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Air fare hikes


Osun ACN raises alarm over alleged security threat

Luxury 2 bus robbery: we’re not negligent, says transport firm Church may place curse on culprits

Nigeria has no legal basis to ban foreign airlines, says British govt



Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL.07 N0. 2088




Easter: Panic over Boko Haram threat Heavy security build-up in



Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Yobe JTF in gun duel with sect in Maiduguri, kills two

Ministers defy Jonathan 3 Page

...on number of aides

Nollywood actress

Laide Bakare

Marriage has not changed PAGE my lifestyle 23



Robbery attack on pupils: We were not negligent, says transport firm


HE transport company in whose bus some pupils of Holy Rosary College, Enugu were attacked by robbers on their way to Lagos last Saturday has refuted the allegation of negligence levelled against them by the parents of the pupils. The girls, numbering 42, were said to have been attacked at OkeOdo community in Ogun State where the company’s bus broke down. Some reports also claimed that some of them were raped by their attackers. The incident prompted some of the parents of the affected students to meet in Lagos on Wednesday with a decision to sue the transport company, Ekene Dili Chukwu, for negligence. The Chairman of the ParentsTeachers Association (PTA) of the school, Mr. Cyril Akunyili, was quoted by a national newspaper as saying that the association would take the matter to court. Akunyili said: “This is the position of all the parents involved. We are pursuing the matter to a logical conclusion. A seven-man committee has already been con-

• School weighs legal option • Church may place curse on culprits Ogechukwu EMEDIKE and Chris OJI, Enugu stituted to take care of that. “First, we are suing Ekene Dili Chukwu Transport Line for negligence, because when the bus first broke down around Ore, we called them at about 1 pm and tried to get another bus for the children. Unfortunately, it took them several hours to address the situation. It wasn’t until 7 pm that we were able to get another bus to leave Lagos for Ogun State.” But in a statement signed by the General Manager of Ekene Dili Chukwu Transport Line, Mr. C.A. Obiora, the transport company denied being negligent, saying it responded to the plight of the pupils as promptly as possible. The company also stated that all its drivers and bus attendants were trained on basic maintenance procedures in the event of a breakdown. Part of the statement reads: “Our company has a contractual agreement to take the students

to school in Enugu and bring them back to Lagos whenever they are on holidays. This relationship has spanned well over 17 years without any operational hitch until the event of 31st March, 2012. “Our company is a well known company in Nigeria for its safety, comfort and reliability; a reputation built on well over 55 years of road transportation. “On Saturday 31st March, 2012, our company transported the students in one of our luxury buses with 42 students from Enugu en-route Lagos. The journey progressed smoothly until the vehicle developed a mechanical fault. But the driver managed to get the bus to Ore in Ondo State. This was at about 3 pm. “Since the parents were already at our terminus in Jibowu and were already anxious about their children, we had to quickly dispatch another bus to Ore to bring the students to Lagos as demanded by the parents who

were insisting and pressurising us that their children must be brought back to Lagos immediately. “Four members of the PTA volunteered to go with the second bus to Ore. The second bus got to Ore and the students were evacuated. Unfortunately, the second bus was attacked by armed robbers at about 10.30 pm at Ijebu Ode. The bus was hijacked with 25 students and one of the representatives of the PTA. The 17 others were rescued by the police and brought to Lagos. “Information on the robbery attack came to the knowledge of the company at about 12.30 am and the company had to quickly dispatch another rescue team led by the General Manager at about 3.30 am, in company with one of the representatives of the parents named Barrister Keneth Okpe. They immediately proceeded to Ijebu Ode Police Station and the Police immediately assembled a team to go with them to rescue the students.”

Tambuwal, Ihedioha preach peace at Easter


PEAKER of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has called for mutual respect among adherents of various faiths in the country. His deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, urged Nigerians to see the Easter holiday as another opportunity to preach and practice peace. Tambuwal, in his Easter message through his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mallam Imam Imam, said respect for one another would guarantee peaceful coexistence among different religions in Nigeria. He urged all Nigerians to unite and confront the security and other development challenges facing the nation. He also urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the service of God, their nation and humanity. He said: “I implore Nigerians to use the Easter period to renew their faith in God and strengthen the bond of friendship and brotherhood which have held the country united since the amalgamation in 1914. “Among the essence of Easter is sacrifice, love for humanity

Victor OLUWASEGUN and Dele ANOFI, Abuja and total submission to the will of God. These virtues should not be lost on we Nigerians. ‘’We should continue to pray for a peaceful Nigeria that will be a pride to us and the future generation.” On his part, Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha urged Nigerians to see the season of Easter as another opportunity to preach and practice peace, brotherly love, and harmonious living with one another. “As we commemorate the ascension of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into heaven, let us use this opportunity to reflect and take concrete actions on how to move our dear country from its current challenges into a realm where we can all be proud of as Nigerians and friends of Nigeria,” he said. He called on Nigerians of different faith to see themselves as one people with one destiny under God, noting that the unity and cohesion of the country must be taken as a paramount responsibility of all citizens.

The statement also denied reports by some newspapers that some of the pupils were raped, saying that none of them was sexually molested. But there were indications on Thursday that the management of the school and its proprietor were exploring legal options against the transport company. While information to that effect was sketchy, the proprietor of the school, the Catholic Diocese of Enugu was disturbed about the fate that befell the innocent girls. The school, though a public one, is being run as a convent with high academic standard. It was returned to the Catholic Church by the Enugu State Government under the arrangement that the state pays the staff salary while the administration is run by the church. Entry into the school is highly competitive because apart from its academic standard, discipline

and moral instructions are the plank of its curriculum. A priest, who asked not to be named, told one of our correspondents that apart from the envisaged legal action against the transporter, a curse may be placed on the perpetrators of the act, even as the police are still on their trail. He, however, added that the decision to place a curse on the bandits would depend on the disposition of the bishop of the diocese, Bishop Callistus Onaga, and the diocesan laity. The principal of the school, Rev. Sister Mercy Ani, declined comments on the issue. A secretarial staff of the school said the principal had been reprimanded by the Diocese for speaking to a national daily on the issue on Monday. The Director of Communication at the headquarters of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Joseph Offor, however, told our correspondent on the telephone that the diocese had nothing to do with the incident.

Reps lament killing of 40-year-old Nigerian in US THE House of Representatives has decried the shooting of a 40year-old Nigerian woman in the United States by a lone gunman. The woman, Mrs. Doris Chibuko, mother of three, was just two months away from graduating from the Korean Nursing School, oakland’s Oikos University, East Oakland, California. Chibuko met her death when the gunman opened fire indiscriminately on students and staff of the school on Monday April 2, 2012. In her condolence message, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman House Committee on Dispora, noted that the deceased worked as a lawyer in Nigeria before

Victor OLUWASEGUN and Dele ANOFI, Abuja her departure to the US. She said: ‘’Before her untimely death, Mrs. Chibuko was in the midst of launching a second career in nursing, eight months into a one-year vocational programme. “The House Committee on Dispora sends its heartfelt condolences to the husband, Mr. Efanye Chibuko; the children, Chemelie (3), Ify (5), Chioma (8) and her mother who also lives in Oakland. “We pray that the mercies of God be with the family in this hard time.”

Easter: Osun free train service excites beneficiaries


ASTER holidaymakers have commended the Osun State government for its Free Easter Train Service initiative from which thousands of travellers from Lagos to Osun State have benefited. Many of the beneficiaries described the initiative as a farreaching palliative transportation programme for the masses. Early in the week, the Osun State Government, through newpaper advertorials and radio and television commercials announced that it had made provisions for free train transportation for people travelling home for the Easter holiday, so as to make their journey less strenuous, painless and pleasurable. According to the government, the motive behind the programme was to promote the welfare of the people, which is one of the six-point cardinal agenda of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s government. Majority of passengers that boarded the train from Iddo Terminus, Lagos yesterday said it was their first time of travelling by rail. They radiated joy, enthusiasm and excitement all through the journey, promising to also go back to Lagos through the same means. Many of them could not hide their feelings as they spoke freely of the positive effect the free train had on them economically and security-wise. According to the governor’s

Adesoji ADENIYI, Osogbo media aide, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the programme was borne out of the need to alleviate people’s suffering arising from high fares and transportation hitches in the South-West during festive periods. One of the travellers, Isiaka Owolabi, who boarded the train at Agege, Lagos disclosed that he had entered a bus going to Osogbo from Iyana-Ipaja for N2, 000 and paid another N500 for his load only to be phoned by a friend that the Osun State Government had provided a free train service for commuters going to the state. Owolabi, a native of IlaOrangun in Osun State, who lives in Ayobo, said he quickly disembarked from the bus and headed for Agege where he was issued a ticket to board the train free. “I had boarded the bus when my friend told me that I should go to Agege to enter a free train. I wondered if that could be true. But when I got there, it was free. That was how I boarded the train and I have been enjoying myself. “Now, I will use the money meant for transportation for some other economic purposes. If other governors across the states of the federation emulate this welfare programme, it will be good. Transportation will be made easier for the people,” Owolabi said.

•Passengers alighting from the free Easter train provided by the Osun State Government for Easter holiday makers when the train arrived Osogbo Thursday night. Photo: State House Another first-time commuter on train, Akeem Adesina, a native of Iwo, said he never planned to travel on Thursday, but he got to know about the free train ride from the governor, Ogbeni Aregbesola, who is his (Adesina’s) friend on Face Book. Adesina said he also saw and heard the advertisement of the free train ride on both Television Continental and Radio Continental, so he decided to give it a trial. According to him: “I first knew about it from the governor, who happens to be my friend on Face Book and twitter. When I heard, I tried to educate

the people around me to be aware of it. Again, on Wednesday night, I saw the advert on TVC. So, here I am enjoying myself.” Receiving the travellers at the arrival of the train in Osogbo last night, the Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperative and Empowerment, Mr. Jayeoba Alagbada, said the idea behind the programme was to alleviate the pains experienced by people during festive periods. Jayeoba said the welfare of the people is one of the six cardinal programmes of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the free train ride is one of such programmes in

stock for the people. “During the festive period, we normally have traffic gridlock on our roads, especially along the Lagos-Ibadan-Osogbo axis. We discovered that we could alleviate the suffering of our people by introducing this welfare train by taking people from Lagos down to Osogbo. “This will reduce the pressure on the road and guarantee the security of lives of our people, which is very important to the Osun State Government. “Moreover, the welfare of the people is very essential to this administration. You could see that a lot of people followed the

train. And you can see from the way the commuters were talking that they were happy. Some of them had never entered a train in their lives until yesterday,” the commissioner said. The free train services, which commenced on Thursday would be on for four days, shuttling between the Iddo Terminus in Lagos and Osogbo until the final day (Monday). It will be recalled that a similar arrangement was made in January this year, which coincided with the fuel subsidy faceoff that led to total paralysis of economic activities across the country for more than a week.



