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DIG Haruna OCTOBER 1 BOMBING Okah’s brother John’s family calls for probe found unconscious in Kuje prison of his death Family: No change in his condition As ex-police boss gets hero’s burial

Another Oct 1 suspect died in Kuje in February

–Page 5

Apathy mars Kebbi guber polls Dakingari set for re-election –Page 2

–Page 4

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.06, No. 2082

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

SUNDAY

APRIL 1, 2012

N200.00

‘Jonathan: Nigeria’s most dangerous politician’ Tinubu

‘It is from Obasanjo that I have seen that you can be corrupt transparently’–Page 23-26

Nine terrorists, 2 soldiers killed in gun battle –PAGE 2

• Superstar singer, Lagbaja performing at a black tie dinner to round off the 60th birthday celebrations of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Lagos on Friday night. Photo: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

POLICEMAN SHOOTS PREGNANT WOMAN IN MINNA

–Page 4


NEWS

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Nine terrorists, 2 soldiers killed in gun battle

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N alleged plot by suspected members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to unleash terror on Okene, Kogi State, came crashing down at the week-

From Mohammed Bashir, Lokoja

end after the army and operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) uncovered the plan and engaged them in a

shoot-out. Nine of the suspected insurgents were killed while the army lost two of its men including an officer in the exchange of fire. Two other

It’s clear coast for PDP in Kebbi gov election

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HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in yesterday’s rerun election in Kebbi State, Alhaji Usman Dakingari, had the entire field to himself after the 11th hour withdrawal of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Alhaji Suleiman Muhammad Argungu. Alhaji Argungun accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of bias in its preparation for the poll. He alleged that the commission failed to carry him or his party along even when the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, visited the state ahead of the election. He said:”From the onset, there was no fairness. When INEC scheduled a meeting of stakeholders in Kebbi in preparation for today’s (Saturday’s) rerun election, invitation was neither extended to my party or myself who is its governorship candidate. “There are processes that lead to an election. Election itself is only an event and if the processes are faulty, the event is bound to be faulty. INEC has made a date with the PDP and the ANPP and I cannot be party to this anomaly.” But the Secretary to Kebbi State Government, Alhaji Nura Usman Kangiwa, would have none of that. He said Argungu’s lamentation was a mere ranting of someone who perceived that he was going to lose at the polls. “It is a normal thing for anyone who perceives losing an election to insinuate that there are irregularities in the process. If he truly saw some unfairness by any one, why did he not raise the alarm,” Kangiwa asked. The election itself recorded a low turnout of voters. The Supreme Court ordered the rerun after upholding the appeal of the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the April 2011 election Alhaji Abubakar Garu Mallam who defected to the PDP a few days to yester-

• Some of the terrorists killed in the gun battle

SSS operatives were wounded. The suspected terror group is believed to be behind the insecurity in Ebiraland over the last few months. The suspects, according to sources, were traced to a building in Idoma area of Okene, following a tip-off. It was gathered that once the suspects sighted the security operatives they opened fire and the soldiers responded. Some of the terrorists managed to escape only to take refuge in the surrounding mountains from where they continued firing at the soldiers. The Commander, Army Records, Lokoja, General Alphonsus Chukwu, who led the operation, said his men were on top of the situation. He advised law abiding citizens to go about their businesses. Asked if the suspects were members of Boko Haram he retorted: “We have gone beyond calling

these people Boko Haram. These are terrorists”. He said his men would not leave the trouble spot until the remaining terrorists were apprehended. A Nigerian Air Force helicopter- Apache- later joined in the operation, strafing the mountain with a view to smoking out whatever remained of the insurgents. The fleeing men abandoned some canisters used in making bombs, two pistols and two toy pistols, among others. Governor Idris Wada said in Lokoja that government would foot the medical bills of the wounded security agents. The governor who visited the Federal Medical Centre where the two injured were admitted, said government would continue to work with the security agencies to rid the state of criminals. He called on security agents not to be deterred in the task of making the state safe for the residents.

Dignitaries laud Tinubu at dinner

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T was billed to be a night like no other before it: funsoaked; a gathering of class and a befitting climax to the week-long celebration of a political gladiator. The Friday gala night at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos to round off the activities marking the 60th birthday of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). It did not fall short of expectation. From home and abroad came the guests with Senator Ben Obi, Presidential Adviser on Inter-Governmental Affairs representing President Goodluck Jonathan. Vice-President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, led a large entourage from his country including his Chief of Staff. And there were Governors Babatunde Fashola (La-

By Nneka Nwaneri

gos State), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers ) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) . Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos led other traditional leaders and white cap chiefs. Also in the gathering were Governor of the Central Bank of Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; former governor of Ogun State Aremo Segun Osoba; Chairman of Eleganza Industries, Alhaji Razaq Okoya, prominent industrialist, Chief Molade OkoyaThomas; National Chairman of ACN, Chief Bisi Akande; ACN chieftain Joe Igbokwe; former Defence Minister Demola Seriki; Cardinal James Odumbaku aka Baba Eto; former Justice of the

Supreme Court, Justice George Oguntade; Dr. Doyin Abiola; the Emir of Borgu Kingdom in Niger State, Alhaji Haliru Dantoro, Kitoro III; former deputy governor of Lagos, Princess Sarah Sosan and her successor Mrs. Adejoke OrelopeAdefulire; Hajia Bola Shagaya; Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora; Mr. Ben Murray Bruce; ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Rep. Abike Dabiri- Erewa; first governor of Lagos State, Brig Gen Mobolaji Johnson (rtd); former governor of Ekiti Otunba Niyi Adebayo, former governor of Anambra, Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Chris Anyanwu, business tycoon, Mr. Oba Otudeko and Senator Buka Ibrahim, who represented the Senate President. Also present were commissioners and Local Gov-

• L-R: Celebrant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and wife Sen. Oluremi, Lagos State governor Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola and wife, Abimbola

ernment chairmen, members of the diplomatic corps and federal and state legislators. The celebrator, Asiwaju Tinubu could not be missed in his black tuxedo suit, white shirt and black bowtie, smiling as he danced to the music of Bisade Ologunde, aka Lagbaja’. So was his wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu - resplendent in her black and ash coloured dress. A short documentary on the celebrator-A Man of many parts- was shown to the audience. In it, former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Adebayo called Tinubu a rugged head fighter whom he has known since 1997 while human rights activist Femi Falana described him as one who gave all for the democratisation process. Mr. John Mahama, vice president of Ghana who said he first met Asiwaju in 2008,

described him as a man with many insights. He presented him a gift with love from Ghana saying “he is one of the uncommon breed of leadership the African continent is crying for in a world where there are no more people who can give selflessly to the people”. Senator Tinubu spoke of him as her teacher, best friend, mentor and love of her life. “I have watched him birth many men of virtue and though he is brave as a lion, he is gentle as a dove,” she said. Asiwaju himself spoke, saying if he were president of Nigeria: “electricity will be my number one priority.” He reiterated how special his wife, Oluremi, is and the best partner one can ever have. The couple took the dance floor to the admiration of their guests.

• L-R: Vice-President of Ghana, John Dramani his wife and Celebrant, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Wife Sen. Oluremi his wife Manama. Photos: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL


Column

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Two exemplary Nigerians W

HEN the Nigerian genius comes into its own in any field of human endeavour, it is truly a world class phenomenon. For the past fortnight or so, the Nigerian nation in general and the Yoruba race in particular have been celebrating two of their greatest sons. It has been celebration galore, marked by the pomp and pageantry for which the race is justly famous. First, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, the Akinrogun of Egbaland, a royalty among reporters and emperor among newspaper barons, celebrated his outstanding journalistic beat with a riveting collection put together by the indefatigable duo of Michael Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe. It was an occasion befitting the monarch of the modern Nigerian press in its glitz and glamour. Only an Osoba could have put together such a pan-Nigerian gathering, with three retired heads of state in tow and a dazzling galaxy of stars from various walks of human endeavour. Old military kingpins, captains of industry, power plutocrats and the aristocracy of public opinion, were all there. It is a tribute to a lifetime of assiduous networking and urban ubiquity. The ace former reporter is a social magician with Michael Jackson foot works. It is said that Osoba does not forget anything. Nothing escapes his mammoth memory; neither obligations nor infractions. He remembers friends and foes alike. He personally returns all his calls and keeps a proactive social data like all gifted journalists. On a personal note, snooper owes the master trapeze artist a debt of gratitude and obligation. In 2002 when the columnist came all the

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HIS collection of speeches by one of the most important and extraordinary public figures of this era is timely in several respects. First, the speeches offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a man of power who is also a man of ideas. Second, they are a powerful tribute and testimony to the extraordinary transformative capacity of ideas and their ability to shape human destiny. Finally, they are a veritable witness to history as it unfolds before our very eyes. The tragedy of post-colonial Africa is the acute disjuncture and divorce between men of power and men of ideas. The men of ideas are hardly interested in power, while the men of power are hardly interested in the pursuit of transformative knowledge. The result has been a tragic glorification of brute force within the context of accelerating poverty and underdevelopment. Knowledge resents power and power disdains knowledge. Yet because knowledge is power, poverty of knowledge can never lead to knowledge of poverty. In an increasingly knowledgebased modern society, politics of the mind is the mind of politics. It is at the realm of ideas that the battle for society is won and lost. Armies of ideas clash relentlessly in the vast Homeric battle field of human consciousness. Old, outworn political deities and notions of human progress are discarded and given a swift burial. New heroes are born in the mind of men only for them to eventually meet the same fate. Of all Nigerian contemporary

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nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu

way from America to launch his last novel, Osoba gracefully and graciously abandoned his state duties to preside over the event. In attendance were the great Afenifere grandees: Abraham Adesanya, Ayo Adebanjo,

Olaniwun Ajayi and Cornelius Adebayo. Osoba’s book launch was redolent of old possibilities and refulgent with new probabilities. It was perhaps the last snapshot of the old Nigerian ruling class

forged in military adversity and sundered by military despotism. But it also foreshadowed the hazy outlines of an emerging consensus and new political possibilities. Those possibilities are now left with the new kid on the bloc. If anybody is in doubt, the diamond birthday celebrations of Ahmed Bola Tinubu which followed Osoba’s book launch like a neat historical choreography ought to put an end to speculations. It was a birthday celebration which was akin to a kingly coronation. Easily, this was the birthday of the decade. It was a historic show-stopper with all the stops and stumps pulled out. Snooper has never witnessed a birthday like this one. It is a long time the Yoruba hoi polloi have worked themselves into this kind of political frenzy just for the sake of an individual. At the height of the celebration on Wednesday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, all traffic going and coming to Lagos came to a dead end for several hours. A sea of blue apparel enveloped the entire horizon. Once again, the Yoruba people are collectively saying no to political slavery in the guise of a dysfunctional federation and his political heroics at their behest having entered into folklore, Tinubu is increasingly seen as a liberator. Still, a substantial section of the elite are demurring. They view Tinubu’s ascendancy as one huge social and political racket based on fraud and chicanery.

The mind of a Maestro politicians, none is more aware of this brutal reality of modern politics as permanent intellectual warfare than the two-term governor of Lagos state. Always searching for fresh ideas, always hungry for new facts, in him the notable intellectual meets the exceptional politician. The man of ideas meshes seamlessly with the man of action producing a perfect symmetry. Quick on his feat, tirelessly improvising, brilliantly manouevering, constantly outflanking, tactically adventurous but at the same time wonderfully alert to political ambush and danger, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is unarguably the greatest political revelation of his generation. Such a rise to stardom within so short a time is unheard off and is the stuff of fiction. While his friends and many of his contemporaries are pleasantly surprised, his political adversaries are stunned by the swiftness and precision of his ascendancy. How could this have happened, they ask in dazed disbelief. It is clear that we are dealing with a political phenomenon. The ultimate genius lies in the ability to mask genius. Tinubu hides his political genius so well that it is easy to mistake him for a garden variety or run of the mill politician. That is only part of a deadly camouflage which has led the heedless and the feckless to their political Waterloo. It is obvious that we have on

our hand a man of extraordinary political talents. Like a natural or complete footballer, the former senator of the Third Republic and two-term governor of the Fourth Republic, is at home anywhere on the field, defending with fluency and going on the offensive with fluidity and facility. This is total politics, reminiscent of the total football of the Dutch maestros of the seventies. If total football is the nearest thing to intellectual soccer, with total politics we come to politics as both political and intellectual mobilization with horizontal and vertical deployments of men and material going on simultaneously. It is a punitively absorbing game requiring nerve-wracking concentration, phenomenal discipline and psychological stamina. A momentary lapse of concentration can prove fatal. It has been famously observed that people make history but not under the circumstances of their choice. To this must be added the fact that peculiar circumstances always throw up peculiar individuals to do the bidding of history. It is the triumph of naïve idealism to imagine that while you can borrow and adapt visions and ideals from the past, you can also borrow its personages and personalities. Those who throw up their arms in anger and frustration, claiming that this is not the kind of politics—or politicians—they

are used to are merely viewing history through the aperture of some superannuated epochs. While working and fighting towards the ideal, the wise strategist takes politics as it is and not as it ought to be. This is the key to the Tinubu phenomenon. You cannot step into the same river twice, and you cannot fight new battles with old weapons. Whether we like it or not, protracted military rule has eventuated in the militarization of politics in Nigeria. The military are past masters of the game of surprise, camouflage and dangerous deception. With their military wiles and politics of exhaustion, they left the old political class panting and gasping for breath. They eventually succeeded in sending them to political Golgotha. But in Tinubu, a man who could have been a remarkable native generalissimo in an earlier incarnation, they met more than their match. He is truly the last man standing. Without him and his band of faithful comrades in arms, the entire west would have been turned into a garrison of militarized and militant mediocrity. It is in the realm of deploying ideas to capture popular imagination that Tinubu has proved himself vastly superior. The resulting innovations in practical governance as seen in Lagos state, the gains of the strategic duel with the federal authorities in the battle ground of proper federalism have become a monument to

Even some of his supporters view him with wary and grudging respect, a political prodigy for sure, but only an electoral Ajantala to be used as a cat’s paw to pull the chestnut out of the fire before being dumped at the appropriate time. They are in for the greatest surprise of their life. Tinubu is too smart and savvy to be used and dumped. The stakes are so high and a masquerade that farts inside his own sealed robes has a feat of endurance ahead of him. At this point, it is important to prevent Tinubu from politically self-destructing either through sheer hubris or a catastrophic lapse of concentration. Enlightened selfinterest of a race dictates that all swords of dark furies and bitter resentments should now be sheathed in the larger interests of the group. This column particularly appeals to the old Afenifere grandees and other disaffected patriarchs and matriarchs not to cut their nose to spite their face. In the coming week in this column, there will be time for a more nuanced reflection on the Tinubu phenomenon. This morning, snooper is publishing a foreword written for a compendium of Tinubu’s landmark speeches in the last five years. It shows that contrary to the street urchin of political demonology, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a sophisticated political thinker and outstanding strategist. visionary imagination in politics. This collection of speeches has emphatically demonstrated why knowledge of artillery is no match for the artillery of knowledge. Great ideas will always trump great brute force. In these remarkable speeches, we could hear Tinubu boldly staking out his position on crucial national issues; vigorously enunciating his vision and mission in politics and preparing to defend them with all that is available to him. Sometimes he is punitively proactive such as when he managed to insinuate the critical issue of electoral reform into national consciousness through the instrumentality of CODER. A few times, he casts a retrospective glance at the past in order to refine and clarify the great issues of the moment. Occasionally, he takes a direct plunge through critical interventions in national controversies such as the Fuel Subsidy Withdrawal, Sovereign Wealth Fund etc. Taken together or individually, these speeches are a rare glimpse into the mind of a political grandmaster. They are in effect something of a maestro’s manifesto and a covenant of faith with the people of Nigeria. It is just as well that Bola Ahmed Tinubu was born in the month of March. A maestro is on the march in Nigeria. I warmly recommend these nuggets of gold from a constantly probing mind and the vast redemptive resources it is capable of generating.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

News

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$132m Halliburton scam: FG may appeal judgement

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Policeman shoots pregnant woman in Minna

HE Federal Government is weighing the option of appealing against the recent striking out of a case on the $180m Halliburton scam, according to indications in Abuja. An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Abubakar Sodiq Umar struck out the case involving Ibrahim Aliyu, Mohammed Gidado Bakari, and four others for alleged lack of diligent prosecution. However, yesterday it was gathered that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was not involved in the prosecution of the suspects. A reliable source said: “The government has not made up its mind on whether to file an appeal or not. There are a lot of intrigues and negotiations involved in view of the plea bargain dimension to

• EFCC not involved in prosecution From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

the case. “What the Federal Government has succeeded in doing is to recover diverted funds from some of the major or key suspects. This case involves some nations too. “The government will study the judgement of the Abuja High Court and legal advice by the prosecutors, who are mostly reputable Senior Advocates of Nigeria.” The source, who is conversant with the investigation, gave insight into how the case was prosecuted. He said: “It is important to make some clarification in the light of a recent publication on the

ruling of an Abuja High Court on the Halliburton matter. Justice Abubakar Sodiq Umar struck out the case involving Ibrahim Aliyu, Mohammed Gidado Bakari and four others for alleged lack of diligent prosecution as the accused persons had not appeared in court more than one year after the case was filed. “Although his Lordship made no specific reference to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the said ruling, a newspaper went ahead to heap blame for the development on the commission for what it tagged sloppy prosecution by the EFCC. This, to say the least, is gross misrepresentation intended to ridicule the commission.

Jide Orintunsin, Minna

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POLICEMAN who is a member of the anti terrorist squad in Niger State at the weekend opened fire on a couple at a check point in Minna, the State capital. The bullet hit the wife, said to be pregnant, at the neck. The couple, Alhaji Mohammed Kabir and his wife, Safiya, were on a visit from Kaduna. They were said to have run into the check point on NITECO Road in their Peugeot 406 at about 10:30 pm. The couple, apparently unaware of the existence of the check point at the location and Kabir who was driving, according to a source, made no effort to slow down or stop there. The errant policeman took offence at Kabir’s action and aimed a shot at the car. The bullet shattered the windscreen into smithereens before hitting Safiya on the neck. By the time Kabir pulled the car to a halt, he saw his wife drenched in blood. He raised the alarm, shouting in Hausa ‘’sun kashe mata na, sun kashe mata na’’ (they have killed my wife). A crowd soon gathered and advised him to take his wife to a nearby private hospital. However, the first two private hospitals he went refused to accept Safiya. The saving grace came when some security men accompanied the couple to the Minna General Hospital, where doctors promptly attended to her and later referred her to the National Hospital, Abuja where she is now recuperating. Meanwhile, the shooting angered youths in the area, as some of them wanted to attack the policemen at the check point. They felt the policemen were high handed .They were, however, dispersed by a team of mobile policemen drafted to the scene. It was also gathered that the trigger-happy policeman was immediately arrested and relieved of his rifle by his superior. Efforts to confirm the development from Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard Oguche (ASP) were fruitless, but a senior Police officer who preferred anonymity said that the suspect had been arrested on the order of the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Diseye Desire Nsirim.

• Kebbi State re-run governorship election yesterday

“Without prejudice to the ruling of Justice Umar, it is necessary to correct the impression created, that the EFCC had been negligent in its prosecutorial duties in respect of this case. This charge would have been indefensible were the facts accurate. “The investigation of the matter in question was not handled by EFCC and so the agency could not be held liable for any shortcoming regarding its prosecution in court. “For the avoidance of doubt, the Halliburton case was an interagency investigation driven by the Nigeria Police.” The source recalled that following the global outcry sparked by the mention of Nigerian officials in the Halliburton scandal, the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua raised a Presidential Panel of Investigation under the leadership of the then Inspector General of Police, Mr Mike Okiro, to handle the investigation. “Officers drawn from the Nigeria Police, the State Security Service, SSS, the National Intelligence Agency, NIA and EFCC were part of the panel”, the source said pointing out that the EFCC role in the panel was at best marginal as it contributed only one representative on that panel. “Even when charges were eventually preferred against the accused persons, of a list of 14 prosecution witnesses only one came from the EFCC while the SSS, for instance, had 4; the Nigeria Police 3 and the National Intelligence Agency 2. “To underscore the global nature of the investigation, the charges were prepared and filed by the Ministry of Justice, not EFCC. The Attorney General of the Federation granted a fiat to four private prosecutors, including three senior advocates to handle the case on behalf of the ministry. “There was no direct involvement of the commission in the case beyond the participation of one of its staff on the panel. So it is a disservice to the EFCC to be vilified over a matter which it had no control over, whether in its investigation or prosecution. So, contrary to media reports, the matter that was struck out in court was not an EFCC case”, the source emphasized.”

OCTOBER 1 BOMBING: Okah’s brother found unconscious in Kuje prison

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NE of the suspects standing trial for the October 1, 2010 Independence anniversary bomb blast, Charles Okah, was on Friday night found unconscious in his cell at Kuje Prison. He was subsequently rushed to the Emergency Unit of the National Hospital by the Nigerian Prison Service. The status of his health was not clear yesterday although his family expressed fear that the worst might have happened to him. Charles is the younger brother of the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta MEND), Henry Okah, who is also in detention in South Africa. Charles has been on trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja with Obi Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis Osvwo who died in prison custody in February. They are being tried by Justice Gabriel Kolawole for alleged complicity in the two explosions that hit the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja during the country’s 50th

• Family: No change in his condition • Another Oct 1 suspect died in Kuje in February From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

Independence celebration. About 12 people died in the bomb explosions. It was gathered that Charles slumped on Friday night in his solitary confinement. It was learnt that a warder conducting night check discovered that he was unconscious and notified the prison management which then rushed the suspect to the National Hospital. A family member said: “Reports reaching us indicate that Charles Okah may have passed on and secretly taken out of Kuje Prison where he and two others were remanded while awaiting trial. “The said event took place late last night (Friday) after he was found unconscious in his cell by prison warders on night duty. It

was said that he wasn’t breathing, his blood pressure was very low and his pulse non-existent. “The staff of the clinic tried to resuscitate him all to no avail. The prison doctor was called in but he too failed to revive him. He was later stretched out to the prison ambulance for onward conveyance to the National Hospital, Abuja.” Another source, however, claimed that his lawyer, O.O. Otemu from Festus Keyamo Chambers visited him on Friday afternoon. “When the lawyer came, Charles said that he was not feeling well. He complained of chest pains, headache and dizzy spells. Actually, the lawyer berated the prison officials for their continued cruelty and non-compliance with a court order issued over two weeks ago to secure the inmate and give him necessary medical atten-

tion. “A top prison official said the service does not need a court order to carry out its primary function of securing inmates and suspects awaiting trial. He said there are forces at play greater than the court and the Nigeria Prison Service.” No prison official could confirm the actual state of health of Okah last night. A reliable top prison official, who spoke in confidence said: “I doubt if Charles Okah is dead. Let me find out the actual situation.” His response was still being awaited at press time. Okah’s family had in October 2011 protested against Charles deteriorating condition. The family claimed that apart from his eye sight that was going bad, he had no access to his wife and his accounts were frozen by the Federal Government.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

News

NEW REVENUE FORMULA: RMAFC writes 36 govs, begins verification of data

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HE battle for the review of the revenue sharing formula is gathering momentum. The Nation can now reveal that the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has written to all the 36 state governors and other stakeholders on its intention to hold a nationwide consultation with them on the issue. The commission also plans to verify available data in each state to justify claims for review or otherwise. No fewer than six teams have been set up for the nationwide field work scheduled to commence on April 20.It will last a month. The current revenue allocation formula is as follows: Federal Government (52%); States (26.72%); and Local Governments (20.60%). A committee raised by the Nigerian Governors Forum and headed by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, has recommended a drastic reduction in the Federal Government’s allocation. The governors want this new formula: FG (35%); States (42%); and LGAs (23%). The oil producing states are pushing for a considerable increase in derivation from the present 13%. Some stakeholders want up to 50% while some want 100% control while the states would be paying tax on oil and other mineral resources to the Federal Government. For instance, the Speak-

• Raises teams to verify indices from April 20 From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

ers of the six state Houses of Assembly in the SouthSouth, rising from a meeting at the Le Meridien Hotel and Golf Resorts in Uyo on Friday, demanded an upward review of the derivation formula from 13 per cent to 50 per cent. The revenue sharing debate assumed a twist last month after Northern governors and the newly formed Coalition of Northern Leaders faulted what they saw as the huge financial allocation to the oil producing states and said the Northern states were being cheated under the arrangement. The Junaid Mohammed-led group even claimed the oil producing states lack the capacity to manage the oil wealth accruing to them. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, in a swift response to that suggestion called it insulting. A top source told The nation in Abuja yesterday that : “We will start verifying indices that will guide our proposed new revenue allocation formula. We have written all the state governors and other stakeholders, including local governments, on our proposed nationwide tour. “The verification of indices will take about one month in the field beginning from April 20. We want to be as scientific as much as possible in arriving at a sustainable revenue allocation

formula. “We will look into such indices like population, Internally Generated Revenue, resources, school enrolment, land mass, and others. “Since the return of democracy in 1999, there has not been any constitutionally backed revenue allocation formula. The last constitutionally backed allocation review was in 1992. “The formula in place is only through Executive Order, not by the instrument of the National Assembly.” Section 162(2) empowers the RMAFC to determine the nation’s revenue allocation formula. The section reads: “The President upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass, ter-

rain as well as population density. “Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than 13 per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.” Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo had, in 2002, invoked an Executive Order to share revenue as follows: FG (54.68%), States (24.72%) and LGs (20.60%). In March 2004, the then Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala issued a letter modifying the Executive Order that increased state allocation to 26.72% and reduced FG’s share to 52.68%. The commission had in September 2004 submitted a new formula to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who later forwarded it to the National Assembly for consideration in line with Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution. The proposal with the National Assembly makes the following recommendations: Federal Government

(53.69%); States (31.10%); and Local government Areas (15.21 %.). 6.5% of Federal Government’s allocation is reserved for Special Funds, leaving it with 47.19% The breakdown of the 6.5% includes Ecological Fund (1.50%); Solid Mineral Fund (1.75%), National Reserve Fund (1.50%) and Agricultural Development Fund (1.75%). The proposal with the National Assembly is yet to be approved. Although a Special Committee of the House of Representatives (headed by exMajority Leader, Alhaji Abdul Ningi) organised public hearings in all the six geopolitical zones between August 28 and 30, 2006, the consideration of the bill has been stalled by politics. A source in RMAFC added: “We can no longer work with the 2004 proposal before the National Assembly because of change in indices. Development indicators cannot be static in any nation. “We are really going to the field for a thorough job. Although we have limited resources, we will try to cope.”

CBN’S cash-less policy takes-off in Lagos today

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HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated its commitment to the cash-less policy as the pilot scheme kicks off in Lagos today. Giving this assurance yesterday in a telephone interview with The Nation, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, Head of Corporate Affairs of the apex bank said guidelines for the smooth take off of the policy in Lagos from April 1 have been given. He added: “So there is no going back on the cash-less Lagos project.” The CBN, he stressed, “has stipulated a ‘cash handling charge’ on daily cash withdrawals or cash deposits that exceed N500,000 for individuals and N3,000,000 for corporate bodies”, adding: “The new policy on cash-based transactions (withdrawals and deposits) in banks, aims at reducing and not eliminating the amount of physical cash (coins and notes) circulating in the economy, and encouraging more electronic-based transactions payments for goods, services, transfers, etc.” The policy which is expected to be rolled out to

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

other regions across the country from January 1st next year, does not prohibit withdrawals or deposits above the stipulated amounts, but such transactions will be subject to cash handling charge, the CBN spokesman noted.

•Flag off of National Immunization Plus Days in Chimola, Sokoto State

Photo: NAN

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World Bank: NASS rallies support for OkonjoIweala at IPU HE Nigerian delegation to the ongoing 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) session in Kampala, Uganda, is to mobilise support for Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her bid to clinch the presidency of the World Bank. The one week session commenced yesterday. The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha in Kampala said the resolution of the House of Representatives supporting the Finance Minister for the post strengthens her bid for the World Bank top job and that Nigerian legislators attending the IPU are resolved to engage their counterparts from other parts of the world to secure broadbased support for Africa’s aspiration to occupy the post. He described as remarkable the overwhelming support for Africa’s bid for the slot by emerging economies across the world and said it “behoves all eminent statesmen, key political figures, and persons of international repute and influence with sympathy for developing nations to express their support for the continent’s quest to secure a paramount voice in the apex banking and development institution of the world.” He commended the position of African leaders and those of emerging economies on the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala for the World Bank presidency, noting that such unanimity of purpose and convergence of interest was “surely necessary as a pre-condition for redressing the disadvantaged placement of these nations in global affairs.” He called for fair play and a level-playing ground in choosing the next World Bank president.

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Haruna’s family wants his death probed

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HE family of Deputy Inspector General of Police Haruna John, who died in the March 14helicopter crash in Jos, wants the accident probed by the authorities. Three other officers died in the crash. DIG John was given a hero’s burial yesterday in Jalingo, the capital of his home state of Taraba, after a funeral service organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN),Taraba State. The deceased’s younger brother and Nigeria’s High Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr.Musa John said at the funeral that the family had been thrown into confusion on account of the

Barnabas Manyam and Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

DIG’s death, citing the death of their 82 year old mother, Silany Hauwa, just 10 days after her son’s demise, and the hospitalisation of two of his sisters. He demanded government’s response to reports that the ill-fated helicopter was faulty before the police officers were made to fly in it. He said: “We may never know what really caused the fatal crash, but we are hoping that the Federal Government will carry out a full investigation on what actually happened that caused the crash of the helicopter. “We make this appeal not because we are directly

concerned and affected, not because we are blaming anyone or group but we don’t expect any other family to go through what we are going through right now, and because this nation cannot afford to lose her illustrious sons and daughters in these bizarre circumstances. “We will not wish even our worst enemies to go through such painful experience because life is a gift from God. No one has the right to take away another person’s life for whatever reason. DIG Haruna John died to ensure that people who have regard for life do not continue to perpetrate their evil acts.” Ambassador Musa John

said the deceased might be path if we all had chosen the part of dialogue and compromise and urged those who have opted for violence to pause for a while and give peace a chance. Hundreds of his fellow policemen and sympathisers from all walk of live thronged Jalingo to pay their last respect. The state government had declared Friday workfree in his honour and to enable workers prepare for the funeral. Haruna hailed from Karim-Lamido local government area of the state. The burial was preceded by the funeral service held at the CAN Headquarters, Jalingo.

The programme also featured a parade by the police and a 21-gun salute. The late DIG’s 90-year old father was all tears as the corpse arrived Jalingo. The deceased’s younger brother, Ambassador Musa John held on to the nonagenarian, consoling him. Haruna’s 82-year-old mother, Mrs Silany Hauwa John, who could not bear the shock of his sudden death, died penultimate Saturday and was buried on the eve of the late DIG’s entombment. The tragedy struck 12 days after Haruna was decorated with the DIG’s rank by the acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

News

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How to make Nigeria safe, by Army Chief By Sunday Oguntola

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HE current security challenge is redeemable if Nigerians handle security as a collective concern, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika has stated. He spoke last week during the pulling out parade for nine senior officers of the Nigerian Army Education Corps in Lagos. The Army Chief said: ‘’The present security issue in the country requires urgent attention because the security of the nation is everybody’s business. ‘’We must all collectively address the issues to make this nation a peaceful and conducive environment for the present and incoming generation”. Iherijika, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding (82 Div), Maj Gen Kenneth Minimah, noted that the occasion was a well-deserved appreciation from the Army. He advised the retiring senior officers not to consider themselves totally disengaged from service. According to him, ‘’Your wealth of experience cannot be quantified nor can it be acquired in a day. Your country and Army will continue to depend on you for your experience. Please don’t deny them of it.” Among the retiring officers were two former Directors General of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), Brig Gen Yusuf Bomoi and Maharazu Ismail Tsiga. Other officers include Major Gen Aindigh, Brig Gen Walter Oki, Brig Gen Philip Mekamagba Atere, Brig Gen Osarenkhoe Omede, Brig Gen Amuche, Brig Gen Funsho Oyeneyin and Brig Gen Garba Mairiga Ringim.

NDIC pays N3.3 bn insured deposits of liquidated banks T

HE Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) yesterday disclosed that it had paid N3.303 billion out of N5.241 Billion insured deposits of 35 deposit money banks liquidated since 1994. Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim made the

From Chris Oji, Enugu

disclosure during the NDIC Special Day at the ongoing 23rd Enugu International Trade Fair. Ibrahim, who was represented by the South East Zonal Director of the corporation Mr. Sambo Michah, said the corporation has also paid N6.151 billion out of

F

ORMER Bursar of the University of Benin, Dr May Nwoye has demanded for police protection following the discovery of more coffins and some sacrificial items in front of her official residence. Last Thursday night, two black coffins draped with three red strip clothing and two earthen wares containing slain chickens were placed in front of her residence. Another coffin including an earthen ware containing sacrificial items such as dead rabbits, a human-like carved image, three eggs and other items were also deposited in front of her residence. The presence of the coffins and sacrificial items caused panic among other senior staffers of the university. Nwoye said she was surprised to see the coffins

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

and sacrificial items when she woke up. She said neighbours called about 12 midnight to inform her that some persons were offloading some things at the gate leading to her residence. Nwoye said she contacted the police who took her statement before removing the coffins and the sacrificial items. The former Bursar, who appealed for police protection, said those after her life and that of her family were bent on forcing her out of the institution. She said she had been receiving anonymous calls from different persons threatening to deal with her if she pursues her reappointment as Bursar of the university. A lecturer at the university, who pleaded anonymity, described it as a ‘worrisome dimension’ while an-

000 and N100,000 to N500,000 and N200, 000 for deposit money banks (DMBs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs)/ Primary Mortgage Institutions(PMIs) respectively to enhance public confidence. He pointed out that the new level was used to settle depositors of the 103MFB closed in 2010.

•VC loses mother, ex-Bursar cries for help

•The coffins with fetish objects... yesterday

other queried the inability of the university security to apprehend those bringing the coffins into the university. Public Relations Officer of the institution, Harris

Osarenren said he was not aware of the incident. Meanwhile, the mother of the Vice Chancellor of the university, Madam Ifueko Lucy Oshodin is dead.

A statement signed by Osarenren said she died at the age of 94 and is survived by UNIBEN VC, Prof Osayuki Oshodin and two daughters.

Mysterious bomb blast in Enugu

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MYSTERIOUS bomb yesterday exploded at the popular Oye Market in Awgu town, Enugu State, forcing people to scamper for safety. Sources said the blast suspected to have emanated from an unexploded ordinance used during the civil war, occurred at the rice mill

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

From Chris Oji, Enugu

part of the market in the afternoon. Though no casualty was recorded, checks revealed that the strange blast was initially mistaken for a Boko Haram strike, a development that generated panic in the market. The Enugu State Police Command has commenced

investigations into the incident A release by the Police Public Relations Officer of the State Police Command, Ebere Amaraizu said men of the Anti Bomb Squad of the command have picked the remnants of the suspected unexploded ordinance for necessary analysis.

Over 1,400 inmates languish in Anambra prisons

HE father of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu is

dead. Igwe Mathias Ekweremadu was the traditional ruler of Anekeoji Mpu Autonomous Community in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State. Igwe Mathias Ekweremadu,82, passed on following a brief illness at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, . Surviving him are relations among whom is the Deputy President of the Senate and Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The Deputy Senate President described the deceased as a total father, disciplinarian, compassionate, accommodating, exemplary in morality, humble and contented gentleman. Burial arrangement will be announced later.

rangement to transfer the payment of depositors through eight agent banks across the country. The agent banks, he said, are First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Accesss Bank PLC, Unity Bank PLC, among others. The Board of the corporation, he said resolved to increase the deposit insurance coverage levels from N200,

More coffins, juju placed at UNIBEN ex-Bursar’s residence

Ekweremadu’s father dies at 82

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N11.576 billion liquidation dividend declared to depositors of the 35 deposits money banks.According to the NDIC boss, the corporation had also concluded payment of N2.19 billion to over 71,000 depositors of 103 closed microfinance banks (MFBs). Ibrahim further disclosed that NDIC was making ar-

O •L-R: Chairperson of Ikotun-Igando Local Community Development Area (LCDA), Chief (Mrs) Morenike Williams; Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Tunji Bello; Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Lateef Ibirogba and Engr. Ganiyu Johnson during sanifation inspection at Ikokun-Igando yesterday... in Lagos. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

VER 1,400 youths are languishing in three prisons in Anambra State, the Nation on Sunday can reveal. The prisons are located at Awka, Onitsha and Ekwulobia . Not more than 200 are convicted prisoners while over 1200 are on awaiting trial. Also, over 29 inmates whose family members or relatives have never visited are said to be mentally re-

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

tarded. The prisons, it was gathered, have also been congested. Onitsha prison has a capacity of 326 but accommodates about 900 inmates. Fitfy-nine of them are convicted while 889 are on awaiting trial. No fewer than 19 of the inmates have become mentally challenged.

Anambra State First Lady, Mrs. Margaret Obi charged the inmates to learn a skill from the various equipment provided by government. Mrs. Obi, who visited the three prisons, was represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr Mrs. Ego Uzoezie and Director of Social Welfare , Mrs. Rose Udeagbara. She urged the prison officials to use the skill acquisition items as well as consumables donated to them judiciously.

Sports pivotal to nation building, says Jonathan

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday restated his administration’s commitment to investing in sports. Sport, he said, is pivotal to nation building. He spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital when he formally declared open the 13th edition of the West African University Games

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

(WAUG) hosted by the University of Ilorin. He urged the competitors to be good ambassadors of their respective countries by exhibiting high sense of discipline and decorum throughout the festival. Jonathan, who was repre-

sented by the Supervising Minister for Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, described sports as a veritable tool for foreign policy and effective vehicle for the promotion of regional integration, cooperation, understanding and peaceful coexistence. In her remarks, the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqqayat Ahmed Rufai de-

scribed sports as an effective tool of reducing youth restiveness and joblessness. She commended President Jonathan for his assistance towards the upgrading of sport facilities at the UNILORIN. Rufai noted with delight that the quality of sport facilities of the institution has made it the first choice venue

for future international competitions. The Vice Chancellor of the university Professor Ishaq Oleyede praised the federal government for the immense contribution towards making the event a success. Athletes from 38 countries of the West African subregion are participating in the one week event.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

News

Anguish as JAMB site breaks down

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HE official result- checking website of the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) was shut down by its technical team last Friday barely a few hours after it was declared operational. This decision was reportedly taken by the Board due to the website’s inability to serve requests by users trying to check their scores nationwide. JAMB, with an annual budget of over N2.4b billion, was at press time yet to fully restore the website. A candidate, Joyce Edegbai, who is still struggling to check her result stated, “I have been trying to log-in to the site with my scratch card but the page keeps hanging so you may have to keep reloading until it shows the result page.” Citing some reasons for the technical failure experienced on the website, Gerald Sesebo, an Information Technology Software Engineer explained, “The problem could arise from minor programming errors or that the website was originally designed not to withstand a high volume of traffic. ‘ What some programmers fail to do when building a high traffic website is to account for the number of people using the website at the same time. So that when they are uploading results and candidates are trying to check those same results, it creates a huge system log that the server cannot handle which will in turn cause the ‘site to crash.” Victor Nwokolo, who wrote

Community youths nab two kidnappers in Delta

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WO suspected kidnappers have been nabbed in Udu, headquarters of Udu Local Local Government Area of Delta State by youths. The community youths, who overpowered the kidnappers after an intense combat, also rescued their victims. One of the victims was identified as Chief Opharotekpare Ofigo, an oil magnate. He was said to be at Ubogo junction in one of his filling stations to supervise sales when four young men suddenly dragged him to a waiting car. They reportedly zoomed off towards Emadadja road. It was gathered that Chair-

Psychiatric test for Okada riders in Bayelsa From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

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By Rita Ohai

the University admission exam, decried the silence of the examination body. He lamented, “since this problem began, nobody has come out to say anything to us. What you will normally see on other people’s site if this kind of thing happens is that they will paste a message on their site to explain the situation but we have not seen that and it is unfair.” From the results released, only three candidates scored above 300. Chief Registrar of JAMB Professor Dibu Ojerinde said the results of 27,266 candidates across eight states were withheld for various reasons. “In 2012 UTME, we had some disturbing news of extortion of money from innocent candidates by greedy proprietors and supervisors; all these persons will be brought to book,” he said, adding that the outcome of investigation would determine if more results would be released.” He further listed Abia, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa and Rivers as the affected states where malpractices such as extortion of money by some examination officials took place. A total of 1,503,931 candidates were registered for the 2012 UTME, which held across the country on March 24, making it the highest number of registrations since the existence of JAMB.

From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri

man of the Udu Youths Wing of the Urhobo Progress Union Comrade Sunday Subi gave order to his comrades to go after the kidnappers. They were allegedly caught at Ukperheren water side where a member of the gang was waiting in a speed boat. In the ensuing fight, two members of the gang were caught while the hostage was rescued without any casualty. They were reportedly beaten and handed over to the police along with the vehicle and speed boat used for the operation.

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•L-R: Assistant to Regional ECK Spiritual Aide Eckankar Nigeria Odoliyi Lolomari with Etsu of Kwali, Alh. Shaban Audu Nizazo III at the public lecture on “Religious Harmony in a Secular State” organised by Eckankar and National Orientation Agency in Abuja recently

Hoodlums invade council’s secretariat

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ANDEMONIUM broke out over the weekend at the secretariat of Idanre Local Council in Ondo State when the Chairman, caretaker committee of the local government, Hon Marcus Akinnayajo was reportedly attacked allegedly by some political thugs believed to be members of the ruling Labour Party(LP). The hoodlums numbering 50 were said to have arrived his private residence in the morning but narrowly missed the LG boss. Sources said he rushed to Akure, the state capital, on a tip off that he was to be attacked by the hoodlums.Piqued by his absence, the hoodlums were said to have torched his house and deflated tyres of all vehicles parked in the premises. They reportedly smashed the windscreens of his car.They later moved to the secretariat at Owena in search of the council boss. It was reported that for several hours, the entrance to the council was barricaded while workers were locked outside. One of the hoodlums accused the chairman of mismanaging the funds of the council. He said that was why he has not done anything tangible, adding that regular money meant for party boys were being spent by him and his relatives.It took the intervention of the Chief of Staff

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Dr Kola Ademujimi to douse the tension. Ademujimi, who is one of the LP chieftains in the local government, was said to

have pleaded with the protesters. He promised they would be paid while their protest would be reported to the governor.The chairman could not be reached, as his mobile phones were switched off.

Minister restates commitment to internal security

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HE Minister of Interior Comrade Abba Moro has restated his commitment to ensure that there is adequate internal security in the country. He made this pledge during a public lecture in Abuja. The event which was organised by Eckankar Nigeria in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) was aimed at ensuring religious tolerance and respect for individual freedom. Moro said the ministry has its mandate to provide internal security and supervise security services through the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Fire Service (FFS). However, he noted that some of the crises facing the country is being attributed to religious purposes. He said: “No responsible government will fold its arms, while its citizens wriggle in pains under the yoke of insecurity imposed by nefarious groups bent on destroying the very fabric of our society. “The fact that many of the crises this country had experienced, including the current Boko Haram terrorist attacks, have often been given religious connotations makes the efforts of Eckankar in espousing religious tolerance very timely and commendable.” In his remark, the Area Director of Eckankar in the Federal Capital Territory

From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

(FCT), Nassarawa and Niger State, Engr. Emeka Ezeh said there was need to embrace unity irrespective of diverse religious differences that is being practiced in the country. Ezeh, represented by the Regional ECK Spiritual Aide (RESA) for Nigeria, Mr. Francis Omidiji said: “My understanding of this theme is that in a secular state, no faith is a state religion, although all faiths are welcome, provided they do not break the country’s laws or inconvenient adherents of other faiths.” The Chief Imam of National Mosque, Abuja, Sheikh Musa Muhammad in his paper, said Islam is a religion of peace, safety and security. The Imam, who was represented by the Deputy Chief Imam, Ustaz Usman, however, admitted that there has been lots of misunderstanding between the Muslims and Christians on the basis of beliefs. However, he said there was need for better understanding to ensure harmony in both religious. “We all know that our community is now a battle ground of ideas and there exists a kind of cold war between Muslims and Christians as a result of misunderstandings in many spheres of creed and ideology.”

OMMERCIAL cyclists popularly known as Okada riders involved in accidents will now undergo psychiatric tests in Bayelsa State. Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Jack Tamunotonye disclosed this when he visited the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Yenogoa. He said: “Motorcycle operators involved in road accidents would be examined at the psychiatry to ascertain their mental state.” Tamunotonye pointed out that the development became necessary following frequent occurrence of accidents involving motor-cycle operators in the state. He also said the FRSC was considering a proposal for outright ban of motorcycles. The FRSC commander who just resumed said the Command will enlist journalists as Special Marshals and train them on traffic rules and regulations. He also warned against extortion of money from members of the public by some men of the command, saying such offenders would be dismissed from service.

SAN recommends death penalty From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

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N Ilorin-based legal practitioner, Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN) has recommended death penalty for corrupt public officers to serve as deterrent to others. He said until Nigerians stop treating the issue of corruption with kids’ gloves, the vice would continue to ravage the nation’s economy. Ali made the call in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital during the presentation of laptops to 50 junior lawyers at the Ilorin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Each of the beneficiaries would pay “without interest” between a sum of N95, 000 and N85, 000 to acquire one of the gadgets. The event coincided with the first official duty of the reinstated Chief Judge of the state, Justice Raliat Elelu Habeeb. Alli said: “Corruption is too serious an issue to be handled with levity. Anybody who is corrupt and so declared by the law court of competent jurisdiction should be executed. This will serve as a lesson to others of like minds. “We should no longer send them to jail. The practice among some of those found guilty is that they after serving their various jail terms often come back to enjoy the ill gotten wealth. ‘’But we should henceforth make them not to return to enjoy the loot again. They should be killed.”

