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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,925

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Niger’s President, Mahamadou Issoufou; Chad’s President, Idriss Deby Itno; Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan; France’s President, Francois Hollande; Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, and Benin’s President, Thomas Boni Yayi, pose for a photo during an African security summit to discuss the threat of Nigerian Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, to the region’s stability, at the Elysee Palace in Paris on May 17, 2014. West African leaders met with Hollande to bolster cooperation with Nigeria in its battle against Boko Haram Islamists after the abduction of 200 schoolgirls shocked the world.

Jonathan, In France, Urges Global Action Against Terror From Mohammed Abubakar (Abuja), Ndjavara Musa (Maiduguri), Kamal Tayo Oropo and Gbenga Salau (Lagos) RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan, yesterday at the Security Summit on Boko Haram threat, urged collective action against insurgency on the continent. The summit was put together by French President, Francois Hollande. Four other African leaders — Presidents Paul Biya of Cameroon, Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, Idris Debby of Chad and Mahadou Issoufou of Niger Republic — were also in attendance. The President, who cited the ferocious terrorist attacks in Nigeria and the abduction of

• As Gunmen Kill 15, Kidnap 10 Others over 200 school girls in Chibok area of Borno State, warned that the development was a manifestation of the spreading negative influence of Al-Qeada-backed messages of hate. The President said the problem posed by Boko Haram was no longer a challenge to Nigeria alone, but a threat to the entire continent. Jonathan described the “the group,” as being “hostile to democracy; it uses every means to indoctrinate its members; its ultimate objective is to destabilise the country, and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into a base of

operation in West Africa and the entire continent. “Since 2009, we have had to contend with many attacks and killings, which have now developed into a full-scale war targeting the stability and integrity of our Nation. Boko Haram has launched a vicious

guerrilla-style campaign against the government and the people of Nigeria. It has attacked schools, slaughtered students in their dormitories, destroyed villages, communities and government infrastructure and has wreaked havoc on the economic and

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NIS Repatriates 45 Immigrants

Ooni Of Ife, Others Laud Osun Govt

social life of our people.” The president argued that the Boko Haram has similar mode o of operation to that of the Al-Qaeda group. However, way into the strategy talks in France, news of fresh violence was reported in the troubled region. In the far north of Cameroon, near the Nigerian border, attackers targeted a camp run by a Chinese engineering company. Ten Chinese workers were said to be missing and one person was injured. In Nigeria itself, 11 people were reported killed in a separate attack in village a few hours’ drive from the Cameroonian border. A relation of one of the vicCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Military May Have Been Compromised, Says U.S. From Laolu Akande, New York S Nigerians in the US, A under different organisations and groups, continue to clamour for the rescue of the 274 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram over a month ago, the US government has expressed the concern that the terrorists may have infiltrated the Nigerian military. Speaking at the US Congress, during the week, a top Department of Defense official, Alice Friend, said the US was concerned about the possible infiltration of Boko Haram terrorists in the Nigerian military. The alleged compromising of the Nigerian military had made global news when the Amnesty International CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


2 | NEWS Sunday, May 18, 2014

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NEWS Conclusions Of The Paris Summit For Security In Nigeria HE Heads of State of Benin, T Cameroon, Chad, France, Niger and Nigeria, as well as representatives of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, participated on 17 May 2014 in a Summit in Paris dedicated to security in Nigeria. This Summit has helped intensify regional and international mobilisation to combat the terrorism of the Boko Haram group. The Summit concluded with several decisions that will strengthen cooperation between regional States, both to enable the liberation of the abducted school girls and more generally to combat Boko Haram. The partners present (the European Union, France, the United States and the United Kingdom) are committed to supporting this regional cooperation and strengthening the international means to combat Boko Haram and protect victims. All these States reaffirm their commitment to human rights and particularly the protection of girls who are victims of violence and forced marriage or threatened with slavery. - Regional Cooperation Nigeria and its neighbours will build analysis and response capabilities that will contribute to enhancing the

security of all populations and the rule of law in the areas affected by Boko Haram’s terrorist acts. To combat the Boko Haram threat, which has recently manifested itself through several murderous attacks and the abduction of more than 270 school girls, Nigeria and its neighbours have decided to immediately: 1. On a bilateral basis - Implement coordinated patrols with the aim of combating Boko Haram and locating the missing schoolgirls •Establish a system to pool intelligence in order to support this operation • Establish mechanisms for information exchange on trafficking of weapons and bolster measures to secure weapons stockpiles •Establish mechanisms for border surveillance; 2. On a multilateral basis • Establish an intelligence pooling unit • Create a dedicated team to identify means of implementation and draw up, during a second phase, a regional counter-terrorism strategy in the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. This approach is consistent with the 2012 Summit of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

The United States, the United Kingdom, France and the European Union will coordinate their support for this regional cooperation through technical expertise, training programmes and support for border-area management programmes. -Efforts at international level: n The participants commit to accelerating the implementa-

tims said a woman and a child were among the dead. French President, Hollande, who hosted the summit, called Boko Haram a “major threat to West and Central Africa”, and said it had links with al-Qaeda’s North-African arm and “other terrorist organisations.” The leaders discussed fresh strategies for dealing with the security threat posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in West and Central Africa. UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague told the BBC from Paris that Cameroon and Nigeria had an important role to play in pooling their intelligence. However, he said they had “not enjoyed strong positive relations in recent years.” Boko Haram has some of its bases in the Mandara mountain range that straddles the border. But the frontier has been disputed in at least two places in recent years. President Jonathan was reportedly scheduled on Friday to visit to the town where the girls were seized. However, the trip was cancelled for alleged security reasons, even as the Presidency denied any planned visit of the presi-

dent to Chibok. President of Cameroun, Paul Biya, maintained that the group wants to ruin the countries. He, therefore, canvassed stronger measures against the group, saying its activities must be eradicated. President of Chad, Idriss Deby, said that if the battle against Boko Haram must be won, then the countries affected must not only come together to face the group, but also consider the battle a top priority. He urged the global community to show deep concern and condemn the group. For the President of Benin Republic, Thomas Yayi, the group is using religious intolerance to destabilise the region, warning that such ideology no longer has relevance in the region. According to him, the region needs to incorporate

socio-economic development of the regions concerned, with particular emphasis on gender equality, the rights of women and girls and in particular their right to education, increasing women’s participation in all decision-making processes, and supporting victims of sexual violence, including through legal assistance,

medical care and psychosocial support. The EU will dedicate a certain number of its programmes to these aspects and will strengthen its efforts to combat radicalization. The participants agreed that the United Kingdom would host a follow-up meeting next month at Ministerial level to review progress on this action plan.

How We Will Help Nigeria Fight Terror, By US By Marcel Mbamalu HEUnited States of America T has officially released details of its overall strategy in assisting Nigeria to overcome terror and rescue about 300 abducted schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, respecting speculations about the extent of Washington’s involvement in the operation. The explanation comes on the heels of speculations in both local and international media that the US may be temporizing in deploying its ‘foot soldiers’ to help rescue the girls, who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect while writing their Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE). President Goodluck Jonathan, along-

Gunmen Kill 15, Kidnap 10 Others CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

tion of international sanctions against Boko Haram, Ansaru and their main leaders, within the United Nations framework as a priority. Mobilization to support marginalised areas and their fragile populations, and particularly women exposed to violence The P3 and the EU pledge to mobilize donors in support of programmes fostering the

inter-faith dialogue to look at religious intolerance. He pledged his country’s commitment to the fight against Boko Haram, including recovering the kidnapped schoolgirls. Nigerien President, Mahamadou Issoufou, also observed that the Boko Haram group has connection with other terrorist groups around the world. He maintained that having strategies for the social and economic development of the region to check poverty is a good way to fight terrorism. Jonathan cleared the air on the notion that Cameroon was aiding the activities of the Boko Haram, especially its attacks on Nigeria, saying that both countries enjoy robust relationship, even as Cameroon, according to him, has been intercepting arms coming into Nigeria.

side presidents of Niger, Cameroun, Chad and Benin Republic, are currently meeting in France for a security summit on the Boko Haram threat. The summit, which started yesterday, is organised by French President Francois Hollande. The disclosure from the US Department of State is contained in a fact sheet titled, ‘Boko Haram and US Counterterrorism Assistance to Nigeria,’ which was prepared by the Office of the Spokesperson on May 14, an electronic copy of which The Guardian obtained yesterday. The document stresses that the US’ support will continue to focus on building critical counterterrorism capabilities among Nigeria’s civilian and law enforcement agencies. “This supports the larger U.S. objective of encouraging Nigeria to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to counter BH that upholds and enforces the rule of law, provides civilian protection, respects human rights and international norms, and addresses the underlying grievances that BH exploits (including through development gains and through responsive governance),” according to the US Department of State. The US says, “based on our longstanding concerns about Boko Haram, we have a robust security dialogue and assistance relationship with Nigeria. As part of the BiNational Commission Framework, we hold regular Regional Security working group meetings focused on the Boko Haram threat and ways our two governments can collaborate on a holistic approach to countering the group.” The document notes that the security assistance is in line with US’ efforts to ensure Nigeria takes a comprehensive approach to countering Boko Haram, even as it states that the country is working to build

Nigerian law enforcement capacities to investigate terrorism cases, effectively deal with explosive devices, and secure Nigeria’s borders, while underscoring that the most effective counterterrorism policies and practices are those that respect human rights and are underpinned by the rule of law. “We are also focused on enabling various Nigerian security services with fusing multiple information streams to develop a better understanding of Boko Haram. Our military assistance supports the professionalisation of key military units and improves their ability to plan and implement appropriate steps to counter Boko Haram and ensure civilian security. According to the document, the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) programme enhances Nigerian law enforcement’s capability to prevent, detect, and investigate terrorism threats; secure Nigeria’s borders; and manage responses to terrorist incidents, even as ATA’s primary partners are the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Customs Service, Immigration Service, and National Emergency Management Agency. ATA represents the only donor assistance to Nigerian law enforcement on identifying, diffusing, and the safe disposal of improvised explosives devices (IEDs). ATA curriculum has been integrated into NPF training curriculum, supporting its ability to respond to IED attacks in Abuja and to deploy to the northeast part of the country where Boko Haram attacks are the most frequent. Countering violent extremism (CVE) programmes, the State Department further states, aims “to limit recruits to BH by reducing sympathy and support for its opera-

tions, through three primary objectives: (1) building resilience among communities most at risk of recruitment and radicalization to violence; (2) countering BH narratives and messaging; and (3) building the CVE capacity of government and civil society. Such efforts include promoting engagement between law enforcement and citizens, and elevating the role of women civil society leaders in CVE.” It notes that the Centre for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications has developed a strong partnership with the Government of Nigeria, and in conjunction with other international partners, provided assistance on developing a comprehensive communications strategy. “Nigeria is an active member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and the United States has used the multilateral platform the Forum offers to introduce justice sector officials from Nigeria and neighboring countries to a series of judicial tools to investigate and prosecute terrorism cases in conformity with their domestic and international human rights obligations. “As part of this effort, the United States and Nigeria have co-hosted a series of experts’ workshops in Abuja on these issues. In addition, Nigeria will join the United States as one of the founding members of the International Institute on Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ), which will open its doors in June 2014 in Malta, and provide rule of law based training on how to counter terrorism and other transnational criminal activity within a rule of law framework. As a founding member, Nigeria will be expected to ensure its police, prosecutors, and prison officials are regular participants in IIJ trainings.”

Boko Haram: U.S. Concerned Over Nigerian Military CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 claimed the military was informed four hours earlier before the Chibok school attack that led to the abduction of the girls, but that the military did nothing. Even before that, a sitting Nigerian governor, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, had also made similar allegation in the US at a White House meeting presided over by President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, NSA Susan Rice.   At the Senate’s Foreign Affairs hearing on Boko Haram and the abduction of the girls on Thursday, a Republican Senator, Jeff Flake from Arizona, asked top officials of the US government about reports that Boko

Haram had infiltrated some military units. In response, a senior Pentagon official, Friend, simply replied: “That’s a concern.” Friend’s sharp response, in her capacity as the principal director for African affairs at the Defense Department is considered an admission that the US is well aware of the possibility that some Nigerian military officers may have been critically compromised in the country’s battle against Boko Haram. But the Pentagon official also could not satisfactorily answer US Senators’ questions on whether the Nigerian military could act to rescue the children in case the US provides actionable intelligence. This, in fact, led to a testy

exchange between a Democratic Senator from New Jersey Rob Menendez and Friend. Said the Senator: “Here’s my problem. Here’s my problem, Friend…we’re going to support (Nigeria) as much as possible. But if we found actionable intelligence that identified where a large part or all of the girls are, and we do not believe or we don’t know if they have the capacity to act on it, what good will that  be?” But Friend responded that she could not speculate on the ability of the Nigerian military to respond adequately, another response considered a blunt US assessment of the Nigeria’s military readiness. Unsatisfied, Senator Menendez continued: “It is impossible to fathom that

we might actually have actionable intelligence and that we would not have the wherewithal either by the Nigerians themselves or by other entities helping the Nigerians to be able to conduct a rescue mission. And so, all of this would be worthless…We’re not going to wait until we find out that we have actionable intelligence and then find out that we don’t have the capacity to do this.” But the Pentagon had more damning rebuke for the Nigerian military. Friend said the Nigerian military is poorly trained, poorly equipped, and fearful of Boko Haram. According to her, the Nigerian military “don’t have the capabilities, the training, ...that Boko Haram does. And

Boko Haram is exceptionally brutal and indiscriminate in their attacks. So, we are now looking at a military force that’s, quite frankly, becoming afraid to even  engage.” So far, about four rallies have been held in New York City, especially in front of the Nigeria House including one last week attended by the Mayor of New York and civil rights leader, Rev. Al Sharpton. Yesterday, at 4pm, Nigerians and Americans in Long Island, eastern suburb of New York held the second rally in the area at the Long Island Rail Road Amityville Station under the auspices of CANAN. The Mayor of the town and other American Bishop, pastors and politicians spoke in condemnation of terrorism in Nigeria.


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NEWS Indians Celebrate Educational Excellence

HE Indian community in T Nigeria on Friday organised an education fair at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja. It was attended by the High Commissioner in Nigeria, Shri A.R. Ghanashyam. The event, which had 25 Indian institutions in attendance, was organised by the Bruhas Global Company of India. The fair showcased outstanding professional institutions, including the Bapuji Group of Schools, Sona College of Technology, TKM Group of Colleges, Shiats Deemed University, and Aditya Engineering Colleges.

Society For The Blind Signs MoU With Marketing Agency Founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), Prof. Pat Utomi (second left); rights activist, Joe Odumakin (third left) and Nollywood star, Funke Daramola (second right), and others, during CVL’s ‘Walk To Freedom’ at Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

Insecurity: NIS Repatriates 45 Illegal Immigrants HE Nigerian Immigration T Service (NIS) in Abia said 45 illegal immigrants arrested in different parts of the state have been repatriated to their respective countries of origin. Mrs. Anthonia Okpara, the controller of the service in the state, said yesterday in Umuahia at a news conference that the immigrants were from Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso. She explained that 70 immigrants were arrested during a recent raid of towns and cities by the service, noting that 45 persons of them had no valid documents. She said the immigrants were arrested in Umuahia, Aba, Ohafia and the cattle market in Umunneochi Local Government Area of the state. She said the raid would be a continuous exercise, describing it as part of security measures by the service to keep the state safe.

Okpara thanked the state government and military personnel in the state for their assistance in ensuring that the service got rid of illegal immigrants in the state. She warned residents of the state against indiscriminate hiring of immigrants for domestic and security jobs with-

out establishing their residency status. She noted that the ECOWAS Protocol, which allowed free movement of citizens of member states within the sub-region for a period of 90 days, was being flouted by many immigrants. “An immigrant must come

with travel documents through a recognised border and will be given a valid visitor’s card for 90 days which will enable him to visit the state. They are not allowed to take any form of employment and where they do, they must be given a resident card to enable them to work

and reside in Abia as legal immigrants,” Okpara said. She said that although there were no border towns in Abia, the service initiated proactive measures in collaboration with the state government and other security agencies to check illegal immigrants.

Christians Pray For Abducted Girls’ Release ment that the Church must issue that affects everyone. Church needs to provide HRISTIANS yesterday unite, leave differences be- “That is why we are calling leadership to the country. Cheld a 12-hour prayer hind and pray earnestly for on God, who is able to help The Church needs to show rally at the Tafawa Balewa this nation. I have always us by praying. This will go a

By Ijeoma Opara

Square, Lagos, for the schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram sect in Chibok, Bornu State. The event featured 12 pastors, with each leading a prayer session every hour. “What you are witnessing today,” said Pastor Ituah Ighadalo of Trinity House, “is a loud and categorical state-

been an advocate for unity. The Anglicans must join faith with the Pentecostals. The Catholics including other divisions, everybody must come together. There is more that keeps us together than divides us.” The founder, This Present House, Pastor Tony Rapu, said the Chibok kidnap is an

long way in intervening in the security issues in the country because when God steps into a situation, he makes a way.” Pastor John Enelamah of Apostles in the Market Place said the strength of the Church is in unity. “This is a very strategic move because we live at a time where the

that it is united, not divided, and speak with one voice.” Pastor Kenny Folarin of Daystar Christian Centre said: “We need to strategize and explore so many other opportunities with prayers. God can use that to penetrate some areas security operatives cannot get to and where we cannot physically reach.

Diocese Gives Posthumous Award To Late Alex Ibru From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE Oji River Diocese of the T Anglican Communion will today honour the late publisher of The Guardian, Alex

Ibru. The award, which is in recognition of Ibru’s services to God and humanity, will draw the curtain on the diocese’s First Session of the Sixth Synod.

The Arch Bishop of Enugu Province (Anglican Communion),  Dr Amos Madu, urged Nigerians to emulate the life and dedication of late Ibru, whom he said, “lived for God”.

Osun Sets Up Peace Resolution Commission HE Osun State governor has T inaugurated a Peace Resolution Commission to examine cases of abuse and breach of the peace. Quoting from Section 2, subsection 1 of Cap 29 of the state law, which empowered its establishment, Governor Aregbesola said protection of life and property is a constitutional provision and responsibility of every government. “It is clear to me on assumption

of office that maintenance of law and order will remain the bulwark and cornerstone of my administration. I also communicated this to my party members through series of warning that anyone who runs contrary to the law of the land would be met with adequate punishment. “It is this maintenance of law and order that has brought the absolute peace we are enjoying in the state today. The

former Inspector-General of Police and chairman Police Service Commission, Mr. Mike Okiro, attested to the fact that Osun State is the most peaceful state in Nigeria when he visited us a few months ago. “By submitting to the rule of law as citizens, the responsibility behoves on the government to guaranty rights to life, employment, residency and freedom of religion and the likes.

Madu said Ibru could be likened to William Wilberforce, Mary Slessor, Mother Theresa, Dr Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela. He said Ibru would continue to maintain a pride of place in the history of Christianity. He also described the deceased’s media platform as having played a significant role in building a better society. He said: “Alex Ibru was a lovely and wealthy Nigerian from an Anglican family. I met him a number of times and heard him share with us how the Lord touched his life and led him to give out his only beautiful village home estate to the Church. “That compound is now known as Church of Nigeria Retreat Centre or Ibru Centre,

Agbarha Otor in Delta State. I have never seen a beautiful place like that in Nigeria. He kept some money aside for the maintenance of the centre after its hand over. He gave away some other things also. He calls himself ‘God’s treasurer’.” Speaking on national issues, Madu said: “Greed, corruption, impunity and insensitivity have taken the centre stage in Nigeria. Our national response to the recent bomb blast and abduction of over 300 schoolgirls is to say the least a national tragedy.” He lamented that religious leaders have worsened the situation by failure to represent God and speak out against ills in the country.

NTDC Woos WTM For Host Right In Nigeria By Ajibola Amzat IGERIAN Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) is exploring the possibility of hosting the World Trade Market in Nigeria. The NTDC Director- General, Sally Mbanefo, wooed the organisers at the first World Travel market (WTM) Africa held in

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Cape Town recently. Also Nigeria’s stand, designed by the DG, was voted to be the most attractive and  well patronized at the tourism trade fair. Mbanefo said she had a fruitful discussion with Carol Weaving, Managing Director, WTM Africa, Reed Exhibition,

“and we are working on the possibility of hosting WTM in Nigeria. I also midwifed deep commitment of interest in promotion of Nigeria domestic tourism from Mr. Derek Houston, who is interested in building Convention Centre.” The DG further discussed with the  Expedia group, a

company set up by Bill Gate in 1996. The intercontinental company, according to her, has agreed to collaborate with NTDC in two major development schemes via tourism education, awareness and information dissemination with international buyers and sell-

ers. Others potential collaborators with NTDC are Javago.com, a money generating online search which would have a stay on NTDC’s website cultivating money and revenue to the corporation, and Euro Sports for tourism partnership, to pro-

By Gbenga Salau N line with its Corporate SoIVerdant cial Responsibility initiative, Zeal Marketing Communications has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria Society for the Blind (NSB). The Group Chief Executive Officer, Verdant Zeal Communications, Tunji Olugboji, during the signing ceremony in Lagos noted that the relationship between both parties is a right step towards greater heights for the Society, assuring that his company’s support and commitment towards the organisation would be total. On her part, the chairman of the NSB, Mrs. Abiola Agbaje described the day as historical. She said that the Society decided to reach out because it wanted a fresh breath of life that would be in tune with 21st century issues.

PASS Scheme: Ondo Begins Training For 300 Graduates Tomorrow HE Ondo State GovernT ment will tomorrow (Monday) commence a week-long intensive training for about 300 newly engaged young graduates under its Profarmer and Agro-preneurs Sustainable Scheme (PASS). Giving the overview of the training programme, the chairman of the State Wealth Creation Agency (WECA), Mrs. Bolanle Olafunmiloye, said the scheme was an initiative of the Agency to expose the potential Agro-preneurs to both theoretical and practical aspect of agriculture and agric-business.

Group Alarmed Over Kidnap Of Medical Doctors, Wants Improved Health Insurance

By Joseph Okoghenun OCTORS from the Lagos State chapter of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) have raised alarm over the rise in kidnapping of medical doctors. The doctors, who spoke in Lagos during a media briefing to announce activities to commemoration the World Family Doctors Day (May 19), said the problem of kidnapping could force them to start “subjecting their patients to security checks before attending to them, no matter the nature of the emergency in question.”

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Anglican Ends Synod: Calls For Security reform, Prayers For Abducted Chibok Girls From Charles Coffie Gyamfi (Abeokuta), Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku (Lagos) and John Akubo (Lokoja) hE Bishop of the Diocese of the Egba West of the Anglican Church, rev. Samuel Oludele Ogundeji, has urged different political interests to team up with government to chart the cause of the country. he spoke to the first session of the third synod of the Diocese, which ended in Abeokuta, Ogun State, yesterday. he said it is regrettable that “when a party is in charge of government other

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parties will not join hands for the progress of the state” but seek a means to pull down the system. “From now we must see ourselves as one and join hands together to build the state,” he said, adding that even Christians are not “showing sign that we are indeed one in Christ because there is so much discrimination among us.Why the orthodox and pentecostal churches look down on white-garment churches, the roman Catholic prefer to relate with other orthodox… “No wonder that we run ourselves down when we

preach instead of uplifting the name of Christ.” A communiqué issued at the end of the three-day synod stressed the need to “overhaul the security apparatus with emphasis on intelligence gathering, training and re-training of security personnel to meet the challenges of insecurity.” It appealed to security agencies to intensify efforts at ensuring prompt and unconditional release of the abducted Chibok girls while strengthening measures to protect lives and property. Lagos State Deputy Governor, Princess Adejoke Ade-

goke-Adefulire, has also called on Nigerians and sympathizers, all over the world, to pray for the release of the schoolgirls. Joined in the call for security overhaul is the Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), rev. James Olusola Odedeji. he urged the government to completely overhaul the security system in the wake of recent revelations and accusations stemming from the kidnapped saga. Both Adegoke-Adefulire and Odedeji spoke yesterday at the third session of the fifth

Synod of the Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) held in Lagos. Still, the Catholic Bishop of Lokoja Diocese, Most reverend Martin D. Olorunmolu, has expressed reservation about offer by the United States and other global powers to assist in freeing the abducted girls. Olorunmolu who spoke during a one-hour devotion for God to intervene in the matter at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral, Lokoja, said he is not entirely against the offer provided the intention is sincere.

Doom Awaits Defectors From PDP, Says Party Chieftain From John Akubo, Lokoja hE Kogi State Peoples T Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Alhaji hassan Salau, has rained curses on the PDP members that have benefited so much from the party but decided to dump it when their contributions were most needed. The chairman who spoke during a thank you rally organised for governor of the state in Okehi yesterday to appreciate the people for their support in 2012 election said it is not too late for defectors to return to evade the calamity that awaits them. Salau predicted doom for many of the defectors who have benefited so much from PDP but decided to pay the party that made them back with rebellion. he said the party has given many of them opportunity to amass wealth; send their children abroad and get many other benefits.

Buhari Commissions 75-kilometer road In Zamfara From Isah Ibrahim, Gusau OrMEr head of state and Fcaucus All Progressive National member, General

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State (left); President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, Mr. Femi Adesina (right); and other members of the guild a courtesy call at the Government House, Owerri, Imo State…yesterday.

Ooni Of Ife, Others Urge Yoruba Unity, Laud Osun Govt By Daniel Anazia SUN State Governor, OgO beni rauf Aregbesola, has called on citizens to ensure peace prevails in the state, even as he urged traditional rulers to redouble efforts in that regard. Aregbesola’s plea came on the heels of a similar call by traditional rulers for the unity of the Yoruba people. The monarchs made the plea at the end of the two-day conference. The governor, while delivering his address at the closing ceremony of a two-day conference organised for frontline traditional rulers in the state held at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding in Osogbo, noted that election periods constitute defining moments in the polity of the country, even as he described the role of traditional rulers as vital to effective governance. Aregbesola observed that traditional rulers have equal

duty in ensuring that democracy does not fail in their time.  “We will continue to place you on this high pedestal because it would amount to disrespect for our people and our customs to act in any contrary manner. This conference we have organised for you is partly aimed at

confirming to you the kind of honourable position in which we place you,” the governor said. Paramount ruler and Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, commended the governor for his achievements in the last three and half years, saying: “for the Yoruba nation to move forward, the people

must unite and forge a common front. We, as traditional rulers, occupy a central position in our respective domains and we must make sure that we set a good example for the people to see. “It is clear testimony that the present government has performed even beyond people’s expectation and I urge

the people to support the government so as to be able to do more. “Yoruba nation must progress: Yoruba nation must move forward and our people look up to us as their rulers to chat a way forward. And we must not fail to demonstrate our leadership role,” the Ooni said.

Edo Community Boundary Crisis Deepens From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin hErE is tension between the people of Iviukhua community, Weppa Wanno Kingdom, Agenebode and Ikphele farm settlement under Okpekpe in Etsako East Local Government Council of Edo State over a disputed land, which last month led to the death of one Oseni Ekhamheye from Iviukhua. Though the police is currently prosecuting one Okponobi Adamu for mur-

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• Group Petitions IG, NBC der under the state criminal code, the people of Iviukhua have petitioned the Inspector General of Police to ensure the mastermind of the attack now at large is brought to book, just as they ask the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to come in to settle the boundary dispute. In the petition signed by the head of Iviukhua community

and Ogierumuah of Egori Land, high Chief Bello Eshiebor and President General, Iviukhua Community, Dr Kennedy Izuagbe, cautioned that similar attacks in other parts of the country have snowballed into unmanageable proportions “but the leadership of Iviukhua community was able to prevail on her citizens, especially the youths, to prevent any

reprisal attacks because we believe in the time tested process of peaceful and constitutional resolution. “We also seize this opportunity to appeal to the relevant authorities to take urgent steps to resolve the age-long boundary dispute between Ikphele farm settlement who claims to be part of Okpekpe clan and Iviukhua. We are constrained to make this appeal following the incessant attacks and destruction of our farmlands.

Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday commissioned 75-kilometer road constructed by the administration of Gov. Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar  at the cost of N7.1 billion. Addressing hundred of people gathered to witness the event shortly after commissioning the project at Kaura Namoda council, the former head of state expressed satisfaction with the quality of the work and enjoined the state to continue in the path. Buhari said: “our rural communities are in need of this type of projects as they make transportation of farm products easier. I want to also thank the government of Zamfara for inviting me to commission the project.”

Catholic Youths Join War Against Indecent Dressing By Gbenga Akinfenwa hE war against indecent T dressing intensified recently, as the Catholic Young Adults Association (CYAA) of St Michael Catholic Church, Ketu, Lagos, staged a campaign to condemn what has been widely described a major ill in the society. Displaying placards with various inscriptions, the youths marched from Alapere to Ketu area, appealing to parents and youths to join hands together to fight the societal menace. President of CYAA, Ude Albert, who led the campaign themed ‘Walk Against Indecent Dressing’ noted that the problem cuts across both genders.


TheGuardian

www.ngrguardiannews.com

6 Sunday, May 18, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cityfile

Synagogue Economy:

How Church’s Success Boosts Business In Host Community A side view of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Ikotun, Lagos State

PHOTOS: FEMI ALABI ONIKEKU

By Femi Alabi Onikeku HAT people make of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) depends on what side of the fence they stand. For many, it is hated and maligned over what they perceive as unorthodox Christianity. But for residents at the fringes of its headquarters, the church is the best thing that has ever happened to the community. And they have good reasons to believe so. There are “uncountable hotels” in the area, said Rotimi, an Ikotun resident. Light-skinned and bearded, the young man seemed short of words to describe the magnitude of business potentials in the church’s host community. “It is cool money!” he exclaimed emphatically, adding, “money dey for this area!” Rotimi had wanted to rent a room near the church but had been put off by the exorbitant cost. He probably would rue that decision today. At least, he might have been one of “some people (who) will even let out their rooms to guests and then put up with friends”; all in a bid to make extra bucks. Suddenly, the phone rang. It was a lady. The interview was put on hold as the respondent fed the female with amorous words. He began to explain how his “precious brother” had come to visit him. And before you could say ‘Juliet’, he had passed on the phone, urging a conversation that could further consolidate his relationship with the lady. “Some landlords, even chase out their tenants and use the houses as lodges,” he went on, but not until he had explained how important it is to always say nice things to women. “Who knew this place before?” he asked matterof-factly, stressing that the host community lives off the church. “If this man (Pastor T.B. Joshua) relocates from here, everybody will suffer,” he concluded. So, how do guests find their ways to these innumerable lodges? “There are agents,” said Rotimi. “They bring people and then collect a commission.” Perhaps, Rotimi had a special way with figures or it was merely his way of stating hard facts, but the agents, like the hotels and lodges, are also “uncountable”.

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Into The World Of Merry Hostel Agents ISGUISED as a traveller, who for all the world might just have arrived from Ghana or Togo, I walked, slow-paced, past the imposing structure, taking in its magnificence, the skilfully crafted sculptures, the sighting of Oyibo men and women here and there, the armed and surprisingly smartly-dressed police officers, the…then an Okada (commercial motorcyclist)

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rode past. The rider, clad in a white shirt and black trousers was saying something. He was barely audible. He rode on. About a minute or two later, he returned. “Hostel?” he asked. “Yes, hostel,” I answered. “They don’t allow us to stop here,” he explained, urging me to hop quickly on the bike. “There are different, different rooms, he began. “There is one for N500. There is one for N1000. There is self-contained; that one is N2.500. Everything is per night.” The motorcyclist rode past the tarred road that stretched alongside the church building, and a little beyond, and then hit an un-tarred extension – Segun Irefin Street. It was the archetypal bad Nigerian or Ejigbo road. A turn to an alley ended the journey at a lodge. It was a spacious premise, which seemingly had consisted only a green flat. Now, other structures have sprouted to make space for the periodic flood of visitors. Still posing as a guest, a tour of the facilities began. ‘This big man would certainly not settle for a N500 room,’ the manager might have thought. And so, she led the way, first, to the N1000 affair, which looked like the flat’s parlour, stripped of furniture, replaced by some 10 or more mattresses neatly laid on the floor. Next was the N2.500 range. These were bed-rooms indeed: they had just enough space for a bed. Any baggage that thought to share the room might have to plead its way. The N500 ‘room’ might have deserved the name because it was meant for humans. Frankly, it could have hosted poultry. Plywood rose from a concrete floor to form an enclosure with a door. Halfway to the roof was wire mesh for windows. One brown fan looked down pathetically on some mats and carpet? “Let me have the N1000 room,” I said, placing the sum on the table as the lady reached for her register. The motorcyclist, meanwhile, had found himself a chair and was looking on. “No, don’t bother,” I told her. She put the book away and I explained my true mission. The money was for her troubles, and for the Okada man’s, I explained. About an hour after the encounter, however, the motorcyclist walked up to me: “Oga, you no go find something for me?” he asked. “But I told her that the money was for both of you,” I said perplexed. The motorcyclist was equally astonished at the lady’s strange behaviour. Barely six or seven footsteps into our resolve to go and challenge the lady, he said: “Oga, no problem. You fit just dey go. E no go good make I worry you. Make you just dey go.”

NE agent, Nnamdi, explained how profitable business has been. “I was living in an uncompleted building before. I started leading people to lodges and collecting small, small… Now, I live in a rented three-bedroom apartment. I am married with children. I have about eight brothers and sisters living with me and feeding, with my kids,” he said. “This church makes Ikotun lively,” Nnamdi went on. “In the past, nobody knew about Ikotun. But now, people all over the world, as a result of the church, recognise the location. And when they did, things began to move on well. You can see that if you enter the community, there are no poor people there. Things are moving. Whatever you display will be sold. People let out their apartments to guests and use the proceeds to take care of their families and themselves. But for this church, I don’t think people here would have had such opportunity. These agents, for example, some of them have even bought cars.” Felix, a co-agent, however, thinks the boom in business has had a negative effect. “Landlords will chase you out of the house and use the place for accommodation. Many houses have become lodges. If you count 20 houses at random, you will find that about 17 are lodges; they are frustrating people. Look at the man that owns that storey building (pointing to a building), the Pastor queried him, asking, ‘how can you drive people out of your house?’ It is frustrating.” Nevertheless, he admitted: “I am benefiting from the church. On a regular day, even without dissipating much energy, I take home at least N20.000. But it is not everybody that can do this job. You will notice that there is hardly a Yoruba boy here. Instead, you will find Delta, Igbo, Calabar and other states; these are people who are good at hustling.”

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tag. “We don’t have these rooms available for now,” Sufi said, pointing to a price list that indicated N4.400. But then there were other rooms: executive with A/C N5.500; executive, A/C, hot bath N6.600; executive, A/C, big bed N7.700; twin bed N8.800; big bed, hot bath N8.800. USINESS owners in the area seemed reluctant B to disclose how much rent they pay for their shops. One Mrs. Philips, however, admitted it was “high” compared to what is obtainable in other parts of Ikotun. Upon learning that a reporter was in her shop, she emerged from an enclosure within, hands whitened with flour. She had been making pastries and the inviting aroma hung pleasantly in the air. There was strong indication that business was good. The shop looked ‘filled to the brim’; and some unlucky items may have had to wait patiently for their turn to occupy the shelves. While the cost of renting a shop would ordinarily have bit quite painfully, Mrs. Philips admitted she doesn’t feel it, as a result of sales occasioned by the church’s programmes. One food seller in the community, Charles, argued, “There is no business that is particularly for men or women,” when he was asked what he thought about being in a business predominantly undertaken by women. “It is just like mobile phones. Some people will say, ‘this is for women’ or ‘that is for men’. But it is not true. Business is business, whether it is a woman doing it or not. Asked how he would rate business, Charles chose the word: “excellent!” HE church plays host to people from practiT cally all corners of the world. For persons who come from West Africa and who are minded to

travel back by road, flash garages appear along the busy Ikotun road near the premise of the church. It was found that a bus ride to Ghana for passengers with passports costs N9.500 while those without passports pay N13.000. Those with “virgin” passports are charged N10.000. Three T Kaywy Lodge, The Guardian met Sufi transport companies – Rock Foundation, Elcharis Onilewura. Sitting in front of a Lenovo laptop, the young man said: “Many investors have and The Young ply the Ghana route. Also, passenswarmed on Ikotun. What people do now is buy gers may board buses for Enugu or Kaduna at houses, break them down and build up hotels.” N3.000 and N5.000 respectively. It was also His disclosure was not difficult to verify. Across found that besides conveying passengers to or the road, a multi-floor hotel was nearing com- from the church, many drivers make handsome money by liaising with managers of hotels and pletion. “The church has totally changed the landscape of this area. It is now a big commer- lodges. They drivers bring the passengers to the residences, and earn a corresponding commiscial environment,” he said. sion per head. There appeared to be a touch of class to the lodge; something Sufi suggested makes his CONTINUED ON PAGE 7 guests keep coming back. But there is a price

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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

7

CITYFILE

‘This Church Is A Money-spinner For The Community’

A section of the bad road Rotimi

Eyitope

Charles

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 ‘Business Transcends Religious Borders’ NE basic find was that the sweet waters of business in the host community was being sipped, not just by faithful of the church alone but by everything – from Animism to Zoroastrianism. The religious divisiveness that plagues the larger society and which often results in bloodletting was nowhere to be found. And like dehorned creatures, assuaging their thirst at some cool meadow, the Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, and all others, stooped for once in unity of purpose for a drink. “Business is not religion,” said Engr. K.Y. Aminu, chairman of Pilgrims Hostel Operators’ Association, an umbrella body of lodgings providers in the area. He downplayed unwarranted emphasis on religion: “His church being here is an asset to the entire community. Apart from people engaged in accommodation business, there are others who sell food, plait hair and sew dresses. It’s not an issue of whether I am a Muslim or not. The thing is that I am making money out of something that he has established. It is like building a stadium, like Surulere stadium. During the days when it was good, people around the facility were getting business.”

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‘Miracle’ Electricity Line F business people who live near the church enjoy anything above what many Nigerians do, it is good electricity supply. The reason for the miracle, many Ikotun residents say, is that T.B. Joshua used his influence to channel the line to the area. But one Mr. Akinola, who works in the area, refuted this. “It is not because of T.B. Joshua that electricity is constant here,” he said. “It is because of the 33kva line that passes through this area. It is chance. T.B. Joshua did not influence it. Even he only had an opportunity to connect his church to it. How can one individual do that? Forget such talk. If that were so, Lebanese firms that have folded up would have done the same. Dunlop would also have done so. Dandy chewing gum too would have. Even the church doesn’t altogether rely on this electricity line. On Sunday, for instance, he (T.B. Joshua) uses power generators. That shows that there is possibility of power cut. In 24 hours, you could have 18 hours of supply. So, it is better compared to other areas.”

A hotel nearing completion

Felix

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‘This Bad Road Is Hurting Business’ ESIDES the age-worn Ikotun road and the beautiful stretch that runs past the side of the church, there is little to be desired of any other road in the host community. A respondent remarked that the deplorable state of Segun Irefin street, particularly, has often made guests change their minds about lodging in the area. As at Wednesday (May 14, 2014), rain had fallen and the road was a mess of dirt, mud and floodwater. Another source also highlighted how the road is hurting business. “The only problem here is the road. T.B. Joshua wanted to tar the road. But he had a misunderstanding with the company beside the church. There was a little piece of land between the church and the company. They could not reach an agreement on it. When they went to court, the company won. Even when he was trying to fix the road, the company said, ‘no, we don’t want a situation where we won’t be able to control our own portion of the land. Tar your own side; we will tar ours’. So, Joshua did his own end and the company did its. The government may have to do the rest. And think of it, this is an industrial area and these companies pay tax to the government.” Another source added: “We heard that the church wanted to repair it and the owner of the street said that he (Joshua) should not do it; that the road belongs to him. You claim that you own

Nnamdi

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Shops displaying assorted items

the road, but who knows you? People know the church. Leave him (i.e., Joshua). Let him… He wants to spend his own money. Even if you put your name on the street… My brother, since I came here, the name has remained Synagogue Road. When these foreigners ask, ‘why is the road so bad?’ I tell them, ‘this is a village. In a village, things are not always as you want them to be’.” ‘Only The Wise Will Smile…At The End’ RS. Eyitope sells fabric in the area. She explained that life is fraught with vicissitudes; hence people must be discrete about how they manage proceeds. “Before, about two years ago, you will sell, sell, sell…Sometimes, you will not even know what to do with the money. This is because, as you bring in the items, people buy them up. But things have changed, because more people are going into

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this business in this area. And you can’t expect everybody to buy goods from you alone. That is the reality of trading.” “I thought recently that if the entire business bubble around the church bursts, maybe due to some unforeseen circumstance, what would be next? As a businessperson, you are expected to sit down and think about what could happen in the future; not focus on the present alone. So that as the money keeps flowing in,

Aminu

you will be wise enough to save some amounts in a fixed deposit. This is because, if the business collapses, you will have something to fall back on. It is failure to follow this basic principle that drives people into bankruptcy. For instance, in the past, programmes were held for four or five weeks. But now, it is two weeks. The programmes for this month have come and gone. And that is why you are not seeing people around.”


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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

CITYFILE

New Umuahia Market: ‘Why Shops Might Be Seized, Re-allocated’ From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia ITTING on about 24 hectares of land, along SFederal the Umuahia-Uzuakoli-Ohafia-Arochukwu Road, Umuahia market, also known as Ubani Ibeku market, was conceived as part of efforts by Governor Theodore Orji to decongest and beautify the state capital. The market, as a result, was relocated to its new site, some eight kilometres from Umuahia. The governor had disclosed that colonial administrators started the journey to the new ground in 1935, but that they had lacked political will to effect the relocation. Designed as a modern business facility, the market has capacity for about 7,000 stores, in long blocks of buildings, beautifully roofed in red sheets. It has facilities like schools, motor parks for commercial operators, and another park for traders and visitors. It also boasts of banks, fire station, security posts, hospital etc. It was planned to allow smooth passage of heavy vehicles, and its entry and exit roads are dualised. The new location is safe from flooding. Thanks to the topography, which aided by artificial drainage, channels water away as soon as rain falls. This helps to keep the market grounds from becoming muddy and filthy. The Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) also ensures daily collection of refuse. The chairman of th e Umuahia Market Traders Association (UMATA), Mr. Ejindike Onyebuchi, captured the situation at the market: “We now have fewer complaints. Business is picking up; there is tight security, even though the fencing of the market is yet to commence. The fire service, transport service, clinic, commercial and private motor parks are all in place. Water is available, free of charge. The toilets are very clean. We do not experience traffic gridlock, even at peak periods. There is electricity. Some of these facilities were not available in the old market. We now see the real reason the government relocated the market to this place.” He, however, said that what remains for the government is completion of the UmuezeUbani road. Although contract for the project has been awarded, he regretted the slow pace of work, pointing out that when the road is finished, it would reduce the length of time spent traveling to the market from Umuahia. Onyebuchi also revealed that some traders

who bought shops in Ubani Ibeku market were yet to move into them. He lamented that some people have simply locked up their shops, while others have converted them into residential buildings. He warned that the market’s authority might be forced to seize such shops and re-allocate them. He urged the state government to enforce the relocation to Ubani Ibeku market. “If this is not done, Ubani will not progress,” he said. When The Guardian visited the market on Monday, more than 100 applicants for shops had besieged the market’s office, calling on the chairman, Ebenezer Offor, to allocate shops to them. Offor said that efforts were underway to allocate more shops to the traders. He, however, decried the situation where some allottees turned down their shops on the grounds that they were not favourably located. Offor said that standard shops now sell for N500,000 instead of the N400,000 demanded from persons who had shops in the old market. “This is because all those that owned shops in the old market, and who applied, were allocated shops within a specified time frame. Any new applicant now will pay N500,000. The deadline for the traders to move to the new site expired September 2013,” he said. One of the applicants, Mrs. Victoria Ibeneche, said that she owned a shop at the old market and that at a time, she did not have money to pay for a shop at the new site, “but I am now in a position to do so. That is why I applied for one.” A total of 4.5 kilometres of dual roads with drainages was constructed in the market through a contract executed by Pumeco Industries Ltd. The company’s Managing Director, Paul Ezeanyagu, warned the traders against dumping refuse into the drains to prevent blockage and subsequent flooding. He also cautioned them against burning refuse on road pavements. The company also handled the expansion of 6.8 kilometres of the Umuahia-Uzuakoli road, which leads to the market, thereby enhancing the flow of traffic. The state government has provided branded shuttle buses that ply the market to and fro, carrying passengers for as low as N30 per drop. A trip to the market from Umuahia lasts about 20 minutes on smooth wide road. Meanwhile, the relocation of the old market has paved the way for construction, by the state government, of an events centre.

Sections of the new market

PHOTO: GORDI UDEAJAH

Lafia: A Town’s Weary Fight Against Filth From Msugh Ityokura, Lafia HE environmental condition in Nasarawa State, especially Lafia, the state capital, and the urban centres of Nyanyan and Mararaba is disturbing. The satellite towns of Nyanya and Mararaba host the majority of Abuja’s work force, as many government ministries and departments have official quarters in these areas. The high cost of living in Abuja, coupled with the continued demolition of ‘illegal’ structures there, has resulted in many people finding accommodation in Nassarawa State. The result is an overstretching of facilities. Of note is the health implication of indiscriminate disposal of human faeces. Needless to say, deadly outbreak of cholera had been recorded in the state. Heaps of refuse are almost at every corner. And the offensive mounds often slow down road users on the major highway leading to Abuja. The starting point of the menace is Masaka market, where commuters are often forced to a halt, as a result of the activities of traders who indiscriminately display their wares by the roadside. Lafia, the administrative headquarters of the state, is ironically becoming the epicenter of filth. There seems to be an irresistible urge to convert every available space into a dumping ground of some sort. Roasted meat, fruits, grains and other con-

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A dirty street behind the Central Bank Building in Lafia

PHOTO: MSUGH ITYOKURA

Of note is the health implication of indiscriminate disposal of human faeces. Needless to say, deadly outbreak of cholera had been recorded in the state. Heaps of refuse are almost at every corner. And the offensive mounds often slow down road users on the major highway leading to Abuja. sumables are openly sold at dirty roadsides without recourse to health concerns. A resident in Nyanyan, Emeka Nwuwi, who spoke to The Guardian, lamented the inability of the Nasarawa State Urban Development Board (NUDB) to clear the mountains of refuse. “There is hardly a morning I leave my house in Masaka for Berger where I work without encountering gridlock under the Masaka footbridge because of the mountain of refuse there,” he said. Nwuwi called on the government to live up to its responsibility. Another resident, Mohammed Idris, called for the sack of the managing director of NUDB. “The board collects money from people and approves housing plans where buildings are not supposed to be erected. They can’t even manage waste. See how dirty Lafia is,” he said angrily. Several phone calls to the NUDB boss, Suleiman Mohamed, for his reaction, were not answered. Repeated visits by The Guardian to his office did not yield results either.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Sunday, May 18, 2014

9

NOTEBOOK

Why The President Must Sack His Media Team

President Jonathan

By Prosper Ahworegba HESE have not been the best of times for PresT ident Jonathan. Since the Nyanya bomb blast that consumed over 70 souls, and the abduction of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno State, the President has been at the receiving end of well-aimed barbs. As he confessed recently, it is impossible for him to sleep.  The President cannot sleep because he is obviously dazed from uncountable blows carefully aimed and delivered on his head by cerebral pugilists from Nigeria and across the world. From acerbic press conferences and/or statements by international icons to scathing editorials by media houses, both local and foreign, the President has been ridiculed, vilified and maligned using all known literary weapons - caricature, burlesque, lampoon, mimicry, parody, travesty, and even outright abuse to maximum effect. Indeed, no known President in history has been so rubbished.  I sympathize with him. The Guardian, renowned for its fierce independence and from whose stable the President’s spokesman got elevated to his current position, fired the first damning salvo in a sear-

ing editorial entitled, “The insensitivity in Kano”. This opened the floodgates of vitriolic editorials and press statements. The Economist of London and the New York Times followed suit with - “A Clueless Government” and “Jonathan leads a corrupt government that has little credibility”. Sen. Hillary Clinton, America’s immediate past Secretary of State, and Senator John McCain completed the routing from the US end. This is apart from comments by numerous other international figures, other local newspapers’ editorials and satellite TV news reviews in which the President is repeatedly and continually called names. But, “if you must blame the hawk for being harsh”, says an Isoko proverb, “you must first scold mother-hen for exposing her chicks to danger”.  The immediate cause of this barrage of abuses is the seeming nonchalance of the government at rescuing the kidnapped girls. No government, however misguided and incompetent, will go to sleep when such a huge number of her young citizenry are abducted. Without a grain of doubt, the government must have been doing her best to rescue these young students, but the President’s media team failed

to live up to expectation. The President is not expected to brief the nation daily on steps the government is taking to rescue the abducted girls. It is someone’s duty for which he lives off the government and is handsomely remunerated. Yet the President is lampooned for the ineffectual rescue efforts because the buck stops on his table. Even the military spokesman that claimed that the military had rescued nearly all the abducted girls, a day after the incident, when that was a blatant lie, didn’t help the image of Jonathan and his government. The President’s image-makers (Dr. Doyin Okupe, Dr. Reuben Abati, Mr. Labaran Maku and Mr. Reno Omokri; and the PDP spokesman, Mr. Olisa Metuh) have been both ineffectual and ineffective in their duties. Indeed, the team’s performance has been woeful and shamefully disgraceful. Whereas the President is sincere and determined to improve on the fortunes of Nigerians, the opposition hung the tag of ‘cluelessness’ on his neck. It is the duty of his image-makers to repeatedly inform and educate the public that the President is not what he is called by the opposition. This is done through persuasion not the abrasiveness and gutter language that Dr. Abati and Okupe are wont to employ in tackling critics. A presidential spokesman represents the President and must thus appear presidential in carriage, speech and demeanour, at all times. On CNN, both Dr. Okupe and Mr. Labaran Maku, the Minister of Information, caught a pitiable picture. They were unsure of their answers when interviewed by Isha Sesay on the actions taken so far by the government to rescue the missing girls, so much so that in order to cover up their inadequacies, they resorted to shouting to intimidate the journalist who stood her ground. Both were abrasive, unpresidential in comportment and incoherent. Like millions of viewers, I was also baffled when they confessed that three weeks after the abduction of the school teenage girls, an information centre was yet to be set up. When are we going to learn to get things right? Is the  President to set up an information centre? What is the duty of Mr. Labaran Maku, Dr. Okupe, Dr. Abati and Mr. Reno Omokri, if they have to wait on Mr. President to personally direct them to set up an information centre on the abducted girls? The President is being insulted because of the failure and gross incompetence of his imagemakers. Most bewildering was Mr. Labaran Maku’s unmitigated incoherence on the allegation that the military was informed some four hours before the attack on Chibok began, but did nothing. Hear Labaran Maku, “I will investigate”. “No, we will investigate”. “No, I will investigate”, “I will investigate”, “We will investigate”. This was most

ignominious.  Dr. Okupe, on the other hand, said that they have not been relaying to the public the actions of the government because they (the government) are not showbiz people. So how do the citizenry get to know what the government is doing when they are kept in the dark? Would you then blame the citizenry, who because of lack of information from the government, accuse it of nonchalance and incompetence?  Political communication strategists aver that politics is war in which munitions are not deployed. Like the prosecution of war that involves tactics and propaganda, politics also involves these.  Josef Goebbels, the head of the Nazi propaganda machine, once quipped: “A lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth”.  The opposition hung the tag of “a clueless President” on the neck of Goodluck Jonathan and it has been so often repeated that it is turning into the President’s middle name and gradually becoming the truth ala Goebbels. This is “kitchen sink” that was poured on the President by the opposition, as American political communications strategists would say, and it is embarrassingly disconcerting that it has stuck because of the ineffective and ineffectual media team of Mr. President. It is discomfiting and shameful that the President’s media team has not been able to wash this off with huge budgets and national electronic media - TV and radio - at their disposal. If the negative perception of the President’s person and performance is to change, he must wield the big stick. His ‘clueless’ team of image-makers that has no answer to the opposition propaganda machine must be sacked. They are to blame for the vilifications Mr. President has been visited with. They are dead woods and must be fired without delay. Finally, seasoned political communications strategists have of late being at work for Gen. Buhari (rtd), and the difference is evident. Who would have imagined that such persuasive press statements crafted in sweet prose and perfumed diction, would have emanated from the table of the strong-talking Buhari?  Gen. Buhari’s two statements in the past three weeks have helped his approval rating which has soared going by the comments of readers of Nigerian online newspapers. Following the release of the first press statement on the Nyanya bombing, even the President hailed Gen. Buhari as a respected statesman. That is the effect of a good media team - to shore up and sustain a positive image of their principal. Given the fierce urgency of the moment, the President needs a good team of political communications strategists and consultants to replace his current failed media team. 