Why FG sacked PHCN chiefs, by Minister


ORE facts emerged yesterday on why the Transition Company of Nigeria (TCN) Managing Director, Engr. Akinwunmi Bada; the Market Operator, Engr. Uzoma Achinaya and the Executive Director, Human Resources of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Mr. Olushoga Muyiwa, were sacked. The Ministry of Power, Prof. Barth Nwaji, explained that the officials were replaced because of their managerial deficiency. The revelation came on the heels of a protest by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Thursday against the decision of the Federal Government, shutting down the main entrance of the PHCN headquarters in Abuja. Reacting to the protest in a statement titled, “NUEE Executives Should See Beyond Their Noses,” the Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, said the ministry noted the NUEE President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, who was defending the fired officials had once complained that the sacked PHCN official was discriminating against distribution companies. Ajaero, said Anikwe, had complained that the officer was releasing salaries that failed to harmonise the unprecedented 50 per cent salary increase that the unions extracted from government as one of the conditions to allow privatisation to go on. The ministry therefore stressed that the union’s incessant complaints about discriminatory payment of the 50 per cent salary increase ultimately led to the officer’s poor management rating. Anikwe said: “Unfortunately, it is a fact that, sometimes, technical ability does not translate to managerial ability. It is ironic to note that the rabble-rousing antics of Joe Ajaero and his cohorts in NUEE was one of the issues that worked against the person that Ajaero is today shedding crocodile tears over his retirement.

John OFIKHENUA, Abuja “Or is it possible that Ajaero and the NUEE leadership have forgotten how they ceaselessly dragged this officer to various fora, complaining that he was discriminating against the distribution companies by releasing salaries that failed to harmonise the unprecedented 50 per cent salary increase that the unions extracted from government as one of the conditions to allow privatisation to go on?” While justifying the ministry’s action, Anikwe recalled that Nigerians are witnesses to two successive explosions which led to system collapse that plunged the nation into darkness in late March. Continuing, he explained: “The fact that the second explosion occurred within a week of the first, at the same place and time and under the same circumstances, exposes a lack of attention to detail for which someone in charge ought to be called to account.” The statement reads: “As for the ex-HR Director, members of the general public who have ever complained about PHCN staff abuses - including extortion, embezzlement and corruption - are in the best position to judge the fidelity of the culture of staff discipline that this officer superintended. “What is disheartening is that it was also not beyond this officer to keep on the payroll for 18 months someone who was supposed to have retired while senior staff of PHCN lamented their stagnation at one grade level for years because of “no vacancy.” “We have no intention of engaging Joe Ajaero in a street fight which he clearly relishes. It is laughable that Ajaero would suggest that majority of the officers affected by government’s retirement have nothing to do with power generation, transmission and distribution. PHCN’s sole business is power generation, transmission and distribution; any staff working for the company is engaged in any of the three, either as a core or as a support staff.’’

•From left: Chairman Award Panel of Judges, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi; Human Resources Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Victor Famuyibo; journalist of the year prize winner, Mr. Ntia Nsukuma of The Guardian; photo journalist of the year prize winner, Mr. Sulaiman Husaini of Nigerian Compass; Dr. Doyin Abiola and Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr. Yusuf Ageni, at the 2011 Golden Pen Awards: Promoting Exellece Among Journalists organised by the Nigerian Breweries .. Thursday night. PHOTO: Niyi ADENIRAN

Easter: Panic over Boko Haram threat •Heavy security build-up in Kano, Kaduna,Niger,Yobe •Police say no cause for alarm


HE Police have launched a massive security cordon across the northern states in response to fears of possible bomb and gun attacks during the Easter festivities by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram. Residents of some the explosion-prone states have been gripped by panic following the security alert over possible Boko Haram attacks during the Easter period. They were learning from experience. The last Christmas Day was marred by bomb explosions planted by the sect members at St.Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madala, SulejaNiger State.Over 40 worshippers died in the violence alone. Similar attacks have followed at two church services in Jos in the last one month and the United States of America (USA),the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia have issued travel warnings to their citizens about possible bomb explosions in the country during Easter. The police authorities re-

Ministers defy Jonathan on number of aides


LOSE to three quarters of members of the federal cabinet are defying an over one year-old presidential order to keep a low profile in the appointment of aides. Each minister is required by the directive to have no more than a special adviser/assistant and one personal assistant. The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) even wrote to the ministers over a year ago on the issue as part of the measures to conserve public funds, but an investigation now shows that the majority of the ministers still retain as many as 12 Special Advisers/Assistants each. A circular from the Presidency reminding the ministers about the RMAFC directive has also gone largely unheeded. The Presidency is embarrassed by the action of most of the ministers on the order and has decided to move against what is perceived as a waste of scarce resources. The salary and allowances of each minister’s Special Adviser/ Assistant are paid by the appropriate ministry, while the emoluments of the Personal Assistant are part of each minis-

Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation ter’s earnings. The federal cabinet has 42 members with no more than 12 found to be compliant. The errant ministers, according to sources, claim to have been under pressure from their godfathers and other political heavyweights for having so many aides. Some ministers also attributed the bloated aides to the “need for patronage since they are political appointees.” An authoritative source familiar with the situation told The Nation in Abuja:”The ministers are actually not honouring the government directive on aides. Some of them have up to 12 Special Advisers/ Assistants. “Besides, there was also a circular issued by the Secretary to the Federal Government that ministers should source their Special Advisers/Assistants from the civil service. “But these ministers have brought all manner of aides without requisite experience. That is why cabinet members do not depend on civil servants

to implement their programmes. “The Presidency will soon sanction the affected ministers. “Some of these ministers have made Permanent Secretaries to believe that they will pay the extra Special Advisers/Assistants on their own. But they force Ministries, Departments and Agencies to pay some allowances and travelling estacodes of these aides. “These SAs take direct charge of all affairs, including execution of projects, and serve as front for their principals. “It is sad, however, that these aides have no regard for civil service procedures at all in doing things.”

Kolade ADEYEMI, Kano, Jide ORINTUNSIN, Minna Tony AKOWE, Kaduna and Joel DUKU Damaturu

sponded to the panic immediately by deploying its men in strategic places across the North. The Presidency has also assured the public of security of lives and property during the period. The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Kano is mounting more check points in the metropolis, which has been the target of most of the deadly attacks by the group.There are also more vehicular patrols by security agents, while the Three Brigade of the Army has deployed Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) on the streets. Security is particularly heavy in military zones,government offices,airport and churches. The Kano State Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Idris, assured Christians of their safety and police readiness to ensure a violence-free Easter. He said policemen, including the 1,000 strong anti-terrorism squad, would be on duty all throughout the period. The spokesman of JTF in Kano, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, urged residents to ignore reports that the Boko Haram militants are plotting to attack Kano during the Easter festivity. He urged Kano people to go about their normal businesses saying such reports do not reflect the accurate situation on ground, insisting that there is no cause for alarm. The Kaduna State government assured residents of the state, especially Christians of adequate security . The Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Affairs (Christian Matters), The Rev. Joseph Hayab said: “It has become a normal thing for the US

and UK government to warn their people about travelling to Nigeria. I don’t think there is any need for that. I think they are only acting based on past experiences, especially what happened during Christmas. “I have been driving round Kaduna since morning and I have not seen any sign of panic anywhere as people are going about their business. We pray that things work out like this throughout the celeberation”. Police spokesman in the state, DSP Aminu Lawan, said the Police were on top of the security situation in the state and have intensified patrol throughout the state. “We are out to intensify patrol throughout the state. We are only appealing to the people to cooperate with us and provide useful information to the police,”Lawan said,adding: “If you see any suspicious movement, report to the Police immediately. That is why we have increased our patrol. We are taking extra measures to ensure the security of the people.” The Police in Niger State have deployed an extra, 1,000 policemen in Suleja for special duties during the festival.Attention is also being given to other areas prone to attack. The State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Desire D. Nsirim, said: “The Police will provide security in a robust way in all the churches. In fact, there is a special arrangement because we have already prepared our own operational strategy, which is starting with the Easter period. We want to assure Christians who want to go to church throughout this Easter celebration that there is nothing to fear because there will be adequate security provided in the churches and around the state. “In fact, with God on our side, I do not think we are going to

experience any breach of security because the command is ready to police every where in the state throughout this period of Easter celebration. I have ordered that an additional 1,000 policemen should be taken from the Command Headquarters in Minna to join their colleagues in Suleja local government area , so that no church is left uncovered.” The Suleja Police Area Commander, Mr. Greg E. Eselle, said all security agencies in the council are prepared to ensure a peaceful Easter celebration. Yobe State Police Commissioner, Moses Onireti, said the police command did not have to wait for any travel warning from the USA or UK to be alert to its responsibility to the citizens. “Police must not wait for any UK or US alerts to do its job. I am doing my normal job. We are taking up every necessary security measure to ensure that the Easter celebration in Yobe state is hitch free,” he said on phone. “I don’t go by such rumours of alert. As far as l’m concerned, there is no cause for alarm. Alert or no alert, we are always on red alert 24 hours. Easter or no Easter we are always on alert 24 hours”, CP Onireti said. Our correspondent, who was at the Catholic Church in Damaturu yesterday, observed that the station of the cross was held inside the old church without the usual procession, apparently because of the prevailing security situation. Though the authorities have extended the curfew to 10.00pm, most residents prefer to be at home by 8.00pm. The Police in Plateau State have banned the use of motorcycles from 7pm last Thursday to 6am on Tuesday as part of the security measures to ensure safety of lives and property.

... JTF in gun duel with sect in Maiduguri, kills two THE Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, engaged the Boko Haram sect in a gun battle, leaving two militants were dead. One was arrested. It was learnt that the group were already gathered at the Abbaganaram part of the metropolis, which is noted for deadly confrontations between the sect and the military, to plan their strategies and subsequently move to disrupt the peace of the town before they were dispersed by military men who acted on a tip-off. The military men, it was learnt, engaged the sect members in a gun battle, which created panic among the residents. Many people ran for safety during the confrontation. Confirming the incident, the spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Sagir

Joseph ABIODUN, Maiduguri Musa, said some men suspected to be members of the sect were seen at a place believed to be their meeting point beside the NNPC filing station at Abbaganaram within the metropolis at about noon yesterday. Musa, in a statement, said the JTF troops went to the area to disperse the Boko Haram alleged meeting, where it is believed they plan to move to cause mayhem, following a tip off. “In an exchange of fire, two were shot dead, one arrested, while two AK 47 rifles with 12 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and a nokia handset were recovered,” the spokesman of the JTF said.



Hope rekindled for Ibadan school bus fire victims, as Ajimobi delivers N6m equipment UCCOUR came the way of the 15 pupils in volved in a bus fire incident on Wednesday when the Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday supplied medical equipment to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan to facilitate treatment and quick recovery of the kids. The UCH management also refutted reports that seven children had died between Wednesday and Thurs-


Oseheye OKWUOFU, Ibadan day in the hospital. The Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Mr. Femi Bobade, described the reports in some dailies as misleading and false, saying that only five children out of the 17 that were brought to the hospital died. The governor and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Yabo Mohammed, were in the

hospital yesterday to access the situation and deliver the procured medical equipment to the hospital. According to the UCH spokesperson, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Ventilator was brought in by the governor yesterday in line with his promise to procure the needed equipment to treat the children. The equipment, which the governor promised to deliver

•From left: Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Suraj Adekunbi; Chief Idowu Sofola; Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; and father of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Alani Bankole; at the burial of Chief Imam of Gbagura Central Mosque, Alhaji Sodrudeen Bamidele Biobaku in Abeokuta...yesterday

as soon as possible when he paid a visit to the children in the emergency ward of the hospital on Thursday, was handed over to the management of the hospital yesterday’s morning and was immediately put into use for the treatment of the children. 21 pupils of the Divine Wisdom Group of Schools sustained varying degrees of injuries when the bus conveying them caught fire on Wednesday in Ibadan. The governor had ordered the immediate release of N6 million for the purchase of the equipment. He also ordered that the supplier of the equipment should be escorted to and from Lagos by security operatives attached to his office so as to hasten the arrival of the equipment. Ajimobi had earlier been told by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the hospital, Dr. Biodun Otegbayo, that some of the children were in critical condition and needed urgent medical attention, adding that the hospital did not have the equipment. Aside the purchase of the equipment, he also said that the medical bill of the children would be borne by the government.