Foundation to fete community at Easter

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•National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Alhaji Bamanga Tukur flanked by Hon. Amb. (Dr) Kingsley Sunny Ebenyi and Hon. Oge Ali his campaign co-ordinators in Enugu and Ebonyi states respectively during his campaign tour of South East.

INK Pearl Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with Oaken Event is set to organise a cancer awareness campaign and charity giveaway for youth and women in

Ajegunle community, an uptown district of Lagos this Friday in commemoration of the Easter celebration. Mr. Onye Ubanatu, the Foundation’s Public Relations Officer, who made this known

at a pre-event press conference in Lagos, said the initiative is not only aimed at putting smiles on people’s faces but also determined to reduce the rate of death caused by breast and cervical cancer in Nigeria.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012


NEWS REVIEW

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Fighting it out on air fares A few weeks before the expiration of the ultimatum issued to foreign carriers, by the Minister of Aviation, Stella Adaeze Oduah, to either reduce air fares into Nigeria or face being banned from operating one of their most lucrative routes, tempers have been oscillating in the sector. Kelvin Osa-Okunbor examines the contentious issues.

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HESE are not the best of times for foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, as they continue to receive flaks from experts and authorities over what has been described as regional air fare disparity. The carriers – among them British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and others - have been accused of charging arbitrary air fares for passengers from Nigeria, when compared to what those from other West African countries pay on the same route with minimal differential in the distance. Although the National Assembly has joined the condemnation of the foreign carriers over what it described as unfair practices, some aviation experts have called for a deeper approach to managing the face – off. In their opinion, mere issuance of ultimatum may not address the unfair air fare regime given that Nigerian carriers don’t have adequate capacity to compete favourably with the foreign ones on the routes. There is also the issue of quality of service offered by some Nigerian carriers. It is on the strength of this that some of experts are calling on the Ministry of Aviation to consider ways and means of assisting the carriers rather than just dishing out threats that will not yield the desired results. In the view of an airline economist, Adamson Mohammed, what the government needs to consider is what experts regard as price management system, which determines what airlines charge as air fares, and not just relative factors that the government is considering. He reasoned that the last time British authorities had a face - off with Arik Air, beyond the reduction of frequencies that initially affected British Airways flying into Murtala Muhammed International Airport, nothing significant was achieved. It is his position that government needs to bring some things on the table while discussing with other countries in a manner that will enhance the capacity of Nigerian operators. Chris Aligbe, who is chief ex-

ecutive of Belujane Konsult, agrees that booking a flight from Nigeria is much more expensicve than doing same from Ghana. For instance, booking a first class ticket on the Lagos - London route on British Airways on a one way fare costs about $5,408 whereas the same booking for a passenger from Accra-London on the same airline is $2,399! The lower fare offering, according him, is a strategy by the foreign airlines to get niche passengers on the first class cabin from Nigeria, only to fill it up with lower fare passengers from Ghana. Investigations show that Nigerian passengers are paying more for business class seats from Lagos and Abuja to major European cities including London and Frankfurt as opposed to flying from Accra. For instance, British Airways one way business class fare passengers from Lagos - London pay $3,685, as opposed $2,049 for Accra to London. A hub for travellers To Aligbe, such fare offering is positioning the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, as a hub for West Africa. He said many Nigerians now travel through Ghanaian airports where they can get cheaper fares to get to their destinations. He observed that “The threat to Nigeria from Ghana is very serious. Ghana knows that it does not have the population; they know that the market is in Nigeria. Most of the industries in Nigeria have relocated to Ghana, but the market is here. The airline industry market within the sub-region is here in Nigeria. Nigerian airlines are dominating the west coast and Ghana wants to exploit this dominance and turn it to its advantage. “The high yield is targeted to take the high profile passengers from Nigeria into Accra and then fly them to Europe. They want to use this strategy to create a hub for Kotoka International Airport. They

•Oduah

cannot handle the economy passengers because the volume of passengers will burst the Accra airport. They do not have the capacity, but they have started; they are doing the expansion of Kotoka airport. But they have started with the high net worth passengers, first and business class passengers.” He supports the move by government saying, “We are in a position to make Nigeria the hub of West Africa but if we leave this thing to go on, we may miss it.” In the view of Mr Olu Ohunayo, Head of Research, Zenith Travels, “The industry genuinely yearns for a general review of some Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed with some countries which have been detrimental to the growth of our carriers. Our carriers should not only be willing but must demonstrate their ability to reciprocate our own side of the agreements by either operating directly or through a code share.” He

asked the government to probe the cause of the discriminatory fares. On the pother hand, Aligbe, who is a former spokesman of the defunct Nigeria Airways explained that Arik Air, the only Nigerian carrier flying into Europe and America, cannot give the European and American carriers enough competition. The only way this can happen is through government investment. He reasoned that Nigerian passengers could experience more difficulties, if government holds its position that the mega carriers should reduce fares without an alternate plan of enhancing the capacity of Nigerian carriers to fill the void to be created if the foreign carriers refuse to fly into the country. He further explained that the upgrading of the existing flag carriers into national carriers without government outright ownership is one of the ways of correcting the fare imbalance because Nigerian carriers cannot operate the 21 flight frequencies enjoyed by two British Carriers: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways on the Lagos - London route. Aligbe said that government must continue to consider protectionist policies, part of which is the creation of conducive operating environment for domestic operators to offer cheaper fares. He further explained that most countries of the world including the United States of America always come to the assistance of their carriers to keep their operations afloat in the face of stiff competition. However, Ohunayo is of the view that government was wrong by issuing mere threats or ultimatum to the foreign carriers without putting anything on the table while calling for a review of the bilateral air services agreement. He observed that until government does what is right by empowering domestic carriers, foreign carriers will continue to short change Nigerians.

The government had on March 26 given the British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and all international airlines operating in the country a 30-day ultimatum to dismantle the regional fare imbalance between what Nigerian passengers pay for international flights and their counterparts in the West African sub-region or face an immediate ban from operating in the country. This is coming even as the ministry is seeking the National Assembly’s cooperation towards the enactment of the Passengers’ Bill of Rights. Oduah had warned that “We are seriously concerned and worried by the reluctance to restore parity within the region by the foreign airlines. They have been using all kinds of delay tactics; this is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated. Nigerian passengers do not deserve this kind of exploitation and we are willing and ready to stand up for their rights.” Olisa Agbakoba, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is in support of government’s decision. According to him, “While we agree with the Minister of Aviation that Nigerian passengers do not deserve this kind of exploitation and commend the actions of the Federal Government, we encourage the Nigerian Government to take a further step and introduce a policy dissuading Nigerians from flying these international airlines through the passage of the Fly Nigeria Bill. The Fly Nigeria Bill will ensure that all federal employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees, and others performing government financed foreign air travel by Nigerian air carriers. A lot of the passengers who fly these international airlines fall into this category.” He added that a bill to this effect has been sent by him to the National Assembly. However, many have pointed out that making such patriotic statements is not enough. Government must create the enabling environment for its citizens to be able to invest and run profitable business and be proud of their own things.

COMPARING FARES One way tickets Lagos - London Accra-London Abuja and London Lagos and Frankfurt Accra and Frankfurt

British Airways British Airways British Airways Lufthansa Airlines Lufthansa Airlines

FIRST CLASS Lagos and London Accra and London

Royal Dutch KLM Airline $4,236 Royal Dutch KLM Airline $3,787

BUSINESS CLASS (one way) Lagos - London British Airways Accra to London British Airways

$5,408 $2,399 $5288 $5,356 $2,399

$3,685 $2,049

Lagos- Frankfurt Accra and Frankfurt

Lufthansa Airline Lufthansa Airline

$3,981 $2,105

ECONOMY CLASS Lagos and Frankfurt Lufthansa $749 Abuja and Frankfurt Lufthansa $711 Accra to Frankfurt Lufthansa $1,175 Lagos and London Royal Dutch Airline KLM $1,332 Accra and London Royal Dutch Airline KLM $1,284 Lagos and Frankfurt KLM $1,332 Accra and Frankfurt KLM $1,333


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012


COMMENT and ANALYSIS

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Another 50 years for PDP? Festus Eriye

The House of If the opposition wants to topple the ruling party Representatives is at it again they must go beyond name-calling

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efestus2003@yahoo.com 08052135878 (SMS only)

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RESH from its brokered convention, leading Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bigwigs have been congratulating themselves on what they rate a great achievement – managing to elect a new national chairman without the roof caving in. President Goodluck Jonathan hailed the party for ‘setting the pace for participatory democracy in the country’. Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, was even more creative, predicting a fiftyyear reign at the centre. His was a slightly more modest projection compared to the calculation of former national chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, who in a moment of excitement estimated his party would hang on to Aso Rock for 60 years. When that statement was made a couple of years back, the opposition were apoplectic at the very notion of PDP rule ad infinitum. I have always felt the outrage was overdone. I never understood the fuss over some fellow expressing his fond wishes. It wasn’t as if the man was the omnipotent God who could decree a thing and have it established. Back then I suspected that the opposition’s fury was fuelled largely by a realisation of how handicapped it was in its bid to topple the ruling behemoth. I think that rather than Jonathan and his party men dancing a collective jig over nothing, this country should really be in mourning over the state of our democracy. The PDP can mock other parties as fiefdoms ruled by sole administrators, but what played out last Saturday at Eagle Square was not much better: one man simply imposed his will on the party and everyone else fell in line. The ‘voting’ was not an exercise to allow the rank and file exercise choice, but simply a sham to rubber-stamp what had been rammed through in Aso Rock at midnight on Friday. The only difference between the PDP and the opposition is that the former has more resources to put on a grand deception for the undiscerning to swallow. The smaller parties cannot afford to pay for such sophisticated manipulation of the public’s imagination. So where does that leave the increasingly frustrated people of Nigeria? It is especially annoying when you realise that PDP rule is not being maintained because the party’s ‘excellent’ performance or policies are transforming the lives of people across the country. If anything, the last 13 years have only seen the nation stagnate. Poverty is endemic. Large swathes of the country have become ungovernable because of the activities of ethnic and religious militants. The economy is prostrate. The electricity crisis which the Olusegun Obasanjo administration inherited in 1999, and vowed to address, has only gotten worse. For over one decade all we have received are promises of deliverance and transformation. The dividends of democracy promised by PDP have simply become a pie in the sky. As some have pointed out, what is happening in Nigeria today amounts to the electorate rewarding failure by returning successive PDP governments at fed-

JUMBO SALARIES:

•Buhari

eral and state levels. Others argue, on the contrary, that the electorate has very little say in the matter because the ruling party – empowered by long years of incumbency in the vast majority of the states – has amassed an intimidating war chest with which to perpetrate electoral fraud and perpetuate its cadres in office. From electoral cycle to electoral cycle, rigging has been perfected into an art form, so much so that the more the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) looks the less it sees. But some are quick to counter that in the matter of electoral manipulation, no one side is totally innocent. They say people play games where they can deploy some sort of unfair advantage. The story of Nigeria today is that election after election the opposition cries rigging. In many instances these passionate allegations are rarely ever backed up with the sort of evidence that can make tribunals overturn dodgy results. This is leading many to ask whether the opposition’s stock response to every defeat – rigging – tells the whole story. I think not. If Nigeria’s clutch of opposition parties carry on as they are presently doing, the PDP could conveniently do another 70 years in power. That very prospect should be enough to rouse the horrified into action. But would it? Over and again we’ve seen that in these parts, the only way to wrest power from a dominant party like the PDP, is for the gaggle of opposition parties to collapse into one or form a broad-based coalition. In the 80s and 90s Kenyan elections were all so predictable. Despite the fact that total opposition vote tallies were always more than that of the ruling party, their rulers could never come together to present a common front against the then president, Daniel Arap Moi. What just happened in Senegal is further confirmation. President Abdoulaye Wade was obdurate about his third term ambition because he calculated that the opposition would never come together as one. But when the race was forced into a second round run-off, and the rest of the country rallied behind former Prime Minister Macky Sall, he was roundly trounced – even with all the advantages of incumbency.

• Ribadu

In April last year, the Nigerian opposition had a golden chance to seize power, but they blew it once again because the leaders refused to make peace with the reality that only a broad-based coalition or party can win a federal election in this country. General Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) the leading challenger to Jonathan thought he could prevail on the strength of his massive popularity in the North. He failed to see that once the PDP denied him two-thirds in some of those Northern states, he would need a Southern leg to make up the constitutional requirements. That leg that he spurned was the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) which was strategically placed to deliver to his column the voterich South-West. Aside from every opposition leader wanting to be king on the basis of his own exaggerated strength, no attempt is being made to define a clear alternative to the ruling party in terms of policies and personalities. This process takes time. The presidency of any nation is not something you can capture with three months pre-polling huffing and puffing. Potential voters need time to associate parties with policies. They require time to weigh aspirants on their subjective scales and decide for themselves who looks presidential. But typically our opposition presidential wannabes have gone to sleep only to roused two weeks to polling day trying to cobble together desperate and unworkable electoral arrangements which most people can see through. Anyone dreaming of toppling PDP and believes that it is too early to start preparing for the 2015 race should not bother to quit their day jobs. This is the time for opposition parties to begin to lay out clear policy alternatives to the ruling party’s template. What would they do differently on the economy? What would they do to create jobs? How would they resolve the Boko Haram insurgency? How would they address the outrageous cost of governance? What changes to the 1999 constitution would they champion? This is the time for opposition aspirants to begin to project themselves in the public eye as believable alternatives to the incumbent and his party. Just calling PDP names will not change much.

NE of the widely read Sunday newspapers just reported that the House of Representatives has just increased the quarterly allowance of its members from N15m to N27m per member. The reason for the 80% increase is to enable members perform their oversight functions and to shield them from the temptation of collecting bribes from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). For now, we just want to take the story as another rumour. But if it is confirmed to be true, we make bold to say that greed and avarice are the motivating factors for most members occupying the Green Chamber of our National Assembly and not a passion to serve their respective constituencies they were elected to represent. This is a House that is being rocked with corruption allegations. The immediate past Speaker of the House-Dimeji Bankole and his erstwhile Deputy have just been discharged by the Court of the N38billion fraud case. We are still expecting the EFCC to appeal that ruling. In the first instance, there is no moral and economic justification for the N15m quarterly allowance they are receiving before the current jump to N27m. As Representatives of the people they are supposed to serve,it is very insensitive of the House to clamour for this increase at a time when most governments in the Federation have not implemented the N18,000 minimum pay and when more than three-quarters of Nigerians are living in squalor and abject poverty. The country landscape is also littered with several abandoned projects while the Federal Government is reportedly owing local contractors more than N5 trillion. If we should give it a second thought, does the nation really need this Lower Chamber if we cannot satisfy its insatiable demands on the Nation’s Treasury? This is a House that barely records 60% attendance of its full membership at its Plenary Sessions except when Mr. President is laying the Appropriation Bill before the Joint Session of the two Houses. This current 7th Assembly of the House seems to be doing well in its oversight functions, but we admonish them not to allow the political contractors among them to derail them and spoil their good works. Hunger and anger are prevalent in the land. Those who have no viable means of livelihood or source of income before their election into the House should not turn themselves to liabilities/economic parasites on the Nation’s economy. The health of citizens should be paramount in the hearts of our elected officials from The Presidency to the Ward levels. Our elected officials are definitely taking more than their fair shares of our national cake/ commonwealth at the expense of the masses they were elected or selected to represent. We are hoping that our politicians and bureaucrats will publish a 50% downward review of their allowances which the Nation’s economic status can support. In this regard, The Presidency and The National Assembly should lead the way so that other elected and appointed officials can follow. Let us teach our younger generations that honesty, hardwork and probity pay and not this ‘get-rich-syndrome’ and betrayal of public trust in other to amass illgotten wealth at the expense of the less privileged ones. Let us teach these young ones to value integrity and a good name above material gain/wealth that is concerned through dishonesty and sharp practices/corrupt means. As long as corrupt officials are not adequately punished and the loots recovered from them when they are caught to serve as deterent to others, so long will corrupt practices will continue to be prevalent among our politicians and highly-placed civil servants. The recent scam in the Police Pension Scheme wherein the sum of N2billion cash was reportedly recovered from the residence of a serving Permanent Secretary may be a tip of the iceberg of the monumental misappropriation of funds or outright pen-robbery that may be commonplace in our Public Sector. LIVE LONG FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA. Oluwagbemiga Olakunle, JP General Secretary National Prayer Movement gbemigaolakunle@yahoo.co.uk


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

There can be law without justice but there can be no justice without law.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Comment & Analysis

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PDP’s mock convention President Jonathan’s antidemocratic hubris was displayed in Tukur’s victory

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RIOR to the National Convention of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on March 24, there was a general confusion about who would be chosen as the party’s candidate. There were two possible methods of arriving at the party’s choice; either by democratic election or by consensus. But no PDP chairman has ever been democratically elected. They had usually emerged, either by consensus or imposition. It was also noted that no PDP chairman had ever emerged who was not a favoured candidate of the President of the ruling party. It appeared this scenario played out on March 24 at the PDP National Convention. Politicians from Bamanga Tukur’s constituency in the North-East zone and the governors were opposed to his candidacy. The game of intrigues and horse-trading between President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP governors over the chairmanship of the party was laid to rest when the governors were forced to toe the line of the President by agreeing, even if grudgingly, with the sole nomination of the candidate of his choice, Alhaji Tukur, as his anointed candidate. At the state zonal congress on March 21, the choice of Tukur’s geo-political zone, North-East, was Alhaji Musa Babayo who defeated him with 14 votes as against Tukur’s two! Faced with a possible Tukur defeat, the President summoned a meeting at the Presidential Villa where he insisted that “it was Bamanga Tukur or nobody”. This and other subtle threats by President Jonathan forced their hands to play ball and the pendulum immediately swung in Tukur’s favour. From then on, Tukur’s sole nomination became a foregone conclusion. The same game was played out in the nomination and selection of the party’s general secretary. In fact, the event leading to the nomination and selection of the secretary, in person of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former governor of Osun State, was more dramatic. Since the position of the secretary was zoned to the South-West, Ebenezer Babatope who, like Oyinlola, is from Osun State, and Professor Tunde Adeniran (Ekiti State), and some others had warmed up, after serious campaigns, for the position at the national convention. Unknown to Babatope and Prof. Adeniran, Oyinlola who did not show interest in, nor campaigned for the

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CAREFULLY read Moses Eze Idika’s piece in the The Nation of Sunday, March 25, 2012, on the place of Nigerian universities in world ranking. I realised that some Nigerians could be so plagued with the spirit of negativism that they ‘do not see or will not see’ anything good that can come forth from their bowels. These set of Nigerians are so cynical about anything Nigerian but will rather defer readily and sheepishly to the West or the so-called progressive societies by postulating that they have superior intellect than us. He started the piece well but ended up not well. According to him, “the noise that the ranking has generated in Nigeria, especially in the academia is totally uncalled for because there is no way in truest sense of it Nigerian universities can compete with their counterparts from other parts of the progressive world especially under the current state of affairs.” He said that Nigerian universities are not meant to compete with others globally because modern universities are a place where rigorous and progressive teaching and research work is ongoing continually, a place where there is a sincere effort

position had surreptitiously been anointed by the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, to clinch the position on a platter of gold. The acrimony that followed the selection of the PDP chairman and secretary was betrayed by anger and fury from Babatope and Professor Adeniran, the latter being the most favoured candidate for the office. While Babatope could not hide his anger and frustration by weeping publicly at what went on at the convention, Professor Adeniran insisted he did not step down for Oyinlola but for the party. Days before the convention, President Jonathan had opened the Pandora’s box when he accused opposition parties of running a one-man show. The convention provided the opposition parties the opportunity to fight back. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) have descended heavily on President Jonathan and the PDP. The ACN, through its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, sees President Jonathan as “an emerging dictator” and his handling of the congress “a one – man show”. The party accused him of cajoling and arm-twisting other contestants to step down for his anointed candidate as Chairman of the PDP during “the mock convention”. He argues that “resorting to brute force and arm-twisting to achieve a pre-determined goal do not constitute strength in politics”. Rather, they are the early signs of megalomania and the onset of full-blown dictatorship”. On its part, the (CNPP), through its national publicity secretary, Osita Okechukwu, raised the alarm over

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

•Editor Festus Eriye •Deputy Editor Olayinka Oyegbile •Associate Editors Taiwo Ogundipe Sam Egburonu

•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi

what it called “a ploy by the PDP to rig the 2015 election”. The CNPP invited the international community to critically examine how the PDP, at its national convention, “flagrantly, against the best traditions of democracy, flagged off the rigging of the 2015 general elections with guided election”. For the CNPP, the PDP has defined the bad image of the country for the worst. It believes that no reasonable person can expect the PDP which rigged and bastardised internal democracy to stop vote rigging in 2015. We cannot agree more with these views. The issue of consensus is neither unconstitutional nor illegal. But when consensus is raised to the level of imposition, it becomes undemocratic with the tab of dictatorship or a one-man show. It appears the PDP has not learnt from the history of its lack of internal democracy which had landed it in trouble many times and for which it had lost governorship candidates in the courts of law. It has also lost members of the party to other parties for the same reason. What it always relies on is fence-mending after the deed had been done. Those who accused the PDP of internal rigging at its own convention may wonder what the party would do when faced with competitive elections from opposing political parties in 2015. Surely if the PDP can rig at its own convention, it would do worse rigging at the general elections. Perhaps what is not clear to the PDP is that democracy allows for election of the best candidates who have the image and popularity to win elections. When an unpopular person is imposed as a candidate for election, the result is abysmal failure at the poll. But the party does not seem to care about people’s choice as opposed to imposition of candidates. This is why the only means to a possible electoral success of incompetent and bad candidates is through rigging where the qualities, antecedents and popularity of imposed candidates do not matter to riggers of elections. So far, the PDP has produced six handpicked chairmen, each of whom was imposed by the party leadership. We know what the result of such imposition has always been. There is no evidence that Tukur’s fate would not be the same, as it most certainly would be another case of “same cause, same effect”.

LETTERS

Still on Nigerian Universities’ rankings to mould human beings to achieve their fullest potentials. “In Nigerian universities today, none of these parameters apply” he added. But pray, if this is the case according to Idika, then all Nigerian tertiary institutions in the country, both public and private should simply close shop because in this scenario which he has created, they are simply not modern universities. It is true that Nigerian Universities especially government owned are not well funded. Education funding

in Nigeria has remained appalling for quite some time now. This has led to decrepit infrastructures, inadequate hostel accommodation for undergraduates, poor laboratory facilities and outdated teaching aids in our tertiary institutions. The direct results are the incessant strike actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), poor academic and research work, and a decline in educational standards in the country. However, this is not to

say that Universities in Nigeria are not doing their best to rise to the occasion. I daresay that in spite of these difficulties confronting them, Nigerian graduates who go outside the shores of the country to study usually perform excellently well in their endeavours. They prove to the world that they are up to the task at all times. Quality assurance is the foundation of any system of University worldwide and the aim is to ensure that universities produce high quality and competent graduates who can

Letter to Inspector General of Police

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EAR Sir, Your idea of the cancellation of road blocks is very good because of the bad image your police men have given to Nigerian Police in terms of collecting bribe on the roads. Are you sure we are matured for this cancellation? The mere sight of the

road blocks by criminals make criminals to be careful as they ply our roads. While your policemen still collect money on the road; they still serve a lot of benefits to the society. In the United States of America you will not see serious road blocks but virtually all the policemen have marked cars beside

the roads, many use unmarked cars also. With a call to 911, police are there to help you. I wish to suggest that you don’t cancel road blocks completely. I also wish to suggest that cars be given to police men. Dr. Ramon Adedoyin Oduduwa University Ipetumodun, Osun State.

compete globally in different disciplines and Nigerian Universities are not exempted from this noble role. A university exists primarily for the generation and transmission of knowledge and thus, deserves a critical attention by all in the society. It therefore follows that a responsible government will cease paying lip service to the education sector. The rot in the education sector that Idika piece identified is a product of years of neglect by successive administrations and it will take time before it can be addressed properly. Luckily, the University of Ilorin as an example is already changing its part of the world by employing a code of conduct through discipline for its immediate community. Because this institution realises that the enormous task of nation building requires mutual cooperation and sacrifice, it has operated a stable academic calendar in the last

seven years by not embarking on frivolous industrial actions though it did participate in the last one against fuel subsidy removal. This is an ideal example. The University also has established several linkages and collaboration with many international universities and centres within and outside the continent. If a Nigerian academic could be the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gambia, and that institution’s Biochemistry department at Banjul is made up entirely of Nigerian staff, it tells me that Nigerian Universities cannot only compete effectively with their counterparts from different parts of the globe but also they can be among the top universities in the world. The problem we have as citizens of this great nation is simply because majority of us, because of the socio-economic environment that we have found ourselves believe erroneously that the solutions to our problems lies outside the continent. By Mrs Fatima Abubakre Directorate of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, Kwara State.

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Comment & Analysis

Carnivalizing Tinubu’s political impact Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net

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HEN the struggle against Abacha’s dictatorship and for the restoration of MKO Abiola’s presidential mandate started in 1994, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BT or BAT or Adan) as some of his admirers in the NADECOabroad group referred to him then and even now, was just 42 years old. But he was already full of the signs that came to earn him national and international attention in the years after the exit of military dictatorship. He exuded then many of the traits that have earned him ‘heroification’ by many and vilification by others: pre-occupation with planning; iconoclastic attitude to holders of power; unflagging capacity to put his money where his mouth is; and desire to combine board-room politics with populisttype of activism. In 1995 when the pro-democracy struggle was just becoming popular in the United States, particularly the in the Washington metropolitan area, BT began what

Femi Orebe femi.orebe @thenationonlineng.net 08056504626 (sms only)

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IKE the Ibadan Legislative Summit on Regional Integration hosted by this paper before it, the public presentation of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria document authored by the Afenifere Renewal Group and its reverberations have sent thoroughly unforeseen shock-waves to our brothers in the Northern part of Nigeria and particularly hyperactive on the matter has been the highly inventive Modibbo Ishaq Kawu who you must read if you want to be up-to-date with whatever currently agitates the North. From Kawu has come a ‘3-part South-West programmed secession’, namely: Aregbesola’s suggestion that an Awo-era anthem be adopted by Southwest states which he saw as a potent part of the plot; two, Adebayo Williams’ reference to the Lockean stipulation that people who freely and willingly give up their sovereignty to an elected ruler also have the right to demand it back when the state fails in its sacred covenant of providing political, economic and spiritual security to the people,’ by which our Malam says the SouthWest wants to isolate the North; -‘that old North’, in his words, ‘that is the eternal enemy for the Yoruba political oligarchy’, - as if their many decades of uninhibited power at the centre redounded to the well- being of the average Northerner; while the third leg of his’ well-documented secessionist plot, which the new SouthWest PDP National Vice-Chairman not uncharacteristically subscribes to, is that ‘a certain Prof. Adesegun Banjo suggested that the Southwest should “devise intelligent (intelligence?) agencies (!) to help combat internal and external threats.” If Modibbo was not too emo-

It is always more justifiable to create a carnival for success than to do so for failure later turned out to be his migration to the United States from the United Kingdom, his first point of call in his escape into exile through the famous NADECO route. He was ushered into a meeting of Action Group for Democracy in the suburb of Washington. The meeting was planning for the second Egbe Omo Yoruba convention in Washington, at which the Yoruba Diaspora was to be mobilized to join the struggle initiated by a tiny group of top professionals for restoration of regional autonomy in the Yoruba region. The person who accompanied him to the meeting whispered into my ears as chairman of the group’s political and leadership committee: “He is Senator Bola Tinubu” and asked if I had met him before. I shook my head and added that I have heard of him as one of the politicians thrown up by the Babangida administration’s democratization project or stratagem. The friend requested that he be allowed to speak to the group. His first opportunity to speak made what was to be an enduring impact on the conduct and funding of the NADECO-abroad struggle on the American side. BT promised not only to join the group and contribute to pro-de-

mocracy struggle in the UK and the US at the same time, something that elicited laughter but which he carried out most effectively. He volunteered to serve on the fundraising committee. In this capacity, he identified two lines of fundraising: personal sacrifice and profit-yielding project. He was quick to add that personal donations would not be enough to pursue such struggle against a kleptomaniacal dictator. Some of us winked at each other at what we took as good rhetoric. But that was the last time anybody in the group had doubts about BT’s readiness to sacrifice his personal resources for the struggle. He also argued against suggestions to export rice to Nigeria and use the profit to wage the struggle, saying: “No to rice exportation but yes to production. Let us send a trip to Taiwan to buy the technology of producing salt in the coastal communities of Lagos State.” He was made chair of that committee and he worked assiduously at it, but the group did not get to producing salt in Lagos before the exit of Abacha. He was asked to give the keynote lecture at the Washington convention six months later. At the start of the convention, he led in the singing of the national anthem.

But many in the audience were alarmed when he started singing the old anthem, “Nigeria we hail thee, our own dear native land.” At the end of the anthem, he started his keynote speech by saying that we are not against the unity of Nigeria as a nation, but opposed to the disorganization of the nation by military dictators. He concluded the lecture by saying that the only way to prevent Nigeria from losing its unity is to do justice to its constituent parts through re-structuring. BT’s popularity soared and soared during the pro-democracy struggle in both countries. He had his eyes on the ball throughout and generously invested in integration of NADECO and NALICON, and the World Congress of Free Nigerians. But the politician in BT quickly seemingly overshadowed his activism during the debate on participating in Abdusalaam Abubakar’s transition to civil rule. Many of us argued that Abubakar was not capable of leading the country back to sustainable democracy without re-structuring of the country. With as much passion and energy as BT had used in the international campaign against military dictatorship, he argued for the necessity to participate in the tran-

Matters arising from the public presentation of the DAWN document Nobody has put the rationale for regional integration better than Dr. Kayode Fayemi, executive governor of Ekiti State tional in explaining the North’s inner turmoil, he should have seen Prof Banjo’s suggestion from the perspective of the average Yoruba’s respect for human life, even those of strangers which makes him or her abhor the sheer carnage and debauchery Boko Haram is visiting on Nigerians of all tribes in the North. What more, in his view, should make a life- respecting people, to whom human slaughter or incineration tantamounts to nothing but the greatest evil, shudder, pause and wonder what nature of arrangement it is that makes a good people unequally yoked? But our friend went on and on, even justifying Boko Haram’s excesses by quoting Kashim Shettima, the Borno state governor, one of Boko Haram’s most tormented governors, as telling media commentators that Muhammad Yusuf, the slain leader of Boko Haram had, indeed, instituted a welfare package for members of his group, ranging from daily meals, soft loans for businesses and even assistance for marriage adding that he provided succor, in the context of the hopelessness and the uncaring society, which SAP and neo-liberalism, had foisted on our country’. Such was his self pity about poverty in the North as the causal factor of Boko Haram that one of the many online commentators, most of who tore his article to shreds, had no qualms in reminding him that whilst ‘the Southeast has 5 states, the northwest has 7, Bayelsa 8 LGA’s, while Kano has 44 with all the humongous monthly allocations and that while Imo receives less federal allocation than jigawa, governor Okorocha still

provides free education up to tertiary level even with higher student enrollment than most Northern states. Modibbo went on, rambling about Tinubu wanting to contest the presidency in 2015 so much you will think he has been contracted to lead the campaign. How Tinubu makes them lose sleep! However, for the education of individuals like Modibbo and, especially, Dr Junaid Mohammed who is forever imputing motives to whoever suggests we have a national conference, I proceed below to let them into what motivates the SouthWest, or at least, a preponderance of our people, knowing full well that Northern lackeys there still are amongst us. Without sounding immodest, I am in a poll position to do that having taken part in the processes that produced the DAWN DOCUMENT and having read and wrote very substantially on the YORUBA AGENDA, both of which I shall deal with below. Nobody has put the rationale for Regional Integration better than Dr Kayode Fayemi, the executive governor of Ekiti state, and a founding member of the AFENIFERE RENEWAL GROUP long before he became governor and who therefore contributed meaningfully to what became known as the DAWN DOCUMENT. At a lecture at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife on Thursday, 28 July, 2011, at which the writer was present, he offered as follows: ’Faced, therefore, with the artificiality of states and the refusal to fully embrace the recalcitrant nation, it would appear that at no time has the need to turn to consensual resolutions

become more urgent. This increasing importance of regionalism in Nigeria must be located within the twin trajectories of the incipient localisation of conflicts and the nationalisation of political and economic realities. In arguing for a re-conceptualization of the concept of regional development which de-emphasises state boundaries, the motive is not a form of territorial revisionism. Instead, our intention is the revision of the territorial state where artificial boundaries have formed the legitimating force for arrested development in several states, thereby turning them into empty constitutional entities which are totally meaningless to their internal public s. Translated into a sustainable democratic agenda, it is safe to argue in favour of a confinable regional development mechanism that is properly structured’. You can hardly add to that as the theoretical underpinning of Regional Integration, a concept that causes some sleepless nights. The YORUBA AGENDA, a May 1994 document that remains about the most unprecedented Yoruba Document in its unanimity, being a synthesis of the following: a. The memorandum by the Obas, Chiefs, Leaders of thoughts and the entire people of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states submitted to the National Constitutional Conference Commission in May, 1994; b. Draft of the Yoruba Constitution by the Yoruba Constitutional Group; c. Alternative Constitutional Proposals by National Democratic Coalition (NADECO Abroad), d. The Family Hand Book by IDILE, and e. The Objectives and the Agenda of the Igbimo Omo Oduduwa as contained in their draft Articles of Asso-

sition, saying: “Every serious and honest politician is always an activist. We would not shy away from continuing our activist’s role while in government.” BT made good his promise to conflate governance and activism: re-engineering Lagos State and serving as spokesman among the governors for fiscal federalism. Celebrating BT this week is festivalizing success. It is always more justifiable to create a carnival for success than to do so for failure. It is the success that is being celebrated that matters than the festival that opponents have been concerned about. Asiwaju, you have in the past eighteen years made an unforgettable impact, not only in Lagos State and the Southwest but in Nigeria as a whole. Despite this success, it is still in order for the left and right of your party to use this week’s festivalization of your political impact to make new demands on your energy. Progresschasing Nigerians are demanding that you must continue in your sixties to speak truth to negative power and to listen to those who speak truth to your own productive power. This is needed for enhancing and sustaining the vertical position you now occupy in the nation’s tradition of progressive politics. ciation. It has the following as its COVENANT: ‘I, meaning every Yoruba, hereby solemnly undertake, with God’s help, to seek, with all my mind and all my might, every opportunity to achieve autonomy and self-government for Yoruba land WITHIN ONE NIGERIA’. It then declares as follows: 1. It is right, necessary and alienable that when a nation reaches a historical crossroad, it should pause and ponder its destiny and God –given duty to protect its heritage, advance its culture and safeguard the future of its unborn generations; 2. Today, the Yoruba Nation is part of the Nigerian Federation in which neither the present generation of Yoruba people nor their ancestors had a say in its formation. It is in the light of this reality that Yoruba, on behalf of themselves and future generations, have set certain goals for the betterment of their society in the interest of justice, the rule of law, democracy and abundant life. The creation of an autonomous Yoruba Region is the fulcrum of that destiny ordained by Providence that created the Yoruba where they have been since creation, and, finally, 3. A self governing and autonomous Yoruba Region is necessary to mobilise the energy of the Yoruba for progress and development, and to ignite their collective resolve for cultural renaissance, educational resurgence and social stability. The Yoruba of Nigeria believe that there is only one Yoruba Nation; it has a common interest, and one inescapable destiny. The document concludes by pleading with other regions of the country to also assiduously work towards the well being of their people as a means of building a strong and virile Nigeria under GOD. Now that the South-West is back as one family in the progressive political camp, we are one with our leaders in re-energizing Regional Integration as our development paradigm. It served us well under Awo; it sure will now. We seek no further, at least for the foreseeable future. And concerning this, we have no apologies whatever.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Tunji

Adegboyega tunjade@yahoo.co.uk 08054503906 (sms only)

P

OWERFUL statement. It might have been unintended, but that was what had been made with the ceremonies organised to mark the 60th birthday of Senator Bola Ahmed Akanbi Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State. Tinubu clocked 60 on March 29. It is needless asking the rats at home to inform their counterparts in the bush; the ceremonies spoke for themselves and they were visible enough for all rats, irrespective of whether they are home-based or bush-based, to see. I have always said that there should be no pretensions; if we see an elephant, we should say so. It is impossible to say that it seems something just passed when it was an elephant that just passed by. It is only those full of mischief that will do that. Whatever Tinubu lost by virtue of his diminutive stature is by far compensated for by his brain, street wisdom and political acumen. These were the factors that worked for him and enabled him to reclaim Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ogun states from the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) impostors that captured the people’s mandate after the 2003 elections, and as well enabled him to bring Edo into the progressive fold, to join Lagos that has refused to capitulate even under the heavy fire power of the electoral bandits. I was at the 4 th Colloquium organised at the Eko Hotels Hall, Victoria Island in Lagos as part of activities to commemorate the

Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 08187172799 (SMS only) puchuckles7@gmail.com

F

EAR, says the dictionary, is an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension. I am very familiar with this. I get this very fearful feeling whenever I have been in a car driven by a young ‘un who is controlled by nothing but racing hormones. Then I grit my teeth, hold on to the dashboard and recite the Nunc Dimitis. I also get it when I measure my waist and realise that I would probably soon require two measuring tapes to capture the inelegant direction in which my development is going. Most dreaded of all my fears is when I check my soup pot and realise it is on Ground Zero. Then I hit the panic button as I recall all its implications: money, err, money, and oh yes, money. I have found that my familiarity with fear is now fast approaching the level of contempt, for me, that is, not the fear. All around me, however, I find the reverse going on: people are not only throwing stones at fear, they have even made it to sit on the dung heap of all emotions. Very few people have any respect for it anymore. Today, I am looking at fear from yet another angle. Whenever I have examined the newspapers, I have been accosted with fearsome

Comment & Analysis

17

Tinubu’s powerful statement at 60 The former governor leaves no one in doubt he is in charge event, on Wednesday. It was grand. And it reminded me instantly that it is not only when elephants die that we see assorted knives. Assorted knives and cutlasses must have done justice to the array of cows that were consumed during the celebrations. I have no doubt in my mind that the cows would have felt highly honoured to have been slaughtered to celebrate such an event. At least that was far better than being slaughtered for some wretched-of-the-earth to haggle over to rock bottom prices in the market and in the scorching sun! The colloquium paraded some of the country’s best, from traditional rulers to governors, politicians, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, corporate executives and what have you. It was chaired by equally one of the finest men the country has produced, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. The way the celebrations went, it is difficult to imagine that the same Tinubu that was accused of being a late starter when he assumed

office in 1999 is the one many people are now praising for his numerous achievements as governor. Many people, including this writer, had accused Tinubu then of not hitting the ground running. Indeed, out of concern that Lagos deserved an action governor (in the mould of Alhaji Lateef Jakande) who should be making things happen fast, I had advised then that he needed to put on his thinking cap. Apparently, that cap was still in the works. But, the moment the Tinubu trademark cap was ready and the governor began to wear it, the transformation of Lagos had begun! About five years after leaving office, that cap has become a symbol with which the former governor is associated. Even after leaving the scene, Lagos has remained a living testimony of continuity that makes sense and one that works. Some politicians in the country used to clamour for continuity as if continuity in itself is the issue; whereas continuity can even be dysfunctional if it is in the sense that many of our politicians see it. So, when people talk of continuity, they

“The Tinubu phenomenon is difficult to understand in that if he were still in government, people will say that is the reason he pulls the kind of crowd he pulls. For a man who left public office about five years ago to still command the kind of followership Tinubu commands makes him a study in the management of people”

should see it in the context of the Lagos example. When it was time to go, after spending eight years in office, Tinubu gave Lagos a wonderful legacy in the person of the present Governor Babatunde Fashola who succeeded him in 2007. Ever since, the new look that Lagos had been wearing since the Tinubu era has continued at a speed many could not comprehend. If only on this note, we should score Tinubu high. Many leaders in our kind of country would have preferred to be succeeded by someone who could not have measured up to their own performance because of fears that the new person would outshine them. As with most human relationships, there are bound to be hiccups and these have reared their ugly heads. The beauty of it all again is that the overall consideration of the greatest good for the greatest number has always taken preponderance over personal benefits and ego. Lagosians have been the better for it. But, as they say, beside every successful man there is a woman. So, as Asiwaju Tinubu celebrated his 60th birthday on Thursday, one person that cannot be left out of the celebration is his wife, Oluremi. It is not easy to be married to a man of Tinubu’s caliber. Many women would have lost their head if they had such opportunity. If Tinubu had been renowned partly for his generosity that knows no borders, it is almost correct to say that ‘Remi too is a free and cheerful giver; for two cannot be together unless they are agreed. Many women would fence off their husbands if they know he

is inclined to giving, even if to a fault. There are many things to say about Tinubu and many writers have done justice to that. But the history of true federalism in the country can never be complete without Tinubu having a pride of place. And this is for the simple fact that he had to be innovative in fighting the battle. Tinubu knew that achieving this through constitutional amendment would be an uphill task, given the fact that it would be difficult to get the support of the ruling party in the National Assembly for this. So, he decided to use the instrumentality of the courts. This has paid off handsomely in the landmark cases he had won, for instance the local government case. The Tinubu phenomenon is difficult to understand in that if he were still in government, people will say that is the reason he pulls the kind of crowd he pulls. For a man who left public office about five years ago to still command the kind of followership Tinubu commands makes him a study in the management of people. Like the late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, Tinubu has built bridges across the country; he has traditional titles all over. That is part of the reasons his diamond jubilee has assumed the national dimension that was witnessed. It could not have been better even if Tinubu had been president of the country. The outpouring of love and encomiums was enough testimony that not even the sky is the limit for this Titan who speaks truth to power not minding whose ox is gored.

When less fear is more fear stories of cases of misappropriations (whoever coined that term anyway?) of funds running into billions of Naira, gross mismanagement (another funny coinage) of funds running into more billions of Naira, wilful destruction of properties running into even more billions of Naira, and of course, direct (and often permanent) ‘borrowing’ of public funds running into, what now, trillions? And I ask, what happened to fear in this land: gone like a whoosh? I don’t know about you, but I believe that any society that does not write fear into its constitution is gone like a whoosh. Someone once got a scorpion bite and made so much noise about it that his screams could have woken the dead were he to have been in a cemetery. His problem, he spat out between screams, was the pain, oh, the pain! It got so much someone around him attempted to stuff some rags in between his teeth so he would shut up, stand still and get some medication. Noooooo!, screamed the writhing man as he eyed the needle approaching him, ‘you have to give me something for the pain of that medication’. Straight after the jab, of course, the noise of the shameless screamer went down. Then the sympathies and conversations started in the form of questions. What caused all that screaming? Was he so fearful of everything? Was he so afraid to die? What could happen that he was so afraid of: paralysis? Why, they all to a man chorused, was he screaming? Pain, he managed to explain; the pain was worse than what he imagined labour pain to be. Oh for

a body that would not feel pain, he ended in a self-pitying moan. Now that would be very dangerous, replied the doctor. Pain, he said, is there for a reason; it helps the body know the limit it can tolerably manage so it does not go into involuntary extinction. The same goes for fear; the presence of fear should keep a state from going into involuntary extinction. Every society thus attempts to write its own fear into its constitution (or commandments if you like) by writing out laws. So, a society that asks people not to commit murder (a commandment) or voluntary or involuntary manslaughter (the law) is actually attempting to protect other people from being killed for reasons ranging from stealing to being drunk or even just looking ugly. ‘I killed him because he looked somehow’ is therefore not tenable before the law. There are many other things that should also not be tenable before the law: holding public office to no effect; using public funds and office to fund private social parties; taking billions of Nigeria’s money and hiding same in foreign accounts; insufficient housekeeping money for housewives; and of course, my take-home pay. I tell you, the law should say no to these things. I’m sure I have told this story before but I’ll repeat it here for the sake of those just joining the class. Once, I went to a self-service diner in a western country where I served myself some snacks. Since I needed some salad and not knowing I was expected to get another plate for it, I simply added some to my dry food plate. The cashier at the end of the queue was furious but par-

doned me when she realised I was a foreigner. She refrained from throwing me out but coldly turned me back to rectify the ‘mistake’. My host then took me aside and gave me a five-minute lecture on the importance of the fear that keeps that country sane and going: the fear of the law, which bends for no man or beast. Right now, however, you and I both know that the law cannot talk principally because it has been made toothless in this country. In other climes, of course, it is merely an ass as I have said before on this page. The Nigerian state itself detoothed the law systematically. Now, we have reached a point where people now look at lawyers and judges and ask which law exactly they are upholding: the state’s or that of the guilty. Again and again, the crooked have not only ascended some hallowed thrones in this land, they have gone on to corrupt and infect them. The list is countless: examine many of the assembly, state and local government positions where parties turn the blind eyes of the law on their protégés and install them, like corrupted computer programmes, right into the people’s unwilling consciousness. Powerless and unable to uninstall those terrible highnesses, the people simply have kept their resentful distance. Many have been killed in riots, bombings and kidnappings, and for such horrendous crimes, many people have sometimes been arrested for them, but no one has as yet been known to have been successfully prosecuted. Seriously, many murders have gone on unnoticed in the urban areas and the

guilty have merely been shipped abroad by rich parents or the law made to throw its gaol key away, before putting the criminal away that is. And many of the crimes that go in the rural areas are simply not noticed. The watchman-law watches and sees the whole thing but does nothing. Wait yet, worse is still to come. The law now takes the guiltless and simply rolls them off the constitution, like. Yep, that’s right, dear reader, you and I don’t really count where the law is concerned, because, let’s face it, we are only the people. This is why it is that the complainant at the police station does not stand a fighting chance on his case if his opponent has more ‘muscle’ than he has. I still have a cartoon where a policeman tells a citizen to go home and arrest his own armed robber himself because, well, you know why. It is also the reason that many have fallen to the stray bullet of policemen, soldiers and irate husbands. It’s a tough world. The problem with this country is that we the citizens have developed the nasty habit of shamelessly bending the law for relatives, friends and escorts, and everyone has an endless list of those. This has led to a standing joke that Nigerians have found a shortcut to getting to heaven: it’s a matter of knowing one or two powerful people. In Nigeria, we have relegated fear to the backburner. Listen, without a healthy fear of the law, people will continue to embezzle, destroy and kill. Until we develop that healthy fear, we shall continue to roll the country involuntarily towards extinction.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Comment & Analysis

The rise and rise of Asiwaju Tinubu A

T 60, Asiwaju Tinubu is one remarkable Nigerian who is loved by his kingsmen and disciples and hated, out of envy, by those who wanted, but could not rise, to his level of achievements and popularity in the Nigerian social and political space. Predictably, he has always been closely watched and persecuted by all the powers that be since his time as a senator. For this reason, Asiwaju Tinubu has never had it smooth sailing for a greater part of his political life. Until now, the greatest persecution of politicians in Nigerian history was that of Chief Obafemi Awolowo In the last quarter of last year, another political persecution of a great man, Asiwaju Tinubu, took place, quite reminiscent of that of Chief Awolowo. During his life time, Awolowo was loved and feared,and even hated, with great passion. He was loved with great passion by those who had a great admiration for him, his social and political ideals and achievements, but feared or hated by those who saw him as a threat to their political ambitions. It was usually said that the fear of Awolowo was the beginning of wisdom. But it may rightly be said that the fear of Awolowo was the beginning and end of unwisdom for those who hated his guts and did not want him to rule this country. But he kept the Yoruba together and led them to the path of greatness and intellectual sophistication of which the Yoruba race is proud till today. Last year history was about to repeat itself with Asiwaju Tinubu who has since emerged as the Leader of the Yoruba after Awolowo and he (Tinubu) had delivered his South West, territory from political suffocation by the rampaging PDP. As Awolowo was the leader and father of the Progressives in the 20th century, Asiwaju has taken up the mantle of the leader and father of the progressives in the 21st cen-

By Moses Akin Makinde

tury Nigeria, and with an advantage of the internet. This much has been captured in the introduction to my latest book, Awo: The Last Conversation, Ibadan, Evans Brothers (Nigeria) Publishers Ltd, 2010. Naturally, Asiwaju Tinubu should expect the same persecution suffered by Awolowo in the hands of the conservatives, especially as his political profile has continued to rise and rise without ceasing. That explains what is going on now because, for the ruling party and its footsoldiers Asiwaju Tinubu must be stopped at all cost before it is too late, i.e. before the 2015 general elections. But man proposes, and God disposes. Period. Several years after he had left office as governor of the most important and most prosperous state in Nigeria – Lagos State – a spurious and an after thought charge was brought up against Asiwaju Tinubu for no other reason than to diminish his rising popularity and regain a firm grip on the South West states which he had gallantly recovered from the ruling party – the PDP. They are pathologically afraid of Tinubu, the master strategist, as their predecessors were afraid of Chief Awolowo, also a master strategist. Unfortunately, some people never learn from history of government persecutions in this country – persecutions that simply turn their victims into instant celebrities. After Awolowo’s persecution, there was a military coup de’ tat and he (Awo) was hurriedly brought out from prison by the young General Gowon to become Minister of Finance and Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Military Council. Little did Awo know that an important section of the country – the military – had nursed a great admiration for him in spite of his political persecution and the famous but ridiculous verdict that sent him to prison in 1963.

