the impatience takes over. That’s how I felt when I read about the hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the extremist group Boko Haram to be married off or sold into slavery. It’s difficult to pinpoint the worst aspect of this atrocity. And it’s pitiful that this is nothing new. Treating women as spoils or weapons of war has been a common practice for thousands of years. Boko Haram has sought to justify its actions as consistent with Islamic teachings, and this is an insult. Many influential voices in the Muslim world have rebuked the group’s actions. (To cite just one example, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of the Cairo-based Al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious theological institutions, said the kidnappings “completely contradict Islam and its principles of tolerance.”) It’s frustrating that the Nigerian government, despite an intensifying effort to find the girls, has been unable to locate them. And it’s horrifying that hundreds of girls, their parents and

Gates thousands of their relatives are living each passing moment in escalating fear — with no idea whether they’ll ever see each other again. My heart breaks for these mothers and fathers.

But perhaps the most awful part of the story is that Boko Haram stands against a better future for ordinary Nigerians. Boko Haram is committed to the idea that women are the property of husbands and mere instruments of reproduction. They are particularly opposed to the idea that girls ought to be educated, which is why they target schools. In fact, when girls are educated and free to pursue their passions, they contribute more to a thriving society. When women have a voice, they raise it to demand a life that is greater than what they’ve been told they have a right to expect. And these demands change the future for everyone. Nigeria has a population of 170 million. Its economy is the largest on the African continent. The future holds nearly boundless promise, as represented, in part, by the fact that the World Economic Forum is meeting in Abuja right now. But if the country’s 85 million women and girls don’t have the opportunity to seize their potential, then neither will

Nigeria. There are countless examples of places around the world where women and girls are gaining power and autonomy, where the future looks brighter because women and girls are slowly wiping away the old gender norms. The impressive outpouring of support for the girls — both within Nigerian communities and around the world — is an encouraging sign that most people want the version of the future that empowered women and girls will create, not the version that Boko Haram is trying to impose. It doesn’t help the Nigerian schoolgirls now, but thinking about the women and girls everywhere who are strong and getting stronger is one way to maintain some of the optimism that must go along with our collective impatience. • Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wrote this piece before the World Economic Forum on Africa was concluded. Culled from CNN.

Surmounting misconceptions, prejudices on African issues Continued from Page 30 History has shown that enhanced trade and regional integration expand economic possibilities and boost performance. This is now driving the Europeans and Americans — desperate to revive their sagging economies — to seriously explore a transatlantic free-trade area. Africa is at a crossroads, and decisions and polices made today will determine the region’s future development path and whether the current optimistic outlook is justified. To bolster economic potential, reforms and investments are needed that will increase pro-

ductivity and competitiveness, while greater regional integration will provide an important stepping stone to more diversified, inclusive and sustained growth. Meanwhile, 24th WEF on Africa host and Africa’s biggest oil producer, Nigeria, may yet typifies progress, or otherwise, in showcasing the continent’s readiness to meeting expectations. The country has tapped global markets for twice while taking advantage of investors’ appetite for higher-yielding assets. The government said it is raising funds to boost electricity output in a country where demand is almost double the supply of

about 4,000 megawatts. President Goodluck Jonathan said the government can not alone build the infrastructure that the country needs. But power remains a major source of worry. Nigeria’s $500 million of bonds due January 2021 have surged since the debut in 2011, sending yields 271 basis points, or 2.71 percentage points, lower to 4.08 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nigeria’s economy, in spite of his leading size on the continent, may remain under pressure because of declining oil prices.


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Mining ‘Big Data’ for economic growth For decades, all of the technologies that organisations used to measure and forecast operations were a small niche in enterprise computing. That situation is gradually giving way to emergent big data initiative that allows for broader horizon of information gathering and processing. At the EMC World conference in Las Vegas, USA, experts submitted that big data management holds greater developmental opportunities for businesses. ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, who was there, reports. DVANCES in data gathering, computing power and connecA tivity mean that we have more information than ever before at our fingertips. Reports estimate that by 2020 there will be

300 times more information in the world than they were in 2005 – a total of 43 trillion gigabytes. As such, big data is more than another hot technology trend. In fact, reports have that it’s as much about business transformation as about technology. It’s about leveraging the unique, actionable insights gleaned about customers, products, and operations to rewire value creation process and optimize the key business initiatives. Simply put, big data is about making money. Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis and visualization. The trend to larger data sets is due to the additional information derivable from analysis of a single large set of related data, as compared to separate smaller sets with the same total amount of data, allowing correlations to be found to “spot business trends, determine quality of research, prevent diseases, link legal citations, combat crime, and determine real-time roadway traffic conditions. As of 2012, limits on the size of data sets that are feasible to process in a reasonable amount of time were on the order of exabytes of data, that is, millions of terabytes. According to experts who spoke at the EMC’s forum, which had over 14, 000 delegates from across the globe, with the theme: “Redefine”, big data’s potential impact on sustainability hinges on three simple facts. These include, taking meaningful action on corporate sustainability requires an understanding of all the impacts that the business and natural world have on each other; the business world is a very complicated place, with lots of interactions between consumers and companies and suppliers and markets and that the natural world is even more complicated, with lots of interactions between people and resources and ecosystems and climate. To them, big data has the power to transform how large businesses – the ones with biggest environmental impacts, but also

The Four Big Data Business Driver

access to large volumes of information – can take action on sustainability, adding that a drive for data collection can also incentivise smaller suppliers to be more responsible in their own operations, creating a domino effect. According to EMC’s Chief Technology Officer, Global Services Enterprises Information Management and Analytics, Bill Schmarzo , one of the key challenges IT organisations face in building support for a big data initiative is to ensure that the initiative is valued by, or of value to, the business stakeholders. Unfortunately, Schmarzo, who authored the book titled: “Understanding How Data Powers Big Business”, said business stakeholders have become numb to the IT promises of the next great technology ‘silver bullet’, stressing that they are hesistant to  believe that another new technology is going to solve all of their data and analytic problems. He noted that big data fine tunes and accelerates the ability to identify the specific areas of the business processes where it can deliver immediate business value. Schmarzo explained that the key to the big data envisioning and value creation process is to understand the ‘big data business drivers’, adding that there are four big data business drivers that can be applied to an organisation’s key business initiatives or processes to provide new insights about the business (across customers, products, operations, markets among others) and improve decision –making.  According to him, the four big data business drivers are structure data (including detailed transactional data such as POS, CDR, RFID, Credit card); Unstructured data, which include diverse internal (e-mail, consumer comments and external (social media, mobile) unstructured data. Others are data velocity, which offers low latency; predictive analytics involving causality, predictors, instrumentation and experimentation. He explained that the ability to provide real-time access to data is a game changer that can enable new monetization opportunities. However, he noted that the biggest problem with today’s batch centric data platforms is that many customer and market opportunities are fleetin—they appear and disappear before the chance to identify and act on them, which he said should be watched adequately. In the areas of access to unstructured data, Schmarzo said the ability to integrate the growing volumes of unstructured data with existing detailed structured transactional data has the potential to radically transform the types of insights that can be teased out of the data. Schmarzo, who rued what he described as the unintelligent user experience, said most organisations don’t spend enough time and energy trying to understand what their customers want to accomplish. According to him, it becomes difficult if an organization don’t completely inderstand customers’ objectives and what they are trying to accomplish. He said a user experience challenge is only excercabated by big data and the growing expections by the customer that the firm does something beneficial with all the data that are being gathered. To the the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, EMC, Joe Tucci said that the ICT industry is changing very fast, stressing it is creating opportunities for other sectors of the economy. Tucci, who also stressed that that big data should be explored adequately because of its immense opportunities for business

growth and economic development, said that to achieve a digital universe as being canvassed globally, efforts across continents must be strategically harnessed through new investments, especially in emerging trends in technology. Tucci disclosed that in 2013 there were about 28 million IT professionals, who are working on innovations, stressing that it is expected that the figure would be about 36 million by 2020. According to him, a conducive business environment should see organisations invest hugely in data management, stressing that currently more CEOs are seeing ICT as a driver of the digital development.  To the Director, XBU Product Marketing, EMC, Aaron Chaisson, the value systems of emerging markets will go a long way to determing their growths, stressing that more investments should be channeled towards innovation. Chaisson said young economies should focus on developing applications that could spur their growths, saying that when this is done, the tendency is high that they will surpass developments in developed economies. In a recent interview, with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek the Country Manager for International Data Corporation (IDC), Bolanle Adisa noted that skills are required to harness the big data for usage. According to him, the country is possibly not having a ‘big issue’ yet in Nigeria in regards to big data, “but we need to start planning around it so this remains the case. As businesses grow, so grows the business data. Banks, manufacturing companies among others are all embracing mobile and social technologies, and the increasing use of such solutions drives a simultaneous explosion in the amount of data generated.” Adisa said online retail is also on the rise, mobile transactions are increasing, organizations are interacting more with customers via social media platforms — the resultant effects of all of this is big data, stressing that it is important that CIOs put proper plans in place to accommodate these changes. In the areas of skills development, IDC Nigeria boss believed that the relevant skill sets are readily available in the country, saying that if they’re not, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to upskill people to manage the relevant technology as Nigerian organizations have smart resources to call upon. “I am more concerned about the planning and strategy aspects, as these must be implemented properly in order to ensure smooth management of the process”, he stated. 

Nigeria, others to benefit from $97m digital job seed fund From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja, U.S-based philanthropic organisation, RockeA feller Foundation, is to spend $97 million in the provision of digital jobs aimed at impacting one million lives in six African countries including Nigeria. About 20,000 Nigerians are targeted to benefit from this initiative while other countries to benefit from the scheme includes Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt and this is geared towards catalyzing sustainable ICT-enabled employment opportunities and skills training for high potential but disadvantaged African youth. The online work sector has experienced phenomenal growth in the past few years and by some estimates will reach $16 billion industry by

2020. Managing Director, the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, Mamadou Biteye who disclosed this at the launch of the Digital Job Africa initiative in Abuja,observed that Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy offers significant potential for impact through the size of the economy and population base. According to him, Nigeria has the second highest number of online workers in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Nigerian government has identified the potential of online work to create employment at scale for the country’s youth. In partnership with the World Bank, Nigeria’s Ministry of He noted that Nigeria over the years the has witnessed steady economic growth particularly in its services sector, and Nigeria’s ICT sector is the

largest in Africa with billions in investments, double digit revenue growth in the telecoms industry and the highest numbers of internet users in the continent. Bitiye pointed out that, this growth must translate into creation of employment opportunities for Nigeria’s vibrant and innovative youth adding that the internet has created a platform through which businesses or individuals that are seeking expertise can connect with and employ individuals who are seeking employment. He said, “This industry is estimated to grow to become a $5 billion global industry by 2018. We live in a digital age, and the internet provides us with unprecedented opportunities that we are compelled to exploit. One such opportunity is that created by online work. As employers look

for more efficient, cost effective ways to source talent, online work presents an opportunity to source expertise from a global talent pool, reduce recruitment time and increase staffing flexibility. For employees, particularly those in the youth segment, online work provides a low-barrier-to-entry opportunity to earn an income, while building their skills and digital work experience.” Bitiye recalled that Ministry of Communication Technology launched the Naija Cloud initiative in 2013 which brought leading online work platforms such as ODesk and Elance to Nigeria for a convening adding that the Ministry also commissioned a study to identify barriers to scaling

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Lagos, Oracle move to strengthen IT driven services By Bankole Orimisan HE Lagos State GovernT ment (LASG), in partnership with Oracle Corporation

Chief Operating Officer, Spectranet, Atul Ojha (left); Head, Sales and Marketing, Yogendra Sonawane and Marketing Manager, Samson Akejelu at a press briefing to announce the firm’s new value proposition in Lagos.

Huawei restates commitment to Nigeria, others through new five-year initiative By Adeyemi Adepetun HINESE Technology firm, C Huawei, is to provide trainining to 10,000 people in Nigeria and other parts of Africa over the next five years, which is aimed at solidifying its commitment to the continent. The announcement was made by senior Huawei Executives at the just concluded World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja, Nigeria, under the theme: “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs”. Global Vice President of Huawei, Charles Ding said at the forum that the firm is committed to developing its business in Africa where its commitment will create mutually beneficial opportunities and win-win outcomes. Ding said Africa and China have enjoyed a strong relationship that has seen extensive cooperation in political, economic, and cultural areas, adding that the African continent has an open and inclusive approach to international trade relations, which has created a sound business environment for Huawei’s development in the region. Explaining the new approach for the region, Ding said “Huawei considers Africa to be one of our most important strategic growth markets, by localizing our operations, we can better understand the

needs of the market, and improve our overall capabilities. We’re proud to have an opportunity to play an important role in Africa’s modernization. We are also committed to create more jobs and promote ICT industry growth and development in Africa.” According to him, currently,

Huawei employs a workforce of over 7,100 across Africa and has created 12,000 jobs indirectly through procurement and outsourcing services, adding that in the last five years, Huawei’s seven training centers in Africa have provided training to15,000 engineers, a commitment that is well aligned with

the firm’s strategies of “transferring technologies to Africa” and “intensifying localization efforts”. Under these strategies, he said Huawei planned to support and develop the sustainable growth of Africa’s ICT industry by cultivating local talent.

Crosswalk advises businesses on secure printing technology ROSSWALK Data Link LimC ited, a certified partner to Troy Incorporated, has advised businesses to invest in the right printing technology given the rising cases of printing fraud in the country. According to Crosswalk, with technology advancing daily, the activities of fraudulent characters is also on the increase, even far above. The firm, which recently host a forum on the importance of secure printing technology for business growth said secure printers can to a large extent mitigate the impact of fraudsters. Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the Managing Director of the company, Anthony Ibidapo, said most documents accepted in Nigeria today might not be acceptable on the

global scale because they lacked security features that could guarantee their authenticity. Ibidapo the increasing cases of frauds, especially in the financial sector necessitated the firm’s offering of fraud-proof solution in the area of bank cheque printing as well as general security printing. “In a bid to checking this, we have, so far, effectively deployed and maintained hundreds of Troy machines in bank branches and other financial institutions across the country. “We hereby introduce the Troy 3015DXi security and SecureUV printer. They offer tamper -proof features.” The Crosswalk boss said the use of secured printing technology was not limited in

function to only bank cheques, but comes handy in the secured printing of other documents that are prone to illegal alterations, such as government issued certificates; government identity documents; educational reports; degrees and certifications; corporate contracts; certificates of authenticity. According to him, others included judicial and legal documents; medical prescriptions; vital records; titles of ownership; tickets; classified documents; shipping documents; on demand payroll; and account payable. He noted that with the electronic market gathering huge momentum lately in Nigeria, “there is need for businesses, organisations and even SMEs to explore the confidence, peace security printers can afford them.”