Education, key to national development, says Amosun’s wife


IFE of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, has described education as a veritable tool for national development, saying all children must be educated to enable them realise their potential and contribute meaningfully to the progress of the society. She said this while officially declaring open the 8th biennial delegate conference of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) at Alagbe Esibi Royal College in AdoOdo, Ogun State. The governor’s wife tasked all the stakeholders to address challenges facing the nation’s educational system in order to ensure meaningful development in our society, explaining that the state government placed a high premium on quality education at all levels. According to her, “Providing quality education is a major priority of the present ad-


HE British Government yesterday declared that the Nigerian government has no legal basis to ban foreign airlines operting in the country over controversial airfare disparity. In an exclusive online interaction with The Nation yesterday in Abuja, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Giles Lever said that a ban on either the British Airline (BA) or Virgin would be a breach of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). The interview went thus: Is it true that fare disparity is a deliberate action by the British government to exploit Nigerians? The British Government has no role in setting the fares of

ministration in the state and it is committed to the realisation of free education for all children particularly at the primary

and secondary levels and this will ensure a brighter future for our children as we prepare them for adulthood”

Speaking earlier, the Amira FOMWAN, Dr. Aishat Lawal, charged members and other stakeholders in the educational sector to rise up to the challenges facing education in the country.

President, govs told to govern with fear of God


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and all the governors in the country have been called upon to govern the nation and states respectively with the fear of the Almighty. Making the call in Lagos was Prophet Samuel Owatunde (Marshal) of the Celestial Church of Christ, Trinity Tabernacle, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ajegunle, Lagos in an interview with The Nation. “The fear of God brings about divine blessings which solve problems created by Satan. Therefore, a political leader governing with the fear

of God will give the citizens their rights by providing relevant facilities that will lead to the enjoyment of comfort and convenience of modern life. “Our president and governors should see themselves as leaders, and not rulers. There are differences between a ruler and a leader. A leader is always determined to serve. He matches his sayings with actions. He attaches importance to service. Even Jesus Christ served His disciples in order to underscore the importance of service to humanity,” the prophet said.

He further said: “The president and governors should perceive themselves as visionary leaders, so that the leadership provided will bring about solutions to the future hardships that may be experienced by the generality of Nigerians. Visionary leaders will create a greater future for people, and by doing this, he is banishing worries capable of causing serious health challenges from their minds.” The prophet urged Christians to shun materialism, unite against evil, concentrate on serving God and believe in the power of the Almighty.

Air fare hikes: Nigeria has no legal basis to ban foreign airlines —British govt Yomi ODUNUGA and Augustine EHIKIOYA, Abuja

privatelyowned airlines such as BA and Virgin flying to Nigeria. The bilateralAir Services Agreement (BASA) states that “tariffs should be set freely and independently by the designated airlines on an economic basis”. There is no disparity in economy class, where most ordinary Nigerians fly. Indeed, economy class prices from Nigeria on British airlines are often lower than from elsewhere in the region. Is the British government exploiting other means of re-

solving the crisis especially when the Nigerian Senate has stepped into the matter? The UK and Nigeria have a strong relationship based on shared friendship, history, values, mutual respect and honesty. Our President and Prime Minister have committed to an ambitious agenda of bilateral cooperation covering trade and investment, development, security, people-topeople and much else besides. We want to continue to discuss this issue of air services with the Nigerian government in the spirit of this partnership. Can BA justify the fare disparity?

There is no fare disparity in economy class, where most ordinary Nigerians fly. Indeed economy class prices from Nigeria on British airlines are often lower than from elsewhere in the region. What is the British government reaction to the threats by the Nigerian Senate, the Nigerian Bar Association and the government to take decisive action against BA if it does not change the policy? The UK-Nigeria partnership is hugely important to uswe want to see stronger air links between our two countries with more competition and choice, not less

Osun ACN raises alarm over alleged security threat ...deplores Oni’s statement


HE acting Chairman of Action Congress of Ni geria (ACN) in Osun State, Elder Adebiyi Adelowo, has raised the alarm over threats to the peace and security of the state by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. He charged all security agencies in the country to beam their searchlights on the state to ensure security of lives and people of the state. According to Elder Adelowo in a statement issued and signed by him yesterday, the statement credited to the National Vice Chairman (South-West) of the PDP, Mr. Segun Oni, at the party’s South West meeting in Osogbo, that they would make the state ungovernable was not only reckless but amounts to security threat. The statement reads in part “We wish to draw the attention of all security agencies in Nigeria to what is now established as threats to the peace and security of the state of Osun by the Peoples Democratic Party. “For a national officer of the party in the rank of National Vice Chairman, Mr. Segun Oni, to issue threats of the party’s plot to make Osun State ungovernable remains the clearest indication of the diabolical plans being hatched by the PDP and its agents to bring back misery to our people, who God in His infinite mercy, delivered from the evil grip after seven and a half years of stagnation, violence and

glaring retrogression. Adelowo said that reckless statements and threats from anybody and a national officer of a party for that matter should not be taken with levity by the security agencies. He said: “For the avoidance of doubts, we state categorically that nobody has been arrested or is being prosecuted in Osun State on any political grounds. Adelowo said: “We see this as an open declaration of war on our people. Since the inception of this administration, we have guaranteed the peace and security of our people and their property. “This feat, which eluded the PDP for the seven and half years of the locust they were, has been accomplished through purposeful leadership, commitment to the welfare of the people and unparalleled development initiatives which have made the masses to say never again to PDP. “We must remind Oni and the PDP just in case they have forgotten that the people rejected the poverty, violence, mayhem, misery and lack of vision which the party represented in their lives in the last general election and they have remained committed to that rejection. “How then do Oni and his party ever dream of any possible acceptance from the same people they maimed, killed, sent into exile and practically rendered prostrate by killing their economy?

Fire guts LASUTH’s BT Paediatric Ward


IRE has gutted the Bola Tinubu (BT) Paediatric Ward of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). According to an eyewitness, the fire started at about 1:00pm yesterday. The source said the fire might have been caused by an electrical spark from the control switch before it spread to the nursing room. Addressing journalists after inspecting the gutted area, LASUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof Wale Oke, said everything was under control.

Oke, who confirmed that the nursing room was completely burnt, said there were no casualties as patients were immediately evacuated from their various wards when the fire started. On the possible cause of the fire, he said: “We don’t know what caused it. The fire only gutted the nursing room. As soon as the place is cleaned up, the patients will be returned to their wards.” He said the fire did not go beyond the nursing room.

Nigeria’s underdevelopment blamed on corruption


HE Catholic Bishop of Osogbo Diocese, Osun State, Most Reverend Gabriel Leka Abegunrin has blamed the Nigeria’s underdevelopment on corruption in both public and private sectors of the economy. In a release signed by the Public Relations Officer of the diocese, Mr. Iwa Oyefade, the bishop, while delivering his Easter message, wondered why Nigeria should still be underdeveloped, considering the human and natural re-

sources. Abegunrin advised the federal government to be proactive in its war against Boko Haram. According to him, the sponsors of the Boko Haram sect should not be spared. “Federal Government should take drastic measures against the sponsors of Boko Haram whose activities have dented the image of Nigeria.” He enjoined Christians to imitate Christ by “coming out boldly against all vices in Nigeria.”

Ekiti Progressive Club holds meeting


KITI Progressive Club will today hold a meeting at Fajuyi Hall, Ado Ekiti. The meeting, which

starts at 10a.m, will be attended by age groups, clubs, artisans, traders and market women of Ado origin.

News 5


Emeka Offor’s associate kidnapped in Anambra


CLOSE ally of Anambra state business mogul, Sir Emeka Offor, Sir Tony Obi has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen. The victim was one time

250 new primary schools now ready — Amaechi


IVERS State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi says his administration has completed and equipped 250 Model Primary Schools across the State which are now ready for commissioning. He pledged to complete construction work on ongoing roads and construct more to ease traffic in the State. Governor Amaechi spoke Friday, at his Meets the Press media briefing in Government House, Port Harcourt. “In terms of the model primary schools, we have currently completed and fully furnished 250 of them in the state, so they are ready for commissioning”, Amaechi said. Governor Amaechi said seven of the model schools would be ready for commissioning in September. These are in Eleme, Saakpenwa, Oyigbo, Etche, Omuma, Buguma and Emohua Local Government Areas. He also said the foundation stone of the new Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) would be laid in September in the new Greater Port Harcourt City. On health, Governor Amaechi said the new worldclass Kelsey Harrison Hospital and the dental hospital both in Port Harcourt would soon become operational once the process of handing them over to foreign firms to run and manage is completed. He said his administration has built over 100 primary healthcare centres while the remaining ones would be completed before the end of the year. “We have gone beyond 100 primary healthcare centres. We are currently at 120 healthcare centres. We promised the state 160 healthcare centres, so we will deliver on the 160, hopefully before the end of the year,” he said. On roads, he said work has been completed on the following Chief G. U. Ake road, Peter Odili road, Elekahia road, Ken Saro-Wiwa road, Port Harcourt-Owerri road amongst others. Amaechi said: “Work is now going on at Okporo road, and we have awarded the contract for the R u m u o l u m e n i Rumuepirikom road. We have also awarded the contract for Eliparanwo road”. He pledged 24-hour power supply in Port Harcourt by the end of the year. He explained that in the bid to provide stable power supply in the state, his administration is installing more power substations across the state. On the monorail, the governor said: “Work is ongoing at the Monorail. It is a very slow process because of the technical nature of the job, but we have everything about the monorail on ground in Port Harcourt.”

•Abductors demand N100 million Nwanosike ONU, Awka Chairman of Ekwusigo local government and currently, the coordinator of Emeka Offor Foundation. Obi also owns Gelly’s Garden and Resort, Awka. The Nation gathered in Awka yesterday that the former council boss was kidnapped along Onitsha-

Enugu express way in his green Mercedes Benz car around 5.30pm on Thursday. The state police command confirmed the incident yesterday through its public Relations Officer, Emeka Chukwuemeka. Chukwuemeka said the command had begun investigation into the inci-

dent. The whereabouts of Obi was unknown at press time. A source told The Nation yesterday that the abductors were demanding N100 million. Meanwhile, the state police command has come under severe pressure following the increasing wave

•President Goodluck Jonathan right presenting a National Tax Identification Certificate to Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State at the launching of the National Tax Identification Policy at the State House Abuja...Thursday

of armed robbery and kidnap cases. Last Tuesday, robbers shot and killed three policemen at the Oraifite junction while on patrol. This was followed on Wednesday morning by an attack on the Amichi Police station in Nnewi South by gunmen who killed one of the three policemen on duty and carted away 14 AK-47 rifles. Some vehicles on the premises were also vandalised packed within and outside the police station with bullets. They also set free two detained suspects in police custody. Another gang of 10 gunmen stormed the Ukpor police station on Thursday morning where they killed four police men. They arrived the station at about 1.30 a.m in a white Hummer Jeep, sources said, and started shooting sporadically. The traditional ruler of Ukpor, Igwe Felix Onyimadu has called on the Federal Government to equip the police with sophisticated weapons for them to live up to their responsibility. police in the state, and called on the state government to rebuild the police station for them.