While we were waiting for the verdict of the court on Asiwaju Tinubu’s case last year – a case that was watched by people far and near, I advised that we should go back to history and hear what Awo said after Sowemimo’s judgment on Awo’s treasonable felony. I also wrote that this was important as history was about to repeat itself in Asiwaju’s Tinubu’s case then. When government becomes intolerant of opposition, it makes the opposition and its leaders famous and popular. This was exactly what happened to Awolowo and the Action Group then, and Tinubu and Action Congress of Nigeria now. In his address entitled “The Prophecy About War and Befalling Darkness” delivered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo on 11th September, 1963 before Mr. Justice George Sodeinde Sowemimo in the Lagos High court, at the close of the treasonable felony trial, Chief Awolowo had this much to say. Please read on. “My Lord, I must say with respect, and this may have to be taken up with a higher tribunal, that I do to agree with your lordship’s verdict, and the premises on which it is based. For upwards of 30 years, I have been in politics in Nigeria; during this period I have operated in various important theatres in the life of this great federation. I have, with others, fought against British imperialism with all my might, and with al the talents that it pleased God to give me …. Since 1957 I have fought, as your lordship remarked with vigour, against the feudal system in the Northern Region and for its eradication. I have also fought to prevent the spread of this evil political system to other parts of Nigeria . . . In short, I have always fought for what I believe, without relent and regardless of consequences to myself. I have no doubt, and I say this without any spirit of immodesty, that in the course of my political career, I have rendered services to this country which historians and the coming generations will certainly regard as imperishable. Naturally, sir, in the course of my long, tur-

bulent and active political life, I have attracted to myself a sizeable crop of detractors and political adversaries. Similarly, I have in the course of this long career seen both triumphs and set-backs, and I have met with equal minds. Peter, not Peter the Apostle, but Peter, hero of High Walpole’s novel entitled Fortitude said: ‘It isn’t life that matters but the courage you bring to it’. After life had done terrible things to Peter he heard the voice that said to him among other things; “Blessed be all sorrow, hardships and endurances that demand courage. ‘Blessed be these things; for of these things cometh in the making of a man’. In the words of Peter, therefore, my lord, I declare, ‘Blessed be your verdict; and I say in advance, blessed be the sentence which your Lordships may pass on me. I personally welcome any sentence you may impose on me. At this moment, my only concern is not for myself, but that my imprisonment might do harm to Nigeria . . . The invaluable services which I have hitherto rendered and which I can still render will be lost to the country, at least for a season. For some time to come the present twilight of democracy, individual freedom and the rule of law, will change or might change into utter darkness. Before I close, I must say that inspite of the delay of the past few weeks on the part of your lordship in giving judgement in this case, and in spite of my disagreement with your verdict which I have just given expression to, I must acknowledge Your Lordship’s patience throughout the trial of this case. Particularly I want to thank Your Lordship for the due and special consideration which you have always accorded me and the other accused persons. I thank you Lordship; and I am prepared to abide by your sentence”. We should now thank God that history did not repeat itself in the trial of Asiwaju Tinubu on a trump up charge brought against him late last year. The court dismissed the charge against him with judicial clarity and finesse Continued on page 70


19

POLITICS THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

•David Mark

•Pius Anyim

•Abubakar Atiku

•Goodluck Jonathan

•Bamanga Tukur

PDP new leadership and 2015 senarios T

HE emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown open several scenarios for the 2015 presidency. It has, for example, altered some perceived possibilities both for the party and the nation at large. Before the coming of the new party executive, President Goodluck Jonathan’s plans for the 2015 presidency has been a source of controversy. Will he seek re-election in 2015? If he does, what will be the reaction of the South-East geo-political zone and the north, the two major claimants to the 2015 presidency? Those who argue that Jonathan will not seek re-election in 2015 have always cited his promise in 2011, when at the peak of the campaigns for the last general elections, he reportedly told a group of Nigerians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that he would not seek re-election as president in 2015, if elected in April 2011. But after his election, insiders have alleged that his strategists are tightening all loose ends to ensure his return in 2015. One of such loose ends is his hold on PDP. A source said some presidential aides, as far back as May 2011, had made references to some security reports that confirmed plans by some powerful political rivals to use PDP machinery to battle Jonathan’s 2015

As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) elects its new national executive, Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu and Tony Akowe in Kaduna, take a look at the scenarios for the 2015 presidential election. ambition. Since then, we learnt, the president has taken more personal interest in who occupied strategic positions at all relevant levels. With the emergence of Tukurled leadership, it is believed that he has finally taken charge of the party machinery and so, if he chooses to re-contest for the office of the president in 2015, attempt to frustrate his ambition with party machinery will no longer be feasible. North/South theory: Already, the emergence of Tukur as PDP chairman has been analysed in the context of the controversial North-South political balancing. Using this theory, observers are saying that Tukur’s emergence implies that PDP would likely settle for a southern presidential candidate in 2015. It is for this reason that Jonathan has been accused of imposing Tukur to facilitate his return in 2015. Prof. Malumfashi, for example, said “some people believe that the emergence of the businessman and President of the African Business Roundtable, as the National Chairman of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was a conspiracy against

the north. “Tukur it was who first raised the hand of the President as an aspirant for the coveted office. But those who apparently saw into the future of the party and the race for the 2015 election may have concluded that allowing Tukur’s headship of the party may rob candidates from the North-East of the chance of emerging the presidential candidate of the party in the 2015 elections. “However, they may not have seen beyond the present and the risk of taking the position of the party chairmanship when it was zoned to them. Those who had already made the manipulations foreclosed a chance for the NorthEast presidential candidate in 2015 when President Jonathan is expected to live by his words of not seeking a re-election and bow out of office.” Generally, however, many interest groups in the north believe that Tukur’s emergence as the National Chairman of the ruling party is not a blessing to the north, but a conspiracy against it. Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, National President of the Arewa Youth Forum, questions the procedure leading to the emergence of Tukur, saying, “the way and manner politics is go-

ing in the Peoples Democratic Party and in particular as it affects Northern Nigeria calls for urgent concern and reflection, though it is their party affairs but it affects us indirectly as a region bedeviled with several challenges.” He blamed northern PDP governors for the development. “It is a shame to the PDP northern governors for mortgaging the future of the north by allowing themselves to be dragged into an undemocratic means that imposed a septuagenarian as the leader of their party. It is clearly antics and conspiracy against the region by President Goodluck Jonathan, and this is a setback that will produce a long term consequence most grievous to our region,” he said, adding, “We are calling on all other youths in the North to shelve sentiment aside and condemn in strong terms this sham achievement, and distance themselves from anything related to these robots created by President Jonathan under the tutelage of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. It is a shame and denigration of Northern youths in general. We challenge our elite again, to prove their worth and value by accelerating corrective measures for ameliorating the

mess their actions and inactions caused the north.” Tukur and Atiku’s fate: Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, a former governor of old Gongola State, is from the present day Adamawa State, the same state as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President of Nigeria and a leading presidential hopeful. While some analysts saw the presidential sponsorship of Tukur’s candidacy as a mere coincidence, others who spoke to The Nation said the decision to zone the chairmanship to the north was to promote the interest of some southern candidates, especially President Jonathan, in 2015. They also alleged that the choice of Tukur from Adamawa State in the North-East zone was particularly targeted at frustrating Atiku’s ambition. Dr. Shehu Garba, a close associate of Atiku however told The Nation, in a telephone interview that Atiku does not see the development in that light. “We do not see it that way,” he said, adding, “Since the position was zoned to the North-East, we think anybody from the zone has the right to aspire to get it. That Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is from Adamawa State does not foreclose the emergence of a presidential candidate from the state in 2015. This will not be the first time such a thing will happen. You would recall that •Continued on Page 24


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Politics •Continued from Page 23

Ahmadu Ali was the party’s chairman when Alhaji Shehu Musa Yar’Adua emerged. Since Ali and Yar’Adua were both from the north, when Yar’Adua emerged as the president, Ali had to relinquish the office of party chairman. That position was then given to the South-East. So, the emergence of Tukur will not foreclose the chances of the North-East or Adamawa State from producing the presidential candidate of PDP in 2015,” he said. David Mark card: In the view of informed analysts like Prof. Malumfashi, if the emergence of Tukur succeeds in denying the North-East PDP of the opportunity of producing the party’s presidential candidate in 2015, the remaining geo-political zones in the north should still get it. They argued that with the North-East claiming the seat of the party chairman, the race for the 2015 presidential slot is left open to the North-West and the North-Central with Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo and Senate President David Mark believed to be the top contenders from these zones for now. Though the Vice President has not formally confirmed his interest in the seat in 2015, political watchers are of the opinion that he has deep rooted interest. However, his aides have denied this, saying that the Vice President’s interest today is to help the President pilot the ship of state successfully. As for the Senate President, David Mark, insiders said he currently enjoys the support of some powerful political elites in the north, who are already packaging him as the consensus candidate for the 2015 presidential election. Like Sambo, Mark has not confirmed his alleged ambition but insiders said he is highly favoured by the northern elite, including the oligarchy, which are alleged to have analysed the current political and security situation in the north and concluded that Mark has what is needed to appeal to all the groups. As a Christian from North-Central, they believe it would be easier to market him to the south. Other things going for retired Army General include his rich military contacts and his current position as the Senate President. The Boko Haram scenario: The activities of Boko Haram terrorists have been identified as another factor that will play a major part in 2015 presidential election. Initially, members of the violent group were primarily seen as religious extremists fighting against western education and bent on imposing strict Sharia law in the north. But over the years, and with the alleged tacit support of northern political elites, critical observers have come to see the militant group as a covert vehicle, employed by some powerful politicians in the zone, for the realisation of their 2015 political ambition. Amongst the first prominent politicians to openly link Boko Haram with 2015 presidency was Senator Uche Chukwumerije, when he alleged that the terrorist group was part of the north’s strategy to wrest power in 2015. The senator representing Abia North in a paper, entitled “Path to Group Rehabilitation,” which he presented at the 2011 Igbo Day Lecture at the Women Development Centre (WDC) in

PDP and 2015 gladiators

•Babangida

•Namadi Sambo

•Ekwueme

Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, said: “The issue of militancy in the Niger Delta has yielded them (the South-South) the presidency. If you watch what is going on now, the politicised illegal activities of Boko Haram are a proper determination to win the second round of presidential election in 2015.” Expressing worry about what he described as the politicisation of militancy in some parts of the country, aimed at achieving political objective, he accused ethnic groups of using similar organisations to win the presidency. For example, he accused the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)

•Nzeribe

and other youth groups in the Niger Delta as vehicles used by the Yoruba and the Niger Delta to win presidential power in the past. Chukwumerije therefore urged Ndigbo, especially the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to support Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), which he described as “a veritable youth group that will work towards achieving the cause of Igbo presidency.” Considering this reasoning, it seems such youth militant groups or ethnic nationalities’ militant groups may thrive as the 2015 presidential race draws near. South-East claims:

It is believed that the emergence of Tukur-led National Working Committee of PDP has given a major boost to the claims of South-East members of the party that it will be their turn to produce the party’s presidential candidate in 2015. A member of the party and top government official, who spoke to The Nation, on condition of anonymity, said PDP’s decision to zone the position of the National Chairman and National Secretary to the north and South-West respectively, was with the understanding that the South-East would this time, produce the presidential candidate in 2015, if President Jonathan honours his earlier promise not to seek re-election then. It would be recalled that the high-

“Chukwumerije therefore urged Ndigbo, especially the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to support Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), which he described as “a veritable youth group that will work towards achieving the cause of Igbo presidency.”

est party position zoned to the South-East is that of National Publicity Secretary, occupied by Chief Olisa Metuh. Based on this calculation, political strategists have commenced assessment of the level of preparedness of some top politicians from the zone considered as possible aspirants in 2015. Already, leaders like the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, etc, have been mentioned. But a source close to SGF told The Nation that it is too early to name presidential aspirants for 2015, pointing out that Anyim is fully engrossed in his present job and would not want to be distracted with such matters for now. As for Ekwueme, who recently played a major role in arriving at a consensus candidate for the office of National Publicity Secretary, some youth leaders in the party say age may no longer be on his side. “We are currently working towards the emergence of younger aspirants. What we want is a fresh, intelligent and energetic aspirant that would appeal to the rest of Nigeria,” he said.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Politics

21

H

E rode to power with a groundswell of unprecedented support and goodwill. Nigerians just loved him. He looked gentle, spoke gentle and acted gentle. His humility, many pointed out, was rare in Aso Rock. They saw him as a perfect gentleman in whom God and destiny have found worthy of power. Few months even after he was elected, Jonathan remained a silent operator. Nigerians queried his style of leadership. Nigeria, many argued, required strong men to move forward. Inundated by calls to take charge, Jonathan chose to respond during the church service that held as parts of activities marking the nation’s 51st independence. In measured voice, the President told Nigerians he was not an army general or a lion. Jonathan said, ‘’Some Nigerians still want the President of this country to be a lion or a tiger, somebody that has that kind of strength and force and agility to make things happen the way they think. “Some others will want the President to operate like an army general, like my Chief of Army Staff commanding his troops. Incidentally, I am not a lion; I am not also a general. Somebody will want the President to operate like the kings of Syria, Babylon, Egypt, the Pharaoh, all - powerful people that you read about in the Bible. They want the president to operate that way, the characters of the Goliath. Unfortunately, I am not one of those. He added, ‘’But God knows why I am here, even though I don’t have any of those attributes, or these kinds of characters I have used as an example. But through your prayers, God placed me here. The only thing I ask you to do for me, and that is the prayer I pray every time, is for God to use me to change this country. I don’t need to be a lion. I don’t need to be Nebuchadnezzar. I don’t need to operate like the Pharaoh of Egypt. I don’t need to be an army general but I can change this country without those traits.’’ This reinforced the perception that Jonathan is a simple, easygoing, gentle President. But all of these changed shortly before the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention, which held penultimate weekend in Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan left no one in doubt he was ready to install his men as party leaders. It was a project dear to the President’s heart. He was not going to condone any opposition or dissension. Reasoning and argument did not suffice. It became clear to all and sundry that he had anointed a few men that must emerge at the convention. The President, who chose not to be an army general or a lion, had no qualms in using army tactics. He railroaded his anointed candidates into PDP National leadership. Objections from the North-East, where the National Chairmanship was zoned to, were crushed. Barely 24 hours to the convention, the President held a strategic meeting with governors from the North-East and other stakeholders. The governors had been kicking against the choice of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. Tukur, they alleged, was not committed to party affairs. Since he had not contributed much to PDP, he should not reap from its achievement. But Jonathan was undeterred. It was either Tukur or nobody else. Other contestants from

And Jonathan takes charge The take-over of PDP power structure by President Goodluck Jonathan has confirmed talks that he is ready to be his own man, writes Sunday Oguntola

•Jonathan

the zone must step down for him. When the governors remained adamant, Jonathan reached for the threat button. He activated it and said he would not brook any dissension against Tukur. Anybody against Tukur, the President warned, should be ready for a big fight. The governors were stunned. So were others at the meeting. The Jonathan who came to power looking humble was fuming. The vituperations, it was learnt, whipped them into line. Fearing presidential wrath, the other 10 chairmanship candidates also withdrew. But Jonathan was not done. The D-day witnessed bigger drama. Candidates for other national posts were forced to withdraw. Governors insisted on former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola becoming the national secretary. A candidate for the post from Osun State, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, al-

legedly wept after realising he had lost out. Amid sobs, Babatope said, “I am withdrawing in the interest of the party and for the respect I have for the Vice President (Namadi Sambo). I am not withdrawing for anybody.” Oyinlola even prostrated for Professor Tunde Adeniran who was a leading candidate for the post. With Jonathan’s man, Tukur in charge of PDP, there is no doubt the President now has the party in his pocket. A presidential source said last week, “you can’t blame Mr. President for having his way. There is no leader who wants to work with men that cannot follow him. All over the world, Presidents are in charge of their parties.’’ Observers however said Jonathan is bent on controlling the party because of calculations ahead of his second term bid in 2015. By offering the national chairmanship of the party to Tukur, he has effectively sealed any presi-

dential ambition from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Beyond Abubakar, Jonathan has also succeeded in restricting contention from the North. The calculation is that with a northerner as PDP chairman, it is very unlikely that the presidential candidate will also be from the North. It would be recalled that Jonathan also showed this side him during the fuel subsidy protests. First, Nigerians woke up to a shocking New Year gift from Mr. President. The Federal government has suddenly removed subsidy on petroleum products. As a result Petrol, which sold for N65 per litre on New Year eve, rose to N146 the following morning. Completely shocked, Nigerians took to the streets. The country was grounded for days. They thought the President will bulge after the first day. Day two turned to three, then seven. At the heat of the crisis, the President sent troops to condone

off the Gani Fawehinmi Park Ojota, where millions had gathered. The troop dispersed hapless Nigerians and took over the park. For days, they remained on the streets of Lagos despite public outcry. It was the same in Bayelsa, his home state, recently when the President got rid of Timipre Sylva as the state governor. He installed Henry Dickson in his stead despite a court pronouncement and public protestation. With these deft political moves, President Jonathan has not only demonstrated a sudden change of tactics but has shown that he is now his own man. He has suddenly emerged the sole godfather in PDP. He has become a lion he said he was not. Besides, he is roaring and set to devour anyone on his way. The next months will certainly reveal more of his newfound power.


22

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Politics

Political Politics

Political

turf

ripples Abia LG I deputy chairmen plan coup

W

HEN Abia State Governor, Theodore Ahamefule Orji, suspended the 17 Transitional Local Government Chairmen, following the security breach that occurred in Aba, during the funeral of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, he probably did not intend to convert their suspension to a permanent sack, but information reaching Political Ripples show that the governor is under pressure to sack the 17 LG bosses. G u e s s where the pressure is coming from? We scooped that the pressure is coming from the former deputies of the suspended Local Government chairmen, who were •Orji asked to act on their behalf. Inside sources revealed that the former deputies, now, acting chairmen, are scheming seriously to impress His Excellency and convince the state government that they are better than their suspended former bosses. As our source puts it, “They have been trying to do that by ensuring that all contracts awarded by their former bosses, which were not executed, are not only commenced, by seriously tackled with the view of completing them in record time, so as to take glory. “Some of them are also telling everybody that cares to listen that their bosses could not do the work,” the source said. Already, this scheme has caused bad blood as some suspended LG chairmen are accusing their deputies of planning coups against them. Political Ripples gathered that Orji has noted the difference and may consider retaining some of the acting chairmen, if not all, but a source said some party leaders in the state are not comfortable with the possibility as some of them insist that it may create some mortal cracks within the governor’s political family at the grassroots. Already tongues are wagging as some of the suspended chairmen, afraid that they may have lost out, are reaching out to their political patrons to save their jobs.

with Bolade Omonijo boladeomonijo@yahoo.com

T seems times have indeed changed for the former Edo State governor, Lucky Igbinedion. At the third colloquium to mark the 60th birthday of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Eko Hotel and Towers, Lagos, on Wednesday, the multi-billionaire former governor, sat quietly on his own in the front •Igbinedion row of the expo hall. Though, his presence was publicly acknowledged by the officials of the event, Igbinedion got very little of the boisterous greetings, hugs, or handshakes that permeated the atmosphere. His demeanour also did not portray that of the boisterous governor that ruled Edo State for eight years between 1999 and 2007. Apart from a few fleeting handshakes, the former governor sat mutely and did not wait till midway into the programme before easing out from the grand event, unnoticed. Sources said what happened that Thursday in Lagos reflects to a large extent, the ex-governor’s current lifestyle. “Even in Benin, the former governor is hardly loud these days,” the source said, adding that “most of his usual hangers on seem to have left him in the cold, as he basically keeps to himself these days,” he said.

Lonely Lucky

Wada’s dilemma

K

OGI State Governor, Captain Idris Wada, who recently dissolved his cabinet, appears to be facing a very complex political dilemma, as the action is believed to have re-awakened old political grudges. To begin with, insiders confirmed that the embattled governor is yet to win the heart of majority of members of the State House of Assembly, after the initial battle with them, when the Speaker emerged the Acting Governor after the Supreme Court sacked the state governor. It would be recalled that Wada, as the governor-elect, had forcefully sworn in himself, after the apex court ruled that the Speaker should step in. That action marked his first clear face-off with the House. It would also be recalled that the Speaker, as the Acting Governor, had fired the cabinet but when Wada gained power, he reversed the decision and asked the members of the cabinet to remain in power, an action aimed at consolidating his hold on power. But Political Ripples gathered that stakeholders have been sourly disappointed as most of the members of the cabinet did very little to help his government. A source said most indigenes of the state are really angry with the governor for failing to take action earlier. Now that he has finally found courage to dissolve the cabinet, the problem appears to have become even more complex. Apart from the fact that some of the members of the old cabinet may soon become his sworn political enemies, there is fear in Wada’s camp that members of the House of Assembly are just watching him and are ready to take their own pound of flesh. Unfortunately, these complex political disagreements have combined to keep the state in limbo. For Wada, when one adds these issues with the numerous cases against his person and government, including that of Echocho, his dilemma becomes more pronounced. The question in the lips of concerned observers is where all these will leave Kogi state and the people in the next •Wada four years?

I

Tinubu at 60: A postscript

N the past one week, he has been described with many superlatives. From different quarters, prominent Nigerians have almost exhausted the adjectives in the dictionary in a bid to find the most beautiful ways of celebrating the political legend of our time. It is therefore more difficult now to join in the quest to bring out the essence of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT). Since I started this column, I have tried to avoid joining the crowd in hero worshipping or giving the impression that I am star struck at any point. I have tried to keep the debate on the narrow path. But, the more I tried to ignore the most important event of the past week, the more I failed. Tinubu is a phenomenon. The whole nation rose to salute him. I just would not be left out. I find it interesting noting those who either attended or sent messages to identify with the wizard of politics from Lagos Island. President Goodluck Jonathan, on Thursday, acknowledged the rare contributions of the former governor of Lagos State to nation building, while Senate President David Mark was represented by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a former governor of Yobe State. House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal identified fully with the Jagaban Borgu. Speakers from more than eight states attended a special parliamentary session in his honour. General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and General Ibrahim Babangida all found sooting words for the political general One point that came out clearly was that Tinubu is the leader of the Yoruba at this point. Yes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crowd is yet to admit this reality. Throughout the celebration, the party’s leaders in the zone could not find the grace to congratulate the man of the moment. They even tried to poison the atmosphere by making spurious allegations. It was not surprising. Any party that has the likes of Bode George, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Segun Oni as leaders cannot be expected to rise above pettiness. It brought to the fore the need to amend the electoral law such that men known to have perverted the electoral law and process, benefitted from political corruption, should be barred from participating in politics for life. As an analyst and reporter of politics, political trend and politicians in the past 25 years, I have noticed so much that could be said to be unusual about the Asiwaju of Lagos. He shares so much in common with the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the undisputed leader of the Yoruba from 1969 till he breathed his last in 1987. BAT is a man of the people. He is a strategic thinker and a lover of the masses. The two men may differ in their strategies, but they certainly spared nothing in working for the general interest. Awo went to jail as his traducers sought to break his spirit. They erected hurdles considered too high for any man to scale. But, his spirit was indestructible. He triumphed. He came out of it a better man. Almost like the Biblical Joseph, he was literally taken out of the prison and found a golden chair in the palace. When it became clear that Awo had his palace built in the chambers of the hearts of the Yoruba of the West and indeed the progressives all over the country, the so-called federal might was moved in like a bulldozer to pervert the will of the people. They succeeded, albeit temporarily. It turned out to be Pyrrhic victory. The fire they ignited razed the political house to the ground. Awo, having been kept in prison, survived. His enemies were consumed. He was appointed Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council. The modern day devourers in the PDP have tried to do Asiwaju in, too. In 2003, they tried their tricks to push him out of power. They succeeded elsewhere, but failed in Lagos as BAT is blessed with foresight. He knew Obasanjo and his party could not be trusted. While others campaigned for PDP, Tinubu worked for his reelection and the Alliance for Democracy candidates in Lagos. He laughed last and laughed best. BAT is fully committed to the progressive cause; he is principled and steadfast. He would not allow anyone distract him. He works very hard, too. Anyone who has paid a visit to his Bourdillon home cannot help but wonder how he finds the time to rest. The Bible says the adversary is restless, that he keeps moving to and fro and, as a devourer, seeks whom to devour. He never gives up; he never accepts defeat. So, the Asiwaju traducers have never given up. They sought to remove the rug under his feet by withholding the fund due to Lagos local government councils; they failed. They tried to exploit the crisis generated by the search for a worthy successor in Lagos in 2007; again, they lost the battle. In 2011, they instigated internal rebellion in Action Congress of Nigeria, BAT was ahead. The man has arrived. This birthday is a testimonial. I will end this piece by praying that he keeps on track as the last lap in a race is always the most difficult. Only he who endures to the end deserves the crown. Awo persevered and defeated all the Goliaths that came his way. Asiwaju, adun nii gbehin ewuro o. May the next phase of your life and political journey lead to the desired destination for you and our people.


SUNDAY INTERVIEW

23

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

BOLA TINUBU

Unlocking the mind of a risk taker T

HE Nation newspaper was among the last set of media establishments to engage Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), in an interview to mark his 60th birthday anniversary. Other newspapers had not only interviewed him, they had even gone ahead to publish their reports, and done so robustly and exhaustively, leaving laggards with very narrow space to manoeuvre. Tinubu spoke candidly to the other papers on virtually every conceivable topic, and he came across as a bold and strategic politician, adored and loathed in equal measure by his supporters and opponents. The Nation wondered what else to ask him, and what picture of himself he would paint that was not already evident either through the interviews or through the prisms of Nigeria’s approving or censorious public. As ready as The Nation editors thought they were, armed with delicately probing and prodding questions that covered areas left untouched by the other papers, nothing prepared them for the chance discovery they happened upon. No, it was not his famously convivial exterior, a conviviality which he exuded in infectious abundance during the interview and which seemed to cloak a steely interior. Nor was it his glacial determination to trump the ruling party, in consequence of which his opponents heartily suspect, despise and revile the man and his style. Nor, still, was it the tantalising peek the editors got into the complex workings of his mind, a mind that intermittently, and sometimes alternately, spews magmatic fury and icy, caressing balm of humanism. The chance discovery, in fact, came early in the interview, barely 15 minutes after the lively engagement began. Tinubu had been asked who his role models were, and who mentored him. The mentoring part, by his admission, was a continuous process that admitted many people into his life at the professional – he was an accountant/auditor – and political levels. It was in talking about his role models that the glint in his eyes shone. For a man so widely travelled in the developed West, it was astounding to the editors that he chose Jawaharlal (Pandit) Nehru as the person who affected his worldview the most. He had en-

Prologue By Kunle Fagbemi countered the former Indian prime minister through the writings of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and since then had read everything there was to read about the famous Indian leader. He was enamoured of both politicians for their erudition, discipline, obstinate adherence to principles, sacrifice and, most tellingly, their obsession with serving the masses and ameliorating their dreadful plight. Without this all-important revelation about his role models and their books, there was absolutely no way to understand why Tinubu, since he came into his own, has continued to display unfettered self-belief, fidelity to principles and to truth, and empathy for the oppressed. He had two role models to look up to for their indestructible personalities, their mercurial character, and their matchless ability to aggregate the yearnings of the poor into a palpable and philosophical entity. It was said of Nehru that he drove himself to extremes, and was first a sensitive human being and only next a politician. That analyst might as well be talking of Awo, a Nigerian contemporary of Nehru, and with whom Awo shared mutual admiration and ideological affinity. Tinubu, on the other hand, had little time to portray himself as a fervent ideologue in the interview, but there was no question about his uncanny attachment to the oppressed, his engagingly attractive pragmatism, and his prescient and strategic politicking. These three elements are woven into a rich tapestry in his mind, and connected by a central spine defining his outlook and calibrating the measured release of the adrenalin that fires his passion •Nehru

for politics and risk-taking. He is fiercely ambitious he says, but only contradistinctively and moderately so. This is not hard to understand, even if the two positions appear at odds with each other. His suggestion, for instance, that he could serve in any position, even as a running mate, indicates that his fierce ambition is supremely moderated by his philosophical outlook and the objective reality of his brand of politics in the context of diseased Nigerian politics. Responding to another question on whether he was willing to pay the ultimate price like any of his role models, Tinubu gave the editors another rare look into his mind, life and politics. He loved to take risks, he said, and would be as willing to go to jail as he would gamely accept losing an election. By the time he finished explaining what he meant, it became clear to the editors that beyond the outward appearance, risk-taking as a generic concept, however it is defined, masks the more germane core, the true interior of a man where courage or cowardice is bred, where good judgement or bad judgement is formed, where leadership character is imbued with nobility or rendered ignoble. It was only after he gave the editors an insight into his mind that they understood Tinubu’s essential personality. They immediately recognised that his rise to political fame was not accidental; it happened because, like Awo, and unlike many others

•Awo

who fade into nothingness, he satisfied the fundamental requirements of leadership: the readiness to die for an idea; the quiet resolve to sacrifice everything for an intangible, abstract goal; and the possession of an inordinate amount of

detachment in the face of privation and extreme hostility from envious peers and the people to whose service he had surrendered or devoted himself. The six editors who spoke with Tinubu on March 26 – Victor Ifijeh, Sam Omatseye, Kunle Fagbemi, Segun Ayobolu, Festus Eriye and Mobolade Omonijo – did not have the opportunity to observe Nehru’s elocution. But they were at least conversant with Tinubu’s other role model. They knew the great Awo to be a man of few words, with an elocution that did not usually rise up to the rhythm of his fiery intellect. Tinubu takes after Awo in this department. He pays little attention to the poetic elegance that gets an interviewer stranded and mesmerised midway, and he exhibited none of the cadence or jingoisms reporters often rhapsodise in features. But his logic was sound, the recall of events razor-sharp, and there was never a time he lost his train of thoughts. His depth of appreciation of issues and the heartfelt passion that drives them stand him out as a fighter, leader and achiever. It would indeed require the services of a phrenologist to determine the quantum of his character taken up by his unquenchable zest for good governance and feelings for the poor, and the quantum that remained susceptible to the obtrusion that scarified and undermined the politics and achievements of someone like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. As he sat at the head of table, however, he felt no obligation to put up a show or to hide his defects. He portrayed a man who emphasised his interior over his exterior, a man who instinctively understood that the quality of what resided in a man showed the quality and substance of the man, a man who by some indescribable chemistry had made complete peace with whom he had tutored himself to become. As far as the six editors could see on that warm Monday night, and as they dined with him, they saw a man who would not flee from the tumult of war, or panic at the blast of the bugle summoning men of grit and solid caborundum to march through darkest gloom and extreme peril to the relentless and distant drums of battle. Published in the following three pages are excerpts from the interview.


24

Sunday Interview

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

TINUBU @ 60

‘If we don’t fight tyrants,we w B

OLA Ahmed Tinubu means different things to different people. Who is Bola Ahmed Tinubu? Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a child of God Almighty. I was born to a hardworking family, the Tinubu family, which has always been a hardworking and prominent family. The family has always had an exceptional commitment to education and good family values. I was raised by a mother who is very industrious and equally political. I grew up, not in a middle class, but a common family with strong family values. I was somehow, somewhat rascally growing up, but very focused. I have been very lucky from childhood till date, got educated up to high school level and sought the golden fleece in the United States. From that moment, I started to fend for myself. I became committed to competitiveness in every aspect of my life. My peers influenced me greatly – like Professor Amuwo whose mother is a friend of Alhaja and many more like that. They were all happy that their children had gone overseas. So, all of us had the ambition to study abroad and come back as big men. I equally had a good exposure to middle class families. I had a lot of uncles who were educated at that point in time. The late Kafaru Tinubu was a great influence; Ganiyu Tinubu was a foreman then at Mandillas. They were well endowed and were able to look into the future and see that education is the only weapon against poverty. Nearly all my peers were pursuing medical studies – you had Sonaike, Akerele, Nurudeen Olowopopo of blessed memory. They were all committed to the pursuit of excellence. Then, we had Tunde Badejo, Bolaji Agaba, and we were all parading ourselves as ‘The Boys’ in our area – regardless of whether you were born with silver spoon or the wooden spoon; we were regarded as middle class boys. Everyone of us believed that education was the option and going abroad was fashionable. We left almost simultaneously, even though Badejo left ahead of us and Sola Popoola left a year before us and accommodated us. How did you cope in the U.S.? You were not on scholarship We did all sorts of menial jobs to succeed. I can say proudly that my academic record was excellent. I set out to read Accountancy. It was during my time at Richard Daley College where I always had A in Mathematics that my College Advisor recommended Accountancy to me. From there, I went to Chicago State University where I was, again, on the Dean’s list. At Richard Daley, I was on the honour’s list and was honoured by the American Association of Community Colleges and eventually graduated on top of my class. By dint of hard work, I got college tutorial appointment and that helped in paying my tuition. It enabled me to help others who had deficiency in Statistics, Accounting and Finance and that, in a way too, helped me to improve my own intellectual capacity. I was the University Student Scholar of the year. Therefore, I was highly regarded by the big A accounting firms. I did not consider any accounting firm that was not ranked one to six. My Professor advised me not to touch any firm ranked above seven. They used to rank them as the Big Four, the Big Five, the Big Six, the Big Eight. IBM offered me job, United Steel offered me job and I am grateful that the foundation for where I have found myself today was laid in those days.

Who will you consider as your role model and mentor? In the modern era or …. At all times Then I will say Nehru. Why Nehru? I have continued to study Nehru. I found him quite impressive, how he was committed to his people and certain values. I find everything about him very interesting and fascinating – his lifestyle, achievements, philosophy. And, in Nigeria? Undoubtedly, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. You can partly attribute that one to family influence. Before I left the shores of Nigeria, Alhaja (Mama Abibatu Magaji) was very close to Chief (Mrs) H.I.D. Awolowo. They would give us brooches and buttons of the Action Group to go and sell. We were only children, we didn’t know what we were doing. All that mattered to us was that it would enable us raise money to buy tickets to watch football matches and attend disco parties. It was later that I started reading about Awo and about Nehru. When you read about Awo, there is no way you will not see the ideal man in him. Can you recollect any of the pranks you played or any risky incidents of your childhood? There was an uncle of mine, Johnson, who was working at WNBS/WNTV. He took me round the television station one day. The following day, some repair men were working on the mast. I climbed after them, not knowing that they were wearing belt. I was just curious to know what they were doing. I almost killed myself and my uncle thought that I was a bad child. At the very early stage, my ambition was to study Electrical Engineering. So, at that time, I did not know about the transmitter, I thought the pictures were captured and could be seen on the mast. What ideas or philosophy of politics have influenced you the most? Service. I am fully committed to service to humanity. That is why I took after (Chief) Awolowo. There is no doubt that I joined politics for service. Somebody described you as a radical conservative, a progressive capitalist. Do you see yourself in that light? I am not worried about that. There is an aspect of capitalism that I believe in. I believe in investment risk and that those who take it should be rewarded. But, I am a progressive because I believe that you must put people’s welfare above your personal interest at all times in everything that you do. That is my background. We audited General Motors, General Electric when I was a trainee auditor. I got exposed to the operations of the big companies – the engineering, marketing, quality control. But, the bottom line was capitalism – how to ensure that the system yielded profit for the investors and the firm was healthy. The tag of radicalism comes in when one considers the impact of corporate action on the society. Take a big corporation like Mobil, the developmental programme and the welfare of workers. Why are they behaving one way or the other? You seek compromise, where the relationship in a joint venture is onesided. Up till now, we are not doing well in our international industrial policy. So, I insist that we ask the question all the time; how does it protect Nigerian interest? At all times, a radical asks, whatever his status in the organisation – how does it protect the worker? Those are the areas where you can regard one as a

conservative capitalist or a liberal capitalist or a radical capitalist depending on how you choose to answer the questions. Some of your critics say you chose to enlist in the NADECO army after you failed to get the military appoint you a Deputy Military Administrator. They point to a famous meeting you had then with General Diya … That is incorrect, totally incorrect. First of all, I was a whizkid, brilliant on my job. I once wrote a report as an auditor at Mobil considered to be against my Chairman/Chief Executive who could decide my fate as an employee. Some managers said I should not submit and sustain the report, but I maintained my independence. It was what I found against the corporation, and the chairman was guilty of ineffectiveness. The buck, I said, stopped on his table. I sent the report to New York and I gave him a copy. I had no other job and I was not seeking any employment. I insisted on professional integrity. There are living witnesses. The Chief Executive was recalled and rather than get the sack, I was moved two steps up. I was elevated above even some of the people who hired me for the job. I had a brilliant career. I was made the Treasurer and saddled with the responsibility of implementing all the recommendations I had made to restructure the finances of the corporation. They saw the author of the report as the most capable hand to handle the implementation. The record is there. It was from there that I went to the Senate. When I was going, they thought I was crazy because I was in line for the job of Finance Director. The Finance Director was about to resign and they disclosed to me that I was being groomed to become the Finance Director. So, I wasn’t looking for a job. Anybody who imputed such motive to my action was talking balderdash. It is said that you shared so many attributes and values with the late Awolowo – doggedness, principles and stubbornness. Awo went to jail. Does such prospect make you uncomfortable? I know that Awo went to jail because of conspiracy, because of his strict adherence to principles, honesty, discipline, good governance and integrity and a belief of being in the opposition. When I was detained, I saw the danger that could be inherent in any democratic struggle. I will always adhere to principles. At any cost? At any cost. I am a big risk taker. When I believe in something, I do it. I try to do it well to the best of my ability. I don’t care about the consequences of my principled position and ideological commitment to progress. I believe that somebody has to take the risk, some people have to pay the price. America would not have been what it is today if those 14 men did not decide that, whatever it would cost, they would fight for freedom. They knew that they could be charged with treason at a time that the punishment was to chop off their heads, be guillotined. They took the risk. They went ahead to declare the independence of the United States of America. They were human beings. Now, they have that great history behind them. This society must be freed from poverty, freed from tyrannical regime and poverty. If there are no people to make the sacrifice on behalf of the general populace, the society cannot move forward. Perhaps, if I hadn’t decided to take the plunge, I could have been richer than I am and more successful than I am. I could have benefited from the

Jonathan is the most dangerous politician. I did not know until I saw Dr Okonjo-Iweala and others that we thought were technocrats in government in the PDP uniform at their convention, dancing. I thought they were from the private sector. It is dangerous. His administration is not focused

compromise with those in charge, but I carefully chose this path and I am ready for whatever comes as a result. Yes, I had access to General Sani Abacha. Senator Abdullahi Magaji, from Kano, took me to Abacha before he took over (from Shonekan). I did not know then that he (Abacha) was talking in parables. He said: “Don’t worry about Shonekan. I doubt if he will be there for long.”

It was later that I understood what he meant. He said I was very talented and that he knew Alhaja (my mother). Magaji is alive. I knew my stance. I could not and would not change it. I chose to stand with the people and on that I still stand till today. And you would do the same today in similar circumstances?

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Sunday Interview

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TINUBU @ 60

e will not have a tomorrow’

•Tinubu I will do so tomorrow, if it is to liberate the people. My position is that, if we don’t fight tyrants, if we don’t stand up to them, we will not have a tomorrow. They keep doing the same thing over and over again, taking the people for granted. If you are in power and neglect the welfare of the poor and allow them to become destitutes, your own children, and you, investment in them, will be at greater risk. You have fought many battles, what would you say are your strengths and what would you consider your weaknesses? My strength? Ability to think outside the box, professional upbringing and the development I acquired in my adult life. You have to develop your intellectual inquisitiveness. If you look at the American law of taxation today, it is all about self interest, as you need an accountant to even file your returns. If you go into it, you find personal interest, you find political cronyism, you find things that you would agree or disagree with. You then move to separate what is of personal interest to you from what would benefit the larger interest of the society. That is what political leadership should be, about commitment to serve the public.