Nigeria to benefit from $97m fund CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 online work in Nigeria. He explained that the Foundation was founded in 1913, with a mission to improve the wellbeing of humanity adding that through the Foundation’s dual goals of Inclusive Economies and Building Resilience, we have worked via several of our initiatives to increase food security, heath and livelihoods. We celebrate a rich 100 year global legacy of improving the lives of poor and vulnerable people. He noted that the foundation launched Digital Jobs Africa last year at a similar event, at WEF in Cape Town to seize upon the tremendous opportunity presented by the youth bulge in Africa and the phenomenal rise of the ICT sector to bring about sustainable impact through job

creation. According to him, to achieve this goal, the Foundation has been working for the past year in close partnership with other stakeholders in the six countries– private sector, government, civil society and the development community – to leverage significant funds and align complementary programs. We have seen significant progress since we launched in South Africa, some of which we are very proud to share. He said, “In Ghana, we launched a partnership with the World Bank Group, to support the refurbishment of existing infrastructure to create a new, mini ICT park in central Accra. When completed, this park will provide employment for 10,000 people. In South Africa, a partnership with the

Impact Sourcing Academy has resulted in close to 1, 000 unemployed youth receiving training with over half already placed in jobs in the South African Business Process Outsourcing Sector”. “In Kenya, our continued support for Impact Sourcing is not only creating jobs for high potential but disadvantaged youth; it is also demonstrating how governments can leverage Impact Sourcing to meet institutional objectives. We recently collaborated with the National Council of Law reporting to support the digitization of judicial records to make them accessible online and in a format that can be accessed by persons with disabilities”. “As a Foundation we are proud to launch Digital Jobs Africa in Nigeria. We look forward to see-

ing our joint vision with the Ministry implemented to empower Nigeria’s youth and their communities. The Ministry is a key partner in advancing our initiative goals of increased access, skills building and job creation; and they have an unmatched capacity for scaling these up”, he added. Launching the initiative, Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson said that Nigeria want to roll out robust broadband infrastructure and is working with state governments to reduce tax on ICT infrastructure to connect more Nigerians to the internet. She said, “We have to build infrastructure to cover every LGA, encouraging network providers to build more infrastructure, bring down the cost of internet access”.

has flagged off three IT Human Capacity talent building programmes to enhance service delivery. Commissioner for Science and Technology, Lagos State, Adebiyi Mabadeje, in his address in Alausa recently during the commencement of the programmes organised by the state’s Financial and Management Bureau, identified the three Human Capacity building programmes as will ensure Employee Readiness, Youth Readiness, as well as Workforce Development. He said the State Government collaboration with Oracle will enhance several objectives like enriching and equipping existing talents among government employees with Oracle skills to support strategic IT projects and leveraging on the expertise of Oracle’s Public Sector Centre of Excellence to run workshops for top Information officers of MDAs on best practices, market trends and business solutions on topics such as improving service delivery to the citizens using social media. He also said that some aspects of the programmes are tailored towards training graduates under the workforce development programme on Oracle Database or Oracle e-Business suite for the acquisition of industryrelevant skills and opportu-

nities for internships within some of the state’s ministries. “Through this programmes we are introducing industryrelevant computer science and Oracle courseware into the curricula of universities and public high schools. This will make the Lagos e-Learning Centre an Oracle University authorized training partner,” the Commissioner said. Adebayo Sanni, country managing director of Oracle Nigeria, while assessing the present IT skills in Nigeria as either crisis or opportunity, he noted that Nigeria’s young population presents both a challenge and an opportunity. To this end, the challenge is skilling and finding employment for our youth as opportunity exists though to harness their energy and creativity to innovate. “It is a great vehicle to achieve this. The Federal Government has recently announced plans to double investment in ICT. ICT skills are crucial to support the proposed sector growth from $25 billion to $50 billion. The current ICT skills gap threatens to slow economic growth. “The way forward that entails long-term approach with different programmes for different groups is needed. Therefore, Oracle and Lagos State are taking an immediate, mid-term and long-term approach developing a progressive roadmap to meet the needs, and create future opportunity in Lagos.”

Mobilesoft MDG gets sub-regional recognition ALARIA Destroyer Game lection process. M (MDG) from Mobile SoftThe MDG represents perware Solutions - the leading African Mobile Games Company and Platform has been selected as the Mobile App. Game of the year by “all amber” the organisers of Mobile West Africa Conference 2014. MDG was selected for its innovative origination, impact International appeal and recognition by UN (UNESCO e-Learning Chair) Open Media and CVL amongst others. By extension, this recognition has now uplifted MDG into a world class m-Entertainment Solutions as currently classified under the e-Health category of the UN World Summit Award. Meanwhile, the Mobile West Africa 2014 is scheduled to hold on May 14 and 15, in Lagos. The event is the 14th edition in the Mobile Web Africa series of conferences across Sub-Saharan Africa which is designed to enable the future growth of the mobile sector in West Africa. In a recent email from the UN to Mobilesoft stated: “Your product will be given jury attention in the m-Entertainment category of the UN World Summit Award Nigeria mobile 2014 pre-se-

haps the most strategic and innovative way to positively fight and eradicate this pandemic. With this type of solution, we can stop these deaths and sustain economic growth by ensuring the good health of our workforce. The MDG Solution is designed to reach about 70 million people in Nigeria, 150 million in West Africa and 500 million in Africa. The MDG is a Trade Mark and aims to bring more to intuition the awareness on how to fight/eradicate mosquitoes from our environment thereby preventing malaria. With over 300,000 deaths every year by Malaria in Nigeria, Nigeria is definitely a nation to begin this evangelism and engage this scourge. The UN believes that “A game is usually given a thought of entertainment first, though its application can be to express education, business ingenuity, health, news, tourism, sports etc. It will be better placed under the m-Entertainment Category being a GAME before the global jury do the movement upon nomination to the global database from the national level.

Spectrum opens in Computer Village PECTRUM Innovation Tech SersLtd., one of the major dealof Techno phones in Nigeria,  has just completed its main building and is ready to relocate into the magnificent two stories building located, at No. 18, Otigba Street, Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos. According to the Managing Director, Kate  Adesomoju,

“the new expansive building will comprise of  Customer Care, Service Centre and Engineering Section, which will provide a better service for wholesalers and her retail outlets tagged:  Spectrum Phones Ltd. has pledged to  give better customer service and good brand quality products such as  Nokia Samsung and  Tecno among others.


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‘Increase network capex by 10%, gain 5.5% in service revenues’ Stories by Adeyemi Adepetun N Ericsson--commissioned study has shown that increased level of investments in network quality and performance creates sustainable competitive advantages and improved financial returns for network operators. The study, carried out by the President of Telecom Advisory Services, and Director of Business Strategy Research, Columbia Business School, Dr. Raul Katz, explored the relationship between capital investments in mobile telecommunications networks and the technical, commercial and financial per-

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formance of operators. Dr. Katz performed extensive statistical analysis, across a large set of metrics, on three years of quarterly data from three different markets — Brazil, Mexico and the United States. The report disclosed that a simulation model was constructed to estimate the effects of increased capital expenditure on mobile operators’ free cash flows, allowing operators to assess the commercial and financial gains attributable to the increased investments. The study found that a 10 per cent increase in capital expenditure for a Brazilian operator

resulted in increased market share, a significant boost to ARPU and reduced churn. Given this enhanced commercial performance, the operator should experience a 5.5 per cent increase in service revenues, a 6.4 percentage point improvement in EBITDA margin, and a 6.7 per cent increase in free cash flow from operations. The analysis of Mexico and the US shows the same robust relationships between investments, performance and finances as in Brazil, but Dr. Katz also found differences exist in the way the causality works under different market condi-

tions. Head of Tactical Marketing, Business Unit Networks at Ericsson, Johan Haeger said “the results from the quantitative study clearly demonstrate what our ‘gut feeling’ and discussions with leading operators has told us for quite some time: that appropriately targeted capital expenditure leads to improved network performance. This translates into better market performance which is shown to boost financial returns. “Previous extensive Consumer Lab research has found that network performance is the principal driver of sub-

Spectranet seeks protection of Internet facilities in Nigeria OR ubiquitous Internet access in • Launches new value proposition Fexisting Nigeria, the need for the protection of and upcoming facilities across Nigeria has been stressed. According to the Chief Operating Officer of Spectranet, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the country, Atul Ojha, while addressing journalists in Lagos, at the weekend, about the firm’s new value proposition for the market, noted that while operators strive to meet the growing demand for Internet access in the country and also increase on existing facilities, protection was equally important. Besides, Ojha called on stakeholders in Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry to work together in driving broadband penetration in the country.  The Spectranet COO noted that Internet services would become more ubiquitous and cheaper if there could be availablility of infrastructure including national backbone for bandwidth transmission. In terms of cost, the Spectranet chief noted that this has come down drasti-

cally in the last two years, stressing that market forces has and will continue to determine movement of prices. Asked on the threat posed by GSM operators, which today have about 64 million Internet subscribers in the country, Ojha said ISPs are threatened. According to him, the fact is that it is an ecosystem, which provides more opportunities for users, stressing that a subscriber is faced with options including ISPs, LTE, GSM, CDMA platforms for access the Internet, “but we are sure that it is the speed that gives ISPs the edge. At Spectranet we are defined by our speed, which is offered on 4G/LTE perform and it is cheaper.” Speaking on the new service offering tagged: “Pay Lite download heavy”, the Spectranet COO said the plan currently exist in Lagos and Abuja, stressing that new plans are specifically created to offer huge value for every Naira paid by customers. According to him, the new offering are very appealing to the wide customer seg-

ment, saying that the plans will cater to customers looking for significant value for money and takes into account the needs of a student, a housewife, a family, an upwardly mobile corporate executive, corporate customers and people with keen interest in downloading movies to music to games! “Pay Lite Download Heavy plans are also appealing to customers who are busy during the day but want to enjoy the internet during the eve and night. Spectranet offers night plan with a very lenient access time including offering 24 hours access on night plan during weekend and public holidays”, he stated. Ojha, who said Spectranet offer different prices from state to state because of infrastructure and cost of deployment, stressed that the new offering offers great savings when a customer considers the per GB cost of data download. As such, he said these plans are the best in the industry with cost the cost per GB download in some of the plans as low as N100.

scriber loyalty. Combining these results clearly demonstrates the link between targeted capital expenditure, leading to improved network performance, which drives subscriber loyalty that translates into better market performance and financial returns.” As an example, the study noted that a decrease of one percentage point in overall churn for a Brazilian operator led to a 6.86 per cent increase in service revenues two quarters later, adding that im-

proved financial returns are derived not only from cost savings, but also from increased revenue. The statistical results described in the study, according to the author can be applied in scenario analysis on individual operators, stressing that such simulations revealed that an investment-driven market strategy results in significant financial returns, and also showed that the approach provides sustainable competitive advantages such as lower churn, higher market share and increased ARPU.

OneCard bags award AST Moving Consumer Fproviding Goods (FMCG) company, top up solutions on multiple platforms, OneCard Nigeria has been recognised with an award for ICT Development Excellence on its products by African Quality Achievement Awards (AQAA) AQAA is a yearly event aimed at celebrating leadership, innovation, creativity and quality Management in Africa. The award is aimed at identifying, recognising and rewarding companies, personalities and products that apply quality assurance culture and quality management best practices. The award is organised by AQAA the leading professional organisation that is dedicated to developing quality professionals and implementing African programmes on quality Management and Assurance

(AQI) with the support of South African Quality Institute (SAQ) and the Chartered Quality Institute (U.K) The Chief Executive Officer, OneCard Nigeria, Ahmad Baba, while speaking on the award received by OneCard said; “We are happy that our innovative services that improves the live of our people was recognised in and outside Nigeria as shown in this award and recognition from the Pan African body; AQAA’’. The Chief Commercial Officer, OneCard Nigeria, Taiwo Ogunkanmi, while also speaking on the award commended the AQAA body for their laudable initiative aimed at encouraging innovation and quality standards in Africa, he also said ‘’OneCard will continue in its effort to provide world Class Top Up Services to Nigerians.”


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EMC to acquire DSSD Inc., extends flash storage leadership By Adeyemi Adepetun MC Corporation, a leader in the delivery of Information and Technology services, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held DSSD, Inc. Menlo Park-based DSSD is the developer of new rack-scale flash storage architecture for I/O-intensive in-memory databases and big data workloads like SAP HANA and Hadoop. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact to EMC GAAP or non-GAAP EPS for the full 2014 fiscal year. This announcement was made at the just concluded EMC World in Las Vegas, United States of America. Menlo Park-based DSSD will operate as a standalone unit within EMC’s Emerging Technology Products Division reporting to Chirantan “ C.J.” Desai. DSSD President and CEO Bill Moore, formerly Sun Microsystems’ Chief Storage Engineer, ZFS co-lead and 3Par’s first employee, will lead the DSSD business within EMC. Andy Bechtolsheim, who is also Chairman and Chief Development Officer of Arista Networks, and formerly a co-founder of Sun Microsystems will serve as DSSD ‘s strategic advisor. According to EMC, Products based on the new DSSD rackscale flash storage architecture are expected to be available in 2015 and will be optimized for in-memory databases; real-time analytics and high-performance applications used by research and government agencies

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EMC’s Chief Executive Officer, Information Infrastructure, David Goulden (left); CEO, VMware, Pat Gelsinger; CEO Pivotal Inc., Paul Maritz and Chairman and CEO of EMC, Joe Tucci, while fielding questions from international journalists at the just concluded 2014 EMC World, in Las Vegas, USA.

Lenovo appoints TDmobile smartphone distributor in Nigeria LOBAL PC vendor, Lenovo, has appointed TDmobile as an authorized distributor for the recently launched Lenovo smartphone portfolio in Nigeria. The partnership will provide Nigerian customers access to original range of Lenovo smartphones, such as the A369i, A516, A680, and A859; the stylish S650 and S930; and the picture perfect and sleek Vibe X. In addition, TDmobile will distribute range of Lenovo tablets, including the game-changing Yoga Tablet, in 10” and 8”, with up to 18-hour battery life as well as the A3000. In a statement to this effect in Lagos, at the weekend, Business Head, Smartphones, Lenovo Middle East and Africa, Sharay Shams said “we are happy to partner with a subsidiary of an African leading technology distributor - Technology Dis-

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tributions - to deliver our world class leading smart devices in Nigeria and subsequently to other African Countries. We have enjoyed successful partnership with the group over the years and we are confident that TDmobile will use their wide network and credibility to deliver our global leading smart devices in the country.” Speaking on the new partnership, TDmobile’s Gozy Ijogun stated that Nigerian resellers are in for an exciting new experience “Lenovo smartphones are stylish, industry-leading devices. Whether you want the best camera experience or the longest talk time, Lenovo has a smartphone that will deliver just that and enhance your lifestyle.” Lenovo is the world’s No.4 smartphone vendor, according to IDC, and its portfolio has been described in glowing terms by industry experts and consumers alike. The

portfolio has a carefully considered design innovations and functionality that fits every style, personality and need. Lenovo phones and tablets come in sleek, slim, easy to handle and rugged exterior with very light weight. Their battery life will greatly excite Nigerians. And the phones come with original standard accessories. TDmobile’s partnership with Lenovo is just the first in the series of partnerships that has been struck with other OEMs with a view to benefit Nigerian consumers in the area of original and high quality mobile devices at affordable prices. TD Ltd is one of the leaders in the ICT consumer sector and consumers are reacting positively to the yearnings of the market to take on smartphone distribution to more than 120 million subscribers in Nigeria.