Oyo ACN knocks PDP over allegation on Tinubu’s birthday


HE Oyo State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused “recently selected” Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officials in the state and the South West of engaging in “hyperactive falsehood” and embarking on “a baffling journey of selfmockery” in its bid to convince its principals who handpicked the officials at the party’s recent congress. The ACN, through its Publicity Secretary, Hon Dauda Kolawole, was reacting to an allegation by

the PDP that the ACN-led governments in the South West collectively contributed the sum of N2 billion public funds for the 60th birthday of its national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. “It is apparent that, just coming from the conclave where its officers were recently anointed, the PDP officials are psychologically harried to begin to justify the high level of prebends expended on them. This is what is responsible for the

hyperactivity of the recentlyanointed PDP officials in the South-West. In their hyperactivity, they mix together irrelevances and latch on to glaring lies to justify their hyperactive falsehood,” the ACN said. According to the party, as much as the birthday of its leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, was worthy of celebration, considering how he almost single-handedly rescued the South-West from the vice grip of destructive mainstream politics, it would be an insult

on Tinubu to ask anyone to contribute a penny to his birthday celebration. “Tinubu is too polished, too urbane, too much a man of dignity to ask anyone to contribute state funds to his birthday celebration. This allegation is not only a figment of the hyper-fertile imagination ofthe PDP, it is a testament to the rough tactics of tar-brushing their perceived political enemies which the party has elected to embark upon preparatory to the 2015 elections,” the ACN said.

Gunmen kill eight in Nasarawa


HE Police in Nasarawa State yesterday confirmed the death of eight persons after suspected gunmen attacked Duduguru village in Jenkwe Council Development Area of the state. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), quoting the Police Public Relations Officer,

Cornelius Ocholi, in Lafia said trouble started on Tuesday when armed men suspected to be herdsmen, invaded the area killing two persons. He said the situation was brought under control following the prompt response of security agents deployed to the area.

Ocholi added that the situation took a different dimension on Thursday when the suspected assailants, numbering more than 100 invaded another part of the village and shot dead eight persons, burnt down houses and farm produce. He said the situation had been brought under control as

10, 000 displaced in Tiv crisis


BOUT 10,000 people have been displaced in a renewed bloody crisis between ‘ natives ‘ and ‘settlers’ in Agbouhul,a suburb of Makurdi, the Benue state capital. No fewer than 30 houses were set ablaze in the confrontation between Tivs who call themselves Minda (natives) and Kparev (settlers). Scores of people sustained gunshot wounds and are receiving treatment in various hospitals in Makurdi. Residents fleeing the battle zone are taking refuge with relations and friends in various parts of Makurdi. The two sides are

Uja EMMANUEL, Makurdi quarelling over ownership of land with the Minda who pride themselves as the original occupiers of Agbouhul accusing the Kparev of taking over the land. The Minda ordered the Kparev to quit .The Kparev would not hear of that sparking violence. Youths on both sides resorted to the use of arms and ammunition as well as setting houses ablaze. A 40 year old resident,Torbee Acka accused a top official of the Makurdi Local Government and some politicians of

instigating the crisis as a test run for the 2015 elections. MR. Acka who seen fleeing with his mattress and other personal effects in a wheelbarrow. The State Commissioner for Land and Survey, Hon. John Tondu told the House of Assembly last week to intervene in the crisis which he described as a shame. He could not understand why Tivs would be fighting and killing one another unnecessarily. The Police Public Relation Officer(PPRO)Ejike Alaribe,ASP said the situation had been brought under control and some youths have been arrested in connection with the crisis.

more security men had been deployed to the area to secure it. Ocholi could not confirm the number of arrest made. “As we speak, more than 10 patrol vehicles have been deployed to the area for surveillance and about 100 mobile policemen from the mobile unit in Akwanga have been drafted to restore peace in the area,” he said. The police spokesman disclosed that the state police commissioner, Abayomi Akeremale, accompanied Governor Umaru Al-Makura and other security chiefs in the state to the area on Thursday for an on-the-spot assessment of the crisis. He said the commissioner suggested the establishment of a mobile police station in the area to maintain peace. Meanwhile, Al-Makura has given the assurance that his administration would bring perpetrators of the dastardly act to book. He said government was seriously disturbed over the situation and promised to establish mobile police units in all flash points across the state as part of measures to check a reoccurrence.

Drama as N21m salary disappears in Benue Uja EMMANUEL Makurdi


WENTY-ONE million naira cash set aside as the March salary of the staff of Tarkaa Local Government,in Benue State unexpectedly grew wings on Thursday and disappeared shortly before the commencement of payment. The money had been withdrawn from a bank on Wednesday and kept in an office in the council pending payment the following day. However,the cash was found missing on Thursday as the cashier resumed for work to pay the staff who had been looking forward to celebrating Easter in a big way. The police were called in and promptly arrested the Director-General Service a n d Administration,Treasurer,Cashier and two other staff of the council. The LG workers were visibly angry at the development. A resident of the area, Mr.Justine Anjemba told The Nation that there was more to the development than meet the eye. He wondered how such a large amount of money could have been kept overnigh in the office. The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) ASP Ejike Alarabi confirmed the arrests of the LG personnel for interrogation.

Confusion in Mali after Tuareg independence claim MALI’s Tuareg rebels declared independence yesterday in the north, a move shot down by Islamist insurgents and the international community, as fears loomed of a humanitarian disaster. ECOWAS, Africa Union (AU) and Europe roundly rejected the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad’s (MNLA) declaration of independence as a chorus of calls mounted for a solution to the crisis which has split the coup-wracked nation in two. Britain said it was temporarily closing its embassy in Mali due to the “unstable” situation and “lack of constitutional rule”. A democratic success since its last coup 21 years ago, Mali is now roughly divided into a rebel-controlled north and junta-controlled south and a group of radical Islamists have exploited the chaos to swoop in and install sharia law. The Islamist group, Ansar Dine, moved in alongside the MNLA but has given short shrift to their independence plans. “Our war is a holy war. It’s a legal war in the name of Islam. We are against rebellions. We are against independence. We are against revolutions not in the name of Islam,” Ansar Dine military chief Omar Hamaha said. ECOWAS declared the socalled independence null and void.










HEN this week a cancer struck head of state in Venezuela ignored his dreaded affliction and attacked instead his opponents of planning his down fall, in an election due in October, six months away, one could only conclude that that he must have found the recipe for living forever. When also, a former military head of state aged 94 announced in Turkey that he would rather commit suicide than face trial for displacing a democratic government in a military coup in 1980, then we know for certain that he does not believe that although the mills of justice may grind slowly , they grind exceedingly fine. Similarly when the PM of Communist China announces that the four monopolistic banks in that nation are to be made open to more competition then definitely things are no longer the same in terms of banking in the world’s leading communist dictatorship. In the same vein, equally earthshaking in terms of its magnitude was the level of fraud exposed and being urgently probed in Nigeria over the civil service and police pension funds. Overall, these incredulous, unbelievable events rock the imagination in terms of expectations, and established beliefs, and represent a raid of sorts on certain politica, social, financial and even moral values and issues, as we know and perceive them in the world today. Firstly, the whole world and not only the citizens of Venezuela sympathize with their president, Hugo Chavez in his ordeal with cancer for which he has been going to his friend Fidel Castro’s Cuba for treatment for some time. However on his way to Cuba this time around he threw a bombshell this last week by accusing his opponents of already planning trouble in Venezuela in anticipation of his victory at the presidential elections slated for October this year in which he is a presidential candidate. He also seized the occasion to warn bankers who he said are funding his opponents to desist and declared that such banks would be nationalized once he is reelected. Surely the least problem on Hugo Chavez’s mind is his cancer condition as his reelection seems to supersede that in terms of importance judging by his utterances. Yet if his cancer worsens he could die before October or be disabled by his cancerous condition and not even be able to contest by then. Hugo Chavez is a former military officer who got into office in a military coup. Also, judging from his present proactive political plans, he does not believe any military officer can or dare stage a coup against a president perennially seeking cancer treatment abroad and be successful in Venezuela. The Venezuelan president must be the ultimate optimist in the world today and his courage against cancer must be commended absolutely

Raiders of values and ideas

were he not an elected president and a human being. In holding on to office and bullying his opponents in spite of his cancerous condition he is playing god with his political power to remain in office against all biological and medical odds and that is not fair not only to his supporters but to all Venezuelans. Hugo Chavez as a Marxist does not believe in God but by defying mortality and playing the deathless, cancer -ignoring president, he provides a great lesson in human folly on the misuse of power; and a ready global audience waiting breathless, in disbelief and deep suspense on how and when his power drunkenness and clash with mortality will eventually end, sooner than later, as it surely will. In Turkey 94 year old General Keman Evren who was President of Turkey from 1983 to 1989 and General Tahsin Salimkayo aged 86 failed to appear in court for their trial for deposing an elected government in Turkey in 1980. It was reported that the punishment for their trial will be life sentence which they are not expected to serve because of their old ag . When they came to power in 1980 however about 60000 people were detained and maltreated and 60 people were executed. There had been other

coups in Turkey’s history in 1960 and 1971 but none as violent as the 1980 one . Worse still, the idea of trying the military in a civilian setting was unthinkable in Turkey till now. This was because according to the Turkish constitution the military is the guarantor of Turkey’s secularity against Islamic fundamentalism. This was how the founder of modern Turkey Kemal Ataturk wanted it when he founded Turkey in the 1920s and so it was till he died in 1938 and well beyond. Ataturk also barred the wearing of the fez cap and literally ordered Turks to shun Muslim attires and to wear western suits. This culminated in Turkey’s most important state desire to date to be a member of the EU - a membership request that has not been fulfilled for over 50 years now although Turkey formally got EU Candidate status in 1999. But the military has always used the violation of Turkey’s secularity as an excuse to overthrow civilian governments until a referendum in 2010 overturned that and changed the constitution and removed the immunity to prosecute former military rulers. One thought there would be a coup then to call the civilians to order but the

EU was watching and all Turks were eager to join Europe and the army knew a coup would be unpopular and the government of the day got away with murder as it were in modern Turkish politics. That emboldened democratic government of the Justice and Development Party –AKP- led by PM Recep Tayip Erdogan the Scourge of the military in Turkey, whose party has won three elections back to back, the latest for a third term with a resounding victory in June 2011. KPA, Erdogan and his ally President Abdullah Gul have not looked back since, and have gone on to put a former military president on trial in Turkey and the military can do nothing about it. What a new dawn for democracy and justice at the heart of Europe where Turkey seems destined to play a larger role in regional politics whether it is admitted to the EU or not in the foreseeable future. The Chinese PM Wen Jiabao‘s announcement that the government will break the monopoly of China’s four leading banks because they make profits too easily will gladden the hearts of those who believe in competition and that it brings out the best in any system, either political or financial. According to reports the Bank of China’s

profit in 2011 rose by 19% while that of Commercial Bank of China, the country’s biggest lender rose by 26 %. Of course it will be a mirage to expect the Communist Party in power in China to extend this measure to the political system to break its monopoly on power in that nation . But the fact that it can seek to break bank monopolies in the hope of bringing in smaller banks to stimulate Chinese and global economic growth shows that it can be pragmatic and is not blind or averse to changes that further economic growth and expand China’s fast growing markets both locally and internationally. Now it remains to be seen whether the break up syndrome or changes envisaged will be extended to China’s well known global companies and state monopolies in oil production, marketing, construction and others. Lastly the revelations on embezzlement of billions of naira of pension funds in Nigeria and the growing number of fraudulent accounts being discovered by the Task Force set up by government are a great embarrassment to all Nigerians. Let me first of all commend the authorities for the speed with which they have moved to nip the problem in the bud and bring some identified officials to trial. That is a step in the right direction. I also want to commend all those that matter and are involved who have announced their revulsion at the sordid pension mess and fraud. I am quite happy too that the government has invited some bank bosses where the astronomic fraud monies were deposited to offer explanations. This is because bank officials should know that pension funds are meant for investment to make yields to assure payment of pensions

now and in the future. If pension officials who are employees start making incredibly large lodgements in banks, in their personal capacity. The bank managers should have raised eyebrows and invoked the CBN KYC mandate which means ‘ know your customer‘. Banks should have instigated inquiries and made reports to the appropriate authorities. This however is not too late to be done as what we have seen so far, as incredulous as it is, could be the tip of the ice bag. In addition, the Bank CEOs, some of whom have never worked in institutions with contributory pension schemes, and have served in several places without pensions, can learn from the concern of government and its key finance and administrative officials over the pension scam. The government and legislators have shown clearly that pensions and pensioners are important not only to the economy but to the image of the country and its sovereign reputation in the comity of nations globally in terms of transparency and accountability. Some bank bosses see bank pensioners as disposable and avoidable irritants when it come to discussing pensions matters. Yet but for these pensioners such bank bosses will have no banks to manage as the past contributions of such pensioners built such banks big and healthy balance sheets. Indeed the origin of the concept of pension lies in the sacrifice of the worker to make contributions for a future rainy day. It is therefore the height of wickedness for anyone to embezzle such funds or to treat pensioners like second class citizens in the institutions they used their sweat to build, just because they want to claim their rights as builders of such institutions.