Ahworegba, Physician, Healthcare Consultant and Political Communications Strategist, is the author of The Nigerian 100: The Most Influential Nigerians of All Times.

The Day Fayose Floors Oni At Ifaki Ekiti By Tayo Asubiaro HE mega rally recently orT ganised by the Ayo Fayose Campaign Organisation of Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at Ifaki Ekiti, Mr. Segun Oni’s hometown, was perhaps one of the biggest assemblage of people of various diverse groups, be it political or religious gathering in the state in recent time. The rally was apparently put up by the organisation as a way of defusing  the media hype and the wrong signal that was coming from different quarters following the earlier declaration of the former governor of the state and former national vice chairman of the PDP in the South-West geo-political zone, Oni to the All  Progressives Congress (APC) and his subsequent support for the party’s gubernatorial candidate in June 21 governorship election, Dr Kayode Fayemi. Oni, may have shocked remnants of his supporters by dancing in the market with his open declaration of support for APC  against their wishes and aspirations, the former governor had on Monday, May 5 this year made a mess of himself by declaring support for Fayemi

the man  who had humiliated and demonised him for a considerably number of period. Fayemi had engaged him in three and half years of rigorous legal battle with a bit of hijacking power from him at all cost, the result being Justice Ayo Salami’s saga, the rest is now history. Fayemi did not stopped at that, he went at capitalising on the mundane things like ensuring the removal of  Oni’s photograph in his office and gave the directive to  members of the state House of Assembly to the effect of drafting what could be described as draconian law that dealt with the two former governors, Oni and Mr. Ayo Fayose, with the law, Oni’s tenure as a  governor for three and half years in the state was to be declared nullity and unknown to law, hence, the law was to made Oni forfeited all his entitlements in the state. Fayemi, in his morbid aim of pursuing his perceived enemies gone as far as phasing out what could be regarded as a model institution of higher learning in the country, Ekiti State University of Science and Technology sited at Ifaki Ekiti at the detriment of the whole community, while the  students who were at the

verge of moving to part three at that time, most of them left the university in frustration. Our omnipotent and power intoxicating governor even tried to criminalise the regime of Oni by commissioning a special committee to review some of the road projects executed during his  regime and the committee headed by a retired top civil servant in the state came out with a white paper as a government that has derailed and mismanaged the finances of the state, among others. These may have made it difficult for Oni to convince his  supporters who had served during his regime and hence less than five percents of them actually followed him in to the foray into the party of absurdities called APC. The mega rally has provided an opportunity for both the indigenes and residents of the town to show their resentment to Oni’s decision who has  found a new  ally with Fayemi, whom majority of them have regarded as their common enemy. Thousands of the residents and supporters of Fayose had stormed the Palace Square, venue of the rally as early as 11

am for a programme slated for 2 pm, they all struggled to get a glimpse and see a redeemer and lover of the masses man otherwise called Osokomole. They came in different groups, clad in their best attires, while non indigenes especially, the Ebirra community, Igbo, Gede and Hausa communities all were not left out, they came in their hundreds  dancing and singing in their native languages to welcome their preferred candidate, Fayose into the town. The motorcycling commercial operators, otherwise known as okada riders and commercial drivers were not left out to give honour to whom honour is due. At the occasion, Fayose spoke in a clear language and apparently spoken their minds, especially some of the issues that were bordering their minds. He described Oni’s defection from PDP as very regrettable, Fayose alleged that Fayemi will betray Oni the way he treated him after he became Governor, despite that he worked for his victory during the 2009 re-run election.

“After October 16, 2010 when Fayemi was pronounced the governor, he left me in the cooler and I know very soon that he will put Oni in the cooler.” Fayose, who expressed optimism that Oni will return to the PDP, however, said he is ready to plead with the party leaders to grant him waiver anytime he wishes to return to the party. The rally has provided answers to most of the issues that were clamoring for attention  especially the plan of Fayose to create jobs for the numerous youths roaming the streets, the need to review the now defunct or abrogated University of Science and Technology earlier sited in the town. The rally equally provided a veritable forum where a large followers and personal friends of Oni like Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Ayo Arise, his Deputy Sikiru Lawal and most of his former commissioners and local government appointees under Oni had to gather in his native town to condemn their one time boss whom they jointly and severally perceived to have misled them. The rally equally provided an opportunity for members of the party to measure their

strength and perhaps weaknesses. It was also an opportunity of announcing to their members  of plans to bring the national leader of the party and the President, Goodluck Jonathan to the state on May 22 and 23 this year. Jonathan is expected  to be in Ado Ekiti between May 22 and 23 to drum support for the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party Governorship candidate, Fayose in preparation for the June 21 governorship election. The president was initially billed to pay a visit to the state between April 12 and 13, but was cancelled due to the inability of the officials of the Sports Council to give approval to the usage of the stadium. Present at the rally are Fayose’s wife, Mrs. Feyisetan Fayose, exdeputy Governor Biodun Olujimi, Senator Teslim Folarin, Senator Ayo Arise, former Rep member, Duro Faseyi, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, a former Commissioner under Oni, Mr. Dare Omotoso, Hon Bisi Kolawole, former State Deputy Chairman, David Oke among others.

Chief Tayo Asubiaro, Retired Banker and Political Analyst, writes from Ikole Ekiti.


10

Sunday, May 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Backlash Abraham Ogbodo

08055328079 (Sms only) abogbodo@yahoo.com

So Sweet To Abuse Jonathan AMBASTING President Goodluck Jonathan has Lopposition become a national past time especially among politicians. Somehow, these people have managed to pin down everything that is wrong in Nigeria to the President and the Presidency. President Jonathan now wears a tag of the Destroyer Of Nigeria and the more he tries to offload the tag, the harder the opposition squeezes it around his neck. It is the second time I am witnessing a head of state of Nigeria that is helpless. The first was between August 26 and November 17, 1993 when former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, who annulled the free and fair June 12 1993 presidential election conscripted then chairman of United Africa Company (UAC), Chief Ernest Shonekan to head an Interim National Government so that he (Babangida) could step aside. It was a kind of lopsided diarchy, which allocated a very big name to Shonekan and then pushed all the powers to the minister of defence, General Sani Abacha. The one who had name had no power to do things and when the one who had power got tired of answering a small name, he used his power to consolidate the big name and power in himself and thereafter transformed to a behemoth. I do not want to believe things are that bad with President Jonathan. He was elected and not appointed like Chief Ernest Shonekan. And so, he has both the authority and power to do things. But as he has admitted himself recently during his last media chat with selected editors, things would go haywire if he decides to exercise just 60 per cent of his inherent powers as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the most populous black nation on earth. If enemies are allowed to interpret this, they will simply say that the President has admitted to operating at less than 50 per cent of his installed capacity. They will stretch the interpretation further to say

that things are so bad because the under-utilisation at the Presidency is permeating all departments of national life. In a way therefore, President Jonathan allows the heaping of all the country’s problems on his shoulders. He should reach for full or at least about 90 per cent capacity utilisation and put a stop to all this nonsense talk going on. Things can go haywire if they like and heavens will not fall because heavens have never fallen before. Things have gone so bad that if an APC’s legislator fails to make his wife pregnant after 15 years of marriage, the delay is pinned down to Jonathan. It is Goodluck Jonathan that is making it impossible for some state governments to pay the salaries of primary school teachers. The inability to get the enrolment threshold in most primary and secondary schools in Northern Nigeria is caused by Jonathan. It is Jonathan and his wife Patience, that are telling children from that part of the country not to go to school. In fact, the phrase ‘education is forbidden’ (Boko Haram) was created and promoted by Jonathan to achieve his sinister purpose of stopping children from the North from going to school. Today, a whole tribe of newspaper columnists derive entirely their topics week in, week out, from the ‘sins’ of Jonathan. One wrote that there is no potable water in Nigeria because Jonathan is not working at full capacity. Another said all the deficits in healthcare, housing and education sectors across board are caused by Jonathan. In Lagos, the prohibitive tuition fees at the Lagos State University (LASU), which makes it the most expensive public institution in Nigeria is caused by Jonathan. It was Jonathan also, who, contrary to the norm everywhere, imposed a Vice Chancellor on the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, precipitating a trade crisis that has lingered since August 2012 and with no resolution in sight because Governor Rotimi

Amaechi, oh sorry, I mean President Goodluck Jonathan is expressing full powers as sole Visitor to the University. So far, the narrative has been presented as if the Federal Government legislates on all matters. Far from it! Although more things are exclusive to the centre, things that define good governance are responsibilities that cut across all levels of government. That is why there are federal schools (secondary and tertiary) as different from state owned schools. The same distinction exists in the health sector where the three levels of healthcare delivery – primary, secondary and tertiary – fall respectively under the purview of the local, state and federal governments. It is therefore gratuitous and even escapist to heap the entire blame on the federal government alone for the shortfalls in these crosscutting areas of responsibilities. If there is hunger in the land as there is currently, the states should share more in the blame because whereas there is only one federal minister of agriculture, who is always talking, there are 36 state commissioners of agriculture who are not saying anything and perhaps not doing anything too. Even the issue of internal security should not be treated differently. It should come as a shared responsibility, although it is exclusively listed against the Federal Government in the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution. That is the only way to explain the obscene monthly security votes of state governors. Last Friday, Segun Adeniyi went for the interrogative in settling for a suitable title for his weekly column on the back page of Thisday Newspaper. How Do We Get Out Of Chibok? he asked. Good question but Mr. Adeniyi inexplicably skipped the first and more relevant question to ask the second. And I ask: How did we get to Chibok? We may plead the expediency of the moment to seek to answer the second question before coming back to the first or sweep it under the carpet altogether. Unfortunately, some of these issues are resolved the same way mathematical posers are rested. That is, the answer is less important than the procedure to the answer. People do not just jump to answers from nowhere in mathematical equations; something must lead to another to reach the answer. This, to me, is a more honest way at looking at Boko Haram and all the associated challenges. I must confess however that I was greatly relieved by the fact that Segun came close to answering the first question in the body of the wellpresented article. The totality of his submission was that we got to Chibok because of bad politics or more suc-

HE House of Representatives did very well by T approving last Thursday, President Jonathan’s request for an extension of the emer-

SUNDAY NARRATIVE

gency rule which has been in place in the three northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. The Lower House demonstrated an uncommon understanding of the issues that buffet Nigeria, by not siding with some elements who do not want the fight against Boko Haram insurgency to come to a decisive end. It is hoped that the Senate, this week will give a resounding approval to the demand for extension, in spite of the antics of elements who still go about with the brand name of ‘Northern Senators’, even in the face of the mortal danger posed by the terrorists. They still love to play politics with this deadly matter. The National Assembly could have done even better, by not waiting for Mr. President’s request before approving an extension. By so doing, they could have saved the country an unnecessary debate on a matter that required utmost urgency. Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution empowers the Presidency in collaboration with the National Assembly to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the federation or any part thereof. And that was exactly what they did in May 2013 for the aforementioned three states. An extension was requested and granted six months after, when the insurgency had not been conquered. Another six months after, Boko Haram has become more daring, taking unlawfully into its custody hundreds of girls from Chibok Secondary School and making Nigeria the laughingstock of the civilized world. In addition to abducting girls, the terrorists take pleasure in killing and destroying public property that will cost huge sums to replace. Without waiting for the emergency rule to expire and for Mr. President to request for extension, Section 305 (6: c) empowers the NASS to, before the expiration of the period of six months, extend the period of proclamation of emergency to remain in force from time to time for a further period of six months by resolution. The conditions spelt out in 305 (3) still prevail in the three states: A war is ongoing and the Federation is in imminent danger of invasion by Boko Haram militants, who crisscross the borders to perpetrate havoc. There is actual breakdown of public order and safety, in the three states, with threats by the insurgents to invade Abuja and other parts of Nigeria from neighboring countries where they operate camps. Clearly, Nigeria is at war. The Senate President, David Mark has said so. Others who had the privilege or misfortune to have experienced the

Alabi Williams oruku35@gmail.com 08116759790 (Sms only)

Need For More Stringent Emergency Rules Nigerian Civil War, firsthand, say that the activities of Boko Haram amount to a declaration of war, a condition that without argument deserves a declaration of state of emergency. Whoever does not support an extension, obviously has an agenda that is different from what the Constitution stipulates. Some northeast elders say they do not want an extension of emergency rule; they want normalcy to return quickly so that citizens can move about without heavy military presence. Unfortunately, they do not have the capacity and authority to chase Boko Haram away on their own. They do not want military presence, but they still depend heavily on the Federal Government to secure their homes and farmlands. They want to have their cake and eat it. At other times they do not want state police, now they say there should be community policing to allow those who understand the communities police them. Nigeria is a bundle of contradiction and unfortunately, it is the federal government that is made to carry the liabilities of federating units that are not allowed to think for themselves. And when the debate is put on the floor to have the federal government shed excess weight and devolve more responsibility and resources to states, so that federating units are given more autonomy and capacity, the same people who blame a distant federal government for failing to provide jobs and education for their citizens would be the ones to oppose substantial decentralization. Their idea of a federal government, it seems, is one that gives the tiny elite access to the federal government’s share of the federation account, which they do not transmit to people at the grassroots. But they are the ones who will tell foreign media that poverty is responsible for the insurgency in the northeast. How can you empower ordinary people of northeast and other far-flung parts of the country if you do not disperse the huge and idle resources that are concentrated in Abuja? It is hoped that Boko Haram elements, after their drunken state of terror would slip into reverie, to realise the tricks

played on them by the political class. Very likely, none of the children of members of the northeast political class are enrolled among the insurgents and none of their children have been kidnapped. It is ordinary Nigerians who are as ordinary as members of Boko Haram that are moving from camp to camp in Sambisa, either as terrorists or as victims. This is the tragedy of the common man in Nigeria. When bombs went off at the Eagle Square, Abuja on the occasion of Nigeria’s independence anniversary in 2010, 12 persons were killed and 17 injured. The entire country was embarrassed, as the evil plotters preferred the solemn moment of celebration to strike. President Jonathan was distraught and he became the chief mourner. He went to the hospital to commiserate with the injured, even as he contemplated where the bombs came from. Even during the militancy struggle in the Niger Delta, bombs were scarcely used on civilian targets. They were used mainly on targets that could harm the oil economy and attract federal government’s attention. After more bombs and deaths, the bombers unveiled themselves as members of the Boko Haram sect, which late President Umaru Yar’Adua had attempted to smoke out way back in August 2009. It was the late president, who ordered the military to dislodge the sect from their hideout in a Maiduguri outskirt, after which their leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was allegedly shot extra-judicially. By June 2011, the insurgents made a bold attempt to bring down the entire Police Headquarters, Abuja. Two persons were feared dead and many vehicles were burnt. In August 2011, a suicide bomber drove into the United Nations House, Abuja, during which 20 were killed, while the building was in total ruins. Another 21 persons were injured. President Jonathan was stupefied. On Christmas Day in 2011, they went to St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, a suburb of Abuja, but located in Niger State, where about 37 worshipers were killed. On and on, the insur-

cinctly, bad leadership. And going forward or to answer his question, bad politics or bad leadership must be made to taste good at least in order to get out of Chibok. Even at that, it is also important to squarely lay the blame where it belongs. If it is bad leadership, it is not so much of bad leadership in Abuja, as it is in the Northeast. When the conditions for the germination and growth of Boko Haram were being created in Borno State, nobody asked the Federal Government for inputs. Then, it was sai SAS (Senator Ali Modu Sheriff) all the way and in the consuming euphoria, no voice was strong enough in the vast state to preach restraint and to also warn that the seeds of today would turn out the harvest of tomorrow. Instead, the urge for power and immediate benefits of the ill actions of that time overrode considerations for a better tomorrow. Resources meant to create opportunities for the teaming youth population of the state were misapplied to recreate the same youths into a terror machine to enthrone a brutal political culture that downgraded the people to statistics and ingredients for the perpetuation of evil. If the actors knew that evil consumes even its owner when it becomes fully grown, they would have perhaps acted differently. It was too late. A cycle was completed and the monster that was created to kill enemies turned against its creator when there were no more enemies to hunt down or when the definition of the real enemy changed. The incumbent governor and the new Sheriff, kashim Shetima was given power as well as the attendant heat. He was initially farfetched in the succession plan but got thrown up when those anointed by the retiring Sheriff to step in were violently taken out one after the other by the rampaging monster. He was made to inherit both the assets and liabilities of his predecessor. Boko Haram is part of those liabilities. Put differently, Boko Haram was primarily a liability of Borno State that was left un-serviced by the governor and allowed to blossom into a national burden. Even if the nation is today paying dearly for it, the truth must be told so that true peace and reconciliation can be achieved. And the truth is that it is in the place of Shetima and every northern governor or leader who had hands in accumulating this deficit called Boko Haram to offset same as it is done in everyday transaction or risk being declared bankrupt and sent to prison. The federal government and by extension President Jonathan can only give a helping hand. Strictly speaking, Boko Haram is not the funeral of gents went to Kaduna, Suleja, Jos, and Okene, to ply their evil trade. Each time they struck, they killed many. Close monitoring of their activities around the Federal Capital chased and limited them to their strongholds in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where they operated unchecked for a time. They flew their flags in at least two local governments in Borno, which they forcefully annexed from the Nigerian government. From there, they operated their own theocratic government and sent threat messages to Abuja. Citizens who live in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa got the rough end of the deal as Boko Haram members made life a hell for them. They plundered and kidnapped at will. On one bizarre occasion, 92 year-old elder statesman and former petroleum minister, Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno was kidnapped at the Mafoni Ward, Maiduguri after the Juma’at prayer. It took more than 24 hours to secure the release of the highly respected old man. It was the need to reclaim the annexed portions from the insurgents and restore peace and order to all parts of the affected states that led to federal government’s imposition of the state of emergency in May 2013. To achieve that was no mean feat because the politicians kicked against it. The All Progressives Congress (APC) in its formative days kicked against emergency rule and they are still kicking. The governors of the three states have kicked and are still kicking. But each time Boko Haram inflicts collateral damage on innocent and defenseless citizens, they run to Abuja with tears. It is good that the House has given approval for a continuation of emergency rule in the three states. What the Senate should do before giving approval this week is to take another look at Section 305. That Section seems to leave a lot at the discretion of the President, but in order to be seen to be politically correct, the Presidency is shy to deploy a heavy hand to quell the insurrection once and for all. Plateau and Ekiti States were not half as chaotic and anarchic under former president Obasanjo, when he sent governments of the two states packing. President Jonathan has been the number one victim of Boko Haram. He has been the most traumatized, most embarrassed and most vilified, where as, the state governments who nurtured Boko Haram because of their indolence are now playing victim to foreign media. What Section 305 needs is an amendment to empower any president to declare full emergency whenever and wherever. Otherwise, Abuja and the three states will continue to work at cross-purposes and nothing dramatic will be achieved in the next six months.


TheGuardian

www.ngrguardiannews.com

Sunday, May 18, 2014 11

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Outlook Confronting Opposition: PDP On The Ropes By Lindsay Barrett T has become increasingly obvious that Nigeria’s ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) will face a challenge of unprecedented unity and strength from the opposition in the forthcoming electoral contest slated for 2015. In spite of the highly competitive contest for leadership and the advantageous selection of candidates for high office taking place in the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is fast assuming the role of the pre-eminent national opposition party, it has become increasingly clear that it will provide the type of unified challenge that the ruling party has not had to contend with in previous electoral tournaments. This could very well provide the spark for the renewed focus that the ruling party needs to find to revitalise its mandate. The challenge of a strong opposition party, in which the quality of leaders, and their public acceptability, is rendered credible by their record in public office as well as by their responses to contemporary events, can create the circumstance of public discourse and debate that strengthens the democratic ethos. In that event it is imperative that in facing the challenge of a strengthening opposition, the ruling party should examine its own rationale and purpose and formulate a new strategy to restore public confidence in its objectives as the core of its response to the opposition’s criticism of its conduct in office. While the PDP can be expected to reject those elements of critical perception expressed by its opponents that it considers inimical to its vision, it must lead the nation into a new era of partnership with the people as an important aspect of its stewardship if it is to continue to occupy its ascendant position. The ruling party must endeavour to initiate an effective countervailing strategy even though its supporters often claim that its victory at the polls is a foregone conclusion. While this is often touted as being the most likely outcome of a contest between an incumbent party that has won several elections and an upstart opposition, in fledgling African democracies, the major factor that must be contemplated is the real mood of the electorate. Nigeria’s contemporary democratic system is often spoken of in terms redolent with echoes of authoritarianism inherited from the military dictatorships, which formed the majority of the nation’s governments in the first three and a half decades of independence. However while state and Federal authorities run by civilians have been able to consolidate their grip on the apparatus of government, it is obvious as well that public disenchantment has been on the rise over some important issues of governance in the nation. The people are growing increasingly suspicious of the conduct of affairs of state in key areas of economic management and political decision-making, and it is the ruling party’s responsibility to enlighten them on these issues. The PDP cannot afford to ignore public disenchantment, but at the same time it cannot abdicate its role as the major beneficiary of the democratic transformation of governance simply because it is being challenged by a strengthening opposition force. In recent weeks, one of the major topics that has exercised the polity’s attention and generated a furious dialogue between the ruling party and the strongest opposition party is the fight against the unprecedented upsurge of terrorist violence in some parts of the country. The exchange of views has included allegations of complicity and motivational support for the distressing syndrome of irrational outrages raised against each other by some irresponsible provocateurs on

I

CONversation

PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu

Bola Tinubu, one of the national leadres of APC

both sides of the political divide. At the same time though, this issue has also generated some of the most interesting and promising aspects of the political discourse in the nation. In a statement that was noticeably conciliatory and statesmanlike, one of the APC’s most outspoken critics of the PDP, former military Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari, appealed to both sides to be cautious in their utterances and collaborative in their approach to this particularly debilitating issue. He said, “We need [a] wise and decisive strategy. As for me and my party, we deplore and condemn these and all such attacks. Those who commit them must know that the nation stands four-square against them.While we are engaged in tight political competition against the ruling party, we shall not play politics on this issue so vital to our national survival and wellbeing. We pledge ourselves to the unity and safety of this nation and shall do nothing to undermine national security.  We seek no political advantage from this calamity and wish the present administration success in fighting it. We stand ready to help in any meaningful and productive way to fight this battle against evil.  We extend our hand and earnest offer of cooperation in this regard. Nigeria and Nigerians have suffered enough. Those who now lead the nation and those who would lead her must overlook political differences to find whatever ways we can cooperate to make this a safer, more secure nation for all.” General Buhari’s exemplary statement was immediately commended by President Jonathan and it is worth noting that even before his opponent had spoken, the President had called for an all-party confab of governors on the issue. Another former military officer who was elected to office on the PDP ticket but has now joined the APC, the Governor of Adamawa State retired Vice-Admiral Murtala Nyako, released an open letter that was less conciliatory than General Buhari’s statement. It was a display of vehement rhetorical irresponsibility that accused the PDP of promoting “genocide in Northern Nigeria.” However the outright denunciation of these sentiments by several influential leaders, who had earlier shown little or no

sympathy for government, indicated that there is a broad consensus of support throughout the nation for genuine discourse and tolerance. This is the basis on which the governing party must seek to build strategies to confront the real problems with which it is faced and find appropriate responses to questions raised by the opposition. The PDP promotes effective inter-community cooperation symbolised by the successful operational partnership between Vice President Sambo and Dr Jonathan but it must also clearly re-define the actions and policies that constitute its fundamental principles as it prepares to impress its vision on the electorate once again.  The suggestion that there is nothing at all that is positive in the nature of governance under the present administration is a patently unfair assessment and yet that has become the mantra of the new opposition. The irony of this is that many of the genuine criticisms of performance that should help the government to find solutions to national problems have been obscured in a fog of ostentatious and aberrant rhetoric, sometimes coming from both sides. This is spawned by the fact that a substantial proportion of contemporary political discourse in Nigeria is focused on the desire to grab or hold on to power rather than to build a genuine debate on current issues, thus giving the impression that the forthcoming electoral contest might generate more acrimony than harmony whatever the outcome. Ironically the ruling party’s responsibility to reduce the sense of dysfunction in the polity appears to have been aroused by the attitude of opposition supporters who seek to undermine the PDP’s Presidential mandate by their utterances. In order to undertake this arduous task, the party must embark upon a process of internal renewal as an empirical response to the attacks on its integrity that are a basic element of the opposition’s commentary. The resolute and conscientious attachment to the principle of critical observation and analysis is not the province of the opposition alone, but must be deployed by the managers of the ruling party’s affairs as well. Only then can the growth of the opposition’s strength become a positive element in developing the democratic system for

the betterment of the entire nation. A careful reading of the nation’s print media, as well as regular monitoring of political and social commentary on electronic broadcast media and the internet, indicates that the APC has indeed prodded the ruling PDP into defensive mode. For this reason, genuine supporters and sympathisers of the ruling party need to rally their forces to shore up the basic ideological and organisational assets that created the institution that has held on to power in the last four elections. The diversity of the PDP’s membership replete with internal dissent and partisan conflict within its structure often appears to reflect the reality of Nigeria’s argumentative national character tempered by pragmatic nationalism. The complex nature of the national personality as reflected in its membership base has been both an asset and a liability for the party over the last decade and a half of its existence. It has been responsible for the most acrimonious internal disputes but has also provided the foundation for the solution of these disputes. The major crises weathered by the party in its lifetime might have taught it some tricks that the APC has yet to learn. The emergence of the first Head of State from a Southern minority ethnic nationality, the consequence of a dysfunctional tragedy, is certainly historic and while the opposition has every right to oppose the institutional authority of the President, the ruling party has an equal right to defend the constitutionality of its choice. In this light, the PDP must prepare for a bruising and combative encounter as it engages the newly strengthened APC in the next general election. It would be delusional for the PDP to assume that public opinion cannot be swayed by the APC rhetoric and its circumstantial advantage of being a critic of, rather than a participant in, government. In fact, this perception is not accurate because the party can point to the successful administrations of former Governor Bola Tinubu (one of the APC’s founding fathers) in Lagos from 1999 to 2007, as well as the successor regime of Governor Raji Fashola from 2007 to date as examples of the party leadership’s experience as participants in government. The incumbent Administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State, who is about to contest a forthcoming election for a second term, is also an APC-led Administration, as is the government of Edo State under erstwhile labour leader Adams Oshiomhole. The perception of success and efficiency that these regimes portray may help to attract public support for the cajolery of the opposition’s propaganda at the expense of equally successful administrations in some PDP led states, such as Akwa Ibom and Delta States, and the radical transformative stewardship of Seriake Dickson in the President’s home state of Bayelsa. A sense of confusion and uncertainty is also being generated by the fact that while Governor Rotimi Amaechi performed creditably as a PDP governor in the Rivers State he has publicly declared his support for the opposition as a fall-out of disagreements between him and the leadership of the party on whose ticket he came to power. This is an unfortunate example of the kind of political mishap that the stress of building a new democratic order has unleashed in Nigerian society. As a consequence of this syndrome, the ruling party is saddled with the burden of fighting back from the ropes of the political ring if it is to retain its role as the most successful steward of the process so far.

By Obe Ess


TheGuardian

www.ngrguardiannews.com

12

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Editorial World Economic Forum LETTER For Africa: The Days After UNIBEN Can Do Better HE World Economic Forum, WEF, Summit for Africa, which held from May 7 to 9 in Abuja brought international attention on Nigeria and citizens now hope real economic benefits would follow. Otherwise, so much money and time would have been wasted on too much talk. When Nigeria was granted the hosting of the 24th Meeting of the WEF, apprehension was high, especially about the timing and preparation. However, the team planned the Summit almost to perfection and ensured that everything was in place. The Nigerian authorities beefed up security. The military deployed 6000 troops to supplement the other security agencies. The venue functioned efficiently. Indeed, things worked so well on account of Federal bullying that it would not be incorrect to remark that the visiting participants experienced not a “real” but “artificial” Abuja. The event commenced at a time of serious challenges of security in Africa’s most populous nation. Despite all misgivings, and with heavy security precautions, it was a relief that the event ended without any negative experience by the participants. However, the lasting impact of the gathering must be the translation of rhetoric to meaningful development in Africa, and especially for the host country. Accordingly, the successful hosting of the event should not be deemed an achievement by the Federal Government whose officials, in the absence of concrete performance in the service of the people, tend to celebrate just about any mundane thing as a transformative deed. The focus on Africa has been a good thing by the Word Economic Forum, an organisation committed to improving the state of the world and its citizens. Its interest in the competitiveness of all countries in a global economy has also been impactful. Nigeria and Nigerian participants should, however, take all lessons learnt from the meetings and bring such to bear on the running of the nation. President Goodluck Jonathan, the elated yet sober host, called on African leaders to come together to solve the challenges of security and disparity in incomes, the gap between the affluent in each country and the teeming masses. Inclusive growth and creating jobs was an appropriate theme of the summit and all speakers acknowledged that Africa needs just that in the face of its supposed economic growth while abject poverty still consumes the people. To achieve this inclusion, Jonathan correctly recommended a social structure that will cater for the poor and move the people out of poverty. The hope now is that he and his team, including the Coordinating Minister for the economy, the Economic Kitchen Cabinet, the Ministers for Agriculture, Trade and Petroleum Resources, who all participated, would back the words up with positive action. All African leaders are also expected to tackle the challenges of security, infrastructure development and job creation for sustainable growth. The announcement of a proposed 30 Billion Dollars of investment in Africa by China and 18,000 Scholarships to African Professionals to study in China was one immediate result of the summit that must be acknowledged and commended. The pledge of greater investment in agriculture by governments and private businesses should be followed up to fruition to create the much-needed jobs. While the WEF Summit for Africa is good and its focus unassailable, the time is, however, ripe for a home-grown Africa-initiated Economic Forum, with Nigeria and Republic of South Africa taking the lead. The African Union has its work cut out. Many years ago, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, under Nigeria’s Professor Adebayo Adedeji, drew up a Masterplan for Infrastructure. There was the proposed system of Trans-African Highways (West Africa-East Africa; and South Africa to North Africa). There were proposed Transcontinental Railways running from the Indian Ocean Coast to the Atlantic Coast of South West Africa. Each area of Africa has established an Economic Zone: the Economic Community of West African states, the Southern African Development Commission (SADDEC). Africa must set up a long-term Development Agenda for the next 30 to 50 years, anchored on resources and capacity building. This must be carried out also at each regional level. Africa and the Regional Groupings must draw from the experience of Europe. It started with The Steel and Coal Agreement of two countries (France and Germany) to the European Economic Community of original 12 countries to the present European Union of many countries now incorporating the countries that emerged from the break-up of the Soviet Union. Now the European Union has evolved to a Europe sans frontierres, (without borders) with common currency and standards for democratic governance and the assurance of universal human rights in every member nation. In Nigeria, priority attention must be given to good governance and development. Hosting the World Economic Forum Summit for Africa should be seen as an opportunity for a re-assessment of the nation’s policies. The World Bank places Nigeria among the poorest countries in the World. To lift 170 million people out of poverty, Nigeria needs all her best hands to turn latent potentials into potent energy. The lasting benefit of hosting the World Economic Forum must be the upliftment of the people of Nigeria and Africa from poverty to real prosperity.

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IR: The University of Benin Sorganisational has demonstrated a lack of ability in its

handling of the 2014 registration exercise for fresh students. The authorities had announced to anxious freshers admitted into the University by JAMB that the institution would open by March 24, 2014. A website was opened for them to access and partially complete the registration on-line before proceeding to the University. The second part of the registration would, according to the release, be done on arrival. As expected, fresh students trooped to University of Benin Multi Purpose hall on March 24, 2014. No official of the University or information came either from any quarters. On the second day, a larger, uncontrollable crowd appeared. It was then that the University officials started to arrange chairs and tables for registration. This resulted in scramble and stampede following which some wounded freshers ended up in nearby hospitals and clinics. It then dawned on UNIBEN authorities that they had a serious situation on hand. To solve the problem, the school resorted to listing about 80 students per day per faculty for screening. Since March 27, 2014, when

the screening started, the University was on this endless exercise. It is disheartening that a University that has faculty of Business Management, where Business Administration is taught and department of Public Administration and Human Resources/Industrial Relations can engage in such administrative/management blunder. Some of the fresh students came from places outside Benin City and have nowhere to settle while engaged in the endless registration exer-

cise. They were exposed to all forms of risk, which would have been avoided if proper planning was done. The University was overwhelmed by the situation. Four weeks into the registration exercise, fresh students had not been told what they are to pay for either tuition or accommodation fees. From this admission registration blunder, one hopes that UNIBEN has learnt lessons and will handle further registrations professionally. • Okoh Kpazu Benin City.

Appeal To Catholic Bishops Of Nigeria IR: As a humble lay faithSCatholic ful, I am appealing to the Bishops of Nigeria under the present leadership of Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama that a new Prayer: “Prayer for Nigeria in Distress” be again composed and recommended to be said at every celebration of the Mass in all parishes in Nigeria. May I also recommend that in the recomposed Prayer, we should include “that we ask for the intercession of St. John Paul II whose efforts helped defeat communism in Eastern Europe and led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the inter-

cession of our own Blessed Michael Tansi. Our innocent abducted schoolgirls to be returned home safely to their parents as peace, truth, justice, reconciliation, unity and love return to the nation. May I recommend also that this prayer be said after the homily as part of “General Intercession” and I think that if it is said continuously with faith and trust in God all our citizens will gradually be converted, and our worship will be pleasing to the Eternal Father. • Dominic Offor, Lagos.


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PROFILE By Armsfree Ajanaku F an audit of the number of human lives consumed by the Nigerian project of nation building was to be commissioned, the revelations are bound to inflict mind-shattering feelings of hopelessness. On that basis alone, there will be a groundswell of voices calling for the dismemberment of this perpetually unstable behemoth. Right from the first coup of January 16, 1966, which officially opened the flood gates for the deliberate spilling of Nigerian blood to the massacre of Igbos in the North after the July counter coup, and then the civil war, which cut short the lives of millions in their prime, Project Nigeria seems eternally dependent on the blood of poor and defenseless citizens to validate its corporate existence. The country has become a huge scene of human sacrifice, where no one is sure who would be the next victim of the apparent cheapness of life and limb. Within the context of the civil war for instance, there are those who would argue that wars are bound to take lives, and therefore, the millions that died represent a token meant to cement the nation’s unity and peaceful co-existence. However, the irony with Nigeria is that even after the organised enterprise of warfare wasted precious human lives, no serious framework for peace, intergroup harmony, and social justice was put in place to ensure that senseless warfare was prevented from happening again. As such, even after the war to keep Nigeria one, Nigeria still continued with its peculiarly brutal variant of low intensity conflict, as sectarian strife and skirmishes over resources such as land, oil amongst others consistently claimed thousands of lives. In the North, organised killings by religious extremists and other shades of fundamentalists went on unabated especially in the 1980s, when the Maitatsine riots alone left rivers of blood on the canvass of the nation. On the Plateau, in Benue, Nasarawa amongst others, herdsmen and farmers clashes have become a recurring decimal with Nigerians now becoming bored by the casualty figures from these low intensity conflicts. And with the Boko Haram insurgency in the mix, the mindless spilling of innocent blood of the Nigerian has been elevated to an industry. Boko Haram with its campaign of terror seems hell bent on making the violent cutting down of human life its special institution. Unfortunately, this unbelievable devaluation of human life, God’s own creation has been accentuated by a lethargic, incompetent and complicit state.

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Buhari’s Breathe Of Fresh Air

Beyond showing a lack of capacity to rein in the forces of death, on several occasions the state itself was directly responsible for soaking the land with the blood of innocent citizens through arbitrary killings. The punitive expeditions against communities like Odi in Bayelsa, Gbaramatu in Delta, and Zaki Biam in Benue, all bear the imprints of a reckless state killing its own deliberately. However, in the quest for peace and a nation free of the burden and guilt of perpetual bloodletting, there are statesmen who have lent their voices to a worthy cause. These are the respected voices in society who are appalled by the machinations of evildoers attempting to turn the nation into an endless killing field. With the apparent incapacitation of the state, it is in the hands of these weighty voices that the creations of the initial atmosphere that will precede the quest for peace lay. This is why sharp contrasts are often drawn between the current Boko Haram madness and the militancy in the Niger Delta. It has been argued over and again that in resolving the hostilities in the Niger Delta, there were elders and

statesmen who were willing to engage with the outlaws in order to create the required atmosphere for peace. These men, even at the risk of losing their lives literarily circumnavigated the creeks of the Niger Delta to convince the outlaws to lay down their arms. And the militants listened, resulting in a situation whereby within a few months the crisis was resolved. The contrast however, is that there seems to be no commensurate commitment among a section of northern leaders who claim to be concerned about the current monster ravaging the country from their end. A number of those who have spoken, especially in recent times have tended to further muddy the waters, thereby providing clear gains and impetus to the terrorists. One very recent and refreshing exception to this reckless, hateful and divisive attitude from a section of the North was the reaction of former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, who in an opinion piece condemned the acts of terror, and called on Nigerians across board to unite and fight the menace. The presidential reaction to Buhari’s positive polemic was akin to that of a famished traveler who finally found the elusive oasis in the desert. President Goodluck Jonathan’s effusive praise of the former head of state over that rare statement calling for unity was instructive in a lot of respects. It was a rare show of great statesmanship in which two frontline Nigerians put aside their political differences in order to lift the nation from its current nadir. Just when the terrorists thought they had scored yet another victory over Nigeria by the senseless spilling of innocent Nigerian blood, the two statesmen showed that the Nigerian spirit would not be broken. The refreshing nature of Buhari’s message and the reaction to it by the president showed the possibilities for Nigeria. And it was a clear rebuttal to those fanning the embers of hate, and gloating over the constant assault on the sanctity of human life for the purposes of political validation. By calling on Nigerians to stand together in these moments of great travails, the former head of state has made a sterling contribution to

the cause of peace and reconciliation. This is a crucial step to take in these times of divisiveness and uncertainty. Specifically, for the General who has been criticized in the past for making comments that were considered inciting, the new turnaround is being applauded across the country. Much more importantly, the soothing nature of Buhari’s words would no doubt help a great deal in comforting the hundreds of families struggling to come to terms with painful loss of their loved ones in the recent onslaught by the enemies of the nation. The hundreds of injured in the hospitals recovering from the scars of these acts of terror, and the parents of those innocent girls abducted, would also know that they are not standing alone. They will know that Nigeria has not given up on them, and that the nation won’t let them walk alone. With this newfound spirit of reconciliation as espoused by Buhari, the biggest losers are the terrorists. These criminals trying to wreck the foundations of Nigeria have a clear objective: to spill so much blood, such that Nigerians would begin to clamour for the breakup of the country by themselves. It is psychological warfare wherein the enemies attempt to lay a siege on the minds of the people, and provoke them to consider separatist sentiments as the way out. The power of the General’s statement is that it helps thwart these sinister machinations of the enemies of Nigeria. There is no doubt that this is the kind of statesmanship required in these difficult times Nigeria. Americans showed it when their homeland came under attacks on September 11, 2001. They forgot the Democratic-Republican partisan divide, and united to fight the enemy. Nigeria needs this attitude at this time, and the General has blazed the trail. It is now hoped that this patriotic intervention will serve as an inspiration for others to begin to preach the message of reconciliation. Buhari’s example is also a lasting lesson to those estranged ethnic and sectarian champions who would rather pull down the Nigerian roof. To these warmongers, the message is clear: it is time to sheath your swords and begin the travel on the road to peace.


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ISSUES By Kingsley Osadolor N May 2, the day after the second Nyanya bombing in the Federal Capital Territory, President Goodluck Jonathan summoned a top-level security meeting at the Presidential Villa. By then, the world was abuzz with a welter of conflicting information on the schoolgirls who were abducted in the night of April 14 at Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, where the students boarded to write their West African School Certificate Examinations. The schoolgirls had not been found, and the trauma was aggravated by the fatalities of the Nyanya bombings and the lingering terror mostly in the North-East of the country. One immediate fall-out of the high-level security meeting was the decision by the Federal Government to set up a multi-agency/stakeholder fact-finding committee on the mass kidnap of the Chibok schoolgirls. “In view of the inconsistent and contradictory information available to Government on the Chibok abduction, the President has set up a Fact-Finding Committee comprising security agencies, civil society, international organisations, and other stakeholders,” Information Minister Labaran Maku told State House Correspondents, while announcing the conclusions of the security meeting. President Jonathan inaugurated the Fact-finding Committee on Tuesday, May 6. Chaired by Brig.-General Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), a one-time Director of Military Intelligence, nominees of the United Nations, ECOWAS, Parent-Teachers Association, and All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, are members of the Committee. There are officers from the intelligence, security and defence services, as there are representatives of civil society organisations, National Council of Women’s Societies, the media, and Ministry officials. A member, who is a Visiting Professor at Harvard, flew into Abuja that morning for the formal take-off of the Committee. The Committee’s terms of reference are: to liaise with the Borno State Government and establish the circumstances leading to the School remaining open for boarding students when other schools were closed; to liaise with relevant authorities and the parents of the missing girls to establish the actual number and identities of the girls abducted; to interface with the Security Services and the Borno State Government to ascertain how many of the missing girls have returned; to mobilise the surrounding communities and the general public on citizen support for a rescue strategy and operation; to articulate a framework for a multi-stakeholder action for the rescue of the missing girls; and to advise Government on any matter incidental to the terms of reference. The Committee is not a substitute for the search and rescue efforts already mounted by the security and defence forces. By declaring that the Fact-finding Committee was neither a judicial nor administrative panel of inquiry, President Jonathan effectively put paid to any potential litigation either to frustrate the work of the Committee, or its outcome, because there is a subsisting judicial decision (on the Oputa Panel) that such panels of inquiry are matters for state governments, not the Federal Government. Still, there was a potent ingredient for controversy on the day of the Committee’s inauguration at the President’s Meeting Room. At the close of the brief ceremony, State House Correspondents had asked me why the representatives of the Borno State Government, who were announced as members, were absent at the inauguration. The immediate suspicion by the reporters was that the Borno State Government had shunned the Presidential Fact-finding Committee, with its multifarious connotations and implications. I urged the Correspondents to be patient, because I was meeting most of the Committee members for the first time and could, therefore, not positively identify all of them. On the other hand, I said, the Committee was proceeding to hold its inaugural meeting within the precincts of the Presidential Villa, and the Borno State representatives might show up at the meeting; but that was not the case. The Committee contacted the Secretary to the Borno State Government, Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, who explained that he had been away, and had not apprehended the official communication from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The Secretary to the Borno State Government, however, promised to send the nominated representatives at the next plenary of the Fact-finding Committee, which was promptly communicated to the Correspondents. As promised, the Borno representatives have since joined the Committee, and are participating enthusiastically. Indeed, two of the representatives have their roots in Chibok—-one, a retired Brig.-General; the other

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the abduction and terror in general. Such insinuations concern the armoury and firepower of the terrorists, the morale of Nigerian troops, as well as operational deployment of troops. The military top brass explained their rules of engagement, and related issues of appropriate firepower in situations which terrorism presents within Nigerian territory where there is civilian population. In part, what emerged is that while the Nigerian Armed Forces are a disciplined institution, the terrorists are not; hence the latter use all manner of weapons in any circumstance. This, the armed forces are by law and Conventions not allowed to do. While thanking the Service Chiefs for the insight provided, the Fact-finding Committee Chairman, Gen. Sabo (rtd), frowned at the disparagement of the country’s armed forces, and commiserated with the Services on the personnel losses suffered in the fight against terrorism. At another meeting with the Department of State Services (DSS), its Director General, Mr Ekoenyong Ita, gave a detailed brief on the Department’s anti-terrorism efforts, which he said had led to several arrests and the bust of terror threats and plots. He also spoke on the Chibok abduction. The Director General dispelled the Presidential Fact-finding Committee Chairman, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim (rtd), a member of the Committee, Chief notion of inadequate intelligence gathering as Mrs Remi Kuku (middle) and Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar examining a document dur- a factor hindering the fight against terror. “We have gone beyond the lack of intelligence. If we ing the Committee’s interaction with the Police authorities didn’t have intelligence, we would not get the Nyanya bombers,” he said. Urging Nigerians to be patient, Mr Ita gave assurance on the safe return of the abducted schoolgirls. “We will get these girls,” he said. “If we can get the people who bombed Nyanya, we will get the girls.” In addition, the Director General of NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, briefed the Committee extensively on the measures taken so far by the Agency in the joint intelligence and security efforts to locate the whereabouts of the kidnapped schoolgirls and ensure their safe reunion with their respective families. According to Ambassador Oke, “We will not know peace until these girls are found,” adding that, “we must agree as a people that this is the time to end the menace of Boko Haram.” To him, “The incident (Chibok abduction) has awakened a new sense of humanity and collective pain to all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria.” At the session with the Police, Inspector General Mohammed Abubakar explained the circumstances of the abduction and the immediate steps taken by the Police Force. He informed the Committee members of the ongoing investigations and the pursuit of leads that might assist in securing freedom for the kidnapped schoolgirls. The Inspector General of Police also articulated perspectives on the mass …Kingsley Osadolor (Member/Spokesperson), Mrs. Nkechi Mba, President, National Council of Women’s So- abduction, which the Committee members acknowledged would greatly facilitate their work. cieties, and others The Committee has also held extensive consultations with a number of foreign experts from the countries that have pledged support to the efforts by the Federal Government to secure the release of the abducted schoolgirls. As the Committee Chairman, Gen. Sabo (rtd), told the experts, the global response to the abduction was a reflection of our common humanity. This is all the more underscored by the step taken by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, who has appointed a Special Representative on the Abduction of the Chibok Schoolgirls. The Fact-finding Committee has met with the UN Special Representative, Ambassador Said Djinnit, an Algerian, who informed the Committee that, beyond the outrage and condemnation of the abduction, the UN Secretary General was interested in a support package to ensure the release of the schoolgirls, and to deal with the larger issues arising from the circumstances of the mass abduction. “We care about Nigeria,” the Special Representative said. “We highly support the multi-dimensional approach of President Goodluck Jonathan in solving the problems in the North-East of the a member of the State House of Assembly, who spector General of Police. The Committee also country.” Amb. Djinnit was delighted that the informed Committee Members that some of met with the Director General of the National Federal Government co-opted the UN into the his grandchildren were among the abducted Intelligence Agency (NIA), and the Director Gen- Fact-finding Committee through the memberschoolgirls. eral of the Department of State Services (DSS). ship of the Head of the UN Agencies in Nigeria. Breaking out into clusters of workgroups, the Besides the very illuminating briefs provided Committee immediately began to gather and by the Service Chiefs, their whole-hearted en- Crucially, the Special Representative pledged to sift facts already in the public domain and dorsement of the work of the Fact-finding Com- assist the Committee with the UN wide-ranging within the knowledge of appropriate agencies. mittee disclosed an unqualified willingness to expertise and experience in fact-finding misThis was done with a view to ascertaining gaps, co-operate and a determination to overcome sions. Invariably, the question may arise as to the utilwhich would assist the Committee in the varithe current security challenges. Chief of Defence ity of these rounds of consultations and interous stages of its assignment. As the take-off of Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh thanked the Committee coincided with the three-day members of the Committee for taking on the as- actions. The straightforward answer to such a World Economic Forum for Africa, formal in- signment. “It will give us respite if you are able query is that the Committee is mindful of the teractive sessions planned with a number of to get to the root of all that has happened,” he circumstances that warranted its coming into being, namely, the confusion fostered by the government agencies were shelved, on account s a i d . conflicting information on the abduction. The of the work-free days during which offices were According to Air Chief Marshal Badeh, “Every- Committee is, therefore, engaged in a forensic closed. body thinks this war is for the military alone; no. The Fact-finding Committee has since held in- It is a war for all of us.” He stressed that, “soldiers exercise that will enable it fulfil its mandate tensive interactive sessions and consultations don’t fight wars on their own. It’s a nation that within the shortest possible time in what we all with competent sources within the Federal goes to war.” He expressed the hope that with hope will be a happy ending to the abduction Capital Territory. Among the sessions held were current efforts and support, “we shall win the saga in which our young daughters are hapless those with the Minister of Defence, Chief of De- war (on terror), and bring back our girls.” The victims. fence Staff and the Service Chiefs in charge of Service Chiefs —- Army, Navy, and Air Force —- Osadolor is a Member/Spokesperson for the Presidential the Army, Navy, and Air Force; as well as the In- dispelled insinuations that had been rife over Fact-finding Committee on the Chibok Abduction

Chibok:

Fact-Finding Committee Tackles Assignment


Sunday, May 18, 2014

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COVER P/17 Nigeria, Too Many Troubles To Overcome

SPECIAL REPORT P/23 1930, The ‘Golden Generation’ Of Nigeria

BUSINESS P/34 New Auto Policy: Customs, Agents Disagree On Implementation

ABDULLAHI


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SPOTLIGHT

ABDULLAHI: Taking Handcrafts To Greater Heights By Geraldine Akutu

Oluseyi Abdullahi was appointed a Create Your Style (with Swarovski Elements) Ambassador in Africa. As the MD/CEO of Crafties Hobby Craft Ltd., she has, over the years, used her ingenuity and passion for handcrafts to bring out the creative aspect of her numerous students, who have thereby been enabled to improve their lives. What crafts can you personally do? UITE many actually. I love Crochet, Hand Embroidery, Macramé, Cross stitch, Card making, using different techniques such as Peel-off stickers and quilling, necklace stringing, calabash painting, fabric painting, bead weaving, flower arranging, polymer clay, silver smithing, fabric flowers, wire work, tooled flowers, latch hook rug, tapestry, fabric embellishment, hair accessories and others. I also apply different craft skills in different ways. In all these, l love being creative. How has Crafties contributed to the resurgence of crafts in Nigeria? We started running classes for adults over 12 years ago. We have also been teaching children during the summer holidays. We taught craft skills in schools and we encouraged the formation of after school craft clubs. I taught on National TV on a programme sponsored by Dudu Osun and afterwards for about six years, Crafties sponsored a slot on Going Places, where we showed people how easy many of the crafts are. Before we started teaching, no other organisation had done so on such a scale and none was making materials and tools available as well.  I am very pleased that despite the challenges, many people now not only feel comfortable making things with their hands, but many earn their livelihood directly and indirectly from crafts. What is Crafties all about? We encourage creativity in the fields of crafts by teaching, selling books, publications and CD’s and ensuring that materials and tools are available to both the enthusiast as well as the more serious practitioners and professionals. In this respect, we have been referred to as ‘Wealth creation experts’ among others.  How long have you been doing this business? Interestingly, the name Crafties was coined by two of my sons and the business started as a sole proprietorship about 13 years ago. How has the journey been so far? Interesting and challenging. Doing business in Lagos, Nigeria, cannot but be challenging. However, when one has a passion for something, one continues to exert oneself to overcome the challenges and obstacles. I derive a lot of joy from what I do. I am happy to see the progress being made in the field by many others and I am grateful that Crafties precipitated this option. I am glad I didn’t give up, when many did not understand or believe that Nigerians would buy into the idea of making things with their hands. I am glad my husband, family and friends believed in me. So many things inspire me, but Nature is number one. What is your background and training in the field? I am a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Lagos, with a natural flair for crafts. I started off by learning crochet from my late aunt and built on these basic skills by reading and practising. For many other craft skills, I am essentially self-taught and see myself as a perpetual student. I’m always learning by reading books, attending workshops and courses, as well as, through personal experiments. What kind of books do you read? I like reading books that teach and deal with topics of interest to me. I like to read about deeper meaning of life. What kind of people do you like? My first reaction is to say I do not dislike people, but I dislike bad behaviour and a lack of refinement. Hard working, genuine and upright people, who exude love and warmth, usually touch me.  Describe yourself in few words I am hardworking, always learning and a believer in constant improvement.  How would you rate the Nigerian education system? It is in desperate need of attention, of upgrading and funding to be able to turn out employable, well-rounded, 21st Century graduates. The rate of unemployment is high in Nigeria, what in your view are the problems and what do you think should be done to reduce it to the barest minimum? Unemployment and underemployment are indeed very high. Some of the unemployed are unemployable and the wrong attitude to work is alarming, resulting in vacancies with few competent candidates to fill them. Many vie for bank, telecoms or oil and gas jobs, as they desire to earn a lot of money even without the required qualifications or the yearning to contribute much. We need a different orientation so urgently. We need to improve the Education system, equip the institutions adequately and pay the teachers well, while demanding high standards from them and ensuring that merit is the foundation for awarding degrees. Without sound education and high moral values, how can any country hope to survive?  If there is constant electricity many industries would thrive, there would be increased employment and the budding entrepreneurs would easily find possibilities to establish their own businesses and create more jobs. Electricity, good infra-

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structure, hard work and an upright nature taken together would reduce unemployment drastically. How can entrepreneurs be more productive in their work?  As an entrepreneur, l would say we need constant electricity, a level playing field, an enabling regulatory framework, knowledgeable, hard working and trainable manpower and consistent policies, devoid of multiple taxation. Advice for the youths? There is no legal substitute for hard work and perseverance. Many, who today appear to be quite successful, achieved it by sheer dint of hard work. The definition of success also must be correct, as it is not a fat bank balance. Idle money is not a blessing because money has to be employed to multiply and give opportunity to others to earn a living. Discontent and greed prove to be the undoing of some. A person, who is prepared to work hard, who practises selfimprovement and is creative would find it easier to succeed in the work place. A life of ease is not of benefit to the real human being.  What is your advice for young entrepreneurs? Same as above. In addition, I would say: “follow your dream but be practical and realistic.” It pays to have a support team that would objectively evaluate what you have on offer. Good record keeping, accurate costing and financial prudence are

There is no legal substitute for hard work and perseverance. Many, who today appear to be quite successful, achieved it by sheer dint of hard work. The definition of success also must be correct, as it is not a fat bank balance. Idle money is not a blessing because money has to be employed to multiply and give opportunity to others to earn a living.

essential for the survival of any business. Establish your business before going after fat bank loans. There is no need to ‘reinvent the wheel.’ Learn from the mistakes of others and do not just copy others, find your niche. How do you handle work and the home front? I know for sure that a woman’s home is her responsibility and priority. It is an intrinsic part of the woman. Even when she has to delegate, she must retain control, make it beautiful and maintain harmony. It is an essential duty. So, with priorities set, one then juggles as best as one can. Where there are young children, it’s much harder work because they must turn out right. A mother has to have eyes and ears everywhere to be able to observe her child and guide him/her aright. My home means a lot to me, so, I juggle because I’m aware of my priorities. What is your philosophy of life? To live in such a way that everything I do would be pleasing to the Creator of All; that all I do is in harmony with His Holy Will. That would be wonderful and that is what really counts.  If given an opportunity to change something in Nigeria, what would it be? I would like everyone to have love in his or her heart and actually exhibit it. I imagine you are wondering if I am serious, but I really am. I do not mean what people generally refer to as love, but the real love, the true love of the soul. The love that wants only what is in the best interest of the other, in the best interest of the whole, the love that knows no favouritism, no jealousy, no selfishness or personal greed. The love that is synonymous with justice according to God’s Laws; the love that cares, nourishes and love treats every life in Nigeria as a precious gift. Such love is far seeing and as such, brings blessings to the individual and the country. And regardless of religion or faith, for each to have a semblance of God’s supreme Love. Then we would know joy and peace and the country could be truly


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Cover

President Jonathan, his Vice, Namadi Sambo with members of National Conference

Nigeria, Too Many Troubles To From Niyi Bello, Akure Nigeria is an unusual country, not in its large socio-economic, ethnic and religious diversity and its vast human and material resources, but in its capability, over the years, to get back from the brink anytime the vehicle of state is driven to the edge of the precipice. The country seems to have more than the nine lives of the proverbial cat and like the Phoenix, the Greek mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, has so far survived the crises, most, if not all of which are self-inflicted. General Ibrahim Babangida, as a Military President was once quoted as saying that the country’s economic template was not in the mould of others around the world and that many times, he had wondered how the economy kept running, despite so many departures from the accepted norms. On the political scene, there is always the feeling of “we-will-get-over-it” among a leadership populated by more tribal chieftains that statesmen who, because of the seemingly endless flow of petrodollars that lubricates the massive wheel of corruption, believe that they can get away with virtually everything. The mass of the mainly impoverished population with a decimated middle class cut the picture of the docility of a sheep being led to the slaughter-house and despite being classified as one of the largest assemblage of poverty-stricken people on the globe, held on tenaciously to the optimism of the leadership, like Moses the raven in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. After the carnage of the early years of independence and the trauma of a 30-month civil war, the country still rose as one and when in the aftermath of the 1993 election annulment crisis, the political class got its act together to assuage the feelings of the Southwest, by ceding the presidency to the zone, life continued

as usual. In the nation’s subconscious however, the fragile nature of the country’s unity, which became evident in the very instrument of statehood formation in 1914, the history of rivalry among the ethnic nationalities like a genie, continue to stalk the land as the country trudged on the road to nationhood. Under that façade of unity that was emplaced more by the unitary structure of military dictatorship, there were always distrusts and suspicions among the ruling class and this, like the putrid stench of corruption oozing down the social ladder, permeates the cracked wall of national structure. On April 22, 1990, it took the Gideon Orkar coup for a handful of Middle-Belt officers to bring to the fore, the seething anger of a section of the country against another, when the mutineers announced that five states in the North had been excised from the country. Within 24 hours, the rebellion was crushed and the country was once again glued together. But if the military had managed to “decree unity”, the liberal system of democratic governance has exposed the weaknesses of the nation such that the built-in mechanism of survival is being threatened by a nation that has stretched its luck too far. With the return to civil rule in 1999 and the hopes that the opportunity offered for finetuning the process of participatory democracy that had been truncated thrice earlier, there was great expectation that the country would, through the new template of popular governance, smoothen the rough edges of nationhood. However, this expectation is gradually giving way to despondency and rather than further strengthen the foundation of unity as envisaged, the system appears to be under constant assaults from elements that are determined to bring down the entire superstructure.