EMC explained that as customers take advantage of the mega trends of social, mobile, cloud and Big Data, it will become critical to store and analyze the vast amounts of data that do not fit into main memory, saying that with the assemblage of one of the most accomplished systems and storage engineering teams in Silicon Valley, DSSD has cracked the code on this dilemma. Bechtolsheim said, “the prospects of what EMC and DSSD can achieve together are truly remarkable. We ventured out to create a new storage tier for transactional and Big Data applications that have the highest performance I/O requirements. Working together with EMC, DSSD will deliver a new type of storage system with game-changing latency, IOPS and bandwidth characteristics while offering the operational efficiency of shared storage. ” According to the CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure, David Goulden, the firm established a relationship with DSSD more than a year ago, saying that EMC led the Series A investment in DSSD and has remained an active development partner. “We’re now thrilled to be joining forces with Andy, Bill and the entire DSSD team. While flash stands among IT’s most disruptive technologies, its impact and opportunity will become even more pronounced as customers enter the 3rd Platform of IT. Complementary to our market-leading all-flash and hybrid storage portfolio, DSSD will unlock an abundance of new possibilities for customers as they build out their infrastructures to support the emerging tier of next-generation in-memory and Big Data workloads. ”


Wednesday, May 14, 2014 i-Tech & Telecoms

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Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone flaunts trendy tech AMSUNG’S latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, was recently launched in Nigeria. The device comes packed with a new upgraded camera and a heart rate scanner, among other features. Accolades have since been pouring in, with highly-respected gadget display calibrators, DisplayMate, describing the device as having the “best smartphone display ever tested’, even before its global roll-out on April 11. But do these improvements justify discarding your current smartphone for the Galaxy S5? Here are five reasons why you should! A battery that lasts for a whole week with just a single charge All of Samsung’s smartphones provide you with the option of carrying an extra battery, but as a Samsung Galaxy S5 user you may never have to make use of this option. The Galaxy S5 features an ultra-power saving mode that shuts down all of the device’s key functions to allow you make the most of your last bit of battery power. When the charge on the device gets low and this mode is activated, the feature automatically transforms the colour

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display on the device to black and white, reducing background processes and limiting access to many apps. According to the manufacturers, the Galaxy S5 can run for up to 24 hours on a 10 percent battery charge when the ultra power saving mode is activated. Dust and water resistance You would probably have to buy a new device if you dropped the phone you’re currently with in water, but the Galaxy S5 can live to tell the tale after experiencing a dribble or a dip, with absolutely no residual problems. The device boasts IP67 certification, meaning that it is completely dust proof and can be submerged in up to one metre of water for up to 30 minutes. If you’re a swimmer or water-sport enthusiast you can even take photos under water if you wish. Control access when sharing the Galaxy S5 with children Nothing beats a smartphone game in quieting down a whining child, but the last thing you want is for an erroneous tap to lead to an embarrassing ex-

Etisalat fetes, rewards distributors By Faith Oparaugo ELECOMMUNICATIONS T firm, Etisalat, has consolidated its market share with

change where you to have to explain those 50 selfies with you in an uncompromising position to your colleagues! With most other smartphones, the choice is to constantly hide your device from children or refrain from taking selfies. With the Galaxy S5, there’s a unique “Kids’ Mode” feature that limits children’s access to just the applications that you label as being child-friendly. Giving up your selfies is now out of the question! A fingerprint scanner that au-

thorises payment M o s t s m a r t phones that boast a fingerprint scanner probably don’t let you do anything interesting with the feature. You can probably lock and unlock your device with the feature and that’s where it ends. Samsung’s fingerprint scanner boasts a partnership with PayPal, meaning you can actually use it to authorise payments on your device. What’s more, upcoming deals with other payment service providers will further expand the scanner’s utility as Samsung has announced that it is open to working with partners.

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the staging of the 2014 Distribution Partners Awards tagged Heroes Awards, held in Lagos. Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher said that Etisalat is pleased to recognize and reward its distribution partners because they are an important link with the subscribers and have to believe in the business to represent it well before the public. Willsher thanked the partners for the role they have played in taking Etisalat to its present position in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria with hopes that team work will take both parties higher. “The awards we are giving is a token to show that we appreciate the effort of our distribution partners in helping take our products and services to the end users. We are grateful to our distribution partners for the part they have played in taking us to where we are today. We hope that they will keep up the effort so that we can both

achieve our goals,” he said. Managing Director of the company, Olukorede Odukoya, the distribution partner with the Highest SIM Activations Award went home with a new Toyota Hilux truck and10 distribution partners won in the Best Overall Performance category. The CEO’s Award for Overall Excellence went to Office Devices Limited, Alennsar Infinity Company Limited and CantStop Nigeria Limited. A total of 50 distribution partners were rewarded at the event. The prizes include a Toyota Hilux for the Distribution Partner with Highest SIM activations; a Land Rover LR4 each for top-three Distribution Partners with Best Overall Performance, and other exciting prizes. According to Edward Emeano one of the three distribution partners who won the CEO’s Award for Overall Excellence, “it is a thing of joy to work with Etisalat as the company’s service offerings make marketing easier. I am pleased to be recognised today but this is only possible because of innovative products and services which Etisalat offers. I am honoured to be part of

Chams, First Bank partner Osun on smart identity cards CWG boss, others for 2014 Internet EADING identity manage- fied our effort to make ICT an ernment council workers. The vants by the government of goverance forum Lment and transaction pay- inherent part of our public ad- smart identity card is elec- the State of Osun is another ments firm, Chams Plc, and ministrative system. The intro- tronic, and personalised with first in the Information and HE Group Managing Direc- Foundation, Creative TechFirst Bank of Nigeria have en- duction of this new smart biometric features, to each of Communication Technology T tor and Chief Executive Of- nology for Development Initered into strategic partner- electronic identity card is an- its users. It will add immense ecosystem in Nigeria. He ficer, Computer Warehouse tiative (CTDI) and Global ship with the government of the State of Osun on the deployment of smart identity cards for enhancing salary and pension payments to civil servants and retirees in the state. The biometric smart card will provide non-repudiable identification and authentication of civil servants and retirees in the state while also serving as credit or ATM cards, household utility pre-payment cards, among other functions. Launching the smart identity card and the automated Osun Pensioner Verification exercise tagged, ‘I am alive’, Rauf Aregbesola, Executive Governor of the State of Osun said introduction of the smart card is beneficial to both government and the workers in the state. He stated that the card would help to eliminate sources of financial waste and leakage being used by some dishonest workers to deprive government of needed funds, while also helping to block the possibility of defrauding workers of payments due to them. “It was through the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to our tax administration and revenue collection that enabled us to increase our internally generated revenue by 100 per cent within the first few months of our administration. We have since intensi-

other component of that overall effort.. “It will expectedly bring about many benefits to all of us; the individual civil servants and the government. It will be given to all workers across all ministries, departments and agencies, including local gov-

values to the functioning of workers and will equally improve the capacity and cost of administration by government,” Aregbesola disclosed. On his part, Group Managing Director, Chams Plc, Ademola Aladekomo said launch of a smart identity card for civil ser-

noted that the smart identity is multifunctional, and is more than an identity card because it has e-payment capabilities and can be used as debit or credit card by holders across the country, and anywhere in the world.

Representative of the Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Mutairu Akinfolarin (left); Group Managing Director, Chams PLC, Demola Aladekomo, and Executive Governor, State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, during the launch of the Osun smart identity card in Osogbo.

Resourcery bags APC Schneider Electric’s award NFORMATION Technology Ibeen company, Resourcery, has recognised as an Elite Data Centre partner of APC by Schneider Electric. A statement from the company quoted the Vice-President, IT Business, Middle-east and Africa, Schneider Electric, Thierry Chamayou, as saying during the presentation of the award certificate that Resourcery deserved commendation for its contributions over the years. Chamayou thanked Re-

sourcery’s management for the support the company had continued to receive in delivery of its business solutions to customers. He promised that Schneider Electric would continue to aid the business solution delivery of Resourcery as regards IT infrastructure for data centres across the West African market space. He said, “As an organisation, APC by Schneider Electric understands the importance of effective cooling and power in a data cen-

tre. We equally know that most organisations across West Africa desire effective data centres that will improve their bottom line while consuming less energy. Our job at APC is to solve that problem by providing our customers through partners like Resourcery, safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green solutions from plant to plug.” Receiving the certificate for Resourcery, the senior business manager for the com-

pany, Bisike Uba, noted that the company’s management was pleased with the recognition and saw it as another call for the organisation to better serve its customers. He noted that as an elite partner of APC by Schneider Electric, the company had displayed its ability to design, consult, implement and support cutting edge and cost effective data centre and power solutions by leveraging on APC by Schneider Electric’s wide range of

Group (CWG) plc, Austin Okere, has been named as chairman of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) 2014. Confirming this development, the chairperson of the Local Multi-stakeholders Advisory Group (LMAG) of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum, Mrs. Mary Uduma, said that Okere has accepted to preside over this year’s edition of the event to be held in Lagos on June 10. According to her, LMAG is excited to have Okere chair the event as his nomination and acceptance was unanimously endorsed by members which consist of the Ministry of Communication Technology (MCT), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA), Internet Society (ISOC) Nigeria, Rita Talabi

Network for Cybersecurity (GNC). Uduma also said that the two-day 2014 NIGF would host its youth workshop on day-1 with focus on “Internet Governance for Job Creation & Social Enterprise Development” to be presided over by an Internet Security Consultant and former D-G of NITDA, Professor Cleopas Angaye. On the second day, she explained it would centre on “Harnessing Multi-Stakeholders Framework for Internet Governance & Economic Growth” with discussions led by 2014 forum chairman, Okere of Computer Warehouse Group Plc on June 10. She noted that over the years, the Internet has affected the way we live and communicate with one another and it has been a huge contributor to economic development. “It affects virtually all areas of life such as business, health, education and transport,” she declared.

Intermarc sees boom in card, ePayment in Nigeria, others NTERMARC Consulting has sumer payments, services for Iandprojected a boom in card the underbanked and mobile electronic payment sys- money payments. tems in Nigeria and other part of Africa. According to the firm, whose focus is on e-business but with particular emphasis on e-banking and e-payment intermediation services, technology trends such as the mass adoption of smartphones and tablets, increasing availability of open application programme interfaces and the rise of cloud computing have laid the foundations for innovation in Africa’s electronic payment space. The firm noted that the advancement cuts across the board touching areas such as international money transfer, prepaid, peer-to-peer con-

Intermarc said that the payment sector was now a crowded market, as it was not just about financial institutions anymore, but many other value-adding stakeholders in echnology, industry, commerce, and governance, among others. “Players from many different industries are swooping in to grab a piece of the pie, as major banks are offering new services to retain or win new customers; financial institutions and mobile network operators are creating electronic wallets”, it stressed. For instance, tech giants like Google and Amazon, with little heritage in payments, are entering the space.


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Focus Arrow of God clocks 50, relived in cities By Anote Ajeluorou and Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku oyen of African literature, late Prof. Chinua D Achebe’s treatise on leadership problems that have continued to bedevil Nigeria and the African continent, has continued to be relevant and acknowledged even by his critics. The issue of leadership was so close to Achebe’s heart that he devoted a slim volume to it in The Trouble with Nigeria, after he’d delved into partisan politics in the 1980s when he joined National Party of Nigeria (NPN). But even in his preceding literary works, particularly Arrow of God, Achebe shows concern for this critical problem of development. Although set in colonial times, Arrow of God still speaks for the current times in its pragmatic approach to how leadership is handled, citizens’ response to it and the obligations of those saddled with it. A revision of the 50-year old novel yields interesting and compelling parallels with Nigeria’s current democratic march; it also points the way of avoiding the pitfalls that have dodged Nigeria’s heels. As the novel turns 50 this year since its publication in 1964, drums were rolled out in eight cities across Nigeria – Ibadan, Utuoke, Abuja, Lagos, Awka, Port Harcourt and Sokoto. To underscore the core issue at the heart of the novel, ‘Literature, Leadership and National Unity’ was chosen as theme. Perhaps, no other novel by the venerable author mirrors Nigeria’s leadership crisis more accurately than Arrow of God. Umuaro, just like Nigeria, is a federation of six villages that came together to form one nation by a necessity of survival when faced with the threat of extinction from Abami warriors, who were always on the offensive. The six villages of Umuaro came together and created a powerful medicine, Ulu, to protect them, Ulu’s chief priest being Ezeulu. The Abami warriors could be likened to military rule from which Nigeria’s current democratic dispensation emerged, with democracy being the modern-day Ulu to save the country from the onslaught the military wrought on the body polity. Synonymous with democracy also is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has ruled since 1999; and democracy or PDP’s chief priests being Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Musa Yar’Adua and now Goodluck Jonathan. How has leadership fared in the hands of these chief priests? What has been the people’s response to their leadership styles? What roles have the people played in helping to shape or derail how they are led? Have the leaders and the led play complimentary roles to advance development or have they been at variance or at each other throats? In Arrow of God, Ezeulu suffers certain political reverses arising from antagonism from Nwaka and Ezeidemili, perhaps akin to what All Progressive Congress (APC) is doing to the ruling PDP. Ezeulu’s subsequent actions are defined by this antagonism. He is imprisoned by the white, colonial overlord and is unable to perform his duty of eating the remaining two sacred yams in service of Ulu; a spill over ensues and the people are grounded. They cannot harvest their yam since their chief priest refuses to eat more than one yam at a time, as required. The issue of colonial overlord is also fresh in Nigeria’s recent memory. International Monetary Fund’s boss, Christine Lagarde visited Nigeria in December 2011 and by January 1, 2012, petroleum subsidy is removed to occasion the biggest people’s revolt against their government. When Ezeulu fails to eat the sacred yams, the Christian Missionary Church makes capital gain of it and asks faithful and pagans alike to bring their yams to the church for their protection. This they gladly did, and it spells the end of Ulu and Ezeulu’s reign as sovereign god and chief priest over them. AT the University of Ibadan (then University College, Ibadan, where Achebe studied) where the 50th year celebration of Arrow of God started, America’s Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, Global Governance at University of Massachusetts, Boston, Dr. Darren Kew, placed emphasis on civil society groups, as key element in checking the excesses of leaders and keeping them reined in, as they perform their civic duties to the citizenry. Kew said Nigeria’s democratic

Achebe

Some of the participants at the event to mark Arrow of God’s 50th anniversary, held at the University of Ibadan recently. march has been hampered by the absence of a social contract between the government and the people. As a result, the culture of holding political leaders or government accountable for lack of performance was yet to be entrenched in the country. What is needed, Kew noted, is a viable opposition and a strong civil society group constantly on the look out to make government live up to its electoral promises. For Kew, the absence of a social contract in Nigeria’s democracy between government and the people, in which the state only exists to serve the will of the people, who are the source of all political power enjoyed by the state, who can also choose to give or withhold this power was the reason for government acting with impunity, as if the people did not exist. For instance, when outcomes of elections do not flow from people’s balloting but through rigging and other election maleficence, it becomes difficult for such government to genuinely serve the will of the people, but that of its own self-interests, as is currently the case in the country. For Kew, who has monitored four elections in Nigeria, democracy as a system of learning the best ideals to run a society, needs a virile opposition as an essential element in creating a balance of power for the polity, so the ruling party does not ride roughshod. Also because the opposition has interest in capturing power at the centre in the contestation for power, Kew argued that the opposition always has interest in ensuring clean elections and exposing corruption by reaching out to civil society groups and mobilizing the public in a bid to win elections. “Social contract is what is missing in Nigerian democracy, as there was not yet a sense of political contest, which takes time to be built,” he argued. He added that the All Progressive Congress (APC) was still terribly fragile at the moment to act as the true opposition needed to put the ruling PDP on its toes. Kew described Nigeria as semi-democratic in human development index (HDI) valuation. He further noted that it was hard for “ethical leaders to get into power (in Nigeria). Civil society and the greater public are key groups in determining governance, free and fair elections. Trade unions are still an essential actor in the political process”. In each of the cities, the play adaptation of Arrow of God either as When the Arrow Rebounds or Ezeulu was staged to the delight of audiences. In a celebratory dirge performed for the African literary icon by former Head of the English Department, University of Lagos and an award-winning author in Lagos recently, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo said of him: “Ude gi naede n’Igbo na oru; ma n’onwu, ma na ndu”, meaning: “Your aura resonates both at home and in the Diaspora, in life and in death.”