PHOTOS: KUTELU GBENGA

The Obasanjo administration procured many turbines without having the pipelines that would supply gas. Or did he think they were going to be fired by the faeces of his pigs? The way forward is to open up the sector for competition. It is from Obasanjo that I have seen that you can be corrupt transparently

What are the areas you want to work on? One area I will like to work on is to be more patient. I need a clearer understanding of what is of self interest and public interest. It is good to trust a little and understand that some other people may not be as fast in the pursuit of certain goals. There is also rigidity. Sometimes you expect me to be flexible and look

the other way, I don’t; but, I always take responsibility for my decision. We know that you are ambitious and your party, the ACN, is ambitious. But, it is still largely regarded a a regional party. What do you intend doing to expand the scope before 2015? The ACN is not a regional party; that is a misconception. I have never seen a free and fair election in this

country. So, if the riggers of elections decide to limit the ACN to the Southwest, would all the weapons of money and materials so that they can label us a regional party, they are merely insulting the people of the Southwest. We should praise the people for their sophistication, politically, and their ability to identify and reward performance. Our standing today is manifested in good governance. In the Southsouth, Oshiomhole is excelling in Edo State. You dare not rig him out except you want to break Nigeria. All we are waiting to see is the margin. The people are happy there because he is performing. The transformation of Edo is manifesting in our own very eyes. Two, if our party is regional, for the Southwest only, why did we field a candidate in the gubernatorial election in Bauchi? We won the governorship election in Benue, whatever the tribunal has said. The fact is that we won the election. We won some seats in the legislature too – Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly. Is Benue part of the Southwest? No. We were competitive in Benue, in Adamawa, in Akwa Ibom and many other states across the country. I reject that label. Take a look at America. There will be an election later this year. Look at the electoral map, each of the parties has areas of strength, traditionally. This is due to religion or right to bear arms and their stands over the years on some issues. Industrial areas like Illinois, Chicago or Massachusetts, you can predict how they will vote. See all the recent elections in this country, the PDP has been winning, regardless of performance. We must forge an alliance among the other political parties before the next general elections in order to show that we are very serious along the progressive line to take over from the PDP. I am sure that the people of this country are tired of the non-performance of PDP as a ruling party. So, the ACN is a national party, it is on the national geography, on the national register, flourishing in the Southwest, performing better in other areas. So, we take what we have and build on it to get what we want. Everybody can see the model in Lagos. Regardless of the abuse and treachery during Obasanjo’s rule, it is very clear that such tricks cannot succeed for too long. Our people want progress, they want development, they want good education for their children, they want good healthcare programme, good social amenities. This is what PDP cannot offer them. Democracy must be for the people. It must be about prosperity of the people. There must be free and fair elections. I have heard someone wonder where you picked the title national leader of ACN from. He argued that it is not in the party’s constitution. And then, as a clincher, he asked, “If he is national leader, what is Baba Akande”? He is the chairman of the party. Beside the national executive council, we have the national caucus and there are enough roles for all those willing to make contributions. We don’t have the so-called Board of Trustees (laughter). What matters, the description or title one is given, or the contribution that one makes? What is my role as national leader? To generate ideas, to promote the interest of the party and its growth and help the chairman in the decision-making process. I don’t even quarrel with the PDP on the manner it conducted its convention. I disagree with anybody

outside the party describing it as a one-man show; that is their internal mechanism for choosing their national chairman. They worked towards the result and they got it. We should forget the deception. If you are influential, how do you exercise your influence? All that matters is that you get results as a consequence of internal cohesion. We got a good candidate in Ibikunle Amosun out of many interested persons. Today, he is performing, he is doing well in Ogun State. He would need some time to carefully navigate the sea in view of political rivalry. Then, there is Ajimobi in Oyo who has internalised the progressive principles and it is showing in his programmes. You have Rauf Aregbesola in Osun and Dr. Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti charting a new path. If you believe that anybody can steer the ship of a state or a nation, you would be wrong. It takes real leadership to chart a new course. Exceptionally good leadership, that is what we want. It is not anybody that can steer a ship and we have seen even luxury yachts capsizing these days. It is the ship of state that we are talking about. In 2003, you were mentioned in connection with contesting as Alhaji Abubakar Atiku’s running mate, and 2011, you were said to have sought the ticket with General Buhari. Do you really think you can function in the capacity of a deputy, given your strong personality? I will be good at anything, provided I desire it and accept the responsibility associated with it. I am a firm believer in team work. You cannot audit a firm by yourself, you go as a team. That is my training. Even in an organisation, you cannot work alone. There are people in the different departments – you report to someone and others report to you. In like manner, you cannot play politics alone and be successful. It takes a good planning team to organise a campaign; it takes a good team to give assignments to different people to achieve electoral success. In politics, you cannot allow political enemies to dictate who you are and should be. The full responsibility is yours. Specifically now, I had no ambition to be Atiku’s running mate. It was suggested to me and I said I would play any role to promote the interest of our party as long as it is in the collective interest of all. In the Third Republic, I had the opportunity of becoming the Senate President. I had the ambition but that was the time I learnt not to be rigid in the pursuit of personal ambition. I invested heavily to become the Senate President and 38 out of 56 SDP Senators had endorsed me. But, when we got to the party’s leadership, and they confronted me with a larger picture that, with the ban of Yar’Adua and others, we had the opportunity to provide the presidential candidate or at worst, vice presidential slot, which were considered more important to the Southwest than Senate Presidency, I had to step down my ambition. So, we decided to give the Senate Presidency to the Middle Belt and that was how (Iyorchia) Ayu emerged. Whatever the level of ambition that I may have, I manage it in the overall interest of group or the nation. Come to think of it, nothing would have stopped me from running in 2011. So, why didn’t I contest? It was suggested and by the time the rumour became pronounced and hyped, I voluntarily told Buhari, he is alive and some

•Continued from Page 26


Sunday Interview

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

TINUBU @ 60

‘Revenue allocation formula outdated’ •Continued on Page 23 people were there, I said if it was about me that we were to float a muslim-muslim ticket, drop me, drop any consideration for me and our party will provide you Christians. I said we would provide him not just one name, but four if he wanted, among them Methodist, Evangelical, Catholic and Anglican. I still have the names in my diary. I just want to explain to give a clearer picture in view of the politics of innuendos, gossips and uninformed comments. Politics should not be about self. I was qualified and competent to contest for the presidency then, and I had the resources to pursue the ambition. But, I didn’t, in the interest of the party, because how would you explain it when they start the talk about this Turn by Turn Nigerian Limited? I don’t allow my personal interest to override group interest. You cannot stop people from shallow political analysis based on poor assumptions. Recently, there were elections in Adamawa and Kogi, among other states. The ACN lost and, as usual, it was blamed on rigging. Can we attribute all the losses suffered by the party to rigging? In secondary school, the excuse for failure is, the teachers don’t like me. In the university, the Professor doesn’t like my ethnic group. The excuse for political failure in some cases is perversion of the electoral system. But, if the electoral process is transparent and the control mechanism works, you will find Nigerians accepting the result. At a time, we had Option A4, crude as it was. You lined up behind the candidate or his poster, and they had to count 1,2,3 to the end of the line. People accepted their losses because it was crystal clear who won and who lost. Humphrey Nwosu created the Modified Open Ballot System and that, too, was transparent and accepted. You had to come for accreditation at a stated time and came to vote at the time allotted. Between 8 and 12, you got accredited, then the number accredited was entered in the appropriate form. Then everybody came back at 3p.m. to vote. It was being done all over at the same time. You could only go below the number accredited, not beyond. In the last exercise, they asked us to register, we registered; they said the biometrics would be verified at polling units and multiple voting would be prevented through the adoption of Modified Open Ballot System. When you went for accreditation, was there anytime that the validity of the registration card was tested biometrically? When was the electoral register verified, authenticated by leaders of the parties? I don’t know if there were fake uniforms to impersonate youth corpers as electoral officials. If they are able to fake police uniform, what would it take to sew fake NYSC uniforms? You had all forms of weaknesses apparent in the system. In the false start to the election (on April 2 last year), they chose to testrun the method for rigging. How come the result sheets did not arrive if the ballot papers arrived? Everybody sympathised with Jega then, including all of you. At what point did they discover? On election day after they had called out voters? We are truly a gullible nation. Okay, we said, give them benefit of the doubt, let’s move on. As we moved along, the irregularities were being perfected. We had places where the number of registered voters were more than the figures on the result sheets. The electoral commission brought professors to be returning officers. They did not even understand the arithmetic. They were not on the field. They merely collected

I don’t even quarrel with the PDP on the manner it conducted its convention. I disagree with anybody outside the party describing it as a one-man show; that is their internal mechanism for choosing their national chairman. They worked towards the result and they got it

and collated figures brought to them. What if the results brought were different from what actually obtained at the polling units or even wards and local government collation centres? The electoral process is not run using the university admission system. There was certainly evidence of rigging. We all must accept that electoral corruption is the worst form. Elections in Ondo and Edo are at hand now. Expectations by the ACN faithful are very high. What happens if the results follow the established pattern, especially as it was in Kogi and Adamawa where the party was also hopeful? It will not be accepted. The electoral commission has alerted us many times about what could happen. Now we know them. Again, the judiciary has been incorporated into the scheme by the political powersthat-be. They have eroded confidence in the electoral process because nothing has changed. We now know the legitimization of malpratices and irregularities going on. Criminals in the systems are not sanctioned and, for as long as they operate freely, given cover by calculation of number of days in court, thus denying the aggrieved justice, there will be no confidence in the process and the system. And, for so long, there will be no free and fair elections. The consequences might be that we have to fight for our rights on the street with dane guns and cutlasses. They should not dare or push the people because what they have done now is amputate the right of the people to fair hearing. They have now used their majority to deny that constitutional right. At a time that we need stability for economic development, the 180 days is threatening it. They are now promoting anger and frustration in the land. It can only lead to anarchy. They should take note. They can fool the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time. So, what if they rig in Ondo and Edo? It won’t be acceptable. You can’t rig there. We won’t allow it. It will

be strictly one man, one vote. It must be clear, transparent, correct arithmetic. You were once reported as advocating dialogue with Boko Haram. How true? It was a correct report. In every warfare, in every disagreement, in every violence, we still must find a way for an understanding. It may require educating some people. However, dialogue is inevitable. I want to appeal to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria who is calling for a halt to the search for peace and dialogue. He said the Christians have the right to defend themselves. Yes, they do. Every individual has the right to defend himself, but we should not promote it in a way that will put every community in danger. We all must encourage the search for solution to the problem. You cannot promote religious differences as no one religion can dominate the other. No one religion can eliminate the other. We are all inter-related throughout the country. In everything we do, we must be conscious of the implication of our actions and utterances. You cannot fight ignorance with ignorance. We should use all means necessary to promote peace and stability of the country. We should not take any rigid position. Those of you who are called progressive politicians have continued to advocate a Sovereign National Conference. But those opposed to it say it could dismember the country. What is your position today on the debate? The refusal to hold it may lead to unintended consequences, too. No matter how we flip the coin, it is head or tail. When the military was to go, we tolerated a number of things just to allow them go, and thereafter we said we would sort things out. They have forgotten now. We were anxious to take over, agreed. We did not want their manipulation. Why would we surrender our sovereignty as a people to a National Assembly when the party that found itself in power can easily manipulate the process and outcome? Why don’t we

hold the conference and let we the people decide what we want? The antidote to disintegration is the conference. It is the only way of putting Nigeria on the path of stability, cohesion and stop the drift to unilateralism. See the amendment (to the Constitution) that they used their majority in the National Assembly to foist on us. They amended the Constitution to take away the right of citizens to fair hearing. One day, they will use their majority to strip you of your citizenship. Sovereignty belongs to the people, not the government of the day, the executive or the National Assembly. Let’s discuss. It is better that we find a way to discuss issues now without bloodshed. I hate to see the agony of Nigerians if we were to drift to war. I can see it building up. I have seen it in what happened and is happening in Sudan and other places. Are you advocating that the National Assembly should disband? No. It should exist. When I was a Senator, the military was in power and we were able to challenge them with legislative power and that was why we were able to pass a resolution that, come July 28, the military must hand over to the democratically elected government of Nigeria. It was at the only joint session of that Assembly. So, the National Assembly can continue now to perform their oversight function. What we are saying is that they do not have the capacity to really look at Nigeria and radically restructure the country in a way to promote unity and stability. The North is calling for a review of the revenue allocation formula. What is your take on this? I do not want to look at it from the sectional point of view. I want to look at the constitutionality and desirability. I agree that there is the need to review it – both the vertical and the horizontal. The formula as it is today is outdated. The basis for both the vertical and horizontal distribution have changed over the years. We need to take note that majority of the corporations that

gave rise to the federal government keeping 58 per cent have been privatized. So, why keep 58 per cent? I don’t have problem with 13 per cent derivation; it is in the constitution and they have the right to it. And that is not just because of the Constitution but because the oil is derived from them and they have been neglected for too long. To make up for the past neglect and develop the area … if you go there, you will see abject poverty and environmental degradation. There are various other aspects of the formula that have changed and the review must reflect it. There is also the issue of how to distribute the money due to the local government councils. The money should go to the states which should come up with the indices. The Constitution could say 20 per cent should go to the Local Governments, if, in Lagos, we have 100 community and local councils, Lagos should distribute what should go to each local government and how many. What we have now is arithmetically, algebraically and geometrically wrong. You initiated the first Independent Power Project in Lagos. But you were forced to surrender it to the Federal Government. Now, what do you consider the way forward in view of the challenge in that sector and its importance to economic development? They stamped the truth on the head; they sabotaged it. I am glad I am alive to say that it is lack of vision. You will never have it right if you continue to have a monopoly. One of the greatest achievements of our administration was breaking the monopoly. I am very proud of that vision. The way out is break it (PHCN) up. This will bring investors. The Obasanjo administration procured many turbines without having the pipelines that would supply gas. Or did he think they were going to be fired by the faeces of his pig? The way forward is to open up the sector for competition. It is from Obasanjo that I have seen that you can be corrupt transparently. The PDP has won all the five elections held in the past four months. To what will you attribute the string of victories? That is where we have to look at elections and electoral reforms again. Are we saying that Nigerians are rewarding failures? Are we saying that performance and merit are no longer the criteria for acceptance of political parties in Nigeria? That is the only reason PDP could be winning every election – that we have been abused, been punished, we have poor performance. And you think with that we could make progress in the country? Are we saying that after the removal of oil subsidy, we desire more pain, that Nigerians went ahead to reward them for that? They must be saying that we are sadists. In one sentence each, what is your view on the following: Obasanjo, Zik, Awo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan? Obasanjo – deceptive; Awo – the most respected, development tactician. Shehu Yar’Adua – a great tactician; very ambitious. Inordinate ambition? I won’t say so. I will just add that if he had been steadfast on June 12, things could have turned out differently. Umaru Yar’Adua? Brilliant Jonathan? (Pauses) I don’t want to be derogatory. Unconscionably partisan; the most dangerous politician. I did not know until I saw Dr Okonjo-Iweala and others that we thought were technocrats in government in the PDP uniform at their convention; dancing. I thought they were from the private sector. It is dangerous. His administration is not focused.


SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

FUNMI AJILA-LADIPO

‘I have little time to socialise’ –PAGE 42


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Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Kehinde Falode Tel: 08023689894 (sms)

E-mail: kehinde.falode@thenationonlineng.net

Be creative with your style

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•Luis Priddy

HAT is style to you? Style is the totality of who you are. But is that all? Not exactly. Style also ought to be a fun process in which you can just do about anything to fully express your personality. Not sure what your style is exactly? Or maybe your lifestyle has changed and you are not the chic urban person you once were or want to be. The best way to forge a path to a new signature style is to •Bola Shagaya embark on a journey of selfdiscovery. Opting into in a few fun activities to get your creative juices flowing will do just the trick. -What do you adore? What do you love? Let your interests lead to your style. -Go on a window shopping experience and become an expert. -Experiment with fabrics and different kind of styles. You may pick up unique dresses in the process. -Get crafty and experiment with lots of accessories and clothing items. -Pick a pattern that is in harmony with your facial features and does not over power you. -Select a colour you •Terence Sambo adore and bring a smile to your face. -Your fragrance, jewelry, accessories, makeup and hair all unify your look making it more interesting. -The scarf (neck, waist and wrist scarf) is by far one of the inexpensive ways to update. It adds a punch of colour, an unexpected pattern and instantly creates depth and interest in an outfit. -The last but not the least, buy the best quality that you can afford.

•Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa

•Susan Younis

•Ronke Ladipo, Creative Director of Rouch

•Zizi Cardow


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

All that glitters

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HIS season sees the 80’s roar once again. So get ready for a glittering retro revival with great rocky inspired dresses, skillful details and sequins galore.

•Nikky Khiran

•Cream dress by Miss Selfridge embellished with silver detailing echo a look that is perfect for a night out

•Nike Oshinowo-Soleye

Embellished and beautiful silver and white/cream are turning any outfit into a showstopper! So, embrace the Cinderella style in you with this urbane collection.

•Ruky Sanda

•Cream pearl crystal earrings by RJ Graziano

•Scallop dress by Lipsy -Silver and glistering cream mixed with gold detailing keep the look edgy and unique •Funke Akindele

•Maryam , Ex Miss Valentine on the red carpet

•Multi snake-chain necklace by jeager

•Lightweight sparkling adjustable cuff bracelet

•These satin T-bar heels by Karen Millen capture the true spirit and charm of the Cinderella

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Best short skirts for your body shape By Rita Ohai

Petite and curvy It will be easy to look stumpy when you put on long skirts. So it’s really key to nip something in at the waist, or show some leg, or both. Plus a little stretch on the fabric makes it fit your body perfectly!

You might also want to try out this skirt which is curve-skimming but not clingy and therefore does not make you look skinny.

Small waists Nautical stripes are always classic with small waist lines because they give the illusion of fuller hips.

Pear-shaped skirt, work best. A-lines pieces like this bright and adding a cropped Tucking in, wearing a belt ks for ladies with large blazer are all slimming tric with pockets that fall hips. Also try to buy skirts below the hips.

Busty Adding extra volume to the lower part of your body balances you out. Stripes, layered fabricsand swingy skirts give you curves as well as play up your bottom half.


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

33

Lagos celebrities and fashionistas flocked to The Haven, GRA, Lagos last Sunday for a party to celebrate this year’s Encomium Magazine White gig. As expected, the show turned out to be an evening of glitz and glamour. Kehinde Falode, brings the red carpet fashion hits and misses. MUMA GEE was sparkling in a oneshoulder bead embellished gown, with her hair in a flattering headgear that framed her face. Kudos!

Photos OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

Her sassy hair, drop earrings and gold detailing dress were big hits. Kudos to TOYIN LAWAL

MONALISA CHINDA’S, little beige dress was adorable! The actress accessories, the elegant ensemble with glittering gold pumps which matched her chosen outfit perfectly. Kudos! WEIRD MC, was among those that made the night's biggest missteps, as she looked so comical. Oops!

RONKE OJO (Oshodi Oke) looked so unstylish. The rough finishing of her pants are even visible! Oops!

Making one of the bolder style statements of the evening was LIZ ANJORIN, who cut a dandy profile in a white chiffon sexy V-neck with empire silver embellished waist and necklines and silver accessorizing. Kudos!

LAIDE BAKARE in a glitering oneshoulder, Kudos!


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Glamour

Favourite bag designer ST Colours

Favourite TV show

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

One of the most talented female artists in Nigeria, Kuchi Kuchi soul queen and Jewelry designer, J’odie, reveals her favourite things to Kehinde Falode

Favourite wrist watch designer Chris Aires

Supernatural

Favourite quote

Favourite actor

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago... the second best time is NOW!

David Nnaji

Favourite cloth designer

Favourite food

Wardrobe of Worth

Chinese Rice and shrimps sauce

Favourite book read lately

Favourite hairdo My Kinky Hair

J’odie’s

top The Lord, Madiba and The Eagle

Favourite perfume Elizabeth Arden

0 1


THEATRE

With VICTOR AKANDE

t

BIGSCREEN

SOUND TRACK

plus

Tel: 08077408676

GISTS

PAGE

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e-mail: victor_akande@yahoo.com

JPX, LKT others set for Ikorodu Easter concert!

F •Hon. Rotimi Makinde with Yemi Rem i (Akan

bi)

Stella Damasus drops from AGN elections

•Yemi Remi (Akanbi) as Tinubu

Isokan

•Director Tunji Bamishigbin with other

crew members

Asiwaju…The movie! 60th birthday anniversary for a man who has impacted all spheres of his race is worth capturing in a movie, VICTOR AKANDE writes on the effort of veteran filmmaker, Tunji Bamisigbin, at documenting history through Isokan (Unity), a parodied viewpoint on the role played by Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the modern politics of South West Nigeria.

A

group of newly elected traditional rulers (Baales) from Gusu Osi, who have just retrieved their stolen thrones with fierce battle led by Okanbi set out on a journey in search of knowledge on how to direct the affairs of their domain in order to return the lost glory of the land, as achieved by the departed sage of the community, Araba Omo Awo. However, the custodian, Amoye Meta (the three wise ones), elders of the sacred land on the hills, who take them through the history of their community's political history, gave them conditions that will make their intention achievable: They must forge unity among all the leaders of their community, identify a new leader who has shown courage and sagacity in the course of their struggle, and cooperate wtih such leader in order to regain the lost glory of the land. This is the premise upon which this Yoruba flick of contemporary history is based. Thus, through the use of satire, it projects all the characters in the political struggle since the June 12, 1993 saga. With an impressive cast of about 300 people, the picturesque appraisal of the masses trooping to the streets in strong agitation

AST-RISING act, JPX of Mo'Vibez Records, and LKT, among others would be headlining one of the Easter concerts in Lagos come April 6, 2012. The event which is billed to hold at The Resource Hall, Idi Agbalumo, Igbe Road, Ikorodu will see JPX performing his two new singles, Tonight and Boju Boju which he released a few weeks back. To add colour to the event which promises to shake Ikorodu, other acts like D'toonz , and Big Choll will be on ground to thrill the audience alongside the Disc Jockeys that are expected to grace the occasion. They include DJ Yodee (Kennis Music International) , DJ Gee Q (Top Radio), DJ Flavor (Rainbow FM) and DJ Kelexy (Radio Continental).

for their right from the military junta is a desirable filmic reality. And if the directorial prowess of filmmaker Tunji Bamisigbin is anything to go by, this may go down as one of the few films that will serve as a referral material for students of Yoruba history. And if you think that good scripting, appropriate casting, and artistic directing is all that a good film requires, then the lighting and technical support provided by high scale Jungle Film Productions, with the very latest High Definition camera and a first class crew, is sure to make this a great experience! The flick adopts a narration format through the Three Wise Ones (Amoye

Such leader, who must be courageous, and known to have shown agacity, knowledge and consistency in the pursuit of a common good for all, is identified in the modern history of the Yoruba people as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

A

CTRESS and TV host, Stella Damasus, will no longer contest for the post of Public Relations Officer in next month's elections of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). The actress has decided to step down due to reasons she said are personal and would not like to disclose for now. Stella, who made the announcement through a statement by her publicist, also revealed that she is not involved in any legal tussle with anyone in the Association. "Stella is no longer contesting in AGN elections. And to put the records straight, she is not in any legal battle with anybody in the Guild. She remains a member of AGN and will continue to support the Guild in her capacity. She recently enrolled some members of the Association for free training at her arts academy, and that will be a continuous effort from her, whether she is an Executive of AGN or not," the statement read in part.

Meta), played by Chief Yemi Elebuibon (an Ifa priest of international recognition); Olatunbosun Oladapo, one of the leading first generation Ewi exponents; and Sunday Akinola of Feyikogbon fame. Shot on locations in Osogbo, Ife, Iragbiji, Ada, Ede, Ilobu, Erinjiyan Ijesha etc, Isokan is woven around two major themes: the first being a call for unity among the South West states under a unifying group, for political and economic emancipation of the region. And the second theme is on the need to identify a leader (Asiwaju), who possesses all that is required to lead a sophisticated group like the people of Southwest Nigeria. Such leader, who must be courageous, and known to have shown sagacity, knowledge and consistency in the pursuit of a common good for all, is identified in the modern history of the Yoruba people as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Produced and directed by Tunji Bamishigbin, with screenplay by Ade Adeniji, the film also stars Yemi Remi, Buki Ajayi, Kunle Makinde, Toyin Adegbola, Remi Oshodi, Sola Kosoko, Adesina Adesanya, Ayobami Olabiyi, Rasaq Adewale, and Tunde Bamgbade, among others. •Stella Damasus


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Entertainment

Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Why am I still single? It is as if it's a taboo… I have a lot of admirers and suitors; the problem is finding real love so one has to be careful

C

Being single is not taboo —Susan Peters Her initial dream was to become an air hostess but all that changed when a movie crew walked into her boutique cum eatery in Kano some years back. Ever since, Kano State-born Susan Peters has grown from an ordinary business woman in Northern Nigeria to an emerging Nollywood actress. She opened up on her life, acting career and her passion for fashion in this interview with AHMED BOULOR.

OULD you let us into your time as a student of Video Wave Institute? What was the experience like? It was tedious but fun during my course at Video Waves. All other classes were easy but the stage was difficult as you have to deliver your lines and others. But it was worth it in the end. I came out as overall best female with a distinction in my class. Have you featured in any Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa movie before, knowing fully well that you speak the three languages fluently? I featured in a Yoruba movie produced by Funke Akindele, entitled Ransom. I have not featured in any other one yet, but hopefully, I will get to feature in a Hausa or Ibo film very soon. Could you recall your growing up years in the city of Kano? The only thing I was told by my mom was that I got lost at some point as a baby in Kano and they had to look for me but I was later found. How did you come about being a model? I have always loved fashion from childhood; I won the best dressed girl on campus even while growing up. So it has been a part of me from the onset. Do you regret not becoming an air hostess? No, not at all; I love my job as an actress and I don't miss that at all. I still wear my short stuffs when I want to and when I travel out, I see them and I just smile. How did your chance meeting with a movie crew spark your interest to become an actress? They met with me in my salon and boutique in Kano; I also had an eatery section so they wanted to use the eatery to shoot a scene in the movie. The director asked if I could sit on the empty table and mime and that was it. After they showed the first episode of the movie, he came back and asked if I have the dream to become an actress and I said no. But I had unknowingly sparked up a passion for acting; that was how my journey into Nollywood began. What's the first movie you featured in? It was Wasted Effort, directed by Andy Amenechi. I played Ramsey Noah's younger sister alongside Rita Dominic. I was nervous at first but later settled in. The movie set became fun after all. How did you get the role? I was auditioned along side many other actors at the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Secretariat at the National Theatre, Lagos and eventually got shortlisted. What has the journey been like thus far since you started acting in 2002? It has been good, bad and ugly but the good always over shadow the rest, so I thank God. What has it been like relocating from the north to the south in pursuit of your dream? Well, it has been one hell of a journey. In the

North, everything is more serene but there is too much chaos in the South. Lagos has taught me a lot of lessons especially from people that work for me; most of them are not straightforward. Everyone wants to scrape your head but I guess I have adjusted to the system. No wonder the phrase "This is Lagos". Have you tried your hands at writing any script for a major Nollywood production? Yes, I am writing a couple of stories but it is taking so much time to be completed because there are many tasks to be done. I have also done some major roles in movies such as Sound of Poverty, God Mother, Spiritual War and Domino, a TV series. I have also featured in other Nollywood movies such as Bursting Out, Nollywood Hustlers, Wicked Intensions, Stone Face, Sacred Lies, Heartless, Timeless Passion, Behind the Plots and lots more. Do you still find time for your interior décor business? Yes I do. I have people working for me; when I get the jobs and I do my part, I send them ahead to locations to finish the job. What has it been like coping with the transformation of being an ordinary business woman in Northern Nigeria to an emerging Nollywood actress? The only thing that has changed really is my everyday life. I am more cautious now than before, nothing, however, has changed. I still travel when I have the time; I also shop when I am on holidays. Why are you still single despite possessing striking features? Why am I still single? It is as if it's a taboo. I have a lot of admirers and suitors; the problem is finding real love, so one has to be careful. What's your take on 'togetherness' in Nollywood? Do you think Nollywood actors are united? That is a subject that still does not have a cure, until we all realise that the industry is big enough to take everyone, then maybe it will change. Someday, God will finally smile on us. Then maybe we will be united. What has your experience with E4 PR been like? It has been quiet; they got me to feature for Black Hair Europe magazine. I am sure more stuffs will come up soon. You are being touted as the biggest celebrity on the red carpet these days. How do you feel about that? Even Hollywood celebs go to the red carpet when they are invited. Though, I get a lot of invitations, I do not attend all events. I usually

attend most of these movie premieres because you get to meet people, interact and network. How did you feel being named City People Most Fashionable Celeb recently? I felt happy, it means they actually know that I love fashion and it's a passion for me. I am glad and I thank God. What's your grouse with blogger, Linda Ikeji? I have no grouse against her. She is doing her job and she has every right to post whatever she wants on her blog. My grievance was that she never celebrated my achievements, even when my assistant in the UK sent her some information she never posted. She only posts news of people she is close to. I have built my brand single handedly without any help from her so why would she suddenly claim to have made me? In what sense did she make me? It's really an insult; and for her family to attack me on the social media is wrong. What's your relationship like with other Nollywood actresses? I love them all. I give them all the regard, even my contemporaries too. Everyone knows I am a people's person. What's your greatest turn-off? I hate liars and back-stabbers. Despite your seeming spotless career as an actress, some close watchers still feel you are controversial. Well it is better to be mysterious; that way people don't really demystify you. Have you encountered any major challenges in assisting the Senate President in conducting free polio vaccination in your state? This is my first time being part of such a process. The Senate President, David Mark in conjunction with Quick Medical Consult (QMC) were de-worming children for free in my state, so I joined the campaign to work for charity. I love to help and I love charity initiatives; that is why I worked with the L.A.D children and raised N10million for charity for the late Stella Obasanjo's Foundation.

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Easter date for True Citizens

S

TAR-STUDDED movie, True Citizens, by Elvis Chuks, has been scheduled for the cinemas on 'Good Friday'. The movie features Uti Nwachukwu (BBA All Stars winner), Alex Usifo, Brian Okwara, (Ex Mr. Nigeria), Clareth Onukogu, (Miss Nigeria U.S.A), Keneth Okolie (Mr World 2nd Runner Up), Clara Iweh (Face of Unveil) and Melvin Odua (Mr. Nigeria 2011, 1st Runner Up), amongst others. Elvis said “it was very interesting having all these

people in one movie. We like the response so far, and we intend to hit the cinemas soon. We believe that every Nigerian youth will have one or two things to learn from this movie.” He noted that the movie reflects the spirit of the true citizens who are able to make headway through dint of hard work rather than meddling in illegal practice. He expressed hope that fans will be delighted that the release of the movie is coinciding with the Easter celebration.

Edo Queens renovate orphanage homes

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ROM the ancient city of Benin, the Edo State capital, three beauty queens, Majebi Ojuteke (Queen Tourism, Edo State), Joy Nomamiuokor (Most Beautiful Girl, Edo State) and Emeleomon Aikhihiero (Face of Edo) have flagged off their pet projects across the state. Aikhihiero, a 300-level Accounting student of the University of Benin, recently embarked on the renovation of two orphanage homes including the Shield of Thy Help Orphanage Home, Benin City. The Face of Edo queen also distributed food, exercise books, pens and school bags to some of the orphans. On her part, Ojuteke, also studying accountancy in UNIBEN recently organised

the second edition of the Future Female Leaders Summit at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Complex which attracted students from over 50 secondary schools and four higher institutions. The beauty queen gave out scholarships to 20 deserving students for one year and also distributed 1,000 school bags and 10,000 exercise books to the participating students. Queen Tourism also paid a visit to over ten schools, promoting cleanliness and good moral values. Nomamiukor, an Auchi Polytechnic Computer Science undergraduate, is also organising an interschool cultural display competition where the winning school will get N50, 000 and a trophy.

Phone Swap: organisers cancel Abuja premiere

S

EQUEL to the heavy timetable rolled out for Kunle Afolayan's latest flick, Phone Swap, his production company, Golden Effects, while thanking its audiences in the social media for their presence at the March 17 premiere in Lagos, announced the cancellation of the Abuja leg.

“Sadly,the organisers have decided to cancel the Abuja premiere due to logistics and the public's clamour for its cinema release. It will be available in cinemas from 30th March and the Ghana(Accra) premiere will also hold on April 5, 2012 as earlier announced.”


38

Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Battle of final 3 on ‘Naija’ Idol

N

Seun Kuti tours America S

EUN Kuti, scion of the Afrobeat beat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is currently on tour of the United States. Seun is on a two month extensive tour which took off on st the 31 of March and it will see him perform alongside the Egypt 80 at major concert and festival venues while also promoting his second album “From Africa with Fury”- RISE. The tour is gradually

Ahmed Boulor

gathering momentum with Afrobeat fans in the United States as enthusiasts are reported to be excited about Seun's expected performance having watched the Broadway Musical “FELA” currently making waves in Europe and America. The band’s opening show will be in Austin, Texas at the SXSW, a music exhibition festival, and Seun, according to the promoters

of the event, is the first artiste to get paid to perform in over 50 years as all artistes have been performing for free at the prestigious music exhibition. Some of the other venues Seun is expected to perform are: New Orleans Jazz Festival, Los Angeles, Centre for Arts, Grass Valley, California, House of Blues, Chicago, Highline Ballroom, New York, Rhythm Foundation, Miami and at the Coachelle-Indo.

‘Turning Point’ crew storms Nigeria

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RODUCERS of the much anticipated Nollywood flick, Turning Point have arrived the country for the shoot of the Nigerian scenes. The impressive crew comprise Hollywood veterans that have worked on numerous blockbusters such as I am Legend, Spiderman 3, Dark Knight, The Departed, The Devil Wears Prada, Duplicity and a host of others.

•Niyi Towolawi on set

Still basking from the success of his previous effort, Twisted, Nigerian-born UK filmmaker and Director of the flick, Niyi Towolawi says that Turning Point is his second feature film and his third attempt as a moviemaker. “I just thought I should come up with something modest. I wrote this film as well. The movie is like the melting pot of so many nations, ethnicities and all that. We only had four days of shoot here and that is not flexible even the actors here are really busy as well. We pulled Mama Gee from a shoot in Enugu to come here; Jackie Appiah had to abandon something in South Africa to come here. Everything has been really hectic but it has generally been a very positive experience especially for the crew,” he said. Set in New York and Nigeria, the flick tells the story of a Nigerian investment banker who bows to family pressure to substitute his American fiancée for homegrown

wife. His life is turned upsidedown when he discovers that not all that glitters is gold. This sets off a chain of events that brings his reckless past into view. The movie parades known stars such as Jackie Appiah, Patience Ozokwor, Chelsea Eze alongside not so known actors, including Igoni Archibong, Enyinna Nwigwe, Ebbe Bassey. Hollywood stars in the flick include Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, Law & Order, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Congo, OZ, Miss Congeniality), K.D Aubert (Entourage, The Scorpion King, In The Mix, Soul Plane, Friday After Next), Todd Bridges (Diff'rent Strokes, Everybody Hates Chris) Cynda Williams (Entourage, Mo' Better Blues, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, One False Move), Joe Estevez (Entourage, Apocalpse Now, Soultaker, San Franpsycho, Death Row), Los Angeles based actor of Black Gold, Enyinna Nwigwe, and a host of others.

AJITE had taken her final bow from the Nigeria Idol competition earlier in the week, thus leaving the stage for Mercy, Joe Blue and Stephen to contest for the top three leading slots. The competition continued in its dramatic form, with contestants sweating it out, as they performed Nigerian songs including some from Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The songs, within the tensed atmosphere, rekindled memories of Afro beat and its legend, even as Grammy-nominated artiste, Femi Anikulapo Kuti, sat in the hall as a visiting judge. Together, they watched the contestants and guest performers for the night: Jesse Jags and Black Magic, who wowed the audience with their individual performances. “It is true when they say time flies when you are having lots of fun,” Project Manager Tiwa Medubi said. “It has been an incredibly hectic few months and suddenly a star will be unveiled, this is what we all have been waiting for from the first day. We wish the remaining contestants all the best, they deserve to win,” she added.

The performances were opened by the Top 3 contestants with a group song; ‘Water’ by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The last girl standing, Mercy started the contest proper with her rendition of Victor Uwaifo's 'Joromi'. She later rounded off her performance for the night with a superlative version of Fela's song, 'Zombie.' Femi Kuti was so impressed that he rated her performance a triple A plus, mentioning that she reminded him of his grandmother and Fela's mother, Funmilayo. Next was Stephen Onochie, who entertained the audience with an energetic and choreographed performance of Flavour's 'Adanma.' For the second time that night, he performed another of Fela's classics 'Gentleman.' His performance was given a pass by most of the judges. Last but not the least, was Joe Blue, who closed the first round of performances with the classic, 'Adaure.' His last performance of the night was an elaborately orchestrated version of Fela's immensely popular, 'Palava', attracting applause with his very energetic and innovative style.

Meggy seeks grand entry

I

•Meggy

N her bid to make an impressive entry into the music scene, fastrising music act, Meggy, has become one of Nigeria's first female emcees to own a studio. This is coming after her recent music tour of the United States of America which saw her attending the glamorous 54th Grammy Awards ceremony. Margaret Abhulimen, fondly called Meggy in the music arena recently launched a studio valued at N5m. Speaking after the launch, the sonorous artiste hinted that the studio has been part of her plan for music.


Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Duncan Mighty bursts into the Nigerian music scene with a bang as his first album did not only hit the airwaves but it also received rave reviews. The selfstyled Port Harcourt boy described his foray into music from the streets as one of the marvelous works of God. He speaks with our Abuja Bureau Chief, YOMI ODUNUGA. Excerpts:

D

UNCAN Mighty, did you coin that as a stage name or are those your real names? First, let me thank you for this opportunity because it's not easy for someone to do something and also gain recognition at the same time. My name is Duncan Mighty Okechukwu. I don't have a stage name. I am from Obia/Akpor Local Government area of Rivers State. A slang that has become popular in your music is 'wene mighty.' What does it really mean? I will like to attribute everything to God. Inspiration can come from so many things. For example, you can be inspired by anything--from the movie you watch and the life of people you see around you. Wene is my local name, the native name they know me by at home, Wene means brotherhood. If you are a Port-Harcourt man, you will easily grasp the meaning. It means my brother from another mother. I always use that slogan in every of my songs because 'wene mighty' means togetherness. I believe it sounds good to me and also to a lot of people. Many musicians found it difficult to grasp the limelight with their first albums. Yours was one of those exceptional cases, how did that happen? Well, it was not really easy. Let me say I am yet to hit the limelight; I believe I'm still on the track of getting to the limelight. We are just enjoying it. For now, it is just a kind of flow of what you love. I don't really see myself as being on top right now. But I give God all the glory because Duncan Mighty is now a household name. People want to play and listen to Duncan Mighty. But talking about the lime-light, we are still growing. Tell us about your journey in the music world. At what age did the romance with music start? I started as an instrumentalist. I used to play drums. I started playing in church. I also became the choir director. I later made a decision to take my music career to the next level. So I went to school to study Audio Engineering after which I did my youth service in Lagos as a sound instructor in Benson and Hedges. I did my Industrial Training in Muson Centre in Lagos. I was sent to work for Dolphin Studios which was one of the biggest studios. The studio produced a lot of superstars in Nigeria----Paul IK Dairo, Plantashun Boiz and others. I didn't really go into music even when I knew I could sing, I fell in love with sound, I had the love for it. I didn't really just start from Port Harcourt. I got my degree in audio engineering and worked with other studios. But it got to a time that I challenged myself and veered into music. I never knew the first album was going to be a hit. Talking about Port Harcourt and Lagos, everywhere is the same. Wherever you are in life, you should be able to actualise your dreams. You should be able to say that this is

39

Growing up on the street has humbled me —Duncan Migh ty

who I am and this is what I am capable of and I sound engineer. By that time, I was building want to start here. The music industry in the studio for them and people were seeing Nigeria is so big and we thank God for Lagos me with them going for campaign awareness, because the people there have really given us attending some press conferences together the hope that a lot of money can be made from with them. I was so surprised to see on paper entertainment industry. Lives have been that Duncan Mighty signed with Mo'Hits changed. When you talk about entertainment record. I never did. in Nigeria, people readily think of Lagos. But I You have moved from being a Port give God the glory that, wherever you are in Harcourt boy to a Nigerian boy and all that. Nigeria, you can grow and people will accept Tell us about that transformation. you. Whether Lagos or Port Harcourt, we are It is all courtesy Chris Aire, my boss. I thank one Nigeria. him because he is the biggest thing to have There was this emotive song about your happened to my career today. There is one mother's illness and her miraculous healing. thing about discovering a talent and there is Can you tell us the story behind that? that other thing about appreciating someone. It is a true life story. My mother was sick for Ever since I started working with Chris Aire, a long time. She had been ill for 18 years and my career has turned to that of International when I grew up, I met my mother in the same Duncan Mighty. If I am to start saying the situation. But, today, I thank God that He has details, we may not finish today. So keep your taken charge. My mum is sound and I decided ears down, you will hear a lot of Duncan to use it as encouragement to others because it Mighty and a lot of the international artistes wasn't easy coming up from the street and that I would be working with. It is a kind of facing that kind of situation. It is spreading the love, showing hard to believe that God could people that the world is all about My mother heal her, especially when I didn't courtesy of the boss himself. was sick for a love, have money to fly her abroad What are your targets for and suddenly she was healed long time. She 2012? What should your fans through prayers. That is why I had been ill look forward to both nationally internationally? decided to put in on sound to for 18 years and encourage others that may be in I am set to release the first the same situation. and when I video of Duncan Mighty which Are you in any record label? grew up, I met should come up towards the end of April. Also, I am having the I took my time and worked for record companies, I worked for my mother in first Duncan Mighty Live Concert in America and Europe the same Dolphin Studio owned by Emeka Ogoh. I came back to Port situation. But, and I also have a programme I want to do concerning the lessHarcourt and worked for D'Large Record, raised it and today, I thank privileged. With what God has mixed the first Port Harcourt God that He done for me, I realise that I should be able to positively compilation and I was signed to has taken impact the lives of others. I a company as an Audio charge should be able to give them hope Engineer. As a sound instructor, so that they will be able to I worked for 360 Record for a remove themselves from the year and I left to work for another record label. I made some money social vices. With that, I decided not to relax there and I started to do my own thing at doing music alone. I have a project called home and that was how I came to do my first Duncan Mighty Music and Art Project. I want album without a record label. But now, I have to start giving free eye treatment to the elderly partnered with Chris Aire and formed an people in the communities---those who independent record label called AireMighty cannot go to the hospital anymore and also for pregnant women who may not have access to Records. There is an ongoing controversy about ante-natal care. There is also a programme how you went to Lagos to sign with Mo'Hits called Duncan Mighty In My Class which, by Records. Did you at any time put pen to the grace of God, will soon come on stream. In this programme, you will see me teaching paper with Mo'Hits Records? The rumour started when D'banj wanted to Physics and Mathematics from next month in do a show for His Excellency and I was called some schools in Niger Delta. In my own because they believe that I was in charge of region, people see celebrities and musicians the South-South and they said they would as school dropouts who came into the like me to support them and give people the limelight by chance. That is not a true awareness of what they were doing. It was reflection of what and who we are. A lot of us then I found out that D'banj was building a are educated and we do obatin degrees from studio in his house. I told him that it was not relevant institutions of learning. So I want to the kind of studio for Mo'Hits' level and I let people know that being a star does not restructured their studio because I am a mean you are a drop out. I am also dropping a new album and looking at getting across

campuses in Nigeria to sensitize the youth, to let them know they already have within them something to make them great. What would you say is your greatest challenge in your music career? Growing up on the street is not easy; being born and raised on the street is not easy. That is the greatest challenge that I have overcome and I have been able to hit the top from nowhere---from poor man's house, with people not believing in you as an upcoming artiste. Without a record label and a music promoter, what was the experience like promoting your album on your own? I want to let you know that it is God because I didn't have money to start paying all the media houses when my first album came out. There was a clear difference between the fact that the song was reigning and the song was selling. When I dropped the first album, it was the choice of the common man which was why I said that it was God. The only thing I did was that if I know a radio DJ, I would want to go close to him so that he can play my song. In our country, I found out that people just look at you and your album and say you are trying and they want to support you. I got a lot of such favours. And that happened, did it humble you or did it make you feel you somewhat special? Humility comes before anything, it cannot come after money. The Bible says that pride goes before the fall of a man. For me, it was not about the money but the more about the favours from God. Are you married or is marriage not in the radar for Duncan Mighty for now? No I am not. I will get married at the right time, but for now I am just taking life one day at a time. Most artistes are not doing well today because they fail to invest, apart from music, what else do you do? This is the first time I am being asked this kind of question. Apart from music, I invest in civil engineering. We've built a couple of roads in the Niger Delta. One of my investments is Wene Mighty Construction Company. How long do you intend to stay in the music business? It is something I love to do best, God willing, for as long as I live. What does being a Nigerian mean to you? A whole lot because I have never seen, in the whole world, a country with so much natural talents and natural resources. It is a country where you can be anything you want to be if your truly work at it. I pray that we continue to make progress through effective governance, so that we can maximize our God- given potential. What's your philosophy of life? Life is worth living. I tell people that you cannot draw virtue from what you don't value.


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Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Drama over MCSN, Finbank N30m suit

April date for Harry Mosco's burial

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date has been fixed for the interment of music icon, Harry Mosco Agada, who died on March 21, 2012 in Egypt. Close sources say plans have been put in place for a big Service of Songs in Lagos in honour of the musician famed for great hits like 'Happy Birthday', and 'Country Boy'. The Service of Songs is billed to take place at the Household of God Church in the Oregun area of Lagos on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 6pm. To lead in the service will be the Pastor of Household of God Church, a significant person in the arts and friend to the late Harry, Pastor Chris

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HE trial regarding a N30m suit instituted by the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) against Finbank Plc for copyright violation in the musical work , Make that Move , was concluded at the Lagos Federal High Court on March 27. The court, presided over by Justice OlateregunIshola, has fixed May 28th for the submission of written addresses of the counsels to the litigants. The twoday trial (March 26 and 27) was full of drama as the court rejected documentary evidence of the defendants and also disqualified one of its witnesses over suspected criminal impersonation . Director General of MCSN, Mr. Mayo Ayilaran, opened the case for the plaintiff, (MCSN), affirming to the court that by virtue of reciprocal agreements with sister organisations around the world, MCSN is the exclusive owner of the copyright in the work whose usage without permission is the crux of litigation before the court for adjudication. Drama ensued when the respondent (Finbank) called its first witness, Mr. Mathew Ebediziako, the Communication Manager of the bank. Before he could finish introducing himself to the court, the Judge, Justice Olateregun Ishola, observed that the witness in the dock was different from the picture attached to the affidavit sworn to by the witness in the court's records. The Judge also asked the witness to sign his signature on a piece of paper. This established a clear case of impersonation as the signature of the man in the dock did not tally. An infuriated Justice Olateregun Ishola adjourned the case to March 27, ordering the bank's lawyer and her impersonating witness to be physically present in the court. When hearing resumed on March 27, the lawyer informed the court that her investigation had revealed that the man who impersonated Mathew Ebediziako could not be found. With the issue of impersonation resolved, and the disqualification of Mr. Ebediziako from testifying for the bank, Finbank called Mr. Lasisi Adebayo, Head of Client Services of DKK & Associates, the agency which used the music Make That Move, for the bank's advert. He admitted that the company used the music in an advert for the bank, adding that his agency paid for the copyright in the music when the agency was approached by Performing and Mechanical Rights Society (PMRS). The court thus fixed May 28 for the submission of written addresses of counsels to the litigants for adoption. In another development, on March 27, the NCC withdrew all motions brought before Justice Olateregun Ishola in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/678/10, challenging her decision to abridge the 90 days pre-trial notice requirement of the law before one can sue the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), as challenged in a motion on June 6, 2010 that restrained the NCC or its agents from interfering in the operations of MCSN.

•Harry Mosco

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Anxiety over hosting right of AFRIMA

HE committee set up for All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) has since completed the screening of the hosting right amongst the final five countries: Nigeria, SouthAfrica, Namibia, Gabon and Kenya. However, the screening exercise, which lasted for six days in Nigeria after a tour and thorough inspection of five cities: Yenagoa, Calabar, Uyo, Porthacourt and Lagos, is not leaving any indication as to whether Nigeria will be picked out of the other contenders.