Even the progresses the country has recorded on the political turf, which should have been built upon, are gradually being frittered away. An instance is the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was won by a Muslim-Muslim ticket of late Chief M.K.O Abiola and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, where Abiola, a Yoruba from the Southwest was said to have defeated his rival, Alhaji Bashir Tofa in his Kano home base. The gains of an election that could have been used to strengthen the nation’s fragile fabric by relegating religion and ethnicity to the background was wasted by a self-serving ruling class, both military and civilian, through appealing to these same base sentiments that the ordinary Nigerian had rejected. Religious balancing is currently playing a major role in the preparation for next year’s election as it did to similar ones after the 1993 experience. The events within Nigeria are already drawing attention from the international community, which may have an unprecedented crisis in its hands if the country should succumb under the burden of the multi-faceted crisis. Some six years ago, a controversial report from the United States predicted that Nigeria could become a failed state in 2015, but many compatriots described it as coming from doomsday prophets who never saw the potentials in the country as envisaged in the government’s Vision 20:2020, which aims to put the largest concentration of blacks in the world among the top 20 global economies. And in February 2011, a group of five US Military experts from the Centre for Strategy and Technology, Air University, Maxwell Base in Alabama, in a future scenario-building analysis for countries within the sphere of American economic interests, stated in a report that Nigeria could break-up in 2030. According to the 196-page report, which is said to have the capacity of influencing US position on global affairs, Nigeria’s “history of tribal and religious conflicts, endemic corruption at all lev-

els of government, poor national planning, uneven development, social disorder, rampant criminality, violent insurgency, and terminal weak governance provides an environment that could portend imminent collapse and failure.” The authors, however, said the report was “not a specific prediction of the future or a depiction of a state of affairs that will and must occur, a discussion of how the trends occurring in Nigeria since its birth as a nation in 1960 could, under the right conditions, lead to its failure,” adding that the scenario in the country was “mirroring in some ways the events in Lebanon in 1975 and Somalia in 1991.” Although the US envoy in Nigeria, Terrence McCulley absolved his government from the reports, saying they did not reflect the official position, the matter refused to abate and in December 2012, in its Global Trends Reports of that year, Washington DC-based National Intelligence Council stated that 15 countries across the globe, eleven of them in black Africa, would be categorized as failed states by 2030. While many still believe in the resilience of the Nigerian spirit to survive the present onslaught, facts on ground and the manner that the crises are being handled by those charged with the administration of state are creating the fears that the country may indeed be on the path of fulfilling the predictions of the Americans. The northern part of the country, which for many years had been known for religious unrests, has added armed militancy to its notoriety with ethnic cleansing in the Plateau axis that has reversed the fortune of the once beautiful and accommodating city of Jos. In most states in the north, particularly in the Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which for more than one year have been under emer-

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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Sunday, May 18, 2014

COVER

National Conference: Last Chance To Save Nigeria’s Ship Of State? By Armsfree Ajanaku EYOND the lacerations inflicted by the terrorists on the country, there is the general unease about Nigeria’s inability to get things right and begin the travel on the road to stability and prosperity. Over the years, in the global arena, Nigeria cuts the picture of a country of too many lost opportunities, a poster child for how not to run the lives of millions. Blighted by mind boggling elite corruption, oil dependent, and playing host to a growing population of millions of poverty stricken country men and women, Nigeria is everyday becoming a source of constant trepidation for a world at odds about what to do, if suddenly the tinder box goes off. One of the many diagnosis of Nigeria’s historic national crises points to the artificiality of the country’s foundation. This line of reasoning underscores the timeworn talk about the British colonial legacy, which clobbered together hundreds of ethnic nationalities, arbitrarily upending their sovereignties and forcefully making them reluctant parts of an African tower of Babel. The diagnosis holds that every other manifestation of the Nigerian quagmire takes its roots from this foundational incongruity. For critics of the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria therefore, the argument, which is advanced with a convincing degree of certainty is that that 1914 is the source of the bumbling chaos that is now Nigeria. The collective agonies of the intellectual adversaries of the amalgamation is further expressed in the assertion that by arbitrarily bringing together a vast array of histories, cultures and destinies, the colonial overlords effectively succeeded in creating a vast war zone, where different worldviews were certain to slug it out in a cut throat competition for resources. Effectively, in this contrived “geographical expression,” might is the only right, resulting in a national space of too many extreme resentments against the decades-long institutionalization of injustice. Consequently, the post 1914 State in the Nigerian context emerged as an instrument of oppression, not as an agency for development

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and the nurturing of the destinies of its constituent units. Also, the state took on a character of an entity exclusively designed to fend for and protect the elite who have access to political and economic power, as well as the national till. For the weak and marginalized in society, the only recourse had to do with conversing with extra-terrestrial forces, for divine intervention, and a better life. Bad as this diagnosis seems however, a number of Nigerian statesmen, activists and politicians have insisted that reversing the disturbing state of affairs would involve a concerted effort to restructure the very foundations of the country. The prescription has been that it is only when the wobbly beginning is addressed that the nation can start the journey to true rebirth.

This position and subsequent calls for a Grand National conversation to redesign the architecture of the nation intensified in the 1990s, when the nation reeled under the vice-like and autocratic grip of the military. While the governing elite sneered at such a discussion, proponents continued to harp on it as the only alternative to rescue Nigeria. Expectations that the advent of civil rule in 1999 would eventually address those fundamental issues derailing or stunting national development were dashed. Hustling and jostling politicians showed scant interest in redesigning the polity, until 2005 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the National Political Reforms Conference. That conference ended on a quarrelsome note, with the Niger Delta delegates taking a walk

Kutigi

over a push for percentage increase in derivation funds accruable to oil producing states. Allegations that the conference was set up, with a sinister agenda to surreptitiously push for tenure elongation for the administration also tainted the conference. In the end, the recommendations from the deliberation were placed before the National Assembly, which simply ignored them, as it never supported the conference in the first place. Since October 1, 2013 when President Goodluck Jonathan announced plans for the convocation of a National Conference, there has been a legion of optimists who have insisted that the conference presents Nigeria the final opportunity to rescue an amalgamation that is increasingly on the path to derailment. The voices of the optimists have generally prevailed over those who took potshots at the conference, insisting that it was part of a partisan agenda aimed at securing a second term in office for President Jonathan in 2015. The naysayers, especially in the camp of the opposition had branded the exercise a waste of precious time and resources, but a number of politicians from the fold of the disagreeing opposition are now actively participating. Furthermore, opposition’s scathing views about the conference have simmered and there is an increasing consensus that the conference presents a veritable opportunity for putting Nigeria back on track. However, since it began sitting in March, there have been questions about the nature and quality of deliberations as well as the exact issues that are being discussed to put Nigeria on the road to stability and prosperity. The conference has also been extended by six weeks. After the slight logjam over the voting pattern for reaching decisions, delegates have now settled down to work at the level of the committees. It is from some of these committees that the typical Nigerian vibes and altercations have been emanating. The age long resource control debate has been carried on along the broad North/South political divide with tempers rising. And after all the heat and arguments, Committee on Devolution of Power recommended that status quo be maintained for derivation principle and resource control. Effectively, absence of a middle ground on the issue and the death of resource control at the committee

level means sections of the country which anchored their continued belief in the Nigerian project on resource control would continue their restiveness. Already, reactions bordering on resentments have begun to trail the committee’s decision. For instance, the Ijaw Youth Council has been reportedly urging the southern delegates at the Conference, particularly those from the Niger Delta to insist on resource control during the debate in plenary and not to deviate from the position of the region on resource control. It expressed dismay over the contributions of Niger Delta delegates who were thought to have spoken against the agenda of resource control. On other issues that relate with the very structure of the Nigerian federation, including revenue allocation, state police and local government reforms, there doesn’t seem to be enough motivation from the delegates to go the whole hog in repositioning the Nigerian federation. Even the actual modalities for implementing the decisions of the conference have not been reached by delegates. It would be recalled that the Senator Femi Okuroumu advisory panel left the task for the conference itself to determine, recommending that “the National Conference itself shall have the responsibility of setting out the said legal procedures and options for integrating its decisions and outcomes of its deliberations into the Constitution and the Laws of the nation.” In this context, there are those who are waiting for how exactly things will pan out. Public opinion does not seem to favour taking the outcomes to the National Assembly. Many Nigerian interest groups are calling for a referendum on the outcome of the deliberations. It is to navigate these knotty questions that the President in his wisdom appointed the octogenarian former Chief Justice, Idris Kutigi as Chairman of the conference. The experience and sagacity of the old man, which was well demonstrated during the logjam over decisionmaking percentage and the constitution of the committees, has so far helped the conference to remain on course. However, all these exertions would amount to nothing if farreaching decisions are not taken to salvage Nigeria from its current drift. Nigeria is dire need of a rescue plan; all eyes are on this conference for that road map.

Prime Issues Confronting Nigerian Federalism By Kamal Tayo Oropo HE burning issues which the National Conference is set to address includes, fiscal federalism; regional (or state) police; continuous existence and status of Local Government system; and decentralisation and devolution of power from the center. The center, as presently constituted, controls almost exclusively every gamut of governance, while the other component units, state, and by extension the derelict Local Government administration, are left to grapple with what many have dismissed as crumbs of governance. The Federal Government is humongous as it is directly in charge of all security system of the nation, just as it is in firm control of the monetary system, all issues surrounding international affairs, including immigration matters and custom authority. The Federal Government controls all the international airports and the seaports. Think of anything; the federal

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government has its hands in it. The National Conference in a bid to ensuring a more generally acceptable federation is divided into committees as well as subcommittees. These committees include, those on Devolution Of Powers; Political Restructuring And Forms Of Government; National Security; Environment; and Politics And Governance. Others are, Committees on Law; Judiciary, Human Rights And Legal Reform; Social Sector; Transportation; Science, Technology And Development; and Agriculture. Also there are Committees on Civil Society, Labour And Sports; Public Service; Political Parties And Electoral Matters; Foreign Policy And Diaspora Matters; Land Tenure And National Boundaries; Economy, Trade And Investment; Energy; Religion; Public Finance And Revenue; and Immigration And Related Matters • Committee on Political Restructuring and

Forms of Government recommended the inclusion of the principle of political power rotation into the country’s electoral laws. The committee also recommended that the office of the President should be rotated among the geo-political zones, while state governorship should be rotated among the three senatorial zones in a state. The rotation policy was also recommended for local government councils. The need to make governance all-inclusive and eliminate agitations arising from ethnic or sectional marginalisation is believed to the main motivation for this recommendation. On the surface, the recommendation appears not new from what is being currently employed by political parties. But the committee insisted that enshrining it in the electoral law would eliminate all doubts and possible manipulations by unscrupulous politicians.

• The Committee on Devolution of Power outrightly rejected the idea of state police. The issue, which failed to get the approval at the Committee on Devolution of Power and National Security, was debated with passion by proponents and opponents in the committees. The committee on devolution of power had been very busy debating items that should be moved from the exclusive list of the constitution to the concurrent list towards achieving some modicum of devolution of power from the center. It was difficult to reach a consensus on the item on mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining geographical surveys and natural gas and may have been shelved for the plenary session. • In the committee on National Security, the sub-committee of police presenting its

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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

COVER

ODUMAKIN: Issues Currently Facing The Country Are Daunting, Overwhelming But Are Not Insurmountable

Mr. Yinka Odumakin, a member of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, and a delegate at the National conference, in a chat with KAMAL TAYO OROPO, declares that the mirage of problems currently afflicting the country are indeed daunting. However, all hopes are not lost yet as they are surmountable. Nigeria, from all practical purposes, seems to be on the brink. What is your interpretation of the ongoing disquiet pervading the country? HERE is no denying the fact that things are not looking up for Nigeria at the moment as the ship of state is cascading to the precipice at the speed of sound. All indices are not good as the country is ripped apart by centrifugal forces. This is the lowest point in the history of Nigeria since Lord Frederick Lugard’s amalgamation of 1914, as the contradictions of Nigeria have come to a head in our year of centenary. The children of terror, aided by powerful forces, have brought Nigeria to this sorry point as the visible government of Nigeria appears overwhelmed by the invisible government that has in the last 53 years deployed violence as a means of control whenever it loses direct grip of power. This onslaught has now opened the womb of our country to buccaneers across the globe who appear to have scripted the end time for Nigeria. The movement of  global disaster correspondents from Syria to Nigeria brings to memory American journalist, Brian Hall’s The Impossible Country: A Journey Through The Last Days Of Yugoslavia. Yes, our hearts are heavy for the Chibok girls and we pray that they are brought back safely, but we must not lose sight of the greater tragedy that the monsters who abducted them have brought on our country. Nigeria, which called the bluff of the imperial forces in Zimbabwe, Angola and South Africa, has been made to look like a village republic. The highest point of Nigeria’s assertiveness in the global schemes of affairs was when General Murtala Mohammed stood tall on the floor of OAU in January in 1976 to deliver these powerful words: ‘Mr. Chairman, when I contemplate the evils of apartheid, my heart bleeds and I am sure the heart of every true blooded African bleeds. . . Rather than join hands with the forces fighting for self-determination and against racism and apartheid, the United States policy makers clearly decided that it was in the best interests of their country to maintain white supremacy and minority regimes in Africa.’ The then Nigerian leaders went on to declare that Africa has since come of age. ‘It’s no longer under the orbit of any extra continental power. It should no longer take orders from any country, however powerful. The fortunes of

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Africa are in our hands to make or to mar. For too long have we been kicked around: for too long have we been treated like adolescents who cannot discern their interests and act accordingly. For too long it has been presumed that the African needs outside ‘experts’ to tell him who are his friends and who are his enemies. The time has come when we should make it clear that we can decide for ourselves; that we know our own interests and how to protect those interests; that we are capable of resolving African problems without presumptuous lessons in ideological dangers which, more often than not, have no relevance for us, nor for the problem at hand.’ Murtala was assassinated 34 days after he uttered these words and 38 years after we now see Nigeria that set up ECOMOG to save Liberia from a fratricidal civil war 24 years ago being ridiculed in the most condescending manner because some evil forces have seized her precious girls and a state totally, weakened state, whose forces seem to have deserted it in preference for loyalty to region and religion can’t recover them. Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe must be shaking his head in his grave! A little brat of a reporter now treats our Information Minister like a schoolboy, while racist John McCain says “we shouldn’t have waited for a non-existent government to tell us when to intervene”. We appreciate all the interventions but we still remember,  “If Kuwait grew carrots, we wouldn’t give a damn” words of Lawrence Korb, President Reagan’s assistant defense secretary, as the United States prepared to wage war on Iraq. Ostensibly, the purpose of ‘Operation Desert Storm’  was to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi invasion and occupation, an invasion that the George H. W. Bush administration seems to have at first encouraged when its ambassador to Baghdad, April Glaspie, told Saddam Hussein that the US government had “no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreements with Kuwait.” It turns out Bush did have an opinion and overnight Hussein went from valued regional ally to the new Hitler. It was all good for the brutal tyrant to invade his neighbour Iran and gas his own people (with chemical weapons materials sold by US corporations), but it wasn’t okay for him to take over Kuwait and menace Saudi Arabia, threatening the free world’s

energy supply. After all, those countries don’t grow carrots. They ‘grow’ oil. Does the 2015 hold the key to national cohesion and rebirth. Is it up to the Confab to proffer solution? Nigeria is truly on the brink and it is clear that the way things are now the prospects of holding successful elections in 2015 is turning into a mirage. The blind politicians who still look up to 2015 must wake up and smell the coffee. An election in only Anambra State went on for two weeks. A bye-election in just a Federal Constituency in Ondo State has been hung for weeks now. By the time Ekiti and Osun are over, with “rig and roast” in the air, they would have a clear idea of what 2015 portends if we do not rescue the soul of Nigeria in 2014. The key to national cohesion and rebirth is not in elections at the moment but renegotiating Nigeria. This is where the National Conference, which had taken the centre stage of national conversation before the script writers of terror gave theirs on the Chibok scene, comes in. The urgency of now for Nigeria is to renegotiate the country in an atmosphere that is not about direct contestation for political power by men and women who can rise above partisanship for the common good. Though, not a perfect composition but the way and manner the conference was put together has brought together Nigerians who cannot be brought under one roof through the type of elections that we currently hold in the country. There is no doubt that we have a sizable number of delegates driven by the noblest intentions to see Nigeria fulfill its manifest destiny in the

community of peaceful, prosperous and respected nations of the world. Nigeria needs to address developmental issues, which are impossible without sorting its nationality question, which contradictions are tearing at its soul. Nigeria is not working because it is badly structured. There is the urgent need to restructure the country to give it a new lease of life. Unfortunately, there are some hegemonists at the confab who want to sustain the status quo, but I do not see them carrying the day as the apparent failures of the present structure are manifest, except to the deeply maniacal. Nigeria needs a new constitution that would unite the component units of Nigeria without unifying them. A multi-ethnic country like ours would continue to experience the challenges we are going through, except we are constituted in a way to give autonomy to the federating units to self-determine while promoting a centre that is  sufficiently strong  to deal with matters of commonality to all parts, but weak enough not to dominate their lives. We must reduce the do-or-die contestation for power at the centre, which is at the root of the ‘by all means necessary “ including deployment of insurgency for political control. Achieving this requires the shedding of all toga of desperation, which the body language and utterances of some delegates have shown so far. These are unhelpful and needless at this critical point. For the conference to maximize its potential of giving Nigeria a fresh start,

groups and leaders must come to the realisation that negotiation is not about my way or the highway. ‘We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable’ according to former US president John F. Kennedy. Negotiation is all about trustful giveand-take. This is the time for real leaders to emerge from all corners and make the unbending and unyielding antiprogress forces to look small. The overall consideration should be the larger picture of averting the looming disaster, which could address all of us if we don’t quickly address it. No one knows what would be his lot if we allow things to boil over. The former Attorney General of Lagos, Mr Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has told of his encounter with a former Chief Justice of Liberia in a refugee camp with sunken cheeks and a bowl for his ration. A pronouncement from his Supreme Court could possibly have altered the course of events. What’s the capacity of the confab to deliver a new Nigeria; the sacrifices the various groups and leaders must make? The issues facing Nigeria at the moment are daunting and overwhelming but they are not insurmountable. It is time for Nigeria to rise up to it and let the undertakers who want to pull the plug go elsewhere. The roulette game the wicked and selfish segments of the elites are playing using pliable and malleable elements as pawns must come to an end. As the conference enters the most crucial stage of plenary consideration of committee reports delegates have to rise to the urgency of now and build consensus that would birth a new Nigeria that would be a pride for all. A country where the cream can get to the top, where the resources of the land can be harnessed for the good of all citizens and not a greedy few, where there is sanctity of human lives and no brigand will hold our innocent girls wielding AK 47 on TV and streaming all kinds of balderdash. A Nigeria where leadership is accountable to the people and the state is there to protect at all times. We have the capacity to do it! Should the Federal Government Dialogue with the insurgents? As a matter of policy no responsible government should give kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, and that includes ransoms or other concessions. The decision not to negotiate is right. You cannot equate abducted innocent girls with suspected criminals lawfully held by the state.

... Too Many Troubles To Overcome Government sources disclosed that as much as 20 percent of Nigeria’s crude production, running into billions of dollars, end up being stolen through illegal bunkering on the high gency rule, a brutal religious group with an unclear ideology, seas, an illicit trade that is being sustained by a corrupt system the Boko Haram, has been maiming and killing innocent peoand which has reduced government earnings to an all-time ple in the most blood-curdling manner. low, such that states now get lesser what they used to as they Even Abuja, the serene Federal Capital, is not protected from go cap-in-hand to Abuja on monthly basis. the attacks of this mindless insurgency, as several people have In other states in the South, kidnapping for ransom, one of been killed, while statements on their desire to balkanize the country have been made through deafening loudness of bomb- the fallouts of the armed militancy of the Delta and a sign of ings of international targets, security formations, and populat- the social degradation and loss of values among the people, has been brought to the front burner. ed areas. There is such a massive infrastructure decay that is evident of While the dreaded sect has lately intensified its attacks calling the failure of government to provide the necessary facilities to to question the capability or as some people would say, the desirability, of the Federal Government to stop an orgy that has even run a society, while existing ones, like the National Airline, have been moribund for years with no hope of resuscitation. consumed an estimated 3,000 lives, a new dimension in Although the country’s economy was recently rebased to nomadic marauders killing innocent people and destroying bring out the resilience of the system to survive many odds and farmlands and villages across the middle-belt in the climax of emerge as the strongest in Africa even with obvious failure of the age-long struggle for land resources, has also added to the government, the effect is hardly felt among a population that insecurity. has one of the shortest life expectancy, 17th lowest on the globe Although armed militancy has been reduced in the Niger and highest rate of unemployment in the Third World. Delta region by an Amnesty Programme that is greasing the Up to the first eight years of the present democratic dispensapalms of erstwhile restive youths, rather than addressing the problem of infrastructure deficit and ecological degradation, a tion, there was little borrowing by states and during the period new list of emergency billionaires are being created among the at the national level, debts owed both the London and Paris clubs of creditors were settled and others written off. But now, ex-militants, who have allegedly abandoned pilfering gallons of crude to a more lucrative business of stealing ship-loads and more are being procured and states are mortgaging the future, of their citizens even while the rot in almost all sectors of the selling at the international market.

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society continues. The bottom line is that Nigeria as presently constituted and structured can hardly survive the political labyrinth that she has found herself and that is why so much expectation is being placed on the ongoing national conference to rectify some of the identified lapses in the polity. Despite the high hopes that the conference has to once again provide a platform for the country to review the journey so far, prepare a road map for the future and organise the polity in such a way to realise the dreams, it seems that the 492 wise men and women, drawn from across the country, have become victims of the same problems they are gathered to resolve. Quality times are being spent on frivolities and in almost all the instances; delegates are further burrowing into their ethnic trenches to the extent that national issues that should be tackled with the mindset of statesmen are being viewed through the narrow prisms of tribalism. Rather than focus on things that unite Nigeria and strengthen them to further cement the union, the delegates so far, have been dissipating energy on things that are causing division, raising fears that the country may come out more divided than before it went for the confab. It is however not too late for the delegates to invoke the country’s built-in resilience and make sure that the predictions of the Americans do not come to pass. It is an opportunity of a lifetime.


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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

COVER Godini Darah, an activist writer, expert in folklore and classics and Professor of communications is a member of the ongoing National Conference. He spoke with Foreign Affairs Editor OGHOGHO OBAYUWANA on what the conference must do to rescue Nigeria. The critical issues that are assailing Nigeria are ethnicity and religious, but the religious fever is perhaps... (Cuts in) O, No, No. Religion is irrelevant to this conference. It is not a theme among those identified by the Okuroumu-led committee. It is not a significant theme because it is a matter of the heart and matters of the heart are emotional and inflammable. So if it is a matter of the brain, it is analytical. If you are a physicist, astral physicist you can even disagree that there is God. It does not mean that you are an atheist, from the logic of your mathematics of the globe, planets and so on and the position of science, you can prove it by drawing lines to show this is how the earth connects to the moon, connects to Mars, to Venus, where is God inside? It does not mean that you are abusing God... so any nation that wants to make progress in the contemporary world, it must put religion inside the bedroom. That’s what I was trying to say, that it is because we have not been able to do this in Nigeria that’s why... (Cuts in again) We have done it. It is just that the political elite of Nigeria is intellectually lazy. If a country is not industrialised and it depends on one commodity, called oil, the fight for that commodity becomes a civil war. The more people you can displace, the more you have access to this commodity, that is access to the federal money, which is 56 percent of the revenue, you have to concoct so many things. If you are failing, you say oh, it’s because I am an Urhobo man. So you resort to things that are illogical. Oh I am a Muslim, that’s why this minister who is a Christian is doing that to me. But is that what gave Wole Soyinka the Nobel Prize? It is good that it has not been made a central issue; it is not resolvable anywhere and the more you make it the central subject, the more anarchic and ungovernable you become. So help it to retreat to where it belongs, in our own hearts. It stays there; lets keep it where it belongs. So, how do we restructure Nigeria such that there would be equity among its federating units? The composition of the conference is intellectually so dense that it is larger than the biggest universities that you can have in terms of the degree of knowledge. Some of the most advanced ambassadors who settled the problems of Darfur, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chad conflict, they are in the Confab. Vice Chancellors of long standing years. People who were ministers sixty years ago. The man from Ibadan, whose daughter is a minister, Akinjide is here. He was a minister 53 years ago. So in the conference, if you are referring to something that happened in 1957, he would say, no, you are wrong, he corrects you. You learn. There is a 92-year old man there also. He was a D.O (District Officer) 65 years ago in Ogoni, Rivers state; he tells you how, the Ijaws and the others received him, happily then. He will tell you why are you quarrelling now when you did not quarrel then? He has just told a folktale that carries a lot of weight...we are exchanging knowledge. Then we went to plenary...got everybody to respond to the themes...for effectiveness and productivity, we split into committees according to our areas of specialisation or desire and we were given forms with three options. If the committee you have chosen were overloaded, you would be given another one. What can be said to be the challenges in the Devolution of Power committee, important and critical as it is? Surely, the principal concern has been how to reduce the omnipotent powers of the federal government, which is counter federation. It was erected to serve military regimes. And when the military was leaving, they copied their minds into the constitution, because that’s the only thing they know. Those who drew the constitution were civilians, but they submitted their work to the military for approval. So the over centralisation of power in the country is the poison in the constitution, so our committee has had the task of decongesting it excellently... So, at the end of the day, are we capable then of having fiscal federalism, what we normally call true federalism in Nigeria? Look, in our riverine parlance, we say if somebody is looking for the eye of a fish, he goes to

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DARAH: Nigeria Has Been An Empire In Need Of Deconstruction the head, that’s where the eyes are located, you don’t go to the tail. Things like true federalism, those are adjectives. There is only one federation. Check your dictionary, a system of government in which a central government and units agree to work in a union as coordinates and equals, that’s federation. Coordinates and equals. Not hierarchy. A federal government, then the next one is below, and so on. Never, in a federation as in the Nigerian practice, will the federal government be up there and everybody is cringing behind. How do they cringe? If you are a governor, you must have a house in this town (Abuja), all of them have liaison houses, what are they doing with those buildings in Abuja? Because they must come here and plead, ‘Ah! Our allocation has not come, Ministry of finance, what is happening to our money?’ they beg and plead and cajole. It is complete opposite of federation. This is an empire and the president is the emperor. And if the president is greedy and wicked, you are in trouble. He has enough laws to support what he is doing. He can even make a state to suffer because he has 56 percent of the budget. Nigerians expect the Confab to deconstruct this empire...? This is what we have done now, by redefining the centre and the federating units. There are now going to be only two levels. One is Central. We don’t even call it federal government. The central government in Abuja, the other one is state governments and these two are equals. We have removed the local government. What about the financial relationship between

these two, the fiscal side of things? After defining this superstructure, the next thing you go into is what they call the economy of the federation, the economic foundation... So, that’s where you are going into now? We’ve done all that. The economic relation in a federal system is what we call the fiscal federalism. Fiscal, means public revenue and how it is shared. And we have looked at the way it is now and have suggested how it can be further demilitarised and made harmonious, but we cannot with one stroke now, do it as it is in America or Canada, which has taken 200 years of evolution. So we are not going to have a situation where the states, the federating units would be in charge of their resources and pay a certain percentage to the centre? That was debated and it caused a lot of rancour and it became really heated because the present inequitable structure benefits some powerful sectors of the country. Those of us who are advocating know those powers are illegitimate powers, break them down, we are also facing the mountainous opposition. So in our committee, we have agreed, that the first major thing is that federal and states would be the two levels of power. Those 774 local governments are out. We have not cancelled them. We are saying is for instance, that Delta State, has 24 local governments, and that is between the governor and the House of Assembly. It is not new, what we have done is just to affirm the constitution. Section 7 says that only state

Surely, the principal concern has been how to reduce the omnipotent powers of the federal government, which is counter federation. It was erected to serve military regimes. And when the military was leaving, they copied their minds into the constitution, because that’s the only thing they know. Those who drew the constitution were civilians, but they submitted their work to the military for approval. So the over centralisation of power in the country is the poison in the constitution, so our committee has had the task of decongesting it excellently...

Assemblies can deal with local governments, but the military carried over a practice that is not even in our constitution by paying the local governments directly from Abuja so they can control them in complete violation of the principles of federalism. If you like go and have 1,000 local governments, you deal with them. Local governments would not be going to Abuja to share money; the implication of our recommendation is that the schedule in the constitution that lists local government is out, because once you leave them there, then you must release to them. This is out because if you have a hundred in Delta State, it’s not in the constitution of Nigeria, so that schedule is to be eliminated. The next area is exclusive legislative list; the federal legislative items are too many. This is what will give them arrogance and make the ministers and president to look down on the rest. Yes, as it is now, a minister looks down on a commissioner, a commissioner and minister are equal in status. In fact, during the time of Murtala and Obansajo, the federal ministers were commissioners. Awolowo was commissioner of finance for nine years. Suddenly the name now changed to become minister for federal, commissioner for states and then you put them on a hierarchy that one is higher. Why is it higher, is it because he has more access to fund? So we also visited the access to the fund. The federal government presently gets 56 percent, but we have cut it to 42 and up the one of the state by eight percent and local government from 20 to 22.5. So we have put more money into the state level and the local government level. Yes, to go there, lets pass through restructuring. That is the committee that is close to us in terms of functions because our own ended with sharing formula, we have said federal you are now going down by 10percent, state is going up by eight percent, the local government are going up by two and half percent. We have shifted more funds to where government is taking place; that is a plus. We have also battled over current derivation as it is in section 162 subsection 2, which was a historic compromise made in the conference of 1994,1995 to pacify the oil producing areas because of environmental degradation. We advocated for others to be beneficiaries of 13 percent apart from the Niger Delta, from Lagos to Ondo, where they are also oil producing. We didn’t win it in our committee because we were outnumbered, so we are going back to plenary to battle it out. We are going to seek more alliance there to say that if the conference of 2005 recommended 18 percent the one that failed, we are doing a conference nine years after and you cannot remain at 13. There is logic there and we are going to campaign to get support; we are not going to impose it on anybody, we are going to campaign and that’s our work. In other words, your committee work does not end with one committee; you carry your ideas to other committees and persuade the members. Restructuring has already helped us. Twelve new states were recommended to make 48; this is to reach out to areas that are presently marginalised by ethnic composition and to balance the so-called north versus south imbalance. In addition there will be two more zones, one in the south one in north to accommodate minority interests. The more you open the platform, the more democracy you have and the more democracy you have, the more the happiness and people will no longer be dying to go to Abuja. They will have enough work as if you are in America, like Arkansans, California etc, you don’t have to go to Washington. In India, the people don’t have to go to New Delhi, for three years they are busy selling groundnut in their localities. This is what we want for Nigeria and then the oil wells will relax gradually and become less and less important. So in our committee we then set up how we are going to develop these minerals in Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna the whole middle belt. We set up a fund called special fund for mineral development and we agreed last week that it should be 4.5 of the annual budget of the federal government, which is up to about 225billion naira a year and by our estimate that fund if collected for two years you have nearly 500 billion. You and I can say we are going to exploit kaoline or clay in Edo and

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No Eldorado Yet, But Bright Prospects For Confab — Darah CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 Delta because we are rich in those two minerals and we are going to use the clay to construct bricks for building houses, for building schools and hospitals, because clay does not conduct heat. So you don’t need fans, air conditioners, you can save on energy, whether there is NEPA or PHCN is of no concern to you. You and I can say, who is going to recognise our own indigenous experts? Look at Demas Nwoko, the artist, who is near us in Asaba, he built that Edo cultural centre, (Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre). There are no air conditioners inside, just bricks, brick drills heat and takes it away, it doesn’t brings it in. Cement sucks heat and brings it into the room because it is a European product to warm their rooms because of cold. We imported it. How many air conditioners do we have to use to make the room cool when we could have used the atmosphere to cool it? If we had good government even in Edo State, why wont they say, ‘where is the man who did this for us 30 years ago come and do all the schools.’ You save cost; this is what governance means. Governance is not wearing Agbada or suit; so we have put that fund aside and that fund calmed down the whole Middle Belt that were attacking us before we now saw the window to act and we have cracked the item on section 39 of the exclusive list. Federal, you will legislate by giving licenses, but states will now carry and spread. So these are some of the changes that we have made both political and economic. What about the questions of indigeneship and Citizenship Indigeneship and citizenship are two contrasting ideas that were floated even in the plenary before we went to committee level and the committee in charge has visited it thoroughly, by doing comparison with what’s in America, India, Indonesia. These are the places that are multinational; multi linguistic and they are different from one another. If you are an indigene, it means where your ancestors originally belonged, so even if you are not living there, any time you return you are an indigene. So it is a natural right, but if I live in Abuja and I come from a village in Ugheli south local government I’m a citizen in Abuja and I enjoy all the rights of a citizen of Nigeria. That is right to school, hospital, work, I can own property, I can do business here and since Abuja is capital for everybody I can contest in any election if you are qualified. But in order to protect sensitive areas, there must be a time that if I don’t come from Kano, but am living there, there will be a time range within which I can qualify to do local politics; but if I arrive the first year and I say because have 10 billion naira I say I am going to be chairman of Kano city, I am going to offend citizens of the state. This is the way it has been handled, so indigeneship is a natural right you derive once your parent or ancestors come from that place; you are an indigene you can fill it in your form. Wherever you live in Nigeria you are a citizen and the citizens’ rights are in the constitution; they are in chapter four. It is the implementation now that is a problem because there is too much work for federal government to do. So judiciary committee has cracked the judicial system, every state as a federating unit has a magistrate court, high court, appeal court and supreme court on their own. Every state judiciary will now complement the judiciary at federal level and that is the revolution because that’s how it is in America, that’s how it is in Canada. So you free the one in Abuja to become the Constitutional court for the federation. Our analysis shows that cases in the Supreme Court in Abuja now are cases that have got there ten years ago. That’s where they are now, when will they finish them, hundred years time? So the judiciary team have good lawyers there, Ozekhome, Falana, and so on, they are all there and they have recommended that states should have a complement of what obtains at the federal. Then for electoral matters or something that requires constitutional interpretation people will have go to Abuja to handle it. You will find what we called justice delivered faster and if it is fast it become justice; if it is delayed it’s not justice. You see how Nigeria was entangled in purely legal matters that are avoidable and the cost becomes high. The number of ministries and agencies are 541. The president has got to sign appointment letters of all the directors, ministries and agencies, they are 42 ministries, he is supposed to be the only one who can appoint them and dismiss them. There are bound to be abuses. Now, a person who is close to president could say, Oga this one not fit

National Confab delegates

for there, no put am. Then the president will put the wrong man What exactly does the way forward look like? Now, I can say, the population of Nigeria is larger than we are able to cater for and we can reduce it to a smaller micro level of families. For instance, if you have 20 children now, you will be running away from home, the population is too large for the capacity we have now. The capacity is in various respect, first we don’t know the exact number, so when you are doing your budget you are always speculating. That is dangerous for economy because economics require mathematical exactitude. This hospital we need ten beds because if you say you are just speculating that’s a problem, your plans will fail. Second, one of the most important requirements of a human person as a biological animal is food, because the body needs food for nourishment, this clothes I am wearing and you are wearing we can keep them for the next three years, but if you don’t eat once a day your system collapses. So food is number one economy for any country in the world. Therefore in your sciences, planning, economy, food is number one and once that one is available and affordable, you have saved society from anxiety, theft, anger and fury. We have not been able to do it, while we have one of the most fertile territories on planet earth, where if you drop a mango seed now before you come back it has grown. But we have 84million hectares of arable lands and we have only cultivated one quarter of it, the rest is what we called wilderness. When you travel on Nigerian high ways you see wilderness left and right, forests, if you travel that

distance in America, Canada or England left and right there would be crops. So we have not been able to have the science, technology to convert the land to yield abundance. We pray for rain and sometimes it comes too much and the whole area is flooded. We are in Africa where Egyptians did mechanical agriculture 5000 years ago. We should be ashamed, what is there in agriculture that is so difficult? Ploughs can be manufactured in a small factory in Bauchi, that was what Steyr Motor Company was established to do, but it collapsed. Nigeria didn’t bother and its federal government that put it there. Every state must have up to 5000 machinery, do you have in Edo state, do I have in Delta; my mother, your sister, they are still using hoes in 2014 and you want them to produce enough food? So we must match the demand of our food consumption with scientific and technological investment. I have categorised the one of food and survival that is across all groups whether you are Edo, Urhobo or Isoko or you are Hausa, so every government in Nigeria must do that one because everybody is a beneficiary. The one of terrorism that has manifested in political insecurity is generated by political organisations that have missions or ambitions to destabilize an existing government for the purpose of achieving a desired end and Nigerian government has lived with. They are masquerading under religion but the Nigerian government is no stranger to it. In 1980/82 I was a lecturer in OAU in Ife and here was a movement called Maitatsine in Kano, just a brand of extreme Islamic fundamentalism, the federal government ram-

paged and chased them with Buhari (Maj Gen Muhammadu) who they even sent to finish them in Chad Republic. They never came back, they were routed completely. If you have a small group or terrorist groups growing, the first thing you do is to eliminate it. It is the same thing in biological welfare; if there is an insect or bacteria attacks human beings go and eliminate it so that it doesn’t spread. If you allow a few of them to fester, they will come to haunt you. If you allow it to fester, it gains legitimacy, it gains territory, coerces those people to obey their laws under the barrel of the gun. It is happening in Uganda now that Army of Jesus has been there for 20 years; the man ruling Uganda is a soldier, but he can’t stop it. Terrorism happened in other countries in West Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria went there to quench it. But now it is our turn and we cannot quench it. It is a shame and that shame is what the President and his regime must answer, because the title of commander-inchief carries implication and the government is right by saying this terror is beyond the capacity of government. We don’t have petrol, we import, we don’t have cars, we import, we don’t have computers, we import; we are going to seek foreign assistance from those who know have the expertise. In the case of the abducted Chibok girls, it is a correct approach, what they must add to it is an aggressive international propaganda with offices located in New York, inside the UN and you seek the alliances of powerful veto power nations in the UN (Security Council); because the people who are funding the terrorists are going to take you there, that you are abusing human rights deliberately to embarrass you.

Prime Issues Confronting Nigerian Federalism CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 report rejected the creation of state police. The sub-committee, however, recommended that the appointment of a Commissioner of Police should be in consultation with the state governor. The insecurity situation in the north eastern part of Nigeria heightened the call for state police, which advocates believe would tackle the issue at the grassroots, as police officials would understand the community they would be policing better. Those against the establishment of state police are afraid that the police could be abused by Nigerians, who may use them to fight political opponents. Meanwhile, the major step taken so far by

the committee is recommending the removal of the controversial immunity clause from the 1999 Constitution, • The committee on Politics and Governance co-chaired by Jerry Gana and Olu Falae had earlier recommended the removal of the immunity clause from the document. Stating that no citizen should be above the law, Jimeta said the committee identified immunity enjoyed by political office holders as the bane of corruption. “We have recommended that immunity should be removed from our statute books. No citizen of this country should be above the law,” he said.

• The Committee on Religion recommends the establishment of a Religious Equity Commission to tackle religious discrimination in the country. According to coChairman of the committee, Alhaji Nuruddeen Lemu, the establishment of the commission would go a long way in tackling religious problems in the country. The aim of the recommendation is also to help handle the problem of religious tension and building of harmony. The committee’s terms of reference include state and religion, state and public sponsorship of pilgrimages, restoration of national values, national ethics, morals and culture, among others.


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GAMBARI: We Must Carry Out Structural And Policy Changes To Accommodate The Poor Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, Nigeria’s former minister of foreign affairs and undersecretary General of the United Nations (Department of Political Affairs) is a prominent figure in the confab’s committee on foreign policy and Diaspora matters. He is the erstwhile Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur. He is also the Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. In a chat with Foreign Affairs Editor OGHOGHO OBAYUWANA, he agrees that the time to do something critical about Nigeria’s descent is now. As a front line diplomat, what and what are the dross in Nigeria’s foreign service practice and foreign policy generally that the confab committee should be redressing? WOULD say, a surgical operation is needed now in the management of Nigeria’s external relations. But everything begins with the ministry of foreign affairs. When our committee recommendations come to the public glare, radical changes are to be expected. But all I can say for now is that there are a few things fundamentally wrong. In terms of recruitment, posting, discipline and even in terms of career progression and distribution. There was a time we had more level 17 officers in the ministry than the entire civil service of the nation. We have to look at the number of our missions abroad vis avis efficiency and funding and then Nigeria has to critically reconsider the principle of concentric circles as a cardinal modus of engaging with the rest of the world. What sacrifices should members of the confab be making and what exactly should they be doing now to reform Nigeria knowing the cynicism of the citizenry? First of all, Nigeria has added value to me. So all of us by our thoughts and deeds must add value to Nigeria in reciprocity. One hundred years ago Lugard and the UK government created the entity we call Nigeria. They have done their job and it is now up to us to create a Nigeria of our dreams, not a mere geographical expression, but a community of peoples sharing broadly common values, vision and aspirations. Almost 54 years after independence, Nigeria is not where it should be and not near where it can be. Countries with which we were at least, at par at independence in 1960, such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and even Taiwan, have overtaken us in many respects. In order to regain the developmental grounds, that we have lost and move this country forward, we need to embark on concerted efforts to make three sets of changes. Time will not permit to discuss these in details during this interview but suffice it to mention the headlines. I can mention them, the things that are my headlines. Ok, go ahead sir First, there is need for structural changes, the structure of our federation as well as the structure and form of our government. Secondly, there is need for policy changes now in the area of our economy, which presently serves the interests of the few, rather than the need of the many in our country. There is also a need for policy change in poverty eradication and youth unemployment, which has become a real time bomb that we ignore at our peril. I have been advocating heavy investment in education and human capital development, including science and technology because I believe that these would improve our competitiveness in an increasingly globalised world. Thirdly, and this is perhaps the most significant imperative is attitudinal change. Now, all those responsible for the state of poor government, corruption, lack of accountability, impunity, lack of transparency and we the people who tolerate the state of affairs must change our attitude. The perpetrators and beneficiaries of this state of affairs in our nation will not easily give up the privileges accruing from their practices. But the people should not continue to tolerate filth in our environment public morality and governance. As a political scientist, I know that the powers that be do not easily give up their privileged positions, but change can be demanded peacefully by the victims of the poor governance and the policies of exclusion that lead to the acute crisis and conflicts which our country has been experiencing. What examples exist that one can easily say are

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reference points and that you can also avail the relevant committees in the confab, in terms of workable models for development? I can easily point to the work of two former Secretary Generals of the United Nations in this regard. Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan, both Africans, produced landmark Reports for the activities of the world body they are called: An agenda for Peace Development and In Larger Freedom. They both argued variously that without peace, there can be no development and without sustainable development, there can be no durable peace and that without respect for human rights, democracy and credible elections that reflect the will of the people, there will be neither peace nor development. It is easy to see how these submissions apply to Nigeria. What do you make of president Jonathan’s inaugural confab speech, what bearing has it had on deliberations so far? Oh, I remember that, that speech was well crafted, well delivered and inspiring. He said all the right things and the general debate, which we have been having in alphabetical order, these last few days, have for the most part touched upon all the key issues and often delivered with great passion and eloquence. But all these are the easy parts of our task. To paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, few people will remember what we have been saying in this hall; rather, what may endure is what the president, his government and all of us do here, especially what concrete results come out of this conference. We cannot do everything but we must prioritise the substance of our work and address the key and pressing concerns of Nigerians and also offer concrete solutions to our country’s problems, which must be faithfully implement-

ed by competent authorities. By so doing, we would make valuable contributions to moving the country forward and thereby help in actualising the Nigeria of our dreams: a united, peaceful, prosperous and just nation Why does it seem like Nigeria cannot deal decisively with the new wave of terrorism and insurgency? What should represent the way out? There are many factors such as poverty and illiteracy, which easily brew extremist views. This is a pattern we have seen worldwide. But a few things on proactive security have also been neglected. Again I will give you an example. I think the escalated security challenge confronting Nigeria may be traceable to the jettisoning of a thirty-year-old framework for neighbourhood security cooperation. We called it the quadripartite agreement between the Republic of Benin, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria signed in December 1984. It was meant in part to deal with security challenges that may arise from countries sharing common borders, which on that account, might be vulnerable to external destabilising forces as a result of the desire for co-prosperity through integration. But Instead of a leading nation in the West African sub-region like Nigeria with a history of porous borders to extend the mechanism to countries such as Niger, Chad and Cameroon, it curiously allowed the promising security cooperation format to go moribund.  So today, we may just be paying the price through unprecedented carnage and a heavy death toll inflicted by terrorist groups as well as insurgents.  Boko Haram sacks whole communities and have kidnapped schoolgirls. This was meant to be a security watch tower, the quadripartite agreement was meant to coordinate a common peace and security architecture, entrench legal cooperation in the fight

Thirdly, and this is perhaps the most significant imperative is attitudinal change. Now, all those responsible for the state of poor government, corruption, lack of accountability, impunity, lack of transparency and we the people who tolerate the state of affairs must change our attitude. The perpetrators and beneficiaries of this state of affairs in our nation will not easily give up the privileges accruing from their practices. But the people should not continue to tolerate filth in our environment public morality and governance. As a political scientist, I know that the powers that be do not easily give up their privileged positions, but change can be demanded peacefully by the victims of the poor governance and the policies of exclusion that lead to the acute crisis and conflicts which our country has been experiencing

against trans border crimes as well as facilitate the apprehension and trial of fugitive offenders in the territory of member states among others. Also, today we seem to be having dearth of synergy between the security wings. Our internal security is a foreign policy tool. The ministry of foreign affairs is not the focal point for foreign policy. As it is now, there is no synergy between our foreign policy on one hand and the political, economic and security sectors of the economy. What is needed today is a mechanism to bring foreign policy, security policy and economic policy together. Even the cost benefit analyses had been beneficial to all parties. It contained needed technical assistance in both peace keeping and peacemaking. Today we are talking of hot pursuit. Hot pursuit would not have been the recourse if we had built on mastering our well thought out security cooperation effectively. For hot pursuit to yield fruits, there must be agreement, a workable, measurable, and implement able agreement with our neighbours. From the look of things, Nigeria ought to have been advancing and building on the capacity of the older security cooperative framework instead of appearing now to be finding tricky security compass upon being assailed by dreaded insurgents such as Boko Haram. I remember also that Nigeria had a relatively more permanent inter-ministerial task force on Chad, which mandate was later extended to include relations with Cameroon. Unfortunately, the inter-ministerial committees were ad hoc in nature, operated mainly at the level of officials and hardly enjoyed the participation of more than one minister at a time. There was the National Defence and Security Council....now, a new permanent and inter-ministerial council should be established as an effective link between general foreign policy concerns, security and international economic interests.   This is a question nobody wants to ask: Do you think Nigeria could still break up if its units fail to work together in the real sense? Look, that is a poorer option, it is a weaker option. It still does not guarantee anything. We have to make the country that we have now, work. That is a real option. So that you can readily understand and have broader picture, I will give you just one example: take Kwara, my state, if Nigeria breaks, Kwara would simply be like Kashmir. And you knew what happened in that enclave?