These legacies, of which Arrow of God is one, has prompted a worldwide celebration of the golden jubilee of the book’s publication in over 70 countries of the world which has been observed early in the year in India, Bangladesh, United States of America, Russia, other parts of Asia and later in the year in Africa, Europe, South America and many universities around the world. At the University of Lagos, venue of the celebration in Lagos, students, literary enthusiasts, dignitaries, prominent foreign and local writers and scholars turned out to pay tributes, present papers themed around the re-appraisal of the book, Arrow of God in the light of the messages and literary construct it has for pushing the concepts of literature, leadership and national unity in the modern times for Nigeria and Africa. Speaking at the event, a retired Professor of African Literature at the American University, United States, Prof. Charles Larson said the works of the late icon would “remain with us forever,” adding that he’d taught in a small school in the then Eastern Region, in a town called Oraukwu, in Anambra State, and revealed how he went to a bookshop in Onitsha where he discovered that Achebe had written his third book, Arrow of God, which he immediately bought for three shillings. Being the first person in America to offer a class based on African literature, Larson noted that prior to his coming to Nigeria in 1962, the American curriculum was void of anything African, Asia and Latin America and that his education was shallow as a result. He stated that his coming to Nigeria changed his life just as he admitted that Chinua Achebe also changed his intellectual outlook on life. According to him, “Arrow of God is the most complete novel and many of us think this is his foremost novel. He wrote a great African novel, Things Fall Apart and he wrote many other major novels and this makes him the great African writer. But it’s not just because he wrote those novels, but what he brought into these novels. He restored the African power; he recaptured Africa’s heritage in those novels in a way that nobody had done at that time and he restored pride in African culture. Former President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and former member of Federal House of Representative who is the chairman, National Organizing Committee of the celebration, Dr, Wale Okediran, said that the various programmes mapped out for the celebration were designed to reinvigorate the reading culture in the country and encourage students and scholars to look at the celebration’s theme which is “Literature, Leadership and National Unity.” He, however, noted that plans were underway to make the celebration of Achebe’s life and legacy an annual event whereby students and

visitors would be invited to Ogidi to see the birth place of the writer, look at the primary school he attended, visit his ancestral home as is done for other great writers around the world. In Port Harcourt, Okediran said it was a challenging but very exciting assignment and thanked organisers of UNESCO Port Harcourt World Book Capital for incorporating the Arrow of God@50 event, as part of its programmes. He emphasized that celebrating the book would “rev up reading culture and reawaken how we can adopt the book, as National Conference material because of its leadership qualities”. American Achebe scholar and Professor of Comparative Literature, Natasha Vaubel of Indiana University, said she became Achebe convert after Achebe accused the west of never listening to other people tell their own stories themselves. Vaubel stressed the need for people to tell their own stories “because stories matter and they are not innocent. Books and stories can be windows, but they can lie and lock us in a box.” She said countering the lies stories such as Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness tell about Africa and its people was Achebe’s lifelong mission as a writer, and for which he became famous. Also in Sokoto, the emphasis was on women, their roles in society and how they could be helped to achieve their destinies in a patriarchal society. Although, women do not feature prominently in Arrow of God, their seeming silence is cause for concern of some feminine advocates, who feel that Achebe was so crucial a writer to leave out women while discussing the all important place of leadership in society. However, a don at Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Aisha Umar Mohammad, reinforced the presence of women in the novel by the sheer passivity of their roles, as mothers, homemakers doing all the jobs in the home that make their men engage in war pastime and in political affairs of the community. In her paper, ‘Passivity and Identity: The Women in Achebe’s Arrow of God’, she argued that the absence of women in the novel tallies with how women were held in pre-colonial Africa, and still held even now to a large extent, as beings not deserving attention. Also, Ibrahim Daniel of Department of General and Liberal Studies, Niger State Polytechnic, Zungeru, spoke on ‘Slave Mentality and Gender Discourse in Contemporary Nigeria.’ He harped on the need to empower the girl child in order to liberate her from the slave mentality in which she is enmeshed. Muhammad Tahir Mallam, while speaking on ‘(Mis)Conception of Leadership and the Tragedy in Arrow of God’ effectively tied leadership to the health of a nation, noting that Umuaro as a federal system had its internal tensions, just as Nigeria is currently undergoing and advocated strong leadership to help overcome protracted problems. Also on hand to weigh in on feminine issues in Sokoto were House Committee Chairman on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who chaired the plenary session and former House member and Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to Ireland, Dr. Bolero Ketebo. She asked that women and girls be given all the responsibilities of leadership and they would perform well. For Ketebo, women should fight for political


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Maritime WAFMAX’s 4,500 TEU vessel arrives in Onne port

Maersk Line 4,500 TEU vessel By Moses Ebosele BOUT six months after the A initial trial, the 4,500 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) West Africa Max (WAFMAX) vessel debuts today at Onne port. The vessel, regarded as the biggest in West Africa had on December 3, 2013 made a trial call to Onne port. Managing Director of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Habib Abdullahi, who spoke in Lagos recently, attributed the development to the successful dredging of bonny channel. According to Abdullahi, the coming of WAFMAX vessel to Onne Port will boost the nation’s economy and enhance NPA’s revenue. He said: “This is just the beginning. The bigger the ship, the bigger the cargo and revenue.” The NPA boss explained that the successful call of WAFMAX is also expected to enhance the position of Nigerian ports as the hub in West Africa sub-region. According to Abdullahi, NPA is to sustain ongoing dredging of channels as part of measures to boost its revenue profile, retail depth and attract bigger vessels to Nigerian Ports. He explained that the

Authority has also embarked on removal of wrecks along the channels. “We dredge the channels regularly to retain some depth. Our predecessors realised that NPA was spending a lot of money. In their wisdom they decided to form a joint venture company with those people that were doing the dredging”, said Abdullahi He explained that due process was followed during the exercise, adding that “Some people showed interest and they started with Lagos Channel Management”. He added: “Instead of giving it out as contract, a joint venture company was formed between Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) and a foreign dredging company. NPA owns 6o percent equity of the company and the foreign firm owns 40 percent”. Abdullahi, who spoke on sundry issues said: “By doing that, we are giving a company owned by us (NPA) the job to manage the channel. We set a standard of doing the capital dredging to a certain depth and we are able to achieve about 13.5 to 14 metres. We ask the company to maintain that standard and to go deeper where necessary. “We also deal with the responsibility of removing the wrecks that are within the

channels. Apart from dredging, the companies also remove the wrecks, put all necessary things such as lighting in place. At the end of each year, there is an AGM (Annual General Meeting), profit is declared. We are also part of the management of the company. It’s an independent company and we have our own representation there. We sit on the board of the company and decide on policies. It’s mutually beneficial.  They are doing their work. Some are even using some of our equipment. “They pay for it. Some came with their equipment. We started with Lagos channel management (LCM). “When we saw the success, we moved to Bonny. That is Bonny Channel Company. “That is the one from bonny island covering Port Harcourt and onne port. “We also form another company with one of the most reputable company in the world. We have 60 percent and they have 40percent. “We have realized that we need another one for Calabar. Calabar has potential despite the environmental challenges such as low drought. Government has given approval to establish a company. We are trying to sort out how to do the capital dredging before the com-

pany will continue to maintain the draught. “After that we will move to Warri port. Warri port has huge potential. Warri port is the future of the nation because of the activities of oil and gas in that region. Oil and gas is the backbone of our economy. Already, people are showing interest “All these things we are doing form part of the president Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda”, the NPA boss added. On private investors  “After the concession exercise, the operation aspect of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) changed. We (NPA) are now less involved in the activities of the ports. We presently act as technical regulators. What that means is that we look at all activities from the technical viewpoint. The economic regulatory aspect of the port was recently transferred to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC). We operate a Land Lord model. Our role changed after the concession. You will also notice that the revenue profile of the NPA has been on the increase because of the various reforms we are putting in place. We generate money from terminal operators. We also generate revenue from ships and ship-

ping agents. We offer pilotage service. All these we are doing in order to improve our revenue base. We are also improving on infrastructure at the ports. I mean common user facilities such as road and security. There is some development in that area. If you go to Tin can Island and Warri ports, you will see ongoing jobs. In Warri, Julius Berger is also working. The job is about 97-98 completed. Some Chinese are also working in Warri. In Port Harcourt, we are trying to do some rail jobs similar to what was done at Apapa. That work is in progress. That job will be completed before the end of this year. Generally speaking, all these jobs are increasing our revenue, increasing our efficiency and making the Port more competitive. On Concession agreement.    In every reform, at the initial stage, you will have some teething problems. As the agreement progresses, you will notice some grey areas. My personal opinion is that it is good to sit down after five years to look at all the grey areas. There are some responsibility that the concessionaires are saying we have not yet achieved from our side.

There are certain things; some Port development effort that the concessionaires are supposed to do and they are not doing them. Some of them claimed that they have spent this and that amount of money but if you go there practically you cannot see it. It is better we have a clearer picture of what has been happening so that everything can be reviewed. We need to find out if their operations have lived up to the expectations of the agreement. By doing that, we can come up with solutions on how to resolve some of the issues. Electricity at ports It is our (NPA) responsibility. It’s a common user facility. We are also trying to concession that. We are trying to invite investors to come in and come up with a power project. By doing that, we can get the power and redistribute to the concessionaires. Onne has written to us. The discussion even reached the Federal Executive Council (FEC). But, it was turned back to us for a review so that it encompasses all the requirement need for that. Flour mills at Apapa and another company said they generate huge amount of

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Jonathan pledges to sustain capacity building in maritime sector By Moses Ebosele NOTHER step aimed at enhancing capacity A building in the maritime sector was taken at the weekend by President Goodluck Jonathan with the ground breaking ceremony of a permanent site for Nigeria’s maritime University. Located at Okerenkoko in Warri South-West Located Government Area of Delta State, the institution is expected to support on-going efforts by the Federal Government to curtail reported dearth of human capital in the maritime sector. The ceremony was also an opportunity for the president to flag-off    construction of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and

Safety   Agency’s (NIMASA) dockyard and shipyard. According to NIMASA, the shipyard is expected to build various sizes of vessel and complement the objective of manpower development. Accompanied by Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, his Anambra State counterpart, Willy Obiano, Minister of Transport, Idris Umar,   Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, among others, Jonathan commended members of the community for sustaining peace in their domain. Addressing stakeholders at the Gbaramatu Kingdon, Jonathan commended all stakeholders who contributed to the peaceful

atmosphere in the community. Affirming government’s resolve to sustain capacity building in the sector  recently, Akpobolokemi,  explained that  apart from meeting local requirement,  Nigeria    also intend to    commence the export of seafarers to other parts of the world like the Philippines. He said: “The desire to fast track the creation of a large pool of Nigerian seafarers by the year  2015, to meet local demand and contribute to the manpower needs of the international shipping community, informed the Jonathan agency’s decision to commence  sponsorship Akpobolokemi appealed to Universities and scheme”. While explaining in details benefits of the other institutions of higher learning in the training programme to Nigeria’s economy, country to give priority to maritime studies.

‘Regulation, environment bane of shipping industry’ EGULATORY issues concerning R the environment, maritime security and the supply and demand imbalance, form part of the challenges facing the maritime sector globally. In its published “Reflections 2014” report, economic expert, BIMCO, explained that the steady improvement of the global economy  has improved  outlook for shipping, as demand goes up and “fleet expansion growth cools off, the market fundamentals are expected to improve across the board”. The group said: “But the regulatory burdens, notably those seeking to address environmental pressures, remain major challenges to the industry’s cost base at a time when resources are limited. This includes massive challenges on sulphur limits, ship efficiency, ballast water treatment and regulation”. In his accompanying message to Reflections 2014, BIMCO president John Denholm said: “A worrying

amount of ordering is taking place, adding tonnage to an already excessive world fleet. This will delay a return to a balance between supply and demand and hence the long awaited market recovery.  “To add insult to injury, the ever increasing regulatory requirements impose significant costs on our industry at a time when it can ill afford them.”  Reflections 2014 also takes a closer look at maritime security, noting that the greatest emphasis is upon the scourge of piracy, but also stresses that there remain many other strands to maritime security, such as the combating of narcotics and terrorism.  “The piracy situation is dynamic, and despite attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin  dwindling the situation could reverse and the shipping industry must not drop its guard.”In a related development, accounting firm, Moore Stephens has explained that for the   maritime sector to sustain its global growth, there should be notice-

able improvement in 2015 Moore also warned   that the prospects for recovery may still be fragile if the industry fails to meet a number of challenges, including tighter regulation and increased operating costs. Shipping partner Richard Greiner said: “New Year resolutions are invariably a case of in one year and out the other. Generally speaking, it is wise not to make resolutions which are too ambitious; American troubadour Woody Guthrie had the right idea when he settled for, ‘Wash teeth, if any’. But the shipping industry can afford to be a little more bullish than previously in its aspirations for 2014”. Explaining further, Greiner said: “Shipping is in a different space to that which it occupied a year ago. Confidence rose to a three-year high over the course of 2013. Good things are predicted for freight rates in 2014, more companies are starting to consider new investment, and economic and political issues with the potential

to hurt shipping are deemed less severe than twelve months previously. “Over the next twelve months, we can expect to see more shipping money raised in the public and private equity markets. We may see more non-shipping money invested in shipping than for some time, although not necessarily by dentists. Supply and demand levels should come closer into alignment. “Consequently, freight rates are likely to rise and, with them, vessel values. Increased levels of demolition will be required to offset new tonnage. China is already offering subsidies to shipping companies to scrap vessels before their operational expiry date and to replace them with new ships which are eco-friendly and which fly the Chinese flag. So everybody is happy – owners, shipyards, environmentalists (except those worried about the perceived evils of irresponsible recycling) and politicians alike.” Greiner warns, however, that all the

positive indicators remain somewhat fragile, adding that:”Operating costs are expected to go up in 2014. Shipping cannot operate without fuel and skilled manpower. Meanwhile, increased regulation of crew welfare, fuel quality and ballast water management are big-ticket items. Environmental regulation is self-perpetuating, witness the news that IMO is to debate plans for ship owners to compile fuel-consumption data to support steps to create carbon dioxide reduction regulations. “It is to be hoped, however, that the industry can sustain the upturn which began in 2013. If it can, we may see a return to rude health by 2015 although, as John Maynard Keynes warned, ‘The market can stay irrational for longer than you can stay solvent’.” In terms of regulation, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had recently unveiled a   new interactive display on Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA).