I

Okotie. The event is expected to have family members and top Nigerian artistes, friends and fans of the late Harry in attendance, and will be coordinated by Chief Tony Okoroji and Mr. Patrick Doyle. After the Service of Songs, his body will embark on the final journey to his hometown in Egede, Udi Local Government Area in Enugu State where a Christian Wake keep will be held in his honour on Wednesday April 11, 2012 in his family compound. He will be buried on Thursday April 12, 2012 at the same venue.

The criteria were based on infrastructural facilities, airport infrastructure, tourist sites and attractions, availability and level of sponsorship, government support, and most importantly, security level. They engaged the security officials and security experts on the level and certainty of security in Nigeria. Reports have it that in spite of the exercise, the international committee of AFRIMA has refused to disclose the outcome of the inspection, owing to the fact that they want to go through

FRCN boss seeks support for COSON

N its efforts to ensure the respect of the rights of creative artistes in Nigeria, Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Barrister Yusuf Nuhu, has called on all broadcasting stations across the country to give full support to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON). Nuhu made this call at Radio House, Abuja while he was being decorated with the Copyright Medal of Honour by COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji. He praised COSON for what he described as professional management of the relationship and the new era of co-operation between the nation's largest broadcast network and the music industry in Nigeria. Okoroji noted that the music industry in Nigeria accounts for a large number of Nigerian youths who depend on Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) for their rights management and royalty collection. He said it was sad to constantly see broadcast stations defy the law and cheat these young Nigerians by hiding under all manner of excuses and illegally using their works to improve their bottom line. He

called on all defaulting broadcasting organizations to take a cue from FRCN and operate within the confines of the Copyright Act as COSON is fully determined to enforce the law.

quality assurance procedure and a voting exercise from AFRIMA international congress. According to the Director of Communication of AFRIMA, Bamun Biko, “we are preparing our reports and our results will be based on the outcome of our reccee and inspection on all the five shortlisted countries. The winner of the hosting right will be announced in South Africa in April.” This has, however, caused apprehension within the five inspected countries. AFRIMA is a brand packaged to celebrate and appreciate the value and existence of quality associated with African music •Asa and its culture. It is a other continents, which will also m e a n s o f boost tourism and impact communication with positively on the economy.

Day ‘I Go Dye’ fetes Edo top shots

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•I Go Dye

T was a gathering of politicians, captains of industry, entertainment impresarios, all under one roof to honour comedian Francis Agoda, otherwise called I Go Dye, who threw a surprise birthday bash for Mr. Mika Isimagbon Amanokha, Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Adams Oshiomole, penultimate Saturday 24th. The comedian's gesture was in recognition of what he described as the SSA's support for the entertainment industry in Edo State. According to I Go Gye, "I love development and job creation for the youth as well as Rule of Law. Mr. Mika deserves to be honoured because he has played a massive role in supporting entertainment in Edo State.” About four serving commissioners were in attendance, among whom were the Education, Finance, and Health Ministries. Others where personalities from the Action Congress of Nigeria led by the party Chairman, Chief Thomas Okosun, Speaker of Edo State House of Aseembly, Hon Uyi Igbe, ADC to the Governor, Special Advisers, Zenith Bank Manager, former MD of Bendel Breweries, Hon. Osaro Idah, and Showbiz personalities like Gandoki, Buchi, Youngest Oldman , Maleke, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, I Go Save, among others.


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Lionel Richie:

What I've learned

•Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson

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was thinking I might be a priest. To make a long story short, I joined the Commodores, and one girl screamed from the front row, "Sing it, baby!" Afterward, I called up the ministers and said, "I don't think I'm going to be priest material." But you've got to understand. Look all the way through. After "We Are the World," I got a letter from one of the ministers that said, "Congratulations. Your ministry is doing quite well." Who's got the words? That's the key. If "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" weren't the words, that song just ain't the same. I wrote real-life stuff. I didn't write around some fantasy. I wrote stuff like "Easy Like Sunday Morning." What year? Any year. "All Night Long" is all night long. If what's happening now in America had happened in the sixties, we would have protests like you've never seen before. But in 2011, people can name every player on the football team, but they can't tell you how badly they're being taken advantage of and by whom. They know what Gaga's doing, but they don't know what the government's doing. Everyone's on Facebook and Myspace and Yourspace and Theirspace and Twitter and Tweeter. Great, fantastic! But anybody paying attention? After "We Are the World," those three or four jets filled with food looked really huge when they were taking off. And then you get down on the ground and see what malnutrition looks like. When you can't swallow anymore because you're dehydrated. I'm standing there with the food and we can't feed you because you've lost the ability to swallow. You're going to die looking at me with a plate full of food. I was born and raised in a community where if somebody can't eat, the whole town goes to feed him. Therefore the community survives. You know when cancer is serious? When it strikes someone in your family. You know when hunger is serious? When it strikes someone in your family. You know when homelessness is serious? When it strikes someone in your family. I don't care if I just left the king's palace. I don't care if I'm the poorest guy in

the world. I want to come home, sit on my couch, and like my couch. I want to like my refrigerator. Follow me? I want the thrill of waking up i n t h e morning a n d walking from the bedroom all the way to the kitchen and back to the bedroom. Ah! I forgot to get dressed. That's happiness. It's not how many people are calling you "Mr. Richie." Do you like your kids? Yes. More importantly, do they like you? When I was a boy, about to leave my dad with my friends, my dad would go, "Hey boy, where you goin'? You forgot something." Oh, Jesus Christ, Dad. I've got to kiss you in front of my guys? Yeah, you do. Then one day, a guy says to me, "You kiss your dad?" And I say, "Yeah. Yeah, I kiss my dad." And the guy said, "I'm not allowed to kiss my dad. My dad only wants me to s h a k e hands." And that's w h e n I realized how lucky I was. I w a s raised by the whole village. The Tuskegee A i r m e n were on the campus. I was raised b y t h e Tuskegee Airmen. The e n t i r e mantra to my life was "Failure is n o t a n option." They'd look you straight in the face. "Failure is not an option, young man." Growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama, was the bubble. In the bubble, I learned no limitations. My grandmother's a classical pianist. Country music is outside the community. R&B is in the community and

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This year is a landmark of sorts for Lionel Richie, 62, former lead singer of the Commodores. His tenth solo record, the country music influenced 'Tuskegee', came out March 27. He spoke with Cal Fussman on things he's learned in an eventful lifetime. A guy wants to be able to take his kid fishing. A guy wants to be able to play a little softball. He wants his kid to love him. Everybody else wants the same thing, in every different language possible, around the world. Someone said, "Mr. Richie, the show's at eight. We've got a plane waiting." And my dad says, "Son, I want to see you upstairs before you leave." All right, Dad. I walk upstairs and he says, "I'm worried about you. Everybody loves you. Every time you go out the door, there's babes." He says, "If you lost it all tomorrow, would you still be the guy you are today?" He says, "You haven't been tested, son. And I'm worried about that." I had no idea what he was talking about. What test? Now, segue. I just lost my dad. I just lost my marriage. And the most important asset I have, which is my voice, the doctors can't guarantee. When you're vocally silent for four weeks after the surgery, you can't talk to anybody you have time to think and listen to yourself. When I open my mouth, who am I going to be? I could wake up and make rasping noises, which means I'm not a singer anymore. And that's when the strength of that moment with my dad came to me. I'm going to find out who I am. I don't w r i t e records for L.A. a n d N e w York. I write for between them. That's where it i s . Especial ly when y o u listen to those country songs. All of a his and •Lionel Richie sudden adopted daughter, Nicole Richie the guy on the radio says, "The number-one record this the gospel choir is on the campus. Jazz. It week is 'I Love My Truck.'" I'm sitting there was all just music to me. And once they telling myself, I'm thinking too deep. "Me explained the rules, I said, Well, I'm not and my red pickup..." God, man. Just want going anywhere near that. It's the same to drink some beer. I love it. That's real. when your mother says you can play in I'm never on time, but always in time. every room in the house except that one. Well, that's where I'm going. Courtesy: www.esquire.com


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Glamour

ATELY, apart from attending FADAN events, we don't hear much about you. What has been happening to you? Nothing different is happening to me; I'm still doing what I know how to do and I'm doing it very well. I have not been attending a lot of shows because I really have a lot to do, and maybe I have not been invited to some shows as well, but the ones I have been invited to I go. I still make out time to attend and, of course, I travel out for shows. In those days you were seen everywhere, on pages of newspapers and celebrity magazines, but the reverse seems to be the case now. Is this deliberate? Then, I was much younger and I was trying to build a name for the kind of work that I do. But when you get the publicity what next? You go back and start working. A lot of people that are always on the pages of newspapers or partying, I won't say they are not busy people, but when you are really busy, you have little time to socialise. These days, I spend so much time in the factory. We have built the reputation, we have built the customers, now is the time to keep them. But in spite of my busy schedule, I still go out. However, I'm selective of places and events I attend. Where I feel I'm needed you'll find me there. You know it is one thing for you to be in a place, it is another thing for you to be there for that person. I won't waste my time just attending any function. How did your voyage into fashion begin? I studied fashion at the Yaba College of Technology and I also did Arts. I draw, I paint but I concentrated more on textiles. I put my creative ability, the painting into my clothing. Just like the artists will put theirs on a canvass, I put mine on clothing. What is the secret of your beauty? It's Jesus! I try to exercise but of recent, I have not been exercising. I just eat healthy and I try to be positive in everything. I just believe that this life is like a circle. When you are in Christ, you are no longer in crises; you are a different person. When your friends are taking aso ebi, if you can't afford it, you don't bother to go, you don't stress yourself. Nigeria can actually stress you, the society can stress you, people don't even go on holiday, people can't even afford it, and so you work round the clock. The only place people rest these days is the church and when you even get there, you are sleeping. That is the only place you can sit for hours listening. We are always on the run; we are always moving. I think it is the joy of the Lord that is my strength. The thought of Him gives me joy. So I don't go above my limits; I do what I can do for today and wait for tomorrow again to come. As a very busy woman, how are you coping with your responsibilities as a wife, mother and boss? Just yesterday, I worked till 2.am and

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

e l t t i l e v a h ‘I ’ e s i l a i c o s o t e m ti Though still in her 40's, Funmi Ajila-Ladipo can rightly be classified as a veteran fashion designer. Many years ago when she hit the fashion scene, the industry was still in its infancy, but with consistency and hard work, the beautiful woman has remained relevant. In this interview, she shares the secrets of her success, beauty and why she's been relatively quiet on the social circuit

early this morning, I was up again, because I needed to tidy up some customers' clothes. I'm very busy. The idle mind is the devil's workshop, so there is no workshop for the devil here because my mind is very busy. Again I'm doing what I love to do. When you do what you love to do, you won't be tired of it, even till your old age. You have to find where your area of interest is and build a passion for it. If you wake me up in the middle of the night, I will do this job without stress. But give me a book to read, I get tired within minutes. I'm not a book person, but I'm a creative person. Sometimes, I'm in this house for one week just going up and down, painting, designing, and before you know it, it's the end of the week, before you

“A lot of people that are always on the pages of newspapers or partying, I won't say they are not busy people, but when you are really busy, you have little time to even socialize. These days, I spend so much time in the factory.”

know it, it's a month. I really love what I do. Do you still have time to cook for your husband? I loved to cook and even my husband and kids can testify to it. I love to cook because my mother was a caterer. I'm a home person and that shows in everything around me. What type of outfits do you love to experiment with? The kind if things I do are more artistic, more creative. They are afro-centric designs, things that are just you. They are things you cannot just pick up on the street; they are things that you would know that were made by a creative designer. They come in skirts, they come in kaftans, and they come in dresses. I do different things apart from the regular things that we wear. I always look for something different to do. I just concentrated on making skirts, designing on skirts, kaftans and dresses.


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

43

Social KAYODE ALFRED

(E-mail: kayflex2@yahoo.com, Tel: 08035733605, 08099400057)

HITV staff battle Toyin Subair

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HERE seems to be no let up in the many battles of HITV boss, Toyin Subair. Even while the pay TV station is still under lock and keys due to its N9billion debt to GTBank, staff of the company are presently asking Subair to pay their over six-months salary arrears or face litigation. Though some of the staff have moved on to rival pay TV companies like Star Times, they are bent on collecting their dues from Subair, who they allege is still financially solid, notwithstanding HITV's travails. Subair, SC can reveal, is far out of reach as he is presently out of circulation.

Subair

Gbenga James recovers

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HOSE who thought the friendship between former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose and controversial poultry farmer, Gbenga James has come and gone may need to have a rethink. What’s more, good times seem here again for James, who became infamous over the poultry scandal during Fayose's time as governor. Years back, the Ibadan-based businessman was the toast of many musicians. After the poultry scandal, from the blues came the fears of his purported financial depletion. He became barely visible on the social scene Today, James has bounced back big-time, as his farm in Ibadan, Oyo State has become a force to be reckoned with once again. Expectedly, his old friends and bootlickers who sniggered behind him when the man was almost down and out are now back, trying to warm their way back into his heart. But the stylish dude, sources say, is wiser now.

Still on News Café’s collapse

Ronke Ayuba loses mum

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ORMER television glamour girl, Ronke Ayuba, is bereaved. Some days ago, the woman of style lost her over 90-years old mother, Maria Dalley and was she devastated. But Ronke, a prominent member of the social establishment is now neck-deep in the preparations to give her mother a befitting burial. Her husband, Tanko Ayuba, a retired general and former senator has also been busy reaching out to his friends to honour his wife at the burial slated to take place in two months time.

Lolu Sodeinde’s night club, Rehab, shut down

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HEN young businessman, Femi Akande and a friend, Hakeem opened a lounge called NewsCafé at the Palms Mall, Lekki, Lagos, a few years ago, only very few doubted his ability to make things happen in the entertainment Akande company. But however, there were other people, who were skeptical about his partner Hakeem investing heavily in the project. They believed Hakeem would have been better off putting the money into properties, an area in which he has carved a niche for himself. However, Femi canvassed him so well. He had reportedly told Hakeem that he had the Midas touch to make News Café, which got a franchise from a South African bar chain a force to reckon with in the shortest possible time. Few years after the heavy investment was made, NewsCafé was shut down, much to the shock of Hakeem. Insiders informed SC that NewsCafé had been groaning under severe economic crunch, while all attempts made to keep the bar afloat came to naught. Following the closure of the company, Femi Akande and Hakeem also went their separate ways. However the big question on the lips of many is “what next for Femi Akande?”

Ayuba

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Sodeinde’s

HE high mortality rate afflicting night clubs on Island has reared its ugly head again. The latest casualty is Rehab, a fun spot co-owned by Lolu Sodeinde and Owen Aisien. This is happening just a little over a year after the club's gate was flung open for business. Many reasons account for Rehab shutting down. The first may not be unconnected to the fact that Lolu and Owen are engaged in other businesses, thus being too busy to give the club their full attention. While Aisien presently runs his father's business conglomerate, Lolu is tied up with the arrival of his new baby in far away United States of America. SC also gathered that their former landlord's interest in the business was a mitigating factor. Feyi Bali, owner of the property that housed the now defunct Rehab, was said to have allegedly increased the rent of the property by over 50per cent without prior notice to the tenants. Besides that, he allegedly indicated his interest to have a stake in the business, a proposal that did not sit well with Lolu and Owen.


44

Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

&

Glorious farewell for Matthew Mbu Last week at the Harbour Point on Victoria Island, Lagos, a service of songs was held in honour of former Minister of External Affairs, Ambassador Mathew Mbu, who passed on some weeks ago. The event had in attendance the wife, children, friends and associates of the Cross River State-born former diplomat. Olusegun Rapheal was there

•Widow of the late Mathew Mbu, Madam Katherine Mbu (second right) with her children-Diana Nkang, Rosarii Mbu, •L-R: Former Vice-President, Chief Alex Ekwueme and Maria Mbu and Naggie Abang Chief Emeka Anyaoku

•L-R: Prof. Itse Sagay and Prof. Bola Akinterinwa

•L-R: Mr Donald Duke and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa

•L-R: Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi and former CBN Governor, Mr Ola Vincent

L-R: Mr. Sebastain Eluehike, Mrs OsayiAlile Oruene Mr Emeka Azinge

Engr, and Dr (Mrs) Kanene Azinge

OUR ERROR

OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821) raphseg2003@yahoo.com

•L-R: Mr Gogo Karibi-Whyte, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe(retd) and Emeka Ugwu-Oju

•L-R: Chief Philip Asiodu and Aremo Olusegun Osoba

•L-R: Mr. Tony Njokwu and Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe

Azinge empowers colleagues P

ENULTIMATE Saturday, a new youth empowerment outfit, Emedith Consulting was launched at a grand event, which held at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki. Brainchild of young entrepreneur, Emeka Azinge, who holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Cardiff University and an LLM from the prestigious King's College in London in addition to being an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in the United Kingdom, Emedith Consulting aims to deliver personal development/motivational sessions to teenagers, students and young adults to better equip them to face the rigours of life, school and profession as well as conquer the personal challenges that hider them from attaining their maximum potential. On hand to deliver the keynote address at the launch was Mrs. Osayi Alile Oruene, the Executive Director of Fate Foundation.

L-R: Mr Lanre Ogundimu and Samuel-Olu Adedara

L-R: Mr Austine O. Imodu, and Mr and Mrs Bill Amuka

In our edition (Sunday, March 25, 2012) in a picture caption, we inadvertently captioned the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Chief Emeka Ananaba JP as another person. We have since discovered our error. This is regretted. Editor


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL,1 2012

47

VOL 1 NO. 037

Theatre of consumer dissatisfaction T

HE following is a drama played out in a situation of scarce resource chasing insatiable needs; a family lacking in almost everything finds itself making the hard decision to expend the very scarce, purchase power on the most important need. Husband (Augustine): (… whistling carelessly away in an attempt to earn himself some freedom to leave his wife and 16 months old son at home bare of food and any comfort indeed. “… I don go o. see you later” Wife (Ronke): Daddy Raphael, where are you going to…? Husband: just taking a walk its just past 5pm, I should be back in about an hour or an hour and half. Wife: But you very well know there's nothing at home for us to eat, not even Raphael whose cereal is finished. He's been living on ogi since last week. What do you want us to do about this situation na? I thought you should concern yourself with all of these instead of going out to no-where at this time o. Husband: Ronke, see each time you start all this your wahala, you make me go mad. That the situation is the way it is does not mean we shall remain this way forever na, ah! Please don't go this way again today. Even me, I have not eaten today and I equally understand the difficulties you and the baby are going through, but let me see what I can do by the time I come back. By the way, who told you I am going nowhere? Don't worry, just de pray for me. Interlude husband walk away. Mother and child stay back home. While at home, mother and child bears it all, till baby became too uncomfortable… Baby Raphael started crying near uncontrollably… Mummy: sorry, sorry, sorry… oya, come lets feed (she takes out ogi and tries to feed baby, but baby will not have any of that alternative, he wants his normal cereal or a distant but permissible Mayonnaise on bread)! * Mummy murmurs to herself “if only your father will come back home and let's think of what to do about your food…” hisses. In about 30 minutes after, Daddy shows up… back at home. At this time baby Raphael was tired of crying and was half asleep. But mummy was worried and pensive in thought. Daddy: how una dey O! What's wrong with Raphael? Mummy: everything, Augustine! This baby has been crying since you left, hungry and irritated. He has refused ogi and will not take anything else. I suggest we go get his cereal or even the Mayonnaise he takes bread with… Daddy: oh, ok, I think we can afford what Mayonnaise till when we can buy his food tomorrow. Daddy makes up the sum and gives to mummy who rushes to the neighborhood retail store to get… (a popular) brand of Mayonnaise. At the end of feeding baby, he became uncomfortable twisting and turning, holding on to his stomach. Apparently frightened, mum and dad started pondering what the issue could be. Mummy: heh, what is wrong with Raphael na, he is rather uncomfortable and in pains. The way he's holding his stomach, could it be he is suffering from stomach discomfort? But… Daddy: where did you buy this …Mayonnaise? Mummy: at …. Store here! Daddy: takes a close look at the bottle of Mayonnaise again and again, looks a way at the crying baby with the mother, not minding where he was leaving the bottle of Mayonnaise “Raphael sorry ehn. Or should we take him to the hospital? Mummy: looks up in confusion and fear of the financial implication of going to the hospital…) “I do not think so O. but what has happened just now ehn?” Mummy hisses and looks away wondering what could cause Raphael's pains and the possible solution… “but could it be the Mayonnaise … let me see it again” Confusion sets in as mummy and daddy could not find the bottle of Mayonnaise. Unknowing to them, Daddy mistakenly dropped the bottle of Mayonnaise in the small bucket of water near the stool on which he intended to place the bottle when he turned to care for crying Baby Raphael. For well over 15 18 minutes when they both concentrated on the baby, the bottle of Mayonnaise remained deep at the bottom of the bucket almost full of water. Meanwhile they kept searching for the “missing” bottle of Mayonnaise Daddy: I think I saw you dropping it here, myself. They both kept searching. Suddenly mummy raised her voice to announce a strange

discovery Mummy: ehh… Daddy Raphael come and see… Daddy joined his wife in answer to her call… Daddy: what's that? Mummy: the Mayonnaise inside water Daddy: ehn? Ah! How come? Ooooo… not after all the wahala of getting this thing… (hisses) please go take care of Raphael let me take it out and see how I can clean it up. I only hope water has not seeped inside it. Mmm! Mummy: ok Interlude 2 In the meantime, the bottle of mayonnaise had remained in the water for long enough to start affecting the label's

adheresive. Consequently, the label started peeling off. Three things were happening at this point. 1. The label peeling off at this point 2. Doubt over the brand or product's originality, if (1) above was happening in such a short time 3. The consumer(s) mummy and daddy's past experience of the brandname in question was beginning to throw-up lots of questions and fear Immediately, Daddy's antennae went to work. Daddy: Ronke, where did you get this from? Mummy: what? Daddy: this …. (brandname withheld) mayonnaise! Mummy: from the supermarket down the road na, where we buy things. Daddy: come and see what I am seeing Mummy and Daddy come together to experience some surprising but very interesting discovery. • The bottle of (brandname withheld) mayonnaise was carrying two different labels • The outer label is that of the known and trusted brand name, with all the promises of top-end global product quality, top-quality safety standard, product formulation details, pack size and user-caution. All written in English language • Expiry date on the label was still about 14 months away • However, beneath the outer label is another label representing yet another brand of Mayonnaise totally different from what mummy and daddy Raphael ever knew and intended to buy, relying on their past experience and expectations. • To begin with, its details were written in Arabic, the basic colors were totally different from the known brand • The details were totally different in so many ways. However, the expiry date on the underlying label was written in English language in part, for “foreign users”. • Going by the labels information, the real brand of mayonnaise sold to this couple expired 8 months back from the date of encounter. Daddy: can you ever imaging this? Good God! Why on earth should a thing like this happen? Mummy draws closer to see what the issue is. Mummy: what's that…? Jesus Christ! What's this? Daddy: Fraud. Deceit. Poison. Oh! No. This is bad. • Daddy looks at the bottle and its labels again But you said you bought this at the supermarket (name withheld) here? (pointing towards its direction). Mummy: yes (coldly). But I never know them to be this

fraudulent?! Perhaps… Daddy: let's go there together Interlude 3 At this point Baby Raphael has grown weak from crying and rolling on the bed. So his parents are confused, not too sure whether to take the child to the hospital or go to the supermarket It happened that the baby fell asleep at that point, so the couple decided to go to the retail outlet. At the supermarket… Daddy encountered the sales girl at the pay-point Daddy (Mr. Augustine): Hello. Please can I see your manager? Sale girl: Good evening Sir, can I help you? Daddy: no, you cannot help me; let me see your manager. Sale girl: ok • Girl leaves duty post to call a senior colleague… Senior Colleague: (SC): Yes? Good evening. Daddy & Mummy: Good evening Daddy: We just bought this (showing the SC the naked bottle) only to discover all of these several labels on top of that, our baby that we just fed this is now suffering from stomach up-set. Daddy pauses. SC: in a laid-back, “so what” manner… “What is wrong with it?” Daddy: it is fake and counterfeited. See, I hate this attitude of carelessness. Do you understand what I am saying? At this point Mr. Augustine raises his voice in anger, turns to the wife… Daddy: Ronke, where is the receipt? Mummy: here (she gives her husband the receipt) Daddy: (addressing the SC) if you are not in a position to attend to me, then let me see the right person. Now! The shop owner (a lady) shows up in fear and surprise… Shop owner (SO): what's the matter? Good evening (addressing man and woman) Augustine / Daddy: good evening. See what my wife bought from here this evening. Shop-Owner joins them to closely look at the revelation SO: please come in (beckons Raphael's parents) Closed door meeting followed So much was revealed The supermarket enjoyed a reputation for good quality products, friendly pricing and convenient neighborhood shopping. Owing from its good service delivery, neighbors accorded it respectability, which became its equity property and competitive edge. To the shop owner, the money goes beyond the suspicion of dissatisfied customers to reputation damaging word-of-mouth information dissemination of potential danger on her brand's reputation. So she chose to appease this aggrieved family. She pleaded with the family. Who could be guilty of this deceit and crime? The couple believes the shop owner because she has no reason to repackage any of the FMCGs they stock. So, it can only be the owners of this marked brand. What could have happened? Shop-Owner: Madam, (referring to Ronke, Raphael's mum) please appeal to Oga (Augustine, Raphael's dad) to please pardon this mistake on our part. We know nothing about this. We feel so sorry about this all. In fact, we are as disturbed and disappointed as you are. Please. We are assuring you a thing like this will not happen here again. In the meantime, please take what you will as a way of compensation. To begin with please permit us to give you some provisions for your baby. We shall also like to share the cost of taking your baby to the hospital. Please, bear with us. Mum & Dad: ok, madam, we appreciate your concern and your understanding of our plight. Thank you. Husband and wife left the supermarket pacified and their confidence on their neighborhood restored. However, something had to give the brand of mayonnaise which name starts with letter “B” lost all it had as a brand, at least with Augustine and wife and their friends, neighbors and relatives. With the multiplier effect of such bad news, one can only imagine the end-result of such brand failure at the market place. To note, the above scripted drama is a true representation of what happened to a family in Lagos. So many other individuals, families and even corporate bodies suffer all such fraudulent practices in our markets across Nigeria. So much can be done to avoid such ugly situations. We can only be careful as we buy. The regulatory authorities should please live up to their responsibilities. Too many counterfeited, fake and adulterated products are sold in our markets. Last word This page is open for sponsorship and advert placement


48

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Another letter from the grave •The late Ogochukwu Onuchukwu •The late Titi Arowolo “

W

HEN after one year of marriage there were still no children, the painful journey that sent me to my grave started. I went from specialist to specialist, ingested every kind of pill that promised to boost my fertility. As my desperation grew, so did pressure from Kevin's family. My horror-movie life story started playing out; the horror-movie life that has sent me to an early and cold grave from where I write this letter to my husband… "My heart bled. I wept bitterly…Even when you threatened me with a knife, twice you did that, I still felt unworthy of you and very deserving of your hatred. Even when you would say: "I will kill you and nothing will happen because you have no one to fight for you", I kept on struggling to get you to love me because, Kevin, your validation was important to me "Recalling the abusive words, the spitting, the beating, the bruising, the knifing and the promise that I would not live long for daring to forget to buy garden eggs for your mother, an insult you vowed I would pay for with my life, I knew then it was over for me. There was no rationalizing needed any longer. Even the blind could see …You did not want me in your life.” These are the parting words of Ogochukwu Onuchukwu who died February 27, 2012, (complete letter can be read at www.ogorip.com). Ogo (as she was fondly called) is not alone, the increase in incidences of domestic violence show that more women are rapidly becoming victims and dying in silence. In a society, where the voice of the average woman is stifled by male chauvinists and drowned in the echoes of customs and traditions, it is worrisomely becoming common place to find women falling at the fists of men they ought to trust with their safety. Perhaps the biggest irony of it all is that the victims of this violence encourage and sustain it by enduring silently and maintaining a self-destructive yet deceptive mien of marital bliss. Adline Umuokoro (not real name), a divorcee, is one of the lucky few who made the escape from an abusive union but spent 18

Laws enacted by the State to protect women, it is evident that very little is done to enforce it years of her life trying to 'save' her marriage. by the judiciary and police and very little is Giving reasons why she decided to stick it known about these laws by members of the out, putting her life and that of her children general public, victims and violators alike. on the line, she narrates: "When I married the Surprisingly, more educated women are father of my children, I had no idea that he willing to suffer this humiliating condition as would turn around and become the person c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e i r l o w i n c o m e that dealt with me the way he did. I met him counterparts. Most endure, believing they when I was doing my Masters abroad and he have nowhere to run to. Research shows that used to behave like a white gentleman, very a large percentage of women who are victims polished. When we came back and decided to are not prepared to report to the Nigeria stay here (in Nigeria) after our marriage, Police or non-family members for fear of things started changing. stigmatisation. "At first, I thought it was because of the Explanations abound as to how young change in environment but as time went on women get caught in this choking form of and I began having my babies, the insults relationships but one thing most people agree kept increasing. The man would flare up at on is the fact that the signs of a potentially the slightest thing and then after a while, he abusive spouse are usually evident before the just stopped caring about me and the kids. It dotted lines of a marriage certificate are got to the point where when I lost my job, he signed. would refuse to give me money for People get married for all the wrong foodstuffs. The day I approached him about reason, says Bisi Akanbi , a Nutritionist and his behaviour was the first time he slapped marriage Consellor. Stating this as one of the me. From that day onwards, he would get c a u s e f o r domestic violence, she angry over one little matter and we would continued, "Many start fighting even in the presence of times, when talking to my children. young couples during “I did not just want to courtship, it is almost pack my bags and go the same as talking to because, I know that every a sheep. When you marriage has problems so ask them if their felt that we could work it out partner has any and I wanted my children to fault, they will grow up with a father figure swear that he is plus I was scared about how I perfect because would survive alone with they want to marry three kids. So I decided to bear quickly. They it. Until one day when he close their eyes to kicked my daughter and she his bad traits and fell from the stairs and hit her then after head on the ground, that was marriage when when I knew that this man he starts to show would kill us. So I ran for my them pepper, life,"she said. they will claim the man has Adline is one of the few who, in changed which the face of danger, found the is often not courage to leave. Many others true. He has have neither been so brave nor •Tess Wigwe always had the lucky. tendency but they refused In spite of the Domestic Violence By Rita Ohai

to investigate his behaviour." Admist all the heat generated by domestic violence, the role of 'Ministers of God' cannot be pushed to the backburner as more often than not, seemingly ill-fated unions are encouraged to thrive in order to preserve what they term a 'holy doctrine'. Pastor of Christ Global Ministry, Enoch Bodunrin, expresses, "The Word of God says 'and two shall cleave and become one', so when there is a case of violence, we try to find the root cause of the problem and see if they can solve it instead of trying to destroy what God has joined. If the two parties are willing to make amends, then there will be progress but if both of them do not agree, it is advisable for them to stay separate for a while. You cannot just ask a man to divorce his wife like that because they have invested a lot to get married in the first place and the interest of all the parties involved are at stake. Besides, the bible is against divorce." Holding a different view, Deacon Gboyega Ajala of In His Word Evangelical Ministries, Ipaja who has been married for thirty-seven years posits, "Man has a divine order from God to love and cherish his wife just like Christ loved the Church. If any man born of a woman is shameless enough to raise his hand and strike his wife or any other woman for that matter, then he deserves to be publicly stoned. Hitting a woman is just a reflection of his weakness and he does not desrve to be called a man. "Any woman who is married to such a person should not wait to be told twice. If she is smart and loves herself or her children, she will pack her bags and go so that she can be alive to train those children. No man born of a woman will beat up any of my daughters and get away with it here on earth!" he continued. Joy Oyinlola who serves as an Information Technology consultant for a multi-national firm says, "It is no use staying in a marriage where anybody will maltreat you either as a man or as a woman. We know the bible says marriage is till death do us part but that does not mean that you should allow your husband or wife to be the one that will bring the death that will part both of you. The minute you see him raising his hand, run and don't look back because the next time, he might use a bottle instead of his hands." Offering advice on immediate steps that should be taken in the incidence of domestic violence, the Executive Director of Project Alert, Dr. Mrs Josephine Effah-Chukwuma explains, 'The first and very urgent response by a domestic violence victim is to ensure the safety of herself and children. These could include running to a safe place outside the home; or even locking herself and children in a room in the house and then calling for help from the police, a friend, lawyer, neighbour, family member or even a Non-Governmental Organisation. The Domestic Violence Law serves as government's way of protecting victims as well as punishing erring abusers. Out of 36 States of the Federation, only 4 including Lagos have passed laws against this crime, while the Bill remains unattended to in our male-dominated National Assembly. According to the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke OrelopeAdefulure, the State government, in line with the Lagos State Protection Against Domestic Violence Law of 2007, has taken some bold steps on issues of domestic violence by establishing a 176 bed-home and shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking at Ayobo-Ipaja. The home has provisions for protection, counselling, medical care and vocational training unit that will help to economically empower victims and make them self-reliant.


New WOMAN

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

D

OMESTIC abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of painand your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need. Signs of an abusive relationship There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partnerconstantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-upchances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation. Abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power: Dominance Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his or her possession. Humiliation An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless. Isolation In order to increase your dependence on him or her, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He or she may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone. Threats Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He or she may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services. Intimidation Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences. Denial and blame Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abusive partner may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He or she will commonly shift the responsibility on to you: Somehow, his or her violent and abusive behavior is your fault. Abusers are able to control their behaviorthey do it all the time. Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don't insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love. Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to see their abusive behavior. They may act like everything is fine in public, but lash out instantly as soon as you're alone. Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. In fact, they're able to immediately stop their abusive behavior when it's to their advantage to do so (for example, when the police show up or their boss calls). Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won't show. Rather than acting out in a mindless rage, many

49

Relationships Deola Ojo 08027454533 (text) Pastordeegfc@yahoo.com

No off day on a first date

Recognizing

abuse physically violent abusers carefully aim their kicks and punches where the bruises and marks won't show. The cycle of violence in domestic abuse Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence: Abuse-Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you "who is boss." Guilt-After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he's done. He's more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior. Excuses-Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavioranything to avoid taking responsibility. "Normal" behavior-The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time. Fantasy and planning-Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you've done wrong and how he'll make you pay. Very often, he prepaes himself by reigning abuses on you. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality. Your abuser's apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real. Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they've often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing. What to do if you want to report an offence or go to court If you are a resident of Lagos State, there is a very high chance for you to win the case due to the recent laws that have been passed. Going to court is a very important step and detailed information is required to protect the victim from exploitation in the court of law. When violence is committed against you or someone you know:1. Save physical evidence of abuse. Put things in a paper bag, rather than a plastic bag. Evidence can include any or all of the following: Report from a doctor of medical

treatment. A report from a government hospital may be taken more seriously in court, but private hospitals may also be used. Photographs of injuries. These should be signed and dated. Torn or bloody clothing. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted do not bathe or wash yourself before seeing a doctor and making a report. This will be hard as your first inclination is to want to wash, but sometimes-crucial evidence may be washed away. 2. Make a note of the date of the beating or other violence. 3. Make a note of any witnesses. Get their names and addresses. 4. If you are badly hurt seek medical attention. Tell the doctor the truth about how you got hurt. Ask the doctor to write you a medical report. (If you are considering prosecution try to go to a government recognized clinic or hospital. However, private clinic reports should also be acceptable). However, if you can, try to report the violence to the police first. 5. Make a complaint at the police station as soon as possible after the violence. The police often have a helpful attitude so take the following precautions. Take someone with you for support. It is often helpful if the person with you is a man, or a lawyer, or an NGO activist. Insist on speaking to a senior officer. The lower ranks of policemen often do not take complaints of violence against women seriously. Usually the police will ask you questions and write down your answers. Make sure that you read the written statement and sign it yourself before you leave the police station. This is called filing a complaint. Insist on filing a complaint. Ask for a copy of the complaint. If you need medical attention, the police should normally give you a form to take with you and give to the doctor. Sometimes, they will also send an officer to accompany you to the hospital. 6. When the case reaches the court: Tell what happened in simple language. Present your evidence. Address the judges and lawyers. Keep Calm. Do not quarrel with your husband or abuser. Answer all questions. You should be in court each and every day the case is heard. 7. You will need to be patient. The law is a very slow process. Do not lose interest. 8. You will probably find it helpful to seek the aid of a lawyer, or an NGO that supports women or human rights. Some NGOs also have free legal consultations, advice or representation, or they may be able to tell you where to find help. Thanks to BAOBAB and Helpguide.org for providing some of the valuable information above.

Continued from last week A man should be ten minutes early if they are meeting at a location. It is improper to allow a lady to arrive before you and start waiting for you. However if you are visiting her home for the first time, get there on time. You should not arrive earlier than the stipulated time, because she may not be ready to receive you. Have decent conversation. One man was eager to meet a lady he had heard so many wonderful things about. Within five minutes of meeting her, he knew she could not be the one for him. Why? Because she would hardly talk to him. Even when he tried talking to her, she would only mumble a few phrases. While a man does not expect a lady to be a talkative, he would expect her to be able to carry on a conversation. The first outings should be pleasant, engaging and interesting. It may be better to meet as a group of four or six people instead of going out on an exclusive date. This takes the pressure off and allows you to get to know one another in a friendly, non-threatening atmosphere. You will need to introduce your new friend to other friends. But how you make the introduction really matters. If you have just met, you may introduce the person as your friend, within weeks, you can say this is my very good friend. ladies are especially sensitive to how they are introduced. The don'ts of a new relationship are endless. While men may feel the need to be funny and entertaining, a man should not tell dirty jokes. Decent ladies will be put off. It is also unacceptable to get angry, abuse or yell at your date. But not just that, if you yell at someone else in his or her presence you will seem to be a harsh person. You need to treat people nicely. Always remember to tip the waiter or other people who attend to you. A man who refuses to tip the waiter has already given the impression that he is stingy. If you are going to drive, do so carefully and show respect for others. If you want to show her how well you can drive by overspeeding and cutting other drivers off, you may not get another date with her. When visiting her family for the first time, you should not go empty handed. A box of chocolate may be appropriate. You can also consider a bottle of nonalcoholic wine. It is important to take along a hamper during or near a festive season. A lady must avoid being pushy, this almost always drive the men away. Most men want to marry someone who will fit the roles of a friend, little sister, helper and playmate. Do not introduce him as "my future husband" if he has not asked you to marry him. Do not talk about how quickly you want to marry. This is especially important for a lady as men generally like to be really sure before they start thinking of marriage. Do not start pressuring your friend to meet family members. If he or she does not know you well enough, it may look suspicious. Do not talk about how many children you want to have. This may make the other person feel that the objective is just to look for a baby mama or baby papa. Do not say marriage is not on your list for the next five years. The other person may then wonder why are you in a relationship. Or he oshe may assume you just want to use and dump. Do not ask for sex. A man who starts asking a new friend for sex always raises a red flag in the lady's mind. A lady who starts asking a new friend or fiancĂŠ for sex would seem to be a prostitute or the man may start thinking it is a set up. Sex should not take place until after marriage. Some people may wonder which planet I am from. But really it is best to keep sex for marriage. How many men respect a lady they had sex with the first day they met? How many ladies trust a man they had sex with the same day they met? Do not fix your dates for dark secluded places, it may make your friend suspect that you are hiding something or hiding from someone. Do not talk about your past relationships on the first date. Don't ask, don't tell. If you ask, you may seem to pry, if you tell, you may appear to be a womanizer or a loose woman. While these kind of questions need to be asked, they should not come up on the first three dates. Don't ask for a loan. This almost always means the relationship will soon be dead. Someone who is just getting to know you does not want to think that you are a leach. Asking for a loan is a sure way of telling this person a lot of things about you. Impressions will be formed about you which may not be true. One of the impressions that will be formed is that you do not have friends or family members that you can get a loan from. Your new friend may also think that this is an indication that you are not a nice person. Or perhaps you have not repaid previous loans, so none of your close associates will give you a loan. If you want to build a solid relationship, then you need to have a master plan.


50

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

Arts & Life

SUNNY SIDE

Cartoons

By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE

deewalebf@yahoo.com 08060343214 (SMS only)

An April fool If every fool wore a crown, we should all be kings.

CHEEK BY JOWL

OH, LIFE!

THE GReggs

—Welsh Proverb IT WAS a full house, literally. Joining Mike’s family were relatives from all corners of the country. By Thursday evening, clothes and personal effects spilled over from all the rooms. Slated for the next day and the day after was the wedding ceremony of a brother-in-law and his fiancée. Mike thought the couple a happy one by all standards. He also thought the timing – the second weekend in April following the Easter holiday – excellent. Mike may have been stretched to ensure all the guests were comfortable as he was charged with drinks and the obvious responsibility of attending to the never-ending thirst of the visitors. On the whole, he thought he handled the obligation well. But he was so busy that he struggled to catch a wink or two at night. While awake, however, he interacted with some of the most engaging characters he ever encountered at a time. In gait, genuflection or intonation, nearly all possessed distinct attributes. But the most interesting of all was a man from the north. Tall, dark-skinned and garrulous, he stood out in any group. It didn’t matter if his booming voice bothered anyone; he loved to talk and was sometimes the butt of his own jokes. His menacing chiselled features accosted Mike at every turn during the wedding party. “My man, find a bottle for me there,” he would say, or, evidently tipsy after going through the “last” bottle, “I’ve been taking minerals since. Young man, give me something for men!” As long as the party lasted, Mike was kept on his toes, but the drinks ultimately outlasted everyone. The man no longer came back for orders and Mike took a deserved rest. While cleaning up the next morning, he worked the backyard, picking up plates, wrappers and empty bottles. He froze in his tracks as he came upon a body sprawled across the tilled surface of the abandoned back garden. “A dead man in the house!” he thought in panic. He peered closer and saw that it was the same man who drank so much the night before. Now he slept, with two empty bottles of beer by his head. His head lay on a grassy heap and either leg rested on a ridge. Mike realised the man must have chosen his ‘bed’ in a drunken state. He looked comfortable though, as a slight snore indicated. A group of women conversed nearby. One or two looked at the sleeping man, then at Mike, before looking away to resume their chatter. Mike continued with his task, convinced he need not worry about the man. If anyone, in whatever degree of consciousness, thought rough earth made the most comfortable mattress and pillow, and grass convenient bedspread, they were welcome to their choice. He knew he would hear more about the incidence, however, and wasn’t quite surprised when, later that morning, he noticed the man talking with some men. “Do you know what happened to me last night?” the man said to the others as he combed his hair after evidently having his bath. “Someone took me away from where I slept in the house and dumped me on a refuse heap.” “No, you did. You dumped yourself on the heap, you drunkard,” said one of the men. Lost for words for once, the man looked subdued, unable to extricate himself from the awkward turn.

Reader’s Response YOU won’t kill me with your intellectual humour with write-ups at Sunny Side, especially on the March 4 ‘Lyrical cynicism’ and Writer’s broth. I like your style. Joseph in Ondo. +2347034873107

QUOTE It is better to weep with wise men than to laugh with fools. —Spanish Proverb

Jokes Humour Shell Shocked, or Snail Speed A GUY hears knocking on his door. He opens it up, and no one is there. He looks all around and finally sees a little snail sitting on the doormat. He picks it up and throws it across the street into a field. Ten years go by, and one day he hears a knock on his door. He opens it but finds no one there. He looks all around, and eventually sees a little snail sitting on the doormat. The snail looks up and says, “What the heck did you do that for?” Family Science LITTLE Sammy was assigned a paper on childbirth and asked his mother, “How was I born?” Avoiding a lengthy explanation of conception and birth the mother said, “The goose brought you to us, dear.” “Oh,” said Little Sammy. “How did you and daddy get born?” “Oh, the goose brought us too.” “So, how were grandpa and grandma born?”

“Well, darling, the goose brought them too,” said the mother. The next day Little Sammy handed in his paper to the teacher. It read, “This report is impossible to write due to the fact that there hasn’t been a natural childbirth in my family for three generations.” Morbid Interpretation THE VILLAGE blacksmith finally found an apprentice willing to work hard at low pay for long hours. The blacksmith immediately began his instructions to the lad, “When I take the shoe out of the fire, I’ll lay it on the anvil; and when I nod my head, you hit it with this hammer.” The apprentice did just as he was told … now he’s the village blacksmith. Drunk Down A DRUNK walks into a lift but there is no lift there, so he falls five stories down and lands at the bottom. He lies there for a few seconds before slowly opening his eyes only to say, “Darn … I said UP!’’ •Culled from the Internet

R

EAD your Writer’s Fountain work aloud: You will find awkward places or unclear Really. No cheating. references as soon as the words are out of your Read all the words out loud in the order mouth. Some writers stop immediately to fix in which you’ve written them. the problem. Others mark their paper and keep This is the single best self-editing reading, going back later to fix things. technique. Either way, read every word out loud. Lexical exercise: After you’ve fixed the problems, read it •The concept of Boxing Day, which is on aloud again. Keep doing this until you can’t December 26th, was to give boxes of food find any more problems. and clothing to the poor. It is now viewed Common mistakes to avoid: in some countries as a time to get If you want your writing to be taken seriously, merchandise from stores at reduced prices. it is very important that you take the initiative •Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of to rectify common mistakes. Here follows a their unwanted people without killing them listing of the most common mistakes made used to burn their houses down – hence the by short story writers. However, it covers only expression “to get fired.” the most common ones; there are several •The dot that appears over the letter “i” is others to avoid. called a tittle. Short stories are called short stories for a •A group of people that are hired to clap at reason. So don’t go on adding details and a performance are called a claque. making it too long. If there are too many sub•The longest word in any of the major plots and too much information, too many English language dictionaries is characters find their way into the story and pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, the length moves from short story to novella a word that refers to a lung disease or novel. Therefore, the writer needs to decide contracted from the inhalation of very fine on one plot, one major conflict, and what silica particles, specifically from a volcano; details are absolutely necessary to move the medically, it is the same as silicosis. story along.