My grouse with Akpabio’s prophecy But like the biblical ‘Elijah, Ogulafor has a successor in the I

will be fooling myself if I lay claim to any gift of prophecy. Without a crystal ball or the ability to hear from God in small, still voice like most modern-day prophets, the best prediction I would ever volunteer is that there will be daybreak tomorrow and the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. That is why I respect our countrymen and women who stick their necks out to make predictions in an environment as unstable as ours. I noticed that even among our men of God, the craze for prophecy has waned since the fiasco that greeted the one made by Pastor Tunde Bakare in the build-up to the nation’s return to democracy in 1999. The founder of Latter Rain Assembly Church had predicted that Obasanjo would not be sworn in as president, even after he was declared the winner of the presidential election. But Obasanjo was not only sworn in as president, he ran a second term and attempted the third one before the ambition crumbled like a pack of cards. But outside the church, the rank of prophets is swelling, particularly in the camp of the PDP where the art of prophecy is fast becoming a hobby. Before he was hounded into hiding by the Jonathan administration, the former chairman of the PDP, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, set tempers flaring with

his infamous declaration that the party would rule Nigeria for 60 years. Nigerians who were groaning under the burden of the PDP’s ineptitude found the prediction a bitter pill to swallow, hence the outrage that greeted it. The more intemperate of our countrymen did not just stop at lambasting Ogbulafor and his party for a proclamation they believed amounted to a sacrilege, they also rained curses on the former PDP chairman for being so insensitive to declare that like the biblical Israelites, Nigerians would be in under the bondage of the PDP for six decades. I would not know whether the frustration and humiliation that later became the lot of Ogbulafor were the result of the unsparing curses rained on him by genuinely aggrieved Nigerians, but the fact remains that things were no longer the same for the former PDP helmsman after the prophecy. He allegedly soiled his hands in the party’s purse and became a target for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Now, he is more or less in hiding, perhaps praying silently that the party’s influence would wane rapidly so that he can once again become the free man he once was. But like the biblical Elijah, Ogulafor has a successor in the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Godswill Akpabio, who, in a more considerate declaration at the Presidential Villa penultimate Friday, declared that the PDP will reign for 50 years. His declaration, he said, was based on his belief that the party has the best mechanism for dispute resolution. “I believe that what is happening in the PDP today is that there is serious internal democratisation going on and that, of course, is deepening democracy and we are getting better and better every day. There is no other political party that will do what the PDP will

Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Godswill Akpabio, who, in a more considerate declaration at the Presidential Villa penultimate Friday, declared that the PDP will reign for 50 years

As rapists go berserk


do not know the current position of the law regarding the maximum sentence due to convicted rapists. If you are one of those who really note the consistent media reports of rape incidents and the seeming lack of adequate legal sanctions that can act as deterrence, you’ll understand my indifference to obviously lame laws. Lack of adequate enforcement, feeble sanctions against accursed paedophiles have ensured that an evil tribe of child abusers and victims of sometimes-irreversible psychological trauma continue to dot our landscape. However, judging from the reported cases of rape, incest and the disturbing queer sexual choices being made by some Nigerians, I believe there is an urgent need to strengthen the laws and insist on its strict application. It is true that, due to the fear of stigmatisation, most rape cases are hardly reported to the authorities. It is also true that many rape victims would rather live with the bitter trauma than expose themselves to a demeaning public odium. A combination of these two factors, I surmise, appears to have given a fillip to the shameful libidos of the serial rapists in our midst. That is sad. It is, to say the least, appalling that this passive approach to a matter that should be categorised as a crime against humanity has elevated the villainous rapist into some kind of folk hero. Moreover, because they are hardly brought before the full wrath of the law, the number of victims continues to grow by the day. Here I do not speak of the unfortunate incidents where armed robbers waylay passengers on our unsafe roads, rob them of their belongings and then embark on the forceful and sacrilegious act of defiling our wives, relatives, children and mothers. I speak mainly of those involved in gang-raping young girls, students and of fathers who not only defile their daughters but also impregnate them. Are we losing it as a society? In the past few months, the Nigerian media reported several cases of rape and incestuous relationships. Sadly, not a single conviction has been reported. There was one shocking report in which a father confessed that though he had carnal knowledge of his daughter, he was not the one that deflowered her. He said he could not have been responsible for the pregnancy as he only slept with his daughter on some few occasions. Ordinarily, it would have been better if the girl had lost this he-goat ‘father’ shortly after her birth. At least, she would not have to go through the agony of fathering a child for her biological father. It is clear that some persons simply do not merit being called fathers. There was also the case of a 29-year-old schoolteacher who was in the habit of abusing the pupils entrusted under his brotherly care. The shameful act continued for quite a while until a smart youngster in the school did the right thing by reporting the suspicious antics of the ‘teacher’ to his parents. The teacher was eventually caught pants down, defiling a nine-year-old in the school’s toilet. And as if that was not enough reason to cut off the useless ‘thing’ dangling between his legs, the ‘teacher’, in self-defence, claimed that he did not rape but had ‘sex’ with

do. All those who complain against the PDP, tell them to show you their congresses and conventions and you will have a great laugh. “This is a party to look forward to. That is why we say in the next 50 years, I don’t see any replacement for the PDP because it is so organised and entrenched,” he said. To be sure, the Akwa Ibom State governor is not a man anyone can honestly accuse of lacking in rhetoric. But his analysis of the factors that would sustain the PDP in power for 50 years is, at best, specious. The governor and his party men will profit immensely from the realisation that the ability of a party to endure is more a function of performance

the adolescent! How soothing? Now, the idiot has been handed over to the police where he would probably take a stroll to freedom, to unleash further havoc on more innocent children. There was a recent report in the Wednesday, April 4, 2012 edition of this paper in which a 40-year-old man allegedly defiled a 13-year-old girl in Osun State. The suspect was said to have trailed the girl to a dark corner and pounced on her. By the time he let go, the girl was soaked in blood. This incident happened just few days after some robbers attacked a Lagos-bound luxury bus in Ogbere-Ijebu, defiling some schoolgirls who were the bulk of passengers in the chartered bus. The psychological trauma the innocent girls were made to go through still lingers. However, it was not surprising that there was denial of rape before the police later announced the arrest of some of the culprits at their hideout in IjebuMushin. Not many parents would be courageous enough to speak about the rape of their children no matter the circumstances. They would rather live in self-denial with heads buried in shame. However, that ought not to be the case in any enlightened society where the right of the citizen to decent living is sacrosanct. The police would not have come up with the white lie that there were no ‘traces of rape’ when they got to the crime scene if the parents of the abused children had spoken out. We were only able to hazard a guess as to what actually happened when a lucky student, who happened to be flying the red flag during the attack, relayed snippets of the callous invasion in the dark, thick forest. She said the rapist robbers told them to ‘enjoy it’ as they had no option. How cruel. In my estimation, there is nothing more sickening than fathers who sexually abuse their daughters while the mother looks the other way in the hope of avoiding social stigma. Such women are not helping matters. Any parent who abuses his daughter or son deserves to be in jail. Patching up the mess would only aggravate the crisis. The result is what we see today where fathers suddenly become the husbands of their daughters and fathers to their daughters’ children. Shame. Some years back, this writer was forced to stop his daughters from receiving swimming lessons from an instructor at a hotel in Abuja. That was after the useless swimming coach got some hot slaps for attempting some idiotic antics under the water. I did not stop at that, I made an official report to the hotel management and that marked the end of his job. I could have kept quiet and silently withdraw my children. That would not help matters in any way. With the benefit of hindsight, I believe my daughters are the best for it because they spoke out on time. I was not prepared to see a paedophile walk free to practice his beastly act on others. I was not just ready for that conspiracy of silence. In many homes today, most children who suffer such abuses are afraid to speak because their parents never gave them the opportunity to do so. Many parents simply do not have the time to listen to them. They are too busy trying to make money and, in so doing, neglect those little things that bond

than the ability to manage internal crises by a combination of fair and foul means. For some strange reasons, he failed to take cognisance of the massive progress the opposition parties, particularly the Action Congress of Nigeria, have made in recent years. With the good showings of the ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last general election, I believe it amounts to foolhardiness for any party man genuinely concerned about the future of the PDP to pretend that all is well and the party will remain firmly in charge after the next two general elections. With the ACN now firmly in charge in the South West; with the party and the CPC’s inroads in other parts of the country; with the current composition of the National Assembly and with the defeat of the President’s candidate in the contest for the Speaker’s seat in the House of Representatives, the shadow on the wall should tell Akpabio that the PDP’s sun is going down. Indeed, the PDP should count itself lucky that it did not succeed in rigging its way through in the South West, the hotbed of civil protests, during the last general election. If it had done so, the nation would by now be grappling with a convulsive revolution against the thieving governments of the PDP in the region and, by extension, against the sleepy Jonathan government at the centre. Even now, Akpabio would need to take a step beyond prophecy and pray fervently that Jonathan does not pander to the promptings of hero worshippers, bootlickers and hangers on who have started urging him to jettison his pledge of single term and throw his hat in the ring for the presidency in 2015. Doing so, I wager, will ignite an implosion from which the PDP may never recover, not to talk of ruling for 50 years.