Bigger vessels will enhance Nigeria’s economy CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42 power and that they want us to be involved in a way that we (NPA) can take from them and redistribute accordingly. It is our responsibility. We are trying to get electricity supply from individual investors and redistribute them accordingly so that it would be mutually beneficial to all of us. We are very much interested. We are discussing with them. All these efforts will take some time. We have to make sure that we go to the regulatory council. We have to do things in-line with established policy. We want to ensure that we abide by the rules and regulations. On e-payment: It has tremendously affected our operations. Before now, you have to go personally to make payment. After that payment, it takes a while before it gets to us at the corporate headquarters. There is a pool at the corporate headquarter. All circulations come to the corporate headquarters. It takes time. For example, from Warri or from Calabar or from Port Harcourt before we are informed that the payment has been received before we allow the ship to berth. With e-payment, it is constant. We don’t need to go through all these encumbrances. You can pay anywhere in the world. The moment you effect payment, we get the alert. Less human contact is involved. That makes things easier for us. Instead of a ship to stay for two or three days, it is now prompt. As soon as payment

is made, we alert the port manager to allow the ship to come in. The turnover has improved tremendously. That means more business, more profit. It is quite interesting. On alleged diversion of Ships Do you have the statistics? A lot of people are just talking. You can’t compare Nigeria’s economy with that of our neighbours. Nigeria’s economy is huge. What are you going to benefit by taking it to neigbouring countries? People are just fond   of talking   without investigating. When I came in I had that idea. But, we have this port management Association of West and Central Africa. We sit with other port operators. We discuss. They are complaining that we are even taking away their businesses. Some time, some people may decide to go to cotonou because of waiting period. That is part of the business. If   the issue of diversion is true,  why are investors interested in coming into Nigeria and establishing more ports. These ports are not government driven. Lekki port is there. Investors are playing lots of roles. Its  owned by private investors. People are showing interest in establishing port in Badagry. If they are not making money here or if the business is bad, do you think they would invest? Look at Ibaka (Akwa Ibom), look at Olokola, people are very much interested in building ports in Nigeria. This story of diversion is not true. How do you divert a ship that is predetermined for Nigeria? The movement

Abdullahi of the vessel is predetermined right from the source. People are just fond of talking without understanding what is happening. From China, you put your container coming to Tincan Island, how are you going to divert it to another country? A lot of investors are coming into Nigeria. We have our challenges but I can assure you that the story of diversion is not true. If you are bringing in a car from Hong Kong for example, you have to make payment. To bring it to Nigeria, you have to make another fresh payment. In whatever means you are bringing it in, you have to make fresh payment. The management of Maersk Line recently, explained in a

statement that NPA was instrumental in making the arrival a success by widening the channel and removing some wrecks in the Bonny Channel. “The port call was a trial stop for Maersk Line’s weekly Far East-West Africa (FEW2) service, which is comprised of 22 West Africa-Maximum (WAFMAX) sized vessels that are equipped with on-board cranes and draft 12.5 meters (41 feet), are 37.4 meters (123 feet) wide, 249 meters (817 feet) long, representing the largest vessels that can currently be accommodated at West Africa’s major container ports. The weekly service links the ports of Busan, Korea; Shanghai, Ningbo, and Guangzhou, China and Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia; with Walvis Bay, Namibia;

Apapa, Onne, Nigeria; and Luanda, Angola. “We are very pleased with the arrival of the first 4,500 TEU vessel size to the West Africa Container Terminal at Onne”, said the statement. For the year ended December 31, 2013, cargo throughput at NPA, excluding crude oil terminals, was 76,886,997 million metric tonnes indicating an increase of 0.042.6 per cent over the 2012 figure of 76,855,754mt. The 2013 statistics revealed that refined petroleum shipment handled by NPA was 19,416,043 metric tons, an increase of 9.5 per cent over 2012 full year figure of 17,730,727 metric tons. According to the report, in 2013, a   total of 5,185 oceans going vessels with a total Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 131,674,337 gross tons called at Nigerian Ports. Specifically, in the period under review, Lagos Port Complex (LPC) recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 34,466,291 gross tons, showing an increase of 9.4 per cent over the same period of 2012, which was 31,513,987 gross tons. A total of 1,498 vessels were handled in the period under review at the port. Tin can Island Port recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 42,758,161 gross tons indicating 23.2 per cent increase over the corresponding  period of 2012 which was 34,703,547 gross tons while 1,725 ocean going vessels were handled at the Port within the period. Calabar Port complex recorded a total GRT of 2,792,488 gross tons, showing a marginal decline of 2.8 per cent

compare with 2,871,622 gross tons, leaving the port with 197 Ocean going vessels in the period under review. Rivers Port complex recorded a total Gross registered tonnage of 6,394,270 gross tons, 7.9 per cent drop compared with 6,929,179 gross tons, in the corresponding period of 2012. 447 ocean going vessels were handled within the period under review. Onne Port complex recorded a GRT of 38,967,131 gross tons reflecting a decrease of 7.4 per cent as against 42,062,351 gross tons recorded in the corresponding period of 2012 with 820 vessels in the year under review. Also, within the period under review, the Delta Port Complex recorded 6,295,996 gross tons showing an increase of 105 per cent over the 2012 full year figure of 3,069,887 gross tons, with 498 vessels handled. The further breakdown of the throughput revealed that; The container traffic amounted to 1,010,836 TEUs, showing a growth of 15.2 per cent over the 2012 full year figure of 877,737TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units); A total of 291,824 units of vehicles were handled in the period under review showing an increase of 8.9 per cent over the 2012 full year figure of 268,026 units; and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment handled in the period under review amounted to 19,341,663 metric tons, indicating a drop of 12.7 per cent from 22,146,908 metric tons of 2012 full year figure.


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44 Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Industry Imperatives of harmonising position for bilateral ties By June this year, Nigeria and some other countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region must reach a compromise on lingering areas of disagreement in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) deal with the European Union (EU). With the introduction of the ECOWAS common external tariff (CET), scheduled for 1 January 2015 and a growing informal cross-border trade, Nigeria may need to harmonise its position effectively to ensure that it does not lose out in the negotiations. FEMI ADEKOYA writes. T an ECOWAS heads of state and governA ment meeting held at the end of March 2014, West Africa leaders endorsed the EPA agreement with the EU in principle, but some member states, particularly Nigeria, “voiced concerns over technical issues” related to “the potential negative impact of the deal on the nation’s industrial sector if certain products were allowed tariff-free entry into its market”. As a consequence, a 2-month deadline was set “to eliminate lingering areas of disagreement”. In the final communiqué, the heads of state and government noted “with satisfaction the significant progress made by the Chief Negotiators in the quest for compromise” (Article 17) and endorsed “the conclusion of the Agreement in principle”, while noting the existence of “outstanding technical issues” (Article 18). A committee, which includes Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, was to be established by the Chief Negotiators “to look at these issues and to present the final outcomes to the heads of state and government”. The European Commission’s representatives were cautious following the meeting of the heads of state and government, emphasising that the decision lay with West African governments. It could be recalled that negotiations over the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) stalled two years ago after ECOWAS countries resisted lifting tariff barriers over fears they could crush nascent industries unable to cope with European imports. Under the EPA, the European Union would immediately offer the 15-member ECOWAS and non-member state Mauritania full access to its markets. In return, ECOWAS would gradually open up 75 percent of its markets - with their 300 million consumers - to Europe over a 20year period. Nigeria’s position on the deal While reiterating the country’s position on EPA, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, had said “Nigeria’s position on EPA is very clear. Africa is on the rise. It is a very big and strategic market for any trading partner. That is what the EU wants from us but Africa must jealously protect what it has. “We should leverage our abundant natural resources and large market to develop our industries; create jobs for our people; increase intra-African trade and achieve regional integration. We must not be in a hurry to give away what we have. We must not sign an agreement without first of all carrying out a robust economic analysis of the overall impact the agreement will have on the region, our children and future generations.” On his part, the Supervising Minister of National Planning, Bashir Yuguda, noted that there was the need to consider Nigeria’s overall economic interest before signing the EPA. “Our country’s interest must come first. We need to consider the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan, which is part of the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan before signing the EPA. We have plans to re-base our GDP and will not do anything that will impact negatively on our GDP and the Nigerian economy as a whole,” he said.

Aganga Till now, Nigeria has maintained its protectionist stance in issues of liberalisation and tariff dismantling calendar of market access, the EPA Development Programme (EPADP) and the texts relating to the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause, cooperation in agriculture and food security, rules of origin and the non-execution clause among others. Implications for ignoring compromises Industry stakeholders believe that as much as government seeks to protect local industries form the potential dangers of opening up its market, the detriment of ignoring the positive aspects of the agreement should also be examined, as the EU remains a rich market and getting free access to it should undoubtedly create opportunities. For instance, the differential application of special levies on imports and outright trade bans introduced in Nigeria has fuelled a large-scale informal cross-border trade, especially in terms of smuggling from neighbouring countries. Furthermore, the growing fear that the refusal of Nigeria to sign the agreement may lead to some ECOWAS countries going ahead to sign individual agreements rather than as a unified entity. This makes the proposed CET ineffective as goods that find their way into neighbouring countries, having enjoyed benefits of the agreement would definitely get smuggled into Nigeria. Precisely, Benin Republic has been indicted many times of aiding informal cross-border trade in terms of allowing goods whose final destination is Nigeria into its ports. Similarly, the need for policies that will boost the capacity of African companies to take advantage of these opportunities cannot be emphasized. Creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive by removing several bottlenecks to competitiveness is key if the Nigerian real sector would benefit from any bilateral agreement. Indeed, failure to finalise a deal would have only a limited impact on most ECOWAS countries, which already benefit from full access to the E.U. market as low-income countries. For Ivory Coast and Ghana, which send the bulk of their exports - including most of the

Jamodu world's cocoa - to Europe, they risk being hit hard as their interim bilateral deals expire. Real sector’s position on govt’s move The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has commended the Federal Government for not signing the EPA in its present form; having taken into consideration the negative effects EPA would have on local manufacturing. According to statement made available by the Director-General of MAN, Remi Ogunmefun, the body believes that government's efforts to enlist the support of other members of African Union to reject the EPA in its present form should be sustained. The association added that government should continue its efforts to convince other ECOWAS Member States of the potential dangers of the EPA. MAN President, Chief Kola Jamodu, stated that "no country can develop without protecting its industries; he added that Nigeria stands the risk of having its market flooded by European goods with resultant negative effect on our industries and economy" if the EPA is approved in its present form.

Jamodu pointed out that the need for employment generation, which is a critical aspect of the government’s transformation agenda and the Nigerian industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), requires that local manufacturing be protected. The statement read further: “MAN is delighted that Nigeria's position has been vindicated by the support it received at the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of African Union Ministers of Trade held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on April 29, 2014. MAN is pleased that African Ministers of Trade and experts in trade and regional integration, at their recent meeting in Addis Ababa aligned with Nigeria's position on EPA by expressing their dissatisfaction with the Agreement because of its negative impact on the African continent's effort to industrialize and create jobs”. The association however reiterated its support and commended actions taken by the government on EPA while urging the government to continue to reject EPA in its present form, as its acceptance will negatively impact the industrialization process in Nigeria and lead to shutdown of our industries.

Honeywell commences capacity building initiative for entrepreneurs S part of its corporate A social responsibility initiative of empowering entrepreneurs through capacity building, Honeywell Group has commenced a new edition of its excellence programme. Tagged the Honeywell Excellence Programme (HEP), the group commenced the ninth edition of the programme with a total of 46 participants, out of which successful candidates would be chosen at the end of a thorough and multi-level recruitment process. Speaking on the value of the training modules scheduled

for the 9th HEP class, the Group Head of Human Capital Management, Honeywell Group, Mrs. Julia Esezobor, stated that the HEP modules are tailored to the standards of the best MBA programmes in the world, with courses such as: Entrepreneurship, Economics, Financial Accounting & Analysis, Business Control & Risk Management, Project Management, Business Law, Business Communication, Marketing Management, Energy Industry Fundamentals and Food Industry Fundamentals.

The Honeywell Excellence Programme, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Honeywell Group, is a one-year comprehensive and robust training in entrepreneurship and business management principles for young and intelligent graduates of tertiary institutions, irrespective of their discipline. Inaugurated in 1993, the HEP was borne of the vision of the Honeywell Group’s Chairman, Dr Oba Otudeko CFR, as a platform for young Nigerians to hone their entrepreneurship and business management skills.


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Quelling lingering cement crisis with new standards Within the last few weeks, the Nigerian cement industry has attracted a lot of attention from stakeholders over controversies ranging from the commodity’s quality, competition, and pricing as well as regulatory concerns. The Federal Government took a bold step to review the standards for the commodity. Will this move be sufficient in addressing the lingering crisis? Like rice, cement remains an essential commodity Nigerians cannot avoid. FEMI ADEKOYA writes.