THE ARTS

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

‘Nigeria’s albatross makes it beautiful’ H

OW do you feel at 62? At 62, I feel the same way I felt when I first entered secondary school in 1962. Then, the world was becoming very large and I felt I had all the keys to claim the world. Then, a few years later, I discovered I was graduating and I had to leave. So, at 62, what I am mainly doing is not to drop away from something I have claimed. I believe that Nigeria is worth claiming and there is nothing better than a country with all the resources in the world to make it good. I believe that what I do can make a difference. I also know many Nigerians who can make that difference. They just have to learn how to do what they are not doing well at the moment. What I am saying is we need to learn how to hold hands with others when we are laying claims on our country. Those who fight alone never make it. Even the strong learns not to fight alone in the present circumstances. The weak in our society have yet not learnt how to fight together for their common goals. Every work of poetry, drama, dance and essay that I have written and produced is about helping to destabilise things that make it difficult for the poor to see themselves as people with personal power that can make things change. We have destroyed the confident that people used to have. Our children are actually being deliberately educated to become poor. It is a very serious issue. But once you have treated children that way they grow up to be very irresponsible adults. No matter how much effort they make after they have been so smashed by circumstance, they hardly ever regain that confidence. What is your play is entitled Nigeria the Beautiful trying to address? It is addressing the central issue of a country that is so eminently savable but never managed to put it together. There are so many different positions and rather than present the interfaces and conflicts, we presented the positions so that at the end of the dance drama, you can decide for yourself how things have not quite held together. Towards the end, you no longer have just speeches but truly conflicting situation...it is a way of inviting you to participate in resolving this crisis and if it manages to do that at the end, then, we have succeeded. The play has been coming for so long ago that I’ve almost forgotten when I started. When I was leaving Britain in 1993, I already wanted to do a play called Nigeria the Beautiful. But if I had done it before now it would not have been the way it is. I am happy I waited. There are things that it now has to say which it could never have said because events had not taken place that would propel the realities it now deals with. While I was in Oxford, it took

For decades, the activist poet Odia Ofeimun has remained a strong voice against societal ills. At 62, his creative essence is stronger than ever. Ofeimun, who marked his birthday recently, staged Nigeria the Beautiful last Thursday as part of activities marking Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s birthday. In this chat with Evelyn Osagie, he speaks passionately about his play and love for Nigeria

•Odia Ofeimun

me only about six to seven weeks to write A Feast Return; but this one took about a month because there were too many challenges and distractions around at the time that one can’t help as writer in an environment where one has to earn a living in a difficult way; it is not very easy. So, it took a much longer time. Why use a woman as Jonathan in the play? Isn’t it wonderful that you don’t have to be a man to make the point that you need to make for your country. It is a nice picture to have that woman represents all that eventually changes everything. You would notice she represented the forward looking positions. And we hope that Nigerian women would somehow help propel us into that future. What do you find beautiful about Nigeria? The differences or diversities that we consider our albatross and problems are the things that make Nigeria beautiful. Nigeria is a very creative country. All it needs a leadership that can galvanize that creativity. You can’t have a country that quarrel the way we do without delivering something beautiful out of it. If you find a Nigerian in any coun-

try of the world, you can distinguish them by the fact that they are different from all the others. During the production of my dance drama on South Africa, entitled A Feast Return,in which I used Nigerian dances in place of theirs, it struck me that no matter the dance patterns from any part of Africa, we have it inside Nigeria. All the over 428 tongues and ethnic fractions that we have in Nigeria incorporate virtually all the colours of Africa. It is difficult to manage such differences. The day we learn to manage all those differences, no country in the world would be able to stand up to us. Nigeria is a potentially great country. Again, what makes Nigeria truly beautiful is that our spirit of resilience: we rarely ever give up. I have heard people talk about President Goodluck Jonathan not doing good, etc. I tell them that I did not vote for him because I was expecting him to be the greatest president in Nigeria; but I expected him to do one thing that is happening under his regime. I believed that if he became the president, more information would come out about how Nigeria has been mismanaged; and that the rest of us would acquire

a stronger spirit of reform as a result. And it is happening and would continue to happen. Those who think that he needs to be a great president are welcome to their opinion. What I have enjoyed about his rule is that under him more information will come that will help us – that is, those who are genuinely interested in the reformation of our country – to do so. What is the meaning of Itoya? Itoya is my personal name. But that was not how it became the title of the dance drama. It became the title dance because we were looking for something which simply says ‘we can’t tell the suffering we have been through’. We have had so many problems that talking about them is like wasting our time. From as early as one can remember in Africa’s history, we have had almost all the problems of the rest of the world have culminated in the continent in a very devastating manner. People cannot remember when Africa was not having a civil war or being enslaved or fighting against one form of colonialism. We moved from one to the other. From being colonised, we became neocolonised. The surprise about

Africa is that we’ve always managed to survive. You look at those famished parts of the continent; and you’d wonder how those people still manage to look at life as something that is theirs. Irrespective of what the rest of the world will do to Africa, we will survive them. What is Itoya saying that other dance dramas have not said? As the others, from the standpoint of spectacle, we do it the way others don’t. The dance drama, I did on South Africa tell its story than any other that has been done anybody. The one I did on Nigeria tells its story differently in a way that no other Nigerian drama or dance drama has ever done. If you know any that has done it like that, name it. I am not bragging. I am just saying in our drama, we attempt to present the action in the narration which changes the way people look at the problem. I did not say I was going to tell the best African or Nigerian story but I was going to tell the story that brought out Nigeria and Africa in a way that a child who did not know the story before would feel that he/she is in possession of our story.


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Arts/Reviews

Bola Tinubu’s adventures in power I

N one of his authentic statements, Prophet Muhammad once said that “All of you are travellers in this short life that you live in and one day you shall all be called to proper accounting of your travels”. The one day that Muhammad spoke about is that moment of our existence after death when God will pass His supreme judgement on all of us. Before then, however, as we navigate our ways through the labyrinth of life, we are constantly confronted with many days of judgement as a result of our hard work or our dereliction of duties and obligations, or even as result of fate treating us kindly or shabbily. That the 60th anniversary of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has become a festival of accolades is a judgement that should gladdens his heart and the hearts of all lovers of democracy and justice. For what we’re witnessing is not just a celebration of the birthday of a leader it is, essentially, a festival of political triumphs. Beneath this huge celebration, beneath the buntings, the following questions raise their heads, demanding: how do you wield political power responsibly? How do you play the game of politics in a way that will impact positively on your society, your country? How do we save our nation from the grip of the fat cats messing it up, people who apparently prefer that we remain a country of scammers and terrorists because their greed, selfishness and insatiable appetite feed on chaos and helplessness and penury? It gets grimmer and grimmer. How can we mitigate the damage that has been done? How can we mould and lay concrete blocks of renewal? Is the Bola Ahmed Tinubu model strong enough to be used as a rescue weapon? Will it endure? Can it? Asiwaju: Leadership in Troubled Times answers some of these questions in form of eloquent and stuttering tributes. Edited by Tunji Bello, Sam Omatseye and Segun Ayobolu, the book is an affectionate portrait of Tinubu’s adventures in politics and power. It is at once revelatory and protectively secretive. All those who say that Bola Tinubu is a mysterious man obviously don’t understand the man the way the contributors to this book do. The book captures his enviable ground – breaking achievements in all his working life. We are told that Tinubu’s strivings and exertions are largely geared towards the healing of public wounds. The book describes the power of his mystique and the mystique of his power. As the writers trace his evolution as a politician, they regale us with the stories of his grace and pace. There is a sense in which the book is a rebuke of all those who have been thrown up by history and fate to lead but whose excessive arrogance and pettiness, even crudity, weakens their capacity for common good, diminishes their energy to humanise the ground beneath their feet. I speak of leaders who are far more interested in the cult of power than the duty they

By Kunle Ajibade

owe their associates, their communities, their country and the rest of humankind. Like many of those national leaders in Africa before him, who were forged in the furnace of anti-colonial struggles –Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Leopold Senghor, Patrice Lumumba, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela, to mention just a few, Tinubu discovered his courage under military tyranny and he is fulfilling his mission in the putative democracy of post colony. To what extent has he remained true to the inspiring tradition of resistance? This is part of what Asiwaju: Leadership in Troubled Times examines. It seems to me that his political credo is: resist or perish. For him a calculating, contemplative rebellion has its redemptive qualities. In a variety of ways, the practical and philosophical significance of Bola Tinubu lies in his messianic interventions. Karl Marx it was who famously said that the task is not just to understand the world but to change it. Changing the world, as Noam Chomsky told the Occupy Boston gathering in October last year, goes beyond just listening to a talk or reading a book; it means learning from participating, learning so much from the people you’re trying to organise in order to formulate and implement workable ideas with them. To Bola Tinubu words have power but lending a helping hand is more potent and liberating. Contributors to Asiwaju: Leadership in Troubled Times include Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and President – General Nigerian Supreme council for Islamic Affairs, Babatunde Raji Fashola, the governor of Lagos State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, the governor of Osun state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the governor of Ogun State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the governor of Edo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the governor of Oyo state, Mrs. Joke Adefulire, deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Abu Ibrahim, Mrs. Abike DabiriErewa and Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, members, House of Representatives. There are also Mr. Tunji Bello, Lagos State commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Commissioner for Works, Lagos State, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Ben Akabueze, Commissioner for Economic Planning, Lagos State, Mr. Fola Arthur Worrey, Executive Secretary, the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr. Oladele Alake, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, former Chief Detail in charge of Governor Tinubu’s Security, Mr. Wale Edun, former Commissioner for Fi-

nance, Lagos State, Dr. Leke Pitan, former Health Commissioner, Lagos State, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Authority, Dr. Muiz Banire, former Lagos State Commissioner for Transport and the Environment now ACN National Legal Adviser, Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, Former Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, former Chief of Staff to Governor Tinubu, now National Public Secretary of ACN. Mr. Adeola Ipaye, former Special adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Taxation and Revenue, Mr. Sam Omatseye, Chairman, Editorial Board The Nation newspaper, Mr. Segun Ayobolu, former Chief Press Secretary to Governor Tinubu, Mr. Loius Odion, Edo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Folorunsho Coker, The Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Vehicle Plate Licensing Authority, Mr. Mobolaji sanusi, Member Editorial Board, The Nation, Mr. Sunday Dare, Special Adviser on Media to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Mr. Akin Doherty who worked with Tinubu in Mobil Oil. These contributors write about Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu the practical thinker, an ideologue, a law reformer, a realist, logistician, the crisis manager, the obsessive organiser, the security conscious governor, the communicator, the lover of the press and the arts, the financial engineer, the federalist, the healer, the technocrat, the smooth professional, the activist, the populist, the pragmatist, the radical conservative, the progressive, the grassroots man, the compassionate friend, a sincere statesman, the family man, a tireless fighter for a just cause, a mentor of women politicians and a respecter of traditional institutions.

In the light of their readings of leadership patterns and global best practices, their observation of, their working with and closeness to him, the 33 contributors tell us, with anecdotes and illuminating examples, that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is always guided by strong principles. Believing in the rule of law, he fought election rigging in different parts of Nigeria not just with law but also with technology. Between 1999 and 2007, when he was governor of Lagos State, he challenged the country’s Federal structures at the Supreme Court and won resoundingly. Today the creation of 37 new Local Development Council Areas in Lagos State stand as a testimony to that success. Bola Tinubu defined his objectives from the beginning. He wanted a Lagos State that would be a beacon of hope, a state that would be financially buoyant, a Lagos State that would not surrender its dignity and integrity of its citizens to the Federal might and rascality. Throughout his tenure, he never wavered from this mission. From 600 million naira in 1999 he and his team raised the internally Generated Revenue to about 9 billion naira in 2007. Tinubu, we are told, has charisma. He exudes authority because his power and authority is based on legitimacy, laced with the abundant love that people have for him.Because he was an A-grade student in his University days, because of his experiences in several multinational companies where he had worked meritoriously, and because he never felt intimidated by the brain power of those with whom he worked, he managed, as governor, to assemble some of the most brilliant and hard working professionals to serve Lagos State. Lord Byron, the poet, said that when we think we lead, we are indeed the most led. With the warmth and radiance of their intelligence, Tinubu was actually led by certain members

of his team. And Lagos State, in terms of quality of the services the team rendered, some of them, arguably, in controversial circumstances, is better for it. With due respect to all the governors of Lagos State before him, the question to ask really is: what would have been the fate of Lagos given the parlous conditions of infrastructures and affairs that he met if a mediocre team had run it? Tinubu as a leader is never afraid to try new things. He computerised the Lagos State Civil Service using Oracle system. This made the job of running government easier, faster and rewarding. He was one of the first set of governors to embrace the private sector participation in government. As the waste disposal business in Lagos has shown, this has helped to create jobs. He has the talent to win people over to his side on the strength of his argument sometimes playing a devil’s advocate to expand the discourse. He is always ahead of his restless political enemies because he is a master strategist and tactician. As a political leader and a liberal democrat, the writers observe, he cultivates new friends and old antagonists. He is always the first to think of political compromises whenever he thinks it is necessary. Sometimes he gets his fingers burnt; sometimes he comes out of the venture looking like a superman. How can you run a modern, egalitarian society without an accurate census figure? Bola Tinubu and his team answered that question boldly when in 2006 they rejected the phantom figure of 9,000 people which the Federal Government had allotted to Lagos State as its population. The team had been smart enough to declare a public holiday to enumerate its citizens who turned out to be 17,250,000. The good thing about this is that it has helped the government of his successor, Babatunde Fashola, to plan better. That government also renovated and built new court rooms, built solid roads and more hospitals. It initiated the Bus Rapid Transit System, BRT, introduced Lagos State Transport Management Authority, LASTMA, Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, the Drain Ducks, Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA and Lagos State Ambulance Services, LASAMBUS among others. It also decentralised the school administration system for better management. Daniel Coleman, one of the most influential American social psychologists argues that 85-95% of the difference between a “good leader” and an “excellent leader” is due to emotional intelligence. Bola Tinubu, the contributors agree, empathises with the downtrodden and sympathises with the needy. Abu Ibrahim, his friend since his senate days, tell the story of the schools he has built in Katsina. Is there or is there not a lesson in this for leaders who have been holding series of fruitless meetings on the menace of Boko Haram? The late visionary politi-

cian and prudent manager of human and material resources, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in a moment of gloom that always concentrates the mind, quoted Peter, not Peter the Apostle, but Peter the hero of Huge Walpole’s novel titled Fortitude who says that ‘It isn’t life that matters but the courage you bring to it’. It appears that Bola Tinubu’s courage is always bolstered by crises and disasters. In the wake of the discontents that followed the annulment of June 12 1993 Presidential Election which M.K.O. Abiola won, General Ibrahim Babangida, because of his overweening greed for power and its privileges disbanded the National Assembly which he could no longer dominate. But Bola Tinubu, Dr. Iyiorcha Ayu, Abu Ibrahim among a few others, caused the Senate to reconvene in Lagos. Tinubu funded the sitting. It was a spectacularly patriotic but terrifying duty. He was declared wanted, dead or alive, for that ‘rebellion’ which ultimately forced him into exile where he joined forces with the likes of General Alani Akinrinade, Professors Segun Gbadegesin, Ropo Sekoni, Bolaji Akinyemi, Adebayo Williams, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Tokunbo Afikuyomi and Bisi Adeleye Fayemi to mount international pressure on the military to withdraw to the barracks so that our country could start a genuine democratization process. Tinubu also supported the National Liberation Council of Nigeria which Professor Wole Soyinka ran with Professors Sola Adeyeye, Julius Ihonvbere, among others. Till today, the history of that struggle remains a guide, it remains a wonderful possibility and an invigorating tonic. Finally, there is a need for a more rigorous and critical book that will serve as an excuse to engage the politics and times that have produced Bola Tinubu. The context in which Asiwaju: Leadership in Troubled Times has been written gives room for a lot of adulatory platitude. There is a civilised standard of measuring great political leaders all over the world. We must learn in this country to embrace that high standard. Look at the immense power of the content and form of the books that have been written so far on Barack Obama and you will understand what I am trying to say. Books like The Bridge by David Remnick, From Promise to Power by David Mendell, to cite just two examples. They are remarkable intellectual products that will stand the test of time. For let us face it: the destiny and progress of a country are defined and propelled by the solid character and texture of its outstanding individuals, its everyday heroes and the attention we pay to details and to things of value. Mr. Ajibade read this review on 28 March 2012 at the Bola Tinubu Colloquium organised in Eko Hotel and Suites to mark the 60th Anniversary of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.


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Home to relics of Oyo empire —PAGE 54

‘Our battles with wrong attitude, syndicates’ The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Prof. Wale Oke spoke with Sunday Oguntola on infrastructural development in the hospital and other issues in the health care sector.

•Wale Oke

H

OW has it been managing a teaching hospital of this magnitude? It’s been a mixed grill really. When I got here, I discovered that we needed to change a lot of attitude. You are aware that this used to be the former General Hospital, Ikeja which the government decided to turn to a teaching hospital. The former CMD actually did a lot. The State Government has also invested and transformed this place. I was privy to how this place used to be. But one day, I came here and found everything had changed. We have new structures and equipment in place. We have so much in place, many laboratories in place too. We have the Bola Tinubu Health Diagnostic Centre. So things were in place but the attitude of the people didn’t really flow with the infrastructural development. This disconnect was what I thought the most challenging. So, it is a mixed grill and I have to contend with people in the system under-cutting government and patients. We have been putting structures in place to minimise these incidences in the last one year and few months that I have been here. Metamorphosing from being a cardiologist to an administrator must be tough. Isn’t it?

Well as a physician, I have had to reduce contacts with patients though I still go to the clinic sometimes. I am now into sitting on a table and going on rounds in the hospital. Sometimes you find critical needs in the hospital that you might not know if you remain in the office. So, I try to go round everyday to be sure things are in place. Fortunately, I had been well founded in administrative duties when I was the Medical Advisory Committee Chairman at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). It was purely an administrative position and sometimes I had to stand in for the CMD when he was abroad or in Abuja. I had been schooled on how to do that. Then, I became Head of Department of the College of Medi-

cine though it was easier to do the clinical works then. Now, I am shouldering all the administrative responsibilities of the hospital. So, what are you doing to fix these attitudinal challenges among staff? We are really on it. Let me tell you some of my experiences. Something happened that made a whole unit in the hospital go without water. I got to know about it three days later and that was why I decided to go on rounds myself to be sure things are in place. I then instructed the chief engineer then to go on rounds and give simple, daily reports. He wasn’t doing it so I replaced him with a younger, healthier person. He knew what happened to his predecessor and got serious.

“If anybody asks you to buy blood, it is not from the hospital. It is a fraud. These touts are the ones making things difficult for us. We have made a rule that if a patient needs blood, it must come from us. There is a blood syndicate that we have been battling with. Once I find anyone in the system is involved, that person has to go. Once you have donated you should not buy again.”

How many times have you had to do that? As an administrator, you don’t do it too frequently. You do it once and people get the message. Since I did that, people have sat up. I have cases of members of staff who are not accountants collecting monies from patients under the guise that they will help them pay. I have had to sack one because it was very, very glaring. The other one was sternly warned because we couldn’t really prove because he paid the money but there was a delay. So, we got an agency that is responsible for collection and remittance of all bills. Even when we did that, you still find one or two people trying to undercut. Though the government is paying two and half times more what health workers used to earn, some people still feel they are owed more. For example, a very junior staff collected money from a patient to carry out a laboratory test then went further when the patient came back to forge one. That is dangerous. So, we have this attitudinal challenge. Many still have the usual laid-back civil servants’ attitude. I am thinking we need to work seriously on this for the next one year across all departments and workers. I have one or two motivational speakers in mind to talk senses into us. This attitude cuts across all cadres but it’s easier to deal with junior staff because the senior ones are a bit more creative. But it is not just with us. It permeates the whole society. Many Nigerians readily agree public hospitals are better equipped and qualified but prefer to patronise private establishments where there are better courtesies. Are you aware of this and what are you doing to change it? It is still part of the attitude problems I have been talking about. Let me give you an example. A high officer in government sent a patient to me for treatment. Because of this person’s status, I wrote a note to be delivered at the clinic. But the record officer there who happens to be a casual worker told him the doctor won’t be on duty that day. The man came to report back to me and I went. I asked her why she said that and she said the doctor won’t be on duty until noon. I got her fired when she kept arguing with me but somehow she was reabsorbed into the system. I got to know and queried the officer in charge. That is just to buttress what could happen here. So, we are working on it. But really you know the private hospitals have to woo patients. They have to survive and give people five-star treatment but our own people believe patients will always come anyway. But the private have to be extra-nice because they will drop heavy bills anyway. When I was in LUTH as a cardiologist, I was getting calls every day to come and help out in private hospitals. Government allows private practice and I know many of our consultants get similar calls. But we are working on our people’s attitude. So, that attitude must change and I am here to see to that. I tell our staff if you are rude, you •Continued on Page 55


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Life

HE Old Oyo National Park, in Oyo State in linked to the other parts of the country through a network of fairly tarred roads. Travellers from the eastern part and the Lagos/ Ibadan axis can enter through Ilorin/Igbeti, and access it by Jokoro, Tessi Garuba or Apata routes. While those travelling from central Benin Republic can enter through Yashikira KosubosuIgbeti to acess the park through Alaguntan route. Visitors from Kainji Lake in Niger State can come in through Kaiama -ishi – Soro to enter the Park through Soro gate. The abundance of cultural features both within and outside the Park makes it a combination of an ecological and cultural/historical centre. The site of Oyo-Ile now in ruins, located in the northeast corner of the park was the capital and hub of the ancient Oyo Empire. A dance with history This empire was one of the first states to emerge in the forest and the coastal region of West Africa and the most culturally advanced. It reached its peak between the 17th and 18th centuries. Ancient history and political sites both inside and outside the park are associated with OyoIle, not the same with the present Oyo town. Among these are Igboho, IpapoIle, and Koso, all of which, at one time or the other served as the capital of the empire. Alaafin Sango, the revered Yoruba king, is believed to have committed suicide at Koso, hence Oba Koso made popular by the late Duro Ladipo. Other cultural sites include the royal cemeteries at Igboho and Bara, where past traditional rulers of the empire were buried. However, both sites require development, the Antete shrine at Ikoyi –Ile, (where there is a pot containing swarm of honey bees which was said to have been used to fight for the people of Ikoyi-Ile, by stinging enemies to death). There are also the Ibuya pool (which is a good potential for water recreation), River Ogun, and Yemeso Hill (with several old settlements at its base). The largest concentration of archaeological and cultural sites as well as relics is found at Oyo-Ile, with more than twenty of such identified. They include, four concentric defence walls around the former ancient capital city, Mejiro industrial sites (consisting of blacksmithing, iron forgery sites, and grain milling sites), a large water reservoir for dry season farming, Esu and Ogun shrines, as well as palace of the Alaafin alongside

Stepping back into Oyo empire Old Oyo National Park was established to preserve the culture, historical and archaeological features of the ancient Oyo Empire. Bode Durojaiye recently visited the park •Musa Goni

•The Conservator-General of the National Park Service

•Tourists inside the cave

•Tourists at the entrance of Agbaku cave

•Part of the defence wall at Oyo-ile

•The antelope found inside the forest

•Koso, where Sango, god of thunder hanged himself

the town hall and Akesan market. The site is rich and still littered with a host of cultural artefacts including grinding stones, earthen pots potsherds, snags, snail shells, mud walls, tomb stones, mound of ashes and charcoal till date. Unlike other National Parks the Old Oyo National Park is not restricted to only wildlife; it has archaeological, cul-

tural and historical sites. In certain sites of the Park are numerous beautiful and marvellous sceneries of fascinating rock formations like “Oke Agbele” looking as though they

would topple over the next minute. A vote foreco-tourism Others like Agbaku, Idi-Are, and Mejiro have formed large caves that served as good shelters in

“Unlike other National Parks the Old Oyo National Park is not restricted to only wildlife; it has archaeological, cultural and historical sites.”

the olden days during incessant wars that embroiled the Old Oyo Empire. Mountaineering is equally possible in Igbeti, a support zone on the way to Oyo-Ile range of the Park. There is also the museum at the Park’s administrative head –office in Oyo town and Akoto tourist camp that display exhibits of cultural, archaeological and historical values for eco-tourists’

delight. On display at the museum are dominant species of animals such as Cobs, Western hartebeest, Buffalo, Giraffe, Roan Antelope, Waterbuck, Velvet monkey, Python rock, Ostrich eggs, Savannah, Elephant, and Nile crocodile. The Conservator of Park, Mallam Ibrahim Musa Goni, told The Nation that the Park was established to preserve the culture, historical and archaeological features in the abandoned sites of the then capital city of the ancient Oyo Empire at OyoIle, Bara and Koso. It is to protect the watersheds of Ogun and Tessi Rivers, and preserve, conserve and manage representative samples of indigenous flora and fauna of the South-West geographical region of the country. He added that it is also to encourage and promote sustainable abundance and growth of biological materials for zoological and botanical specimens for scientific research and education. To enhance and promote tourism in the area chalets at the Park have been increased from eight to eighteen for the benefits of tourists and researchers. Goni added, “Besides, there are some on-going projects, such as power, construction of Sepeteri/ Akoko base camp road, activities and recreational centres with indoor games, and packaged tours. Packaged tours provide for tourist’s cultural display, guided talks, and visits to the relics of Oyo-Ile”. He appealed to Nigerians to patronize the National Parks across the country, in order to be properly educated on wild fauna and flora, as well as enjoy and appreciate the aesthetic, spiritual, and ecological values of nature in the maintenance of a healthy environment. The Old Oyo National Park is one of the seven National Parks in the country. Established under a Decree in 1991 but now replaced with an Act of Parliament of 1999.


Life 55 Many Nigerians are walking corpses’

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

•Continued from Page 53

•Nigerian youths finding the plus with Google+

Catching the next world online T

HURSDAY and Friday penultimate week, the Civic Centre, Lagos played host to about 2, 000 youths who attended the third edition of the gNigeria, a programme organised by Google. For over eight hours on both days, participants filed into halls, listening and interacting with Googlers (that’s what Google employees are called) who had come from across the globe to engage Nigerian geeks and techno-entrepreneurs. While the first day was dedicated to web developers, the second day was tailored to address the business side of Google products. The registration of participants was fast and business like and at a corner of the registration area, throw back cushions were laid behind a table with Ludo, Chess, and Ayo games. The day’s session was kickstarted with a keynote address by Nelson Mattos, Google vicepresident for Europe and Emerging Markets. The duo of Melina Mattos and Chukwuemeka Afigbo demonstrated how a new Google feature of sending sms to emails and vice-versa. After that, the Googlers began holding different sessions. Lanre Aina took the sessions of Google Trader and YouTube, traipsing on the benefits of using it. Right in the hall, participants posted a car for trading on the platform. Jeremiah Kamau, a Kenyan, took the session on Google Maps and during the time, Chukwudi Edoga, CEO of Digital Dreams, an Enugu based IT firm mounted the podium to discuss a website he built for the Ebonyi State government which enabled the evaluation of houses in Abakaliki accurately via the comfort of their computers. Even during the breaks, the Googlers were heckled by Nigerians who had turned up for the different sessions. Affiong Bassey spoke on the need to get Nigerian businesses online, a move which saw Google partnering with Ecobank and telecommunication giant MTN last year to register Nigerian businesses online. At present, over 2, 500 have been hooked up to the internet via the Get Nigeria Business Online. But, perhaps, the icing which seemed to run across every session was Google+. Launched July last year, it has been severally compared to facebook. But Google prefers to distance Google+ from being just a social network. According to Mattos,

Nelson Mattos, Google’s Vice President for Europe and Emerging Markets was in Lagos recently to connect with Nigerian web developers and entrepreneurs. Joe Agbro Jr. met him and writes

Google+ came last and crested on the successes and failures of earlier social networks. “It was very much developed with the person in mind,” he said. “Each person in the world has what I would call different personae. The way I would talk to my mother is different from the way I would talk to my kids. And it’s different from the way I would talk to my co-workers. In the same sense, the type of things that you want to share with people is different. So, the whole philosophy behind Google+ is to make it natural for •Mattos you to be able to represent all those personas.” This compartmentalisation is what is known as circles in google+. Mattos continues: “So, if you go to my profile on Google+, you’ll see that I have my family, my close relatives, my friends, my co-workers... When I am going to share a posting, I naturally know who to share it with. If it is the picture of my niece, I’m going to share with my relatives. Only they would be able to see it because my coworkers don’t care to see a picture of my niece.” The Google+ offer It seems Google wants to harmonise all its products on one platform for the user. Already, in addition to having the circles, hangouts, games, there is also the search which is Google’s core business. Mattos summarises it such: “Google + allows you to interact in many ways. You can go to the website and see the whole system. And you can interact with people by posting, you can interact with them by chatting with them immediately, you can call if you have their contact on phones, you can also interact with them by video conferencing (Hangouts) and that allows you to go a video conference to communicate with up to 10 people simultaneously, all seeing each other and you can also allow many more people to see that without necessarily

being able to participate.” President Barack Obama recently used the hangout to broadcast his 2012 State of the Union Address. And while harping on the advantages of G+, Aina had stated that Hangouts was created to work with low bandwidth, the nemesis of underdeveloped and developing countries. And businesses can also take advantage of the Google platform by creating a Google+ page where information such as pictures, offers, and other announcements can be put. People can even follow it and subscribe to get updates on changes. This is a move which Mattos says, “increases the reach of customers for the business significantly because the restaurant is not restricted by those that only call or go through their door, they would be able to communicate with a much bigger audience.” And by clicking a +1, equivalent to a like in facebook drives the google+ page to better ranking on the largest internet search portal. It is perhaps the ability to connect with a bigger audience that informs why Googlers trawl Africa holding the gDays in different countries. “I see that the continent is booming,” said Mattos who has been to over 20 countries in Africa. “Take Lagos for instance, every six months that I come back here, there are new roads, new construction, new buildings. I see more of the

people coming online. I hear about small companies that have created some companies on the internet and virtually profiting from it.” Reflecting on this, Mattos shares a memorable moment which occurred two years ago during the first gNigeria event. It is about a woman who imports baby clothes from china to sell to retailers under the trade name Baby Amp. He said, “She was having a hard time selling it. She hired a salesperson who worked several months for her and that salesperson could not sell the product. And then, she found two young Nigerian guys (who convinced her) after several weeks to create a website to advertise the products using google adwords. This woman spent $100 in advertising and sold her whole year inventory. The excitement of this woman that had no idea even before what internet was touching.” This bliss does not however cover his eyes to the challenges affecting Africa in terms of IT. Listing access barriers for people to come online as a major challenge, Mattos said, “the price of connectivity is coming down but there are still way too expensive for the majority of the population to afford. Very few people in Nigeria can afford to buy a desktop computer with band with.” Other challenges Mattos observed are the absence of relevant local content, a small ecosystem (web developers and entrepreneurs) compared to the population size, but he promised Google is determined “to eliminate the access barriers and it’s helping the community to create locally relevant content that they care about with maps, youtube, and getting these online.” Mattos has a word for everyone sill reluctant to catch the online buzz: “Internet and its knowledge may look threatening but it is not. People should eliminate the barrier that they have and should just try. Using an email system is very simple. Getting a business online using GNBO is extremely simple. You just require the first step. I encourage everyone to do like the lady from baby Amp and take advantage of technology in running their businesses.”

never can tell where you will meet patients later. But the problem we have is the number of patients. If you are seeing four times what private hospitals are seeing, after a while you could get frustrated. But I tell staff they are dealing with sick people and must treat them well. If a woman brings a child with asthma to the hospital and she is harassed, the baby will get worse as he looks at the mother’s face. One keeps seeing ongoing changes in the hospital. What are you really after? Our biggest project is the Ayinke House, which has been tagged the ‘baby factory’. It got some structural problems, which could have led to a disaster and so government decided to rehabilitate the place and that started two years ago. Hopefully, in a year, it should be back. We had a meeting with the consultant and I asked him ‘please when can this place be ready?’ and he said 15 months. At that time, there was a problem with the payment, which has been sorted out now. Then I said what about the equipment and nobody seemed to know. So, we wrote a letter to the government that we should start equipping the place as soon as it is completed. A few weeks ago, we had a meeting with the Commissioner and the consultant, who had apparently been given the contract to equip the place. We had a meeting with the end-users, the x-ray people and gynaecologists and everyone who will be involved and I am really thrilled with what I saw. The comeback of Ayinke House will really be glorious. There will be many consulting rooms; it will have its own kitchen, canteen and all that. With these in mind, in the next 15 months, it should be back. The contractors have been paid and are really working. Another project is the Critical Care Unit, which is another Private Public Project (PPP). It’s been on ground for over four, five years. It will cater for heart surgeries and will be used for our cardiac surgeries. Lagos State is even more proactive because in Gbagada there is another layout, which is supposed to be the annex of LASUTH to cater for cardiac and renal cases. Don’t you think it would have been better to relocate the hospital completely considering the limited space for expansion? Well, relocation would mean another venture again. Ideally, hospitals abroad are built as a unit but you can’t do that here because of space. UCH is about the only hospital with that structure in Nigeria. But we have mentioned to the ministry a few times that we don’t have enough space to spread out. Nobody ever thought this would be a teaching hospital but government has done enough. I am privy to the fact that if we need equipment, we can easily access our capital budget. We have just been given a lot of millions to purchase equipment. I couldn’t believe it myself. Why do you insist pregnant women should buy blood after their husbands have donated before ante-natal? We don’t have a blood bank here now. But when a woman comes for ante-natal, her husband is asked to donate blood in case she needs blood during delivery. Doctors are trained to expect the worst scenario. It does not mean the blood your husband donates is what you will need because you may not have the same blood group. But the fact that the blood has been do-

nated makes it morally mandatory for the hospital to provide blood when that woman needs blood anytime. All she needs to do is to provide a certificate that shows her husband donated on her behalf. And mandatorily we will provide. We have a network that will make that available. But somehow the touts come in and supplant that process. That is why people need to know. If anybody asks you to buy blood, it is not from the hospital. It is a fraud. These touts are the ones making things difficult for us. We have made a rule that if a patient needs blood, it must come from us. There is a blood syndicate that we have been battling with. Once I find anyone in the system is involved, that person has to go. Once you have donated, you should not buy again. I went round Ikeja and discovered there are hundreds of laboratories established purportedly to serve patients from here. We also discovered that their results are not genuine. Not long ago, a security man here apprehended someone from one of these laboratories with blood in polythene nylon. Blood is supposed to be transported at a certain temperature and God knows how long this man had been doing that. He was arrested. Two weeks later, we caught another with blood and a stolen label with O positive that a patient needed. So, we have rehabilitated our laboratories and the governor just approved purchase of equipment. Why do Nigerians still prefer foreign treatment despite all the infrastructural development in the health sector? One, they do not believe we have all these equipment. Two, some people just feel the white man is better. Three, some people have been told that you don’t need to go abroad but they still feel they are not getting the best here only to go there and find we have done everything humanly possible here. When I write letters for people abroad, I will tell them what I have done, what my diagnosis says but indicate I don’t feel this patient needs to go abroad but I am compelled to because he insists. So many people have come back to say ‘and you said it o. I just wasted my money’. Then, medical tourism is being encouraged a lot in our country. I was going abroad one day and I got a call from somebody who said he had an ATM card for me at the airport. He said the card was loaded. Of course, I rejected the Greek’s gift. The idea is to induce you to send patients abroad whether they like it or not. That also is happening but I cannot confirm at what scale. Then, when a federal government official tears a tendon and prefers to go abroad, it sends a wrong signal. This is what any trained doctor can handle here. When the Queen of England needs treatment, she doesn’t go to Australia or America. She goes to the Military Hospital in the UK for treatment. Equip the hospitals because we have the personnel here. That is why we have decided to mouth what we have here. Nigerians still hardly do regular check-ups. What are the dangers inherent in this? You know, I am still amazed. Lagos State approved free medical check-ups for civil servants monthly but they will not go. I think people are just ignorant. Many Nigerians are walking corpses. Regular checkups will save millions from needless deaths.


56

Your HEALTH THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Relieving bruises and sprains A

sprain causes pain, swelling and loss of movement of the affected part. There may also be a blue discolouration. This happens because the small blood vessels and fibres in the flesh burst, causing blood to enter the surrounding tissue. According to Dr. Shola Ajayi of Diamond Crest Hospital, “A sprain is due to damage to a ligament, which is usually due to a stretching or awkward movement to a joint, eg a twisted ankle. “Most bruises form when small blood vessels (capillaries) near the skin's surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury often on the arms or legs. When this happens, blood leaks out of the vessels and initially appears as a bright or dark red, purple or black mark. Eventually your body reabsorbs the blood, and the mark disappears,” he explained. He further stated that a bruise happens when the skin is exposed to such a hard blow that the blood vessels break. Generally, harder blows cause larger bruises. If you have a sprain, you will also suffer pain. The injured area must be kept still or the bleeding in the tissue will continue more intensely. The most important treatment for a sprain is: protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation (PRICE). Protection Protect the injured part from further injury, eg foot support or insole. Rest Rest is important to ensure that healing occurs as quickly as possible. You should rest the injured area for at least one or two days, because the bleeding can continue for up to 24 hours.

If possible, the sprained area should be kept straight an arm, for example, can be supported in a sling. Try to keep the injured area in the same position while you are sleeping, perhaps by placing a couple of pillows under your sprain. Ice Since blood enters the tissues when you have a sprain, the main thing is to limit the bleeding. This can be done by cooling. Try the following techniques; Put ice cubes in a plastic bag, then place over the sprained area. In an emergency, use frozen vegetables in a bag or use a cloth soaked in frozen water. Use custom-made cooling-packets, which are bags containing a special jelly that can be chilled in your freezer. In each case, wrap the cold bag in a towel before placing it on the sprain. Always put a piece of fabric between your skin and the coolant, otherwise your skin may get cold damage. Stop the cooling long before your skin turns white or hard. Contact a doctor if your skin does not regain its usual colour after the process has stopped. It's a good idea to cool the skin for 15 minutes, stop for 15 minutes, then cool again, and repeatedly. Usually, the cooling is felt in different ways. This can range from cold to painful, burning and finally numbing. Be careful if you are diabetic. To prevent damage to your blood circulation, do not cool an area without consulting your doctor. Compression You can also wrap bandages around the damaged area to prevent movement. Most people use a pressure bandage at

first, followed by tape when the swelling has disappeared. If you are wearing bandages, it's important to monitor the area surrounding them. If this becomes bluecoloured and the surrounding tissue seems cold, you should remove the bandages and contact a doctor. Elevation The injured area shouldn't point

downwards, otherwise fluid build-up may occur. This prolongs the healing process and causes more pain. Although, the area where the injury occurs may be painful due to inflammation, it has been discovered that inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process. It limits movement to prevent further damage to the joint and also initially helps to repair the damaged tissue.

Tips for quick recovery from spra ins

W

HEN the pain and the swelling have gone, start exercising the injured part of the body gently. After one or two days' rest, it is important to start moving again to reduce the amount of scarring formed in the damaged tissue. As with any activity, warm up slowly and use stretching exercises to begin with. If it's possible to stay physically active without further injuring the sprained area, do so. Keep your other muscles functioning and maintain physical fitness. It may take up to three months after an ankle sprain to return to full sporting activity.


57

BUSINESS

‘Lack of national ID card, bane of SIM registration’

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

-- Page 59

Briefs Credit conference holds Wednesday

T •President Goodluck Jonathan

•Senate President, David Mark

•DG, Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu

Budget 2012: Same old story C

ONTROVERSIAL. This is what budget 2012 has turned out to be. When President Goodluck Jonathan, in February sent a budget of about N4.7 trillion with a crude benchmark of $70 US dollar per barrel, little did he know that he was setting the stage for another round of executive-legislative feud. The proposed 2012 budget stands at N4.749 trillion naira, representing about 6 percent increase over the N4.48 trillion in 2011. At issue is that the members of the National Assembly, had a fortnight ago passed a budget of N4.877,209,156,933 trillion using $72 US dollar benchmark, as against the N4.749 trillion presented to them by Mr. Jonathan. The Senate passed the sum of N4, 877, 209, 156, 933 for the budget in plenary, an increase in the N4.648 trillion revised figure sent to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2012. The House of Representatives also passed a budget of N4.8 trillion. Jonathan had slashed N101 billion from the original 2012 budget submitted to the National Assembly. This was in view of developments occasioned by the review of the removal of fuel subsidy. But, the Senate raised the figure to accommodate President Jonathan’s Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, making a provision of N888 billion for fuel subsidy. However, the discovery that the National Assembly have tempered with the original benchmark of $70 US dollar per barrel may hinder the presidential assent to the 2012 budget, The Nation can authoritatively report. The increase in the crude oil benchmark, The Nation findings, revealed, is said to have angered Aso Rock, a development that may have triggered President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to assent to the fiscal document since it was transmitted to him a couple of days ago. Findings revealed that the N48

Indications are that the initial N4.749trillion presented by President Goodluck Jonathan as against the N4.877 trillion passed by the National Assembly may have put the lawmakers on a collision course with the executive, fuelling speculations of a stalemate. Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf examines the issues arising from the controversial budget billion expected from the adjustment may have been meant to serve unspecified interest of the lawmakers. Expectedly, there are strong indications that President Jonathan may have been advised against appending his all-important signature on the fiscal document to make it law. On the alleged jack-up of over N100 billion into the various projects of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, the Presidency has distanced the MDAs from the action, saying that it was in sharp contrast with Mr. Jonathan’s directive to the MDAs to steer clear of lobbing lawmakers to raise the figure of their budgetary allocation. The Senate Committee on Appropriation, chaired by Senator Ahmed Maccido had revealed that some ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government allegedly padded the budget with additional projects worth N1tn. Maccido who spoke with journalists in Abuja was definite about nipping the problem in the bud.

Confirming this development, the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Bright Okogu, said the executive arm of government was studying the past budget by the National Assembly, noting that if it is true that the identified disparities do exist, then the budget in its entirety would be returned to the lawmakers for correction, before presidential assent as required by law. Pressed on what possible sanction could be meted out to any head of MDAs that is discovered to have bribed or lobbied the lawmakers to jack-up their expected budgetary allocations, the Mr. Okogu, dismissed such insinuations, saying that “it is not possible that the MDAs may have gone for the increase but what is very likely, is that some lawmakers may have carried out the action themselves for selfish reasons”. It would be recalled that last year lawmakers inflated spending proposed by government but Jonathan sent back the budget and asked them to make more cuts, before a compromise was reached weeks later. Government departments often lobby legislators to increase spending on their ministries. One of the

2012 Fiscal year budget breakdown: Capital Expenditure: N1.32 trillion. Recurrent (non debt) Expenditure: N2.472 trillion Statutory Transfer: N398 billion. Debt servicing: N560 billion. Security: N921.91 billion. Education: N400.15 billion. Health: N282.77 billion Works: N180.8 billion. Power: N161.42 billion. Agriculture: N78.98 billion Niger Delta: N59.7 billion. Petroleum Resources: N59.66 billion Transportation: N54.8 billion. Aviation: N49.23 billion. FCT: N45.59 billion Water Resources: N39 billion. Science and Tech: N30.84 billion. Land and Housing: N24.9 billion Communication and ICT: N18.31 billion. Unallocated items = N2,310.1bn. Total for other sectors = N2,438.9bn. Total = N4.749trn.

reasons given for the increase in the Senate was to fund a programme to help the poor adjust to an eventual scrapping of fuel subsidies. Speaking on the vexed budget, a cross-section of economic and financial pundits said it was not in the public interest to have a fiscal policy that was shrouded in controversy. Firing the first salvo, Mr. Williams Amoo, a public analyst, said a cursory look at the budget revealed some disparities. Citing some specifics, Amoo said: “The bone of contention, he stressed, is that certain allocations made to some sectors are shrouded in mystery.” Raising a poser, he said:“What do you make of the allocation of N398billion as statutory transfer by the National Assembly? “There are even more controversial portions in the fiscal document. On debt servicing alone the government would be spending N560 billion, which is over and above what is allotted to education and health.” Echoing similar sentiments, Gabriel Ojomo, an economist, said the sum of 921.91billion, roughly US$5.7bn is said to be for security, the biggest sector in the budget. Defence was N348bn in 2011 budget.” Continuing, he said: “Education gulped N400.15billion as against N398bn for statutory transfer, whatever that means by the National Assembly.” More worrisome, Ojomo said, is N2, 310.1billion allocated for an undisclosed item by the National Assembly. To these analysts, these noticeable lapses in the fiscal policy ought to be addressed in the interest of the country. Doing so, they reckoned, would show that boost the nation’s credibility credentials in the eyes of the comity of nations. Pray, is someone listening?

HE Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), Nigeria’s foremost credit management body is set to host its annual industry conference on Wednesday at the auditorium of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Victoria Island, Lagos. Tagged: “The Use of Company Credit Report To Support Objective Credit Decision Making”, it will draw participants from the financial service sector including senior managers, executive directors in charge of credit matters, members of the Credit Committee of Banks, business management organisations, among others. In a statement issued on behalf of the Institute by its Registrar and Chief Executive, Dr. Chris Onalo and made available to The Nation, he said some of the topics that would form part of the interface and discussion sessions include: “Company Credit Report and its place in Business, Lending and Investment Decisions and Strategic Trade Credit Management in Oil Industry. While commenting on the objectives of the conference, the ICA’s boss said participants are expected to understanding the salience of issues concerning credit appraisal and decision process, assists in monitoring credit accounts, debt recovery strategy, enables banks or companies to maintain good company credit report database on all borrowers and/or credit customers. Expatiating, Onalo said: “CCR is an innovative and value-added credit management initiative designed to support and justify credit approval process, ensures “Know Your Customer - KYC” compliance, strengthens internal appraisal rigor and eliminates perceived complacency in line with regulatory and management expectations.”