Knucklehead With

Yomi Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga SMS only: 07028006913 the family together. There can be no other better time to reclaim that family value than now. By getting close to these little ones, we would help in imbuing them with the kind of confidence they need to confront these demented souls and expose them. For now, Nigeria has an abysmal record in reporting rape. A recent report quoted by this paper indicates that only 1,952 rape cases were recorded in 2009. Of course the figure was faulted by an Amnesty International report which described it as “sporadic, piecemeal and inconsistent” in a nation of 150 million people. The Amnesty report, entitled ‘Rape - the Silent Weapon’, equally accused policemen and other security forces of also being guilty of raping girls and women. Those who should know say this happens daily at the various detention centres scattered across the country where the men in black reign supreme. There was also a report which indicted the police for the frequent sexual abuse of commercial sex workers whenever they were arrested for ‘wandering’, an offence that has no place in our statute books! In Abuja, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board started an anti-prostitution arrangement that has now been thoroughly bastardised as a handful of whimsical young men, sometimes accompanied by a lone and possibly dubious policeman, do night rounds, forcefully picking up suspected prostitutes. Now, how can the society help in halting this decadence? It is very simple. Collectively, we should take a position against rape and all forms of sexual abuse. Victims of rape should not be turned into villains while those who inflict the damage on them walk free. When we start doing this, victims of rape and abused children would summon the courage to make public their ordeals. When we strengthen of laws such that rapists are made to go through harsher punishment, the growing tribe of rapists will drastically reduce. Perhaps, if we succeed in permanently locking up rapists behind the bars, we would have less of them on our expressways, stealing our joy and inflicting an everlasting strain on the tender hearts of Nigeria’s vulnerable children. Yet, we ask: how can we do that when some bad eggs among the law enforcement agents have made it their stock in trade? How? The unending questions in our beleaguered polity sometimes cause more headaches as those in positions of governance hardly feel or care about problems confronting ordinary citizens. Or do they really feel our anguish?

Bolaji Abdullahi


Minister of Youth Development

Jos: Peace at all cost

‘Life as a black designer in UK’

Thriller/ 19


Why we are reforming NYSC


PEOPLE THE NATION, Saturday, APRIL 7, 2012

n e r d l i h C of war

SSad, bloody lives ooff Liberia's war rphans and other oorp ulnerable kids vvu

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Sad, bloody lives of Liberia's war orphans, child soldiers and other vulnerable kids T

HE sun still rises daily with a dark pall; in the world of Salimotu Jalon. The successive widow, divorcee and single mother of eight still rises to the same tragedies every day: her heart still pounds like a Konga drum; sometimes, it seizes. Tadiatu, her first daughter, is still jobless; the 20-year-old still deserts the house to return ravaged and scarcely remunerated every day. Five of her eight kids: Kadatu, 3, Kadatu (Jnr) 2, Marca, 6, Elizabeth, 4 and J-Girl, 4, have never been to school. Ishmael, 14, dropped out in Third Grade and Alphonso, 19, dropped out in fourth grade. There are a whole lot of things the Jalon kids will never know and do. They will never know of their mother’s heart condition, something she struggles to dismiss as “just a bad cough.” Jalon’s children will never see their fathers. The eight kids from three fathers are content just to know that two of their fathers were hacked to death in a brutal civil war while the third one suddenly disappeared into thin air. Save Tadiatu and Alphonso grew up through the bloodbath, the six others grow through a different kind of pain every hour. Although their persistent cry is of hunger, a visit to their abode in Paynesville, in the Red light district of Monrovia, Liberia, portended an unpardonable grotesqueness of sort. Far from a huddle of thrash, dried droppings and oxidized pans, J-girl slept peaceably on the cold floor. Few metres from where she snored, from a very bare room to be precise, a pitiful moan wafted chillingly across the house. Inside, J-Girl’s twin, Elizabeth, lay sprawled clutching at her ribs, her misery so clearly defined and accentuated by the maniacal pulse in her wrists, the pallor of her face and the anguish that her young heart struggled to make sense of. “She got pneumonia. She been having it for two weeks and I ain’t got (sic) money to take care of her,” revealed Jalon staring at her kid despondently from the doorway. The acceptance in her face intensified the tragic essence of her disclosure, like a dancing parody of fate on grace. “I pray she doesn’t die. She says she wants to eat but I ain’t got food to give her. The little she gets, she cannot eat. Now she too(sic) sick to eat,” lamented Jalon in a cadence that betrayed a truth past the pain declared. It restated facts that the 45-year-old would like to forget; like her hopelessness as a widow and single parent. It evoked memories of the bloody decade when the rampaging LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Development) army stormed Nimba County laying her first husband, childhood friend and parents to waste with the rest of Tapa Town. It stirred the blood within her veins as she reluctantly recalled the authoritative pellets, bloody bayonets, and smoking cartridges as they hurtled through the air from everywhere and nowhere, to hack down her second husband and other defenceless folks in gleaming mercilessness. With the feral nuance of a grieving lioness, one trying desperately to detach itself from the torment of an insatiable hunger spasm, Jalon bemoaned her loss in the heat of the protracted civil war and bloodbath perpetrated by government forces and rebel groups of the LURD army, Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) and other renegade militias. At the end, she lost 16 people, including three husbands, her aged parents and 12 siblings. “They come to our house very early in the morning. Me and ma were cooking. They drag papy (father) out and tell him to get naked. Then they shoot him in the dick (penis). They say he is government spy. He say he ain’t but they didn’t listen. They force my brother to sleep with ma. Then they kill them both. Then seven of them hit me in the face, hold me to

•The Jalon kids swarm on their mother, each seeking a pinch of a very late and unsatisfiable lunch

•The ‘vulnerable’ divide: Grace, an Ivorian refugee child receives a tearful consolation from her mother on arrival at the refugee camp in Bahn County. Olatunji OLOLADE, Assistant Editor the ground and begin to rape me. They say I be bitch traitor,” recollected Jalon. It’s a miracle that she survived. But if she had her way, Jalon would rather die. According to her, death would be preferable to waking up every morning to the familiar despair of kids she can neither feed nor send to school. “If I were dead now, I know God will take care of them. See, I am alive and I can do nothing. I get to do nothing. Don’t have money for food. Don’t have $10 for rent and my baby is so sick. I don’t want her to die. She too scared to die,” cried Jalon. “No she won’t ma. She won’t. Somebody will come help us,” said Alphonso, de facto man of the house. The 19-year-old does the little he can. “I am a bike rider, I am also a contractor and I wash cars but I don’t get enough to support my ma. I don’t have money for Lizzy (Elizabeth’s medical fees). She feeling pain. The children are hungry, I like to help but I got no job,” he lamented. The Jalons’ plight without doubt, offers a vivid portrayal of the fate of many families in post-civil war Liberia. It portrays the misery casting their touted epoch and dawn of hope in the shadows of a very gory and repugnant past. “It’s the children I fear for most. Most of them are growing up in an atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust. Most parents can’t feed their children. They can’t clothe them and educate them, and as a result they dump them in orphanages around the country. The risk on the kids are quite enormous,” said Lucia BletahBrown, a teacher and aid worker. The orphan At least, Jalon’s kids have still got her; unlike Olleh. Olleh lives at the mercy of neighbours and any Good Samaritan kind enough to accord

•Girl-interrupted: Many Liberian orphans are forced into child labour to survive

her a passing glance. Rummaging through the pots and pans in her grandmother’s kitchen, the four-year-old cut a dramatic picture of desolation and neglect. Her cotton frock was a jumble of twists and loose threads. Now badly worn, it had faded from factory-green to reddish-black of the fireside. Fungal spores spread through her temple and across it, mottling her scalp, earlobes and cheeks with a pallid sheen. Driven by lust to satisfy her hunger pangs, Olleh tore her Grandma Beatrice’s kitchen apart, upsetting the grate and dirty utensils from a previous meal. It didn’t seem like she had had a decent meal in a long while though. “Last night, I gave her left over bread and vegetable rice because she been crying and her grandma had nothing to give her,” said Bimso Clark, her grandma’s landlord. Although Grandma Beatrice refused to talk, Clark narrated how the 67-year-old and her orphaned granddaughter ended up as her tenants. According to her, she took pity upon them and offered them one of her tiny rooms at $8 per month even though she collected $10 from her other tenants. “Me being playing Good Samaritan because me and Beatrice come a long way. We from the same county. We grow up together in Lofa County. But now she making me pay. She can’t even pay rent. She’s been owing me for seven months. That ain’t fair. Can’t throw her out…that poor orphan child (Olleh) been making me chill,” said Clark. As you read, Olleh’s fate depends upon Clark’s continued magnanimity or otherwise. Worst case scenario is: they could be thrown out on to the streets until her granny decides to do what everyone else does and dump her in the nearest orphanage. The refugee

But while Olleh enjoys the luxury of a magnanimous landlady, Mieba, 5, enjoys no such benefit. The orphan was snuck out of Sinfra, Côte d’Ivoire by neighbours after her mother died giving birth to her sister as they fled their war-torn nation few months ago. A fleeing Ivorian couple rescued her from the jaws of death after rebel militia fighting on a campaign against ousted Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo, slaughtered her mother while she nursed Mieba’s three-month old sister. “She would have been killed too. The poor girl slept through the decapitation of her mother and sister. They thought everyone in their house was dead until some fleeing neighbours, a newly-wed couple, found her choking on her own sobs behind what used to be her father’s barn. She was brought here covered in her mother’s blood,” revealed an aged refugee and grandma who simply described herself as Martha. Nobody knows the whereabouts of Mieba’s father till date. Consequently, Mieba faces an uncertain future alongside other orphaned kids at the UNHCR refugee camp for Ivorians in Bahn County. The world of the youngster hardly depicts that sacred innocence continuously touted as the essence of childhood. Liberia’s 14 years of war (1989 – 2003) no doubt had devastating effects on the social fabric of the nation. Mass displacements, killings and the recruitment of children and adults by warring parties destroyed the most basic social unit: the family. During the course of mass displacements, many children lost track of their parents or watched them killed before their very eyes. Child soldier One such victim was David a.k.a Detprofet (Death prophet). Now called Ishmael. The 15-



It’s the children I fear for most. Most of them are growing up in an atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust. Most parents can’t feed their children. They can’t clothe them and educate them, and as a result they dump them in orphanages around the country. The risk on the kids are quite enormous

•Widowed by war and living on baited breath... Salimotu Jalon can’t afford to treat her heart condition and cater for her children’s needs

•Elizabeth can’t get a decent meal nor bed even as she yields to a debilitating bout of pneumonia

•Momodu, UNHCR year-old who hails from Znatu, 13 kilometres from Tapa town in Liberia lost his father and his mother the same day. He watched aghast as LURD rebels slaughtered his father because he dared prevent them from raping their mother who was convalescing from chronic typhoid at the period. Eventually, angry LURD soldier stuck his bayonet in his mother’s two eyes after shooting Ishmael’s father in the head. His father served as a mercenary diamond miner in Gbapa and his mother managed a local pub in an enclave closer to the northern Guinean town of Yekeba than Liberia’s closest province to the border, Nimba County. The incident happened on a weekend while they retired to their home in Znatu to carry out some renovation works from money saved from their sojourn at the country’s border. Ishmael escaped death by the whiskers after

he broke free from two of the soldiers who attempted to ‘tabay’ him (a punishment that prevents blood and oxygen from circulating to the arms causing pain and then numbness). As he escaped, he met National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebels at a checkpoint; they “arrested him and asked him to join the NPFL, but he refused. He was then ordered to rape and kill a girl and her mother whom they described as enemy soldiers. He refused but the NPFL fighters told him that he would be killed if he refused. With regret, he carried out the order. After the incident, Ishmael joined the NFPL as a porter but later trained to be a soldier. He said: “I joined so I can be strong enough to avenge my parents’ death.” But he never chanced upon his parents’ killers. Life for children caught up in the civil war in Liberia was filled with random violence and acts of sickening cruelty. The war spared no one. The World Health Organisation reported in February 1994 that nearly two-thirds of high school students in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, had seen someone killed, tortured or raped during the civil war: The survey of 334 pupils in grades nine to 12, showed the war had caused serious psychological damage to young people in the capital.... It showed that 61 percent of students had seen someone being killed, tortured or raped, six percent had said they had taken part in violence themselves, and 77 percent had lost a close friend or relative killed in the war.... Some of the students said their experiences were constantly on their minds. Half said they had nightmares, trouble sleeping and were more easily frightened. Sixteen percent were using the tranquiliser, Valium, without medical supervision. The children caught up in the war within the very ranks of the opposing forces experienced additional