Popular cement brands in Nigeria NTIL a coalition of civil society groups and U professional bodies raised concerns on the increasing menace of building collapse attributed to the poor quality cement in circulation, even though there is no compelling evidence to such end, there was a relative calm in the cement industry. With the information circulating in the media, stakeholders in the sector have been trying to defend their positions while underscoring the need for firm regulation of activities in the building sector. For instance, a school of thought that most of the stakeholders aligned with, was the attribution of the rise in building collapse in the country to arbitrary economical mix design. In proffering solutions, while some believe that raising the bar in the application of the product, its quality, packaging and consumer enlightenment is necessary, others believed that increasing consumer enlightenment is sufficient. For the manufacturers of the new cement grade, branded 3X, the new grade comes with new qualities, which according to them, will bring about stronger structures and assist in reducing building collapse cases in the country. Already, the introduction of the 42.5 grade of cement has seen the call for the total ban of the traditional 32.5 grade by some stakeholders in the industry. Others however believe the major reason for this call is erroneous going by the fact the reason was anchored on the 32.5 grade of cement as been responsible for increase in the cases of building collapse in the country. Advocates of the 32.5 grade noted that the 32.5 grade has served and still serving manufacturers, builders and corporate organisations well. Explaining cement standards and strengths Using the European cement standard EN 197-1 on which Nigeria hinged its cement standard; composition, specifications and conformity criteria for common cements defines 27 distinct common cement products and their constituents. The standard includes requirements for constituents and performance requirements in terms of mechanical, physical and chemical parameters for all 27 products. Three standard strength classes are defined at 28 days (32.5, 42.5 and 52.5). In addition, three early strength classes are included for each standard strength class: low early strength, ordinary early strength and high early strength. Cement is generally of two types, the ordinary Portland cement, which is available in BS 32.5, BS 42.5, BS 52.5 and BS 62.5 grades. The other variety is known as Blended cement, which is available as Portland Pozzolana cement or slag cement. The grade carried by the Portland version is a number that indicates the minimum compressive strength gained by the cement-sand mortar mix in 28 days time. The cement type commonly used in Nigeria is the Portland cement, to which BS 32.5 and BS 42.5 are the two main grades in circulation, until the recent introduction of the 52.5 by Dangote Cement. These higher grades of cements were specifically introduced to cater to the needs of industries

engaged in the construction of long span bridges, high rise structures and other structures of gigantic magnitude requiring high grades of concretes. All Portland cement grades are of the same ingredient base; however differ in terms of composition, which gives each grade its uniqueness in characteristics. The BS 32.5 cement is designed to meet the structural requirements of ordinary and small-scale consumers (by its cost), seeking to build small to medium sized structures, pavements, rendering (plastering) and culverts. The BS 42.5 cement is however designed to cater to a more specialised group of builders, looking to create precast concrete and all other forms of concrete required for High-rise buildings. Finally, the BS 52.5 grade cement may be utilised by builders of heavy infrastructure such as bridges, fly over, large span structures and high-rise structures. A new regulatory regime to the rescue Following raging controversies in the cement industry over the appropriateness and use of a cement grade by consumers, the Federal Government may have approved new standards for the commodity in the country. Precisely, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) had reviewed and approved new grade-strengths of cement production in Nigeria. The Governing Council of SON gave approval to the reviewed standards for cement, pegging the product standard at NIS 444-1, which automatically becomes the new composition and conformity criteria for common cement in the country. The Agency’s Council also released 10 other testing standards as national standard requirements for the product in Nigeria. According to information obtained by The Guardian, the reviewed standards take immediate effect although monitoring and enforcement of the policy would kick off in the next three months in order to provide stakeholders the opportunity to implement the new rules. Following the new order, the cement grades CEM I 52.5R and 52.5N will be used in the construction of bridges; CEM II 42.5R, 42.5N for use in the casting of columns, beams, slabs, block moulding and CEM I & II 32.5R, 32.5N for plastering of buildings only. Furthermore, under the new review regime, manufacturers are saddled with labelling responsibility on their products. Specifically, required features/information include: colour code for proper identification according to strength class and the coloured part of the bag with the labelling information is to take one-third of the bag surface on both sides. Also, the location address of manufacturer, batch number and expiry date shall be stated under the new regime on cement. A top official from SON noted that: “The standards were reviewed because they had attained five year mandatory period for review as well as due to concerns over the quality of

cement in the Nigerian markets. There are also fears over misapplication of the different strength classes of cement which was allegedly attributed to the frequent collapse of buildings in Nigeria.” Cement quality and building collapse Advocates of the 32.5 grade of cement said: “Going back in the history of Nigeria building construction, increased cases of building collapse is about five years old, yet buildings constructed with the 32.5 brand have been in existence for long. According to them, rather than laying the blame of building collapse at the doorstep of the so called inferior quality of 32.5 grade of cement, stakeholders should examine deeper, the major reasons for building collapse in the country. For instance, a stakeholder in the cement industry, Musbau Razak said it is only appropriate and fair to all parties concerned, that we wait for an expeditious outcome of the technical committee meeting on the review of standards. He said this will provide the country and all stakeholders with the right guidelines for sustained activity in Nigeria’s cement industry, keeping in mind, the overall well being of the economy and its people. His words: “Let us first examine the issue of adulterated cement. The basic fact here is that adulteration is common with every good product but the fact still remains that no matter the cases of adulteration reported in a product, the genuine one still exists. Limiting the issue of adulteration to 32.5 grade of cement is just giving a dog bad name to hang it. Even the so-called 42.5 grade is liable to adulteration. “Calling for the outright ban of the 32.5 range of cement has a whole negative multiplier effects on the economy. An economy that wants to grow and still growing will not throw its manufacturing companies out of business because this what will happen to manufacturers of this range of product. “Another negative effect of this is unemployment. Of course nobody needs the wisdom of Solomon to know that if a product is outlawed, the manufacturers of such product close shops

and throw their workers into the labour market. “Perhaps, the greatest negative effect will be creating a monopoly of a particular product leaving the consuming public at the mercy of a manufacturer”. He said creating a monopoly of cement production is not good for the country. It is antidemocracy where right to make choice is a major ingredient. “Rather than calling for the outright ban of 32.5 brand of cement, the supervising agencies should increase their quality control strategies to ensure that the product and the other grades do not lose their qualities,” he said. Should consumers expect a new price regime? A leading cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc has clarified that it had not increase the price of its product and that the rebranding of its 42.5 grade of cement is at no extra cost to the consumers. The company’s Sales Director for the SouthWest, Mrs Funmi Sani and the Director of Marketing Services, Olaniyi Johnson explained that Dangote Cement had not and would not add a kobo to the price of cement despite the increase in the cost of production inputs. Mrs Sani explained that the only plausible reason for high cost of the product in the market was excessive profiteering by some unscrupulous distributors and dealers who might be cashing in on the little scarcity of the commodity. She stated that the recent epileptic supply of gas to operate the manufacturing plants has hampered regular production and that the situation is affecting all manufacturing concerns in the country. The Director blamed the hike in price on unpatriotic distributors with undiluted appetite for profits who are capitalizing on the little scarcity caused by the shortage of gas supply to the plants to produce maximally.

Agro-financing, value-chain devt top AGRIKEXPO agenda DDRESSING key chalA lenges of agro-financing, value-chain development, route to market practices and post-harvest management experienced by farmers in the country, would top agenda at the 2014 edition of AGRIEXPO. Indeed, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina has confirmed participation to deliver the keynote address at the programme scheduled for June 2nd. Adesina in a statement,

commended the organizers of the event, 151 Products Limited for the vision of partnering the Agricultural Transformation Agenda by way of a trade networking initiative, saying “agriculture remains a pure business”, adding that the event has a great potential in impacting agriculture in Nigeria. According to the Chairman of the organizing company, Mazi Sam Ohuanbuwa, the objective is to achieve a credible annual event for the enhancement of agricultural businesses and its attendant

value chain. Furthermore, he said that the opportunity of facilitating market access, introduction of new agricultural technology and the attraction of investment inflows into the sector, as networking happens, is key to growth. AGRIKEXPO, which is concurrent with another exhibition – FOODBEXT WEST AFRICA, brings together agricultural and food /beverage processing and packaging companies to a common forum for the overall good of food security and agric development.


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MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

AS AT 13-05-2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


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MARKET INDICATORS

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PRIMERA AFRICA

Shareholders’ group predicts full subscription of Unity Bank’s rights issue By Helen Oji HAREHOLDERS’ group, under the aegis of Progressive Shareholders of Nigeria has expressed optimism that Unity Bank’s rights issue would be fully subscribed. The President of the association, Boniface Okezie, explained that the bank is going through a complete restructuring exercise that would position it to become the best in the industry. He said: “They have put in place new management team, setting up correct governance structure and bringing the correct expertise in the business. They are developing the right set of skills and market to drive this bank forward.” He added. He explained that the impact of the restructuring was already visible in the first quarter performance, adding that the bank would continue to trend on that direction. The bank recently received regulatory approval to raise N39.224 billion through right issue and private placement. This, comprises of rights issue offer of N19.224 billion of about 38.447 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N0.50 per share The offer was made on the basis of one new ordinary share of 50 kobo each for every one ordinary shares held as at December 16, 2013. Also, a total of N20 billion of 40 billion shares of 50 kobo each at N0.50 per share through the private placement, which would be taken by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON). According to the bank, acceptance list for the Rights Issue opens on May 12, 2014 and closes on June 18, 2014; while placing for the Private Placement opens on June 20, 2014 and closes on June 23, 2014. Speaking at the bank’s completion board meeting, held in Lagos recently, the Chairman of the bank, Nu’uman Barau Danbatta said; “ The private placement is 40billion shares of 50kobo private placement is to the

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AMCON. One of the mandates of AMCON is to invest in banking stocks and we have discussed with them and they are coming in as investors to the bank. So the private placement is to accommodate them. “It is in fulfillment to AMCON mandates and the mandate is not just to buy loans but also to invest into banking institutions in the country. The offer is for the existing shareholders while Placement is to one shareholder. Principle agreement has been done and we have completed the regulatory process. AMCON has provided so many things it can do and one of that is to acquire shareholdings in banks and financial institutions. They are largely government shareholding but AMCON has demonstrated that it is driven by the best practices in terms of corporate governance standard. “A lot of changes are going on in the bank. A complete restructuring is going on in the bank, the whole focus of the business is being reinvented, considering the background of where we came from, its been a very challenging period but now, we can say we have over come all those issues of consolidation. The Managing Director of the bank, Henry James Semenitari explained that the proceed of the offer would be deployed toward branch development, information technology upgrade, products and channel upgrade, human resource development, corporate communications, as well as enhancement of its working capital. “We are also working along three parameter, SME, Agriculture and rural economy. Within SME, it involves personal banking and our growth strategy in term of deposit in the year 2016, 40 per cent of our deposit base will be in the hands of individual in our balance sheets, which is very sustainable deposit in our book coming from a public sector background.

‘Why we introduced Meritrade online trading platform’ By Bukky Olajide ERISTEM Securities Limited, a dealing member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has said it introduced Meritrade online platform for local and international investors to maximize opportunities in the Nigerian stock market. Meritrade is an online stock broking platform which allows users buy and sell stocks online through the Nigerian Stock Exchange from the comfort of their homes, offices, cars and even on the go. The platform defines stock broking in entirely different language and creates a world class experience, bringing the broker (electronically) to the comfort of investors’ homes and offices. Head of stockbroking of Meristem Securities, Mrs.

M

Gbadunola Sokunbi said Meritrade comes with ease and is for the benefit of the retail segment of the Nigerian capital market; thus, making Meristem contribute to the positioning of the NSE to champion the acceleration of Africa’s economic development while creating durable wealth. The Meritrade platform will guarantee investors’ convenience as it will enable retail investors to open stockbroking account without having to walk into a stockbroking house from wherever, whenever and even on the go. Also it will enable investors fund their accounts by making deposits without necessarily walking into a banking hall, place orders for prompt execution and receive con-


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Midweek Arts At play reading, funding for theatre tops agenda By Anote Ajeluorou HAT theatre is under funded in Nigeria is no T longer news. That several propositions have been made on how to inject funding to booster it is not new either. What is perhaps novel is how theatre funding ties in with a productive economy, something that has eluded Nigeria since the late 1980s when industries started closing down one after the other due to poor management of the economy. The result that has resulted ever since is that Nigeria has become the marketplace for productive economies of the world. In other words, Nigeria does not produce anything of real value to take to world markets, but she consumes whatever is thrown at her, even second, third hand products. As a result, there are too few viable corporate bodies operating profitably on the local scene that ought to invest in Nigeria’s arts and culture business of which theatre is an integral part! Before reading started, the core of the play was performed by students of Creative Arts Department, University of Lagos in Agit Propstyle, minimalist production that compresses the entire play into some seamless scenes, as obtains in theatre for development for economy of funding purposes. However, this style was criticised, as being inappropriate for the grand historical thrust of the play in view, as it tended to diminish the historical grandeur it evokes. Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN), Mr. Martin Adaji; chairman of play reading, Mr. Odia Ofeimun and playwright, Mr. Solomon Omo Uwaifo at the event last According to notable poet and essayist, Odia Thursday… in Lagos Ofeimun, who chaired a recent play reading event, “There can be no performance without a For Josephine Igberiase of NTN, the difficulty thriving economy that derives from estabwith core traditional plays like Uwaifo’s One lished industries functioning optimally. Any Kingdom One Monarch is sourcing the money to governor that canvasses self-sufficiency in put it on stage. She estimated that no less than terms of productive industries in his state or 80 persons would work on the play as cast and collaborates with a neighbouring state governcrew, which could cost as much as N20 million ment will be the one that creates real wealth to put it in stage. But she stressed that the play revolution in the country. If we have a proper has great value, and that it would add to cultural Minister of Culture, who presents a proper awareness beside other entertainment values to budget to the National Assembly, we ought to be derived. She recalled the staging of Fela! On have the National Troupe doing at least three Broadway, saying she didn’t see any of the Fela we plays a year, with one being a historical play. all knew in it. Igberiase also said Saro the Musical “I wish we had proper minister of culture that made the stage last year was all showmanwho can properly present our case for proper ship designed to make cash! budgeting. There’s a lot of cultural activism in Chairman Ofeimun introduced a novelty to the One Kingdom One Monarch. We need another play reading when he asked the readers – Steve play from the playwright, Uwaifo”. Ogundele, Williams Ekpo, Efe Orhorha, Muyiwa 2004 winner of The Nigeria Prize for Odukale and Sobifa Dokubo – to comment on Literature Prize in the prose fiction category, the excerpt and what they’d read. Although it Solomon Omo Uwaifo, a trained electrical caused a temporary unease, the actors quickly engineer, had on Thursday last week submitrallied. Ogundele said he was glad to be part of ted his second play One Kingdom One Monarch the reading experience, adding, “I know Edo to the critical gaze of theatre buffs made up of (Benin) plays, how they can be poetic. One National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN), the media Kingdom One Monarch will elicit the usual pasand other players at Cinema II, National sion and emotions that plays from that part of Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. The idea is to test how Nigeria – the music, the mellifluousness of the realisable the play can be as a performance poetics and language. It’s an effort that is highly piece when staged. Exposing it thus to theatre Students of Creative Arts Department, University of Lagos performing an excerpt from One Kingdom One commendable”. Monarch experts through short performance and readEkpo said he loved Benin plays even if the play ing would help tighten its loose ends so the made him jittery. Adding, “It promises to come musical, a dance drama if need be, but to For Adaji, “The play has a lot to offer us. playwright can go back to rework it ready for out fine”. realise the historicity of the play we need to Behold, a classic is borne, I say! There’s a little the stage in time. Orhorha noted, “I’m blessed to have read the more to be done. The sky is big enough. To According to NTN Artistic Director, Mr. Martin give the play its full-scale performance, not play. It’s historical and one must not joke with it. realize this play, a director must of necessity Adaji, comments on the play “are not intended abridge it”. It made me jittery reading it. It’s beautiful from An audience member, Mr. Lawrence Amu, dig into the aesthetics of Benin people to to dampen the enthusiasm of the author; the little we read”. come up with a good play. The aim of play whatever opinion they give on the play, take it bemoaned the dumping site for world prodOdukale noted, “I started out playing Rotimi’s ucts that Nigeria has become, arguing that it reading is not to produce; the playwright can Ovonramwen Nogbaisi. One thing with Benin in good faith. But the comments should be was why local companies cannot sponsor cul- only be guided by the comments. Whether fair”. plays is that there’s always war, fighting. Benin tural productions like One Kingdom One he accepts them or not is his business”. While speaking further on the economics of plays and songs are always amazing. Most Benin Monarch that have the capacity to lift the spirOfeimun, also playwright majoring in dance plays have elevated language and it didn’t come theatre production, which has been in dire it through value-orientation. He stated, drama, acknowledged the huge cost implica- out in the excerpt”. straits for a while now in the country, a senior tions staging One Kingdom One Monarch member of NTN, Mr. Anold Udoka praised One “Nigeria is everybody’s market instead of Although Dokubo commended the playwright would take, saying, “Only a government putKingdom One Monarch, as a culturally rich play being a producing nation that she started for “couching nice sounding lines that are deep”, with at independence. Now Nigeria is sinkting money down can make this play hapthat deserves full-scale performance so its he frowned at the performed excerpt, saying it ing; oil is killing us; we cannot produce anypen. Unfortunately, we don’t have the kind of was symptomatic of the current rootless fad grandeur could be realised. According to sponsorship needed to produce this play”. Udoka, “One Kingdom One Monarch deserves to thing to sell to others. Sometimes, we wish plaguing Nigerian hiphop music, as Agit Prop we can turn off the pipes. We need to proBut a cultural activist, Mr. Femi Robinson, be given all the dialectics of verisimilitude on theatre tends to suggest. argued that failure of government or corpostage. We should be faithful to the author oth- duce. Benefits of production can sponsor Finally, the playwright Uwaifo expressed how rate bodies in supporting cultural producerwise the message may go the other way. The these plays”. thrilled he was at seeing the ‘Agit Prop’ interpreNotable actress and NTN member also tions was largely the failure of cultural workexcerpt performed is not good. We can comtation given to his play and the comments made attested to the culturally rooted aesthetics of ers to do what is right for the sector, adding, press it so the is tactile to drive the imagery. generally. “Not much criticism made of the Uwaifo’s play and said it should stand alone “We are not doing certain things right; we “I like to watch my plays with eyes shut and play”, he said. “I’m very much pleased to have as an immense work of art, adding, “The play don’t know our culture any more. There’s a listen to their voices create visual imagery for been assisted by everybody, including Odia. lot of history to be excavated. Government me. The excerpt failed to give me what the play is rooted in culture and we must ensure that Every writer must subject himself to critics; I the cultural elements in it are preserved and must put money in drama because if there’s is about. So, you don’t have to change the fordon’t know everything. I’ll try if I can reduce the highlighted. We ought to stick to that which no drama, there is no culture; no culture mat because of money or the economics of play, but my problem is that it’s very culture-cenmeans there is no tourism and developtheatre production. We have to do it full-scale. we are as a people and not try to imitate othtred play”. ers”. ment”. From what I see, the play can be changed to a