ECOWAS, partners ABEN on renewable energy THE ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in collaboration with the African Business Entrepreneurship Network (ABNEN), will host a two-day workshop on “Renewable Energy Finance and Investment Forum.” The two-day holds from 27-28 April, 2012, at the prestigious Gustav-StresemanInstitut, in Bonn, Germany. The event will gather West Africa’s higher level business entrepreneurs and lawmakers as well as senior investment officials from Europe’s leading energy sectors to discuss issues bordering on venture capital and private equity, to tax and debt finance for renewable energy projects to institutional investors looking for reliable long term returns, among others. Some of those expected at the conference are investors, financiers, business representatives, government leaders as well as members of the civil society. Besides serving as a meltingpot of sort, participants are expected to share best practices, build alliance, stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements, etc. The event, is being sponsored by ECOWAS in conjunction with other corporate bodies like SKAI Group of Companies, African Courier, Radio Wealth Ghana, among others.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

58

Business Intelligence

T

Stallion workers kick over poor welfare

O the non-management staff of Volkswagen Motors Company, Nigeria, the automobile arm of the Stallion Group of Companies, located in Gbagada, an uptown district of Lagos, the scant regard and utter neglect of staff welfare by the management team, is one issue that has become hotly debated to no avail. This issue of poor condition of service forced the workers top embark on a week-long strike recently, a development which paralysed business activities at the different automobile branches of the Group within Lagos metropolis and its environs, including VWN, Gbagada, GMP, Wonderplace, both within Apapa-Oshodi axis, among others. The Nation investigation revealed that before the strike action embarked upon by the aggrieved workers, there was no cordial relationship as both parties regarded each other with disguised disdain, especially among expatriate workers and their Nigerian counterparts, many of who felt that they were being denied certain privileges enjoyed by the senior manage-

Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

ment staff, in this case, the expatriates. Confirming this development, a cross-section of staff at the Volkswagen, among them members of the Worker’s Consultative Committee, the only recognised body which regularly interface with the management team, during industrial crisis, who pleaded anonymity, confided in The Nation that the problem which led to the strike action were issues dating back to 2009, chief among which is poor welfare. At issue, the workers said, is the failure by management to review workers’ salaries since 2009, among others. “In the last three years, we have not had any salary review. The welfare is poor generally. We don’t have access to loans and we work extra-man hours without any commensurate benefits.” Expatiating, the group said: “Most times, we experience salary cut with little or no explanation. We don’t receive payslips. The condition of service is so terrible compared to our expatriate counterparts

who enjoy a lot of perks even when it is obvious that we Nigerians are the ones doing most of the jobs. “Things came to a head recently when some of our workers who went on leave were denied their allowances while others had their salaries slashed arbitrarily by the management, hence we had to mobilize the over 200 staff in the different automobile units of Stallion Group to embark on strike in order to protest the unwholesome treatment.” Speaking further, the distraught workers said they were late persuaded to call off the strike action by top management staff with a promise that all their grievances would be addressed at the beginning of this month. Still smarting from the strike, the workers said they were ready to down tools if their demands were not met by the management this month as promised. All entreaties by The Nation to get the view of the top management staff on the concerns raised by the workers were futile as virtually all the

PHOTO SHOP

•L-R:Head of Corporate Communication, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Segun Fayose, presenting an HD PVR decoder to Boluwatife, Opeoluwa and Temitayo Odunuga on behalf of Mr. Ade Odunuga who won the prize for keeping his DStv account active for one year without disconnection in the monthly DStv programme

ministration. When The Nation visited the corporate headquarters on the island, the reception by the faircomplexioned lady at the front desk was anything but cordial. The receptionist, who fell short of calling this reporter a meddlesome interloper, said, she was not obliged to answer any queries from The Nation. “The matter does not concern you. In fact, I don’t know who to direct you to”, she fumed, after speaking with someone on the intercom for several minutes. Pressed further on the urgency of the reporter’s inquisition, she declared matter-offactly: “Please, I don’t know what to say. You can go back

top company officials approached fobbed off this reporter. When The Nation visited the office of the General Manger, Mr. Munish, he was said to be out on official assignment. Ditto for Mr. Rajiv Kumar, Service Manger and Mr. Gurtej Chhina, General Manger, Hyundai. However, the duo of Mr. Jacob Adewunmi, Human Resource Manager, Hyundai Motors and Mr. Prabodh Mitta, Service Manager directed the reporter to the company’s head office at 270A Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island, Lagos, were according to them, all queries would be addressed by the General Manager, Ad-

to the branch officers on the mainland to speak with the ogas over there.” Sensing a dead-end, the reporter made his adieus and left. It would be recalled that management of some of the multinationals owned by investors from Middle East Asia, such as Lebanon, India, China, and Japan, operating in the country have become the butt of criticisms in recent times, over what is generally perceived as the poor working conditions obtainable in most of these companies. To press home their demand for better working conditions, some of the workers have had to embark on strike action.

Study finds Nigerian laws, others weak on political funding

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OUNTRIES around the world lack proper institutional framework to regulate political funding, new study has shown. The Global Integrity Report: 2011, a major investigative study of 31 countries, was released over the weekend by Global Integrity, an award-winning international nonprofit organisation that tracks governance and corruption trends globally. Twenty-nine countries out of a 31-country sample scored less than 60 on a 100point scale on questions assessing the effectiveness of laws regulating individual and corporate donations to political parties, as well as the auditing of those donations and campaign expenditures. Government monitoring agencies tasked with enforcing such laws typically lack investigative power and often have little to no authority to impose sanctions. With two exceptions, all countries assessed fit into one of two major categories: those with solid or even model sets of regulations that they fail to implement, or those that leave the flow of

money into political campaigns entirely unregulated. The Report, which seeks to assess the medicine applied against corruption rather than the actual disease of corruption at the national level, also assessed other areas of government transparency and accountability. These include conflicts of interest regulations, freedom of the press, and law enforcement accountability. It covers developed countries such as the U. S., Ireland, and Germany as well as dozens of the world’s emerging markets and developing nations, from Algeria to Ukraine to China. Rather than measure perceptions of corruption, the report assesses the accountability mechanisms and transparency measures in place (or not) to prevent corruption through 320 “Integrity Indicators” as well as journalistic reporting of corruption. Gaps in those safeguards suggest where corruption is more likely to occur. In 29 of the 31 countries assessed, government bureaucracy is considered an extension of the ruling party or is routinely utilized for partisan purposes. The boundaries between public resources and party activities remain blurry in most countries assessed, with

the exceptions of the U.S. (100 score) and Ireland (75 score). Several countries experienced noticeable improvements or declines in their overall scores on anti-corruption safeguards since they were last assessed in 2009. Liberia, Armenia and Tajikistan showed the biggest improvements, while Sierra Leone, Mexico, and Zimbabwe saw decreases in performance. “We remain deeply concerned by the lack of progress globally on effectively regulating the flow of large sums of private money into the elections process in many countries,” said Global Integrity’s Executive Director, Nathaniel Heller. “Political financing remains the number one corruption risk around the world, and absent meaningful reforms will continue to hinder many other open government and transparency initiatives,” said Heller. Global Integrity is an innovation lab that produces high-quality research and creates cutting-edge technology to advance the work of a global network of civic, public, and private reformers pursuing increased transparency and accountability in governments.

MARBLE AND GRANITE CARE Frequently asked questions about marble

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HAT is marble? True geological marble is limestone that has been subjected to great pressure and heat, which has changed its structure to a crystalline, sugary texture. It is generally white or whitish, sometimes translucent, with some veining or color provided by other minerals present at its formation. White Carrara, Thassos, Colorado Yule and Bianco Rosa are true marbles. Commercially, the term “marble” applies to any compact limestone that will take a polish, which includes most of the colored marbles, except some of the greens. The marble family – limestone, travertine, marble, onyx – starts out as sediment – animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt – at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages.

What is honed marble or limestone and where is can it be used? Marble, travertine, or limestone that is honed has a matte or satin finish, rather than a high reflective polish. This is achieved at the factory by stopping just short of the last stage of polishing. Some fabricators have special equipment and can hone marble in their shops by removing the factory polish. One feature of honed marble is that it doesn’t show etching as readily, or wear patterns on floors. It is preferred by some because it has a less formal, softer appearance than polished stone. What is etching? Etching happens when acid in some form comes in contact with a polished marble or limestone surface. This causes a chemical reaction which removes the polish, or roughens the surface of honed marble or limestone. Green marbles, such as the “jades” from China are resistant to etching, and granite is impervious to any common house-

hold acids. What’s the best way to clean marble and other stones? Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even “soft scrub” type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners. Warm soapy water will do the trick. Or use cleaners specifically formulated to help clean and protect stone surfaces. Where can I use marble? Marble can be used for a number of various applications like fireplace surrounds, tabletops, saddles, and shelves. Ideally it can be applied to a number of projects in the bath area like Jacuzzi surrounds, vanities, floor, and shower panelling. Generally you can safely use marble in low-

traffic areas. For more information on Marble/Granite Care, Sales and Delivery contact:

Mike Anazodo – Email:info@maldinimarbles.com, Tel: 01-8934967 Maldini Marble and Granite Company


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Business

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

INTERVIEW

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ERY few women are Chief Technical Officers (CTOs) of Telcos. What has your experience been as CTO of a telecoms company like MTN? Honestly, the experience has been exciting for me as a person and it is not about being a woman or a man. The most important thing is that I have an opportunity to impact on lives. So, I see myself as somebody who touches the lives of over 42million people. For me, it’s an exciting opportunity. The idea of thinking whether certain jobs are meant for women or men creates boundaries and limitations, which are only in the mind. I see myself as an individual with dreams, aspirations and career goals, which I pursue with passion. Unless people surmount the limitations that are created in the mind, they are not likely to achieve their aspirations in life. As network engineer and now chief technical officer, what have been your challenges on the job, especially as regards telecoms infrastructure in the country? I will categorise the challenges into two core areas. The first is fundamental infrastructural deficiency in the country. The reality today is that in Nigeria, you are not just a telecoms service provider, but expert in power generation; expert in transmission provisioning. This is not what is obtainable in other countries. As a telecoms service provider, you put your base station and you have another nationwide backup provider for your traffic to the switching infrastructure, but that is not the case in Nigeria. So we have that infrastructural challenge. Now the other part of it is the operational challenge, which is very huge in Nigeria. Of course we do know that Nigeria is a growing economy and we are going to be witnessing a lot of road and infrastructural development. But the reality is that each time we step into those areas; we begin to impact on some of the infrastructure that we have developed to facilitate telecoms services in the country. For instance, about three weeks ago, in the eastern part of the country, we experienced continuous cuts on our optical fibre infrastructure on a daily basis. We do know that we are a growing economy and we are going to continue to have this, so we factored that into our design. However, in most instances, you have the cuts on your primary infrastructure on your secondary and even tertiary routes. Three weeks ago, we had a cut that isolated the whole of the east, with three switches isolated on a daily basis for more than eight days, because of road construction in that part of the country. That impacts negatively on the quality of service delivery, and it breaks our hearts when our subscribers complain of things that are way above our control. What are your expectations from government in helping to surmount these challenges? The Minister of Communications Technology has spoken about a bill the ministry would sponsor to protect telecoms infrastructure in the country. I think that is a welcome development. If you consider the fact that telecoms services is as essential as health care, education, and even the food we eat, I think it’s long overdue. We believe that is a step in the right direction towards surmounting these challenges. We want the government to look into the issue of multiple taxes imposed on telecoms operators by government agencies; this has become a bane of the industry. A situation whereby we pay our taxes to a government agency and the same government agency comes with various kinds of unimaginable levies in different states and local government areas and when we attempt dialogue to examine the issues, we are denied access, is very bad for the industry. What is MTN doing to strengthen its capacity for data services provisioning? I must remind you that MTN has taken leadership position in deploying broadband services in the country. We were the first telecoms operator to deploy data services everywhere we have footprint in the country. Again, we have taken leadership position in ensuring that we modernise our network in preparation for the huge demand for data, which is already the next wave of growth in Nigeria. This year, we are modernising our entire radio network from a single service to a multi-service radio network and we are deploying more base stations that will deliver 2G, 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology service in a single cabinet. On the transmission network, we are modernising the traditional TDM microwave radios to deliver Internet Protocol (IP) ethernet services that will reduce the capacity constraints that we have in backhauling our data traffic to

•Saint-Nwafor

‘Lack of national ID card, bane of SIM registration’ Lynda Saint-Nwafor is Chief Technical Officer of MTN Nigeria. In this interview with Adline Atili, she speaks on MTN’s investment drive, subscriber integrity in the SIM registration exercise vis-à-vis perceived health implications of mobile phones on humans, among other issues the switching infrastructure. On the Packet Data Network, we are evolving towards Evolved Packet Core, which will provide the requisite architecture to provide LTE services in Nigeria. How about the notion that the CDMA technology is better than the GSM technology to deliver broadband services? I do not believe that CDMAs are betterpositioned to deliver broadband services in Nigeria. We have two parallel roadmaps for data evolution: the LTE TDD and the LTE FDD. GSM will evolve to LTE FDD, which will deliver speed as high as 100mbps. But LTE TDD which is the parallel stream will deliver broadband services as high as 80mbps. So, I do not subscribe to that; it’s a theory that is yet to be proven. Now that operators are exploring the LTE technology, have the 2G and 3G technologies been exhausted? I think the basic thing for operators is to look at the market and requirements, understand them, and then deploy solutions that will best handle the market trend. When you look at the enterprise market, you will discover that there is high demand for high-speed broadband and that of course will not be delivered by the available 3G technology because 3G has its limitations in terms of spectrum efficiency and maximum bandwidth it can guarantee. LTE is well-positioned to deliver services for the enterprise and SME markets. If you talk about it vis-à-vis the requirements of the consumer market, yes, you’ll say that the 3G technology is capable of addressing the needs. But when you think about the fact that we are moving into an era where we start to talk about triple play and quad play, even the consumers are going to start demanding high-speed and quality. Now when you talk about the issues with

3G such as spectrum inefficiency and the fact that there are some limitations in bandwidth that is when operators would start looking for alternatives. The only alternative that would be available today would be the LTE technology. There is a general belief that electromagnetic emissions from mobile phones can cause cancer and other health problems. Additionally, are there any effects in making and receiving long calls? Absolutely no. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have released several reports from researches, refuting the notion that the use of telephones causes cancer. Yes, electromagnetic waves can have some impact on the health, but it is not at the level that will cause cancer to humans. Mobile phones have no adverse effect on human health; it has been proven and documented. Even carrying mobile phones in breast pockets has not been proven to have any side effect. These are unfounded tales emanating from fear and lack of information. How about substandard phones? Do they have negative impact on the health and the network? We have a telecoms regulator that is particular about Type Approval for all telecoms equipment coming into the market. I do know there are grey markets for certain mobile phones in Nigeria, and there are quite some numbers of low end and substandard phones that are smuggled into the country without the knowledge of the telecoms industry regulator. Having said that, sensitivity of substandard phones to the network is very low, hence, some of them affect the network. In terms of impact on health, it has not been established that use of mobile phones has negative impact on

human health. Insufficient Base Transceiver Station has been identified as one of the causes of poor quality of telecoms service. What number of base station do you think is sufficient to achieve good quality of service? There is no particular number of base stations required to achieve better quality of service across networks; it varies and depends on the ‘behaviour’ of subscribers. As the behaviour changes it might mean that the infrastructure that the operator had which was hitherto okay to support the number of calls generated on a particular network, would no longer be sufficient. In simple terms, subscriber behaviour means the manner, rate and number of calls made by subscribers, which varies based on certain factors, including ‘busy hours.’ For example in 2011, MTN had price pressure in the market which necessitated increase in the number of calls generated on the network. Previously, while the network was suitably positioned to support the number of calls prior to the price pressure regime, we found that with price decrease, the number of calls that people were making began to increase. How do you think the SIM registration exercise would help the country create a harmonised citizen data base for the country and what are the challenges? SIM registration is a step in the right direction. Telecommunications is a tool that can be used positively and at the same time, negatively. The fact that we are taking steps at identifying every Nigerian for security and other purposes is essential for us as a nation. But I think we need to take it beyond telecoms; we need to extend it to other sectors of the economy such as banking, health, so that we’ll be able to consolidate this information, even in area as important as driving licenses; we need to consolidate this information to ensure integrity. But the flip side is that it’s all nonsense because some dubious individuals have not registered in their names. So, there should be a mechanism to ensure integrity of information provided, such as a national Identity card. This will ensure we are able to compare biometrics to check fraud and validate information anywhere in the country, not only of telecoms subscribers but of all Nigerians.


Business

60

THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2011

COMPANY NEWS

Firm supports CBN’s cashlite policy

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HE cashlite policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has received a boost as Maltina, the non-alcoholic beverage drink has hinted of plans to reinforce the policy in its ongoing National Consumers Promotion tagged: “Maltina Sharing Happiness Promo.” The long list of exciting gifts as rewards for consumers includes branded Automated Tellers Machine-ATM cards that will contain the winning amount. Cash categories slated for this year’s promotion are, N1, 000,000 X 5 cash in (Maltina branded ATM cards), N100, 000 X 15 cash in (Maltina branded ATM

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

cards), N5, 000 X 4,000 cash in (Maltina branded ATM cards) all in a bid to carry less cash around. Justifying the neeed for the promo, Tokunbo Adodo, Marketing Manager, Non-Alcoholic Drinks, who fielded questions from journalists at the press conference to flag-off the campaign at the company’s headquarters in Lagos, the choice to use ATM cards, said it is aimed at complementing the CBN directive of cashless policy and safety. “The reason why this ATM method was adopted is to ensure that we as a responsible organisation

comply with the CBN’s directives of a cashless society, which in a way allows the winners to withdraw conveniently at anytime they choose. Also to ensure that cash winnings like others gifts are safely protected.” The promo which runs for eight weeks, from April 2nd to May 25th, 2012, is the first in the malt category to give out five brand new houses in high brow area of Lagos. Mr. Yusuf Ageni Corporate Affairs Adviser, who was represented by Mr. Edem Vindah Media and Public Affairs Manager, Nigerian Breweries, said the alphabet code combination crown corks

which would win the grand prize of a luxury home would consist of the following letters: S – M – I – L- E. “In order to win the grand prize,” according to Ageni, “a consumer is expected to collect a combination of crown corks that spell the word S-MI-L-E. Maltina shall be giving out a total of five houses. Under the letter ‘M’ crown corks; there will be special differentiated alphanumeric codes. These codes qualify consumers for weekly raffle draws. The five houses will be given out in three weekly raffle draws as follows: 1st Raffle2 houses, 2nd Raffle- 2 houses, 3rd Raffle- 1 house.”

Utomi, others canvass strong financial institution

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ROFESSOR Pat Utomi, a foremost economist and Dean, Lagos Business School, has called for stronger institutional framework to combat the looming uncertainty and risk in the banking sector. Utomi made this call at the annual Business Hallmark Public Policy Forum held recently at the Chartered Institute of Bankers, (CIBN) Lagos. Tagged: “Banking in the age of uncertainties, risks, lessons and Prospects”, the event drew participants from all walks of life. Utomi, who took a retrospective look at the nation’s banking reforms, said although the various reforms in the banking sector are a step in the right direction, “We all must take our time to learn, dialogue, adapt and put in place broad base reform.” He recalled that despite strong economic policies put in place in the western world, banks and other financial institutions failed in the wake of the global recession. “Nobody has the answer to the looming financials breakdown in any part of the world, it is how we manage entry and exits that really that determine how we would serve the general populace”, he said.

By Adeola Ogunlade

While citing the efforts of a renowned economist, Douglas Nom, who did a study on Nigeria banking system, he noted that: “the past reforms in the banking sector have left the banking institutions half their real value”, a development, he stressed, “require urgent attention in the interest of the economy.” In his opening remarks, the Executive Chairman, Jeffa

Consulting, Mr. G. A Ogunleye lauded the recent bank stress-test policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, saying, “it will help in proper management technique in the banking industry.” Ogunleye noted that the recent test by the CBN in United State of America which covers 19 of the largest bank indicated that a few of the bank did not meet the parameter set by the regulatory body. In his presentation, the

Group Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Bisi Onasanyan called for creative financial solution that would help protect the financial system. Onasanyan, who was represented by the Executive Director, Public Sector, South of the First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Urum Eke said “the main lesson from the new age of uncertainty is the need to protect both financial and economic systems from systemic risk.”

•L-R: Group Head, Public Sector Lagos, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Shade Omoniyi; Executive Vice President, Public Sector North, FirstBank, Mr. Dauda Lawal; Minister of Youth & Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi and Executive Director, Retail North, FirstBank, Mr. Bello Maccido at the Grand Patron's Dinner in honour of President Goodluck Jonathan organised by the Nigeria Olympic Committee in Abuja, recently

Lagos to deliver N1.7bn road contract soon

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AGOS State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Kadir Hamzat has said that the construction of the Addo Kekere/ Langbasa/Kajola roads in EtiOsa Local Government Area of the state will soon be completed. The project is estimated to cost about N1.7billion. He disclosed this during the ministry’s project tour in Lagos over the weekend. According to the commissioner, the network of roads when completed is expected to among other things serve as major access to the growing communities, complement the dualization of Ajah-Badore road as well as improve the socio-economic activities within the area. The Commissioner who expressed satisfaction on the level of work already done on the site considering the fact that contractors were mobilized in January this year and the project is already at over 85percent completion. He said: “It was one of the first payments that were made

By Ambrose Nnaji

and you can see they have moved a lot”, the drains are done, so what has happened is that the construction method has changed. Before you could see the contractor doing these drains on the road but now they do it in their yard and just come and install.” “Within the next two-three weeks they will finish the drains and then they can start on the rail road itself”, Hamzat said, adding, “this is done is not just for people to pass but to also move water. The drains are very essential I am happy with the quality of the road.” Meanwhile, the state government has this year alone awarded about 180 road projects spread across Lagos metropolis and its environs, including Epe and Ibeju Lekki, he informed. These contracts, he stressed, were awarded across the 67 local government areas and the local council development areas to discourage rural/urban drift. “We have awarded these across the local

government areas and the LCDAs. We are moving across the state in all areas. So, we will deeply touch all areas. We did infrastructure analysis and we realized what we needed to do. We cannot finish all the projects in one day”, we are taking them one after the other. “The contracts were not awarded at the same time. Some are under 24months while others are under 18months. But efforts are being put in place to ensure that each

project was completed and delivered according to the terms of agreement”, he stressed Expatiating, he said: “There are some bridges which will structurally take about 9months before you start the road, so the awards are not to be completed this year. As far as we are concerned it is to manage the project and deliver on time. So, all of them are following the basic standard and that’s why we are doing what we are doing.”

ICSP debuts in Nigeria

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EOPLE engaged in selling as a profession in Nigeria can now heave a sigh of relief following the establishment of the Institute of Certified Sales Professionals (ICSP). With the official approval of the Federal Ministries of Education and Justice and due registration with CAC, under CAM Act 1990, the Institute has been creatively positioned to promote professionalism among all sales people in the

country as well as uplift their corporate and societal status and recognition. According to the Acting Registrar of the Institute, Tunde Odeyemi, the ICSP is for people (Nigerians and expatriates alike) engaged in all aspects of selling and at all levels. It is also open to those who aspire to pursue selling as a profession as well as anyone who just wants to acquire the ‘unstoppable-spirit’ skills and attitude the Institute professes.

Beyond Talent By Adetayo Okusanya Email: adetayookusanya@hotmail.com

Putting together your dream team

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OW that you have set the right career goals and priorities for 2012, it is time to follow through on your action plans with seamless execution. Hunter S. Thompson said, “He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master”. A successful career is the product of team effort. The road called success is less grueling when you learn from others and surround yourself with people who invest in you. Do you have your Dream Team in place to help you be successful this year? A dream team should comprise of some or all of the following. An Advisory Board An advisory board is a group of people that you go to regularly for advice. You can meet with them on an individual or collective basis, in formal or formal settings. It is important that these individuals support your career aspirations and avail themselves to help you brainstorm ideas, review plans, debate alternatives and make decisions that enhance your career success. The benefit of having an advisory board is that they bring fresh perspectives and provide opportunity for you to expand your network. To have an effective advisory board, select individuals (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) with significant knowledge, know-how and experience in areas that are relevant to your success, and meet with them regularly. Mentors A mentor is someone, usually older than you, who advices, guides, teaches, counsels and supports you based on his vast knowledge and experience. The job of your mentor is to guide your professional development by helping you acquire the right skills, competencies and network. My mentor, CT, and I have a practice of meeting monthly. When we lived in the same city, we met in person but now that we live on different continents, we video call using Skype. CT has helped me set career goals, take advantage of career opportunities, avoid career mistakes, navigate corporate politics, recover from setbacks and most importantly believe in myself. You will experience a great mentoring relationship when your mentor is fully committed to your success and you are also committed to the learning process. Sponsors A sponsor is what I call, a mentor on steroids. A sponsor is not only willing to facilitate your development, but acts as an advocate. She is willing to use her political capital to secure high visibility and high level assignments for you. While your mentor is mainly concerned about closing your knowledge, skills and experience gaps, the primary role of your sponsor is to advance your career and help you get ahead. Your relationship with your sponsor is strategic. By endorsing and recommending you for a high level assignment, your sponsor is putting her name, reputation and credibility behind you. Your actions, decisions and results can, therefore, enhance or damage the political capital of your sponsor. A sponsor can be a senior member of your organization, industry or community. Accountability Partner The primary role of your accountability partner is to help you keep your commitments and stay on track to achieving your goals. This individual is your personal drill sergeant, regularly measuring your progress against set milestones, refusing to accept excuses for non-performance, helping you up when you “fall off the wagon”, challenging you when you are at risk of getting stuck, minimizing your failures and celebrating your successes. He keeps you focused and grounded by requiring you to account for your actions, decisions and use of resources. The value of your accountability partner lies in his ability to hold you responsible for being the CEO of your own destiny and living your life by design. My mentor, CT, is also a life coach and a great example of an accountability partner. Critics Your critic is someone who judges, criticizes or evaluates what you do. Whether with constructive or destructive intent, your critic typically puts your actions and results under a microscope to reveal your strengths and flaws. While you may not actively pursue a relationship with a critic, he is an important part of your professional development and pursuit of excellent standards. He keeps you on your toes and motivates you to hone and master your craft. Your critic provides the fire that refines your gold or the irritation that creates your precious pearl. He will typically emerge as you grow professionally and achieve success in your career. Your responsibility is to gain insights and identify opportunities that lie within his criticism. Fun Fact: The origin of April Fool’s Day is a mystery. The most popular conjecture is that it originated in France when the Gregorian calendar which began on January 1 replaced the Julian calendar which began on March 25, with a New Year Celebration that started on April 1. Folks, who through ignorance or refusal to conform, continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1 became the object of jokes and pranks.

• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge


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WORLD NEWS THE NATION ON SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

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HAT challenges are Canadians facing in Nigeria? The first most interesting opportunity is the connection to the economy of the country. Canadian business is increasingly interested in finding the opportunities in Nigeria. They recognize that you are rapidly growing. We have lot of expertise internationally that could be of interest to Nigerians and Nigeria business. But of course, it is a country that we are still finding our way, we need to find partners, and understand them better. The challenge is to allow our people on the business side to make progress in this economy. We have expertise in things like aeronautics, infrastructure, mining, in IT. We share concern with your government about security situation which has worsened in the last few months with Boko Haram. I hope the government can soon bring this dispute to an end. The security is our greatest challenge and one of the difficulties we have in expanding our relationship to much greater depth and breadth is the reputation which still lingers. So there is the challenge of modernizing the image of Nigeria for Canadians and your High Commission in Canada as well as the Canadian High Commission here in Nigeria are both working hard to make sure that we portray Nigeria in good light. So basically those are the challenges we are facing. Global terrorism has been on the rise, what specific step is your country taking to assist in tackling the issue of Boko Haram in Nigeria? First of all we share the concerns of your governments, we condemn all acts of terrorism and our minister of foreign affairs has condemned the brutal terrorist acts of Boko Haram in recent months. Your security is fundamentally the responsibility of Nigeria’s government and we support the steps that the government would want to take. We understand from your government (that) a holistic approach is what is needed and not just police or military deployment. So Canada has been actively supporting development in Nigeria for many years including in health which is our main focus at the moment and also in education which I hope we can do more in the near future. But we should understand with the people and the government of Nigeria in countering threat to your development and to human rights of people in Nigeria. Nigerians still complain about the difficulty in getting visas to your country, why is this so? Canada is not different from any other country when it comes to visas. We apply the standard of the world just like Nigeria applies to everyone seeking visa to come to Nigeria. Many people want to go to Canada and we certainly encourage that. We want to have broader people to people exchange because those connections and ties between people in general and in Nigeria where the foundation of the relationship, for now and in the future, they are growing and we are very pleased with that. In

While the Nigerian government has issued warnings to reciprocate any maltreatment of Nigerians abroad, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter in this interview with Augustine Ehikoya said among other issues that the warning does not apply to Nigerians in Canada. Excerpts: particular, we see more and more students go to Canada and also business. So we do everything we can to make sure that such people are encouraged. We have opened in the last three months a visa application centre in Lagos and that is already facilitating access to visas because that centre allowed the people to get the paperwork done fast. We had a lot of problem when the people don’t complete the forms properly and that could possibly be the cause of delay in getting visas to Canada, UK, Russia and anywhere else. Paperwork has to be done and people have to fill up their documents online and they have to get it signed. We encourage people to go through the visa application centre so that some of the problems can now be taken care of more speedily. We are facing a growing demand of which we ask people to be a bit patient. If they have to travel to Canada, they should give us a few weeks because it does take some time and there is a long queue and as I said, we are doing what we can do to increase our capacity. I think there is more success in attracting more and more Nigerians who want to travel to Canada. So Nigerians are victims of that success because the queue is getting longer. So, it will be a priority for me to see how we can increase our capacity. Because we recognize in a country like this with such a high population, a growing economy, people want to travel, they want to do business abroad, the children are going to Canada for school and we have to take all that into consideration and plan for the future. Specifically what have you done to ensure that

We can never maltreat Nigerians in Canada –Canadian High Commissioner

Nigerians don’t have to queue under the sun, rain or under trees while processing their visas? I think I already mentioned the visa application centre and that’s the way we have responded to avoid the problem of long line up and I don’t think we have too many people lining up in any case because we have provided for that. People can submit their documents, they don’t have to line up outside and that is why we encourage people to use the visa application centre because the facility makes it easier for the people and they don’t have to start lining up in queues outside the office. Some Nigerians living in your country are believed to be perceived as second class citizen, why is this so? I will never agree with that. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have never met any Nigerian

“You have 250 ethnic groups in your country but we have 350 ethnic groups in just Toronto alone, so there is no country in the world where Nigerians, outside their own countries, feel more at home than in Canada”

living in or visiting Canada who has got such treatment. Canada is one of the most open and diverse country in the world. You have 250 ethnic groups in your country but we have 350 ethnic groups in just Toronto alone, so there is no country in the world where Nigerians, outside their own countries, feel more at home than in Canada. So I don’t know who has made that claim but I have heard Nigerians say about what they like about Canada is that you can relax, feel welcome. And we have students come for a long time like 1, 3 or 5 years. They don’t only come to Canada because of the quality and affordable cost of education but also because of the atmosphere which is unique to Canada. We have a different style from other countries which is welcoming to people from all over the world including Nigeria. Nigeria has issued warning to other countries that it will not take it easy with any country that maltreats her citizens as it will reciprocate such action. Well, I don’t think that applies in Canadian case. We have a very good relationship with the government of Nigeria. We have had a lot of bilateral visits. And we don’t have any kind of bilateral

irritants. The only thing is to look at how to expand the relationship between Nigeria and Canada as well as unexploited potential. We have had co-operation with Nigeria to bring stability and democracy to countries like Sudan. We are very pleased at the position of President Jonathan and Nigeria on Cote d’Ivoire last year in installing democracy there and we will be very interested to see how democracy will be quickly restored in Mali. And I am sure that President Jonathan and Nigeria through ECOWAS would be pushing hard to get democracy back in Mali. Apart from the scholarships to Nigerian students to study in Canada, what other things has Canada done to touch the lives of Nigerians? First of all, we don’t give scholarships; individual institutions in Canada give scholarships to Nigerians who apply. There is no government programme giving scholarship per se. We have history in Nigeria in the last 50 years of supporting education. We have organization called ‘cuso’ and at one point, we send over 200 teachers a year to teach in the villages, primary and secondary schools. We have a very large program today to support mother and child

healthcare. In fact, our aid in that area has grown significantly in last couple of years in line with our commitment to G8, so that you can be rid of healthcare problems. And we are working closely with the ministry of health and some states. So, I think we can expand in the near future into vocational training which is extremely important. We have supported human rights in this country and we will continue to do so and as you know, we are the only country that closed our High Commission in the 1990s during Abacha’s dictatorship in protest to the abuses of that regime and we re-opened it in 1999 when democracy was restored. We supported democracy most recently during elections of April 2011 and just yesterday I took part in a conference with Prof. Attahiru Jega, the Chair of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), sponsored with some of his counterparts in 16 other African countries. We supported INEC in that conference and we are very pleased to see democracy deepened in this country in terms of individual human rights. We will continue to look at the areas where we can provide support in ways that Nigerians would like to see support from.


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World News

Syria says revolt over

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YRIA says the yearlong revolt to topple President Bashar alAssad is now over, but it will keep its forces in cities to “maintain security” until it is safe to withdraw in keeping with a U.N.-backed peace deal. The agreement proposed by United Nations-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan says the Syrian authorities must be first to withdraw troops and stop violence immediately. However, the army pummeled opposition strongholds of Khalidiya district of Homs city yesterday. “Mortars are falling every minute and the sounds of explosions are shaking the neighborhood,” an activist report said. Despite the violence, Damascus says it has the upper hand. “The battle to topple the state is over,” Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad alMakdissi told Syria TV late on Friday. Assad has endorsed Annan’s six-point peace plan, which has the U.N. Security Council’s unanimous backing, but Western leaders say the 46-year-old Syrian leader has broken similar promises before and must be judged by actions not words. Assad’s opponents have not yet formally accepted the plan. They were due to meet the foreign ministers of allied Western powers, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, today at a “Friends of Syria” conference in Turkey, which provides a safe haven for Syrian rebels. More than 9,000 people have been killed by Assad’s forces during the revolt, according to the United Nations, while Damascus says it has lost about 3,000 security force members.

Queen Elizabeth is great-grandmother again

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UEEN Elizabeth II has become a greatgrandmother for the second time, Buckingham Palace announced Friday. Isla Elizabeth Phillips was born Thursday at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Gloucester, southwest England, weighing seven pounds and four ounces (3.29 kilogrammes). She is the second child of Peter Phillips, 34, and his 33year-old Canadian-born wife Autumn, following the birth of Savannah Phillips in December 2010. Phillips is Queen Elizabeth’s oldest grandchild and the son of her only daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal. Anne, 61, decided that her children would not bear royal titles and her son keeps a low profile, carrying out no royal duties. The new baby is 13th in line to the throne. Queen Elizabeth, 85, is celebrating her diamond jubilee this year, marking her 60 years as a monarch. Buckingham Palace would not confirm if the middle name had specifically been chosen as a tribute.

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EBELS in pick-up trucks loaded with heavy arms attacked the northern Mali town of Gao yesterday, capitalizing on the chaos caused by last week’s military coup to make further gains. The attack came a day after the rebels - a loose alliance of separatist nomad Tuaregs and local Islamists - seized the town of Kidal which, along with Gao and the historic trading city of Timbuktu, is one of the three main towns of Mali’s north. But Gao, a town of 90,000 people, has the largest garrison in the north, and army resistance was stronger than in Kidal. Government forces held

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Mali rebels launch assault on northern town of Gao

onto the town centre and in the afternoon rebel units began to pull back, their base in a captured fire station on Gao’s outskirts coming under attack from army helicopters and heavy weapons. By late afternoon, fighting died down and residents started venturing back out on to the streets. The unrest in Mali, Africa’s third largest gold-producer, has been fuelled by weapons brought out of Libya during last

year’s conflict, and risks creating a vast new lawless zone in the Saharan desert that Islamists and criminals could exploit. Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, whose decadelong rule was associated with stability but also rising frustration with a political elite accused of turning a blind eye to widespread corruption, has said he is safe in an undisclosed location in Mali.Coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, who

has won significant street support for his putsch, pleaded on Friday for outside help to preserve the territorial integrity of the former French colony, which is a major cotton as well as gold producer. Neighbouring countries have not answered his plea, however, and have given him until Monday to start handing back power to civilians or see the borders of his landlocked country sealed.

Bangladeshi residents queue to collect water in Dhaka yesterday. A drinking water shortage has affected many residents of the Bangladeshi capital, leaving many people having to walk considerable distances in search of water. AFP PHOTO

Stricken cruise ship repaired, heads to Malaysia

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cruise ship with 1,000 people on board that was disabled by a fire and was drifting in southern Philippine waters has been repaired and is headed toward Malaysia, the Philippine coast guard said yesterday. The Azamara Quest informed the coast guard late yesterday that its power and propulsion had been restored and it was moving slowly toward Sandakan, its next destination after it left Manila Thursday, spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Algier Ricafrente said. A coast guard vessel sent to assist the cruise liner reported that it had sighted the ship from about 9 kilometers (5 nautical miles) away and was approaching it. The ship’s captain earlier said by email to the coast guard that it needed no assistance and that everything was “under control.” Ricafrente said that the coast guard will provide assistance to the vessel “while it is inside our area of

•The Azamara Quest

responsibility.” A fire broke out in the ship Friday night. The flames engulfed one of the ship’s engine rooms but were quickly extinguished, Azamara Club Cruises said in a statement. Five crew suffered smoke inhalation, including one who was seriously injured and needed hospital care. The stricken ship was drifting yesterday in the Sulu Sea about 130 kilometers (70 nautical miles) south of the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef, Ricafrente said. The area lies between the Philippines and the island of Borneo, which is divided between Malaysia and Indonesia. The vessel left Hong Kong on Monday for what was supposed to be a 17-day Southeast Asian cruise. The ship made port call in Manila and left for Sandakan, Malaysia, Thursday and was scheduled to make several stops in Indonesia, before arriving in Singapore on April 12.

Triple bomb attack kills 10 in Thailand

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HREE bomb attacks minutes apart killed 10 people and wounded more than 100 yesterday in the main town in Thailand’s insurgency-hit far south. The blasts hit the centre of Yala town around midday as families were out shopping, in the most deadly attack in five years in the Muslim-majority south of mainly Buddhist Thailand. Several shop houses near the blast sites were set on fire and many parked cars and motorcycles were damaged by the powerful explosions. “There were three bombs that exploded, the first is a car bomb and the second and third bombs were hidden in motorcycles,” said Colonel Pramote Promin, spokesman for the southern army region. Bomb squad officers were seen inspecting the mangled car wreckage at the site of the car bomb as firefighters doused blazes nearby. Rescue workers helped bloodied victims and searched for other wounded people as smoke filled the street. Ten people were in critical condition with severe burns, the public health ministry said. A Yala city policeman added: “The bombs went off about 10 minutes apart.”


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EBERE WABARA

WORDSWORTH 08055001948

ewabara@yahoo.com

‘Arraigned in court’? No!

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ATIONAL MIRROR Front Page of March 29 did not spell-check one of its sub-headlines: “Continous importation of fuel unacceptable— Tambuwal” The fact: continuous. THISDAY EDITORIAL of March 28 leads the inglorious way this week: “Beyond making some contractors happy, there is nothing to be gained by adding a camouflage uniform to the Police which need to be repositioned, revamped and restructured for effective and efficient discharge of its (their) responsibilities.” “Masquerades, students’ clash: 14 arraigned in court” (Vanguard, March 29) Get it right: masqueraders (who wear special costumes and masks over their faces to hide their identities as they masquerade). Got the distinction? ‘Arraigned in court’? I would have reprimanded whoever cast this headline, but one of the readers of this column has advised me not to be doing that. Where else would they have been arraigned, gentlemen of the press? Let us welcome national accord newspaper editorial to this column for the first time. Its March 27 edition goofed: “The Chairman of the Committee…said at an interactive session with stakeholders that studies have (had) shown that Nigeria has (had) about 10 million vehicles….” That is the unique nature of reported speech! Vanguard of March 27 circulated two headline blunders: “PDP accuses ACN of plan to frame-up (frame up) Oni, Oyinlola” “Nigeria losses (loses) over $20b annually (yearly—preferably—for headline purposes) in power, other sectors” The phrasal bug also bit BUSINESSDAY of March 27: “Hot weather: LASG warns against long stay under the sun” City File: stay in the sun. “Benue police arrest 63 over (for) communal clash” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, March 26) “…injustice that each succeeding government had meted out on (to) the people of Ogoniland.” “The US is gender sensitive, it may just

concede for (to) Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to be the next World Bank President.” (Vanguard, March 26) “New capital market probe panel says no witch-hunting” (Source: as above) No witchhunt. THE NATION of March 26 offered its readers just a blunder: “The issues that gave rise to the Niger Delta uprising which culminated into (in) a fullscale….” From The Guardian of March 26 come the next two slips: “…the federal authorities are seeking partnership with them in it’s (its) transformation agenda….” “Oyo flags-off (flags off) bridge, road projects” This week’s headline review continues with last Sunday’s edition of this medium: “Jonathan, PDP governors in hide and seek game over party chair” Get it right: just hide-and-seek. (‘Game’ is otiose here— and note the hyphenation). Vanguard Comment of March 23 disseminated three blunders: “The Nigeria Police is (sic) about the only one of our security agencies that....” A rewrite: The Nigeria Police Force/ Service is about the only one of our security agencies that.... “The hope is that at the end of his tenure, he will leave (would have left) behind a highly motivated police force, one we can (could) all be proud of.” Because of the element of contextual probability, it is wrong to use the declarative tense. “They are not maintained and the age-old tradition of keeping military and law enforcement environments spic and span is no longer adhered to.” Spell-check: spick and span. Still on Vanguard: “If we are forced, we may demand for total resource control....” I unequivocally demand the removal of ‘for’ from the extract. “We have impacted immensely in (on) the lives of....” “A peep into the credentials...indicate (indicates) that the delegates have a touch (tough) task at hand.” “Late (The late) Comptroller....” “Rest in the bossom

(bosom) of the Lord our dear friend” “...we had one of the most successful NEC meeting (meetings) (DAILY INDEPENDENT, March 22) “My grouse with (about) Ajayi Crowther University” (THE NATION Headline, March 22) THE NATION of March 23 circulated copious gaffes: “Many a times....” Why not simply ‘many times’—and if you must use the extract— many a time.... “I developed special interest for (in) the physically-challenged people and orphans....” “Cabotage review: Stakeholder advocates for maritime task force” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Maritime, March 23) I advocate the elimination of ‘for’ in the interest of all lexical stakeholders. From DAILY INDEPENDENT Editorial of March 23 comes the next school-boy howler: “Maybe as we have often pointed out is a relic of the past.” My dear reader, just vide the meaning of ‘relic’ and, consequently, put a full stop after the word. The latest entrant to this column, national accord, March 23 edition, beginning from its Front Page, showed streaks of amateurism on three occasions: “Police nabs (nab) 41 suspected hoodlums in Suleja” “The Namadi Sambo’s anger on (at) the power project....” “In the last couple of years, there has been a maddening rush for Abuja vehicle plate numbers by indigenes of Benue State....” Special report: number-plates The next two infelicities are from National Mirror of March 22: “Gunmen kill five vigilante members in Anambra” Either five vigilance members or five vigilantes. “Experts say the adulteration of transport fuel is a thriving business nationwide; (what is the semi colon doing here?) and may result to (in) economic losses....” Wrong: matriach; right: matriarch (Source: as above) “The last but not the least is about corruption.” Last but not least…. From my inbox Good job on Wordsworth. I have been crying about the death of good English in our media, both print and electronic. They are supposed to be the custodians of good grammar, but it is no longer the case. Adolphus A. (Port Harcourt/08033410380)

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HY is there so much noise over the minimum wage in the state? This is how to put the record straight. As far as law is concerned, we complied with the minimum wage requirement. Well, before we came on board in April 2011, the minimum wage was N9,400 and as at today, according to the minimum wage table we presented to the labour which they rejected, the take home pay of the least worker-grade level 01 step 1 in the state is N19,130. Then, if you now calculate the financial implication of this table, it represents 92 percent of the total income which also represents 400 percent of the total Internally Generated Revenue(IGR). If put in another way, it means that the IGR can only cover 26 percent of the wage bill that we have in the state today. That was why we came openly to them that, and said look, because we are all integral part of the state, this is the situation we have. That was why his Excellency, Governor Abiola Ajimobi presented it to them to remove any ambiguity. After the payment of the workers’ salary, we will have only 8 percent remaining for other things then the overhead cost, if I put it on paper, is 11 percent. If you add 92 to 11, you will have 103 percent which means after running the government and you pay the salary, you will have deficit of roughly N135million left that you have to borrow every month and that means not doing anything as far as development is concerned and remember, we are not here to represent a section of the populace. We are here because we were voted for by the entire people of the state. The argument of these workers, at least, the senior officers, is that this wage table has reduced their total emolument that you give with the right hand and collect with the left. That can never be true because we presented it for all of them to see. Remember I said when we came in, the minimum wage was N9,400 when the total wage bill was N2.9billion. As at today, the total wage bill is N4.1billion, and if you calculate the workers salary increase individually, it means workers salary was increased from 38 percent to 108 percent. For better understanding, a level 16 grade 01 worker had his salary increased by 108 percent as at today. That is less than one year we came on board. If you juxtapose that with the income which just been increased by .2 percent less than N8 million and if they now say the table we have is less than the amount they were earning before, they are not being truthful and it is so sad that they are taking that position. What is the point of departure then? What is their grouse? What exactly do they want the government to do?

OYO WORKERS STRIKE

'Govt is stretched to limit' The crisis over acceptable minimum wage between the Oyo State Government and its workers reached a crescendo on Tuesday when the latter embarked on an indefinite strike as a follow-up to its rejection of the N19, 130 minimum wage. The State Commissioner for Finance, Zaccheus Adelabu, in a chat with reporters, argued that the government has gone beyond the limits to make workers happy. Bisi Oladele was there.