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Special Report

Clark-Bekederemo, Achebe and Syinka

1930, The ‘Golden Generation’ Of Nigeria By Gregory Austin Nwakunor HE 1930s generation has always been described as the ‘Golden Generation”. It is a generation of intelligent and confident trailblazers, who possess the skills and potentials to surpass others in their chosen fields of endeavour. They have demonstrated their skills and competence in every sphere of national life and others are being guided in their chosen fields by these trailblazers. Even in the murky waters of politics, some members of this generation have proven that they possess the tenacity to compete and stay strong. What could have served as a catalyst? According to Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya, a visual artist, it was by accident of time that the generation appeared dominant. “But what cannot be taken away is the fact that it was the era of nationalism and those born during this period listened to the brilliant speeches of the gladiators of the time like Dr. Kwame ‘Osagyefo’ Nkrumah, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sedar Senghor, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and many others,” he said. Education also served as catalyst. That was also the period when a lot of Nigerians were beginning to embrace education. Modelled on the British public school, and funded by the colonial administration, Government College had been established in 1929 to educate Nigeria’s future elite. It had rigorous academic standards and was vigorously elitist, accepting boys purely on the basis of ability. The language of the school was English, not only to develop proficiency but also to

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provide a common tongue for pupils from differ- only on positive results, but if you look at peoent Nigerian language groups. ple who are successful, it is often those who also In a fora facilitated by the Rainbow Book Club at learn from the negative,” he told the literary enthe unveiling of Port Harcourt as the World Book thusiasts who converged on the Royal Banquet Capital 2014 last month, the scholar and poet lau- Hall, Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, for his reate, Prof. John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo, cap- 80th birthday celebrations. tures the reason for this: “We were taught by Hyginus Ekwuazi, in his Okigbo – Mythmaker & those, who brought the language to us.” Towncrier At Heavensgate, captures the tenacity In his advice to upcoming generation, Clarkof purpose, which characterised the age. He Bekederemo said: “Always be aware of your writes, “Osofisan recounts this incident about strength and weaknesses before you come to this how Okigbo took him to Mbari club one night art of writing and be apprenticed.” to work. He was barely out of the secondary Onobrakpeya also said: “Young artists from school and Okigbo was mentoring him. How for school should first of all work with the masters a few hours he managed to bang away at the and get the personality of the master before get- typewriter before falling asleep. How in his ting set to create.” sleep the smell of the midnight oil mingled On his part, Onobrakpeya says he begins with with the aroma of tobacco as Okigbo hammered simple curiosity and focus. and chiselled the night away. How in the mornThe Zaria Arts Society, later called the Zaria ing, Okigbo showed him the outcome of the Rebels, was formed on October 9, 1958 by a group long night of creativity: a sheet of paper with of art students at the college led by Uche Okeke some four lines of poetry. Bewildered, he with the aim of “decolonising” the visual arts as watched as Okigbo read the four lines, crumtaught by Europeans. pled the paper – and threw it into the wastepa“We were not rebels, but revolutionaries,” he per basket…” says. For the venerable artist, what the group wanted was for their teachers to see that art was a CHINUA ACHEBE synthesis. ORN Albert Chinualumogu Achebe on NoThey were focused on excellence and did not alvember 16, 1930, the novelist, poet, professor low setbacks disrupt progress. For most of them, and critic, was best known for his first novel and failure is a tonic for hardwork. Elechi Amadi, who magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is read Physics at the University of Ibadan, said, even the most widely read book in modern African while he was a university scholar, he was focused literature. and determined to excel. Raised by his parents in Ogidi, Anambra State, In one of his compulsory courses, he was ill dur- Achebe excelled in school and won a scholaring the examination, but he was determined to ship for undergraduate studies. He became fasdo his best. Though, it was a failed experiment, as cinated with world religions and traditional it eventually brought down his cumulative African cultures, and began writing stories as a graded point, it actually served as a rich source of university student. After graduation, he worked guide to his career growth. “People tend to focus for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and

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soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. At the age of 12, Achebe moved away from his family to the village of Nekede, four kilometres from Owerri. He enrolled as a student at the Central School, where his older brother John taught. In Nekede, Achebe gained an appreciation for Mbari, a traditional art form that seeks to invoke the gods’ protection through symbolic sacrifices in the form of sculpture and collage. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). In 1975, his lecture An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness featured a famous criticism of Joseph Conrad as “a thoroughgoing racist”; it was later published in The Massachusetts Review amid some controversy. In October 1979, Achebe was awarded the first-ever Nigerian National Merit Award. In 1982, Achebe retired from the University of Nigeria. He devoted more time to editing Okike and became active with the leftleaning People’s Redemption Party (PRP). In 1983, he became the party’s deputy national vice-president. He published a book called The Trouble with Nigeria to coincide with the upcoming elections. On the first page, Achebe says bluntly: “the Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility and to the challenge of personal example, which are the hallmarks of true leader-

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SPECIAL REPORT ... A Salute To A Golden Generation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23 ship.” On March 22, 1990, Achebe was riding in a car to Lagos when an axle collapsed and the car flipped. His son Ikechukwu and the driver suffered minor injuries, but the weight of the vehicle fell on Achebe and his spine was severely damaged. He was flown to the Paddocks Hospital in Buckinghamshire, England, and treated for his injuries. In July doctors announced that although he was recuperating well, he was paralysed from the waist down and would require the use of a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Soon afterwards, Achebe became the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; he held the position for more than 15 years. In 2009, he joined the Brown University faculty as the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of Africana Studies. In June 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize. In 2010, Achebe was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for $300,000, one of the richest prizes for the arts. In October 2012, Achebe’s publishers, Penguin Books, released There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra. Publication immediately caused a stir and re-opened the discussion about the Nigerian Civil War. It would prove to be the last publication during his lifetime. Achebe died after a short illness on March 21, 2013, in Boston, United States. Achebe was the recipient of over 30 honorary degrees from universities in England, Scotland, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and the United States, including Dartmouth College, Harvard, and Brown University. He was awarded the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, an Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1982), a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2002) and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. He twice refused the Nigerian honour Commander of the Federal Republic, in 2004 and 2011.

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abroad, mainly in the United States, he was a professor first at Cornell University and then at Emory University in Atlanta, where in 1996 he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts. Abacha proclaimed a death sentence against him “in absentia”. With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka returned to his nation. He has also taught at the universities of Oxford, Harvard and Yale. He was a Professor of Comparative Literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University, then called the University of Ife, till the mid-80s. With civilian rule restored in 1999, he was made professor emeritus. Soyinka has been a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In the fall of 2007, he was appointed Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US.

CHRISTOPHER IFEKANDU OKIGBO HRISTOPHER Ifekandu Okigbo was born on August 16, 1932 in Ojoto, Anambra State. He was the fourth child of Chief James Okoye Okigbo (Onyeamaluligolu Oda), a pioneer Catholic WOLE SOYINKA schoolmaster and Mrs. Anna Onugwalobi Okigbo. ORN Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka on July 13, Okigbo studied at the Catholic school of Umulobia and began 1934, he is a Nigerian writer and was awarded his secondary studies in the State College of Umuahia in 1945. the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first perHe was subsequently admitted to the University of Ibadan, like son in Africa to be so honoured. other major writers such as Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi, John Soyinka was born the second of six children in Pepper Clark and Kole Omotso. He was destined for a medical Ab okuta, Ogun State. His father, Samuel Ayocareer, but he soon changed to studying Greek and Latin. Editordele Soyinka (whom he called S.A. or “Essay”), in-Chief of the University Weekly, he translated Greek and Latin was an Anglican minister and the headmaster authors. He graduated in 1956 before teaching, notably in the of St. Peters School in Ab okuta. Soyinka’s University of Nigeria, where he also held the office of librarian. mother, Grace Eniola Soyinka (whom he Okigbo’s first poems were published in Horn, the student literdubbed the “Wild Christian”), owned a shop in ary journal where J.P. Clark was Editor-in-Chief. However, it was the nearby market. the publication of his verses in the Black Orpheus magazine in In 1940, after attending St. Peters Primary 1962, which gained him his first recognition. In the same year School in Abeokuta, Soyinka went to Ab okuta he also published a collection entitled, Heavensgate, and a long Grammar School, where he won several prizes poem in “Transition”, the Ugandan magazine published in Kamfor literary composition. In 1946 he was acpala. cepted by Government College in Ibadan, at Heavensgate marked his return to his sources and a deeply-felt that time one of Nigeria’s elite secondary personal rebirth with the mother-goddess. His maternal grandschools. father Ijejiofor of the Oto family has always provided the priestAfter finishing his course at Government Colhood to the shrine of the deity Idoto. lege in 1952, he began studies at University ColThe Nigerian artist shared with T.S. Eliot the vision of a spirilege in Ibadan (1952–54), affiliated with the tual quest, which led the poet to classical myths and pointed University of London. He studied English litera- him towards his spiritual identity. Christopher Okigbo wrote in ture, Greek and Western history. a melodic mode, using repetitions, rhythms of incantation, and While at university, Soyinka and six others words, as if listening to and interpreting far-off sounds. Of the founded the Pyrates Confraternity, an anti-corfour elements, he chose water, the domain of the ruption and justice-seeking student organisaAlthough Christopher Okigbo poetry always retained a pertion, the first confraternity in Nigeria. Soyinka sonal and mythical record, Path of Thunder (1965-66) sees the gives a detailed account of his early life in his turning point towards a more political tone. The denunciation memoir Aké: The Years of Childhood. of political oppression and neo-colonial exploitation coincided Later in 1954, Soyinka relocated to England, with the emergence of radical movements in the 60s. where he continued his studies in English litera- In 1966, Okigbo won the Langston Hughes award for African ture, under the supervision of his mentor Wilpoetry at the Festival of Black African Arts in Dakar but he reson Knight at the University of Leeds (1954–57). fused it, believing that art cannot be burdened by racial considBefore defending his B.A., Soyinka began puberations. lishing and worked as an editor for the satirical When the civil war in Nigeria broke out, Christopher Okigbo magazine, The Eagle. He wrote a column on aca- moved back to the East and together with his friend, Chinua demic life, often criticising his university peers. Achebe, set up a publishing house called Citadel Press. Soyinka received a Rockefeller Research FelThe conflict caused him to abandon these and other plans and lowship from University College in Ibadan, his he consolidated his commitment to his people by enrolling for alma mater, for research on African theatre, and combat in the Biafran war. Refusing safer positions behind the he returned to Nigeria. He produced his new frontline, he fought with the rank of Major. satire, The Trials of Brother Jero. His work, A Dance In September 1967, he was killed in action near Opi junction, of The Forest (1960), a biting criticism of Nigeria’s Nsukka, during one of the civil war’s first battles. Posthumously, political elites, won a contest that year as the of- he was decorated with the National Order of Merit of Biafra. ficial play for Nigerian Independence Day. On October 1, 1960, it premiered in Lagos as Nigeria ELECHI AMADI celebrated its sovereignty. ORN on May 12, 1934, in Aluu, Elechi Amadi attended GovernSoyinka has strongly criticised many Nigerment College, Umuahia (1948-1952), Survey School, Oyo (1953ian military dictators, especially late General 1954), and the University of Ibadan (1955-1959), where he Sani Abacha, as well as other political tyrannies, obtained a degree in Physics and Mathematics. including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. He worked for a time as a land surveyor and later was a teacher Much of his writing has been concerned with at several schools, including the Nigerian Military School, Zaria “the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the (1963-1966). He was science teacher in Oba and Ahoada, 1960-63 colour of the foot that wears it”. and Asa Grammar School, headmaster, 1966-67. During the regime of General Sani Abacha Amadi did military service in the Nigerian army and was on (1993 to 98), Soyinka escaped from Nigeria via the Nigerian side during the Nigeria-Biafra War, retiring in the the “Nadeco Route” on a motorcycle. Living rank of Captain.

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Amadi After the war Amadi left the army to work for the Rivers State government. Positions he held include Permanent Secretary (1973-1983), Commissioner for Education (1987-1988) and Commissioner for Lands and Housing (1989-1990). He has been writer-in-residence and lecturer at Rivers State College of Education, where he has also been Dean of Arts, head of the literature department and Director of General Studies. He was hailed as the successor to fellow University of Ibadan alumnus Chinua Achebe, whose 1958 novel Things Fall Apart broke new ground for African writers. JOHN PEPPER CLARK BEKEDEREMO OHN pepper Clark Bekederemo was born on April 6, 1935. He is one of Nigeria’s foremost anglophone dramatists and poets. In his plays, he unites Western literary techniques with themes, images, and speech patterns drawn from traditional African theatre. The poet also incorporates elements of the myths, religion, and folklore of his people, the Ijaw, and utilises masks, drum rhythms, and dance He received his early education at the Native Administration School and the prestigious Government College in Ugheli. He then got his Bachelors degree in English at the University of Ibadan, where Wole Soyinka also studied. While in school, Clark and a group of fellow students founded the Horn, a publication for which Clark served as editor and where he began to publish his poetry. In 1960, Clark wrote his first dramatic work, Song of a Goat, which was staged in Ibadan the following year. After graduation, Clark worked as a journalist, editor, and feature writer in Lagos for Express newspapers. His success as a journalist resulted in his being awarded a fellowship to study at Princeton University in the United States. Clark did not complete the program but returned to Nigeria, whereupon he accepted a position teaching English at the University of Lagos. In 1964, he published America, Their America, which chronicles his experiences and impressions of American society. Clark served as the Department Head of English at the University of Lagos until his retirement in 1980. Clark’s other works include his critical study The Example of Shakespeare (1970), in which he articulates his aesthetics and his journalistic essays in the daily national newspapers. In America, Their America (a travelogue), he criticizes American society and its values. He has, since his retirement, continued to play an active role in literary affairs, a role for which he is increasingly gaining international recognition receiving, in 1991, the Nigerian National Merit Award for literary excellence.

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‘ZULU SOFOLA NUEKWUKE Nwazulu Sofola was born on June 22, 1935, in IsseleUku, Delta State, to Nwaugbade Okwumabua and Chief Ogana Okwumabua of Ogbeutu quarters, Issele-Uku. ZS or ‘Mama’, as she was known, enjoys the enviable distinction of being the Matriarch of the Nigerian theatre and the first published female author in Nigeria. She was Africa’s first female Professor of

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1930s: The Pride Of A Nation in the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme as well as the HIV Programme with Global ORN Olufela Olusegun Oludotun RanFund of Geneva. Gowon founded his own orsome-Kuti on October 15, 1938 in Abeokuta, ganization in 1992 called the Yakubu Gowon Ogun State. Centre. The organization is said to work on isFela was sent to London in 1958 to study sues in Nigeria such as good governance as medicine but decided to study music instead well as infectious disease control including at the Trinity College of Music. While there, HIV/AIDS, guinea worm, and malaria. he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a fusion of jazz and highlife. In 1963, he moved ODUMEGWU OJUKWU back to Nigeria, re-formed Koola Lobitos and HUKWUEMEKA “Dim” Odumegwu-Ojukwu trained as a radio producer for the Nigerian was born on November 4, 1933, in Zungeru, Broadcasting Corporation. He played for Niger State to Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, a some time with Victor Olaiya and his All businessman from Nnewi, Anambra State. Stars. Chukwuemeka was a Nigerian military offiIn 1967, he went to Ghana to think up a new cer and politician. He served as the military musical direction. That was when Kuti first governor of the Eastern Region of Nigeria in called his music Afrobeat. In 1969, Fela took 1966 and the leader of the breakaway Repubthe band to the United States where they lic of Biafra from 1967 to 1970 and a Nigerian spent 10 months in Los Angeles. politician from 1983 to 2011, when he died. After Fela and his band returned to Nigeria, He came into national prominence upon the band was renamed The Afrika ‘70, as lyri- his appointment as military governor in 1966, cal themes changed from love to social isand his actions, thereafter. A military coup sues. He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, against the civilian Nigerian federal governGowon a commune, a recording studio, and a home ment in January 1966 and a counter coup in for the many people connected to the band July 1966 by different military factions, perthat he later declared independent from the ceived to be ethnic coups, resulted in pogroms Nigerian state. Fela set up a nightclub in the in Northern Nigeria in which Igbos were preEmpire Hotel, first named the Afro-Spot and dominantly killed. then the Afrika Shrine, where he both perHe took part in talks to seek an end to the formed regularly and officiated at personhostilities by seeking peace with the then alised Yoruba traditional ceremonies in Nigerian military leadership, headed by Genhonour of his nation’s ancestral faith. He also eral Yakubu Go (Nigeria’s head of state followchanged his middle name to Anikulapo ing the July 1966 counter coup). (meaning “He who carries death in his The military leadership met in Aburi Ghana pouch”), stating that his original middle (the Aburi Accord), but the agreement reached name of Ransome was a slave name. there was not implemented to all parties’ satisIn 1977, Fela and the Afrika ‘70 released the faction upon their return to Nigeria. The failalbum, Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian ure to reach a suitable agreement, the decision soldiers using the zombie metaphor to deof the Nigerian military leadership to establish scribe the methods of the Nigerian military. new states in the Eastern Region and the conThe album was a smash hit and infuriated tinued pogrom in Northern Nigeria led the government, setting off a vicious attack Ojukwu to announce a breakaway of the Eastagainst the Kalakuta Republic, during which ern Region under the new name Biafra repubone thousand soldiers attacked the comlic in 1967. mune. Fela was severely beaten, and his eldThis sequence of events sparked the Nigerian erly mother was thrown from a window, Civil War. Ojukwu led the Biafran forces and on causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic the defeat of Biafra in January 1970, and after was burned, and Fela’s studio, instruments, he had delegated instructions to Philip Effiong and master tapes were destroyed. Fela he went into exile for 13 years, returning to claimed that he would have been killed had Nigeria following a pardon. He died on Novemit not been for the intervention of a comber 26, 2011. Obasanjo manding officer as he was being beaten. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pid- CHUKWUMA NZEOGWU gin English, although he also performed a ATRICK Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu was ernment. few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela’s born in Kaduna in 1937 to parents from Ok- More than 10,000 public officials and emmain instruments were the saxophone and ployees were dismissed without benefits, on panam, Delta State. the keyboards, but he also played the trumNzeogwu was an infantry and intelligence of- account of age, health, incompetence, or malpet, electric guitar, and took the occasional practice. The purge affected the civil service, ficer of the Nigerian Army. His Hausa coldrum solo. Fela refused to perform songs judiciary, police and armed forces, diplomatic leagues in the Nigerian Army gave him the again after he had already recorded them, service, public corporations, and universities. name “Kaduna” because of his love with the which also hindered his popularity outside town. Nzeogwu was an ambitious young mili- Some officials were brought to trial on charges Africa. He died on August 3, 1997. of corruption. He also began the demobilizatary officer and a Roman Catholic. tion of 100,000 troops from the swollen ranks He attended the military academy at SandYAKUBU GOWON hurst in England, and was a rebellious military of the armed forces. ENERAL Yakubu “Jack” Dan-Yumma Muhammad initiated a comprehensive reofficer who eventually became the Chief InGowon was born on October 19, 1934. He structor at the Nigerian Military Training Col- view of the Third National Development Plan. was the head of state of Nigeria from 1966 to lege, Kaduna. The forerunner of the Nigerian Singling out inflation as the greatest danger to 1975. He took power after one military coup Army Intelligence Corps (NAIC) was the Field the economy, he was determined to reduce d’état and was overthrown in another. Durthe money supply that had been swollen by Security Section (FSS) of the Royal Nigerian ing his rule, the Nigerian government sucArmy, which was established on November 1, government expenditures on public works. cessfully prevented Biafran secession during 1962 with Captain PG Harrington (BR) as GenHe also announced that his government the 1967–70 Nigerian Civil War. would encourage the rapid expansion of the eral Staff Officer Grade Two (GSO2 Int). He also attended the Royal Military AcadMajor Nzeogwu was the first Nigerian Officer private sector into areas dominated by public emy, Sandhurst, UK (1955–56), Staff College, to hold that appointment from November 1962 corporations. He reappraised foreign policy, Camberley, UK (1962) as well as the Joint Staff to 1964 and the first to stage a bloody military stressing a “Nigeria first” orientation in line College, Latimer, 1965. He saw action in the with OPEC price guidelines that was to the discoup. Congo (Zaire) as part of the United Nations On May 30, 1967, the nation of Biafra declared advantage of other African countries. Nigeria Peacekeeping Force, both in 1960–61 and in its independence from Nigeria. Nzeogwu was became “neutral” rather than “ 1963. He advanced to battalion commander He was killed, aged 37, along with his aidereleased from close observation, and asked to rank by 1966, at which time he was still a de-camp, Lieutenant Akintunde Akinsehinwa, go into battle on the side of the Biafrans. On Lieutenant Colonel. July 29, Nzeogwu, who had been promoted to on February 13, 1976 in an abortive coup atUp until that year Gowon remained strictly the rank of Biafran Lt. Colonel, was trapped in tempt led by Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka, when a career soldier with no involvement whatso- an ambush near Nsukka while conducting a his car was ambushed while en route to his ofever in politics, until the tumultuous events night reconnaissance operation against fed- fice at Dodan Barracks, Lagos. of the year suddenly thrust him into a leader- eral troops of the 21st battalion under Captain ship role, when his unusual background as a Mohammed Inua Wushishi. OLUSEGUN OBASANJO Northerner who was neither of Hausa or FuLU GUN Mathew Okiki la Ar mu He was killed in action and his corpse was lani ancestry nor of the Islamic faith made basanj was born on March 5, 1938. He is a subsequently identified. After the defeat of Bihim a particularly safe choice to lead a nation afra and the end of the war, orders were given former Nigerian Army general who was Presiwhose population were seething with ethnic by the Head of the Nigerian government, Majordent of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. Obasanjo tension. General Yakubu Gowon, for him to be buried at was a career soldier before serving twice as his In January 1966, he became Nigeria’s nation’s head of state, as a military ruler from the military cemetery in Kaduna. youngest military chief of staff at the age of February 13, 1976 to October 1 1979 and as a 32, because a military coup d’état by a group MURTALA MOHAMMED democratically elected president from May 29, of mostly Igbo junior officers under Major ENERAL Murtala Ramat Muhammed was 1999 to May 29, 2007. Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu led to the overborn on November 8, 1938. He was the mili- As a young man of 21, he enlisted in the throw of Nigeria’s civilian government. tary ruler of Nigeria from 1975 until his assassi- Nigerian Army in 1958. He trained at AlderHe returned to Nigeria in the 1983, and in shot, and was commissioned as an officer in nation on February 13,1976. He is widely the 1990s he formed a non-denominational recognised as a hero in the country. the Nigerian Army. He was also trained in Inreligious group, Nigeria Prays. Still based in One of his first acts was to scrap the 1973 cen- dia at the Defence Services Staff College, the UK, General Gowon today serves an ‘elder sus, which was weighted in favour of the north, Wellington and at the Indian Army School of statesman’ role in African politics, operating and to revert to the 1963 count for official pur- Engineering. (for example) as an official observer at the He served at 1 Area Command in Kaduna. Proposes. He removed top federal and state offiGhanaian presidential elections 2008. cials to break links with the Gowon regime and moted to Chief Army Engineer, he was made Furthermore, Gen. Gowon is also involved to restore public confidence in the federal gov- commander of 2 Area Command from July

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Ojukwu 1967, which was redesignated 2 Division Rear, and then the Ibadan Garrison Organisation. He was also trained in DSSC, Wellington. During the Nigerian Civil War, he commanded the Army’s 3 Marine Commando Division that took Owerri, effectively bringing an end to the civil war. Though basanj did not participate in the military coup of July 29, 1975, led by Murtala Mohammed, he supported it and was named Murtala’s deputy in the new government. On February 13, 1976, coup plotters, led by Army Col. Dimka, marked him, Murtala and other senior military personnel for assassination. Murtala was killed during the attempted coup, but Obasanjo escaped death. Obasanjo and Danjuma established a chain of command and re-established security in Lagos, thereby regaining control. The Supreme Military Council appointed him as head of state. Keeping the chain of command established by Murtala, Obasanjo pledged to continue the pro-


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... A Generation Of Trailblazers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 theatre arts and a true embodiment of the essence of African womanhood in their traditional position of power and respect. She obtained her primary education at the Federal Government Primary School, Asaba. She then attended the Baptist Girls’ High School, Agbor, where her talents were quickly recognised thereby receiving a scholarship to complete her high school education in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. This happened at a time when most parents forbade their female children from getting a formal education; fearing that female children who received formal education risked not finding a husband in the future. ‘Zulu’s parents broke with tradition and took a leap in the dark, eventually sending her several miles away from home to “fetch the golden fleece”. She continued her higher education at the Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia, receiving a B.A. (Cum Laude) degree in English in 1959. She went on to complete her post-graduate studies, obtaining an M.A. degree in Drama from the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. in 1966. She completed her Ph.D. in Theatre Arts (Tragic Theory) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s Premier Ivy League University, in 1977. ‘Zulu received many scholarly awards and distinctions both nationally and internationally. She was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship at the State University of New York at Buffalo, New York, 1988. She was also a former Ford Foundation Fellow; a recipient of the prestigious Literary Award of the International book fair of the University of Ife.

founded in 1978, and the Children’s Documentation and Research Centre, which she set up in 1990 in Ibadan. She is also a fellow of the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. In 2007, she was joint-winner of Nigeria Literature Prize sponsored by NLNG. While in 2010, she received the Nigerian National Merit Award for her lifetime achievements. BOLA IGE AMES Ajibola Idowu Adegoke Ige was born in Zaria, on September 13, 1930. His parents were Yoruba natives of Esa-Oke town, Osun State. Ige left Kaduna and headed south to the Western region at the age of 14. He studied at Ibadan Grammar School (1943 to 48), and then at the University of Ibadan. From there, he went to the University College London where he graduated with a Law degree in 1959. He was called to the bar in London’s Inner Temple in 1961. Ige established Bola Ige & Co in 1961, and later became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He became well known in the country for his oratory prowess, as well as his advocacy work on civil rights and democracy. Uncommonly, Ige spoke all the three major Nigerian languages, Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa fluently. He wrote several books, and an anthology of articles and tributes about him was published shortly after his death. Towards the end of the 1970s he joined the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the successor to the Action Group. When General Olusegun Obasanjo initiated the Second Republic, he was elected as governor of Oyo State from October 1979 to October 1983. Following the restoration of democracy in 1999, Ige sought the nomination of the Alliance for Democracy party as a presidential candidate, but was rejected. President Obasanjo appointed him as minister of Mines and Power (1999-2000). He later became Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2000-2001). He campaigned ardently against the imposition of the Sharia law in the northern states of Nigeria. In November 2001 he said that the Federal government would not allow the Sokoto State government to execute the judgement of a verdict passed by a Gwadabawa sharia court to stone a woman, Safiya Hussaini to death for committing adultery. On December 23, 2001, Ige was shot dead at his home in the south-western city of Ibadan.

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Alele-Williams was a member of governing council, UNESCO Institute of Education. She is also a consultant to UNESCO and Institute of International Education Planning. For a decade (1963–73) she was a member of the African Mathematics Programme, located in Newton, Massachusetts, United States. She was also vice-president of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and later president of the Nigerian chapter. AleleWilliams has published a book titled Modern Mathematics Handbook for Teachers. She has 5 children and 10 grandchildren. After serving as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, she joined the board of directors of Chevron-Texaco Nigeria. She is also on the board of HIP Asset Management Company Ltd, an Asset Management Company in Lagos, Nigeria.

GRACE ALELE-WILLIAMS RACE Alele-Williams was born on December 16, 1932. She is the first Nigerian woman to become vice-chancellor of a Nigerian university, the University of Benin. Born in Warri, Alele-Williams attended Government School, Warri, and Queen’s College, Lagos. She proceeded to the University College (now the University of Ibadan), where she obtained a college degree. She was also at the UniMABEL SEGUN versity of Vermont and the University of ORN in Ondo, in 1930, Mabel Segun is a Chicago both in US. Nigerian poet and writer. She attended Her teaching career started at Queen’s School, the University of Ibadan, graduating in 1953 Ede Osun State, where she was mathematics with a BA in English, Latin and History. She teacher from 1954 until 1957. She left for the taught these subjects in Nigerian schools, University of Vermont to become a graduate asand later became Head of the Department sistant and later assistant professor. of English and Social Studies and Vice-Princi- Between 1963 and ‘65, Alele-Williams was a pal at the National Technical Teachers’ Colpost doctoral research fellow, department (and lege, Yaba. As a broadcaster, she won the institute) of Education, University of Ibadan Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation 1977 from where she was appointed a professor of Artiste of the Year award. mathematics at the University of Lagos in 1976. Segun has championed children’s literaFrom 1979-1985, she served as chairman of ture in Nigeria through the Children’s Liter- the Lagos State Curriculum Review Committee ature Association of Nigeria, which she and Lagos State Examinations Boards.

awarded a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 1966. After a period teaching at the University of Lagos, he returned to the Imperial College London for a research study in the field of Vibration, and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, DSc. He was the first African to be awarded the Doctor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, at the Imperial College London. He returned in 1974 and was made an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos. However, one week after having been appointed associate professor, the University of Lagos Senate, after receiving news that Awojobi had just been awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc), immediately appointed him professor in Mechanical Engineering, making him the youngest professor in the Faculty of EngiAYODELE AWOJOBI neering. YODELE Oluwatuminu Awojobi was born While as a lecturer in the University of Laon March 12, 1937. Also known by the nick- gos, Awojobi successfully converted his own names ‘Dead Easy’, ‘The Akoka Giant’, and family car, an Opel Record, from right-hand ‘Macbeth’, he was a Nigerian academic, audrive to a left-hand drive. thor, inventor, social crusader and activist. He tinkered further with motor engines It was while at the CMS Grammar School, La- when he acquired an army-type jeep and gos, that his academic traits began to maniproceeded to invent a second steering-wheel fest. Not only was he seen to be gifted in mechanism, adjoined to the pre-existing enmathematics and the sciences, he was comgine at the rear end, so that the vehicle was fortable also in the arts, becoming a member able to move in both forward and backward of the school’s literary and debating society. directions with all four pre-existing gears. Ayodele was a straight-As secondary school Ayodele Awojobi died in the morning of student , passing his West African School Cer- Sunday, September 23, 1984, at the age of 47 tificate examinations with a record eight distinctions in 1955. He proceeded to the MOSES OLAIYA Nigerian College of Arts, Science and TechnolORN Moses Olaiya Adejumo in Ilesha, in ogy, Ibadan, for his General Certificate of Ex1936, is better known by his stage name aminations, GCE (Advanced Level), where in ‘Baba Sala’. He is a comedian, dramatist and 1958 he sat for, and obtained distinctions in Yoruba language film and television actor all his papers: Physics, Pure Mathematics and from Nigeria. Applied Mathematics. Baba Sala, regarded as the father of modIn 1962, Awojobi was awarded his first deern Nigerian comedy, alongside other gree in Mechanical Engineering – a BSc (Eng) dramatists such as Hubert Ogunde, Kola London, with first class honours, at the then Ogunmola, Oyin Adejobi and Duro Ladipo, Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technol- popularised theatre and television acting in ogy, Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. He is also a prolific filmmaker. Zaria). He had studied there on a federal govHe started his career in show business as a ernment scholarship won on the merit of his Highlife musician, fronting in 1964 a group performance in the GCE (Advanced-level) exknown as the Federal Rhythm Dandies aminations of 1958. where he tutored and guided the jùjú music The federal government awarded Awojobi maestro, King Sunny Adé, who was his lead another scholarship in 1962 to study further guitar player. at the post-graduate level in the field of Mechanical Engineering at the Imperial College FELA KUTI of the University of London (now Imperial College London). He completed the course, CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 successfully defending his thesis, and was

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Alele-Williams

FLORA NWAPA LORENCE Nwanzuruahu Nkiru Nwapa was born in Oguta on January 13, 1931. She was the forerunner to a generation of African women writers. While never considering herself a feminist, she is best known for recreating life and traditions from a woman’s viewpoint. In 1966 her book, Efuru, became Africa’s first internationally published female novel in the English language. She has been called the mother of modern African literature. Later, she went on to become the first African woman publisher of novels when she founded Tata Press. She also is known for her governmental work in reconstruction after the Biafran War. In particular she worked with orphans and refugees that where displaced during the war. Further she worked as a publisher of African literature and promoted women in African society. Flora died on October 16, 1993.

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NEWSFEATURE

In Benin, Surveyors Connect, Collaborate For Furure By Gregory Austin Nwakunor HE atmosphere this evening was tensed. In the small office of a nondescript building in Ikeja, five men banter. The environment had the feel of a serious quarrel. But it wasn’t, actually. Everybody was just angry and complaining of marginalization of the survey profession. More painful is the fact the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) was not represented at the ongoing National Conference. One of the men said, “we are treated with levity. Our inputs are not sought, yet we hold a strategic position in the country.” Another said, “the danger is now more acute than it was before, and largely, it is because we are not proactive as members of other professions do.” This week, as NIS installs its new executives in a conference holding in Benin, a lot of issues will agitate the minds of surveyors, paramount of which is the poor treatment as well as proper education of those, who actually, should be the fulcrum of national development because of the strategic position they hold in the country Themed, Connect and Collaborate, the event holds in Benin City, Edo State. The opening ceremony is at Homeview Hotel, with Professor Oserheimen Osunbor as the keynoter. The conference proper holds at Emporium Hotel, while the installation of the new president is at Uyi Grand Hotels and Suites. On that day, Bernard Omo Akhigbe, a fellow of the institution, will become the 19th president of NIS —a body dedicated to advancing the profession of surveying and mapping and geomatics. The organisation was founded in 1934 as the Association of Licensed Surveyors to enhance their practice and to give recognition to their profession in public. The association consisted only of licensed surveyors. The four founding fathers were Herbert Macaulay, a civil engineer, who was licensed October 8 1898; Bergen Benjamin, licensed on October 27, 1910; George Debayo Agbebi, civil engineer, licensed 1911; and Emmanuel Oke Aiyede, licensed in 1922. Little was heard about the associations until 1954, when constitutional changes brought regional self government. However, by 1960, Akhigbe the regional associations came together to form the Land Surveyors Association of Nigeria under the leadership of CT Olumide. The association was incorporated in 1964. The present name was incorporated in at the Enugu conference in 1966. The organisation, since formation, has catered for the professional development of members, maintained the integrity of the profession and enhanced its status. It has also provided and supported the medium for the training of surveyors and improvement of surveying techniques, initiate and advise government on legislative and policy matters on surveying and mapping of the country.

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INCE the first phase of mapping in the Sresult country took place between 1788-1861 as a of the exploration and mapping of the Niger River, there have been concerted efforts at defining what constitute the geographical area of the country. The first British explorer was sent out in 1788 to explore the Niger. Thereafter, several explorers were sent to study rivers such as the Niger, the Benue, River Benin and Cross River. These explorers compiled maps showing the courses of these rivers together with the settlements around them and gave descriptions of the country, its products, the government and the ways of life of the people. After 1861, a number of organisations such as the colonial administration in Nigeria and England, the Intelligence Division of the War Office (IDWO) and British businessmen Fajemirokun showed interest in knowing more about Nigeria. Colonial administrators required the Nigeria-Dahomey boundary to latitude of maps for colonial expansion and political con- 0 N which had been defined in the treaty of solidation and to show political units. Thus 1889. The northernmost limit of the map is the the first 50 years of British rule saw several current position of Sokoto. Other maps military expeditions, which generated a lot of included Niger Territories Sheets at a scale of cartographic data. Within this period, the 1:500,0000 in 1899-19000, a one-sheet map of Geographical Section, General Staff (GSGS) of Nigeria at a scale of 1:1,900,800 in 1901 and a the War Office of Great Britain was preoccumap of Nigeria in 61 sheets based on theodopied with the compilation of general maps of lite traverses by the West African Frontier Nigeria showing locations of settlements and Force (WAFF) in 1904-5 and published by the the domains of native rulers. Topographic Section, General Staff (TSGS) of Among the popular maps produced at that the War Office at a scale of 1:250,000. time was the ‘Map of Countries bordering on A second wave of mapping took off in the earthe Lower Niger and Benue Rivers’ published ly 20th century when the British shifted to the by the IDWO in 1889 at a scale of 1:2, 787,840. demarcation of possessions in the last decade The map showed no boundaries apart from of the 19th century. Boundary Commissions

were set up to delimit and demarcate the boundaries of Nigeria with Dahomey (now Republic of Benin), Chad, Niger and Cameroun. The treaties often specified detailed mapping of the areas around the boundaries. Thus, for a long time, the most accurate maps produced in Nigeria were maps that accompanied boundary treaties. The introduction of telegraph made it possible, in the first decade of the 20th century, to determine accurately the positions of different towns. For example, the position of Lagos Observatory was fixed in 1903 by telegraphic exchange of time signals with the Cape Town Observations. From Lagos, the positions of several other towns were fixed by different expeditions. Using these data and those obtained from other sources

including German and French maps, the gags of the War Office of Great Britain was able to compile early general maps of Nigeria. Other maps produced in the decade, which drew a lot of cartographic information from the boundary delimitation exercises, were for administrative purposes. Since the amalgamation of the colonies and the protectorate, the role of surveyors have become more and more important because of their ability in helping with wealth creation. In fact, the period 1910-1926 could be described as the second period witnessing various types of surveying and mapping of the country. After the First World War (WW1), Geographical Survey Department for Nigeria was established and intensive mineral prospecting and exploitation followed. For almost two decades, the Director of Geological Survey dictated, which areas were to be mapped, and at what scales, and the general course of the development of the mapping. The mapping during this period was for revenue generation. Between 1910 and 1914, some areas around Lagos were mapped to provide a base for revenue work in Lagos and its environs where the value of land was very high. Also, around 1912, Kano area was being surveyed for the mapping of farmlands for taxation purposes. In the early days, the colonial government was very conscious of the importance of surveying, and surveyors then were from the Royal Navy and Royal Engineering Corps of the United Kingdom. They came to Lagos, inter alia, to undertake route survey for the Lagos (now Nigeria), Railways. With the commencement of the construction of the railways, various means of training African surveyors were devised. Some were sent to Britain, where surveying was mainly part of military engineering, while others were trained locally. Those trained in Britain qualified basically as civil engineers; they included late Herbert Macaulay, the renowned father of Nigerian politics. According to Professor Peter Chigozie Nwilo, who is the Surveyor General of Nigeria, “we are not where we should be. We have done well, but there’s still room for improvement. Again, I will want to see people, who have higher degrees to become fellows. The professional problems that we have in this country arise because people are limited. When you are limited in terms of poor education, higher degrees and continuous human development, you may not be able to talk.” While likening the surveying profession to military work, because you have to do a lot of travelling to work around, as well as work in the bush and the mountain, said, the encounter and impression, which initial practitioners had did not help the profession. According to him, people who had just diploma and much of hardwork, as their professional examination were the early professionals on the job. “And so many other people, who had degree in civil engineering and decided to show interest in surveying. They had an opportunity of being professionals. Some of them didn’t think that there’s need to go and start doing master and Ph.D; so, that affected. That’s why we are still having problem of lecturers in this field. We are lucky that some of us decided to go into academics and rose to become professors. Well, that’s not the case now, as things are changing.” He continued, “when I was in the university, I was mentoring a lot of my students. I tried to encourage a lot of youngmen to come back to academics. I tell them, even if they don’t want to be lecturers, they should come back for the masters d programme. I must confess that a lot of them listened to me. I saw it as a campaign. I took pains to talk to the young ones to come back, some even came back for their Ph.D.” The erudite scholar added, “I think that for some of us, we need to continue to develop ourselves. The major challenge is that things are changing, and the solution lies in personal and professional development. And professionals are always conservative to change, may be because some of the equipment are very expensive, so, when they buy equipment, to get another one becomes an issue.” For him, “surveyors must continue to CONTINUED ON PAGE 28


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

28 Sunday, May 18, 2014

NEWSFEATURE

... Collaborating, Connecting For Future CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 develop. They must be current and alive to national issues. I’m a professor, but I’m still a student. Everyday of my life, I see new things. Surveyors must continue to seek and search for knowledge. They must acquire knowledge beyond the profession.” On his expectation from the new executives, he is hopeful of a lift in performance as well as the image of surveyors. “I hope that the in-coming executives perform better. I believe that the in-coming president will do well considering his background. He is a surveyor as well as a lawyer. I think the combination of both will make him better,” he said. For the surveyor general, the relationship in the industry is tripodal — NIS, Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SUCON, the body, which replaced Surveyors Licensing Board, is vested with power to determine, who is a surveyor and to control the professional practice. The membership of the council, which is broad-based, accommodates all interest in the surveying community) and the Surveyor General’s office. There’s need for everybody to work together to lift the profession. Ganiyu Agunbiade, president of SUCON, said, “it is the tripod that has made the profession to stand as one indivisible body. SUCON and the Surveyor General’s office are governmental agencies, while the NIS is the non governmental.” Another professor, who is a past president of the institution, Francis Fajemirokun, said, “the profession has been historically marginalized. It has been so because of its nature. Professionals in surveying are always the first to arrive at a spot where development is to take place and it happens that as soon as they finish in their assignment, they go away and nobody remembers them anymore.” The professor, who is the resident priest of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, University of Lagos chapel, noted, “no development can take place unless a surveyor has been on that ground before, but by the time the development comes up, there is no remembrance that once upon a time, there was a surveyor. So, academically, we had to do things to attract young people to come into this profession, which is both rigorous and academically demanding. We managed to attract a lot of young people to the profession and within.” Also confirming the conservative nature of the profession, Fajemirokun said: “Surveyors, somehow, are shy people. They don’t put themselves forward and you know that unless you blow your own trumpet, no one wants will do it for you. So, we have tried our best to popularise the profession to make it known, both at home and outside.” The priest noted, “what we have been doing is to make our training up-to-date so that the surveyor will not feel inferior to anyone — Not only that, we are also making sure that our products are politically minded because, lack of politics has worked against us in the past. We don’t care provided we are able to get along, breathe good air, and eat good food and so on. But life is more than that these days. The people who are in the corridors of power are those that take decisions that affect our lives and if we get also to that corridor of power, then we are able to affect the lives of people for good.” On the ongoing national conference, where surveyors are not represented, he noted: “I started by saying marginalisation and the tendency to forget have been the bane of our profession. It has been happening over the years and we have been doing our best to correct the situation. When the Land Use decree came up without the input of the body of surveyors, we knew what would happen. Some of the deficiencies in the decree today are due to the fact that surveyors were not consulted at the beginning. The same thing with the politics of housing. When we try to let them know that we should have been consulted, the answer is always, ‘oh, yes, oh yes, but let’s go along.” He said, “many Nigerians look at surveyors, as if they are tradesmen, so to say. So, when this issue came up, NIS protested strongly, and during that protest, it was pointed out to them that that there’s Institute of Estate Surveyors. There’s a difference between them. In fact, it’s just that we cannot ask them to change their name.” For Fajemirokun, the incoming executive should be more politically conscious and alert. An opinion also canvassed by Surveyor Ganiyu Agunbiade, president of Surveyors Council of Nigeria. He is of the opinion that the NIS should encourage more members to join political parties and also to contest elections. However, for the national body to be able to take up the responsibilities imposed on it, the membership must have a collective clout that can help pave the way for legislation, which in turn will help to support the profession of surveying geometrics and mapping. In the words of Akhigbe, “if the institution is to properly play it roles as the voice of the profession, it must change this trend and get back to the drawing boards and seek ways to capture the essence of the institution by coming up with programmes that offers its members of opportunity to open doors to information to enable them contribute to the economic development of the country.” The NIS should be in a position to address issues of legislation and standards. The NIS must be able to critically look at the laws and come up with suggestion for robust discussion and amendment. Akhigbe said, “when we do this, we can comfortably move on to effect changes in our legislation that dwarfs the operation of surveying and mapping by our government. When we do hits, we can say that NIS is the defacto and dejure voice of the survey profession.”

Nwilo O meet the exigency of surveying and mapping of the country, it became extremely necessary to commence the formal training of surveyors locally. The best post secondary institution to be established in Nigeria was therefore the survey school. The survey school was established in Lagos in 1908. It was a ‘local university’ for the cream of the country’s youth who for one reason or the other could not proceed overseas for further training. The school was temporarily closed down during the war and reopened in 1925. The school was transferred to Ibadan in 1929 because of the need for larger space for practical work, and later to Oyo in 1935. In 1934, the Yaba Higher College was established to train Nigerians in the fields of pharmacy, medicine, agriculture, veterinary medicine, surveying, engineering, etc. consequently, the programme of the Survey School was integrated into the new College’s programme. Successful candidates obtained the Yaba Higher College Diploma and were appointed as Government Surveyors. Following the 1949 Elliot Commission Report on Higher Education for Colonies, the University College (now University of Ibadan) was established in 1948 with Yaba Higher College students forming its nucleus. The Survey School, Oyo was closed down and a new school of surveying was created as an integral part of the University College Ibadan. This laudable training programme for surveyors was shortlived. As a result of policy reversal and part of the game plan of the then Directorate of Colonial Surveys to take over the survey activities in Nigeria, the School of Surveying of the University College of Ibadan was scrapped in 1950 and replaced with an “on-the-job training” scheme. Surveying education in Nigeria is now offered at three levels, namely technical, technological and professional. Formal training at these three levels are handled in polytechnics and colleges of technology, and the universities. The trainings lead to qualifications such as the National Diploma (ND), Higher National Diploma (HND), and first and higher degrees. Some lower level manpower is also produced through informal, apprenticeship training. In 1956 the Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology started a four year programme in surveying. The programme prepared students for the first and intermediate examinations of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Successful students had to go to Britain to complete their professional training. In 1962, the College of Technology, Enugu was integrated into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, which was established in 1980. A department of surveying was created, thus restoring the glory of local training of surveyors in Nigeria at the university level. The first set of five graduates trained in surveying graduated in 1966. Since then, the facilities for the training of surveyors have developed tremendously. The department of Surveying and Geoinformatics of the University of Lagos started as a subdepartment of the Civil Engineering Department in 1970. The initial programme of the sub-department at the time was a two-year postgraduate course of studies and research leading to an Msc (Surveying) degree. Graduates in fields cognate to surveying were admitted into the programme. Prior to these, the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Lagos in 1967 arranged for a few surveying undergraduates of

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Agunbiade the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus who were displaced by the prevailing Civil War to complete their degree programmes in the Faculty and to earn a degree of the University. In 1974/75 session, the department started the B.Sc degree programme. The Department of Surveying, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was set up at about the same time that the University of Lagos started offering at postgraduate level, and has since been turning out graduates in surveying. For many years, these three departments were the Nigerian university departments training surveyors at the professional level. However, over the past two or three decades, many other universities have established departments for the training of surveyors at the professional level. At present, at least 11 universities are offering professional training in the field of surveying. Some of these universities have well developed programmes of studies leading to postgraduate degrees, including the Ph.D. Up to late 1960 the School of Surveying, Oyo was the only tertiary institution training surveyors at the technician and technologist levels. Currently, a total of 18 institutions, including the Federal School of Surveying, Oyo, train technicians and technologists, in surveying and geoinformatics in the country. In Nigeria, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE)-approved curricular are used by all polytechnics and similar institutions to train survey technicians and technologists. Thus, college of technology and polytechnics are responsible for the training of technicians (National Diploma Certificate holders) and technologists (Higher National Diploma Certificate holders) on production work and technical management for direct employment in industry and public service in Nigeria. The Federal School of Surveying, Oyo, apart from running courses leading to ND and HND qualifications in Surveying, also runs other courses, including the full diploma course which is recognised by the Surveyors’ Council as a qualification acceptable for registration at the professional level. Other courses introduced as far back as 1998 include the Pre-Professional Diploma in Surveying and geoinformatics and the Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Geographic Information System. The structure of the National Diploma (ND) programme consists of four semesters of classroom, laboratory and workshop activities in the institutions, and a semester of three to four months’ duration of supervised industrial training. The structure of the Higher National Diploma (HND) programme is similar to that of the ND except that the supervised industrial training is not compulsory. The programmes in Surveying and Geoinformatics are professional programmes with academic content. Consequently, three statutory bodies have the right to pay accreditation visits to departments offering programmes at undergraduate, national diploma and higher national diploma levels. These statutory bodies are the National Universities Commission (NUC), which accredits undergraduate programmes in the universities, and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for ND and HND courses. The Surveyors’ Council of Nigeria (SURCON) accredits courses both in the universities and the polytechnics.


Sunday, May 18, 2014 29

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IBRUCENTRE

Why Churches And Mosques Conduct HIV And Other Tests For Intending Couples We Educate Couples On The Implications, Pain And Suffering Very soon the Federal Government would begin to ask religious organisations to screen intending couples among their members for HIV/AID before they are allowed to wed. Before this is promulgated, some churches and mosques have been doing something similar to this. In some churches, if it is discovered that one of the intending couple has HIV/AIDS, or that the genotype is not compatible, there is outright cancellation of such a wedding. But should churches and mosques ask intending couples to go for HIV/AIDS screening? And if it is discovered that the couple or one of them has HIV or other diseases, should the wedding be cancelled? Some clerics told CHRIS IREKAMBA, ISAAC TAIWO and PAUL ADUNWOKE why they conduct various tests for intending couples. ‘We Investigate Both Families To Ascertain ‘Aim Is Not To Discourage Them, But CHURCH Advocates Premarital HIV/AID Diseases Such As Sickle Cell, Madness’ To Have Adequate Information’ Testing For The Potential Partners’ (Pastor (Dr.) Jacob E. Umoru, President, Lagos Atlantic Conference, Seventh-day Adventist Church) ARRIAGE rests on principles of love, loyalty, exclusiveness, trust and support upheld by both partners in obedience to God (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:6; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 5:21-29; 1 Thess. 4:1-7). When these principles are violated, the marriage is endangered. The Scripture acknowledges that tragic circumstances can destroy marriage. With these principles in mind, intending couples are advised to establish their genotype, blood group, pregnancy and HIV status. It is a Christian responsibility to prevent or relieve suffering whenever possible (Acts 10:38, Luke 9:2). The primary purpose of human genetic intervention should be the treatment or prevention of disease and the alleviation of pain and suffering. Because of the tendencies of sinful human nature, intending couples are advised and educated on genetic implication and therefore, should establish their genotype or genetic compatibility before wedding. The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognises its Christian responsibility to respond to the global HIV/AIDS crisis and the devastating effect on

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(Alhaji Abimbola Abubakri Olokuta, Chief Imam Oluwakemi Ajumoni Central Mosque, Oshodi, Lagos) F a couple wants to wed the Islamic way, first of all, we endeavour to see their parents and ask them questions based on the marriage of their children. If they accept it, we also ask the couple questions bordering on whether they would tolerate each other. If their answer is in the affirmative, then the marriage is consummated. Before, we were not conducting HIV test for intending couples, but we investigate both families to ascertain if they have diseases such as sickle cell and madness, among others. And if we found any abnormal thing in each of the families, the marriage would not hold. If Federal Government says before couple wed, there must be HIV test we are in support of it. If it is in accordance with Islamic rules and regulations, we will abide by it. The Prophet said there are four good reasons for marrying a woman: if the woman has money or has successful business; she must be of good behaviour with good family background; she should also be God-fearing and the fourth reason is beauty. She must be good looking with good

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Umoru humanity and wishes to respond in multiple ways, which include: extending the teaching and healing ministry of Christ, who without prejudice cared for all in need, by engaging in efforts to reduce the risk of individuals acquiring diseases, and compassionately and non-judgmentally caring for all those affected, when an individual suffers from diseases like leprosy (equivalent to AIDS in our time). The church protects and strengthens marriage by: Upholding the ideal of abstinence from premarital sex. The church advocates premarital HIV/AID testing for the potential partners as part of the church-based preparation for marriage.