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54 | Sports Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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Group berates Isiaka, defends Amosun’s style By Olubukola Ibidokun Olaniyi GUN State chapter of the O Participation Train Group has decried a recent statement credited to Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, a former Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) governorship candidate who contested and lost to Senator Ibikunle Amosun of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 elections. Isiaka reportedly claimed that Amosun was running a make-believe government. In a statement, the group’s Publicity Secretary, Harford Alor, said: “It is myopic for anyone to derogate the giant strides being undertaken by the Amosun administration if after over two decades of insensitivity of government towards genuine developmental programmes, the

Ogun State citizenry are witnessing first-hand, the positive impact of government in their lives. “Isiaka postulates a rather confusing view on simple development initiatives, by saying that road construction is not needed by the people, when even our children know that a good road network is a necessary panacea for development. “The comparison made by Isiaka on maintenance of infrastructure such as road and the education of a child are disparaging since both education and infrastructure are not nostalgic hence the tradition of maintenance should apply to both and indeed all spheres of human endeavour. “Also, we think that the Prince is self-contradictory and largely ill-informed

Amosun about the government’s policy on education when he mentioned that education which should be a priority is

completely abandoned and in the same light said, and I quote  him, ‘what we have again is model schools being

built all over the place at a cost of N1.2 billion, I was told and they are being poorly located and hanging at various stages of completion whereas this money can go into refurbishing most of the schools we have.’ “If one says that he was told, does that constitute a fact? By whom was he told? Did he verify from the appropriate quarters? Or it may be that he has the blueprint on the said project. How does refurbishing of old schools that are already congested and in now noisy urban environment improve educational standards or have we forgotten what we knew as conducive for learning in the days of our youth, when these schools were deliberately built in remote and serene locations.” Alor added: “Again, it is derogatory to use the word

‘completely abandoned’ where there is the free education policy among other laudable educational policies being presently enacted by this administration. In the Ministry of Health, there are ongoing programmes, which include free medical services for our children and the aged and antenatal services for pregnant women as well as provision of improved equipment, etc. “Therefore, as progressives we state clearly with all due respect that Prince Isiaka is not being factual or else he is not abreast with the workability of government because an average individual should know that the activities of government through any of its ministries cannot lead to a complete abandonment of another, since they (the ministries) have separate budgetary allocations in line with what will benefit the citizens of Ogun State. “Being stakeholders, we should not for reasons of a contest or personal ambition negate or mortgage our very esteemed dignity and integrity but rather we must be adequately informed about the activities of government in order to make profound contributions towards the development of our dear Ogun State and therefore the uplift of her people. “In conclusion, the Participation Train of progressive citizens and residents in Ogun State believe that the Amosun government is convincing and has a sincerity of purpose.”

Police rescue three-month old abandoned baby THREE-MONTH old abanA doned baby has been rescued by the police in Ajuwon, Ogun State. They are also taking care of the baby, according to a resident in the area, Mr. Chris Eromosele (aka Kris Kross Meduvie ) of Accolade Properties, an estate and housing agent, who broke the news. He said, “the baby was rescued a few days ago. It is good to bring to the public notice the good work the police are doing to secure life and property in Nigeria. “First of all, I must thank the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar for vigorously checking corruption and crime in Nigeria. I want to also thank of Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye and DPO S.P. Abiodun Agboola, Ajuwon Police station, are doing a great job. The S.O. Inspector Akhabue Egbobor of the same station is also very hardworking.” “Since the DPO assumed office, crime has reduced in the communities. He brought sanity to the police station. The police are working day and night to battle criminals in Alagbole, Ajuwon, Akute, Olambe, Matogun and Asheshere. The communities leaders can attest to this.”


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Sports Organisers unfold plans for 2014 Nigerian Sports Award RGANISERS of the prestigious Nigerian Sports Award, Unmissable Incentives Limited has unfolded plans and activities for the 2014 edition of the award, which is instituted to recognize and rewarding outstanding Nigerian sports men and women for their excellent performances in their respective sporting events. Speaking at the Press conference to herald the activities for the 2014 edition of the award which is also the third edition, the chairman of the Award Panel, Ikeddy Isiguzo noted that the award has evolved to be recognised as a respected honour for Nigerian sportsmen and women for their exploits in the world of sports. Isiguzo further disclosed that the organisers would not relent in its effort to improve the award by taking public feedbacks and comment with a view to making the award a legacy within the sports circle. Presenting the timelines for the award, the General Manager Unmissable Incentives Limited, Kayode Idowu disclosed that entries for nomination from the members of the public for the various categories of the award would open today and closes on September 7, while the main award ceremony would hold on  November 13  at Muson Centre, Lagos. Idowu disclosed that the media category of the award has been expanded from two to four in response to the clamours from the sports journalists. He stated that from the 2014 edition of the award, the media category would now include Sports Journalist of the Year (Print), Sports Journalist of the Year (Radio), Sports Journalist of the Year (Television) and the Sports Photo Journalists of the Year, which will all be determined by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN).

Enyeama, Uzoenyi tip Eagles to win Brazil 2014 World Cup

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From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja UPER Eagles stars, Vincent SUzoenyi, Enyeama and Ejike have predicted that

Super Eagles’ goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama.

Chukwu, Okocha, other football icons endorse Glo’s Go Ahead Eagles campaign ORMER Super Eagles FChukwu Captains, Christian and Kanu Nwakwo, as well as Austin Jay-Jay Okocha and Victor Ikpeba have commended Globacom for its comprehensive plan to galvanise massive support for the national team at the Brazil 2014 World Cup through the Go Ahead Eagles campaign. The Go Ahead Eagles campaign is a comprehensive package that includes a medley of inspirational songs, motivational television commercials and Nigeria’s first online reality show. The package was design ed by the telecoms company to stimulate support for the Super Eagles from different segments of the Nigerian society.  Chukwu popularly called “Chairman” in his playing days, thanked Globacom for always believing in Nigeria even when majority doubt the ability of the team to excel like it happened at the last Nations’ Cup.  He urged the technical team and players to reciprocate the telecoms company’s gesture by preparing well and demonstrating total commit-

ment at the Mundial. He described the semi final target set for the team as achievable if the African champions would exhibit high level of discipline, professionalism, commitment and undivided loyalty to the nation. In the same vein, Kanu Nwankwo applauded Globacom for always being at the vanguard of corporate support for sports, adding rather rhetorically: “why always Glo?” Also speaking at the event, master dribbler, Jay-Jay Okocha said the campaign unveiled by Globacom for the 2014 Eagles had made him jealous and wondered why no organization did the same for his class of Eagles years back. “Eagles have hope.  Based on their current form and the position of our football globally, I think we can explode. I will be very happy if we can qualify from the Group, and from there anything can happen. Globacom has been very wonderful. I am proud to be part of the initiatives,” Okocha enthused.

Glo Premier League

Warri Wolves bank on ‘mosquito’ against Lobi By Gowon Akpodonor REMIER League side, Warri Wolves is hoping to use P the experience of returnee midfielder, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, to wreck their host, Lobi Stars in today’s midweek game in Katsina Ala. The return of the attacking midfielder popularly known as mosquito was a big boast to Wolves yesterday as they journey to Katsina Ala to keep a date with Lobi. Ibenegbu has been sidelined by injury he sustained in Bizerte, Tunisia, during the

second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup, which the Nigerian lost. Today’s game will be Ibenegbu’s first for Wolves in the domestic league and according officials of Warri Wolves, his experience will go a long way in helping the team consolidate its position in the league. Ibenegbu, a member of the national beach soccer team, said yesterday he would do everything possible to help his team get at least a point in today’s game. Warri Wolves will play host to Heartland on Sunday at the

Warri City Stadium and Ibnegbu said it would be a great game playing against his former club. “I am happy to be back to play in the league. Football is what I know and to be on the sideline nursing injury is something one cannot stand. Thank God that I am back to help my team. I am also aware that we are playing Heartland on Sunday and for me, it is going to be an interesting match. I spent quite some time with that team and to play against them will be fantastic. “

Nigeria will win the Brazil 2014 World Cup. But to Uzoenyi, that would only happen if the players listen and play according to their coaches’ instructions. Best African player in the French Lique 1 in 2013/2014, Enyeama, who thanked Nigerians for the support that made it possible for him to win the award, argues that the Eagles are as good as the best team at the Mundial. The Lille Metropole goalkeeper, who spoke from his France base, said he was delighted that he was picked as Africa’s best player in France and has been totally enthralled by the huge support of Nigerians over the award, promising that he will not fail the country during Mundial 2014 in Brazil. “Now the leagues are almost over across the world and all of us have a new focus, which is the World Cup; we will go there and enjoy ourselves and also excel for ourselves

and the country. I can’t wait for the World Cup to start,” he declared. On his inspiration ahead of the World Cup, Enyeama widely regarded as Africa’s best goalkeeper of the modern era, declared that it has always been God. “God has always been the greatest supporter I have. He has always been there for me when I needed support and He has continued to inspire me to greater heights. Apart from that the support I get from my family and Nigerians have been massive inspiration for me, I pray that the World Cup will be a crowning glory for me, the team and all Nigerians.” To Enugu Rangers’ diminutive winger, Ejike Uzoenyi, the players in Coach Stephen Keshi’s team have the potential to win the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup. He added, however, that winning the trophy would happen only if the players play to the instructions of the technical crew. Speaking during the launch of a Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign

against AIDS, tagged ‘Protect the Goal,’ the CHAN 2014 star maintained that contrary to the impression that the Eagles could only get to the semifinals of the competition, he was sure the team would play in the finals. “I believe anything can happen at the World Cup. Don’t forget that nobody gave us the chance of winning the African Nations Cup. Winning the World Cup is possible if play to the coaches’ instruction,” he insisted. He pledged to work extra hard to make the final 23man list for the tournament, adding, “I feel very happy and wonderful for making the list because it is a great thing for my career. My inclusion means that the coaches still believe in me and that I am good enough to be part of the team. “To say the least, my inclusion came to me as a surprise even though I was very hopeful about making the list. I just want to think that my making the list is the Lord’s doing. I really appreciate God for that,” he added.

24 teams battle for Access Bank, UNICEF Charity Shield Polo trophies OME of the best polo Sworld, teams from across the 24 in all, have started preparations for the seventh annual Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament slated to hold at the Fifth Chukker Lawns of Kangimi Resort in Kaduna from May 20 to June 7, 2014. The Access Bank Charity Shield was inaugurated by Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club in 2003, as a fund raising platform to support local charity organizations.  Since 2006, however, this effort has been exclusively geared towards UNICEF’s intervention projects for orphans and vulnerable children. This year’s edition of the Access Bank/UNICEF polo

fiesta promises to be competitive and exciting, with the introduction of the brand new Fifth Chukker Cup. The low-goal Fifth Chukker Cup gallops off May 20, with 10 equally matched teams jostling to make history as it first winner. It is billed to climax on Sunday, May 25, at the lush lawn of Kangimi Resort in Kaduna. Teams vying for the low goal title are Sheyi Oyinola’s SAO Polo who is set to rekindle their rivalry against Hakeem Shagaya’s Unity Polo after their much talked about Dansa Cup clash in Lagos last February. Others include Engineer Sani Umar’s Kano Susplan, which is seeking to improve from their Lagos Low Cup runners’ up finish recently, and Louis Enriguez powered

Goly Polo team, which is set to arrive from Spain for the polo tourney. The list also include Yusuf Garba’s Kaduna Yula Farms, Opaque Liberty, Ibah Oil & Gas, Niyya Farms, Optimum Riders and Babaduna Kaloma led Terra E&P that has been part of the Charity Shield in the past three years in the Access Bank Cup category. Fifth Chukker Polo Captain, Babangida Hassan Katsina, who disclosed the list of participating teams, expressed delight that the charity event has grown to become one of the biggest humanitarian events on the continent, insisting that his polo is proud to continue in its development of this established partnership with Access Bank and UNICEF.

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Jean Gough, Executive Director, Access Bank Plc., Victor Etuokwu and Fifth Chukker Tournament Manager, Adam Taylor, at the Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield pre-tournament press conference in Lagos…yesterday.


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My World Cup story…Keshi

Westerhof throws in his rings for Eagles By Mitchell Obi HE pressure to perform is T not lost on him and in the face of biting criticisms over the absence or presence of some players in the 30-man provisional list, he still appreciates the prayer of Nigerians to see him excel at the World Cup. ‘Everyone can’t make the team. I have taken my time to pick these boys and I know them very well. Even Ike Uche, whom they are talking about, only called me five days ago. And we spoke and I appreciated it. He would have done so earlier,” Stephen Okechukwu Keshi volunteered, as he thanked Nigerians for the support and solidarity messages received. Keshi’s programme for the World Cup is almost sewn up and between now and the June 12 kick- off of the feast of football, it will be all perspiration, priming, practice and performance to pick the 23 players bound for Brazil. “We start with our camping in Abuja, then move to London for the game against Scotland and finally settle in the United States, where we will have more games to play. You can be sure, we will be able to see

No tension, the ‘Big Boss’ is in charge.