horrors beyond those faced by the rest of their peers. Nathaniel Roberts, the newly appointed Chief Coordinator of the Don Bosco Homes for Refugee Children and former Child Soldiers, disclosed that many children became easy prey to both rebel forces and soldiers loyal to the incumbent government because no sooner did the war begin than many of them lost their parents and guardians and thereby became vulnerable. “The plight of young people in Liberia is very serious. Something tangible must be done, especially if Liberia is to fully enjoy the lasting peace and economic growth. Every young person in Liberia felt the consequences of the country’s 14-year civil war either as perpetrators or direct victims. It is a glaring fact that these boys and girls were orphaned, conscripted, arrested, tortured and forced to become child soldiers. In the process, they were raped, drugged, beaten and in many instances forced to murder a family member or two in order to steel their hearts for the bloody tasks ahead. “Now the war is over. And a new one has started; almost every orphan you come across today, particularly the ones in the various orphanages scattered across the country, is a potential meal ticket to the keepers and administrators of the orphanages,” said Zwoo Mubaleh, a former orphanage worker turned internet services provider. Orphans as meal ticket Many vulnerable and unsuspecting orphans have indeed become meal tickets to self-styled Good Samaritans and even their own parents and guardians. The preponderance of orphans and vulnerable children furnishes certain fortune hunters disguised as humanitarians

and social workers ample privileges to extort well-meaning individuals and groups particularly international donors and aid agencies. The rot reaches deep into the fabric of the Liberian society thus guaranteeing the survival of a burgeoning industry accommodative of unscrupulous orphanage proprietors as well as their orphan-hunters or suppliers. This is how it works: an enterprising orphan hunter or supplier goes to work in the country’s worst slums and impoverished villages. He targets orphans on one side and disadvantaged families usually comprising one or both parents on the other hand. While most orphans are easily lured by gifts and promises of decent meals, the same ploy is employed to convince very poor couples, widows and widowers to give up their kids for adoption in order to guarantee “good education, decent meals and a better life for them”. Reluctant parents or guardians are usually convinced with very small tokens or gifts. They are promised that their wards are being taken away to enjoy better access to the good life. However, oftentimes the reality becomes very much different. But it is always too late as it’s the poor, defenceless kids or minors who get to discover that they had simply been led to become ordinary meal tickets. In the orphanages visited, most children reportedly had at least one living parent, and a significant number of children had two living parents. Children with living parents were almost never in regular contact with them. One orphaned boy in Harper, Maryland County, stated that he regularly visits his six older siblings who live in a nearby community, but this was the exception rather than the rule. In most cases children received no family visits after being left at the orphanage, even if one parent was known to be living in the area. The lack of awareness about the benefits of a family-like environment is a contributing factor to the high number of children in Liberia’s orphanages. In a number of cases, orphanage staff described how parents placed the children in orphanages to ensure that their basic needs were met, and to allow them to get an education. Some orphanage owners also expressed regret about the lack of opportunity available for children who had been returned to their relatives. The lack of alternative assistance, such as day-care institutions to take care of and feed children, and the lack of a free education system, means that some parents may feel that there are few alternatives to placing children in orphanages. A second problem relating to the lack of awareness about the benefits of a family-like environment relates to the lack of efforts to place a child in foster-care or for domestic adoption. When asked whether any orphans were adopted from the orphanages several staff said that they considered the children their own and would not allow any adoptions as the birthparents or relatives might come back for the children. As a result, very few children who are truly orphans have the opportunity •Continued on Page 14



•Lack of a decent bed, meal and education may be the least of J-Girl’s worries as soon as she learns of her mother’s heart condition

•Rush hour: Meal time is frenzy time in Jalon’s household

Sad, bloody lives of Liberia's war orphans, child soldiers and other vulnerable kids •Continued from Page 13 of being adopted into a new family. Conditions in sleeping areas are in many cases poor. Very few orphanages, including Gloria Orphanage, Grand Cape Mount County, St. Peters Orphanage, Bong County and Rainbow Town Orphanage, Bong County had one mattress per child. In other orphanages children shared mattresses, often at the rate of three children sharing one mattress. However, in some of the orphanages visited, the severe shortage of mattresses indicated that children slept on blankets on the floor. In one orphanage, steel bolts with padlocks had been installed on the outside of the doors, indicating that the children may be locked in their rooms at night. The owner denied this. Another common problem related to sanitary conditions. Although some orphanages had latrines, children in most of the orphanages used the area surrounding the orphanage. In at least three orphanages proper latrines had been built, but were clogged or not in use. Cooking facilities were often unsanitary and in most cases, exposed to roaming livestock. Not your typical grim picture The severing of the link between the child and the parent and family, according to social psychologists, has ramifications that go beyond the immediate stress or trauma. The family is the primary arena through which the process of socialisation occurs. This process is central to children’s learning about the world and their role within that world. Through interaction with the family and greater social environment, the individual becomes aware of the self and learns what is considered acceptable behaviour and what is not. At the same time it is important to consider the post-war state of this family: a disproportionate number of war orphans, child refugees and child soldiers come from

poor, indigent or marginalised families and communities, the very people who bear the brunt of war and find themselves even more impoverished than at the beginning of the conflict. To compound their woes, many child victims of are forced to undergo hardships and commit atrocities against members of their communities and even families. Thus, each child eventually learn to develop survival strategies which remarkably perverts his psyche and general disposition to everything. Some kids die; and others have to turn to prostitution to survive, or betray important values to stay alive. True; years after the war, many young Liberians, uneducated and impoverished with little or no skills ply the streets of Monrovia and other principal cities engaging in a neverending hustle to survive by any means. However, with little or no skills, it is increasingly difficult for these young people to get job and make ends meet. Some have resorted to performing odd jobs that require little or no skills or training. Jobs like car loading, shoe cleaning (known commonly in Liberia as shoe shine boy), and motorbike transport services (referred to as pean, pean) in order to afford at least one decent daily meal. Nigeria as a potential tinderbox At the back drop of recurrent political and ethnic strife tearing Nigeria’s neighbours apart and decimating their youth populations, the country gradually inclines towards similar precipice. “Unemployment, corruption in official circles, tribal politics and insensitivity of the ruling class provides ample justification for our often impoverished and misguided youth to engage in rampant acts of terrorism. That is why today, we have the nation’s youth serving as willing tools in the hands of criminal masterminds desperate to force the country down the path Liberia, Cote d’Voire, Sierra Leone and other war-torn nations in Africa have taken. It’s a great irony seeing us succumb and disintegrate to the same demons we rush to exterminate in neighbouring countries. The incumbent administration

•Bahn County: An Ivorian refugee child sleeps on the floor while her mother goes out to fetch water needs to act fast. Not that I believe that it will anyway. But if we don’t, let us all rest assured that Nigeria cannot survive another civil war,” said a senior Nigerian soldier and participant in the United Nations Military UNMIL peacekeeping efforts in Liberia. “The solution is to stabilise electricity generation and provide gainful employment and entrench justice, transparency and fairness in public service. When our youths are gainfully employed; when they can start to dream and honestly seek to realise their dreams on a very level playing ground, then they start believing that they have something to live for. Then they will start believing in the Nigerian dream and shun every agent of destruction,” said Mahmud AkinpitanOwodeyi, a Lagos-based attorney and civil rights activist. No doubt, the painful transition that has rendered the dreams of bliss of not a few Liberians into recurrent nightmares is as instructive as it is scary. About a quarter of a million people were estimated dead at the end of the long drawn out strife. Former child soldiers and children orphaned by the violence, once drugged and armed with deadly Kalashnikovs are more often than not left to their own devices despite United Nations’ efforts to stitch the region back together. The scene remains darkly familiar. Elements of the old wars are resurfacing: armed mercenaries from neighbouring wartorn countries are suddenly trying to cross the border into Liberia while Liberian excombatants are being lured to fight as mercenaries in neighbouring war-ravaged countries. This promises another humanitarian crisis even as the country struggles to survive the social costs of the 14year war identifiable as widespread poverty, lack of access to education, deterioration of the health system and unemployment to

mention a few. Access to quality health services and information is basically nonexistent in some regions of the country and remains very poor in others. Trained midwives and medical staff that fled the country in the heat of the war are reluctant to return home. In an exclusive chat with the reporter in his Mamba Point, Monrovia office, Sulaimon Momodu, Programme Information Officer (PIO) with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also known as the UN Refugee Agency, said the body has commenced the repatriation of Liberian refugees worldwide. According to him, Liberian refugees who want to return to their homeland have been advised to do so immediately or have their status revoked by June this year when the cessation clause takes effect. The cessation clause is an internationally accepted principle that helps government to decide when a refugee does not need any more international protection. However, majority of Liberian refugees in neighbouring countries aren’t eager to return home. In Ghana, for instance, they are turning down the offer to be airlifted back to their homeland. Tension throughout the country is at a boiling point at a time the country struggles warily to achieve what Kublah Borte, a former child soldier turned orphanage administrator, described as “painful reconstruction and rehabilitation march.” Forget the march, war is in the air. But it’s a different kind of war that threatens to bring Liberia and neighbouring war-ravaged zones to their knees: a deliberate and systematically sustained assault on the African child. Exactly how fragile the situation remains at home is vividly captured by the plight of the Jalon family, Olleh, Mieba and other war orphans.




•The uncompeted building where they were caught

Ibadan baker dies after sex with mistress in uncompleted building

Kunle AKINRINADE smoker. When they had discovered that he was not an Indian hemp smoker, they tried to attend to him but he collapsed in their hands. “They took him to a herbalist who gave him some concoctions in a bid to neutralise the power of the juju, after which he was taken back to the bakery to rest. But as as his condition worsened, some of his friends who were around went through his call log to know who his last callers were, only to discover that Aminat was actually the last name on his call log. He managed to narrate how he had made love to Aminat, popularly called Iya Sofiat, at the uncompleted building and how he had somersaulted shortly after. “When the woman was confronted with Bamidele’s claims, she initially wanted to deny them. But when she was told how Bamidele himself had revealed everything that transpired between them, she confessed that they actually made love at the uncompleted building. “She was then asked to pour her urine into Bamidele’s mouth in the hope that it would neutralise the effect of the magun. Although she obliged and did so, Bamidele died a few minutes later.” Some respondents suspected that one of Aminat’s lovers could have planted the magun. Ironically, the deceased was said to have collected the sum of N400 from his wife, saying he wanted to use the money to buy some undisclosed items shortly


after he took his dinner at about 7 pm on the day of the incident. Insiders said that Bamidele’s wife, Abolore, had been complaining to her husband’s fam-

ily about his penchant for keeping married women as lovers, but she was told that she was being unnecessarily jealous because her husband had many women as customers. The unfortunate incident was said to have prompted the association of landlords in the area to call an emergency meeting where it was decided that

Bamidele began to somersault shortly after and was gasping for breath. Our correspondent also gathered that while Bamidele hovered between life and death, Aminat hid in a corner of the uncompleted building, apparently aware that her lover might have been a victim of the dreaded anti-illicit sex juju otherwise called magun...