Olokuta health. With all this, you can go ahead and marry the woman. If we found out that there is disease in any of the families, we stop the marriage because the disease will affect both couple in future, and Islam does not support that. According to Islamic rules and regulations, if someone is pregnant, the wedding cannot take place because it is forbidden to wed a woman with pregnancy. The wedding might take place after the woman put to bed, but not when she is pregnant. That is the reason we tell our members to be of good behaviour, as we do not encourage anything that will harm their future.

‘To Avoid Unborn Children From Going Through Serious Pains’

‘If Church Discovers AS Or SS, Couples Are Advised Not To Marry’

(Archbishop John Osa-Oni, General Overseer, Vineyard Christian Ministries Worldwide) E ask our members, that is, intending couples to go for HIV test, pregnancy test and genotype, because we don’t want AS and SS to marry. When you consider the attendant consequences of bringing children into this world, only for them to suffer serious pain, it is too enormous. The pregnancy test is to ensure that the woman is not pregnant before the wedding. If we discover that they have been living together, the church will not wed them. These are the basic things that we do: to create awareness, educate them and where they need counselling, the church does so. That is the reason for the screening. We do not want anybody to go through unnecessary pain. We recommend the hospital, where they go for medical tests. If one is AA or O positive, he/she can always marry anybody. What we stand against is AS and AS marrying themselves or SS and SS. We can’t join together those living with HIV. People must understand that love is not blind but is a reality. But if you think it is blind

(Brother Godwin Ifeacho, Chairman, Executive Board of God’s Kingdom Society (GKS) HE marriage rule of the GKS is that proposed marriage partners should do blood tests to ascertain their compatibility in genotype and blood group and to ensure that they are free from blood-borne diseases. For full documentation, Photostat copies of laboratory results of the intending couple’s blood tests must, in addition to filling it in the spaces provided in the marriage forms, be attached to completed forms for submission to the Marriage Council, which is the Executive Board of the Church. Besides, before approving a marriage, the Church must be satisfied that; the brother and sister are of marriageable age; both parties have the fear of God and they love themselves and are willing to be married for life as husband and wife in the Church of God; they are not close blood relations (Leviticus 18:9). Where the church discovers that intending couples are either AS or SS, they are advised and counselled not to marry, as it is in their own interest and that of their children.  Though the Church

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Osa-Oni and you go into it, after three or four years, you will realise that love is not blind after all. And that is why I like the Yoruba adage that says, “What you must eat forever you don’t steal it to eat.” So, we encourage people to be patient, do the necessary tests and get the proper counselling before going into marriage. When that is done, it enhances their union. If we discover that one person is HIV positive, we will not wed them and if they insist we ask them to go. I have had such a case before, where the guy said he would go ahead to marry the lady.

(Bishop (Dr.) Olanrewaju Joseph Obembe, General Overseer, El-shaddai Bible Church, Ikoyi, Lagos) UR faith in God is not abstract particularly within the context of praying. It must be presented with definite request. Eph 4:6 says, “be anxious for nothing but by prayer…” Amplified Bible says, “With definite request, let your request be presented unto God.” So, we found that our faith in God requires us that we know our needs and present such to Him. So, in our church, it’s a policy that intending couple (s) must do HIV test, they must do blood group/genotype test because medical science has told us that the kind of blood will determine whether they would give birth to sickle cell. So, we want couples to be well informed of their HIV status; we want them to be informed of their blood group, so that if they still want to go ahead with the marriage, they would be adequately informed. Of course, we won’t ask them not to get married, but at least, they would have known their status and with that, they would be able to seek medical and spiritual help and then they would be able to receive counselling appropriately. The aim is not to discourage them, but for them to have adequate information of what they going to enter into — for better for worse. So, where appropriately, depending on the status of both parties, if one has full blown HIV/AIDS, the parties would be adequately informed of what are likely to be the negative effect of that marriage. The exclusive right to marry belongs to the couple. We have a counselling committee department in the church and it recommends the hospital, where they should go and they are God’s children, they can’t come and lie. We give them the opportunity to go and do that. There are four critical

Obembe things we look for: HIV, blood group/genotype and fertility. The fourth is the official declaration to know if the couple have had children before. It must be clearly stated in the form provided, because in time past, we found out that some people had children and didn’t disclose it. This later became a major problem. Once someone is pregnant, we can’t dissolve that marriage, we just bless them. But the actual paraphernalia of solemnisation may not be there. We’ve had cases like that, where we asked them to go to the marriage registry and do the necessary things, while they come to church for blessing. We cannot dissolve the marriage on the basis of their incontinence. They would go to the marriage registry instead of the church issuing a certificate. They go to the Registry to consummate the relationship so that there is a legal solemnisation and a blessing of the church. We are not likely to issue certificate to the couple once you have joined yourself already. What the church wants to establish is that the people marrying are fully aware of their medical condition. If somebody says this is the person I want to marry and feels very strongly about it, we say okay, these are the facts of this relationship.

Ifeacho does not for now request for HIV tests, some couples do the AIDS/HIV tests and submit them along with the laboratory results for genotype and blood group. The church does not, however, interfere with couples insisting on going ahead with their marriage in spite of the fact that their genotypes makes them incompatible.  For those that insist on going ahead with their marriage   after advice and counselling, we have no choice but to leave them to carry on with their decision. The couple are, however, asked to put down their decision in writing.

‘We Can Only Counsel Couples, But Won’t Stop Them’ (Rt. Rev. Isaac Nwaobia, Bishop of Isiala-Ngwa South) E have been doing blood test for our intending couples in our diocese and have been counselling them on the right path of marriage. Our own is to counsel, but we do not stop anyone afterwards if they still believe they could go ahead. The same thing applies to HIV. We can only counsel them but won’t stop them, where they believe they strongly love themselves and would like to go ahead.

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Nwaobia


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Sunday School Keep Walking (1) Memory Verse: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” Galatians 6:9. Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. Introduction Christians are pilgrims. Pilgrims never stop moving. It can be long, lonely journey. You need God. With Him on your side, you will arrive. Hints Learn from the mistakes of others. (I Corinthians 10:5-12). • Listen to the advice of elders, Job 32:7. • Avoid slippery grounds and unholy company, Ps. 1:1, Amos 3:3, Prov. 21:16. • Do not look back, Phil.3: 13-14. • Avoid overconfidence. Anyone can fall, I Cor.10: 12. King

... With Pastor Enoch Adeboye

David committed adultery, when he stayed at home instead of being in the war front, 2 Sam.11: 1-2. Be Consistent • Walking consistently keeps you on schedule - lethargy is more dangerous than many realise. A famine did not stop Isaac from sowing, Gen. 26:12. Neither did a bountiful harvest. He was diligently persistent, Gen. 26:13. Soon he became the envy of a nation, Gen. 26:14. Load your cloud consistently and you will have a great downpour, Eccl. 11:3; I Kings 18: 41-46, Gal. 6:9-10. In contrast, those who slow down slowly become relics. Demas, Paul’s Co-labourer, Philm. 1:24 and Luke’s, (the beloved physician,) colleague, Col. 4:14 stopped walking and ended up as no more than a foot note in history. The sons of the prophets

in the era of Elijah and Elisha knew something historic was about to happen, stopped at Jordan, while Elisha pressed on with Elijah, 2 Kings 2:5-8. They saw a major miracle happen, but they were not part of it Elijah, 2 Kings 2:9-14. But were mere spectators. • The sons of the prophets were sons of the prophets before the “rapture” of Elijah; they remained sons of the prophet after the event, while Elisha moved on to become “the prophet.” There were many sons of the prophet but only one Elisha, 2 Kings 2:15a. Conclusion Give a good account of every moment of every day, take stock, pray, adjust and it will surprise you how much, by His grace, you have accomplished. You will arrive in the mighty name of

How To Become Great In Life By S.K. Abiara T is my greatest desire that every child of God would begin to pay serious attention to every book, chapter, and verse of the Bible, meditate on it and obey it completely. The word of the Bible is solution to human problem. If only we can pay adequate attention to them and take extra step to obey them, we the so-called children of God would continually win more people to God’s kingdom without stress. Through this, we will be able to occupy our place on earth, as the salt and light of the world. Jesus Christ never missed the opportunity to tell the disciples what is expected of them and how they are to behave in every situation since they have decided to walk with Him.  For the purpose of today’s sharing, I want to sink a very important kingdom secret for getting to the top into your system. This secret works above any other.  The Lord Jesus Christ used it and it made Him sit in heavenly places far above principalities and powers.  His name becomes more powerful than that of anybody or anything in the world. Serving God and humanity is the major principle and secret of greatness prescribed in the word of God. Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those, who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you, instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all, for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for Many” – Mark 10; 4145. The above quoted verses were the challenging words for every follower of Jesus Christ. Now let me take you back to the preceding verses of same chapter. James and John were amongst the disciples of Jesus Christ. One day, they thought within themselves (selfish thought) to approach Jesus Christ to grant them the same authority He has. ‘Let one of us sits at your right and the other at your left in

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your glory.’ These brothers desired a position of honour and power without working towards it; neglecting the key principle that can earn them such position. Our Lord Jesus Christ was quick to point out to them their error. Explaining to them that such post is not automatic but required a life of service that heaven can attest to. Here are the words of Jesus Christ in reply to the request of James and John. ‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said. ‘Can you drink the cup I drink, suffering for humanity and be baptised with the baptism I am baptized with (death of the cross)? – Mark 10:38. Dear reader, it takes a person with humble spirit to serve God and humanity. It takes a total submission to God for Christ to pour out His life for the people, who do not appreciate Him. Prophet (Dr.) Abiara, General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide. skabiaraofciem@yahoo.co.uk

Abiara By Gabriel Agbo “The LORD says, ‘I will give you back what you lost to the striping locusts, the cutting locusts, the swarming locusts, and the hopping locusts... Never again will my people be disgraced like this. Then you will know that I am here among my people of Israel and that I alone am the LORD your God. My People will never again be disgraced like this.”  Joel 2: 25-27. OW! This is one of those portions of the Bible that I W call the ‘crazy verses.’  I mean, those places that make me feel like bursting in the spirit. The word of God is truly alive, sharp,

Special Assistant on Administration and Personnel to Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Pastor-in-charge of the Headquarters Church, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, Pastor Johnson Odesola (right), Pastor (Mrs.) Helen Oyitso, the celebrant and Chairman, Central Missions Board of the RCCG, Pastor Brown Oghene Oyitso and Mrs. Johnson Odesola, during the thanksgiving service to mark the 60th birthday celebration of Pastor Brown Oyitso in Lagos ... Thursday, May 8, 2014. PHOTO: CHRIS IREKAMBA

Who Is The Ideal Woman? By Gabriel Osu T is the dream of most men to marry the perfect woman. Imagine a world without women! It would be so boring and colourless! For many, their mother remains the perfect woman. That is why we see mothers having so much influence over their children. Unfortunately too, some of these mothers end up wrecking the homes of their children. Daily, the entertainment industry bombards us with images of what they presume to be the ideal woman. To them, she must be physically well endowed and with heavy makeups, possibly very skinny, like models that we see on the runway. Should that be our model of the ideal woman? But again, is there really a perfect woman out there? How do you rate a

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perfect woman? Is it her beauty, manners, cooking prowess, home-keeping abilities or spirituality? Or is it all of these combined? Well, your guess is as good as mine. However, I want to warn men to stop chasing after illusion. There is no perfect woman out there waiting for you. Regrettably, this is one of the major causes of divorce.  After the honeymoon and the flame of passion had died down, the couple begins to see each other as they truly are with their defects. If care is not taken, and if they found out that they are not compatible, trouble begins to brew. That is why the Church has always advocated that couples take time out to get to know and study each other well during courtship so that they don’t jump into the marriage institution with their

Never Again! (1) powerful and dynamic. And this is why anybody that genuinely gets it will always find it very difficult to drop it. This message will also be declarative like some of the previous ones you have also read here. I will make pronouncements that will forever change your life. Yes, His word is that powerful! Remember, it was just through it that all you are seeing today were made. God has come to restore back to you all that you’ve lost! Yes, this is the time for your restoration. What have you lost in the past? What has the enemy

taken away from you? What did you lose because of your disobedience, mistakes or ignorance? See it being restored now as you go through this message. As there is a time for everything, there is also a time to lose and another time to recover. I know the situation looks hopeless, irredeemable, terminal, incurable, closed, but you will meet the God that with Him all things are possible. Yes, all things! If He could bring back a buried corpse to life after four days, then, what do you think He cannot do? Or is your situation worse than that?

eyes blinded by transient emotional and physical passion instead of true love, coupled with tolerance and maturity. And so I ask again: Is there a perfect woman out there? I know most of us will be tempted to point to our biological mother. As far as I know, and according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary remains the true epitome of what the Christian woman should be. And the reasons are obvious: Mary was highly favoured. God was with her. She was chosen to be the mother of Jesus’ humanity. Mary was a young woman of outstanding moral and spiritual character. Mary was submissive to God. She counted the cost. So far as she knew, she would lose Joseph; she would be a social outcast. She had no idea how she would raise the

Child. Yet she said without hesitation, “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Mary was a woman of faith. She was humble. She spoke of her ‘humble state’ (Luke 1:48). She realised she was a girl from Nazareth with no social status. Mary was spiritual. She was a devout worshipper. We see this in the profound and powerful words of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Mary was thoughtful. She kept the words of the shepherds and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19). What wonderful attributes! Which man would not want to have such a woman as a helpmate? Are you still searching for that ideal woman? Seek no further. You will find it in Mary. Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.

Look at the above passage from book of Joel again. God is saying that He will bring back what you lost. It is always painful to lose something, especially something very dear. You may not understand what we are talking about here unless you have passed through this experience. In fact, some people don’t totally recover after they have lost their loved ones, jobs, business capital, property, positions, spouses, children, etc. I have seen so many like that. They just start dying immediately after that loss. They start dying emotionally, spiritually and even physically. If you have found yourself in this situation, listen, the word

of God has come to totally heal you and help you to recover what you have lost. I’m already hearing somebody asking, “What of the dead one, how do you recover that?” Listen, God can give you another person that will also fit into that lost person’s place. They can come as spouses, as children or as friends. True! Anyhow, but He makes sure that whatever you lost in one you gain in another. And most times, the joy of the later will always overshadow or forever bury the pain of the past. Rev. Agbo is a minister with the Assemblies of God Nigeria. gabrielagbo@yahoo.com


Sunday, May 18, 2014 |31

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Living Waters The Demands Of God’s Righteousness By Pastor Lazarus Muoka “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:8-10). ELOvED, our Lord, who B brought salvation to us, brought it on a platter of gold, so easy that we do not work for it. We do not have to go either to heaven or to Hades to lay hold of salvation, but that the word is nigh us, in our mouth. Our tongue is one of the greatest gifts God has placed at our command. We just need to raise our

tongue up and down, having our faith in the word and nourishing it in our heart and openly confessing it, then we will found ourselves in another transformation. Are you looking for salvation? Or have you been told that you must pay before salvation is granted to you? I bring good news to you — salvation is FREE. There is no occasion to seek high or low for the saving power, the word of reconciliation is nigh. The way of salvation is now both plain and easy. The doctrine of salvation is nigh thee, and the saving influence is at hand, it is in thy mouth, easy to be understood, and professed. And in thy heart, if you are upright before God and sincerely desiring to be saved on His own terms and not striving to establish your own method of justification by the law, but submitting to the method of justification, which God has devised, you shall have your salvation. Prov. 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Beloved, the mouth is the outlet of the mind. Whatever that goes out of it is the picture of your inner self. A good percentage of what you are in this world and what you will be in the world after is determined by what you use your tongue for now. If you believe aright in Christ Jesus, you are expected to confess your faith through your mouth, and thus show obligation to your Redeemer for what He has done on the Calvary. There can be no claim of Christianity, where there is no willingness to confess the Lord Jesus. Those who never profess any religion have none, for there is no true attachment to faith unless we are willing, on all proper occasions, to avow it. If you claim to be a Christian, your claim will be very doubtful if there is too much pride in you, if you are in love with the things of the world and if you are ashamed to confess it in the midst of friends, colleagues and neighbours. Salvation is confirmed, when you declare in all proper occasions your belief of the

truth, your unwavering adherence to them in all persecutions, oppositions, and trials. He, who praises the Lord in the open, reverences Him. He who associates with Christians, acts with them in the prayer meeting, in the sanctuary, and in deeds of benevolence, does it. He, who is baptised, and commemorates the death of the Lord Jesus, does it. And he, who leads a humble, prayerful and spiritual life, does it. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. If you can acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ openly as the only Saviour, believe in your heart that He died for your offences and has been raised for your justification, and then decisively decide to depend solely on Him for that justification, you shall be saved. Remember that the belief must not be only a mental assent, but a belief that brings the whole man into loving trust and obedience to Christ. If you have not done this, you are not yet saved and are not a Christian.

Chibok Girls: PFN Women Declare Fasting And Prayer ORRIED by the prolonged Wing of the Pentecostal Felsaid. . ducted from their school by W search for the 276 school- lowship of Nigeria (PFN) has She, therefore, enjoined all Boko Haram terrorists since girls adopted by Boko Haram declared Tuesday, May 20, as a members of the PFN Women’s April 14, national leader of the from their Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, the Women’s

day of fasting and prayer. . Expressing concern for the welfare of the students ab-

Bishops Task Nigerians On Peaceful Co-Existence By Toyin Olasinde HE Council of Bishops, Methodist Church Nigeria, has urged the government at all levels to be security conscious, especially now that the country is battling with insecurity. At the 32nd Council of Bishops, His Eminence, Dr. Samuel ‘Emeka Kanu Uche, said Nigerians need to be tolerant of one another to ensure peaceful coexistence. Urging politicians to avoid do-or-die politics, the cleric said they should adopt all elements of righteousness

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such as love, honesty, transparency, probity as well as practise patriotism at all times. He noted that kidnapping, armed robbery, Boko Haram menace, child trafficking, baby factories and other forms of child abuse are alien to “our way of life.” He urged government of each of the six geo-political zones, especially the Northeast to meet and find lasting solution to the unhealthy situation, which borders on insecurity and insurgency in their various zones.

group, Rev. (Mrs.) Abiola Omobude wondered why the search for the girls has not yielded results. In a statement signed by PFN’s Director, Media and Publicity, Mr. Simbo Olorunfemi, Omobude called on Nigerians, especially women, to join hands and support efforts being made by the government and the Nigerian Armed Forces to rescue the innocent children. .  “Our prayers and thoughts remain with the children, their families, and Nigerians at this difficult time. We equally salute our friends around the world for rallying round us at this time to ensure that our girls are safely brought back,” the statement

‘Nigeria’s Transformation Is Hinged On Evangelism’ By Adeniyi Adunola vERy Home for Christ, in collaboE ration with Global Outreach, a global evangelical ministry, has concluded plans to take the gospel of Christ to every home in Nigeria. At a well-attended conference, tagged: “vision Casting” held in Lagos two Saturdays ago, the National Coordinator, Every Home for Christ, Lanre Da Silva, who lamented the spiritual slumber among Christians, disclosed that the Global Outreach Day has been scheduled for June 14. Said he: “the time has come to transform the nation and engender peace and love through spiritual renewal,” adding that transformation will be achieved by preaching the good news of Christ to every home in Nigeria. According to him, the body of Christ has a burden to transform the world, particularly Nigeria, and this can only happen if the evangelical zeal to share God’s words is revived among Christians. “The Global Outreach Day (G.O.D) is to kick-start a national evangelism movement of churches and Christian leaders, who will take up the re-

sponsibility to ensure that the Good News of Christ is received in every home in the country. It is unfortunate that ungodly people have taken over leadership of the Church and evangelism has been relegated in Christendom”, he said. The international President, Global Outreach, Evangelist Werner Nachtigal, in his address, said the vision for evangelising the world is a powerful one, which will ensure that every individual on earth receives the Good News of Christ. According to him, G.O.D. is a day set aside to bring to the consciousness of believers the need to reach out to the lost world. “On that day, millions of Christians of all ages and from all cultures and denominations around the world will use their gifts and opportunities to share the gospels in various ways,” Nachtigal said. In its third year, G.O.D. has so far mobilised 25 million Christians for evangelism around the world. At the inaugural of G.O.D. in Lagos in 2012, one million believers, who took part in a prayer meeting, were commissioned to evangelise.

Wing to intensify their prayers and efforts for the release of the abducted students. . “We should continue the prayers for our girls, the restoration of peace in Nigeria and the end of all forms of terrorism in our land,” she appealed. . Declaring Tuesday, as a day for prayer and fasting, the national leader said all members of the PFN Women’s wing should embark on an intense prayer and fasting session in culmination of the ongoing prayers in the different ministries and PFN as a whole. “Every Nigerian is encouraged to be part of the exercise to seek the face of the Lord for the restoration of peace in our country,” she added.

Evangelist Chris Prays For Chibok Girls HE General Overseer of Manna Prayer T Mountain, MPM, Ketu, Lagos, Bishop Chris Kwakpovwe, who is also the publisher of Our Daily Manna (ODM) has joined millions of people around the world in the popular hash tag crusade: “Bring Back Our Girls,” which decries the plight of the abducted girls by calling for their immediate release. The pharmacist-turn-preacher urged Nigerians to rally support for President Goodluck Jonathan in these trying times, saying what we need as a nation is a united front against the scourge of terrorism and criminality. “We must stand as one nation behind our leaders, as they confront the greatest scourge of our day. We must not politicise this crisis. Terrorists do not know tribe, race or religion. When they strike, anyone could be a victim,” he added. The cleric urged Nigerian youths to take advantage of the country’s expanding economy, as evidenced by the recent rebasing exercise and see how they could engage themselves productively. According to him, “God said in the Bible: ‘I will bless the work of your hand.’ So, you need to work to access some divine blessings, and stop roaming the streets. An idle hand is the devil’s workshop,” he warned.

By Pastor W. F. Kumuyi

Pulling Down Strongholds By Faith IFE is full of challenges and difficulties. Some are easily Lderstand explainable, while others are mysterious and hard to unand surmount. They are likened to strongholds. Believers can only pull down such strongholds and do exploits by faith in the Word of God. Moses, for one, did exploits in Egypt by faith through the repeated use of the rod of God. Joshua on the other hand, did not improvise with another rod, after the death of Moses. Instead, he depended on the commandments of God to pull down the walls of Jericho. Today, it is only by faith in God’s word that we can pull down the strongholds of sin, sickness and Satan. With the promise and prophecy of the word, and praying on the word, a believer can pull down every spiritual stronghold around his life, family and ministry. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” The Israelites had journeyed for 40 years to the border of the Promised Land, Canaan. Entering and possessing the land would be the final culmination of God’s age-old promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses that Israel would inherit Canaan. It was not God’s design for them to remain in Egypt or come out of Egypt to become perpetual nomads in the wilderness. Rather, He delivered them so they could pass through the wilderness and enter into Canaan. But the huge walls of Jericho city stood in their way to having God’s promise fulfilled in their lives. If Jericho walls were not pulled down, the miracles of coming out of Egypt, passing through the Red sea, drinking water from the rock, and eating manna would be useless. Similarly, except the strongholds in a believer’s life are pulled down, past testimonies and experiences of miracles would be worthless. While Jericho walls were still standing and “Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in”, God told Joshua, “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour”. Once God decided, nothing could change His word. It was as good as done. yet, while God’s promise of victory was sure, the Israelites had a part to play in this situation. They must march round the walls for them to collapse. We must listen attentively to God’s instruction, pray and obey them to be able to obtain His promised victory. There is divine-human partnership in having the promise of God fulfilled in our lives. As directed by God, Joshua’s command to the people was, “ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.” Some believers seek miracles and desire exploits, but they are ignorant of God’s precepts on how to obtain the blessing. God revealed that possessing Jericho and pulling down walls of barriers would happen if only they could obey. The key is to keep silent and succeed. This is the antidote to the problem of continual talking, murmuring and other sinful utterances. To pull down the walls of challenges, problems and difficulties in your life, you must learn to keep quiet and conquer. It is noteworthy that all the Israelites — men, women, boys, girls, old and young — obeyed God’s instruction through Joshua. They realised that their tongues had brought much suffering for 40 years. For strongholds to come down according to God’s promise, you must shun all slander, gossip, accusation, murmuring, backbiting, tale-bearing, anger, pride, selfmanagement, insincerity, dishonesty, disrespect, disregard, sinful independence, discouragement and despair. you must also only speak words of faith. “And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.” you will conquer every stronghold when you obey and exercise faith in God as the Israelites did. This is FAITH that literarily means, Father And I Together Here. “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” It was faith that preserved the life of Rahab the harlot. She did not perish with other sinful inhabitants of Jericho because she believed in God. Faith is so important because it grants preservation and protection. We can manifest the same kind of faith and be preserved by the Lord. “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.” Rahab made a confession of faith in God. This confession was based on her knowledge of the acts of God. It was this knowledge of God that generated faith that distinguished her from all other inhabitants of Jericho. Ignorance of God’s word is ruinous. “Therefore, my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst”. The only way for you to know what God has said, what He wants to do, what He will do and what He has for you today, is by reading, studying and listening to His Word. References: Hebrews 11:30,31; Joshua 6:1-5,10,12-16; Psalm 12:3,4; 2 Corinthians 10:4,5; Joshua 2:1,8-11; Proverbs 19:2; Isaiah 5:13; Hosea 4:6; Jeremiah 32:27; Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37 (All scriptures are from Kings James Version).


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No Shadow Of Turning With Your Supply “My help cometh from the LORD, Who is the Maker of Heaven and Earth” (Psalm 121:2). E are living in a world that W is structured in supply and demand. God’s supply is always available in excess of human wants and demands. In times past, all those who trusted God in the midst of economic spasm, experienced God’s overwhelming supply. In the Old and New Testaments, God’s supply was con-

stant despite economic meltdown. Moses was overwhelmed, when he saw how God supplied the needs of the Israelites for 40 years and no one was feeble amongst the millions in the wilderness. In JESUS’ ministry, He deliberately gave sumptuous provision to those who came to Him in the wilderness (John 6:13.) Your needs and demands can never diminish God. God’s rate of production and provision is greater than your rate of Consumption. Today, you are entitled to DAILY provisions. (Psalm 68:19;

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Matthew 6:11). Receive God’s Supernatural provision today in the Wonderful NAME OF THE LORD JESUS. As long as you trust in the LORD, you will not lack any good thing (Psalm 34:10) PRAYER: JEHOVAH GOD, You are the Source of my supply and I LOOK to You. LORD, you are my help. In you I put my trust. Thanks for supplying all my needs according to Your riches in Glory in the Name of JESUS. In JESUS Name, I receive supernatural supply and provision right now. E m a i l : bishoplanreobembe@yahoo.co m; Prayer Lines: 08128110565, 07033477441, 08023280877.

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GRACE

DIMENSION with

Bishop (DR.) OLANREWAJU JOSEPH OBEMBE

At 14, I Gave My Life To Christ, So The Fear Of God Helped Me — Balogun Mrs. Olukemi Balogun is an Assistant Pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Central Parish, Wuse II, Abuja. The beautiful mother of four, who is married to Pastor Peter Balogun, was 40 years old on Thursday, April 24, 2014. In this interview with NKECHI ONYEDIKA, she speaks on the journey so far. How do you feel at 40? FEEL excited and grateful to God that He has kept me to be 40. The most important thing to me is that He has kept me to still know Him. I gave my life to Christ at 14. People said then that I would not go far and that I would soon be back to the world, but today I am 40 and still in God. He has kept me through all the phases of my life and I am very grateful that He did not allow me to die either physically or spiritually along the line. What is the secret of your looks? It is God and peace of mind. I thank Him for the peace in my marriage. I have joy and don’t have any reason to be troubled. I have peace with God, my husband, my nuclear and extended families. And I thank God for renewing my youth on a daily basis. What’s your growing up like? I grew up under the strict guidance of my mother. I had a very strict upbringing because I am the only girl child of my mum. So, the rules for me, as a girl, were different from that of the boys to the extent that I wondered if it was a sin to be a girl. But I thank God she brought me up well. My mum told me I must know how to cook and farm. I was the one that did all the cooking, farming and other house chores. My mum was so strict that you dare not greet a boy on the street, as it will attract punishment. My grandma also played a role in my life. She advised me never to get involve with a man because once I start,

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• I Am Very Grateful That God Did Not Allow Me To Die Either Physically Or Spiritually I wouldn’t be able to control myself and I was so scared of it. But the major factor was giving my life to Christ at 14. So, the fear of God helped me because it is one thing for your mother to be hard on you and another for you to do as instructed. I went to Alaba Lawson Nursery School and from there to St. Benedict Primary School. I did one year in Abeokuta Grammar School before I got admission into Federal Government Girls College, Gusau. I had my Ordinary National Diploma from Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, and Higher National Diploma (HND) from Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti. I was a science student in secondary school and my plan was to study Pharmacy at the University of Ife. I was already admitted for Pharmacy at Ife, but when my SSCE results came out, I found out that I failed Chemistry and this was a subject I so much loved. I never knew that God has ordained it that I would be in Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, where I met my husband. That is why I am not a pharmacist but an accountant. I worked as an accountant at the Redeemer Private School for seven years after, which I resigned to join my husband fully in the ministry because there was a vacuum. How did you meet your husband? We were both students at Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro. There was a time we had a mass choir in NIFES. I didn’t know he was also a member of the choir. One day, we had a concert and I saw him with some sisters and God said, ‘this is your husband.’ When I got back to my room, I laid down and I felt a tap. God told me, ‘that is your husband in whom you will enjoy life’ and I was like ‘is it Jesus?’ I checked my door, it was locked and I replied, ‘God, please tell me something better. This is just a student that had nothing and he was always a very sad person. I never knew he just lost his mother. I only knew him as this brother that had his neck bent, looking sad and morose.

Pastor (Mrs) Balogun While growing up, girls always have this dream of marrying a well-built man that will carry them off their feet. But there he was, always looking breakable and I said ‘God ‘no, no, no.’ I battled with God but He did not say anything further. He started coming because God also revealed it to him. I made up my mind to show him that I am not an easy person to get, but eventually, God’s will came to pass. After a while, I started loving him. I remember I battled to submit to him. I was on my bed one day with an article but I never noticed what was written on it. One day, God enlarged what was there and I saw, “Never marry a man you cannot submit to.” It was like I had a choice to make, either marry him and submit to him or not marry him at all. But by then, I was already falling in love with his simplicity and other things and God helped me to submit to him. Today I am married to him and I have seen the fulfilment of what God told me, that ‘this is my husband in whom I will enjoy life.’  I found joy being married to my husband for the past 15 years.

It has been exciting. My husband is a gift from God to me. He is helpful in every area: he helps with the domestic work; bathe our children even from when they were babies. He cooks and is an embodiment of the blessing of God to me. If I had to choose, I will choose him again and again. What is it like being a pastor’s wife and at the same time a pastor? To be sincere, it is not an easy task. There are times you are weighed down, but when you consider the expectations of the people, who see you as a mini-god that has no pains, cannot fall sick and with no emotions and they expect you to be just there for them and they never think that you have needs too. It pains and hurts, but people just believe that you should know when they are down and know everything about them. Sometimes I tell them I am not a minigod; if you don’t tell me your need, I won’t know. Some people expect you to be all over the place smiling, not knowing that at times, you do also have little pains. I remember when I became pregnant with our fourth baby, which wasn’t planned. I was in a depressed mood and some people were thinking, ‘what is wrong with Pastor (Mrs.)? She is just frowning about.’ Members don’t know that something might be bothering you. If not for my husband, who has been of help to me, nobody else was there because they assumed you are always strong. So, being a pastor’s wife is not easy. There are times you want your husband, but he has gone for ministerial work. My husband tries as much as possible to take me with him sometimes. He also makes out time to be at home to make up for the time he was not there. There is much understanding between us. There is nothing as good as serving the Lord. Some people are married to bankers and they struggle with their husbands over their work. But I am sharing my husband with

God, Who is the best person to share your spouse with. Honestly, I am happy. How do you cope with family and work? His grace is sufficient. We were in some smaller parishes at a time before coming to the Central Parish. I tried to juggle in between my accounting work at school and my family but it didn’t work. There were times I brought my accounting book home and my husband assisted me in balancing it, but it was a distraction to him because the time he should have used to prepare for something else, we used to reconcile the account together. God told me he is able to take care of me, so I had to give up everything for Him. I resigned and joined my husband fully in the ministry. I make out time for my family, which is my first ministry. If the church deserts you today, your family is the one that will remain with you. I have that at the back of my head. So, no matter what, I give attention to my husband, my children and I ensure we spend quality time together. Sometimes, we all travel out together. Most times, we try to eat together as a family. My husband and I eat, bathe and do everything together. Because we know that family is first, we place our priorities right. Most times we are in church, doing the work together. We are in Central Parish today, tomorrow we may not be there, we may be transferred to different parishes at different times, that is the Redeemed life. And after a while, the church has forgotten you, but your family is forever. I have seen pastors and their children that have gone astray. So, we don’t joke with our children. We make out time to pray with them and teach them. It is easy for pastors to get carried away, as the work is so enormous and the labourers are few. Pastors are always being invited to different places. They love praying and without knowing it, one week has turned to a year and a year is turning to 10 and their families have been abandoned in the process.

Spiritual Revival (6) By Seyi Ogunorunyinka LOT of people are saying that God cannot be responsible for the things that have been happening in our nation. What they fail to understand is that nothing can happen unless God allows it because Satan has no power of his own. Isaiah 14:27 states, “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” Everything about God is good, and everything about Satan is bad. So, for that God, Who is good to open His eyes and allow His children to suffer means that something is very wrong somewhere. Proverbs 13:15 states, “Good understanding gains favour, but the way of the transgressor is hard.” There were three temples mentioned

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in the Bible. Solomon built one and it was destroyed with God watching the destruction took place. The vessels in the temple belonged to the Lord and were all sanctified to Him but during the destruction, He folded His hands as if He was asleep, and allowed the enemy to do their worst. Zerubbabel built the second temple, while Herod built the third. The third temple was very beautiful and the Jews took pride in showing it off to Jesus. Jesus however said to them that a day would come when the temple would be completely destroyed and not a brick would be left standing. Many Christians do not realise the things that they are doing wrong. They come to church and hear the truth but they lack understand-

ing; they have stayed so long in the world that they cannot absorb the truth. This may be why a lot of people are going through untold hardship in spite of all their prayers. They have not changed from their old ways and so; no progress can be made in their lives. As a nation, we need to recognise that the reason we have been going through a lot of tragedies is because of the evil that is being committed here. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We need spiritual revival. A lot of us, including our leaders are walking like blind men. Jer-

emiah 6:16 enjoins us to go back to the old ways; we need to begin to practise the ways of the old religion. Nowadays, we practise psychedelic Christianity; we have brought the world into the church. All this must end if we want our tomorrows to be better and if we want to make heaven. We also need spiritual awareness. We must look at our lives and tell ourselves the truth about where we are going. We must all wake up and begin to see what God is trying to say to us. Pastor Ogunorunyinka, General Overseer, The Promisedland Restoration Ministries, Surulere, Lagos. pastorseyiogunorunyinka@gmail.com


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IBRUCENTRE By Ernest Onuoha

‘Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee; neither will I in any wise forsake thee. So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me?’ Heb. 13v5-6. CCORDING to Matthew Henry’s commentary, A the design of Christ in giving Himself for us, is, that He may purchase to Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and true religion is the strongest bond of friendship. Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties, especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and duty is covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of this world, with envy of those who have more than ourselves. Having treasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here. Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raised their condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; some angels in heaven were not contented; but the apostle Paul, though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any state, to be content. Christians have reason to be contented with their present lot. This promise contains the sum and substance of all the promises; I will never, no,

From The Rector Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor

Learning To Trust God In All Situations never leave thee, no, never forsake thee. Sometimes I feel that we do not know or understand very much this God we are serving; He really cares for us if only we can trust Him and stop looking sideways. Yes, He does mighty things. I think the devil is aware of God’s love for His children and sometimes He plants in their hearts fears, doubts, complaining spirits and anger in order to make them feel that God is not sufficient for them in all situations. But today, God will open our eyes to behold that He is enough, we need only to trust Him. He says: ‘I will never leave you or forsake, I am your helper, don’t be afraid’, Amen. I will not forget in a hurry the testimony of the former Archbishop of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province and the Bishop of Ibadan, Most Rev.

Families Urged To Reaffirm Their Stand For God, As Diocese Holds Synod By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku HE Archbishop, Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos and Diocesan Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. (Prof.) Adebayo Akinde has called on Christian families to reaffirm their commitment towards their Creator and make a turn for good, especially as immorality, social vices, insecurity, political and economic problems take its toll on the lives of people. He made this call during the Year 2014 Pre-synod Breakfast Fellowship held at St. Jude Cathedral, EbuteMeta, Lagos. Revealing the 2014 synod theme: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” which will commence on May 22 to 26, Akinde noted that evil in different forms, has taken different dimension in the world today heaping enormous burden on the shoulders of families and the need arises for families to remain steadfast and strengthen their commitment towards God. In his word, “it is now obvious that the whole world is passing through a most trying period in the history of mankind. Insecurity has never assumed the dimension we have now; unemployment in our country has never assumed the sort of dimension it is now; such

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evil as deceit, stealing and lies have never assumed a greater dimension than we have now. The implication of all this is that enormous pressure is now on the family. There is conscious moral rejection as well now. There is so much intellectual confusion in the whole world. All this evil seems to be geared towards the Christians and the family. So, we are now saying: there is need for Christian families in particular not to lose heart. To do this, they would need to reaffirm on whose side they are. To be on the side of the world is to reject God; to be on the side of God is for you to hold on and put your trust in Him that no matter what, God is able to protect and defend you. I am not saying that hardship will disappear, but then, your attitude and response towards it will be different.” Akinde said further that the devil’s aggressive assault against the family institution demands that all God’s children focus on daily protection and nurture of the family with God’s word. He added that the Synod theme is to ginger everybody to further appreciate the enormity of their evangelical responsibilities to their families, as many people evangelise outside but lose focus of their primary duty to their families, which he said, is “personal Jerusalem.”

Joseph Akinfenwa given during his preaching at the floor of the synod of the Diocese of Nike on May 3, 2014. He noted: ‘as a Clerk in the then railway corporation and a choir boy, he got married to his heartthrob, Mrs. Nike Akinfenwa and in quick succession, they had and lost three babies. This took him and his wife to different corners, where solutions were thought to be found but all to no avail. The marriage nearly broke up. Then came the wagging tongues of neighbours and evil suggestions from ‘do gooders’ that they were not compatible in marriage, a proof of which is the lost of the three babies.’ What did they do? Thanks goodness, they turned their situation over to God and He handled it. They became servants of the Lord and surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Saviour. God then surprised them, for He gave them two

Leadership And The God Factor ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3) By Taiwo Odukoya N March 30, 1863, against O the backdrop of a divisive and bloody war that set the United States of America on the brink of collapse, President, Abraham Lincoln employed the most unusual strategy — he declared a national day of prayer and fasting. Mounting the rostrum he said: “…Let us then rest humbly in the hope authorised by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.” The American Civil War, which had dragged on for two years, came to a halt shortly thereafter and peace and progress returned to the nation. The year was 1940. This time around, it was not the United States, it was Britain. And the moment was one of the darkest in the history of the British people. More than 300,000 troops were pinned down in northern France with Nazi forces bearing down on them. The British soldiers had insufficient am-

munition and supplies, which left them vulnerable to attacks from Hitler’s forces. Britain faced imminent annihilation. Churchill, at his wits end, turned to God and requested King George the VI to call Britain to a National Day of Prayer. That Sunday, May 26, 1940, British people showed up at churches all over the country. There were queues to Westminster Abbey. The churches were full with men and women of different social strata: royalty, high profile politicians and the general populace. They prayed and begged for the Lord’s mercy on their fathers and sons on the frontlines, and for their national survival. And the Lord heard those heartfelt prayers and responded with what became known as “the miracle at Dunkirk.” Hitler inexplicably delayed giving his generals the order to finish off the British soldiers. A great storm over Germany prevented Nazi planes from taking off. The British people quickly assembled some 900 fishing boats, yachts, trawlers, and other private and government vessels, and began ferrying the troops from the French beaches and back to England a few at a time. By the grace of God, nearly a third of a million souls were saved as a result, as was the British nation. The two leaders in the foregoing accounts are heroes of history. Their leadership models have been the sub-

CAC Urges Churches To Preach Peace, Repentance From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City S Nigeria continues to grapple with A security challenges in the northeast and other parts of the country, the President of Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide, Pastor Abraham Akinosun, has urged churches in the country to preach morals, repentance and set aside flamboyant lifestyle and think positively of the way forward. Speaking to journalists at the Benin Airport on arrival for a three-day crusade organised by the Benin branch of the Church, Akinosun, said: “Because of the challenges facing the nation and everywhere, it is time to look to the Lord

boys and a girl, all of them Masters degree holders today. Yes, it is good to trust this God, as He knows how to wipe away tears. The psalmist in his own situation wholly depended on God and therefore saw Him as his shepherd. Jesus the Son of God also told us: ‘I am the good shepherd, for I know my sheep and they also know me,’ Jh. 10v7-16. Implying, I know what they are going through and like a good shepherd, I will always lead them to pasture and so, they do not need to panic. With Him in all situations, they are safe. Ven. Ernest Onuoha, Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org

for salvation, redemption and deliverance. We should shun everything and look unto the Lord. “There is nothing beyond the power of God but when we are ready to look unto the Lord, He is sure to answer us. In this kind of situation we are in, it is high time we set aside flamboyant fashion of evangelism and preach moral and repentance because we have sunk deep into materialism and everyone is trying to amass wealth and materialism instead of repenting and clinging to the Lord for our salvation. “It is high time churches looked unto the Lord and preach repentance be-

cause Jesus is the pillar of truth. We should let the people know how to live and die. In Nigeria, everybody is yearning to become rich overnight, which is not good.” HE said he believed that the ongoing national conference could chart a way forward for Nigeria if the delegates were honest in their deliberations. “God is the author of every good intention. If we are faithful and honest to ourselves, God may surprise us through that confab if the people are ready to be honest with ourselves, if we don’t go there to deceive ourselves or fight for our own selfish interest.”

ject of books and countless studies. Separated by centuries and situated in two different continents, they faced similar challenges that imperiled their respective nations and defied their human capacity. Pressed for solutions, they turned to God, and the result was the preservation of entire nations and the reversal of what would have been the destruction of entire generations. The truth is that there comes a time in the life of every nation and its leadership, when it is faced with situations that confound human intelligence, skills and power. It was Albert Einstein that said we couldn’t solve our problems at the same level from which they were created. No matter the height of our education or the depth of our experiences, there are some problems that will stretch our human faculties and require us to step up to a higher plane. This is what both leaders did. Gandhi, another greatly admired leader once said, “Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.” The Bible gives a similar account of King Jehoshaphat. Caught in an impossible situation that threatened the existence of his people, and faced with an evil alliance of neighbouring armies, Jehoshaphat gathered the entire nation of Israel for prayers and everybody came out, the young and the old, male and female. They lifted up their voices and cried to God. Hear what Jehoshaphat said, “…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” God heard the cry of Israel and delivered them from their enemies. The above-mentioned accounts prove that God is moved to action by the earnest collective prayers of a nation. Today, Nigeria is faced with its own crisis. We are confronted with a situation that threatens not just our corporate existence, but also our individual existence. And this is one of such situa-

Odukoya tions, where leadership goes beyond the persons directly at the helm, even though we acknowledge the depth of their responsibility. We must at this time reach across political, economic and religious divides to take collective responsibility for our country. Not all of us will bear arms or engage in diplomatic maneuvers and direct strategies, but all of us can shoulder the responsibility of prayer, and pray we must. The need for prayer cannot be overemphasised. We will be making a big mistake to limit the capacity and concern of God, and to abandon prayer altogether. It was the late American President Ronald Regan that said, “We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” This is not a time to despair. It is a time to unite against our common enemy in the fervency of prayer and faith. This does not in any way substitute for military, diplomatic and other engagements. But while all these are going on, let us back it up with prayers every step of the way. God is the most reliable source of help in times of great anxiety. He will hear our prayers. The Chibok girls will be found. There will be a speedy end to the bloodletting across the land. Nigeria will rise again to her full stature. Let us keep faith alive. Nigeria Has a Great Future! Pastor Taiwo can be reached at pastortaiwo@tfolc.org


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

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New Auto Policy: Customs, Agents Disagree On Implementation By Daniel Anazia OLLOWING the announcement 70 per cent tariff (35 per cent duty and 35 per cent levy) on fairly used vehicles (Tokunbo cars) and tyres, as part of measures to develop the automotive industry, there is unrest among licensed customs agents, who renewed their protest last week at the Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos. The new tariff policy implementation, according to Federal Government’s announcement, would start July 1, but from available document, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the Tin-Can port has started the implementation of 35 per cent duty. According to the Association of Licensed Nigeria Customs Agents (ANLCA), the umbrella body of the clearing agents, the 20 per cent import duty and levy was still being paid until last week, when the Nigeria Customs began charging the new 35 per cent duty. The management of the Nigeria Customs Service, had on February 28, issued a circular with reference number BD/FB/09/224 and titled, ‘Re- Fiscal Policy Measures for the Automotive Industry’, directing all deputy comptroller generals, assistant comptroller generals, zonal coordinators, area controllers and unit heads to start the implementation of the new tariff policy with immediate effect. However, the Nigeria Custom Service reinforced the circular with an abridged circular bearing reference number NAC.993/5 of 194/T/3 dated April 28. Earlier in the year, the customs licensed agents had staged a peaceful demonstration to register their dissatisfaction on the proposed new tariff, forcing Federal Government to revert to the 20 per cent tariff. According to the associations, the protest is against government’s incessant increase in duties on tokunbo vehicles imported into the country. When The Guardian visited the Tin-Can Port, Apapa Lagos on Thursday, licensed agents (clearing agents) were already paying the 35 per cent duty, as a copy of the Nigeria Customs Service provisional valuation form, dated May

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• ‘Implementation Started Since January’ • ANLCA Should Not Cry More Than Importers — NAGAFF 15, for the clearing of a Nissan Versa 2007 model showed that the said percentage was charged. With the new tariff policy, a car that was previously cleared with about N140, 000 using 20 percent import duty policy, now takes about N450,000 under the new automotive policy of 35 per cent duty plus 35 per cent levy. This excludes the purchase and other costs. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, May 14, had reported that the Nigeria Customs denied implementing the new 35 per cent duty tariff, as they were collecting the 20 per cent. Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, Tin-Can Island Command, Chris Osunkwo, NAN reported to have said: “At no time did the Customs collect 35 per cent duty on secondhand vehicles. The July 1, directive by the Federal Government on the item still stands. We are not collecting such tariff until July1. The government did not say that we should not collect 20 per cent duty on new vehicles and 35 per cent duty on used vehicles, but the latter has not come into effect.” However, the Customs spokesman in a rejoinder tittled ‘Re-Customs Denies Implementation of 35% Duty Hike On Used Vehicles’ issued on Thursday and made available to The Guardian, vehemently debunked the news report, and stated that it was misleading. He said that he was quoted out of contest as the true situation is that the command had implemented the Federal Government’s fiscal policy on vehicle imports as contained government’s circular with reference number BD/FB/09/224, dated February 28, 2014 and reinforced by circular number NAC/993/5 of 194/T/3 dated April 28, 2014. He explained that in the abridged circular, all fully built unit (FBU) cars falling under H.S Code 87.03 shall attract a duty of 35 per cent and 35 per cent levy. If the Bill of Lading is dated

not later than March 31, 2014, and its arrival date is not later than June 30, 2014, will pay the old duty rate irrespective of the date of opening the Form ‘M’ and letter of credit. Whereas, used vehicles will be imported at 35 per cent duty rate without levy till June 30, 2014; fully built unit (FBU) commercial vehicles falling under H.S Code 87.02, 87.04, 87.05, 87.06, 87.07, 87.16 shall also attract 35 per cent duty without levy. But Abdul-Ganiyu Kolawole Adebanjo, the Chairman of O’odua Maritime Forum, an amalgamation of Yoruba Customs licensed agents, said the Customs PRO lied, as the 35 per cent duty is being charged by the Customs at Tin-Can Long Room. “As I speak to you now, people are paying the 35 per cent rate; you can verify this from any agent. The Custom PRO here in Tin-Can is telling lies. I paid the new 35 per cent duty yesterday (Wednesday, May 14). When the issue started, the Customs said 35 per cent for duty and 35 per cent for levy; so, they removed the levy, waiting to implement it from July 1,” he said. Yet, in a telephone chat with The Guardian, Public Relations Officer, Customs Headquarters, Wale Adeniyi, confirmed the implementation of 35 per cent duty, and said it started since January, but the challenge is that the agents are yet to fully understand the intent of the policy. “The 35 per cent duty rate implementation has begun since January, but problem is that most agents are yet to come terms with the policy. The intention is to encourage local production. The tariffs will be used to encourage local producers. Another intention is to reduce the unemployment rate in the country. “There are so many graduates in the country, and with the new automotive policy, there would be employment generation. There have been so many interpretations of the policy by

the agents, but in all, government means well for the citizens with it.” Speaking to The Guardian, the General Secretary, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Tin-Can Island Chapter, Dike Kalu said, the position of the association remains clear, as “we have resolved to comply with the implementation when the policy (both the 35 per cent duty and 35 per cent levy) takes off on July 1.” “The situation in the country does not call for any protest, especially at a sensitive place like the Tin-Can Port. There are so many stakeholders at the port and this includes ANLCA, NAGAFF, Association of Importers, Association of Managing Directors, the Shippers Council are not the only port users or customs,” he said. He noted that the agents are not the ones paying the duty, but the importers, adding that the importers have their own association, and recognised by Federal Government. He said, “The agents should not cry more than the bereaved. From the time the new tariff policy was announced, we have waited for the importers to liaise with us as stakeholders, but they have not even done that. Also, they have not complained about new tariff, so the agents should not cry more than the bereaved.” He added, “The increase is wrong, but the protest is coming at the wrong time. I believe, the sleeping dog should be left to lie until the visitors who are helping with the search of our abducted girls have gone.” He continued: “If the matter is to be addressed properly, it should not be the licensed agents (ANLCA) or freight forwarders (NAGAFF) that should protest. It should be championed by importers. The Shippers Council is there, and we have an umbrella body called the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN); it covers both NAGAFF and ANLCA. “They are supposed to speak before we speak. Putting the cart before the horse is absurd. As freight forwarders, we charge jobs based on the new tariff. It is the importer that pays the duty, so when they give me their document; I tell them the cost of clearing their consignment,” he concluded.