But for Keshi’s stubbornness, Yobo (Joseph) and Enyeama(Vincent) would not have gone to the Cup of Nations. If he has faith in what he’s doing, he sticks to it. And as a coach, he knows his materials, he knows what he wants to play and then he keeps talking to Nigerians. He keeps talking to all of us, he says, I want a team. Maybe people don’t listen to him, he keeps talking… I want a team. I think the country should rally round him.

and size up the players and then get the team to do the job,” Keshi barely hinted in a rare moment of talking about his present team. Is he beginning to feel the pressure? Certainly not for a man, who loves the fight in competition and builds his team to have the fighting spirit. Actually, how different is Keshi the coach and the player, who captained Nigeria to her firstever World Cup participation in 1994? An insight comes from a brother, who has followed his career closely and has worked with him in the venture as head coach. “I have always learnt to hold myself but let me put this out,” Emmanuel Ado, a communication expert, declared.

“Some of the things people say about him are totally false. Keshi is not arrogant, he is not a money monger and he is not stubborn in the sense that people use the word. No! Stubborn in what he believes. You have to give it to him whether you like it or not. He is not like me. I watch football like the rest of 150 million Nigerians coaches, I watch football, I don’t know football. “It’s a pity many of us don’t know football. So it took me time to appreciate, especially somebody like Makalele (Claude). When we watch matches, he will tell me, who is the best player and I will point somebody and he will say that’s the best player, Makalele. And when he left Real Madrid and the club started suffering, I now said ‘oh, I can see what you are saying.’ “But for Keshi’s stubbornness, Yobo (Joseph) and Enyeama(Vincent) would not have gone to the Cup of Nations. If he has faith in what he’s doing, he sticks to it. And as a coach, he knows his materials, he knows what he wants to play and then he keeps talking to Nigerians. He keeps talking to all of us, he says, I want a team. Maybe people don’t listen to him, he keeps talking… I want a team. I think the country should rally round him. “I remember France’98. Eric Cantona was the best player, but he didn’t make it to World Cup 1998. Heavens did not fall. France went on to win the World Cup. “It was the same in 2006 African Cup of Nations. Mido of Egypt was substituted and he behaved in an untoward manner. The Egyptian FA met that night and expelled him from the team. “So if a coach knows that his job is hire and fire, he

Westerhof, the Dutchgerian, wants to help Keshi in Brazil. will achieve results. He must make his selection based not on sentiment but what he wants and all the factors that he is looking for. “Keshi values discipline and he is a very disciplined person,” concludes Emmanuel Ado, one of the staunch optimists in the ability of the Big boss to excel in this World Cup campaign. Another fervent supporter, no doubt, is Clemens Westerholf, the 74-year-old Dutchman, who is ready to assist Keshi in the World Cup: He’s the boss. He takes

the decisions, but I want to help! It’s time Nigeria comes to the last four, you can come to the last two? You must have luck to carry on to the final. “You have the same 50 percent against Brazil, Germany or who’s in the final. It’s possible. This is the time Nigeria can do it but if they are not one family, if they are not disciplined, it won’t happen. You know I am a king in discipline. Keshi and his crew must show everybody that they are disciplined. So I want to help him create a Nigerian team that will

We start with our camping in Abuja, then move to London for the game against Scotland and finally settle in the United States, where we will have more games to play. You can be sure, we will be able to see and size up the players and then get the team to do the job.

grow during the World Cup. “Maybe the first match a draw, the second match must win, then the third match a group win and you are in the next round. “So, I can go and see our next opponent and make a nice programme for him and tell him they play like this, they have these and these players. He can make the tactics, I can help him. I want it. But it’s not up to me. Keshi and me we are two big friends.” Should we say all hands are itching to be on the deck. The World Cup is more than discipline. It is not a tea party. But it is also about an African champion rising to shine at the global stage and an African coach providing the right recipe and flavour to glitter. Let’s start beating the tamtam here. •A Mastersports International Presentation 2014.


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Brazil 2014 World Cup

Egwekwe rues absence of Ideye, Ogu From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja ArrI Wolves defender, W Azubuike Egwuekwe, has expressed his surprise at the exclusion of Ukrainebased striker, Brown Ideye, and Academicals FC of Portugal midfielder, John Ogu in the 30-man Super Eagles provisional team list for the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The Super Eagles defender, who was among the national team players invited for the  campaign against AIDS ‘Protect the Goal’ for the World Cup, said that he has already called both of them to sympathies with them, adding that they have taken their the exclusion in good faith. “The most surprising players that did not make the

Egwekwe

list are my friends Ideye and Ogu. They are my closest pals in the national team. I spoke with both of them the next day after the release of the list and I am happy the way they handled the situation. They told me that it is the way God wants it. I told them I would miss them in the national team. They promised to back me with prayers in my quest to be at the World Cup,” he noted. On his making the list, the tall defender, said: “The fact is that I have been with the Super Eagles since Stephen Keshi took over as coach. If someone had told me I would be part of the provisional team, I would not have believed. “My inclusion is like a dream come true. If I go to the World Cup, I would have realised my life ambition of representing my country at the mundial. I will forever remain grateful and give all the glory to God. “On the possibility of picking starting shirt, I want to say that the good thing is that coach Keshi has made it clear that nobody will have automatic shirt in the team. He also promised that any player who works very hard and impresses him would make the first team. My job is to go there, work hard and try to impress the technical crew,” he added.

Ondo State pulls out of DAWN Games By Gowon Akpodonor NDO State has said it O would not take part in the much talked about Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN Games). The DAWN Games will hold in Lagos from May 16-24, but the Chairman of Ondo State Sports Council, Elder Adeyeye Michael, said the state would not participate because the organizers did not carry Ondo State along from the planning

CBN Tennis: Top players advance for third round By Samuel Ifetoye UALIFICTION for the third Q round of the 36th edition of the Central Bank of Nigerian

(CBN) Senior Open Tennis Championship started yesterday at the tennis courts of the National Stadium, Lagos. In some of the matches concluded, four players advanced to the third round, with former national number 4 seed, Madueke Nonso, overpowering Shehu Lawal 6-4, 6-1, just as Bala Musa defeated Hamidu Abdullah 7-5, 6-4. In the same way, Bikom Albert humbled Berdych B. in two straight sets of 6-4, 6-2. However, the same cannot be said of Dauda Ayuba, who was overwhelmed by the firepower of Michael Moses. The game was 6-0 in favour of Moses. . Some other matches were inconclusive as at the time of this report yesterday as a result of a slight rain shower. They included the contests between Owolabi J. vs Omoile Samuel, Samuel Jonah vs Dickson E., Idoko Candy vs Otu John and the matchup of Maduike Ezinne against Eke Hannah. Other qualifying games of the championship into the third round stage of the prize money continue today.

stage. He also alleged the sports fiesta is ‘political motivated.’ However, Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Wahid Enitan Oshodi, said yesterday said in an SMS to The Guardian: “That is incorrect as far as I know.” Adeyeye who told The Guardian yesterday that the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko was aware of the state pulling out from the DAWN Games said: “I want to make it categorically clear that Ondo State will not take part in the games. This is because the organizers refuse to carry Ondo State along and we also felt that the sports fiesta is politically motivated and such things does not entice us.”

He said the organisers (Lagos state) have concluded everything before informing Ondo State about the games. “If the sports fiesta is not political motivated, why was Ondo State left out from the planning stage? I could remember in 2007, when the NSC zonal coordinator, Peter Nelson organised Chief Obafemi Awolowo sports competition, all sports directors from the western states were involved in the planning. I was one of them and no state was left out from the planning to competition stage. You cannot say we have concluded everything and we are inviting you for Dawn Games. Ondo State refuses to accept it and we won’t participate,” he said.

‘Star Football deepens bond among Nigerians’ By Adeyinka Adedipe OOTBALL lovers are in for a Flaunches treat, as Nigeria Breweries Star Football to help deepen the bond between Nigerians during football matches. At the launch of the initiative in Lagos on Monday, the company’s Marketing Director, Walter Drenth stated that there was no doubt that football has become an important part of the country’s identity and would always be a source of national pride. He applauded the affinity, which the average Nigerian has with football, saying all divisive elements are put aside when fans cheer the country’s representatives to victory at international competitions. He said: “As the true Nigerian brand and a true national icon that constantly seeks to engage with consumers, we have identified the football platform as an avenue to

deepen our bond with Nigerians. “Star Football therefore is the brand’s platform to further strengthen the connection between Nigeria’s favourite beer, Star Lager, and the Nigerian people, more specifically the football lovers. “Star Football encompasses various football-themed activities, geared towards ensuring that Nigerians derive maximum satisfaction, while enjoying their football matches. In other to drive this passion, Drenth said that Star Lager is partnering with DSTV to bring to Nigerians all the football matches of this year’s mundial taking place in June. “We believe that the greatness and victory associated with the game of football is not only about the eleven players in a team but about the millions of fans united by passion and pride cheering their team to victory. This is the spark that ignites winning


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Samuel Stephen Wakdok

not usually at best a blind optimist; I freIbleAM quently try to be a realist as much as possieven if it makes me wear the toga of a skeptic sometimes. Yet when it comes to our nationality as Nigerians in spite of all the challenges staring us right in the face, I am an Please send reactions and feedback for YOUTH SPEAK to: optimist; at worse a negative optimist but an editorial@risenetworks.org and 07067976667- SMS ONLY optimist all the same. When I tell people I am from the North, especially people I am just meeting who can’t place my origin, by the time they probe further and I tell them my state; you will hear them retort ‘Plateau is middle belt and not north’. I know that Plateau State is one of the states in the middle belt no doubt, but it is in the north. It is interesting to note that despite the ambiguity in classifying or carving out the area called Middle Belt due to cultural, ethnic, religious and geographical considerations; all the states or parts which lay claim to, or are described as the middle belt fall in the northern part of Nigeria. Then why should I pretend that I am not from the north? I may not be from the core north, I may not be of the north but I am simply from the north since I am not from the south, east or west. Interestingly, what matters is that I am a Nigerian. The same can be said of our nationality as Nigerians. We have our tribes, languages and cultures but no matter the sins of the colonialists or the “amalgamators”, we are Nigerians. My wife is Yoruba, my brother’s wife is Idoma, and my children cannot reject me or their mum. Imagine my friend who is Igbo, his wife is Yoruba, his mother in- law is Tiv. Another colleague is Yoruba, his mum is Fulani. Or is it my Ibibio friend who is married to a Jukun wife and his sister’s husband is Yoruba? When our own children again cross marry with parents of their spouses coming from different tribes or cultures, the opening of the space gets wider. For each time we go out of our ethnic group or culture to marry, we may be diluting our ethnic or tribal culture but integrating our national sphere. There will be no Nigeria without us, therefore we are not only Nigerians but also we are Nigeria. Where will we be today if there was no Nigeria? Where will we be tomorrow if there is no Nigeria? Politicians and ethnic champions find it convenient and self-serving to beat the drums of separation but they will be worst hit if the nation disintegrates now or soon. They owe us the younger generation a country to live and grow up in, because they had a country to live in while they grew up and became old. Unfortunately, their mal-administration of our country’s as a country. There has been a steady and Where will we go? Where will the children of economic and political spheres has brought increasingly growing call for disintegra- cross cultural/ ethnic marriages go to? What us to this most delicate part of our existence tion or breaking up of Nigeria. Ethnic and will happen to people whose families have regional champions have emerged and are lived generations in other parts of Nigeria othemerging daily, a few go as far as playing er than their native lands? How will the counDespite the return to democracy in the religious card, some play the resource try be partitioned? What will happen to the card and others the ethnic card. minorities in the various regions or states? 1999, the ruling class, the elite and control The questions to ask if Nigeria should How many countries will come out of Nigeria? their political allies have not succeed- break up today or tomorrow include: Will the Christian part of Kaduna or Borno be

Nigeria’s centenary II: Through the prism of a negative optimist (1)

ed in translating the so called ‘dividends of democracy’ from mere words to action. The poor are still poor. The hungry are still hungry. The vulnerable are still vulnerable. In spite of the trillions of Naira accrued to the Nigerian coffers in the past 15 years, rather than witnessing a decline in poverty rate and experiencing a rise of positive impacts on the lives of the average Nigerian, we have only seen a tragedical rise of affluence and avarice among the ruling class and their cronies.

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

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comfortable to join a new country in northern Nigeria? Will the Yoruba parts of Kogi and Kwara states join a country in northern or central Nigeria? Will the Igala in Kogi State join a new country in Western or Eastern Nigeria? Will the Idoma in Benue State agree to be in their country with only the Tiv? Are we going to get a country for every region or state or ethnic nationality? These are many questions that will not be answered but these are also questions that champions of disintegration have not asked themselves and as such we need to ask them. The truth is that our common wealth has been squandered over the years by the ruling class and their collaborators. Again our nation is in bad shape with a wave of insecurity spreading and enveloping many parts of the country. Another truth is that corruption has become endemic in our country. In fact, Nigeria is among the countries that give corruption a bad name. Billions of dollars or naira meant for capital and recurrent expenditures are stolen, siphoned, or simply get missing into space. Funds meant for development and provision of critical infrastructure, social and basic amenities are wasted or diverted by those in possession or position. The human development indices continue to show a negative slope in Nigeria with more people falling into the poverty trap or less people having access to the resources which abound. In all these we see a deliberate attempt by some people to perpetuate and foster economic and security woes on a larger population of Nigerians. This in no small way is daily affecting our faith in the unity of the country or in the sustainability of Nigeria as a diversified yet united nation. In the course of my daily work I interact with different people across different strata, age, religion, ethnicity and educational background. In discussing the challenges, problems or future of Nigeria one thing stands clear; the younger population is fed up with the misrule of the past and wants a desperate turn for the better. Unfortunately a hungry army of unemployed youths, selfserving youths, religiously brain washed extremists, short term looking youths, frustrated youths, or hopeless Nigerian youths have always been readily available as willing tools in the hands of desperate power hungry Nigerians. These have fuelled the market for fighters, killers, terrorists, rogues that are all threatening to bring Nigeria to her knees today. Despite the return to democracy in 1999, the ruling class, the elite and their political allies have not succeeded in translating the so called ‘dividends of democracy’ from mere words to action. The poor are still poor. The hungry are still hungry. The vulnerable are still vulnerable. In spite of the trillions of Naira accrued to the Nigerian coffers in the past 15 years, rather than witnessing a decline in poverty rate and experiencing a rise of positive impacts on the lives of the average Nigerian, we have only seen a tragedical rise of affluence and avarice among the ruling class and their cronies. Nigeria’s greatest achievement in our current democratic dispensation is the sad truth that we run the most expensive albeit wasteful democracy on planet earth. Resources badly needed to improve the socio economic conditions of tens of million Nigerians are been consumed by an infinitesimal percentage of the citizenry. This ugly development has led to further decline in living standards of the ordinary populace, weakening institutions, starving future development and exposing the growing population to exploitations and deprivation. • To be continued. • Wakdok is an Economist and a blogger who wrote in from Abuja via sammyybest@yahoo.com.


Wed 14 May 2014