•Adelabu

That is exactly what we want the public to ask them. This is why we are coming out to let the people know the fact and then we have been open to them. I have said it times without number that all these figures are in hard copy. They are public information that anybody can verify. And that is why I’m surprised as a person that instead of these people to see reason, they still remain adamant. As at today, we use 92 percent of our total income to pay their salary. If I add all other related overhead to it, it will give us 103 percent as we have it today. This is not sustainable. It is not desirable and I don’t know how we are going to fulfill our promises to other sections in the state. If less than 38 percent of the population is taking 92 percent of total income, we have only 8 percent left for other things and zero percent for capital development and how do we now carry out our transformation agenda? This is the question. We appreciate them and we know how important they are when we talk of development. That is why we have to start from them. It is not because we are fools that we are committing much to them. It is disappointing knowing they are still churning out wrong figures without any proof to back it up. They just say this is how much they think we are generating and this is how much they would take. And they start comparing the neighbouring states. Then, I say, if you want to compare, what is the total population and the population of workers in the states you are

comparing us with, what is the total wage bill of Oyo State? Remember, we were not voted for by a section but by all the people and we have to take care of others. That is why we are appealing and telling them that they need to be reasonable with us and come back to work so that we can continue the developmental work that Governor Ajimobi promised the state. Looking at the no-going back posture of workers, could it be said that some political enemies are at work instigating them against the government? Honestly, I don’t want to think like that. There is nothing political in what is as clear as this. I don’t want to believe that there is a party that wants to destabilize the state. I don’t want to dwell too much on that. This is democracy and in the next three years, another election will come up. Why would anybody want people to be suffering from now till then. I don’t want to believe that there is any political undertone. What I see is that these labour leaders or workers refuse to open their minds as the government has done. We have shown you the figure that we have 92 percent of the total income going for the salary and the remaining amount left and someone is till saying they are satisfied, so what else do they want us to do. So, I don’t want to think that some politicians are the ones behind them because it may be an embarrassment to them. I want to believe that all political parties should be for the welfare of the people. If any political party is now behind people staying at home preventing •Continued from page 67


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

News

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Aggrieved Ondo PDP chieftain resigns O

NE of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State Mr. Michael

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Adeyeye has dumped the party. In a statement issued in Akure at the weekend, Adeyeye said

he is leaving the party “where loyalty is never compensated and where mediocrity is celebrated over excellence.” He said, ”The PDP in Ondo

SPDC trains police, FRSC

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HELL Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) last week trained officers and men of the Nigerian Police, Federal Road Safety Commission, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp on road safety risk management SPDC General Manager, Planning and Performance, Beatrice Spaine said road safety is one of the company’s

By Jude Isiguzo

main focus areas. According to her, ‘’We know all too well the risks and the importance of road safety management in our operations. We are also externally focused because we do not operate in isolation. ‘’That is why we are supporting the Federal, states and local governments in their efforts to fight this menace”. Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of FRSC, Osita Chidoka explained that as a

responsible lead agency in charge of road safety management and road traffic administration, FRSC will continue to provide world-class access to the motoring public especially the indigent. The traffic officer of the Lagos State Police Traffic Department Mrs. Margret Ekpe, a Chief Superintendent, described the workshop as a step in the right direction. She encouraged other corporate organisations to emulate SPDC.

Bayelsa gets 12 new ministries

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OVERNOR of Bayelsa State Seriake Dickson has created 12 new ministries. This brings the number of ministries in the state to 28. The new ministries are Tourism, Science and Technology, Lands and Survey, Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, State Capital Development, Trade, Industry and Investment, Information and Orientation, •Continued on page 65

them from what they should do when especially the facts are clear, it may sound embarrassing. The argument of some workers is that Governor Ajimobi promised them at least N22,000 minimum wage during his campaign knowing that they were earning the lowest salary in the South West. That was not the promise. Actually, the N22,000 might have been promised at one forum or the other. I don’t have any problem with that. Remember, he was given a four-year mandate. Less than one year, he has increased the salary from N9,400 to N19,000 and we have four years at least as our plan to spend. Then, because of the IGR, we promised we would increase. That is why we have to start like this. There is an adage that says an angry dog cannot take care of its owner. Why we have gone that far in using 92 percent to pay their salary is because we know if we want to increase the IGR, we have to take care of the workers first. Remember, this is the first administration that paid the 13th month salary, it had never happened in the state before. We don’t delay in salary payment since we came on board. These are the promises we made and have done. Are we closer to N22,000 or far from N9,400? We have a lot of plans to increase the economic activities of the state. So, the labour should reason with us so that the greater percentage of the people can benefit from the dividends of democracy. What is your message to the workers and the people of the state? Definitely, as you can see

From: Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

Youths, Sports and Local and Community Development. The move, it was gathered, is aimed at creating a new civil service. Dickson also directed Permanent secretaries and Heads of extra ministerial departments to embark on staff verification to tackle ghost workers. The Governor stated that

with the re-organisation, the appointment of capable commissioners will follow. He appealed to civil servants to cooperate with the new administration to achieve rapid transformation on the state. Head of Service ,Mrs. Gloria Izonfo assured of the dedication of the Permanent Secretaries to reduce the wage bill and build a new culture in the service.

State has lost focus and vision. It has become a party that is only a toothless bulldog on the electoral field. ‘’It has become a party that celebrates mediocrity over excellence and a party of man-know-man. And any party where an elite clique sits and decides the party’s future can never win election.” Adeyeye, who had a distinguished career as Chairman of the Sports Council and later Chairman of Ondo State Foot-

ball Development Agency, described the recent State Congress of the PDP as a charade that produced a greenhorn as leader. He said the congress lacked fairness and credibility. “I am leaving the PDP because I can no longer stay in a party that is divided against itself ; a party where a few individuals determine the fate of everyone else without recourse to or consultation with them I am dumping the PDP since

those of us who are willing to sacrificially build and develop the party are not being allowed. “ PDP in Ondo State has become a party where anyone not willing to kow-tow on the altar of some few powerful individuals would be rendered useless.” He particularly described the leader of the party in the state, former Governor Olusegun Agagu and other party chiefs as self-serving and incapable of leading the party to winning the forthcoming gubernatorial election.

Robbers snatch lawmaker’s car

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SKY blue Toyota Camry LE with registration number PE 637 KJA belonging to a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly Olarenwaju Oshun has been snatched at gun-point. The robbers also shot the lawmaker’s mechanic who was driving the car during the attack. The mechanic is lying in critical condition at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi. Oshun, who con-

By Oziegbe Okoeki

firmed the incident, said ‘’ “My mechanic was going out with the car. ‘’He had some repairs to do on it but the robbers attacked him and tried to collect the car from him. When he resisted and attempted to run away, he was shot on the thigh’’. The car has not been recovered though the incident has been reported at the Sango Police Station close to where the attack took place.” Asked if the robbers

could have specifically targeted the car because it belonged to a lawmaker, Oshun said he would not know. He, however, added it bore two stickers, one which is officially the sticker that grants access to lawmakers into the Assembly and the other which identifies the car as belonging to a lawmaker. “What I don’t know is if that was what attracted them or if it was a chance robbery,” he added.

Oyo workers strike: 'Govt is stretched to limit' everything is under control and there is no breakdown of law and order. My only plea to them is that they should see reason. We cannot go beyond what we have today and if you listened to the governor on Monday when he met them, he said we are here so that we can reason together and that the only option for us is to increase the IGR. This was the plea of the governor to them. Unfortunately, the following day, they said they were on strike. If they have alternative figures apart from the one we have, let them come up with it and we would negotiate. They should be able to tell us the source of our own figure. From the part of government, we have done what is clear even though we know it is challenging to have given them 92 percent of the total income. God forbid, if nothing comes from the federation account, we can only pay one month salary out of four. Should we look forward to an upward review if the IGR improves considerably? That is the point. There cannot be a closed door on negotiation between the employee and his employer. The only thing is that let this premise on available fact remain. If during their cooperation with us, the IGR increases considerably to a certain extent, why not? What will government do now? We are waiting for them to present their proposal on what they think the government can do. Remember, we are all stakeholders. We are not superior to them and they are not superior to us.

•Ajimobi

Would government trim down the population of workers to meet their demands? No, it is not in our contemplation to fire them. Remember, we have a social contract with the people. If we sack them, are their lives going to be better off? No. we are not contemplating sacking them. If this is what our intentions are, we would not go openly to them asking them on how to move the state forward. If you find out that your wage bill is too high, if we want to go the simple way, we cut down the number and we have decided not to do that. That is why we call them for inter-

action. They provided the figure and all the civil servants relate together. Let them ask themselves. Some hours ago, a section of the Nigeria Civil Service Union pulled out of the strike. Is it that the government has broken their rank? No, there is no way we can do that. I thank God that some people are beginning to see the reason because they know it doesn’t take time for truth to catch up with lies. The civil servants are close to us, they have seen the reason. You know part of our hallmark is accountability and transparency. They have seen our sincerity. Those are the people

who are close to us. The only option is to increase the IGR and move the state forward. That is the only option we have. This government has committed 92 percent to the payment of the workers’ salary, how do you intend to use the remaining 8 percent to fulfill your electoral promise? What the government is doing is that it has set the machinery in motion to raise the IGR. Just because the government wants to have a cordial relationship with the labour, that’s it committed that much to workers believing that when we work harder on IGR, we are going to get enough to spend on capital project and the capital projects embarked upon are all over the place. The government is rehabilitating a total of 66 roads through contract and another 50 roads through direct labour at the value of N11billion. The government is constructing the flyover at Mokola at N2.9billion. We are constructing 8 bridges across the state; we are renovating 65 secondary schools and in another two weeks, government is giving out contract for the rehabilitation of over 240 blocks of classroom; we are providing equipment for Home Economics and science laboratories; we are paying the WAEC fees of secondary school students. And we are setting up the Oyo State University and all these cost money. The government had done its project and we are sure that the IGR would be able to cope with these demands. But, government be-

lieves the labour is the machinery through which it can deliver its promises and that is it had committed so much to ensure that it maintains cordial relationship with the labour. There is mistrust over the minimum wage table presented by the government. Yes, the question we are raising is that if it is true that the government is generating N4.6billion every month and we are committing N4.1billion to paying salary leaving only N500million. There is no reasonable person that would say the government should go beyond that. Committing 92 percent to salary itself has been condemned by many wellmeaning indigenes of the state. The only basis on which anyone can question the table is to question the authenticity of that figure and the governor addressed that when he met labour. He said set up a committee of four that will be meeting the Accountant General of the state every month each time he comes back with the federal allocated fund you know what is there and then you can ascertain whether the government is saying the truth or not. And the fact that the figure is an open thing. You can go to the website of the state and download the figure there. Nobody can falsify it. If labour can actually try to ascertain the authenticity of these figures, I think they are not going to run into the crisis they are in. All you need is to verify what is coming to the state every month and if the government is saying it is N4.6b, there is no necessity for this crisis.


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WORSHIP THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

NEWS

‘How to heal wounds in Nigeria’ By Sunday Oguntola

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ENERAL Overseer of Elshaddai Covenant Ministries Lagos, Dr James Iruobe, has canvassed for dialogue and true reconciliation to assuage frayed nerves in the na-

tion. Iruobe noted the plethora of grievances and disenchantment across Nigeria, saying Nigerians must learn to talk over such issues at a roundtable. He spoke with reporters ahead of the annual leadership conference of the church, which holds form April 6th-8th. The theme of the conference expected to attract thousands across the nation is connecting for greatness. The lecturer-turned-preacher said, ‘’most of the nation’s challenges are relationship-based. ‘’We have a democracy that is not working because different sections get easily aggrieved. Nobody is interested in hearing them out and that is why Nigeria is boiling.’’ He identified the Boko Haram insurgency as a relationship-based challenge that dialogue can solve. ‘’Many have said we should not dialogue with Boko Haram but they are also Nigerians. They need to be heard and understood so that we can address the security concern at hand,’’ he argued. Iruobe reaffirmed, ‘’the reason Nigeria is boiling is because we cannot relate well with ourselves. We should find out why Boko Haram is killing people and fighting Nigerians.’’ He declared that Nigerians must learn how to relate for effectiveness and national development. This, he said, will be the focal point at the conference. ‘’We are conscious that nobody can go far without good people. So, we want to learn how to identify and attract good people to our side,’’ he stated.

Trust in God, cleric urges colleagues By Oziegbe Okoeki

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VERSEER of Christ Apostolic Church, Oke –Iselogo Multiplication Centre, Ibadan, Prophet Emmanuel Ajayi, has counselled fellow gospel ministers to put their faith in God. He said any man of God that trusts in men, demons and other gods will be put to shame. Ajayi spoke recently during a thanksgiving service held in the church. According to him, it will be wrong for a minister of God to look elsewhere for help apart from the true God. ‘’As men of God, we should put our help in the name of the Lord. Joshua received help from the Lord at Jericho. “We must be prayerful; it is only in the name of our Lord that we have help”. The cleric added that those who put their trust in God are daily loaded with miracles and blessings. Ajayi added, “With God on your side, no obstacle can face you. God’s divine protection is your portion in this earth and world beyond. “I want them to know that God who called them to the vine-yard will not leave them alone. He is ready to provide for all their needs. They should not crave for worldly things. If they face the work of God wholeheartedly, God will give them what they need.”

Lead with fear of God, cleric charges

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OLITICAL leaders have been charged to rule with absolute fear of God and implement policies that will steer the nation to development and greatness. Archbishop of Lagos Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr Sunday Ajayi, made the appeal recently at the installation and presentation of a seasoned luminary and astute scholar, Sir Bonajo Badejo(SAN) KJW as Lagos Arch Diocesan Lay President. Ajayi said leaders must be dogged in arresting corruption and other vices that have grounded the nation. He urged Nigerians to shun violence and unite for greatness. According to him: “Nigerians must unite in their resolve against the unimagined threat to peace and security of the society and the nation. ‘’We should also strive to be our brothers keepers, gainfully, constructively, and positively, for God to heartily smile on us at all times.” He also congratulated Badejo on his continued giant strides to assist the church, the society and the nation. He charged other wealthy and privileged Nigerians to emulate such exemplary, astute determination of Badejo to rewrite history. Badejo expressed profound gratitude to God and the church for the honour. He enjoined all to partner with him to make their indelible marks.

INTERVIEW

‘Why ministers must be trained’ Rev Dr Emiola Nihinola is Rector of Baptist Theological College Lagos. He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on the H imperatives of theological training. Excerpts:

OW much difference does theological education make in ministerial works? I will say it makes all the difference. It is one thing for you to be called and another to be sufficiently trained on how to carry out the task. Theological education is all about preparing you, equipping you, your heart and hands for the works of the ministry. Most of the prominent preachers in this country never attended theological schools while many who attended are not as popular as they are… … I wonder who these prominent preachers you are talking about are really. Yes, it is possible that they did not go through very rigorous training, the kind that some of us have gone through. But the truth of the matter is that somehow along the way, I hope somebody had sat them down to take them through the rudiments of ministry. The Bible and God do not recognise those who have not been trained and prepared for ministry. When God calls somebody into the ministry, He takes time to prepare that person. The training process is the time of preparation. Yes, some have not gone through the formal, rigorous training but believe me you must be trained one way or the other. How come theological schools have become very expensive these days? Theological institutions do not operate in a vacuum; they operate in an economic context. If you are going to offer quality education, then it is going to cost something but I tell you that it is not as expensive as what obtains in many secular schools. We still recognise the fact that we are training gospel ministers for the works of the ministry and try to keep costs as low as possible. But believe me, if it is going to be quality education, it will cost something. What is unique with Baptist Theological College? It is an evangelical institution with a lot of emphasis on the Bible. The Bible is all that we do here and God-centred. We centre our curriculum on God and make it applicable to everyday living. Has the Baptist Conven-

• Nihinola

tion started recognising evangelists? Historically, the core of our training has been on pastoral works. But we have come to realise that within the context, some may operate as religious educationist, missionaries and evangelists. It only appears that our emphasis is on pastoral work but we recognise that some people are going to use the knowledge and experience they gain here on evangelical works. If I am called and refused to be trained, what risks do I stand? Then you are on your own. You would have restricted how far you can go. The pattern we see in the Bible is that people that were called by God underwent training. If you are called and refuse to submit to training, then how do you know when you go wrong? But what theological institution did Jesus attend? That is interesting. But you know Jesus grew up as a Jewish boy. To become a rabbi is a rigorous training. He was part of the rabbinic training. That is why when He raised apostles, he subjected them to

training. He was teaching them and showing them how to do things. In Jesus’ himself, we have a pattern for ministerial training. How come most pastors who go through theological institutions end up not interested in planting churches but concentrate on looking for big assemblies to lead? Every system has its own strengths and weaknesses. Historically, most pastors who attended colleges like this end up waiting to be called to lead church instead of starting one. But in the past 10-15 years, there had been a lot of emphasis on church-planting. As an institution, we have demonstrated that. Each time, we teach a course on church planting, we have always led students to plant one. This college has planted over nine Baptist churches… …In how many years? Well, it does not matter. But as an institution, we have done nine. Many of our students have planted churches too. Do you offer courses on youth empowerment considering how many mainline

churches are losing youthful members to new generation ones? Yes, we have youth education curriculum where people train for ministries for youth, elderly ones and all that. But at the bachelor’s level, everybody is given general theological training. If you want to specialise in youth ministry, you can start from the master’s life. Is the church now training bi-vocational pastors? Yes, we do. We have sandwiches and part-time studies, knowing not everyone who comes here will end up leading a church. Some may just want to have theological education for self actualisation and fulfillment. Some have argued that once vibrant Christians become lukewarm after theological training. To what do you attribute this? The problem is that people lack spiritual maturity by the time they are approaching theological education. I grew up as a youth, loving and trusting God. I believe that I am still as vibrant as I was then. I was in a church yesterday to minister and the pastor remarked that I did not speak as a theologian but as a preacher. So, theological education does not take away from giftedness and vibrancy; it rather adds. The problem is just that there are individuals that have grown spiritually to the point that they can make good use of the education they receive. The problem is not in theological education but spiritual immaturity. If I am called, what would you advise? I will say respond first and know what God is calling you to do. Is He calling you to be full time or part time? Is it about church planting or just mere knowledge? So, you must know what God is calling you to do. There are so many of our products out there still working as lawyers, doctors, journalists and all the likes without leading churches. So, it depends really on what God wants you to do.

NEWS

‘Easter for spiritual reflections, not picnics’

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ENERAL Overseer of Sovereign Word Church, Lagos, Pastor Antoni Okoh, has challenged Nigerians to always dig into the spiritual roots of challenges facing them. Okoh said, ‘’The problems with most Nigerians is that they are in spiritual bondage and don’t know. They feel it is a natural thing to have such problems they are encounter-

By Sunday Oguntola

ing. But if they tackle the spiritual roots, they will be free’’. He spoke last week with reporters ahead of the Easter retreat organised by the church from 5th—9th April. The retreat, he said, is expected to feature healing and deliverance sessions for the oppressed. Pastor Okoh affirmed that there will be a special minis-

tration to the sick whom he said will be healed of diverse sicknesses and diseases. The cleric also advised Nigerians not to sit back and rest during the Easter but reflect on their spiritual problems. According to him, Christians should take advantage of what Jesus Christ did over 2,000 years ago. “It is not all holidays that people should stay at home and

enjoy themselves or go for picnics at the beach or wherever. This period should be used for spiritual check to tackle spiritual issues that could undermine their hard work especially those who are labouring in vain’’. Bishop Henri Ndozi-Okia, Regional Overseer of Model Prayer Assembly, Namibia and other anointed men of God will minister at the retreat.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

Worship

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T was such a dire season. A mainline church in Lagos had just been evicted from a rented hall. Just across the road was a land property available for sale. The owner wanted N5m with down payment of just N3m. Members and church leaders spent days thinking of how to raise the fund. A member working in a new generation bank then suggested, ‘’let’s secure a loan’’. Everything was going on well until another member wondered, ‘’should a church secure loans to do God’s work?” Growing with borrowed funds Investigations revealed many churches have benefitted from commercial loans. These loans were secured to finance their expansion and developmental projects. These include church buildings, purchase of lands, vehicles, instruments and equipment, among others. Others obtained loans to finance business ventures such as schools, crèches, shopping malls and others. The loans not only made the projects possible but also fostered the growth of these churches, in terms of assets and infrastructure. Why banks are after churches Many bankers, who spoke under strict anonymity, revealed churches are given priority attention in marketing loan facilities. ‘’Churches are treated as good loan able clients because of several reasons. One, the cash flow is regular and assured. You are sure there will be serviceable income every Sunday and worship days. Then, they hardly default because they have a name and reputation to protect. So, we are always more than willing to consider them,’’ a bank marketer informed. Another bank official stated, ‘’in most cases, we are the ones that approach them with irresistible offers. Once we sense there is room for expansion or a project they are thinking of, we set our marketers loose.” Another added, ‘’we know most of these churches based on their accounts with us. We see

CONTROVERSY

With Sunday Oguntola (08034309265) Email: shinystarontop@gmail.com

Is it right for churches to obtain bank loans?

• Inyang

• Johnson

• Olubo

• Douglas-West

‘’I just decided to exercise faith instead of loans. I was very close but said no. If you are sure God is leading you to get loans, why not? Provided you are sure you have the backing of God’’.

‘’You see if you are doing God’s works, you should allow him to provide for you. You should be patient enough to allow Him do things at His own time. It is desperation to want to move ahead of God and get loans.’’

“We like to spiritualise everything. You have a need and an organisation is ready to help. What is wrong with that? When you obtain loans, you regulate your expenditures and make sure things are in place, leading to financial prudence”

‘‘There is nothing inappropriate or undesirable for the church to obtain loans to achieve constitutional objectives with the full consent of congregational representatives in so far as such loans are not intended to purchase corporate jets or yachts for the exclusive use of the church founder and his cohorts of protégés called senior pastors’’

what they remit so when we are hinted they have a financial need, it is easy for us to package offers for them.” Unbeatable offers Most of these offers allow churches to pay back over a long period of time, mostly three years. Interest rate, according to investigations, range between 1825%. A prominent worker in a church said the rate depends on varying factors. ‘’If the account officer is a church member, it is easier to get a lower rate. If the church has a history of consistent lodgment, it makes packages friendlier. In our case, we had both and got a loan with interest at just 15% because a high profile manager is related to one of us,’’ he disclosed. Investigations revealed

some banks even offer additional services to aid repayment. ‘’We could help with getting lower bargains with materials and workers if it is a building project for example,’’ a marketer disclosed. Other services include instant collection of tithes and offerings for onward deposit in banks on worship days and financial advisory. ‘’The idea is to help the churches achieve their aims after obtaining loans and enhance smooth repayment,’’ a bank official explained. The controversy Senior Pastor of Housefavour Church Egbeda, Lagos, Rev Bayode Olubo said his church had benefitted immensely from loan facilities. ‘’We have obtained many and have never defaulted,’’ he began.

He argued that there is nothing wrong for churches to obtain bank loans. ‘’You see people are very hypocritical about how they succeeded. We like to spiritualise everything. You have a need and an organisation is ready to help. What is wrong with that?’’ Bank loans, he submitted, actually instill financial discipline and prevent wastages. ‘’Many churches do not keep updated records of incomes and expenditures. When you obtain loans, you cannot but do that. Then, you regulate your expenditures and make sure things are in place, leading to financial prudence,’’ he added. Olubo, however, said churches willing to obtain loans must structure repay-

ment plans and stick to them. ‘’You had better be sure you can repay and be committed. Once you start defaulting, you are in trouble as a church. The collateral damage can be massive indeed.’’ But General Overseer of Jesus Liberation Squad (JLS) New Oko Oba, Lagos, Pastor Dele Johnson, said it smacks of desperation for churches to rely on loans. ‘’You see if you are doing God’s work, you should allow him to provide for you. You should be patient enough to allow Him do things at His own time. It is desperation to want to move ahead of God and get loans.’’ Johnson, a former banker, added, ‘’when you start comparing ministries, this is what you get.

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The Bible says a borrower is enslaved to the lender. So why risk your anointing to get loans? Can we imagine Jesus living on loans? When we have needs, we should get to God and He will send us fish with coins’’. He also frowned at the suffocating rate of commercial loans. “These rates,” he added, “are killing. These banks don’t mean well. When you default, you then know you are in for a big mess. They won’t remember you are anointed again or a man of God in getting repayment.” Senior Pastor of Sure Word Assembly, Okota Lagos, Pastor Dennis Inyang, was at the verge of obtaining a loan before he backed out few years ago. According to him, ‘’I just decided to exercise faith instead of loans. I was very close but said no.” He however said he has nothing against those who feel led to obtain loans. ‘’If you are sure God is leading you to get loans, why not? Provided you are sure you have the backing of God’’. The Parish Priest of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Lekki Lagos, Rev. Asoliye Douglas-West sees nothing wrong with churches obtaining loans. He however said loans can be secured after full consent of the congregation for projects that will not serve selfish ends. According to him, ‘‘there is nothing inappropriate or undesirable for the church to obtain loans to achieve constitutional objectives with the full consent of congregational representatives in so far as such loans are not intended to purchase corporate jets or yachts for the exclusive use of the church founder and his cohorts of protégés called senior pastors.’’ He added, ‘‘For purposes of achieving evangelism goals, the church can obtain loan to procure buses in order to ease the mobility of church members or build schools or hospitals where our governments have woefully failed and flagrantly shirked their social contractual responsibilities to the citizenry.‘’

NEWS

‘God is ready to help Nigeria but...’

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•Adeniran (middle) flanked by Revs Kayode Oje and James Olaoye at the parley

HE District Superintendent of the Apostolic Faith, West and Central Africa, Rev Adebayo Adeniran said Nigerians would have received blessings, from God but for their sinful ways. He said God is ready to help the nation, but humanity is moving away when God is moving closer. Adebayo spoke last week while announcing the activities slated for the church’s annual Easter retreat holding at the Apostolic Faith Campground,

By Nneka Nwaneri and Adeola Ogunlade

Anthony Village, Lagos. The theme of the retreat is The Resurrection Power and Glory. He also announced that its Abuja district will hold a retreat and stage a concert on April 15 with its own form of specifics. The cleric reiterated that the Apostolic Faith has over the years used solemn music and orchestra to draw the heart of man to God. “The orchestra and mu-

sic have therapeutic effect as seen in the bible. Even those who will watch us on the website from far and wide will experience a touch of God. Nigerians should look up to God this season and God will touch our lives and give us a whole new wonderful experience,’’ he assured. To ensure wider audience during its Easter retreat, there will be additional five viewing venues at Agbado Ogun; Ikorodu Lagos; Ipaja Lagos; Igbesa Ogun and Sango Otta Ogun.


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Worship

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

When God helps

Knowledge brings freedom

Pastor Amanda Ogunro

TOTAL FREEDOM

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EAR reader, last month, I taught on freedom for all. This month I will be teaching on knowledge brings freedom. Today, deliverance is a topic many people are afraid to talk about. They don’t want to have anything to do with it. They say “if I keep quiet, and mind my business, I will be free from any torment, affliction and harassment of the devil.” This is nothing but ignorance and manipulation of your mind by the enemy in order to make you believe that he does not exist. All satan desires of you is to live a life of ignorance so that he can destroy you at will. The bible explains that ignorance is a vice and if not repented of can bring destruction. Acts 17:30, Isaiah 5:13. Do you know that God wants you delivered from the devil’s affliction instead of living in ignorance or selfpity? Isaiah 52:2. All you need to do is to cry out to God for deliverance and He will deliver you. Joel 2:32. Deliverance means to be saved from the hand of the enemy by forcefully ejecting him from the wrong position he has occupied in your body or life through the power of God or His divine intervention. The devil is strong, but God is stronger. Before you can cast out the

devil, he is going to resist and oppose you but glory be to God and His word, James 4:7. Victory is guaranteed as long as you take your eyes off your problems and focus on God and His word. Exodus 15:3. We give glory to Jesus Christ who is the strongest of the strong. He has given us His name, His blood, His spirit, His word, His divine presence, and designed a spiritual whole armour in order to shield us from the arrows of the enemy Ephesians 6:11-18. The only way to be free from evil is to cast it out and renew your mind. Remember the promises of Jesus Christ to us in Mark 16:17 “And this sign shall follow them that believe, in my name shall they cast out devils…” Jesus knew that most human problems are spiritually based and demon controlled, therefore his first statement in Mark 16:17 was “….in my name shall they cast out devils…” In order words, he believed in deliverance. If the spirit in charge of the problem is left alone, the affliction remains. After a while, if not addressed, the situation and the victim become worse. This gives the devil full authority to stay permanently and continue to afflict you. These kinds of evil spirits are what we call resistant spirits. They put up a fight against you to remain in you, if you let them. This is the type of spirit Jesus said does not go away except by praying and fasting. You can see a typical example of the demon possessed boy in Mark 9:14-29. The terrible resistant demon was a foul spirit. Jesus called it by its name and by what it does, “thou dumb and deaf spirit”. The foul spirit had

nowhere to hide but to cry out and was cast out by the greatest power, that is, the power of Jesus. Luke 11:22: “But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour TOTAL wherein he FREEDOM trusted, and divideth his spoils.” The foul spirit had no By option but to David obey the Master and leave the boy. Thus, Jesus, who is strongest, overcame the foul spirit. It must be noted that the physical display of the possessed boy was the action of the demon that was in him. 1 John 4:4. If you have resistant problems such as anger, lying, fornication etc. they are demon based and must be cast out of you, if not, you cannot fulfill God’s desire for your life. I started this series by letting you know that everyone needs freedom. People perish for lack of knowledge. Next month I will be teaching on Captivity Turned Around. Total freedom cannot be experienced without a genuine salvation. Salvation is the greatest miracle on earth. If you are not yet born again, pray this prayer of salvation. Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I come to you. Forgive my sins. Wash me with your blood. Deliver me from sin and satan. I accept you as my Lord and personal saviour. Thank you Jesus for saving me, write my name in the Lamb’s book of life. Now I know that I am born again. I know you have been blessed by this teaching. Write and share your testimony with Pastor Amanda Ogunro. Rivers of Living Water Ministries, P.M.B 2854 Surulere, Lagos or call 018401701, or e-mailinfo@rlwm.org . Visit our website on www.rlwm.org

‘Christian festive seasons should be celebrated with sanctity’

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From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

in the Christmas Season, which according to them defiles the land. Theodore said, “the Christmas period should be seen as holy. They have polluted the Christmas season. ‘’There should be no masquerades and people dancing naked on the streets. We want to ask them that if they cannot plan better things in the land ‘’Can’t they use the money to organise solemn assembly, create employ-

WHAT AND WHERE? Sure Word empowers youths

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HE four-day youth convention of Sure Word Assembly Okota, Lagos ends today. The theme of the event aimed at empowering and challenging youths to rise above present socio-economic challenges and create a better future is invent the future.

The lead speaker at the convention, which will hold at The Megalife Centre, is Pastor Dennis Inyang. Renowned gospel artistes such as Aity and Eben will minister also at the event, which features comedy, drama and various games.

DIVINE MESSAGE

“F

OR the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:7). It is clear in the above scripture that when God helps you, then you will not be confounded. To be confounded is to be confused, perplexed, humiliated, bewildered, distressed and become unsure of what the future holds. The enemy wants to get you to a place of defeat, confusion, waste and ruins. He always seeks to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” thereby causing you to be confounded. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). But God has promised you His help against your strong enemies. He is the Almighty and can never be defeated. He is your Redeemer and He is strong: the Lord of host is His name. He is rising to your defence and help. He will

“For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:7). TC “THE LORD GOD” The one who is going to help you here is clearly identified in the scripture quoted at the beginning of this article and which is also repeated above for emphasis. The one who is going to help you is not a man that is limited. The one who is going to help you is not an angel that was created. Your helper is the Lord Himself, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Almighty. The Lord GOD. “For the Lord GOD will help me” (Isaiah 50:7a). Wherever you find the two words used together for God, as the LORD God or The Lord GOD, it speaks of God in the fullness of His power and might. This combination speaks of Jehovah Adonai, the Omnipotent Creator. It speaks of the possessor and controller of the universe. This is what is promised you in this scripture: God Almighty, in the fullness of His majesty and omnipotence is making Himself available to help you. You therefore have nothing to fear. All must be well. For further information, counselling and prayer please contact me on telephone number: +234 2 751 2138 or send an email to bishopwaleoke@yahoo.com. You may also write to PMB 60, Agodi Post Office, Ibadan.

The rise and rise of Asiwaju Tinubu

NEWS

OORDINATORS of Prayer City Ministries, Calabar, Theodore Effiong and Ephraim Effiong, have called for Christian festive seasons to be celebrated with sanctity. The preachers popularly known as “The Effiongs of Calabar” spoke to newsmen in Calabar last week in reaction to a display of masquerades by a group in the coming Easter Season. The Effiongs also took a swipe at the Cross River State government for the Carnival

Bishop Wale-Oke

fight your battle and put your enemies to shame “Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon” (Jeremiah 50:34). Because the Lord will help you, you shall not be confounded. It is also clear from this Scripture that because of the help of the Lord, you can set your face like a flint. That is the picture of someone, who is bold because he or she has been greatly encouraged. He is confident, because he is assured. He is focused with a clear direction and a determination to succeed and reach the set goal because he has been helped. That is you - strong, bold, confident, focused, determined and sure of victory. In the name of Jesus Christ, you will reach your goal. It is clear from this scripture also that because of the help of the Lord, you shall not be ashamed. For the people that are truly walking with God, there is no room for shame. God takes effective care of everything that can possibly bring shame. Rather, He gives His people victory and dominion and clothes them with glory and a garment of praise. That is what the LORD God is doing to you. He has promised repeatedly in His word that, “and my people shall never be ashamed” (Joel 2:26b, 27b). The word He used is: Never! That is for you, if you truly trust in Him. You shall never be ashamed. THE LORD GOD

ment or do other things? Is there no better thing to do with the money than to dance naked on the streets and masquerade?” Ephraim said, “Some of the masquerades we know rituals have to be performed for them to come out. By bringing them to the streets, they are defiling the land. ‘’ If you recall FESTAC 77 came and brought so much deterioration to the wonderful things that were going on in the country.’’ He went on, “Let us show positive sides of our culture. We can cook very well here. We can showcase this. ‘’If we want to be relevant in tourism, we have the Marina Resort, Obudu Ranch Resort, Tinapa. We can build these and project them. ‘’There is so much wealth and treasure in this land. Let our fathers explore them. Any traditional exercise that has a connection with Satanism should be abandoned.”

Continued from page 14 In his speech, Awo’s prophesy about war and befalling darkness in 1963 came to pass in the coup de’tat that followed in January1966, and the subsequent civil war that engulfed the country thereafter. Ironically, the same Awo was hurriedly released from prison to help in prosecuting the war to its logical conclusion. The darkness that followed the civil war has remained with us till this day. The prediction of this darkness was also repeated by Awo twenty years after, in 1983, when he said that Nigeria ‘‘would not witness democracy for the next 50 years‘‘ i.e. the year 2033 by our calculation. As of today, Nigeria has not witnessed true democracy, which means we may have to wait till the year 2033! From all indications, the persecution of Asiwaju Tinubu for no other reason than his continued astronomical rise to unusual political prominence and his political emancipation of the people of South West, a feat that has attracted

fear and hate from his political foes from within and outside his geo political zone, suggest that the fear of Asiwaju Tinubu is the beginning of wisdom and the negative fear of him the beginning and end of unwisdom. One of the greatest political foes of Awolowo in his life and death is Obasanjo. He has transferred his hatred for Awo to Asiwaju Tinubu. Thus, Obasanjo attempted to destroy Awo’s political legacy in the South-West (which formerly included Edo and Delta states). But this was vehemently resisted by one person Asiwaju Tinubu who not only kept Lagos State away from occupation by the rampaging PDP through Obasanjo, but went ahead to regain Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and even Edo States from PDP, a feat that was so painful to Obasanjo who had wanted to use mainstream politics to capture the leadership position of Yoruba after Awolowo whom he hated like incrurable disease. But he met his waterloo in the person of Asiwaju Tinubu who fought to keep Awo‘s legacy alive

in the South West. When a balloon is overinflated, it bursts, necessarily, and when an engine is overheated, it knocks like PDP‘s machinery of inquisition. These we now know. But thank God Asiwaju Tinubu’s orchestrated travails were turned into triumph. Consequently the man, Asiwaju Tinubu made a triumphant entry into Lagos from Abuja after his traducers had been floored and rubbished at the court of law. That spectacular victory had also increased his popularity and rising profile. For his travails and triumphs, his rise and rise to spectacular national prominence and his heavily loaded life achievements in less than two decades, we should salute a great man, leader of leaders, a man of courage, and vision, an indefatigable master strategist and a political blockbuster. We say congratulations on his 60 th Birthday Anniversary Professor Makinde writes from Dept. of Philosophy, Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe


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SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 6, NO. 2082

QUOTABLE “The recent calls by certain Northern leaders and organisations for the downward review or withdrawal of 13% derivation principle on oil revenue allocation to the oil bearing states of the South-South is provocative, vexatious, ill-advised and unpatriotic, as the call is not based on any sustainable grounds of advocacy.” —Forum of South South Speakers

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OPULAR tradition, and Mel Gibson’s film (The Passion of the Christ) suggests that as Jesus carried his cross through the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem on the way to his crucifixion, he met his distraught mother at a place now described as the Fourth Station of the Cross. An Armenian Church has been built to mark the place and to help draw attention to one of the most depressing incidents in all of humanity: a mother watching in agony and helplessness as her child is tormented. I recall as a pilgrim last year that when we entered that church, our guide, whose evocative and dramatic account melted hearts, suggested we prayed against that sort of fate. I also recall the humiliation the scientific genius, Albert Einstein, endured in the hands of remorseless fate as his future wife Mileva Maric gave birth to his daughter out of wedlock. Disappointed that Miss Maric, a science student like himself, was not quite up to the intellectual level he anticipated, he advised that the child be given up for adoption. He later married Maric and got two sons by her, but the relationship was doomed partly on account of the inability of any of his children to rise to the high intellectual level he envisaged. Einstein, it turned out, had compared himself with the contemporaneously prominent scientific family of Pierre and Marie Curie who raised at least one notably brilliant scientist. Recall also that I once wrote about the Abdulmutallabs here. Except you are a parent, you may never fully appreciate that family’s sadness and horror as their son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempted to bomb an airline over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. The tragedy of realising that they had raised a son who embraced terrorism was bad enough in a worrisome way, for the eyes of the whole world, and the even more censorious and withering look of their countrymen was truly damning. But much worse is the continuing tragedy of watching helplessly as that son stays in the news for the wrong reasons, tormented by the destructive finality of long years in prison, his life completely wasted, as are the hopes and investments of the family on him. It is impossible not to feel the pain of the family. Imagine, therefore, what horror befell the British family of the Staceys last week, as their son, Liam, hugged the Twitter limelight for the wrong reason, trolling the tweeting public with deeply nauseating racist remarks on Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton footballer who collapsed on pitch during a soccer match with Spurs. Liam, a Swansea University biology student, explained in court that he trolled under the influence of

Liam Stacey racist tweets and the dilemma of parenting

•Peter the Great

•Liam Stacey

alcohol, but he did not quite convince anyone his racist tweets did not reflect what he harboured secretly in his heart. As he was being tried and sentenced to 56 days in jail, reports indicated his mother wept bitterly, ashamed of the negative publicity her otherwise mild-mannered son had attracted to himself, and the fact that he had achieved notoriety expected to haunt his present and future, truncate his education and career, and ostracise him in civilised communities everywhere for a long time. No family is so strong and so cohesive as to be immune to the consequences of the obnoxious behaviour their member. Increasingly, as the Twitter generation is showing, younger people are coming under the inordinate strains of modernity. Such strains sometimes manifest in the digital and communications revolution, in music, particularly rap and hip-hop, and in many other modern trends such as the shifting concepts of family, parenting, urbanisation, and the

ideology of culture, economy (business) and politics. The problem is of such magnitude that families now depend on miracles and happenstances to keep themselves together and establish some semblance of order and harmony. Because of a cocktail of factors, however, parents seem to have formed the opinion that there is little they can do to prevent modernity and its various deleterious environments from conditioning their children. There is of course no proof, given the Nigerian example, that parents themselves have the ability to develop or acquire the right values and principles of life. But even if they manage to do so, they seem helpless in preventing the environments in which their children are growing up to condition them. The environments, they say helplessly, are so pervasive that there is little or nothing anyone can do. Einstein’s pains are understandable. Every parent would like to have very bright

Foolishness and bravado in Mali

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T is not certain how the junior officers who seized power in Mali on March 22 hoped to resolve the problems that hurried them into treason against the constitution. They claimed they were unhappy about the way the President Amadou Toure-led government was tackling the Touareg rebellion to the North of the country. They in fact indicated loss of faith in the political class, which they say has shown incompetence in pacifying the North and tackling other socio-economic crises. They have not only suspended the constitution, they have also shunned any intervention from outside and, in particular, from ECOWAS, whose emissaries were turned back a few days ago. But Toure himself was a former general turned politician. So, which political class are the coupists talking about? More importantly, Toure was due to step down after the April 29 elections, having spent the maximum two terms provided for in the 1992 constitution. If the coupists believe Toure was incompetent, surely the electorate could have had the opportunity by the end of this month to elect someone else they believe was more competent.

Before the coup, Toure was already seeking help from the regional body, ECOWAS, to help Mali overcome the rebellion in the North, a rebellion fuelled by the aftermath of the Libyan revolution and the Arab Spring. After the coup, the new government has since lost another key town to the Touareg rebels. If Toure was incompetent to handle the rebellion, the new government has been unable to prove that change was the tonic needed to remedy the crisis. It is obvious that the inability of the government to defeat the rebellion is due to factors much more fundamental than the coupists have advanced to the public, factors like the poor training and equipping of the military, and the disorganisation the incorporation in 1992 of Touareg rebel forces into the regular military has caused. It is also surprising that the coup has received some substantial support from the public. The Malian crisis still needs to be further studied to shed light on why the people repudiated the reputation their country was beginning to acquire as an oasis of democracy. More studies are also required to understand the logic of the coupists who

have begun to ask for help to combat the northern rebellion even after noisily and stoutly refusing to speak or negotiate with ECOWAS. With the regional body about to impose sanctions on the new government and isolate them, where do they expect help to come from? Surely, they must appreciate that the coup and their intransigence will worsen their problems and in fact jeopardise the fight against the rebellion. The Touaregs, who form about 10 percent of the nearly 15 million Malians, have formed a loose alliance with some Islamist groups to fight the government and carve out an independent territory for themselves. The alliance is part of a fundamentalist belt running across many West African countries, including Nigeria. If the coupists do not reverse themselves soon, the very reason that brought them into government will be defeated. Worse, if ECOWAS is unable to find a solution quickly to the crisis, they will discover that the Touareg rebellion is merely the first shot in a series of events destined to destabilise the region and give added fillip to other fundamentalist-driven crises ravaging a large swathe of West Africa.

children who are intellectual giants, with some families even doing their best to select careers for their children. But the reality is that most children are either average, and therefore not inspiring, or even mediocre, and therefore stupid. But the greatest challenge facing parents is not obviating the stupidities of their children, but raising children whose view of society is balanced, children who are neither misanthropic, like petty criminals, sadists and serial murderers, nor moral monsters who grow up unable to differentiate between the healthy predilections of a political and religious ideologue and the antinomian excesses of terrorists and extremists who espouse ethnic or racial genocide. Families, like the Staceys and Abdulmutallabs, struggle to raise model children to become individuals imbued with the fear of God, people who respect laws and are useful to or even become sterling members of the society. They have devised many ways of pursuing this goal. But they have often failed either because of lack of understanding of how it should be done, or because of little interactions between parents and children, or perhaps because parents themselves simply lack the orientation and discipline that should serve as examples. No family represents this disturbing dilemma as much as Peter the Great of Russia (reigned 1682-1725). He did everything to raise his son, Alexei Petrovich, as his heir. But the more he tried, the less interested his son became in the affairs of state and in military prowess and glory. Peter, history tells us, soon accused Alexei of neglecting the common good and threatened to disinherit him. In fact in frustration, he was quoted as making the famous statement: “Better a worthy stranger [on the throne] than my own unworthy son.” Because of his huge demand on his son, Alexei eventually fled and took refuge outside his father’s reach. The luckless son was, however, soon lured back with a promise of pardon. As soon as he returned, Peter got him tried by a special tribunal and tortured to death. Peter the Great took an extreme option. But the fact is that parents can sometimes be very demanding on the puny talents of their children. This demand becomes problematic when there is a clash of worldviews. The challenge of any parent is to develop a continuum of coherent and relevant worldviews anchored on the key elements of lofty principles, great character and unimpeachable morality. That template of ethical continuums must, however, be such that members of the family, particularly the children, can express and fulfil their individualisms in ways that do not threaten the family or the society. It is never easy, especially because generational shifts and conflicts often periodically impose new and sometimes taxing realities upon families. But the danger of not establishing a family paradigm upon which children could anchor their lives and ideas is to create a vacuum in which all manner of ideas and cultures would thrive, many of them anti-social, and others inimical to the image of the family and the wider society. To prevent the sort of tragedies Liam Stacey and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab brought upon their families, the first priority for any family or parent is to set a tough code of ethics for themselves. Top on the list of that code, of course, is character, that most difficult and yet most beautiful virtue that inculcates a sound philosophy regarding the sanctity of human life, courage in the face of adversity, intelligent appreciation of issues, and a sound knowledge of one’s purpose in life. If a parent does not set this code for his children, and do it in such a way as to make it adaptable to the present and the future, strangers, perhaps with malicious intent, will do it for them. After all, it is the sum of positive family values that determines how stable and prosperous a society becomes.

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The Nation April 1, 2012