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New Auto Policy Not A Threat To Tokunboh Spare Parts By Emma Eke EALERS on tokunboh spare parts are smiling to the bank as the business, according to statistics from the Auto Fair Africa (AFA), contributes N50 billion to the Gross Domestic Product. AFA), a nongovernmental body, says that, despite a 20 percent increase in importation of brand new vehicles in the last 10 years, 60 percent of car users in Nigeria patronise fairly used spare parts. Operators in the sub-sector, however, say they have document showing that 70 per cent of car users in the country patronise tokunboh parts in their maintenance-plan schedules; and the evident huge imports, as shown by the Nigeria Customs Service records —tend to support this claim. Those who observe the sector have had cause to wonder while the trend continues, even as the Federal Government strives to engender a new phase of consumption that will encourage growth in usage of new cars and spare parts. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, stated that, “a new vision is now in place and this will soon see the country self-dependent in automobile production and services. Government is not resting on its oars towards seeing the country produce new vehicles, which will also gradually phase out used cars, popularly known as Tokunboh. There is a good understanding among stakeholders and government.” Following the new auto policy, there were speculations regarding a total ban on importation of fairly used vehicles and spare parts. It took another ministerial briefing to re-assure the public that there was no directive to that effect. In anticipation of the take-off of the new tariff regime, many importers reportedly hiked prices of vehicles and spare parts already in their warehouses by as much as 200 per cent. Although Aganga did not say so, many read his lips to mean that the days of Tokunbo vehicles and spare parts are numbered. For policy makers, what is uppermost in their minds is how to rejuvenate a sector, which in the 1970s was made prominent by car assembling plants, with the Volkswagen of Nigeria (VON) in Lagos and Peugeot Assembly Plants in Kaduna. “If the programme sails through, the era whereby Nigerians have to wait for car owners in Europe and America to dispose of theirs will soon be a thing of the past,” said a senior official with one of the new generation banks behind the project. Although details of the programme remains sketchy, officials say by the end of the year, a clearer picture will emerge. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) indicated that the country harbours more than 40 per cent of the “discarded vehicle parts” from Europe and United States. The rest of the consignment trickles down to the rest of the continent. The Southern Asian countries are said to be having a paltry record of less than five per cent of the same goods. “Past administrations paid lip service to automobile policy,” said Pa Tunji Okelanwa, a retired auto engineer with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. He reeled out a number of Nigeria’s lost opportunities in car manufacturing: “Negligence by our leaders, killed vehicle assembly plants like PAN, VON and others; and the same leaders should be blamed for the present situation where the middle class cannot afford to own brand new cars,” the septuagenarian engineer said.

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Operators’ Reactions Most of the key players in the sector, who volunteered comments on the topic, did not differ from the various positions held by most experts. Citing instances from other countries, they said the same law that makes vehicle manufacturing firms to guarantee their products also guard them against making fake component for the same products. Thus, all auto parts enjoy similar quality and warranty details associated with the vehicles they are to be serviced with. They stated that expired parts are meant discarded in tandem with their expiration dates. An official of Stallion Group, a firm that emerged the preferred bidder of VON pri-

Sector Contributes N50 billion To Economy

The Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Dr. Abudl-Ganiyu Salaudeen Ajinase I (left); Managing Director of Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Mr. Peter Eshikena; and Chairman of Board of Directors, Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Mr. Jacobs Ajekigbe OFR, at the official launch of Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Dairy Development Programme held at Iseyin, Oyo State. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM vatisation exercise, told The Guardian that his firm had all it takes to roll out brand new vehicles, with more than 60 per cent local input. “We’ve demonstrated the will in all our ability to restore VON to its former status,” he stated. However, all of this has not been able to unravel the factors militating against having the country roll out its brand of vehicle as is seen by, China, South Korea and Brazil. Of the West African countries, Nigeria is said to have all it takes to succeeed in the sector. At the KIA Motors office, Victoria Island, a sales official put it this way: “We sell our products along with total package, which includes after-sale maintenance agreement. This makes it impossible for our clients to patronise quacks or Tokunbo parts.” He, however, conceded that fairly used spare parts of the brand were being sold in parts of the country. However, the reality of the situation seems to have dawned on many in the past five years. Individuals as well as policy makers are worried that enough has not been done to reposition the sector. The Guardian sampled opinions of Nigerians in recent weeks: Sir Iyke Animalu, (National President, Ladipo Central Market Association (LASEC) : There won’t be any threat to auto parts market despite all that has been said. Our business is well defined; we’ve never claimed what we’re dealing on brand new vehicles and spare parts. So even if government has a programme to introduce manufacturing of vehicles here in the country that will be a welcome development; but all stakeholders should be involved for the policy to achieve the desired result. Mind you, through our businesses, we have been helping government to reduce unemployment. Today, we have more than 20 sub-units that make up the Auto Market Complex, Ladipo with each made up of at least 5,000 members. When you multiply this, you can begin to appreciate the num-

ber of people that are engaged directly at the Auto Parts Dealers Market Complex. Here, you’re not counting those that are indirectly linked up with the complex. And so I can say that there is no threat to our business as regards competition from those dealing in brand new parts. Mind you, here is not the only market for fairly used auto parts, but it serves as the centre of activities. Come to think of it, is there any country where used vehicles and parts are not sold? I can tell you that, in Europe and America, where I’ve been opportuned to go for this business, there are fairly-used markets, alongside with brand new vehicles and parts. We buy from them and sell here. The fact still remains that, in West African sub region, if not the whole Africa, we are leading in auto parts business. We have no competition with those, who specialise in new auto parts, but what we frown at is that some of them connive with foreigners to bring in fake products. This is the reason most vehicle owners rely on us. And the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has been taking that lightly. It’s not true that we just travel overseas and ferry in abandoned vehicles and parts into this country. The market there is as robust as what we have here. As a matter of patriotism, we as a union use our internal task force to help SON fight substandard spare parts within our area of influence. We do so because we know that anything that will bring bad name to this complex will not only affect our members but the society, generally. On the fact that government is planning to replace Tokunboh parts with brand new ones, it is not as simple as it sounds. But our advice is that it would have been better for policy makers to carry all stakeholders along on how to achieve better result, because it is an issue that will touch the lives of more than 70 percent of the population. Mr. Philip Igbonekwu (Chairman Progressive Auto Dealers Association):

THERE is no comparison between Tokunboh vehicles and spare parts with the new ones as we have them come into the country today. Those patronising brand new parts would tell you of their ordeal. This can only stop when those going to Asian countries to import the fake products stop compromising standard. There will be no threat to our business, even if government starts producing vehicles locally, because even if the companies to go into that will be expected to manufacture equivalent parts for services and that will be where the problem will be. Fairly used parts will still find market here. In Europe and American where we import our wares, there are other buyers from within and outside their immediate environments. Therefore, we are not afraid of the new policy. Let us face the fact, importers are the ones to be worried of the new policy, not dealers in genuine Tokunboh spare parts. The advice is for mechanics to be sincere when dealing with their customers. Dr Joseph Odumodu, Director General/CEO Standard Organization of Nigeria: HERE is no respite for those bent On bending the rule against importing fake or substandard goods into the country. We have not reduced our resolve to act decisively on those found culpable of running against the rule. We recently stepped up the war against substandard goods when we destroyed over N2.7 billion worth of goods within Lagos area alone in one swoop. SON’s officials had identified some warehouses within the Apapa area, where substandard items were found. They included electrical cables, children toys, automatic voltage regulators, cylinders and other items. We are aware that influx of substandard items encourage people to patronise fairly used products, but even at that we are always out to confiscate and subsequently prosecute those behind such, be it brand new or Tokunboh, especially automobile-related goods because lives are involved here. We’re not unaware that some people, bent on running against the rule of bringing substandard goods in the markets are not having it easy with us. We’re equal to the task.

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BUSINESS Transparent Procurement Process Will Reduce Waste Says Poan From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja O curtail wasteful spending and enhance T value for money in public and private expenditure, the procurement officers association of Nigeria (POAN) has called for global best practices in the procurement business. Chairman of the association, Dr. Daniel Rikichi Kajang, gave this indication at the 2014 procurement summit, tagged “Procurement in emerging economies: A development tool,” in Abuja.  According to Kajang, Nigeria has the potential to become one of the world’s developed countries if the right things were done in considering integrity, honesty and transparency in procurement processes. He said: “The concern of the association is to promote the internalisation of international best practices to achieve value for money in the practices of procurement in Nigeria and to create a platform for people who are involved

in procurement practices to share professional ideas for the advancement of procurement professionals; this has a far-reaching impact on economic development of the country.” Kajang said the one-day summit would promote professionalism, enlighten and foster interaction of members with relevant stakeholders to interrogate the policy and institutional framework of procurement practice in Nigeria. He lamented bogus annual budget proposals, which usually run into trillions of Nara without corresponding improvement in infrastructure and the general wellbeing of citizens, noting that procurement is key to economic development. Kajang, however, commended government for being more responsive in the last decade with robust legislations and policies aimed at encouraging proper procurement practice.

Chairman House Committee on Procurement, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, remarked that the only way to fight corruption is to follow due process instead of awarding contracts to families and cronies of public office holders.   She said there is need to remove shady deals in government business and ensure that things are done the proper way. Okoya -Thomas said most of the appropriated funds end up in wrong hands the reason contractors get stuck and discontinue projects. She urged the Ministry of Finance to ensure adequate and proper release of funds for speedy growth of the economy.  She decried a situation where the 2014 budget is still not signed in the second quarter of the year, saying that accountability of public office holders to those they govern is mandatory.   She decried a situation where parliamentarians would invite ministers to shed light on issues and such ministers would decide not to honor the invita-

tion.   The guest speaker, Professor Oyinlola Olaniyi, a professor of Economics at the University of Abuja in his paper said the solution to the challenges of poverty and the rise in unemployment (which is presently put at 23 percent) is inclusive growth. The country, according to him presently lacks inclusive growth, despite the fact that the economy is attracting foreign investment. Olaniyi said the reason for the disconnect between the factory and the farm is the idea of continued importation of raw materials by foreign companies thereby allowing local farm produce in to waste.   The Economics Professor added that Agriculture employs about 70 percent of the people and yet government, year after year, allocates meagre resources to the sector.  He described the country as being a trade economy and not a productive one.  

CAMAC Group Elevates Officers AMAC Group of CompaC nies recently promoted key officers to new positions in the group and its subsidiaries. Mr. Laide Olufemi is now the Group Executive Director (Corporate Services). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Laide is a fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Management (Chartered), fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration and an associate member of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management. Before now, he served as the group’s Head of Human Resources and Administration department. Mr. Adekunle Alli is the Group Executive Director (Finance and Account). He began his career with the firm of Ernst and Whinney as Senior Account. He later moved on to Mobil Oil Nigeria, where he served in their Finance and Services department. He progressed through Accounting and Internal Audit position, then soared to the position of Manager, Internal Audit, all

with Mobil Oil Nigeria. He joined Camac Group in 2 0 0 8 . Mr. Jude Madubugwu, General Manager (Finance and Account), has a 24-year work experience as professional account in the banking industry, which has translated in the operations and on the management team ofCamac Nigeria Limited. He has a BSc in Accounting and MSc in Finance. Jude is a member of the Chartered Institute of Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) and Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers (CIS). The company also appointed Mr. Akin Yusuf Managing Director (Networth Securities and Finance Ltd) and appointed Mr. Ola Oladeji as Managing Director, Oceanic Consultant Nigeria Limited. The good wind of promotion also affected other staff of the group as they were promoted to various posts and positions earlier this year in a bid to move the group forward and sustain it as a key player in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

Executive Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs. Onome Olaolu (left); Executive Director, Business Development, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Haruna JaloWaziri; Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo; and Executive Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Ik Mbagwu, at the Bank’s Facts Behind the Figures presentation at the Exchange.

‘Mobile Solar Electricity Solution Raises Hope For Rural Consumers’ TN Nigeria, in collaboration M with Nova Lumos, GSMA and Schneider Electric, recently formalised a pact on mobile solar electricity solution and, therefore, opened a new vista in rural telephony and power utilization. Tagged Mobile Electricity, the package promises an affordable solar electricity solution that can power light bulbs, cell phones, fans, PCs or laptops, radios and other small electronic devices, all at once. At the press briefing to launch the ‘scheme,’ the promoters drew attention to the fact that, over the last three decades, the perennial energy crisis confronting Nigeria has become a source of worry. At a little over 4,000 megawatts and about 3,600 (as in the last six months), power generation, distribution and transmission have continued to dwindle — the recent unbundling of the PHCN not withstanding. At a dismal 4,000 megawatts Nigeria’s more than 160 million people have little power when put side by side with South Africa’s 45,000 megawatts for just 52.98 million people. Some multinationals closed shop,

pulled out of Nigeria, and took their businesses to nearby countries with more reliable power supply. The justification for the relocation was that the businesses suffered high-energy cost, which made their products and services uncompetitive. No doubt, the continued relocation of businesses leads to occupational redundancy, job losses and rising unemployment figures, especially among the youth population. On the domestic front, shortage of light — in some cases non-existent — has affected the quality of life in many parts of the country. According to Country President, Schneider Electric, Mr. Marcel Hochet, of the over 1.3 billion people in the world who live without electricity, 600 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa; and of Nigeria’s 160million population, about half are not connected to the national grid. “These statistics are mind boggling,” said Mr. Hotchet. On the rationale for choosing MTN as partner on the project, CEO of Nova Lomus, Davidi Vortman, pointed to the GSM service provider’s innovative and continental leadership role in the ICT

sector. “For as little as N200.00 per week, households, particularly in rural Nigeria, can enjoy continuous electricity to power basic domestic appliances.   It is the near-perfect solution to replace candles and flashlight in homes across the country,” he said. Lumos is technologically and financially backed by Schneider, a world leader in energy technology as well as the GSM association (GSMA), a global trade union for mobile operators. The management infrastructure for the service will ride on MTN’s telecoms network to reach its subscriber base, which is in excess of 55 million in Nigeria. At the official unveiling and memorandum signing ceremony of the partnership Mary Roach, the GSMA Programme Operations Manager, added that “Nova Lumos in partnership with MTN Nigeria received funding from the GSMA’s Mobile Enabled Community Services (MECS) Innovation Grant Fund with the support of the UK Government.” This grant she said is awarded to organizations developing innovations that improve access to energy and water among

undeserved communities by leveraging mobile technology and infrastructure. The MECS Innovation Fund has helped to highlight the demand for mobile-enabled services and the role that mobile can play in supporting access to basic utility services across rural and urban markets. For MTN and its partners, beyond business, this is a creative yet altruistic step in bridging the gap as government continues to look at ways of finding a lasting solution to the power crisis. The result of this synergy is a “win-win” for all parties concerned including the end users. In terms of value and in deference to preserving the environment, the mobile electricity solution (MES) is both sustainable and renewable. In addition, unlike other alternative energy platforms that still require connection to other forms of energy for charging, the MES is maintenance-free because it is a service not a product. The benefits of the service include easy installation and competitive pricing-cost of acquisition is between N5, 000.00 and N10, 000.00 and the fact that it uses the ubiquitous GSM technology to

recharge. At the end of the day, the MTN-Lumos synergy will bring a little succor to Nigerians.        In the words of Henry Okoede, MTN’s Senior Manager, Business Development, “this new partnership is in furtherance of MTN’s bold new digital world vision, which finds full expression in using mobile telephony and technology in impacting lives positively, while reducing exclusion and social disparity. “Just as Nigeria has been able to find a solution to its communication problem, with a bit of creativity and difference in approach, it should be able to solve the energy problem, although this may take a while. In the interim, the MTN-Lumos synergy will impact millions of Nigerians; a further reflection of MTN’s trail-blazing transformational agenda to always leave people better than it met them. To help in achieving this, MTN will partner with organisations whose vision aligns with its own in its continuing mission to foster social and economic development in the Nigerian nation.”


Sunday, May 18, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

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BUSINESS

SALAMI: Adding Value To Garri Ijebu By Omiko Awa ONCERNED that Nigeria is blessed with numerous natural resources, while the people are impoverished and the youths that constitute the highest percentage of the population are not gainfully employed, Salami Hakeem decided to chart a different path through looking inward and turning one of the nation’s abundant natural resources — cassava — into a money spinning venture. To achieve his desired goal, Hakeem set up Balkeem Nigeria Limited, the platform he uses to process cassava, turning it into specially branded flakes called Ijebulawa.  On why he chooses to call his brand Ijebulawa and not Naijalawa, Hakeem says: “When you talk about branding, there is a need to separate Genesis from Revelation. The Ijebu people in the Southwest of Nigeria are identified with garri. In fact, they eat it more than any other ethnic group in Nigeria. They take it within meals, as snacks. It is some sort of flakes no Ijebu can do without. Besides, the Ijebus have a way of processing their garri, which makes it dry with a sour taste. Does his brand then have that sour taste or is he just selling any garri in the name of Ijebu garri? “No, it is Ijebu garri. Besides, it is not just Ijebu garri, but a branded one that has passed through the scrutiny of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). “Initially, the garri failed the agency’s test. I was shocked that garri that is common and consumed by practically every Nigerian and by extension countries across Africa, where cassava is planted, has shelf life and could even fail lab tests,” he discloses. But not allowing the discouraging experience to dampen his entrepreneurial spirit, Hakeem pressed forward and demanded from the food regulatory body what he could do to make his brand scale the hurdles. “NAFDAC’s emphasis was on hygiene and the cyanide content. The only dangerous component in garri is cyanide, which is dangerous to health and is found in cassava. Our early production had excess of it, which made us fail the initial lab test. “It is not that garri has to be totally free from cyanide. No, but it has to be at a very low percentage. The volume of cyanide in the body and system must not go beyond

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what the individual’s immune system can control. If it does, then it will affect the sight, causing blindness or even paralysis or damaging some sensitive organs in the body,” he explains. Now armed with this information, a dogged Hakeem wondered if the average garri seller in the open market cares about the dangers this chemical could cause the consumer. So, he went back to his drawing table to ensure he delivers not just an original Ijebu garri, but also one that is safe for all. “To overcome the challenges, I went back to the processing chain, making sure that the quality control is followed from the day

the roots are harvested to the grinding and frying. With this, we were able to reduce the cyanide content and represent our brand to NAFDAC. It was subjected to another test; but this time we scaled the hurdles, thereby making the garri safe for consumption by anyone whether white or black,” he says. So, garri, one of Nigeria’s staple foods in Nigeria has a shelf life? “It does. In fact, I was surprised to hear this, but then we learn everyday. Life itself is a learning process. NAFDAC made us to know that garri has one-year shelf live, but the average Nigerian does not know this. You should also know that if garri is not kept

under the necessary condition, it becomes dusty and loses its taste,” he states. Urging people to be mindful of where they buy garri, Hakeem says: “Apart from cyanide, the poor hygiene of market women is another thing buyers should be mindful of. How can you control the traders or buyers from using the same hand they have used to scratch their bodies to touch the garri, when ascertaining its moisture or dryness? It is not possible, which is why we have an edge over the open market garri sellers. We have identified all these flaws and package our garri , enriching it with vitamins in such a way that it becomes the first choice for anybody, even foreigners.” This perhaps explains why the packaging is done in such a way that a buyer cannot but be attracted. “We have our eyes on the foreign market. We have also come to the realisation that the way you dress is the way you are addressed. If we do not package our local content properly, foreigners would not value or appreciate them. The noodles we are all crazy about are local products somewhere, but we are here falling over ourselves to buy them because of their packaging. We need to present our local products in a way that it would be attractive to the international community. Besides, nothing stops the American President from taking garri Ijebu as snacks, if he can have the analysis of what he wants to take on the pack. This is the reason we stated the necessary facts about the nutritional values of our brand on the pack,” he explains. Was that why he added who produce the milk and sugar in the pack? “Yes! We are in partnership with the two companies that produce the milk and sugar in the pack. We did not just go to the market to buy these two condiments. There is a kind of symbiotic relationship between our company and theirs. During our NAFDAC registration, a document to confirm the partnership was one of the things requested for. “Since the brand is packaged for the man on-the-go, we made it to be in a ready-todrink form. So, all the buyer needs are just water and a bowl. You can see that we have taken Ijebu garri a step further, because we want to give the people what they want in a nourishing and hygienically packaged form. And when we say hygiene, this includes the fact that the garri is free from sand and all the smut that come with the local garri,” he says.

Facts Behind The Figures: Fidelity Bank Unveils New Strategy For ‘Next-door’ Banking the intentions of creating sustainable this offers it an opportunity to surpass its exECENT presentations by banks at the Facts expected cost to income ratio of 60 to 65 pergrowth, using or leveraging its rapidly expectations within record time. This looks R Behind The Figures’ have, in many ways, ex- cent, the bank expects that growth in ingood to realize if it can religiously pursue its plained the way forward and the values that come lines are expected to outstrip increases panding retail infrastructure in the econcan be derived by investors from casting their nets in form of investments in the banking sector. Last week’s presentation on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange by Fidelity Bank Plc, as delivered by its Managing Director and Chief Executive, Nnamdi Okonkwo, buttressed the benefits of having ideas-driven financial institution that has installed great capacities for economic growth. Fidelity Bank plc could be one destination that many investors would find rewarding based on its current level of stability, expressed in its growth expectations already programmed for the next two years. According to Okonkwo, the bank’s current mandate to perform, powered by the available skills will definitely ensure that between now and 2016, the bank will achieve a target of six percent net margin growth based on its very low cost deposit and earning assets growth expectations. Within the same period, the bank will be targeting an effective tax rate between 15 and 20 percent while its loan growth would average some 15 to 20 per cent per annum. According to the bank, a 20 percent average deposit growth will be the icing on its moves to reclaim the future. This will be strongly matched by an average growth of non-interest income to about 20 percent per annum, indicating that a good rise in total income will be clearly anticipated. With an

in operating income, which also means that a lot of reserves would have to be achieved or a proportional growth in revenue would be recorded. Looking at the level of expansion that has been done in the capitalisation of banks because of the spate of fund hunts to beat operating demands and some regulatory requirements, not many banks have any room for bonus issues as compensation or reward to shareholders, according to Okonkwo. But forward-looking ones that have strategically realigned their processes to winning ways are striving to increase the dividend pay-outs in such a way that investors can reap handsomely. Having been sequential in its dividend policy matters over the years, Fidelity Bank has promised a bountiful yield and a good dividend ranging from 30 to 50 percent of its profit after tax in the years ahead. This becomes a very huge income for investors based on the proposal that all other indicators of growth will be upwards looking within the time period. This looks good to be realized based on the fact that its loan recovery process would be better kept as non-performing loan ratio is expected to leverage the improving market conditions, asset quality, loan growth and strengthened lending conditions. There are strong indications that Fidelity Bank’s new background reflects a tilt to comprehensive strategic banking options with

omy. This move would be in comfortable alliance with the acknowledged strides already made by the bank in corporate banking areas. What this means is that, if the bank successfully expands its retail banking base, it will be in a comfortable position to enjoy two major revenue streams and

strides of focusing 213 branches with 85% of it addressing the demands of services from the most economically viable regions in the country. The proposal of having 20 percent of its total branch network positioned in Lagos based on the huge resource base of Lagos can quickly advance its rapid retail banking gains.

EMP, Madfoo3atCom Launch Electronic Bill Payment System MERGING Markets Payments (EMP) and E Madfoo3atCom for Electronic Payments (MFEP) recently won a tender to build, oper-

ate and administrate the Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment System for Jordan, under the auspices of the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ). The service is being launched under the name of eFawateerCom, and allows people in Jordan to receive and pay bills electronically from their computers, ATMs, kiosks and Point of Sale terminals. Following a successful pilot phase that involved three banks and three billers (two mobile operators and the Customs Department), eFawateerCom was officially launched on 1st of May.  Maha Bahou, Executive Manager of the Payment Systems and Domestic Banking Operations Department at the CBJ, was the first to use the service.  She stated “The collaboration between EMP and MFEP is very significant as they bring a world-class electronic bill presentment and payment system which has been integrated with EMP’s extensive pay-

ments network in Jordan to create a seamless experience for our citizens.” The system was conceived by the CBJ as one of the initiatives being undertaken in the interest of promoting a more efficient economy. eFawateerCom will reduce the need to send paper statements and invoices, and will encourage electronic payment of bills. Most large Jordanian billers are expected to join eFawateerCom over the next year or so, including the electricity and water utilities.  The Jordanian Government will utilise the platform to manage government payments, such as licenses, customs duties and taxes. “We at the Central Bank believe that this system will become a great example to other countries that also wish to accelerate electronic payments in their economies,” said Ms Bahou. Paul Edwards, Executive Chairman of EMP stated, “EMP serves over 135 banks and 30,000 merchants across the Middle East and Africa. Our vision is to provide world-class payments solutions across this fast growing region.


38 | Sunday May 18, 2014

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BUSINeSSAGRO

Kogi Farmers Receive Vitamin-A Cassava Stems By Fabian Odum

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he introduction and distribution of vitamin A fortified cassava stems to over 2000 farmers in Koton Karfe Local Government in Kogi State recently by harvestPlus-Nigeria and its partner, envoy Consulting has the potential to improve the health of the Nigerian child. In a release by harvestPlus, the flag off ceremony was witnessed by Gov. Capt. Idris Wada, and hosted by the Ohimegye of Koton Karfe, Alhaji Abdulrazak Sani Isa Koto in his palace, noting that the expanding reach of the stem would would be accessible to an additional 350,000 farming households in 2014. harvestPlus-Nigeria’s mandate to ensure that farmers receive the fortified cassava stems got across to 106,000 farming households in 2013. Capt. Wada pledged to make Koton Karfe a centre for the cultivation and distribution of vitamin A cassava in order to arrest the problem of malnutrition. he added that the state has perfected plans to become a model for staple crop processing in Nigeria by establishing model processing centres that will help create jobs for the youths. he appreciated harvestPlus for the provision and distribution of the fortified cassava stems, a measure he acknowledged will go a Excess tomato harvested in Nigeria’s north central zone being sun-dried. The challenge of preservation being assessed, firsthand by the Minister of Agriculture, long way in confronting diseases such as Dr. Adesina Akinwumi; now private sector companies are setting up plants to tackle the issue. blindness, stunting and anemia especially Gov. Wada noted that it was his administra- sion in the State hence his drive to ensure that future. ‘ among children and pregnant women who tion’s goal to make agriculture a noble profes- the sector is driven by the private sector in A major highlight of the event was the are most vulnerable to the diseases. order to position the state for the emergence award of a chieftaincy title to the of cassava as the top forex earner in the Director–General of harvestPlus global, Dr. nation. howarth Bouis for the development of vitaThe Ohimegye sought the State min A cassava and its distribution to the peotools such as proposals, he noted that the organisa- Government’s collaboration with harvestPlus ple of ebira land. From Nnamdi Akpa, Abakaliki insurance, plan, budgets and tion has conducted a num- in the cultivation and dissemination of other The occasion also witnessed the display of N their bid to boost agri- account. ber of field studies aimed at fortified staple crops such as Zinc Rice and various food products made from vitamin A Apart from the above the improving the quality and Vitamin A Maize and the provision of techni- cassava. These products were tasted and cultural development among rural and also to organisation will also pre- market access of two identi- cal training in their production. eaten by the people. This then led to the Compliment the effort of the pare ebonyi farmers for fied local producers group of Country Manager, harvestPlus–Nigeria, Dr. request by the Ohimegye for their women federal governmennt trans- other intervention activites leather works and garment formation agenda a Non such as the micro-credit, producers in Aba and small Paul Ilona said the dissemination of vitamin A folk to be empowered with the skills to proGovernmental Organisation grain banking, capacity scale farmers in Plateau, cassava stems was to secure the future of the duce the sumptuous meals on display. Nigerian child. The flag off ceremony was attended by farmbased in Abuja, the National building workshops. Benue and Nassarawa. According to him, ` So that every Nigerian ers under the aegis of different farmer Addressing the participants Association of Nigeria he further stated that the Traders (NANTS) said that during the workshop the foundation is working in col- child will reach his/her potential in life, we groups across the two local governments’ they will collaborate with NANTS President, Mr. Ken laboration with TY Danjuma need the Nigerian child to be healthy for the areas of Koton Karfe and Lokoja in the state. ebonyi farmers to actualise Ukaoha represented by Foundation has a rice mill high yield of agricutural Godswill Aguiyi, head of project plan for Ruwanwayo Livelihood community in Nassarawa and Agric products. The organisation stated this Department said that the state where a critical compoin Uburu Ohaozara local activities of NANTS has cut nent of the project is traingovernment area of the state across some states in the ing in man power develophe 2014 edition of the Ogun State Investors’ cially in the areas of Agriculture and urban during a one-day workshop country which includes ment and management. Forum holds on Wednesday May 21 and development” on capacity building noted Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa he maintained that with Thursday May 22, 2014 at Kuto, Abeokuta. A faculty of renowned business technocrats that the organisation will Imo states etc. support from Development It will be focusing on Agriculture and Urban and investors locally and internationally have Aguiyi said that with their Partners like DFID, IFAD, not only assist ebonyi farmfor the ers to attend high yield but interverventions with small- OXFAM the organisation has development, and this according to the gover- been lined up as speakers and panelists on other benefits from the scale farmers NANTS has over undertaken a number of nor is strategic. “Apart from the fact that they forum, themed “Agriculture and Urban 27000 farmers as its mem- studies on studies on differ- are interwoven, they serve as agents of change. Development: Ogun State...The new Frontier.” organisation. Agriculture, in particular,  gives the state an It will have the former President of Mexico Mr. According to the organisa- bers across the country and ent aspects of agriculture tion they are ready to assist hope that after the interac- and the latest is the map- edge over other states of the federation in terms Vicente Fox as keynote speaker. Other speakers ebonyi Farmers to approach tion with you that number is ping of farmers’s organisa- of potentials and the gateway position of the are: YB Dato’ Tajuddin Bin Abdul Rahman – Malaysian Deputy Minister of Agriculture; Dr farming as a business, which expected to increase signifi- tion in four states of Niger, state to other neighbouring countries. With available land, labour and capital, the Kandeh Yumkella - former Director-General invoves having business cantly. Taraba, ebonyi and enugu. state is now creating the enabling environment UNIDO; Mr. Thomas McCallum – International for Public Private Partnership for economic Finance Corporation (IFC); Mr. Uche Orji, growth. There are several opportunities for Managing Director, Sovereign Wealth Fund investment in different sectors of the state espe- among others.

Traders’ Association To collaborate With ebonyi Farmers

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Ogun State holds 2014 Investors’ Forum

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Women in research at IITA…focus on lifting their status to fulfill their dreams in the organisation


LAFETE /48

Thumbs Up For The Songstresses,

Yinka Davis

CAREER / 43

Does Your GPA Really Matter? Here’s The Truth For College Grads

MONDAYS–FRIDAYS IN THE GUARDIAN

SUNDAY, May 18, 2014 Works Commence On Proposed Charis International University By Bisi Alabi Williams ORKS has commenced on W the proposed Charis International University in

NADESSTU Demand Probity In Bursary, Scholarship Scheme ter of the association, Comrade Ambrose Ezewani. TUDENTS of Delta State oriThe students, who had gathgin in higher institutions sit- ered in their numbers at the uated in Lagos state — University of Lagos, embarked University of Lagos (UNILAG) on the peaceful protest, marchYaba, Adeniran Ogunsanya ing from the institution’s gate College of Education to Abule Oja junction and back (AOCOED) Ijanikin and St to the campus. According to Augustine College of them, Ezewani was abducted Education Yaba — under the by some unknown men who aegis of National Association of were later identified to be men Delta State Students Union of the Nigeria Police Force at St (NADESSTU), on Thursday, Finbarrs College bus stop along protested the abduction and Unilag-Bariga Road. unlawful detention of a former president of the UNILAG chap-

Stories By Daniel Anazia

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CAREER /41

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Speaking at the protest ground, the Unilag chapter president of the association, Oriavwote Lawrence said, “Following Ezewani’s shout out for help from passers-by, he was taken to the Sabo Police Station, Yaba, Lagos, in company of a good samaritan, who offered to go with him for safety. He was detained the Sabo station for five days before he was transferred to Delta State, where he is being detained. The Guardian gathered that Ezewani, had on April 7,

mobilised students of the state extract in Lagos institutions to protest the financial scam in Delta State Bursary and Scholarship Board, which had defrauded undergraduates of the state amount totaling about N10 billion. The students accused the commissioner and the bursary board officials of generating fake names as beneficiaries of the bursary and scholarship in their schools with a software that was introduced in 2009,

while genuine students had been denied the financial benefits. According to them, the fake names, the universities later proved as non-existent through their records. The students had, after their meeting on May 8, issued a seven-point demand, which was signed by the leaders of the chapters that form the association in Lagos State, demanding among other issues the unconditionally released of the detained Ambrose Ezewani.

Tension In OAU Over New Tuition Fee, Fresh Students Lament environs to register their displeasure of the new fee regime. According to them, in the new fee regime, newly University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, admitted students of Faculty as the increase in tuition fee of Humanities/Social Sciences by the school authority has have their fees increased by threatened their academic 322 per cent; Clinical Sciences pursuits. and Pharmacy by 267 per cent, The students led by their union government officials, in while those admitted into the Sciences have their fees a peaceful protest, marched increased by 253 per cent. round the campus and its PPARENTLY, it is not the A best of times for students of the Obafemi Awolowo

While fresh students in the Humanities and Social Science are to pay N92,400 (comprising admission charges of N72,400 and N20,000 for acceptance fees), those in Clinical Sciences and Pharmacy faculties are to pay N104,000 (N84,000 as admission charges and N20,000 for acceptance fees). Pre-degree students of the university were also affected as they

will be paying N175,000, against the previous sum of N155,000.

Lagos, as proprietors of the school formally took possession of the site for the university located on Kilometer 55 Lagos-Epe express road, on Monday. Also, the school has been adopted by foreign investors as a Silicon Valley University. According to the proprietors, universities that have Silicon Valley University status are universities with high profile multi-billion dollar, ICT development centres. There are only four countries in the world with such university. They include US, China, India and Russia. Spokesperson of the foreign investors in the project, under the name, Total Quality Education, Mr. Anthony Owens, at a stakeholders meeting said that the “strategic endorsement of the proposed Charis University as a Silicon Valley University is a deliberate multi-billion dollar investment to revolutionize economic and industrial development in the African continent.” He added that Nigeria remains an investment destination in Africa with Lagos Lekki Free Trade Zone as a major catalyst for economic super highway. Chairman of the planning committee of the proposed university, Professor Duro Ajeyalemi in a statement said the university will obviously stand out and become the university of first choice in Africa, as sound and excellent scholarship will be vigorously pursued.

Every week, Life Campus Reports on events in students’ communities across the country. You can contribute by sending stories, gossips, reports on events and your pictures for Campus Faces to us at: counarconsult@gmail.com; evangelistdan@yahoo.com

CARTOON SERIES /40

BUSNESS ETIQUETTE /40

Meeting Etiquette

DR. DO-WELL


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Pepsi Ignites Creativity In Nigerian Idol Contestants

BY SEGUN DUROWAIYE

Tiwa Savage (middle) with the Nigerian Idol contestants By Daniel Anazia T was not all singing and ISeason dancing for Nigerian Idol 4 contestants, as a day out with Pepsi provided them opportunity for a variety of tasks and entertainment. Out of the usual daily rehearsals and klieg lights,onto a sunny day in Lagos with Pepsi, the official beverage of the Music TV reality show, the contestants were quite excited to take on various tasks. The Pepsi Day Out with Nigerian Idol contestants started quite early with a gym session at the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island. While still at the gym, they were surprised by a visit from Eminadocrooner and Pepsi music ambassador, Tiwa Savage, who invited them to a live radio presentation and interview at Cool FM. Tiwa would later interact with them and give them tips on how to succeed in their music careers. At a studio in Victoria Island, the Nigerian Idol contestants were given the task of writing an advertisement copy and recording a 15 seconds television commercial. It was a challenging task which stretched their imagination and brought out more creativity in them.

Highpoint of the day was the dinner at Johnny Rocket restaurant, which was a mixture of fun and suspense as the contestants waited for the announcement of the winner of the Television Commercial (TVC) challenge. Tiwa announced Anthony Akpan (Antwon) as the winner and Paul Enoma (Xolani) as the first runner-up to a thunderous applause by all who were present. Head of Marketing, Seven-Up Bottling Company, Mr. Norden Thurston presented cash prizes of N50,000to the two winners. He expressed delight at the enormous talents exhibited by the contestants. “I am quite confident that hopefully Nigeria will have another Tiwa Savage from these six contestants,” Thurston said. According to him: “While Pepsi associateswith established stars in Music like Pepsi Global ambassador Beyonce,and at home in Nigeria,Tiwa Savage, Wizkid and Lynxxx, Pepsi is involved in Nigerian Idol to create a platform for young Nigerians to voice their dreams. Hopefully spending the day with Tiwa will inspire these talented contestants to follow their dreams, and be a key step to success in the music industry.”

Business Etiquette with Rita Okoye

Rita Okoye

Meeting Etiquette

ODAy, we will be talking about meeting etiquette. Business Etiquette is recognised and valued in many organisations. Statistics reveal that companies who display good etiquette inevitably promote better productivity and gain increased profits. Business Etiquette is the act of behaving professionally and showing that you can be taken seriously. Business meetings are one area that we can exhibit good etiquette but sometimes fall short. Meetings take place quite frequently and occur as much as every week, fortnightly or once a month. Before the meeting, research and have all the material available for discussion. There is no point attending a meeting if you do not have anything to contribute. your presence will not be valued. Dele attended a meeting for job interview. He did his research about the company and communicated this at the meeting. Dele was offered the job because he did his research, stood out and got noticed immediately. Conducting proper etiquette in meetings are essentials for all companies whether small or large. The first thing to do is to confirm your attendance. There is a reason why you are being sent a meeting request and to ignore is consid-

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ered bad manners. Arriving late for a meeting is also considered poor etiquette. Often, employees walk in and out of meetings with no regards for others or for the time set for the meeting. It is best practice to arrive at least 10 minutes early for a meeting.  There should be an agenda set; otherwise the meeting will run longer than it was scheduled for. Make sure you bring a note pad and pen because you are more likely to remember what you write down. In a meeting everyone wants to get heard and some are known to have very strong opinions or dominate the conversation.  Take Ngozi for example, in every meeting she has to have her opinion and it is difficult to get a word in. But do let others have a say. Don’t interrupt others when they are speaking or answering a question. One of the worst offences at meetings are from staff who  don’t not turn off their phones or have no regard for other colleagues that are there. Some phone calls are important but if you have to answer a call then you should excuse yourself and step out of the meeting. As much as possible do try to limit the calls because a person who keeps answering or tex-

ting during a meeting, will distract others. It is very poor etiquette to do this. The best practice is to turn off all mobile phones during meetings or put on vibrate. It is very important to respect all colleagues during meetings and be mindful of those who are in senior authority. Have respect for the owner or manager of your company. It will work in your favour rather than against you. Meetings are supposed to be brief and relevant. So make sure you make your point and allow others to contribute. Do not bring unan-

nounced guests to meetings without getting approval. Finally, always thank the coordinator or chairperson for setting the meeting.  Hadiza, the group general manager was delighted when her teamed thanked her for organising a well planned annual staff meeting and send off party. A thank you goes a long way. These are tips on best practice for good etiquette for meetings and will assist you in standing out and being considered a professional in your chosen field.


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42 Sunday, May 18, 2014

JOBS & CAREERS

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JOBS & CAREERS


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JOBS & CAREERS

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National Development Strategy Series worry about what they are wearing to work before you start trying to see if they are being productive. A cousin of mine came to me one day and asked me to introduce him to a Federal Minister so he could get a Job in one of the Federal Ministries. I asked why that I could help more with the Private sector and not the Federal Government. He insisted that it was the Federal Government work that he wanted and nothing else. I was taken aback and so I became curious why was getting to work with the Federal Government so important to him I NICHOLAS OKOYE, asked. Well he replied that he wants to start a Founder EMPOWER NIGERIA Initiative, new business and the new business will require his undivided attention at least for the first five years. I said well you have it then you FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO do not need a job if you are to focus on your new business. He laughed and laughed at me. I really felt stupid that day but I summed up the courage to ask him why he was laughing at me, PILLAR TWO : had I become a comedian all of a sudden? He said no, but he was laughing at my naivety. I asked him to please put me out of my misery as the suspense was killing. So he told me that since I did not know, he will enlighten me. He O we need to look at Nigeria again in its entire- said it was common practice in Nigeria and had become somewhat of a culture, ( a NIGERty if we are serious about creating a new sysIAN SYSTEM) for every civil servant in Nigeria to tem in Nigeria. The present Nigerian System is own and operate a separate business while in too much associated with crime, corruption, inefficiency, poor maintenance, laziness, closed service. I said owning a business is not against mindedness, and lack of innovation. And that is a the law or is it? No he said but it is certainly against the law when the Civil service job fact. As we continue to advocate the Pillars that are required for National Development we must allows you to come to work at about 11am study our systems and agree that what is wrong (when you are required to start at 8am) and to and what needs fixing. How do we go about fixing a System that is deeply rooted in culture? And in some cases deeply rooted in Religion? We certainly have our work cut out for us right? Well we only need to study History and we will see that many other Nations have passed through this stage many years ago and somehow their Leaders summed up the courage to take on the institutions that gave them a corrupt and inefficient system and they were able to tear it down and build up a new system that has been largely responsible for the progress of these Nations today. So if the Judiciary and the Nigeria police are in need of reform, what are the chances that a reformed Judiciary and a reformed Police will change Nigeria? We need to go deeper and we should go to the root of the matter.

SYSTEMS, STRUCTURE AND INFRSTRUCTURE PAPER 2

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leave at 2pm (when you are required to leave at 3.45pm or 4pm). In many offices he said you do not even need to show up sometimes for months. He called one of his friends who confirmed that he got a federal civil service job two years ago, and he has only been to the office about ten times during that period. He doesn’t even have a desk at the office and all he does is to hang around aimlessly whenever he goes there so he stopped showing up. However he still gets paid every month and gets all the benefits accruing to him as a staff of the (name withheld) Federal Ministry. I was dumbfounded. So I made a few inquiries and it seems that the rush for Federal Government Jobs by recent graduates in Nigeria is largely because the jobs are well suited for people who do not intend to work hard. In the Federal Civil Service there is little or no scrutiny for work done, no key performance indicators, no measurements and no monitoring. And that is the Nigerian System, it did not start RECENTLY and so is NOT a creation of this administration, in fact it has been an unwritten secret for many many years of Nigerian history. And nobody has bothered to take on this very deep and very destructive culture or system. It has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian work force and it requires a very deep surgery with the help of shook therapy to get the Nigeria Civil service back on its feet.

The United States is by every standard the most successful Nation on earth, and in history. And its greatness can be linked directly to the vision National Systems and Organized Religion of the foundering fathers, those brave men that took on British Empire and risked their lives in My first disclaimer here is that religion and the process. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin belief in God are two different things. And what Franklin, John Adams and George Washington were men that stood tall during their time and are still celebrated today and will be celebrated for thousands of years in the United States as the founders of a new nation that has been so successful. However before we credit their achievement to their strong belief in the church and in organized Religion supported by the guiding hand of a Pastor as we do in Nigeria here are some of their quotes…….

The National System and Culture The Nigeria System is deeply rooted in Culture and in some cases can be very hard to set aside but set aside we must if we are building a Nation that will be regarded in this World. In Nigeria I have had the pleasure of visiting many Federal and State Government Offices especially the Ministries and a few things always hit me when I visit. First of all the workers seldom some to work on time, and when they do they are dressed in the most inappropriate dressing for work. Our flowing traditional gowns, red caps, and long flowing overalls that sometimes come in three pieces are not and will never be well suited for work. However these materials and these clothes are our cultural dresses and anybody that dears to challenge the wearing of the native wear in GOVERNMENT offices may be termed a saboteur. If the truth be told these native dresses are just too flowing and just too big and flamboyant for any serious work to get done by the person wearing them, they need to be redesigned and that is a fact. That is why in the private sector the dress style is completely different from the Government offices and it is not because the Government workers love Nigeria more but the Private sector are more interested in getting their work done and so they will wear more comfortable and more appropriate dress designed for maximum productivity. It is no wonder then that some of the very serious Federal Government Offices such as the Central Bank, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Bank of Industry, and the Nigerian Communications Commission and so on, you find them dressing more like the Lagos style private sector folks because they cannot afford not to get their jobs done. In the Federal government Secretariats it is a totally different story. You will be lucky if the people you seek come to work at all, than to start talking of if they come to work on time. Then to

I am talking about here is Organized Religion and not belief in GOD. My belief in GOD, I hold dearly in my heart and do not discuss this in public because of the sensitivities that go with it. Having said that, In order to discuss the negative effects Organized Religion is having on our ability to attain Peak Performance in Nation building and National Development I must first of all take us to the greatest Nation on God’s earth the United States. And Before I talk about the drive to separate Religion and State which is badly needed in Nigeria we must look at the Nations of Europe and how they were able to overcome the combination of Church and State which was the main reason many European Nations were able to move into the industrial age. It is on record that many religious beliefs in those days had condemned science, technology and all progress as the acts of Witch craft, many of the World’s greatest Scientists were burned as witches because they either challenged the thinking of the day or they were able to conduct experiments that looked like magic and hence was termed Witchcraft which surely led to their early death by burning conducted by the religious leaders of the time. The Spanish Inquisition was notorious for this.

John Adams (Founding Father and second President of the United States and co-author of the Declaration of Independence) “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation.  But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”      John Adams -letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816 Thomas Jefferson (Founding Father, third President of the United States and co-author of the Declaration of Independence and Arthur of the United States Constitution “If by religion we are to understand sectarian dogmas, in which no two of them agree, then your exclamation on that hypothesis is just, “that this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” But if the moral precepts, innate in man, and made a part of his physical constitution, as necessary for a social being, if the sublime doctrines of philanthropism and deism taught us by Jesus of Nazareth, in which all agree, constitute true religion, then, without it, this would be, as you again say, “something not fit to be named even, indeed, a hell.” — Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, May 5, 1817 “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity.  What has been the effect of coercion?  To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.  To support roguery and error all over the earth.”       “Notes on Virginia” by Thomas Jefferson More on National Systems and Religion in paper 3.

Thomas Jefferson author of Declaration of Independence, first Secretary of State of the United States and third President of the United States. He was a strong believer in the separation of the Church and State, as his writings show that he did not believe that the new Country that he and his co-founders that built :the United States, could survive let alone strive if Religion was allowed to be used to choose or guide the Leaders. In their vision they created a secular State, he also created the University of Virginia the United States’ first secular University.


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GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURAL LEADER

Guide to Personal Development

Steve Jobs:

By Nicholas Okoye

nokoye@empowernigeria.com N the Guide to personal Development we have outlined three levels in which every young person must be able to improve. That is for your personal development to be complete and for you to achieve success and happiness you must somehow cover these three levels.

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Personal Mind Set. You must have made up your mind that you will succeed and that you must succeed. You must therefore develop a positive attitude towards your life even if it is over bearing and there is no hope insight. When adversity hits find a way a laugh about it. We always say “ONE DAY WE WILL ALL BE LAUGHING ABOUT THIS PROBLEM: right and in all cases once time passes we do laugh about it, a problem we had once thought would consume us all. So here is an idea why don’t we laugh about the problem now, and see how much better yon will feel. Don’t way for a few months or a few years laugh now and you would have succeeded in developing a positive mental attitude.

Apple

TEVE Jobs showed an early interest in electronSHewlett-Packard ics and gadgets. While in high school, he called co-founder and President

million. By 1980 Apple faced stiff competition and the sales of the Apple III were less than impressive. William Hewlett to ask for parts for a school proj- In 1984 Jobs introduced the Apple Macintosh, ect. Impressed by Jobs, Hewlett not only gave the first personal computer to feature a graphihim parts but also offered him a summer intern- cal user interface controlled by a mouse. It was ship. It was there Jobs met Steve Wozniak, a a breakthrough and was easy to use, but there young engineer. was no market for it. Jobs envisioned it to be a After graduating high, Jobs enrolled in Reed home computer but at $2,495 it was too expenCollege and took a part time job designing video sive and as a business computer it had little games for Atari before travelling to India to study memory, no networking capability and no Eastern culture and Religion. When Jobs hard drive. The machine had no feature corporeturned to the US he met with Wozniak who rate America wanted. had been trying to build a small computer. To Steve Jobs clashed with the board of directors, Wozniak it was a hobby but Jobs saw it as a great and in 1983 was ousted from the board by CEO business idea and convinced Wozniak to go into John Sculley, who Jobs handpicked to help run business with him. In 1975 Jobs and Wozniak set Apple. He sold his shares and resigned in 1985. up shop in Jobs’ parents’ garage and named the Using a portion of his money from stocks sale, venture “Apple” .Steve Jobs sold his Volkswagen Steve Jobs launched NeXT computer with a goal microbus and Steve sold his Hewlett Packard cal- of building a breakthrough computer. In 1988 culator. NeXT computer launched. It boasted of a host Although they mostly sold to hobbyists it gener- of innovations notably faster processing speed, ated enough cash to enable Jobs and Wozniak exceptional graphics and optical disk drive. But improve and refine their design. In 1977 they priced at $9,950 it was too pricey to attract introduced the Apple II the first personal comenough sales to keep the company afloat. An puter with color graphics and a keyboard undeterred Steve Jobs switched his focus from designed for beginners the user friendly Apple II hardware to software and began paying more was a tremendous success ushering in the era of attention to his business Pixar animation stuthe personal computer. First year sales were $3 dios. million two years later sales ballooned to $200

He cut a three picture deal with Disney and set out to create the first animated movie. In November 1995 he released “Toy Story” and it struck gold. Led by the success Jobs took Pixar public in 1996 and by the end of the first day of trading his 80% share of the company was worth $1 billion an amazing feat after 10 years of struggling. At the end of March 1997 Apple announced a loss of $708 million. Apple bought NeXT for $400 million and reappointed Jobs to the Apple board as first an advisor to Apple chairman and subsequently Interim CEO after the CEO quit. Jobs developed the iMac a newline of affordable home desktops released in 1998. Apple quickly transformed to profitability and by the end of 1998 boasted of $5.9 billion in sales. Over the next decade the company rolled out a series of revolutionary products including the iPod in 2001, an online market place Apple iTunes store in 2003, the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010. Apple has sold more than 300 million iPods, over 100 million iPhones, more than 15 million iPad and over a billion songs from its iTunes store. Steve Jobs died as one of the most influential people in technology of all time. At the time of his death Apple was listed as one of the most valuable companies in the World.

Activity. What you do, what you say, who you say it to and where you go, are all a part and parcel of your success plan. You must act in order to succeed. You must choose your business or your profession and you must dedicate all your energy towards its success and possible global domination. Your choosing a business idea from the EMPOWER NIGERIA line up, your action to raise the money you need from friends and family first and then subsequently from one of the EMPOWER NIGERIA partners if your friends and family are not forthcoming. Activity is key. Nothing happens without ACTION. The fact that you have eaten this morning is because either you or someone else has taken the time and the effort to prepare the meal. The meal did not prepare itself. So if you really want to be a successful man or woman loo deeper at this level of activity. Environment. And yes we are talking about the Nigerian environment. So it is very important that our Leaders create an environment that is business friendly. We are working on this and in some cases they are listening. Some States are getting it more than others. And some Ministers on the Federal level are getting it more than others. I understand Nigeria has slipped again on the Global “Doing Business in” Index prepared by the World Bank. This is unacceptable. We should now examine ourselves deeply and find out why we are slipping like this. If it is a matter of personnel then we need to et the right personnel into Government to make the changes that are required. We are all in this struggle together and that is what our civil servants and politician need to understand. So the more we make it difficult for business to operate the more peace will elude us and we will not reach our goals. Join the EMPOWER NIGERIA initiative and let’s change Nigeria together


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Sunday, May 18, 2014 47

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Junior Guardian PUZZLE

Parents Urged To Help Wards Develop Skills HE Proprietress of Aquinas Private T School, Lagos Mrs. Martina Aquan has said that children should be encouraged by their parents early in life to develop talents, which will guide them in choosing the right career paths. She made this appeal during an Easter fiesta organised by the school recently. She said the purpose of the event is to aid the children perform better in their studies, as all work and no play makes Jack a dull student. Aquan said that parents should guide their children after the school hours in their school assignments, which will make them part and parcel of their children’s educational growth. According to her, some parents depend solely on the teachers and make no time to follow up with what their children do in school. “Parents should bring up their children in the fear of the Lord. Aquinas Private School is a place to learn and achieve that dream of becoming successful in life”, she said. The occasion was well attended by students and parents of the school. The children rendered songs and choreography to spice up the event.

—Shalewa Olunlade

The only way to succeed in life is by keeping bad friends and bad influences far from you Believe in yourself and let your beauty, talent and intelligence show A student, who sleeps during lessons, tends to grow fatter in size and thinner in academics One, who does not fear failure is preparing for success

POEM Highway To Success

The best cure for abnormal health is eating good food Preparing for average will only end you in A proud man will be humbled and the below average humble man exalted There is dignity in labour Smokers are liable to die young Love is the only thing that can bring someone A child that eats extra large carbohydrate so much happiness and also the only thing tends to have a disease called Beriberi that can bring someone so much sadness Everything in this life has a beginning and an By Sylvia Ijeoma, Author, The Golden Young ending

WORD POWER GAME Frustration a) prevention b) hindrance c) blocking d) defeat Alibi a) explanation b) excuse c) defence d) reason Keen a) intense b) strong c) acute d) deep Volatile a) unstable b) explosive c) impulsive d) unpredictable Weird a) strange b) odd c) peculiar d) unusual Kaput a) broken b) wrecked c) ended d) useless Sashay a) glide b) sway c) frolic d) prance Riotous a) violent b) unruly c) uncontrolled d) lawless Pierce a) stab b) cut c) slice d) prick Yelp a) yap b) bark c) cry d) squeal

HIP HOP My Feelings About Hip Hop HAT is hip-hop and what W is rap? These are two varieties of music sensation. I love these two genres, especially hip-hop. I love hip-hop and pop sensation such as Slim, Shady, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg and P-Square among others. These are big hits in the music industry. I feel that hip-hop and rap are soaring to a high level and even now I hope to be a hip-hop starlet. I want to be the next big thing happening around the world. I have a feeling that Nigeria

also has upcoming hip-hop and rap stars. In fact, we have many rap stars such as Ruggedy Baba, Mode Nine, Bouqui, Lord of Ajasa and Sasha. Hip-hop wonders are also happening with D’Banj, PSquare, Jazzman Olofin, Mr. Skillz and Black Tribe among others. All these are big names around the world. We are having a lot of improvement in the music industry and I’m proud to be a starlet. By Chidum Daniel Aroh Festac Town

Eko Junior College Holds Maiden Founders' Day

Students and management of Eko Junior College, Orile-Agege at the Founder’s Day ceremony and the launching of their school Magazine, EJCO.

HE memory of the early T beginning of Eko Junior College, Orile-Agege, Lagos State, was recapped with fun, jubilation and gratitude, last Thursday, as the school rolled out its drums to celebrate its first Founders’ Day. The event was marked in a grand style, as the student’s entertained guests with cultural dance, drama; quiz competition and interschool debate among oth-

ers. Founded in May 2013, after it was carved out of Orile Agege Community Junior High School, the school has not only weathered all storms and also stood the test of time, but has been able to live up to its billing, as a citadel of academic excellence.   Within the time of its establishment, the college has emerged as pacesetters. Aside the normal classroom

work, the school also engages in co-curricular activities, which led to the establishment of clubs and societies. In his speech, the Principal of the school, Mr. V.O Sodeke, who disclosed that it has co-existed with the sister school in the last one year in harmony, said within the period, it endeavoured to make the school a citadel of learning, where the students could compete

successfully with older schools. He said that within its short period of existence, the college had been noticed in some academic areas, adding that in competition, it has ventured into the provision of some items to improve teaching and learning. He thanked all the teachers for their willingness to contribute their quota positively to the level of

development the school has attained. In her vote of thanks, Vice Principal (Administration), Mrs. Doris Ovwurie, who also doubled as the chairman of the organising committee, attributed the success of the school to God’s benevolence, commitment of teachers and support from parents. She appealed for support from government and wellmeaning individuals, in all

the areas the school is lacking such as the establishment of a standard library, science laboratory and renovation of classrooms among others to make the school, what it ought to be.   The peak of the event was the launching of the school magazine and award of prizes to teachers and outstanding students. COMPILED BY KIKELOLA OYEBOLA


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LAFETE BY BENSON IDONIJE benidoni@yahoo.com

All That Jazz

Thumbs Up For The Songstresses, Yinka Davis

critics have tried in the past to StheOME put down female jazz singers on premise that they sound alike. This assessment is far from the truth, considering the fact that female voices tend to experience the same tonality when passed through the electronic device of the microphone. What to look out for is not the technical quality of the voice, but the style and individual approach; the technique and innovation introduced to a song. Female jazz singing used to be a very vibrant and creatively enterprising area of jazz from the early days of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Gertrude Ma Rainey, Mahalia Jackson to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. These pioneering giants of jazz are still being celebrated for their incredible styles and approaches to the art form. They have influenced whole generations of singers whose roots are immediately traceable to them as

major sources of inspiration. For example, Bessie Smith was one of those who pioneered it all in the 1920s. Her great achievement as an individualist was the transformation of the classic blues form, it’s conscious, dramatic effect and theatrical device. The prevailing country blues of Jefferson who came before her was lean and somewhat empty. As Bessie sang, so she lived her life. There was nothing held back. Incidentally, the singer who, to my mind, took to Bessie more than any other in the jazz world happens to have come from Nigeria – in Rivers State born Maud Meyer. She was very much in top form in the fifties and sixties, carrying out stints with local jazz groups that included the famous Fela AnikulapoKuti Quintet, which thrived from 1963 to early 1965. Other adherents from Nigeria include the late Fran Kuboye whose style was an admixture of the influences of Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. But perhaps the most powerful female singer on the Nigerian scene today is Yinka Davies whose

eclectic approach defies categorization as she combines the influences of almost all the pioneering female masters with a home-grown individuality that has stood her out uniquely on the same platform as Cassandra Wilson. Yinka Davies is known for her adventurous improvisational feat and dramatic swoops, a trait she has in common with some of the notable pioneers. Still going down memory lane, while the classic blues reached its consummation in the art of Bessie Smith, achieving in her singing a most highly conscious and dramatic form, Billie Holiday, a girl who grew up in the 1930s, took the cosmopolitan popular songs of her time and moulded them into significance. For Bessie Smith, the poetry was already in her songs but Billy Holiday had to create it. And she did so by the slant of her voice, the curve of her phrasing. Her method was to reduce the melody of a song to its basic elements, then to reconstruct it, moulding the line to suit her interpretation of the lyric. It was significant that Billie Holiday’s favourite accompanist was saxophonist Lester Young whose manner of playing had something in common with her singing. Both artists were fond of lagging a little behind the beat; both

Dialogue of Forms At Reconnect Gallery HE Reconnect Art Gallery is set to T host Dialogue of Forms, a show that features both young artists and accomplished artists such as Kunle Adeyemi, Olojo Kosoko, Tunde Oguntuyo, Biodun Okemakinde, Dayo Adeyemi, Bashir Kalejaye, Olusegun Oduyele. The show opens on May 24 and ends on June 23. The artists will be showin different genres of artistic creativity, media and styles. Reconnect Art Gallery, which is situated on Carter Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos. According to the proprietess of the gallery, the facility is pleased to be associated with this crop of young artists some of whom were in “dire need of a platform to launch their creative potentials and step out in style to an art world that is already saturated with the the best. We do hope that this opportunity will create a big and desired impact in the art career and professional life of these artists.” She continues, “since Nigerian art institutions produce artists every year, there is need to create more of these kinds of opportunity for budding graduate artists in the country.” For Madu, “in an attempt to sustain the practice potentials of such artists, Reconnect Art Gallery also provide studio space where the artists can carry

Reconnect proprietress, Mrs Madu out their artistic creativities.” She noted that this is germane opportunity to letpeople know other things that the gallery is committed to doing for the artists and the art community. They include but not limited to the following: • Reposition visual art through promotion and creating new directions towards its better development; • organise programmes that encourage skill acquisition among students of secondary and other special institutions. • organise art competitions to develop potential art talents in the society • carrry out outdoor exhibitions; and • execute special projects and commissions.

thought the words over reasonably well before they undertook performance. And because her approach was dynamic and derivative, when her inspiration failed, she had to fall back on mannerisms. Ella came along in the late thirties with an exuberant, optimistic voice that moved through a song rather as a jazz musician might do, sometimes lingering over the melodic line and at other moments indulging in dramatic swoops and dives. Ella succeeded in making the best of two worlds, the world of popular songs and the world of jazz. As a jazz singer, she shared the same accomplishment with Louis Armstrong in terms of scat-singing. Also making her impact in the late 1930s, Mahalia Jackson was regarded as the greatest Gospel singer as well as the finest Negro singer of that period. Her broad, soaring voice on the numerous albums she left behind, embraces all the religious fervour of the American Negro and her steadfast refusal to perform sinful songs at the time, served to increase her following which grew daily - while she lived. The control which she exercised in all registers enabled her to create a completely mobile sound, full of dynamic ornamentation and perfectly gauged nuancing of notes. The words were of considerable importance and she carried them deliberately across to communicate meaning. She sang with a passion which bore down on the words till all sentimentality varnished. And, her phrases, gradually becoming more elaborate during her performance of a song, had the rhythmic impact of a great New Orleans trumpet, as she generated a swinging beat, as propulsive as the best of jazz. She modified her singing over the years, combining incredible vigour with majesty, beauty and supreme passion all of which are ingrained into her numerous albums.

Another pioneering female singer worth remembering is Sarah Vaughan. Even when she was performing in the company of such fiery modernists a Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, back in the 1940s, she maintained a certain detachment in her singing. It made the listener much more conscious of the melodic line she was creating, of the daring intervals and implied harmonies, than of the song as an entity in itself. This impassive approach was the exact opposite of what Billy Holiday accomplished with similar material. Later on, some of Sarah Vaughan’s innovations hardened into mannerisms used sometimes largely to emphasize the superb range of her voice. The styles and approaches which these pioneers demonstrated in the beginning are so diverse, personal and inspiring that subsequent generations of female singers have imbibed the spirit and attitude: Billie Holiday was an intuitive performer, guided by the logic of emotion and in that laid the hazards of her art. Ella Fitzgerald could nearly always be sure of giving concrete significance to her delivery, generating wide appeal and reaching out to pop and jazz fans alike. If Bessie Smith developed the classic blues form to its utmost extent, then it was Ma Rainey who paved the way. Her relation to the classic blues was exactly the same as Jefferson’s to the country blues, for Rainey it was who gave her blues a formal definition. When she sang, it was with deep and sombre majesty with such low down feeling. Joe Smith and Louis Armstrong were some of her accompanists. All these great musicians who pioneered female jazz singing have various reissues of their works in the market which can inspire today’s generation of female musicians, regardless of the musical genre. That is if they care to listen.


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Birthdays ONOSODE, Gamaliel Offorritsenere, politician, technocrat, administrator and former presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party of Nigeria (ANPP) will be 81 on Thursday, May 22, 2014. Born in Sapele, Delta State on May 22, 1933, he attended Baptist School, Oginibo, Delta State between 1940 and 1946, and Government College, Ughelli between 1947 and 1952. He graduated with a B.A (Hons) in Classics in 1957 from University College (now University of Ibadan), between 1957 and 1960. He worked with the Commonwealth Development Corporation as a Management trainee; he emerged in the1970s, as one of the Nigeria’s leading educated chief executive, when he was

Onosode

Atilade

Badejo

at the helm of NAL Merchant Bank of Nigeria. Over the years, he has risen to become a leading boardroom player in Nigeria’s corporate environment. He was also a former presidential adviser to President Shagari and a former president of the Niger-

ian Institute of Management. Throughout his career, he has chaired several private and public sector businesses and initiatives. He was the Chairman of Dunlop Plc, 1984-07, a former chairman of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, 197793, the Presidential Commis-

sion on Parastatals, 1981, Nigeria LNG Working Committee and Nigeria LNG Limited, 1985-90 and the NigerDelta Environmental Survey (since 1995). He is also the Chairman of Zain Nigeria (now Airtel), a GSM telecommunications company.

National Leader of All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (centre) with Catholic Bishop of Ijebu Diocesan, Bishop Ayinde Fasina and Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Otunba Yomi Ogunnusi, as the cleric blesses Tinubu during the 80th birthday ceremony of Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona in Ijebu Ode.

ATILADE, Archbishop Magnus Adeyemi, a renowned cleric and professor of medicine, is 70 today. He was born on May 18, 1944 to Archbishop Emmanuel and Mother in Israel, Deaconess Christiana Atilade. To mark the event, a thanksgiving service of praise and adoration will hold today at Dr. Akinola Maja Memorial Gospel Baptist Cathedral, opposite Awolowo Market, Agege Motor Road, Mushin by 12noon. His Most Eminence Archbishop Sunday Ola Makinde JP, is expected to deliver sermon at the service, while reception follows at the Newstate High School, Palm Avenue, Olorunsogo, Mushin, Lagos. Atilade is the Chairman, South-west chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), National President of Christian Welfare Initiative (CWI), Archbishop and President, Gospel Baptist Conference of Nigeria and Overseas; Chairman Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) South-west chapter, and Proprietor, New State High School, Mushin, Lagos. BADEJO, Rev. Dr. Wilson Adebogun, immediate past Gen-

eral Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church of Nigeria will be 67 tomorrow, May 19, 2014. He was born on May 19,1947 at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State to Prince William Adele and Mrs Ebun Badejo. He had his Higher School Certificate in 1967 from Government College, Ibadan, Oyo State. He graduated in 1973 with Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Degree from University of Ibadan and thus belonged to the first set of graduates that served in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He worked at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Ibru Organisation and rose to the position of Deputy General Manager before retir-

ing into full time ministry. He became the General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria in 1999 and continued in that capacity till 2009. He was appointed by the Global Pastors Network under the Chairmanship of Dr. John C. Maxwell, as one of the 100 leading church planters charged with the responsibility of executing “The Bill Bright Initiative: Five Million New Churches for a Billion Soul Harvest”. He is the Founder of Wilson Badejo Foundation (WBF), focusing on the less privileged. He is married to Yinka and blessed with children.

MD, The Infrastructure Bank, Adekunle Oyinloye being assisted in cutting his 50th birthday cake by his wife, Foluke in Lekki, Lagos.

Event The holy matrimony between Gbenga Akinfenwa of The Guardian Newspapers, and Miss Moyosore Olawoye comes up Saturday, May 24, 2014 at Cherubim & Seraphim Church, Igbala, Sango, Ogun State by 10am. Engagement & reception follow immediately at Funmec School Hall, beside NNPC, Sango.

Bishop (Dr) Ben Odekunle, General Secretary, Gospel Baptist Conference of Nigeria and Overseas (left), Rev. (Dr) El-Meraim Akinwande and Archbishop Magnus Adeyemi Atilade, South-west Chairman of CAN, during a special prayer organised by the Southwest Christians Association of Nigeria to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’, held in Lagos... on Friday.

Head, Sales, Marketing and Strategy, Gerald Oputa (left); National Sales Manager, Folorunsho Alaran; Regulatory Affairs Manager, Mrs. Chinelo Umeh; MAXWELL, the Wellocrat; GMD/CEO, EMZOR Pharmaceutical Ltd, Dr. Stella Okoli; ED, General Duties/ Finance, Mrs. Uzoma Ezeoke; MD, USP Brand Management, Muyiwa Kayode during the unveiling of Emzor MAXWELL, the Wellocrat recently in Lagos.

Safety Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation (SAEF) Executive Director, Engr. Jamiu Badmos; Managing Director Loks consultancy services Mr. Kofi Sagoe; CEO Vertext Media Dr. Francis Oluwagbemi; CEO Harpy Eagle Nig. Mr. Wole Akinseloyin and National Coordinator SAEF, Kadiri Shamusideen at the Safety platform organized by SAEF on May day.

The former Accountant General of Lagos State Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode(right), signing Membership Register of Epe Club after his induction as a member of the Club at the Club Premises in Epe over the weekend. With him is the Assistant General Secretary of Epe Club, Mr. Faisu Adebayo Edu.

Ebele Okoye, Director, Women’s Board (left), Ms. Rosario Monfort, Dr. Chris Ogbechie, Pan Atlantic University, Mrs. Titilola Ajayi, Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE), and Ms. Osehmen Akhibi, Shell Nigeria, during a Seminar in ComPHOTO: PAUL ADUNWOKE memoration of 20th Anniversary of the International Year of Family held in Ikoyi, Lagos.


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion In Honour Of #BringBackOurGirls NCE upon a time, a new country came to be. It was called Internet. It had many states and many peoples and many kinds. On Internet, you could live in different states. The state of Facebook, for instance. Or Email. Or Twitter. You could even choose to be a citizen of any or all of them at the very same time. You could be in the state of Happiness, or of Unhappiness. On Internet, you could do as you pleased. You could hold many passports and cause one problem to many. Or you could hold one passport, and cause many problems to one person. The country of Internet had an avalanche of opportunities and prospects, and everyone began to acquire real estate. Some people kept their feet on the ground, some chose to travel upside down. The country was free and exciting. The young took their places alongside the older. The sick took their places alongside the healthy. The women shopped alongside the girls; the grandparents photoshopped with the best of the boys. That made for a lot of citizens who were happy and hopeful for the first time in their lives. Happy for hope. Hoping for happiness. One evening, in one state, Wendell Simlin bellied up to the bar. “Sir, he said to Oga at the top, “Sir!” “Yes, Wendell, what is it?” Oga asked, evidently in high spirits. “May I speak freely sir?” It was very late, but there were still several others at the wellappointed bar. “Yes, speak, Wendell? Are you alright? You do not seem to be drinking anything. This bar is not going to empty itself you know?” Wendell smiled. “Thank you sir. I am just pacing myself.” Oga thought about that. “You are at home, you know,” he replied. “Pace has no meaning when both road and car belong to the driver. This is your home, your road, your car. You don’t need to pace yourself.” “Thank you, sir. I just want to be sure I am always able to give you my best. I am grateful

O

for all you have done for me.” “Don’t worry, we have not even started. What did you want to say?” “Thank you. Sir, have you heard of the country of Internet?” Oga belched into Wendell’s face as he lifted a cup of beverage. “That I have,” he said. “Internet. You know that is why I brought you here. I have been told it is at the edge of the cut.” “Cutting edge, sir!” “What?” “Cutting edge. But it does not matter. I just wanted to let you know that you are sitting on a gold mine!” Oga jumped out of his seat. “Gold mine? Here? Under this chair? In this palace?” Simlin laughed. “No, not here sir. Internet. An exciting land full of students, housewives, the unemployed, everybody. We can really take advantage of it sir. With one keystroke we can have all of them eating out of your hands!” “Really? How?” And Wendell Wendell talked. Oga at the top listened, nodding. He nodded off. And so it was that Wendell, empowered, travelled widely in Internet extending Oga’s reach and his message, using all kinds of messengers who carried different passports. Oga followed in all the territories, establishing a major outpost in the state of Facebook. There, he spoke every day. He travelled to the state of Unhappiness and showed them his feet, clasped in glittering snakeskin designer shoes. “Remember I once walked barefoot,” he told voters in the city of Poverty, “because we were very poor. Look at me now!” In the villages and towns of Promise-and-Fail, he told them to fear no more because he had untold riches planned for them. He would give them electricity and jobs. He would build universities and airports and hospitals and roads and farms. Their wives would never walk naked, and their children would never lack honey.

Wherever he spoke, the people applauded widely, and Oga would turn around and find Wendell with a knowing wink and a grin. Some of the people were wary, however. They told Oga they hated the company he represented, but that they would support him personally. And so it was that Oga received the endorsement of all the states. The state of Facebook. The state of Happiness. The city of Expectation. The towns and hamlets of Doubt. The villages of Disappointment and Poverty. “That caught out edge really worked!” Oga told Wendell. “You were right!” “Thank you, sir. The country of Internet is a marvelous creation. We don’t even have to rely on the press or the Ministry any more. You don’t need the journalists. With Internet, you can say whatever you want whenever you want it, and nobody can tell the difference!” “Yes. It is a canoe we will ride as long as we like and we can fish for as long as we want. And it is your house, Wendell. Eat what you like. Drink what you like. By the way, why are you alone again today? Na only you waka come? Have fun!” And so it was that the exciting canoe ride began. They travelled whenever and wherever they went. Riches. Power. Life was wonderful. The only thing that remained was to prepare for another round. Incredibly, the country of Internet also expanded, but nobody seemed to notice. Citizens of the states of Happiness and Disappointment, like those of Facebook and other places, began to raise their voices in anger. There were riots and mutinies and fights. “What about our rights?” they were asking. “What about the promises made to us? Why are we so unsafe? Why are strangers killing our families and taking our livestock? Why are there so many thieves and liars walking unchallenged?” But nobody seemed to hear them. There

sonala.olumhense@gmail.com Twitter: @Sonala.Olumhense

was just so much to do that nobody saw the roof as it unraveled, despite all the reports in Internet. As so it was that, in the end, the country of Internet revealed itself as being everywhere and everything, of being without boundaries and being able to see into the bedrooms of Emperors and the hearts of Kings. For the first time, the country of Internet was revealed to be the heart of every man and woman everywhere, and Oga and his people could hear, through the tongues of strangers in lands known and unknown, his own people’s anguish for service and responsibility. In just two weeks, the horror of a government being unconcerned about using its vast resources to rescue and return hundreds of kidnapped children exposed Oga before the world as naked and weak and confused. Wendell, unmasked as a manipulator and liar in the earlier days of the unraveling, had failed to tell Oga that country Internet gives, but may not forgive, and never forgets. And now, country Internet roars on beyond all boundaries and beyond Oga’s control, in the effort to find the abducted children, with the unmistakable message that unless they returned home safely, there will be hell to pay, by the few, to the many.

General Diya: Brother, Learned Friend At 70 By Olu Onagoruwa ENERAL Oladipupo Diya and I met over 40 years ago, in the early 1970’s on a local Nigerian flight. Our plane encountered severe turbulence, a turbulence so bad that one entertained the thought of death. All through the turbulence, I was struck by how calm the man seated next to me was. After the turbulence had subsided, as we expressed gratitude to God for our safety, we both formerly introduced ourselves and as fate would have it, we discovered we were both from the same town, Odogbolu, Ogun State. This marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship. To date, General Diya continues to earn my respect and admiration because of his level headedness, intellect, discipline and leadership qualities. General Diya was born in Odogbolu, Ogun State on the 3rd of April 1944. He started his enviable military career several years ago and rose to the pinnacle with hard work and discipline. He fought in the Nigerian Civil War as a 2nd Lieutenant and was a platoon commander in the liberation of Bonny and the commander of the 6th Battalion till the end of the war in 1970. In 1979 he was commanding officer within the Nigerian Contingent to the United Nations peace keeping Operations in Lebanon UNIFIL). He was appointed military Governor of Ogun State in January 1984. From 1991-1993 he was Chief of Defence Staff and thereafter Chief of General Staff (Vice Head of State) and Vice Chairman Provisional Ruling Council. During his extensive career in the Nigerian Army, General Diya enrolled and studied Law at the Ahmadu Bello University where he obtained an LLB degree and proceeded to the Nigeria Law School after which he was admitted to the Nigerian Bar, as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. In 1993, at the early stage of the Abacha government, General Diya and other senior military officers constituted a panel, which nominated me for the position of Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. An offer I accepted after a telephone conversation with the late Chief M.K.O Abiola to the effect that I accept the offer and influence a Constitutional Conference for the furtherance of democracy. These distinguished officers also constituted the panel that screened and interviewed myself and other distinguished individuals for the subsequent position of cabinet Ministers. Some of these individuals include Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Dr Alex Ibru, Chief Ebenezer Bababtope, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Chief Solomon Lar, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and others. Unfortunately some conservative politicians where not happy and were prepared to sub-

G

vert the government at all cost. In that government, General Diya led and worked with notable military officers such as General Major-Chris Alli, Rearadmiral Allison Maduekwe, Air Vice-Marsha Femi John Femi, with the progressive aim to avert disintegration of the Country as well as address other political issues threatening Nigeria’s stability, before restoring democracy. Unfortunately, some conservative political elements who desired to control the reins of power uninterruptedly, never liked the ideology of the Constitutional Conference. Within two months of the formation of the Abacha government, these elements made plans to subvert efforts to implement the Constitutional Conference, create disunity between late President Abacha and General Diya and other June 12 progressive elements within the Government. Meanwhile, a further unfortunate development had begun in the Southwest. General Diya had been accused by some Yoruba leaders of creating an alternative Yoruba leadership to humiliate them. They joined NADECO, a group formed by some Igbo elements; the first thing they did as members was to give government ultimatum to quit office or else it would be dealt with. These unwarranted threats gave Abacha reasons to deviate from initial agreed conditions and purpose of the Abacha government, which was to create stability and pave way for democratic rule, and further gave the Northern elements reasons to display open hostility towards the progressive elements within Government. It remains a great privilege to have worked with General Diya in government. My respect for General Diya and his impeccable record of discipline and integrity had further encouraged me to join him under the Abacha government. During the time when the political elements and NADECO had created disunity within the Provisional Ruling Council, and sowed seeds of suspicion in Abacha’s mind, draconian decrees were issued without my knowledge and approval as the then AG of the Federation. On becoming aware, I released a press conference to disown these decrees. This was tantamount to my resignation, as Abacha had offered another portfolio when I internally tendered my resignation, but I rejected the offer, insisting the decrees be revoked. While I was away on government assignment at The Hague, after declaring himself president, the late chief M.K.O Abiola was arrested and put on trial for treason (felony). He was arraigned before Justice Abdullai Mustapha. General Diya, myself and others took many steps, to secure a release for Chief

Abiola. When Abiola’s bail was finally granted, the I.G. ordered his boys to hide him. It was General Diya who ordered the commissioner to produce Abiola or lose his freedom; Abiola was produced. Abiola would have been alive today if he had accepted his bail. By the end of 1997, the relationship between Abacha and Diya had deteriorated and Abacha loyalists and mercenaries earmarked General Diya the most senior Yoruba Military Officer for termination. General Diya had become a victim of the element of disintegration and power imbalance problems he had set out to address under the Abacha government. Attempts were made on his life. After these attempts failed, the next step was to frame him alongside others they wanted to execute, for a coup plot. I recall phoning General Diya to thank him for his get well wishes and prayers, on returning to Nigeria after a six month medical treatment in England in December 1997. Quite unlike our usual long and relaxed manner of conversation, General Diya somewhat ended our short conversation. It was days later when he was arrested for a foiled coup plot, that I realized, he had suspicions of uncertain plans against him, by some forces and did not want me to be implicated in anyway, in whatever the evil plan may be. In fact, I was to be arrested along with him and others until someone revealed to them that Onagoruwa had just returned from a six-month medical trip abroad and that it would look ridiculous arresting a man who just suffered a stroke. This is the General Diya I have always known, even in trying times, his discipline, integrity, and willingness to defend and uphold truth, with a genuine concern for others, surpasses. General Diya, like the biblical Daniel, you survived the lion’s den when you narrowly escaped death sentence by firing squad based on the accusation of a phantom coup plot. As you celebrate your 70th birthday today, I join other well-meaning Nigerians to wish you, a former Deputy Head of State of Nigeria and Asiwaju of Odogbolu a very happy birthday, good health and a long life. You remain a source of pride, and I pray God grants you many more blessed years on earth to lead and contribute to the growth and development of our nation Nigeria. Once again, happy 70 cheers to my learned colleague and brother, a visionary leader of outstanding qualities, a distinguished officer and gentleman on his 70th birthday. Dr. Onagoruwa LLM, PhD, OFR is Former Minister of Justice & Attorney General of Nigeria & Member, Provisional Ruling Council Of Nigeria 1993-1994


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Opinion Trouble Reports Naijiria To The World I INTEND to report (as in going to the headmaster’s office to file a complaint against a teacher who is doing never mind what to one of the students under his guidance) the giant of Africa to Africa and the world. Someone, somewhere in Africa, in the world, should care that there is a country in Africa previously known as Nigeria (often pronounced as if it began with the ‘n’ word) now called Naijiria, where weak leadership, incompetent government and corruption has polarised society into ethnic and religious blocks. Ordinary people find themselves at odds with the political class, (former presidents, reigning president, former governors and reigning governors, military officers who own half the country), and wonder when independence would end. If the struggle for freedom delivered democracy as the instrument of freedom, God has not revealed to the political leadership of Naijiria how to use democracy to gain freedom from fear, from hunger, from superstition and greed. Ken Saro Wiwa – writer, intellectual, entrepreneur and environmental activist – was the first to report Nigeria to the world. He insisted that he would find listeners out there who would agree with him that the way that the Nigerian government and the Shell oil company were treating the people of Ogoni land was not right. There were people who told Kenule to please flog Nigeria within its borders and not strip it naked unto the world. But Ken said that only world-wide exposure can cure Nigeria because it is a place where crooks and hooli-

gans no longer had shame. Ken was granted audience and the Ogoni issue became as viral as it was possible at that time for an issue to be. Ken Saro Wiwa received accolades around the world and a horrendous hanging at home. Where Ken used words, others used guns and look where we are today. But can Africa do anything to curb chaos and confusion in any other African country? Look left and right, look front look back, what is it that is happening in Naijiria that is not happening in the rest of Africa? In Egypt, one military president is ousted to install another one by way of democratic elections. In South Africa, mutual corruption (where both the corrupted and the corrupter mutually benefit) is said to interest only the clever Africans, ordinary people are happy to have the president of the country corruptly benefit from tax payers’ hardearned money. What is this sum of forty million dollars compared with what Sani Abacha looted from the Nigerian treasury? Anyway, the chairperson of the African Union confirmed what her ex-husband said that only clever South Africans – educated blacks – care about the so-called effects of mutual corruption. In Naijiria extortionate corruption is the evil that is destroying the fabrics of the society. In this case it is illegal tax that people in authority impose on ordinary people for one service or another. These forms of corruption live side by side and weave one into the other and the com-

munity is destroyed and society is wrecked. O yes, the world would listen to you complaining about your country’s failures and they can use your matter to pick their teeth at their dinners and cocktails. What did you expect? Didn’t one of their newspapers suggest the other time that it was time to recolonise Africa? Why would you go and spread your foolery for their inspection in their seating rooms? But you say they are already being regaled by your president telling the world that he does not know where the over two hundred girls kidnapped from Chibok are, but he would bring them home!!! And as if to smack him on his lips for that statement Boko Haram went to another village in the area and kidnapped another eight girls from a school. The question is will the attention of the world on Naijiria make the government act? Can one government outside force the leadership of another country to obey the laws that they make? How does the world persuade one country to behave properly to its citizens? What international infrastructure exists to help abused citizens of a country to square up to their feeble political leaders? Apartheid South Africa was finally forced to give up their absurd racist policies and behave, at least in public, like human

beings. But is the corruption of the political class in Naijiria equal to the racist laws of apartheid South Africa? The analogy of the student going to lay a complaint against a teacher in the office of the headmaster is unfortunate, Mr. Trouble. Alaba smiled a knowing smile and continued. That student went into the headmaster’s office to complain that a teacher was harassing him wherever and whenever he saw him. Asked to be more specific the student said that the headmaster should understand. Afterall he had been a student before and he knows how these teachers are, always finding any and every means to harass students. Sometimes it could be that the teacher is jealous of the student, envies the student his age, his beauty, things like that? Alarmed, the headmaster calms the student down, calls four hefty boys and gives him six of the best lashes he’d ever had in his life. The headmaster then calls the teacher. When the teacher comes, the student is asked to apologise to him for spoiling his name in front of the headmaster. The student refused. He waited outside the headmaster’s office with a cane which he wasted on the teacher. That incident ended the life of the student in the school. In matters of discipline, only equals can report equals.

The Quest For Nigeria’s Messiah By Paul Uduk

‘’Economic growth isn’t very meaningful if half the country that you’re growing is left behind in poverty.’’ -Ashok Khosla ‘’When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a Communist.’’ -Archbishop Dom Helder Pessoa Camara. TRIPPED of all its financial wealth, prestige, and honour, Nigeria is today the world’s biggest laughing stock, viewed with ignominy, contempt and scorn. A country with neither desire nor drive for greatness, it has frittered away trillions of dollars since crude oil was discovered at Oloibiri in 1956, and squandered, according to estimates, some $600billion in nothing tangible between 1999 and 2011. The 32nd largest country on earth, and the 10th most populous in the world, its citizens eke out a living on a meagre $2 per day while its ‘’politicians’’ systematically nibble away at the foundations of its corporate existence. Thoroughly despised by serious minded nations, barely tolerated in the ranks of the mediocre, but globally envied for its stupendous natural wealth, the question in the minds of an agitated world is not whether it will unravel, but when? Signs of Nigeria’s economic rot abound everywhere. They assail your eyes and nose, and tug at your heart wherever you turn. Employing a scorch-earth policy, the powers that be have systematically destroyed its educational, health, and research services. Today the country boasts no public institu-

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JAW JAW By Didi Onu

tion of global note. Its infrastructure ranks amongst the most dilapidated in the world. Roads, airports, seaports, you name it. A country bigger than Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, and Ireland put together, Nigeria generates a meagre 3,898 mega watts of electricity, while it requires some 35,650 megawatts. Any wonder Ghana, its proud neighbour, once chided the giant with clay feet as ‘’big for nothing’’? The extent of Nigeria’s all round decline is underscored by the fact that Nigeria won no medal during the just concluded IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea, where Kenya made an impressive 17-medal haul, including 7 Gold. Nigeria’s national football teams qualified neither for the 28th edition of Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon & Equatorial Guinea nor the 2012 Olympic Soccer Event. Other than the corruption ridden Oil & Gas, the country owns no key industries. The prominent key industries or companies in the country are owned by foreigners: Nigerian Breweries by Holland, Guinness by Ireland, WAPCO by France, MTN by South Africa, Coca Cola, PEPSICO, ExxonMobil and Chevron all by USA, and Total by France, PZ and Unilever by UK and Greek interests. While the country boasts world beaters in the corporate world: Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Pascal Dozie, Tony Elumelu, Dr. Mike Adenuga, and Jim Ovia, to mention a few, it has not been blessed with a single visionary leader in the socio-political arena. A wise man once said without a vision the people perish. It should have been, without a visionary leader, the people perish. A leader rallies people to the future. According to Marcus Buckingham, ‘’Leaders are fascinated by the future. You are a leader if, and only if, you are restless for change, impatient for progress, and deeply dissatisfied with the status quo.’’ ‘’As a leader’’ Buckingham asserts, ‘’you are never satisfied with the present, because in your head you can see a better future, and the friction

between ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’ burns you, stirs you up, propels you forward. This is leadership.’’ Jolted by Soviet’s Sputnik launch of 1957, unprecedented in technological implications, John F. Kennedy would proclaim on May 25, 1961, barely five months after assuming office as the 35th President of the United States, that ‘’I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon, and returning him safely to the Earth.’’ On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the Lunar surface, proclaiming with sublime humility the immortal words, ‘’one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind’’, restoring America’s closely guarded honour and pride. It didn’t matter that President Kennedy had been gone for six years, having been assassinated in 1963. Leadership is about trust. A leader understands that a promise is sacrosanct, it cannot be broken. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a moulder of consensus.” How many Nigerian leaders have strived to mould consensus, point the nation in the direction of prosperity, growth and happiness? From independence in 1960 to date, a period of about 54 years, how many Nigerian leaders can genuinely claim to have exhibited the trait of a true visionary leader restless for change? Any fool can embezzle, steal, and misappropriate public funds, but only a visionary leader can make a difference. Until those who aspire to lead subscribe to the ideals of the Athenian Oath ‘’….We will strive unceasingly to quicken the public sense of public duty, that thus, in all these ways, we will transmit this city, not only, not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us’’, the search for Nigeria’s messiah continues. It’s not about the man in the saddle, it’s about us. Paul Uduk wrote from Ikeja, Lagos.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

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GRASSROOTS

Kano’s Long, Tortuous Journey To Council • Poll Conducted Amidst Tight Security By Gbenga Akinfenwa (Lagos) KANO and Abba Anwar (Kano) T last, Kano State conducted council elections yesterday. This came after series of promises and postponements by government, which exposed Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s administration to criticisms and knocks. As at two weeks ago, it was as if the poll would not hold. The unusual silence from government raised serious doubt regarding its sincerity in promoting democracy at the grassroots in the state. Kano is one of the 11 states recently lambasted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for failing to conduct election into its 44 council areas, contrary to the provision of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Other affected states were Abia, Bauchi, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Katsina, Ondo, Osun and Oyo. The electoral umpire claimed that the affected states were either under caretaker committees or, in one case, Delta, under the Head of Personnel Management. Within this period, the Kano State governor was criticised on several occasions because

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of the unnecessary delay, which he blamed on security challenges in the state.   But the opposition accused the governor of deliberately delaying the elections in order to continue rotating his cronies as Interim Management Officers (IMOs) for the councils.                                When the state electoral body, Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) announced the May 17, 2014 date late last year, it was met with a harsh response from the Grassroots Anti corruption Awareness and Network Initiatives (GAANI), who faulted the propose date as too distant and a ploy for the government to take everything and Kwankwaso deny the opposition from par- er education campaign. What first came as the first ticipation, nonetheless, the hope of the people, especially baptism of fire for the elecpoliticians in the state was toral body was the concern expressed by Labour Party rekindled. The commission’s over what it described as amount’ Chairman, Dr. Sani Lawal, `outrageous who defended the decision, charged for nomination said the date was aimed at giv- forms for the election. KANSIEC had fixed N250, ing the newly registered parties enough time to prepare, 000 and N150, 000 as fees for adding that the date would chairmanship and councilenable the commission to lorship forms respectively. Tasi’u Abdurrahman, LP procure election materials; Committee meet with major stakehold- Caretaker ers and conduct extensive vot- Chairman, who decried such

decision, said those wishing to contest for the elections under the platform of the party were not rich. Another major threat to the poll was the issue of security, which the state governor had laid claim to. Prior to the election, tension was high across the state, as clashes between supporters of rival parties were reported. Despite warnings from KANSIEC and the state police command, contestants from different political parties were still rowdy.

Lawmaker Recommends Community, State Policing By Olalekan Okusan S the search for the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram continues, a member of the House of Yomi Representatives, Ogunnusi has emphasised the need for community and state policing to prevent future occurrence. Ogunnusi, who is representing Ijaye/Ojokoro Federal Constituency of Lagos, believes that with community and state policing in place, the menace of Boko Haram would not thrive. “As it is now, I think the need for community and state policing is now, because looking at what happened in Borno, if there had been community policing in place, I don’t think we will still be looking for those students. I want to urge the National Assembly to consider this bill as a matter of urgency so that we can curb the trend of kidnapping and abduction characterising the whole country,” he said. The lawmaker, who has been championing the bill at the lower house urged his colleagues to allow the bill to pass the second reading so that communities can secure themselves, rather than depending on outsiders. “It is obvious that the intent of the bill is for effective security at the state and local government levels. The security situation in the country is at an all time low. There are escalating incidents of robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, militancy and many other vices that a centralised police system has not been able to stem. The way forward is the

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NATIONAL establishment of state and community policing. “The purpose of having lawmakers at the parliament is to represent the interest of the people. For me, the security of the people I represent and, by extension, the generality of Nigerians is paramount. Hence, the bill is seeking to alter the necessary sections of the constitution to allow for the establishment of state and community police in Nigeria to ensure effective community policing as a modern security strategy,” he said. For the critics of the bill, Ogunnusi said: “Change is dif-

ficult for some people. The only thing that is permanent is change. Why would the concept not work? This is probably the only country in the world that operates a federal structure and uses a unitary police system. And where has that taken us? “We are living in a dynamic society and you can’t get a different result when you do things the same way. We will get over whatever challenges there may be. In terms of security, there must be a paradigm shift in the way we think. Obviously, the merits of running state and community policing far outweighs

what may be considered as the demerits or what we have now,” the lawmaker said. Ogunnusi disclosed that those opposing it have not advanced superior arguments on why state police and community policing should not come to stay. He added that running a centralised police force is no longer feasible or effective. “We must come to terms with that. It is evident for everyone to see. The police force is stretched and are often times clueless as to how to deal with the increasingly sophisticated criminal organisations.”

UTHORITIES of the Imo State House of Assembly have waded into the row between the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) and its host communities, Umuchima, Ihiagwa and Umuanunu–Obinze in which the communities were accused of destroying the university property, worth several millions of naira. The speaker of the House, Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu, acting on the submission made by the member representing the area, Owerri west, Innocent Ekeh, in a motion approved by the 26–member chamber, constituted a committee to intervene in meeting with the Pro- Chancellor and the Governing Council chairman of the institution, Emmanuel Elemou, the Chancellor of the institution,

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IMO Prof. Chigozie Asiabaka, and other stakeholders, to ensure that those arrested by the police, were released. The lawmakers also said that the problem of adequate compensation to the host communities of FUTO be addressed for peace to reign. A few weeks ago the host community leaders of the institution registered their opposition to the institution’s ground breaking ceremony to start building an ultra modern staff quarters after 34 years of the establishment of the institution. As a result, the communities led a protest to the venue of the construction site, parading a mock coffin. They stated that the site was part of the area in which their sons and children would build their homes after they had relin-

quished other hectares to the institution. The invading members of the host communities stormed the construction site and destroyed the property and carted away items belonging to the institution. In a joint press briefing at the institution, both Elemuo and Asiabaka, urged the Federal Government to intervene and save the institution. They wondered why the members of the community could ask that the land be given back to them 34 years after it handed it to the authorities of the institution. But in his views, the monarch of Ihiagwa autonomous community, Eze James Murako, accused the authorities of the institution of alleged insensitivity, by not offering compensatory jobs, and admission quota to the host communities.

“According to the records from INEC, we came to realise that there are over five million eligible voters in Kano,” disclosed the Commissioner in charge of Media, of the state electoral body, Isma’ila Idris Rimingado. Kano has a total number of 8,074 polling units, 484 wards and 44 local governments, which participated in the polls. There were hiccups at some polling centers, which led some supporters to call for cancellation. While others threatened to go to court complaining that the election was marked of malpractices. A voter in one of the polling units Sammani Abdullahi commended the law enforcement agencies for providing the necessary security during the election. Adding that the stakeholders meeting called by both the AIG and the Commissioner of Police helped immensely to reduce tension amongst the rival

Ihiala People Decry Marginalisation, Demand Commissioner Slot NDIGENES of Ihiala Local IAnambra Government Area of State have made a passionate appeal to Governor, Willie Obiano to consider someone in the community for appointment into his cabinet, considering the efforts of the people in the election that enthroned him last year. Addressing journalists in Lagos, President, Ihiala Grassroots Progressive Initiative, Nsofor Chukwuemeka, said the governor would lack proper representation in his government in the part of the state, if nobody from Ihala makes it to the governor’s cabinet. Chukwuemeka urged indi-

IHIALA genes of the area to galvanise their grouses and collectively agitate for their wishes and aspirations, noting that the essence of governance is to ensure that political leaders deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. He said: “The coming together of indigenes to form an alliance to present issues to the government will hold more ground, rather than on individual basis. Ihiala Grassroots Progressive Initiative also urges Anambra State government to consider Ihiala local government area by giving them the post of a commissioner so that they can have a representative in the government.”

As Delta Releases Timetable For Council Poll DELTA By Felix Okoh Peterson

Legislators Wade Into FUTO/ Host Community Feud From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri

It could be recalled that there were skirmishes between supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and supporters of People Democratic Party (PDP) at a rally organised by the Kano Municipal Council chairmanship candidate of the APC as a result of which one person was killed and several others injured. As promised by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, in charge of Zone 1, Alhaji Tambari Yabo, the poll was conducted yesterday amid tight security across the local governments. Few days ago, Yabo summoned all the stakeholders, charging them to be law-abiding citizens. The commission disclosed that 19 political parties participated, though there were more than 19 political parties. The Commission used, as a yardstick for participation, parties that have offices in the state and those that filled in candidates.

XACTLY one year after the E Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) was constituted, the electoral body has released the timetable for local government election, to be held on October 25, 2014. When the state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan constituted DSIEC in May 2013, hopes were very high that within six months, the council poll will be held. But this didn’t materialise as the year 2013 ran out, while stakeholders were left waiting without a word. Finally, DSIEC has released the timetable and political watchers are of the opinion that the date is too far away. There are those who believe that the emasculation of local government administration emanates from the 1999 Constitution, which vests the conduct of Council elections on the state governments. Cashing on this constitution-

al flaw, state governments, irrespective of the political party in charge have continued to hoodwink council administration by running them with their puppets, elected or otherwise. Local councils therefore, have become appendages and pawns in the hands of state governments. Sympathizers of local government administration will readily agree that there is need to change the status quo by reversing the Constitution to take over conduct of council elections from various state electoral commissions. The various SIECs in Nigeria are the tools which states use to perpetuate their hold on councils and their funds. But the law of equity, fair play and democratic decency will continue to denounce this absurd manipulation. However, in the case of Delta State government and DSIEC, we are optimistic that there will be fair play and level playing field for all parties. Okoh lives in Asaba


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POLITICS

LAGOS 2015

The Stakes Still So High... By Kamal Tayo Oropo S far as the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State is concerned, the race to Lagos seat of power in Alausa has narrowed down (or zoned) to the Lagos East Senatorial District, making clearer who among the motley crowd of aspirants is likely to succeed Governor Babatunde Fashola’s successor clearer. But while the ruling party appears weighted on the politics of zoning and religion, rival political parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not be as constrained in their attempt to throw up aspirants. PDP’s Lagos State chairman, Mr. Tunji Shele, as well as the party’s publicity secretary, Mr. Taofeek Gani, both of whom spoke with The Guardian recently, stated that, contrary to perceptions that the party is not showing keen interest in contesting the governorship, the party is actually convinced that the days of political dominance by their rival is over and done with. “We are going to surprise a lot of people. I don’t agree that we are not showing sufficient interest. The thing is, we are bidding our time and putting our house in perfect order. Very soon, we are going to roll out our plans and the party’s flag bearer would emerge. We are a democratic party and we will conduct our primary in the full glare of the public. “We have a lot of qualified people showing interest in the race; people who have demonstrated uncommon ability in managing posts they have been privileged to occupy and people who have excelled in their chosen fields. But we are disciplined party people, who would not like to put the cart before the horse,” Shele said. However, certain names are already gaining currency in the public space. Such names include Mr. Ade Doherty, Mr. Tunde Gbadamosi as well as Ade Dosunmu. Dosunmu was the PDP governorship candidate in the last election, while Doherty and Gbadamosi had always aspire for the number one seat of the state. Prior to the APC revelation on the zoning option, which The Guardian gathered had always been a well-kept secret among the party leadership; a sizeable number of possible replacements for Fashola had been bandied. The names included, commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Kadri Hamzat; Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, Aderemi Ikuforiji; former commissioner for Education and Health, Dr. Leke Pitan; House of Representatives member, Femi Gbajabiamila; Senator Ganiu Olanrewaju Solomon (GOS), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello; Lagos commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal; former Lagos commissioner for the Environment and Transportation, Dr. Muiz Banire; former Accountant General of Lagos State, Akin Ambode. Others are former attorney general and commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, commissioner for Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi and the commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa. Reducing the anxiety of party faithful, former governor of the state and APC bigwig, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, publicly lent credence to the decision of the party. Arriving at the decision was not particularly a very difficult task given that the Lagos East, comprising Ikorodu, Epe, Kosofe and a host of others, is yet to produce a governor in this dispensation. What could prove difficult is how to convince political watchers to accept the final selection process if it were not done through an open primary, just the way the nomination of Fashola as candidate in 2007 caused some bad blood in the former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which is now part of the APC The ACN had on a number of occasions declared its selection process as democratic. But those who found themselves on the wrong end of the process often cry foul and not a few political commentators as well as party members have criticized the idea. While the governorship slot is to be zoned to Lagos East, the deputy governorship’s seat can be occupied by any of the other two senatorial districts. With this apparent preference for the zone, the race for the number one seat has heightened in Lagos East, with several politicians canvassing to replace Fashola. The aspiration of the Speaker, Ikuforiji, had been a badly kept secret. It is therefore not

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news that the man, an indigene of Epe, is in the race. His chances may appear slim due to conflict the House had with Governor Fashola sometime ago, in addition to the baggage from his running corruption battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). As for the commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Hamzat, smear campaigners have rubbished his claim to be an indigene of Epe, claiming that his father, Olatunji Hamzat is a traditional ruler in Ogun State and married to an Epe woman. Hamzat is said to be capitalizing on the fact that his mother is from Epe to lay claim to being of Epe descent. Away from the state of origin debate, Hamzat is said to be one of the drivers of the Fashola success and the Governor is said to be at home with him. But if feelers from the registration exercise of the APC and the congresses are anything to go by, Fashola did not appear too keen on who succeeds him. Little of the governor, in terms of flexing political muscle, was seen during the exercises. In terms of policy sustainability, Lagos has been relatively fortunate as over the years, as governance becomes more institutionalized, thus making it easier for every successor to improve on what his predecessor had done. Against that backdrop, Fashola stated: “I am not worried about the person who will succeed me, but I am concerned because I will be involved.  CONTINUED ON PAGE 58

Doherty

Gbadamosi


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POLITICS OKUNNU: Next Lagos Governor Should Focus On Transport System, Traffic Control And Enforcement

LAGOS 2015

Alhaji Femi Okunnu, former federal commissioner of works said whoever would succeed Babatunde Fashola as Lagos State governor must build on his success. SEYE OLUMIDE reports. What are your impressions of Lagos under Governor Babatunde Fashola? ASHOLA, in the last seven years has moved Lagos State forward in terms of economy and several area of governance. He has moved the state further than what it used to be. He made tremendous progress in several areas of governance. But let me stress this point that he has built on the foundation set by his predecessor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu in modern times. Let me say also for emphasis that the first governor of the state, Sir Bolaji Johnson, who by the grace of Allah, was made the governor when the state was created on the May 27 1967, and he remained governor until July 29 1975, set the pattern of development, but in modern times, since the return to civilian rule in 1999, Tinubu set the foundation. He improved on the infrastructure, what was there before, which Johnson set, with the support of some of us who were in government with him at that time. Some other governors, some of them military also improved on what Johnson did to build a new Lagos State. Let me go back to history, Lagos and Colony in the 19th century, was ruled directly under the British, which was well before the country you now call Nigeria, came to be. There was no Nigeria that time but there was Lagos Colony or Lagos and Colony. In 1900, the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria was established under the British rule, which covered the same area as what later became in 1947, the Northern region. In the same year 1900, the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, comprising what became Eastern region in 1947 and what became Western region in 1947 under the Richard Constitution both by Royal Proclamation, were made Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Lagos and Colony, as I said earlier, was under the direct rule from London. It was later merged with the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1906, but it retained its administrative structure as Lagos and Colony; under a Commissioner for Lagos Colony until the colony province were removed, which was later taken out to become Western region in 1954 under the Lyttleton Constitution, when Nigeria adopted a federal system of government. So, Lagos city as it was by royal proclamation had its boundary at the end of Alhaji Masha at Surulere, close to Orthopedic Hospital on Ikorodu Road and comprising the Island of Lagos, Apapa, Ebute Meta, Yaba and Ikoyi. That was roughly the boundary of the city of Lagos. How would you describe the civilian administration so far? What Tinubu met in the treasury was about N600 million as revenue. When he left, he put it to three figures in billions, about 12 billion, but Fashola has put it much higher to about 19 to 20 billion per year. Tinubu put the new structure for revenue collection in place, which I called rent and also income taxes of people living in Lagos. There are other taxes but the bedrock of the income of the state today is still on land tax. Fashola has also improved on the housing policy. When I was in government, I handed over Surulere Housing Estate, constructed by the Federal Government before the creation of Lagos, for the benefit of those who were removed from their original homes in Akpongbon area for the construction of Eko Bridge. When Alhaji Lateef Jakande became governor, he also embarked on housing policies. Fashola started a home policy, which is aimed at providing for the lower middle class, while Jakande’s efforts was aimed at building for the lower income-earning people. The lower middle classes are young professionals who could afford about N10 to N15 million to buy a flat. It is a mortgage policy. The government will support the mortgage policy. This is not for clerks who earned N40 to N50 thousands per month. I told Fashola that the Landlord and Tenant law is not workable. Consider a landlord who borrowed N60 million from the bank and put up a structure for rent and you say to him not to collect more than certain amount and that he cannot receive more than one year rent.

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He would stop building houses for people, but rather put his money elsewhere. To me, that effort is not sustainable. The best thing to do is to look into the housing policies in other countries, like America or Britain, where they asked housing associations or other bodies to build houses for the people, most especially for the lower income group and not by controlling rent. The governor has also improved on road construction and rehabilitation seriously. But my criticisms of the system, not necessarily against Fashola alone but to other governors, is that the local government structure, which former Head of State Gen. Murtala Muhammed, imposed on the country in 1976 is not working. It is not because, it is not real and it has no basis in the culture of our nation. It was an imposition of the Northern government system on the rest of the country. The South West has its own Oba in Council and that was their culture. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Opara applied the council system in London in the Eastern part of the country. So, everyone has its own council system and culture, but Murtala unified it. It was made worse by not allowing Local Government to collect the tenement rate directly, and to depend on other income. That is a large issue, Local Government is a function of state government and the Federal government should have nothing to do with it. Today, Local Governments are not used to building and maintaining roads, which they do before with the tenement rate they collected. I will score Fashola high in the area of road construction because he seems to have been working on all roads in the state, but I have advised him to define which is state roads, local and federal government roads. The transportation system is still in a mess. There is still chaos in the traffic system in the state. What is your idea of a successor to Fashola in order to continue this trend of development? Some of the aspects I mentioned above are areas where the new governor should concentrate on. Traffic control, transport system and enforcement of the law, which successive governments have not done the way I feel. As someone who was in charge of federal roads for almost eight years, I feel the

Tinubu

next governor of the state would pay attention to effective control of traffic and enforcement of the law. Housing policy is another area the new administration must improve upon, particularly the policy that would favour the lower income earners. It is not the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide housing but the state. I am challenging the next governor to look into the area of providing shelter for the average citizen in the state. Agriculture must be looked into. Lagos land cannot be for bricks and mortars alone, there must be genuine efforts for plantation to encourage farmers to plant for consumption and exportation. I will also urge the next governor to develop fisheries. He should set up a fisheries department and research into it seriously. My message to whoever emerges as the governor of Lagos in 2015 would be to improve, not only on the infrastructure created by Fashola, but to do better in every areas of governance than what his predecessors have done. Do you consider any of Fashola’s policies too draconian? I understand people criticised him for arresting people who cross expressways. I do not see anything wrong with that. I built Western Avenue, from two-lane dual road to five-lane dual carriage, ten lanes with pedestrian crossing across the three lanes, so that people would not kill themselves when they were crossing the road. It is the business of the government to prevent people from killing themselves. I want to credit Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon for re-establishing orientation of discipline. The average Nigerian is a disciplined person, if the law is enforced but because of lack or inadequate enforcement of laws, people were encouraged to misbehave. For instance, recalcitrant driving of commercial bus drivers and others cause most traffic holdups. Should religion and zoning be factors in determining where the next governor comes from? Unfortunately, zoning is something, which people have introduced into the body politics of this nation and it doesn’t make for one Nigeria. Unfortunately, it is in the constitution, the Federal Character, but not the

Housing policy is another area the new administration must improve upon, particularly the policy that would favour the lower income earners. It is not the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide housing but the state. I am challenging the next governor to look into the area of providing shelter for the average citizen in the state

way it is being touted now. Zoning is a policy of one of the political parties in the country and not a national policy apart from Federal Character, which must be reflected in appointments to government jobs. The defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) started zoning as its own policy that the president should come from the north and the south should follow. This doesn’t make for one country, because when you say the president should come from a zone and we have three or more different sections making up that particular zone, that means for over 100 years, some areas would not be able to produce a president. This is absolute rubbish. We should all be Nigerians and not people from a particular place. I want to challenge all Nigerians to tell me whether they have ever come across any Indian, Chinese or an America citizen who claimed to come from a particular zone, section or place in the country. For God’s sake, an Indian is an Indian anywhere any day. When would we create a Nigeria? I believe the less emphasis we place on this issue of zoning the better we would build a nation. Let me remind of you, Nigeria of yesterday, day before yesterday was better than Nigeria of today in terms of cohesion of people. Nigeria of the 40s and 50s, Mallam Ultini became a mayor of Enugu; Mbonu Ojike became deputy mayor of Lagos by election. He was deputy to Dr. Nimbe. Dr. Ajibade was a councilor in Port Harcourt. That was Nigeria of yesterday, but today you won’t find such anymore except in Lagos. Lagos has always been a cosmopolitan city and in fact, the population of the indigenes is not more than five per cent. The state has been cosmopolitan; although the indigenes have been saying, ‘please allow us to stretch our legs a bit, just like the Onitsha Ibos are crying of being suffocated by non Onitsha people.’ What I am particular about is quality of the person coming to rule and not where the person comes from. I say categorically that we do not have religious conflict in Lagos. It is the nonLagosians and those who come from other parts of the country that were creating this problem for us and unfortunately most of them are Christians. There is no indigenous family in Lagos who does not have people practicing the two religions. It is these outsiders who are creating this problem for us. Aside from that, I don’t mind whichever religion the new governor belongs to as far as he or she has the quality to rule. Merit should rather be allowed to determine who succeeds Fashola in 2015.


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Sunday, May 18, 2014

POLITICS AKINTAYO: Lagos Needs Good Administrator And Businessman Whoever must be the next governor of Lagos must be someone who has a grasp of the grassroots. Fashola is a sound mind and I think we should retain that value. We need a governor who is totally in control of the political structure. Someone, who is very well tested on the economic front. Yes, Lagos State is doing well in terms of Internally Generate Revenue (IGR), but the state’s economy can still be further diversified. We need a governor who can create economic zones out of the rural Lagos

Olumide Akintayo, national President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) says the next governor of Lagos State must address the rot in the state drug market. He spoke with TUNDE AKINOLA What would your group propose for the good governance of Lagos State after Governor Babatunde Fashola? ASICALLY, the responsibility of governments anywhere in the world is to establish conducive environment for day-today living of the people. To that extent, one can expect government to come up with good road networks, create a health package such that people have access to minimum healthcare services.  For instance, there should be a sound primary healthcare because if we examine what primary healthcare is all about, we will discover that that sector is practically dead in Nigeria. We want other basic infrastructures to be put in place by the next governor. Everywhere in the world, those are basic things to demand from the government.  Relatively, I think Lagos State has benefited a lot from the area of leadership since the advent of this democracy in 1999, but as good as it appears to be, we will always have shortcomings. So basically, what we are talking about is that the governor of Lagos State should be one who is ready to impact much more than what we have seen in the Tinubu or Fashola administrations. For a care provider like me, I’m looking forward to a governor that can come up with a sound foundation for management of healthcare, his own version of a social health insurance scheme as a module of financing healthcare, such that informal sector operators who do not have salaried jobs can benefit from the package. Sometime ago, the Lagos State Ministry of Health was actually working on that but I think the time is now, in the new dispensation it must me actualised. The model Lagos proposes must also take care of separation of professional responsibilities. If you are a pharmacist, be in charge of dispensing of drugs in the proper way.  The concept of professionalism, which places emphasis on separation of professional roles, is something that should see the light of the day in this model I am talking about. We need a governor who will battle fake drugs, because Lagos State today happens to be the major hub of fake drugs distri-

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Akintayo

bution in Nigeria. For obvious reasons, this is where you have the major seaports and airports, which are the major entries of all these spurious drugs in Nigeria.  It is possible because you have the hub of the distribution of these products in certain locations in Lagos, like the Idumota and Mushin drug markets. We need a governor who can take care of this menace.  Away from the health sector, a major problem we have in Lagos is accommodation problem, so we need a government who can tackle this problem for the masses. A government that can implement massive housing projects in the suburbs of the state, where the general populace can begin to have access to decent accommodation that will be run through a mortgage programme.  Another major challenge for Lagos, which is probably the most serious one, is the issue of transportation. No matter how fantastic the road network is in Lagos, if we do not maximise the potentials of rail transportation and taking advantage of the waterways, we will not get it right in a place like Lagos. You can come up with 500,000 mass transit buses, but the congestion will only be taken care of when we have the light rail properly

on course.  Whatever the policy, it has to be a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. Government might decide to buy the boats that will be used on the waterways and then give it to private entrepreneurs to manage it. Government can build the rail tracks and come with the coaches, but from experience, government has not been good with running enterprises. So the best way to drive it is through the PPP arrangement, whereby you bring in private investors and come up with Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and let them run it on behalf of government. It is the only way to solve such problems.  Without bias, I believe Fashola has done well above average. He has done well within the limits of available resources, but of course, it can come out better than whatever output the government of Fashola has done in the last seven years. Whoever must be the next governor of Lagos must be someone who has a grasp of the grassroots. Fashola is a sound mind and I think we should retain that value. We need a governor who is totally in control of the political structure. Someone, who is very well tested on the economic front. Yes, Lagos State is doing well in terms of Internally

Generate Revenue (IGR), but the state’s economy can still be further diversified. We need a governor who can create economic zones out of the rural Lagos.  What I am saying in essence is that we need a governor who can bring out the potential in the Badagry, Epe zones and the Ikorodu axis. If those areas are converted to urban areas it will reduce congestion on Ikeja and probably the Islands. That good dividend will add values to not only Lagos residents, but also surrounding states. The next governor must be private sector inclined, one who has run his own business and is well grounded because governance has become business.  What group interest will your organisation demand from the next governor of Lagos State? I think successive governors in Lagos have shortchanged us. Pharmacy is a profession of people with broad-spectrum skills. I’m sure you would have heard of pharmacists who are part of management in Information Technology (IT) companies, director of banks and major players in the oil and gas sector.  In the next dispensation I will like to see pharmacists as commissioners, advisers and major stakeholders in Lagos State. I will be glad if the next governor can cleanse the general practice environment. The Lagos State government has a responsibility to clear the rot in the system, especially in the area of fake drugs just as the governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwakwanso, did when he dislodged the Sabon Gari drug market in Kano.

LAGOS 2015: Search For Fashola’s Successor On Course CONTINUED FROM PAGE 56 I really hope that the person who will take over will be a lot better than me. I hope that the person can do in four years what it has taken us eight years to do. That I know will be beneficial to all of us. My interest in the next election is Lagos: who will be the best to guide and advance the course and interest of Lagos.” Another Epe indigene eyeing the governorship ticket is the former Accountant General, Mr. Akin Ambode, who is believed to be closest among the aspirants, to Bourdillion. He is a serious candidate. Some see him as one who could benefit if religion is allowed to play a role in the selection process. He is a Christian and of late, some persons have canvassed the need to have a Christian occupy the number one seat. Though, indigenous Lagos population is majorly Muslim, the cosmopolitan nature of the state may have played a role in altering the equilibrium. Apart from Sir Michael Otedola, who was governor in the ill-fated Third Republic, no other non-Muslim has been elected Lagos State governor. In that same reasoning is Pitan, former commissioner of Education and Health during the eight years of Tinubu administration. Pitan, a medical practitioner, is said to hail from Ikorodu and is keen to become governor. He is also close to Tinubu. Gbenga Ashafa, also from Lagos East, is leaving nothing to chance at ensuring that he emerges as the party’s governorship candidate in 2015. Ashafa has set up his office at Kosofe Local Council Development Area, where he has been watering the ground by engaging in humanitarian projects to get the people’s attention. Hakeem Muri-OKunola, the man who replaced Ashafa at the Land Bureau, is also touted as one of those who would succeed Fashola. Tinubu is also believed to be at home with some of the developmental ideas of Muri-Okunola, in spite of his relatively younger age. His father was the revered Justice in the Court of Appeal in Lagos state. Another top-notch, who not too long ago told The Guardian, he does not have interest in the job and indeed politics, “just want to face my law career”, now seems to also be in the race to replace Fashola. Former transport

commissioner (under Tinubu administration) and former commissioner for environment (under Fashola), Dr. Muiz Banire, is the legal adviser of the APC. He, however, made the remark of lack of interest when rumours of conflict between him and Fashola were rife. Since then, many waters have passed and Banire may have changed his mind. Hugely popular, Banire is believed to be fraternal friends with Tinubu. But so are many others in the race. And Banire is not from Lagos East. Also vying is Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Surulere Federal Constituency. Gbajabiamila, discovering that the governorship ticket had been zoned to Lagos East, has moved his tent to Ikorodu and is now claiming to have come from Lagos East, capitalizing on the fact that his mother hails from Ikorodu. With the zoning of the governorship ticket to Lagos East, the governorship ambition of Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon (GOS), Banire, Mr. Tunji Bello, Mr. Kayode Opeifa and others may have suffered a setback. Solomon, early this year came out openly to declare his ambition for the governorship seat. He has been eyeing the post since the twilight of Tinubu’s administration. It is now feared that Solomon, who is a grassroots politician, may jeopardize the zoning arrangement as he may be bent on becoming governor willy-nilly. Unlike the APC, the PDP dismissed the idea of zoning, saying: “Since we have never been in power in the state, the sentiment of zoning to a particular senatorial district is an issue that worries those that have monopolised politics of the state. We are entirely a fresh alternative without any constraint or inhibitions. Those that must worry about zoning, please let them do. What we know for certain is we are going to provide a credible alternative to the ruling party. Lagosians actually deserve better,” said Gani. He added that the party is holding tight to their governorship hopefuls, “the case of Funsho Williams is still fresh in our memory”. Mr. Williams was the PDP governorship aspirant who was assassinated in his Lagos home in the run up to the 2007 governorship election. If the words of Gani were pointers, the PDP is not bogged

down with religious consideration. “Look my brother, the issue is not really about religion. It is the ruling party that is deliberately orchestrating this for political gains. It is about ability to deliver good governance and development. They (the leadership of APC) enjoy selling dummies to the public, only to turn around to do differently. We, in the PDP, are not going to fall for such. We are busy putting things in order. However, what the PDP officials may not admit, according to party sources at its secretariat in Ikeja, is that the party might be suffering from paucity of fund. “People ordinarily think that being in control of governance at the center, the PDP should not have finance issue, but the reality on ground is the party does not have the resources to carry out many of its programmes in the state. “Forget whatever the officials are saying to the contrary, the truth is that we cannot match finances of the ruling party; we are not even close to it. There are a lot campaign issues in the state, there are things we need to do to sensitize the public, but you cannot do certain things when you are constantly bothering about finances. That is why the party seem not to be playing its role as opposition party in the state as much as it should,” a member at the party secretariat said. In between the two major parties are others who may likely field candidates to succeed Fashola. The crisis-prone All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is known to always field candidates. The Olu Falae-led Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Frederick Fasehun-led Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) are also likely to join the fray. The extent they are likely to go is yet to be seen. But speaking recently, Fasehun, lifting from the defunct UPN’s manifesto as implemented in Lagos by the Alhaji Lateef Jakande-led administration, said the current UPN will ensure free education in the state at all levels if voted into office. Unfolding the party manifesto, the UPN Chairman said it was predicated on the Four Cardinal Programmes Awolowo and his associates canvassed in the Second Republic. It remains to be seen how that could translate into votes in these times of money politics.


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HEALTH

Two Daily Meals Effective To Treat Type 2 Diabetes By Fabian Odum ATING only breakfast and lunch may be more effective at handling type 2 diabetes than having smaller, regular meals according to scientists. Prague-based researchers gave two groups of 27 people food containing the same calo-

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ries but spread over two or six meals a day. They found out that those who ate two meals a day lost more weight than those who ate six, and their blood sugar level had dropped, BBC points. According to experts, the study supported “existing evidence” that fewer, bigger meals

Guarding Thought Is Essential To Good Health By Moji Solanke

HERE is a difference between the brain and the mind. One very obvious difference is that the brain is a physical organ, while the mind is intangible and inorganic. The crucial consequence of this difference is that thought is a mental, rather than a physically dependent activity. Many wrongly assume that the mind resides vaguely in the head region, somewhere beneath the skull. It is therefore wrong to say for instance ‘Think! Use your brain.’ The brain cannot think. Understanding the difference between the brain and the mind has a bearing on health, and it is therefore important to learn how to guard thought, in order to experience better health. A cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, posted an article on the Internet on November 30, 2011, stating how scientific research shows that 75%-98% of mental and physical illnesses come from how and what we think. In the article, Leaf also quotes Dr. Herbert Benson MD, Chairman of Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute as saying: ‘Toxic thoughts lead to stress, which affect our body’s natural healing capacity’ Another type of scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, who studied spirituality and its practical effects on healing, named her discovery Christian Science. Her ideas on the relationship between thought and health are highly respected, especially by the Harvard Mind-Body Institute. She writes in her book Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, ‘Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good and the true, and you will bring these into your experience, proportionably to their occupancy of your thought’. Those who practice

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the ideas she presented to the world, and invest in guarding their thought, find that this spiritual activity results in overall better health. It certainly takes both spiritual and mental discipline to watch what is being entertained in thought, for the purpose of weeding out negative and unhealthy ideas, such as unforgiveness, ingratitude, bitterness, and so on. Thoughts of peace, love, forgiveness and such like on the other hand are being found to prevent illness and promote healing. Eddy found from her years of spiritual healing work, that safeguarding thought against contagion, infection, even heredity, especially when it is based on the spiritual understanding of man as the image and likeness of God, prevented the development of disease, and also resulted in healing. Today, medical research is showing, as indicated in Dr. Leaf’s article, that a change in thought actually impacts the structure of the DNA. The art of thinking is natural, innate and primitive to every individual. Realising that thought is an entirely mental activity independent of matter, reassures that nothing can interfere with the ability to think right thoughts. Every individual can guard against both obvious and subtle wrong thoughts which begin almost innocuously as suggestions, and then mushroom into the fear of disease. Standing porter at the door of thought, and starting with one thought at a time, every individual can prove in their own experience, that guarding thought results in better health.

m_asolanke@hotmail.com

Dr Irene Isibor of the World Health Organisation (WHO)(left); Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adesina; and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Lagos, Dr Modele Osunkiyesi during the 1st round of Maternal Newborn and Child health week in Lagos.

were the way forward. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the human organism does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, which controls the amount of sugar in the blood, leading to high levels of blood sugar, BBC explains. If untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, light-sensitive eyes and kidney failure. Some 2.9 million people in the UK are suffering from diabetes, 90 per cent of whom have type 2. At the moment, the British health services recommend three meals a day and healthy snacks, when it comes to dietary regimes for people affected by diabetes. Scientists at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague divided a group of 54 volunteers aged between 30 and 70 with type 2 diabetes into two groups of 27 individuals. They were given either a six-meal-a-day diet for 12 weeks, followed by a two-meal day diet, or vice versa, BBC reads. The research compared two meals with six meals, as the latter is in accordance with

the current practice advice in the Czech Republic, scientists said. Each daily diet contained on average 1,700 calories. Lead scientists Dr. Hana Kahelova, said the results were “very pleasing”, adding that some of the patients were “really afraid they would get hungry in the evening”, but those feelings were lower as they ate until satisfied. “But when they ate six times a day the meals were not leaving them feeling satisfied. It was quite surprising,” she added. Dr. Kahelova mentioned the study could apply to people who do not suffer from diabetes, but were trying to lose weight. Dr. Richard Elliott, research communications officer at Diabetes UK, said the research added evidence that eating fewer, larger meals a day could be more effective than smaller, frequent meals at helping people manage their condition, BBC says. He added: “However, larger studies over longer periods of time will be needed to back up these findings before we would make changes to the dietary advice given to people with type 2 diabetes.”

Mind, Jesus And Heaven (12) By Babatunde Ayo-Vaughan

S I was saying from the last article, the meaning of faith provides the mental and emotional state that is, the frame of mind for inspiration that captures the meaning of life and the purpose that is needed to go through it without any harrowing experience. This becomes the true journey towards Heaven (which ultimately in the words of Jesus will be found within you), and one will be able to understand easily the ways that Jesus explained the concept of Heaven. Against the background of the true understanding of the concept of faith, one will understand what Jesus meant when He said ‘the kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and be cometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches (MT 13:31)’. He also said ‘the kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened (MT 13:33).’ In both of these statements, we could see a pattern of method suggesting the process of intelligence guided by the application of the understanding of certain law of operation. This clearly suggesting that Heaven

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Health And Your Mind

aeroplane, telephone, television, the secret is located in this statement of Jesus. That is what the power of faith is all about. It is not about religious rituals and ceremonies. It was in this spirit that Jesus was able to tell the world that ‘if you can believe everything is possible to him that believeth’. Whenever the world is ready particularly Nigeria to solve its myriads of problems, that is the method of the solutions. The answers are located in the true understanding of faith. It is the road to the kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of intelligence, where the method of intelligence will be revealed to you to handle all problems to appreciate truly the relevance of that statement of Jesus, which says that ‘ask and it shall be given to you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you’. This is about the gate of Heaven if you know how to use the key of faith to open it. When Jesus talked of Heaven in respect of the different talents given to different people to be developed (MT 25:14), the real nature of the kingdom of Heaven must be closely associated with our mind power.

basically, is about the application of intelligence grounded in a certain law. Of course, as I have told you much earlier on, this law cannot be chaotic because it is grounded on an enlightened understanding of the concept of morality — the sense of what is right and what is wrong. Jesus also went on to say that ‘the kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hid in a field, which when a man hath, found he hideth and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field (MT 13:44)’. He went on, ‘the kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant seeking goodly pearls who when he had found one pearl of great price went and sold all that he had and bought it (MT 13:45)’. These two statements explain the effect of the power of faith when it has totally gripped you. It is about the effect of a powerful imagination — a profound mechanism of the mind, which through a purpose that one has discovered enables one to see in his mind’s eye what nobody else had seen before; and one is prepared to stake everything he has to realise it. For those who don’t know the operaAyo-Vaughan, a psychologist, lives in tions of the minds of those Lagos who had brought about unbabatund_2@yahoo.com usual inventions such as the

Loss Of Memory (II) By Passy Amaraegbu

T 85, he still recognised his children and A grandchildren. Yet, six months after, Pa Edwin could neither recognise his personal nurse nor children. Most of the time his eyes were blank as he gazed into the empty space. What happened to this octogenarian? Ageing is yet another cause of forgetfulness. This can be as a result of memory interference or degeneration of brain cells. Two major psychological disorders, which are associated with ageing are amnesia and Alzheimer’s disease (a special form of dimensia). This means that the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory is significantly and negatively affected by these diseases. Also the problem of disuse of learnt materials can affect the ability of the brain to recall or remember. This is a major reason why retirees who are redundant are worse hit by all manner of distresses, disorders and diseases. Inactivity, idleness and disuse promote decay and loss. For instance, if one keeps one’s hands in one particular position for a week, the hands will likely

incidence and exacerbation of both physiobecome paralyzed. Disuse leads to atrophy. Consequently, redundant and idle learnt logical and psychological disorders. The biomaterials in the long-term memory will likely chemistry and psychobiology of the human atrophy (fade away) if abandoned perma- body will be negatively altered and impacted. nently. Obviously, traces of such memories Therefore, it is advisable to get enough sleep may exist and endure till one dies but access on a regular basis except when it is inevitable to such a redundant memory may suffer se- and this should be the exception and not the rious damage. It is like trying to access a book rule. There exist diin a huge library without any etary factors that Practical Psychology source of information patimpact on the terning to the book such as name of the author and publisher, title, year memory. While balanced diet enhances good of publication, chapter topics, nor the com- memory, poor diet inhibits. Also, food items lacking in proteinous contents promote loss pany that published it. Sleep deprivation has also being implicated of memory. The reason being that the brain as a reason why people forget. It is true that contains a lot of rich minerals and protein. In during sleep, the brain is functional but it is another sense, proteinous food enhances at a minimal rate. The ascending arousal sys- sound health, which enables the individual tem which flows from the brainstem, the to handle the tasks of daily pursuits and livthalamus, hypothalamus to the basal fore- ing excellently. Healthy students may likely brain and cerebral cortex also experiences a perform better on their academic assigncertain level of reduced activity (Schwartz & ment than their folks and the converse is true Roth, 2008). Contrariwise, in a situation of too. Inflicting physical wounds on the brain sleep deprivation, the entire system is in continuous state of activity. The result will be the would impact the memory function. Exam-

ples are falls from a height, automobile accidents, hitting with the fist or instruments. All these forms of wounds implicated on the head and ultimately on the brain will cause stress and strain on the brain cells, which depending on the degree of the wound, will lead to different degrees of memory loss. A typical case is the impact of a major automobile accident on the memory. Most victims of such accidents suffer loss of memory, which is evidenced by their wandering tendencies, unwise and uncoordinated motor activity, blankness and confusion of mental state. Any of such accident victims who isn’t quickly rescued, ends up in a worse situation. Many stumble and fall or virtually walk into greater dangers with their eyes wide open. All these are proofs of memory loss, which may be temporary or long lasting depending on the degree of impact or damage to the brain. In the next edition, we consider other reasons why people suffer loss of memory. Dr. Passy Amaraegbu, A clinical psychologist lives in Lagos. drpassy@yahoo.com


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INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

UNSC: Nigeria Draws Global Attention To Insecurity, Instability  By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor HE much celebrated, much challenged T Nigerian presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has just ended. But her exertions this time drew global attention homewards. First the threats of terrorism in Nigeria and by extension, the west African subregion region, the region of Africa and elsewhere in the global village.  Because Nigeria was and is involved, what initially appeared to be a quiet month turned out to be a period that witnessed the driving of many issues relating to collective security on the agenda of the Security Council.   Diplomatic watchers can correctly record that the Council during this troubled time, adopted seven resolutions and issued ten statements. But importantly, under Nigeria’s watch, Council also held two open thematic debates on Security Sector Reform (SSR) as well as Women and Peace and Security. There was also an interesting open debate on the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine. Besides the tension in Ukraine, the world is troubled, but Africa is even more. It had been agreed before now that Africa was waging an informal war against terrorism. Before Nigeria assumed the chair of the most powerful organ of the UN, Africa’s fight against violence and terrorism was the highpoint at the global assembly, with top diplomats across the globe warning against the danger posed to international peace and safety if the reign of fundamentalist Muslim groups such as Boko Haram is unchecked.  In fact, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council that the international community must intensify efforts to help affected member states like Nigeria overcome what he called “a threat to Africa’s peace, security and development.” Why is Nigeria, nay Africa assailed? Or why does it appear that all of the development issues are aggravated more here? Before Nigeria got into the UN Security Council for the fifth time in her history, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) way back in 2012, stated clearly that: “Impressive GDP has not translated into the elimination of hunger and malnutrition.” Hunger, deprivation, illiteracy and unemployment are the biggest fuelers of insurgency, militancy and terrorism and when these vices are on the prowl, there is insecurity, and of course, instability.  It is unfortunate then that while the UN was debating women and peace and security, over 200 girls were being spirited away in Chibok, Borno State by personifications of the vices highlighted above in the country of the president of Council.  What were the first line issues? The expectations were that a Nigerian presidency would push for a rekindling of the benefits of Security Sector Reforms, push for greater collective action against terrorism and galvanising member states to take the concept of coprosperity more seriously.  All of these played out. There was experience to draw from. Africa’s giant was elected a nonpermanent member of the Security Council on 17 October last year and is to serve on the Council for the period 2013 - 2014. Nigeria previously served on the Council from 1966 - 1967, 1978 - 1979, 1994 - 1995 and 2011 - 2012. Nigeria’s return to the Council in January 2014, after having left only in December 2012, represents one of the shortest periods in the annals of the United Nations that a Member State has spent between two terms on the Council and occurring as it were under the institutional memory of the same Permanent Representative, Ambassador Joy Ogwu. Is Nigeria seen as a country that has paid its dues in terms of engendering peace in Africa while that tonic for development continues to elude her at home? Or was it in order to strengthen belief in her capabilities that she is being saddled with holding the chair of two Security Council Committees: the Security

Ogwu Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning GuineaBissau, and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa?   Today, Nigeria is also one of the three vicechairs of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and one of the two vice-chairs the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan. How does the world and the African region fare? Apart from Nigeria, what special focus was brought to Africa? Security Sector Reform Security Sector Reform (SSR) is seen as something that has to happen in order for nations especially those in Africa to get out of the whirlpools of insecurity and instability. The Security Council has since adopted resolution 2151 (2014), the first stand-alone resolution on SSR. Under Nigeria’s watch the resolution recognises that SSR should be a nationally-owned process. In this respect, it recalls the sovereign right and the primary responsibility of the states concerned to determine their respective SSR approaches and priorities. In particular, the resolution emphasised the inter-linkages between security sector reform and other important factors of stabilization and reconstruction, such as, but not limited to, transitional justice, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration as well as long-term rehabilitation of former combatants including in particular women and children, national small arms and light weapons management, arms embargo implementation, reduction of armed violence, organised crime and anti-corruption measures, protection of civilians, including in particular women and children, as well as gender equal-

ity and human rights issues. Now, by the estimation of many, the resolution represents a change in direction of the United Nations’ support for SSR because It also marks both the significant achievements made in shaping the UN’s approach to SSR and the positive contribution of the agenda toward the maintenance of international peace and security. The effect of this would soon become visible as nations like Nigeria combat terrorism.  C.A.R  AFTER months of discussion on the best way to return peace and stability to the Central African Republic (CAR), Council unanimously adopted resolution 2149. It also voted to send a 12,000-strong force to that country. In addition, The UN resolution also authorised some 2,000 French troops to work alongside the UN peacekeepers. Thousands have been killed, with about 1.3 million people - a quarter of the population - in need of aid. Broadly, the resolution authorizes the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission - the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA). MINUSCA will take over from the African-led International Support Mission to the CAR (MISCA) and complement the efforts of the Transitional Authorities in restoring peace and stability to the country. The bottom line here is the fact that the Resolution 2149 mandates support for the implementation of the transition process, including efforts to enable the extension of State authority and preservation of territorial integrity. It has the protection of civilians at the core of its mandate and also calls for the facilitation of immediate, full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance. Darfur (Sudan) And Western Sahara  By adopting resolution 2148 (2014), the

Council endorsed the implementation of UNAMID’s revised strategic priorities, which include the protection of civilians, facilitation of humanitarian assistance and ensuring the safety of humanitarian personnel; mediation between the Government of Sudan and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD); and supporting the mediation of community conflict, including through measures to address its root causes. And quite interestingly, in their briefing towards the end of last month, Herve Ladsous, USG (DPKO), and Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Joint Special Representative of UNAMID updated Council members on the security and economic situations as well as the status of peace process in Darfur. They informed that the activities of both the Rapid Support Force (RSF) and armed militia groups were exacerbating the tense situation in both the North and South of Darfur; hence there is a need for SSR.  In Western Sahara, there are now efforts to achieve consensus among stakeholders on the situation in that territory, going by the effort of SRSG Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber and Special Envoy Christopher Ross briefed the watchful world on the adoption of bilateral consultations.  What is important here is that the new initiative has been welcomed and stakeholders are being urged to re-double their efforts for an agreeable solution Council by the beginning of this month adopted resolution 2152 (2014) extending the mandate of MINURSO until 30 April 2015. Mali, Côte D’ivoire And Burundi BESIDES Burundi where work on security is progressing, the sanctions regime in Cote d’Ivoire has been under focus. Council also extended the mandate of the Group of Experts for an additional 13 months. The world is being told that the resolution here responds to the needs of the country by addressing specific areas deemed inimical to the wellbeing of the State. It is flexible in its application.  It has to be noted however that Nigeria was vocal in insisting that the Council does not give the impression that the sanctions were instituted to punish rather than to effect change. As for Mali, it has been recorded that the restoration of constitutional order and the commencement of dialogue between the government and armed groups were signs of hope for Mali to overcome its deep crisis. There however remains a need for deep commitment by all stakeholders in order to overcome residual challenges, particularly in the north of the Country.  Elsewhere  THE Middle East is always a recurring decimal in global conflict. And so Syria has been in focus as the body looked at efforts of the Joint Mission of the United NationsOrganisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).   The security concerns prevalent in Syria were acknowledged by member states. In the days ahead a fuller picture is expected to emerge on the level of implementation of Resolution 2118 (2013), which calls for the removal and elimination of Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles by the end of June 2014. Barely one month away! In Yemen, following briefings, chroniclers are being told that the political transitional process in that country remains on track, including the remarkable progress in the Constitution Drafting Committee as well as discussions on federalism. UNSC members were by their comments, encouraged by the progress recorded in the work of the Constitution Drafting Committee and expressed a desire to see its work concluded within the agreed time frame. As for Ukraine and Russia, the balls here are getting more and more intricate. It is an unending panorama of events pointing at grave consequences if allowed to further escalate. The bag of twists promises to be fuller this week 


Sunday, May 18, 2014

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FOREIGNNEWS 20 Bodies Pulled From Rivers Aftermath Floods BOSNIA AND SERBIA T least 20 people are feared A dead in BosniaHercegovina and Serbia after the worst floods in more than a century. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes as several months of rain fell in a few days and rivers burst their banks. Landslides have buried houses in Bosnia and reports say as many as 16 people may

have died. An outer suburb of the Serb capital Belgrade has been inundated and eight people are reported to have drowned. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told reporters the first bodies had been recovered in Obrenovac, the worst-hit area to the south-west of the capital, and he feared more would be found. But he said the number of deaths would not be made

public until the waters had receded. A new flood surge was expected on the Sava river late today, he said. In some areas, flood waters reached the second floor of people’s homes. “The flash floods woke my uncle at around 0330 so they went up to the first floor. Then they had to go to the third floor because all lower floors were flooded,” one resident from Obrenovac said.

Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi waves to supporters after performing a religious ritual at the banks of the River Ganges in Varanasi… yesterday. Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi offered prayers by the river Ganges May 17 in a religious ceremony beamed live on television that underlined his Hindu nationalist roots a day after his stunning electoral triumph. PHOTO: AFP

Mine Disaster Rescue Ended As, Death Toll Hits 301 Rescuers would be “scouring all corners of the mine” one more time, he added, to make 30 people, including several sure everyone had been located. were found, raising the death lawyers, have been arrested. The local authorities have toll to 301. Several demonstrations have banned demonstrations in the The bodies of all miners been held over Turkey’s worstSoma town centre where riot trapped after the mine colever mine disaster. police used rubber bullets, tear lapsed are now thought to be “The rescue operation was gas and water cannon on Friday recovered. carried out to completion. Protesters have clashed with There are no miners left under- when a protest briefly turned violent, according to the BBC police near Soma. ground,” Energy Minister reports from western Turkey. Correspondents say more than Taner Yildiz said. URKEY is calling a halt to the T Soma mine rescue operation after two more bodies

TURKEY

Varanasi Welcomes PM-Elect, Narendra Modi ered a sacred river by Hindus. He was elected to parliaNDIA’S Prime Ministerment from Varanasi as well elect, Narendra Modi, has as from another seat in his been performing religious home state of Gujarat. rituals in the Hindu holy Earlier he held a victory city of Varanasi after his procession in the capital, election landslide. Delhi. Mr Modi offered prayers Narendra Modi secured the on the banks of the river most decisive election victory Ganges after being greeted in India in three decades, by jubilant supporters. campaigning on promises to Observers say the ceremo- revive the economy. He is ny was rich in political sym- expected to be sworn in next bolism, underlining Mr week. Modi’s roots as a Hindu Manmohan Singh, whose nationalist. Congress party was crushed Modi, 63, also promised to in the poll, has tendered his clean up the Ganges, consid- resignation as prime minis-

INDIA

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ter. Results show the BJP gained a majority in parliament and will be able to govern without coalition partners. However, many Indians still have profound concerns over Mr Modi because of claims he did little to stop communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 in which at least 1,000 people died, most of them Muslims. Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, has always denied the allegations and was never charged. After arriving in Delhi from his home state, Mr Modi was greeted by flag-waving supporters. He stepped out of his car,

Deputy PM Douangchay Phichit, Others Die In Plane Crash Xiangkhouang, nearly 500km (311 miles) from the capital Vientiane. AOS Defence Minister and The Laotian news agency and Deputy PM Douangchay the Thai foreign ministry said Phichit has been killed the minister and his wife had along with other senior offi- died in the crash. cials in a plane crash. Up to 20 people were The military aircraft came believed to be on board. down in a wooded area of The Chinese state news the northern province of agency Xinhua reports that

LAOS

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they included the Laotian minister of public security, the secretariat of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party’s central committee, the chairman of the propaganda training committee and the mayor of Vientiane. The officials are believed to have been travelling to an official ceremony in Xiangkhouang from Vientiane.

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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Sports

Difficult moment for Gareth Bale after Wales crashed out

Ibrahimovic

Brazil 2014 And The Missing Stars

Petr Cech…has to wait for another time.

ibly hard shot make him a nightmare to play Christian Eriksen (Denmark) DR, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, It is two weeks to the kick off of the against. Defenders in Brazil will be thankful AJOR tournaments usually reveal a rising Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup. Using that they won’t have to deal with him. Mstar. The 20-year-old Enzo Scifo for Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Belgium and Denmark’s mercurial Michael Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South agency reports, GOWON AKPODONOR Robert Lewandowski (Poland) Laudrup in 1986. Laudrup was 21 when he Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, HE Borussia Dortmund striker burst onto shone in Mexico, the same age as Christian Zambia and Zimbabwe. looks at some of the biggest names in Tthe scene during last season’s Champions Eriksen is now. That places the Tottenham Hotspur’s Adebayor soccer, or those on the verge of League, when he outshone Cristiano Ronaldo His silky skill and quick-thinking brain have among the missing stars in Brazil 2014 World becoming stars, but won’t be playing at to score four goals against Real Madrid in the drawn comparisons to Laudrup, and Eriksen is Cup. Adebayor helped Togo qualify for the 2006 Champions League semifinals. seen as the future of Danish football. But a Africa Cup of Nations by scoring 11 goals in the the biggest soccer showpiece. For The 25-year-old Pole has 63 goals in 110 league qualifying group with Italy and the Czech qualifiers, more than any other player in the appearances for Dortmund and is widely rec- Republic meant that Denmark was always African qualifiers. some football fans, the absence of ognized as one of the best forwards in Europe. to drop points, and it failed to make the these players will make the World Cup But he is crying out for a chance to showcase going playoffs as one of the best second-place teams. Seydou Keita (Mali) his talents - strength, close control and a poach- Eriksen will never know if he could have emua poorer spectacle. er’s instinct - on the international stage. HE plays for Valencia CF in Spain and the ver-

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)

H

IS country’s hope of qualifying for Brazil 2014 World Cup was solely on the shoulder of PSG striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He came so close, putting his country in a commanding position for the ticket, until the final moment in Stockholm, where Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick to secure Portugal’s place at Sweden’s expense. It was a day Ibrahimovic will live to remember in his entire football career. Ibrahimovic will be his own biggest fan for the period of the Mundial. To him, the Brazil 2014 World Cup will not be as exciting without him. “There is no point watching the World Cup because Ibrahimovic won’t be playing in it.” That was how he puts it. The 32-year-old is in the best form of his career and has shown his full repertoire of spectacular goals, martial arts-style volleys, overhead kicks from 30 yards out and dipping shots from all angles. He has scored 47 goals for Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden - including four hat tricks. He has also set many up with his clever flicks.

Unfortunately, Poland had such a tough qualifying group that it ended up finishing fourth behind England, Ukraine and Montenegro. Petr Cech (Czech Republic). With over 100 international caps, the Chelsea player has long established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. At last year’s European Championship, he kept the Czechs in the game with a series of stunning saves against Portugal in the quarterfinal - until Ronaldo beat him with a late goal. His reliability, strength coming out on corners and set pieces, and his stunning reflexes mean that when you score against him, you have really earned it. Strikers will be happier that he’s not around in Brazil.

satile midfielder is one of the big stars from lated Laudrup. He is one of the missing stars in Africa that will be missing in Brazil. Brazil 2014 World Cup. Keita can operate as both a central or defensive midfielder, and played most notably with Lens Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) HE Hawks of Togo made a big surprise at the (five seasons) and Barcelona (four), winning 14 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where titles with the later. big countries like Nigeria and Cameroun In 2008 Keita signed a four-year contract with FC Barcelona, with the Catalan club being failed to qualify. Though the country could not make a mean- believed to have paid the player’s buy-out ingful impact in that year’s edition of the clause, which stood at around ¬ 14 million. championship, many Togolese football fans On January 30 this year, Keita returned to Spain have always look at Adebayor as the man to res- after signing with Valencia CF, with the 34-yearold agreeing to a six-month contract with the cue them when the need arises. This time around, the contest for Africa’s five option for an additional year. tickets to Brazil was beyond Togo and the likes He scored Valencia’s fastest-ever goal on March of Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape 27, netting after nine seconds at UD Almería. He Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Congo is one of the players to miss in Brazil.

Adebayor

Robert Lewandowski of Poland lifts the goal-getter trophy he won with Borussia Dortmund in the German Keita Bundesliga.

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Gareth Bale (Wales)

HE Welsh winger will be hoping he doesn’t T follow in the footsteps of his illustrious countryman, Ryan Giggs - who won everything with Manchester United but never played in a World Cup. The 24-year-old Bale is in his best form with Real Madrid after his world-record $132 million transfer from Tottenham. Last season, he scored 21 league goals for Spurs, and his combination of power, searing pace and an incred-


Saturday, May 18, 2014 63

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SPORTS Countdown To Brazil 2014 World Cup

‘Mikel’s Form Will Determine Nigeria’s Performance’ HELSEA midfielder, John C Mikel Obi, making his debut at the World Cup finals, will be crucial in determining how far Nigeria go in Brazil. According to former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia, Mikel and forwards , Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike, will be the central players for the African champions. “Mikel will be key for Nigeria, having played at the highest level for a top club like Chelsea for many years. Such an experience should count for something,” he said. But Siasia, who featured for Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup, said he was concerned that the 27-year-old Mikel and some of the Super Eagles’ top stars had not been first-team regulars at their clubs. “The biggest problem (for the team) is that most of the players did not play regular-

ly for their various clubs and this cannot be good for the team,” he said. “What you can do when the players come together for the training camp for the World Cup would be mostly tactical and so I don’t know how (coach Stephen) Keshi will go around this problem.” Former Nigeria striker, Benedict Akwuegbu, also said he expected Mikel to play a big role and described him as “the engine room of the Eagles’ midfield”. Mikel, who missed the last World Cup finals because of a knee injury, is a holding midfielder at the English Premier League side, but is given a freer, more attacking role for his country as Lazio youngster, Ogenyi Onazi, does all the grafting alongside him. He started out as an attacking midfielder and it was in that role that he was voted

the second best player at the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup behind four-time World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi. His superb vision and ball skills prompted Nigeria’s media to compare him with the legendary Austin “Jay Jay” Okocha. But he was overlooked by Nigeria for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where the West African giants reached a second tournament final. There was also a time when his commitment to the national team was questioned. But Keshi said he was delighted the player has shone under him as the Eagles won a third Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa last year and also featured at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. After domestic and Champions League success with Chelsea, Mikel is now targeting the biggest stage of them all. “I missed the 2010 World Cup due to injury. I am looking forward to Brazil with great expectations,” he said. Mikel.

No Dengue Fever Fear For Super Eagles HERE are fears that there T could be an outbreak of “Dengue fever” during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in B r a z i l . Dengue fever is an ailment that is caused from a mosquito-borne infection transmitted to humans. Brazil has an alarming rate of the disease with three cities predicted to be affected during the World Cup. Natal, Fortaleza and Recife are the three Brazilian cities expected to be hit by the sickness, after scientists developed an “early warning sys-

Taiwo.

Taiwo: I Will Never Sit On The Bench For Keshi’s Boys AIYE Taiwo has voiced his T frustrations over his exclusion from Nigeria’s 30-man preliminary squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil. Since Stephen Keshi took over from Samson Siasia as the national team handler, Taiwo has hardly been called up by the national team and the former Gabros and Lobi Stars player is at loss why it is so. Taiwo further added that he understands he might not be in the coach’s immediate plans, adding that he will not hang up his international boots just yet. ‘“I’m really disappointed because I am a Nigerian player. But I can’t say I want to stop playing for the national team. Life is all about understanding. Maybe this period our coach doesn’t want me. But that is not a problem for me. There are people who have

played there before who are not there anymore. If they call me, I will come,” The Bursaspor left back told KickOffNigeria.com “I don’t really know. But even in Europe when they bring a new coach, there is a lot of changes sometimes. Sometimes the new coach doesn’t have you in his plans. Everywhere, even in Europe, the coach has his own players that he wants. If the coach doesn’t believe in you, no matter how you train, you can’t do anything about it.” He, however, refuted claims that he might have had problems with Keshi, which explains why he has been constantly overlooked. “Yes. I’m surprised. Because we never had any problems. And if there was any problem, at least they could have told me ‘okay Taye, this is the problem’. “No. I don’t really know why.

But as I always say to myself. Even my teammates ask me and I say I don’t know. If you play very well in your club you deserve to be in the national team. If you don’t play very well, you don’t deserve to go. “Maybe the coach doesn’t want me in the team because he knows that if he calls me to come and play for Nigeria with his boys, I will never sit on the bench for his boys. So maybe that is why he decided he doesn’t want me to come. “Because if I come, I will surely play. So he doesn’t want me to play because he knows that if he calls me, I will not come and sit on the bench for his players. “It’s not going to be possible. I don’t have any problem with him, but I was really sad because I did not believe that I would not go to the World Cup with the way I’m playing for my club.”

tem” to alert authorities on its risks. Nigeria need not fear about the dengue fever, as the Super Eagles will be playing its first game against Iran at the Arena da Baixada, in Curitiba. Their second game will be against Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba. The final group game against Argentina will be at Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre. Nigeria could face the risk of the disease, if they progress to the knockout stages of the World Cup and the games are being played in the three cities listed. However, Brazil tried to play down the disease. Dr Rachel Lowe from the Catalan

Ameobi.

Institute of Climate Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, who led the research, said: “Recent concerns about dengue fever in Brazil during the World Cup have made dramatic headlines, but these estimates have been based solely on averages of past dengue cases.

“The possibility of a large dengue fever outbreak during the World Cup, capable of infecting visitors and spreading dengue back to their country of origin, depends on a combination of many factors, including large numbers of mosquitoes, a susceptible population, and a high rate of

Argentina Will Beat Everybody, Says Ameobi UPER Eagles’ striker, Shola SNigeria Ameobi, believes that needs to win their first two games against Iran and Bosnia in order to stand a chance of progressing to the second round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The Super Eagles are in Group F of the World Cup tournament and would square up against Iran first, before playing Bosnia then Argentina in the last game in the group stages of the competition. Ameobi who has been listed in the 30-man provisional World Cup squad by Nigeria, thinks it could be a blessing in disguise for the team to play Argentina in their last group game, adding that they need to get the job done in their first two games. “Argentina will be favourites to win the group, if not the whole tournament, so in my mind it is all about how we get on against Bosnia and Iran.” “Fortunately for us we play those two first and don’t have to worry about Argentina until the final game.” “If we could get off to a winning start and then pick something up in the second match as well, that could be enough.” “The worst thing we can do is be complacent but I do think we have the tools to beat Iran and Bosnia.”


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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Atletico Wins First La Liga Title In I8 years TLETICO Madrid won La A Liga for the first time since 1996 by securing a draw in a pulsating match at Barcelona yesterday. Striker Diego Costa went off injured for Atletico early on and Barcelona capitalised as Alexis Sanchez smashed in a superb opener. Atletico came out strong in the second half as David Villa hit the post before Diego Godin headed an equaliser. Barcelona would have won the title with a win and Dani Alves went close with a fierce drive, but Atletico held on. The final whistle was greeted by wild celebrations from the Atletico players and coaching staff, while the entire Nou Camp stood to applaud Diego Simeone’s side as they finally ended the Barcelona-Real Madrid duopoly in Spanish football. The draw meant Atletico finished first with 90 points, three ahead of Barcelona and Real. It completed what has been a superb season for Atletico, which has seen them take victory at city rivals Real, as well as win nine league games in succession to go top of the table last month. Their run faltered slightly towards the end, as they lost to Levante and drew at home to Malaga, but they went into the game against Barcelona knowing a point would be enough to win the title. If that gave Atletico players any psychological advantage, it was swiftly eradicated when Simeone’s side lost two of their key players inside the opening 20 minutes. Their first casualty was Costa. The striker, with 27 goals in the league this season, had only just returned to the side after missing last week’s draw with Malaga, and he lasted just 14 minutes before his hamstring went after a brief sprint. Costa limped off in tears and just seven minutes later it got

worse for the visitors. Arda Turan, so often the creator of Atletico’s better moves this season, landed on his back awkwardly when challenging for possession and he too was unable to continue. To Atletico’s credit, they did not let that double blow disrupt them as they managed to keep Barcelona at arm’s length, whilst also threatening occasionally themselves. Atletico’s Tiago directed a header over the bar from Koke’s inviting cross, before Pedro missed with a similar attempt for Barcelona soon after. There had barely been a shot on target in the first half hour, but it was a moment of brilliance from Sanchez that gave Barcelona the lead. Cesc Fabregas curled a ball into the box for Lionel Messi who, with his back to goal, chested the ball into the path of an onrushing Sanchez, who smashed a first time effort from the tightest of angles just inside the top right of the Atletico goal. The half-time whistle provided Simeone the chance to offer words of encouragement to his players, and whatever he said evidently worked as the visitors made a storming start to the second half. Villa’s shot on the turn struck the post, before the former Barcelona striker saw a low, left-footed effort saved by Pinto, but their pressure paid dividends just five minutes after the restart when Koke whipped a corner into the middle of the area where Godin rose highest to send a bullet header low into the back of the net. Barcelona needed to regain the initiative if they were to successfully defend the league title and the balance of play quickly swung back in their favour, with the visitors seemingly content to soak up pressure and try and hit the hosts on the counter. Culled from BBC

Djokovic Beats Raonic In Italian Open Semi-final WO-TIME champion, Novak Djokovic fought his way past big-serving Milos Raonic to reach his fifth Italian Open final. Djokovic, the world number two, beat Canada’s eighth seed 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to book a place in today’s final. In the women’s draw, Italy’s 10th seed Sara Errani upset Serbian sixth seed Jelena Jankovic 6-3 7-5. World number one, Serena

T

Williams beat 11th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in the second semi-final. Culled from BBC

Arsenal Ends Trophy Drought With FA Cup Win RSENAL came from 2-0 A down to win a dramatic FA Cup final 3-2 with a goal

Djokovic

Atletico Madrid’s coach, Diego Simeone is tossed by players as they celebrate their Spanish league title at the end of the Spanish league match against Barcelona at the Camp Nou yesterday. The match ended 1-1. PHOTO: AFP

from Aaron Ramsey in extratime to end their nine-year wait for a trophy. Hull had earlier stunned the Gunners at a sun-baked Wembley as they went 2-0 up inside eight minutes through James Chester and

captain Curtis Davies, who both capitalised on some poor defending from balls into the penalty area. Arsenal, though, rallied and reduced the deficit through a superb 30-yard free-kick from Santi Cazorla. After several Arsenal penalty claims, notably a pull by Tom Huddlestone on Olivier

Giroud, were turned down by referee Lee Probert, the equaliser eventually came on 71 minutes when Laurent Koscielny knocked the ball into the net from a corner before being clattered by Allan McGregor. The Hull goalkeeper saved well from Giroud as the match went into extra-time

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

when the France forward Giroud crashed a header against the crossbar. However, it was left to Ramsey - who left Wembley in tears as a schoolboy following defeat with Cardiff in the 2008 final against Portsmouth - to complete a remarkable turnaround when he crashed in a loose ball from the edge of the penalty box on 109 minutes which handed Arsene Wenger his first taste of success since 2005, and might just convince him to sign a

new contract. There was, though, almost more high drama as goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski - in most likely his last appearance for Arsenal - came rushing out of his goal and was beaten to a loose ball down the left by Sone Aluko. The Hull forward looked to sweep the loose ball into an empty net, but agonisingly for the Tigers fans massed behind the goal, it rolled across the line and wide as Kieran Gibbs chased back. Culled from Sportinglife .com


Sun 18 May 2014