IS was a tragic death borne out of lust. On Monday March 21, Musiliu Bamidele, an Ibadanbased baker and father of four, took his girlfriend, Aminat, a mother of three, to their love nest in an uncompleted building at Phase 4, Olonde Street, Olomi, Ibadan. But the man passed on moments after a romp. Our correspondent gathered that the two lovers had made it a habit to abandon their matrimonial homes for a fling at the spot, but March 21 turned out to be their unlucky day. Bamidele, who doubled as a shoemaker, was said to have closed from his bakery on the fateful day to honour an appointment with Aminat despite an instruction from his boss that he should procure flour for the next day’s production. He was said to have called Aminat on his GSM phone at about 8pm to meet him at the uncompleted building as usual. A source, who simply identified himself as Waheed, explained how Bamidele and Aminat were sighted by an unidentified boy and how they had told him that they were the children of the owner of the building. He said: “A boy who was passing by had noticed the deceased and his lover inside the building and queried their presence. But they told the boy that they were the children of the owner of the building. I guess they had not started the ‘show’ then. “Although, no one was there when they were allegedly engaged in the act, Bamidele began to somersault shortly after and was gasping for breath.” Our correspondent also gathered that while Bamidele hovered between life and death, Aminat hid in a corner of the uncompleted building, apparently aware that her lover might have been a victim of the dreaded anti-illicit sex juju otherwise called magun. It was learnt that while sympathisers were trying to save Bamidele’s life, Aminat took to her heels and ran back to her residence. A resident, Kolawole Taiwo, said: “While sympathisers were battling to save Bamidele’s life, Aminat, who had sensed that she might have been the harbinger of his predicament, ran home. But Aminat’s husband has insisted that he did not plant magun in his wife, saying he even had sex with her on the day of the incident. This has deepened the mystery of Bamidele’s death. However, a source suspected that her husband might have had sex with her after she had escaped from the scene and ran home. And if that was the case, he said, then the juju couldn’t have caught her husband because, according to him, it usually catches the first man who meets the woman on whom it is laced. Another resident, Alani Amode, recalled that some fish farmers were the first to sight Bamidele when he was writhing in pains, adding that they had passed him for an Indian hemp smoker. He said: “Bamidele was sighted by some fish farmers and they initially thought that he was one of the hemp smokers around. But he motioned to them to smell his mouth in order to confirm that he was not a

Aminat and her husband be banished from the community. Bamidele had since been buried according to Islamic rites. The deceased baker was described as a peace-loving and hard working man who was always willing to assist people in the community. A resident, Ayinde Onabamiro, said: “Musiliu (Bamidele) was a kind-hearted man and hard working fellow. I liked him a lot, because besides being a baker, he also worked as a shoemaker and generator technician. He had helped me to fix my generator on a number of occasions. “He was a good man. It is only unfortunate that he got himself involved in an act of infidelity, which eventually sent him to his early grave.”



•Entrance to UNIBEN

Disquiet in UNIBEN as race for Bursar turns fetish Osagie OTABOR, Benin

University of Benin, the UNIBEN Development Stakeholders Forum, Committee on Advocacy for the Protection of Right of Women, among others. However, it was gathered that the deep acrimony generated in UNIBEN over the appointment of a Bursar was as a result of the unresolved issues between Dr. Nwoye and the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Osayuki Oshodin. A recent press interviews granted by the both the VC and Dr. Nwoye to journalists gave credence to the perceived ill-feelings between them. The VC had, in the interview, alleged the discovery of fraud perpetrated at the Bursary Department where a staff was allegedly being paid N1million per month. He added that when he set up a panel, Dr. Nwoye allegedly did a ‘wishy- washy’’ job. Prof. Oshodin said it was another panel that later unravelled the fraud. But, Dr. Nwoye denied the allegations, saying that she deserved commendation rather than condemnation from the university authorities. According to her, “My effort to carry out my duties as a professional has led to this orchestrated

•Prof. Oshodin, VC


LEEP has been inadvertently murdered at the University of Benin, Edo State, since last December when the position of the Bursar was declared vacant and advertised for. The placement of the advert was sequel to the expiration of the tenure of Dr. May Nwoye as Bursar of the institution on February 30, 2012.

Before the expiration of the tenure of Dr. May Nwoye, several interest groups had emerged at the university rooting for the re-appointment of Dr. Nwoye while others fought against the reappointment of the former Bursar. The groups included Justice and Fairness Forum, Edo United Professionals, Concerned Retirees of

blackmail by the Vice Chancellor. In my work in the bursary of the University of Benin over the last 27 years, I have spent a considerable time in the Budget Department as well as the Expenditure Control Department. “My duty as Bursar is to ensure that the budget of the university as approved by Council is respected and that all expenditures must follow the financial regulations approved by Council. In doing my job, as effectively as possible, I believe that I am protecting the Vice Chancellor and Council for which I should be commended. It is therefore disappointing that those who should appreciate my efforts are those maligning my reputation so that they can have the opportunity of appointing a puppet Bursar whom they can control.” Also, an International Colloquium in honour of a former Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Andrew Onokerhoraye, could not hold at the Deko Main Auditorium of the university because Dr. Nwoye was billed to deliver a lecture at the event. Guests who turned up for the event were turned back as some students carried placards protesting the presence of Dr. Nwoye at the event. The event was later held at the Precious Palm Royal Hotel. The spokesman of the univer-

The following day, another coffin, a human-like carved image, three eggs and a dead rabbit were also placed at the residence of the former Bursar.The presence of the coffins and sacrificial items had caused panic among other senior staffers...


sity, Harris Osarenren, said that the auditorium was closed to forestall break down of law and order in the university. According to him, “There was information that some students were going to make trouble at the venue when they heard that the former Bursar of the university was one of those billed to deliver a lecture at the event. So the university security personnel ran to the venue to forestall any trouble. “The thing has nothing to do with the VC as they are saying. In fact, the VC was not happy that the event could not take place there because Prof. Onokerhoraye served the school diligently and he is somebody the current VC respects. It is sad that they had to relocate to somewhere else for the opening ceremony. That was what happened and you know how students behave; if such moves are not properly checked, it will snowball to something more devastating,” he stated. An acting Bursar, Mr. Bernard Ojanero, has since been appointed and it is only a Governing Council that can appoint a substantive Bursar, according to the rules of the university. It is not yet confirmed how many persons are jostling for the Bursar’s job but the battle has taken another dimension: The use of charms and rituals. It was thus shocking for residents of the Senior Staff quarters of the UNIBEN penultimate Thursday when two coffins and sacrificial items were placed in front of the residence of Dr. Nwoye. Inside the pots were two chickens whose inside was torn open and knives were used to pierce the hearts of the chickens. The coffins and juju were placed between 11pm and midnight. A professor in the university,



•The coffins and fetish objects placed at the doorsteps of Dr Nwoye

•Dr. Nwoye

who pleaded anonymity, described the incident as ‘worrisome’. According to him, “The security used to check for bombs. How come they did not see the people bringing these objects into the university at the dead of the night?” he queried. The following day, another coffin, a human-like carved image, three eggs and a dead rabbit were also placed at the residence of the former Bursar.The presence of the coffins and sacrificial items had caused panic among other senior

staffers of the university but none spoke to the press on the matter. The Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) Dr. Anthony Monye, said they dis-

cussed the matter at the executive meeting but they resolved not to make a public statement on it. He told The Nation on phone that they decided not to interfere in a

matter that concerned the university management. Dr. Nwoye said she was surprised to see the coffins and sacrificial items when she woke up, adding that it was neighbours who called her at about midnight to inform her that some persons were off-loading some things at

Dr. Nwoye said she was surprised to see the coffins and sacrificial items when she woke up, adding that it was neighbours who called her at about midnight to inform her that some persons were off-loading some things at the gate leading to her residence...


the gate leading to her residence. Dr. Nwoye said she contacted the police who took her statement before removing the coffins and the sacrificial items. She appealed for police protection, saying 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 continues to pursue her reappointment as the Bursar of the university. When contacted, Public Relation Officer of the institution, Harris Osarenren, however, said he was not aware of the incident.



7-year-old daughter of teacher killed in Gombe five years ago by her pupils says:

I would have died for my mum if… N

OTWITHSTANDING the onerous sacrifice of her father, Oluwafemi Oluwaseesin, now her foster “mother,” seven-year-old Temilade Victoria Oluwaseesin’s life exemplifies a thinker’s position that when a child is motherless, he knows no love …” So untoward goes the story for her younger brother, five-year-old Emmanuel Oluwatoba. Temilade was barely two years on the face of the earth while Emmanuel was just 10-month-old when cruel death came calling in a most gruesome fashion for their mother, Mrs. Christiana Oluwatosin Oluwaseesin, a nursing mother. It met her in line of duty. Though the kids now trudge on through the rough terrain of life journey, their tender hearts still harbour the pain of losing one of their biological guiding angels. As in a horror movie, caught pants down, she was bundled into an early grave on March 21, 2007. And the agents of death were the fundamentalist Islamic pupils at the Government Day Secondary School, Gandu, Gombe, Gombe State, where she had enjoyed imparting knowledge. Of course, to the Nigerian system, the matter may have been left to rot under the carpet; however, to members of the hapless woman’s immediate family, especially her kids, who feel the agony, it is an eternal injury they are left to grapple with. Of course, the woman’s story has almost become a bad household anthem. However, what remains strange is the fact that the perpetrators of her dastardly killing have continued to enjoy some appalling measure of immunity only permissible in the country’s typically toothless justice system. A disciplined teacher, the slain Christiana was reputed to be an uncommon woman of virtue. She was callously murdered by the same kids she was sweating to mould for a better tomorrow. Her end came on the day she was billed to finally join Oluwafemi, who had secured an appointment at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State. She had got hired as the infirmary’s administrative secretary. As a Christian during the school’s examination process, she had to oversee the Islamic Religious Knowledge papers for Senior Secondary 1 class. Along the line, she caught a female student copying answers from a book concealed in a newspaper. Furious Christiana seized the materials which later turned out to be slips of the Hadith and Qu’ran. That was how the woman dared the devil ignorantly. Chants of Allahu Ahkbar! Allahu Ahkbar filled the scene that had gone instantly chaotic. Christiana promptly reported the development to her principal, Mallam Sadiq Mohammed. She also called her husband. The emergency response of her husband, which led to policemen storming the school to maintain order, held no water. The Muslim students went gaga and mobilised a huge crowd that went after Christiana’s head. He took refuge in the principal’s office but when

Were I to be an adult and present there when my mother was being killed, I would have volunteered to die for her. I would have insisted they kill me to spare her life for being a mother among mothers...



Dada ALADELOKUN, Assistant Editor the crowd threatened to torch his office, he buckled and exposed the helpless woman to jungle justice. The principal looked on in shock while the students tied already stripped naked Christiana’s neck with a rope. The heartless pupils burnt her car. A 12-year-old boy slashed Christiana’s throat with a knife. Others took their turns and eventually burnt the woman with the spare tyre of her own car! Then, the pupils from hell went after little Emmanuel where he was concealed. But a woman hurriedly hid the baby under her flowing hijab. The infant was smuggled to safety through the unsuspecting attackers. The remains of the late

As a way out of the seeming contrived “traffic” jam which had been worsened by nauseating manipulations, Pastor Thompson and Oluwafemi cried to the Senate with a letter. Till tomorrow, it remains a waiting game as justice seems far and unreachable. Just last week, the family, in a way to remember the patriotic woman in what was seen as the fifth year anniversary of her death, The Nation was at their Abeokuta home. Even the family’s television and other electronic appliances shared in the mood of the moment. No cake, no drum, no cheer! Temilade, now seven years, is in her third class in a primary school while Emmanuel, now five, is in class one. That they both take their studies seriously is not debatable. Back from school on the annivrsary date, they were glued to their books at their respective tables under their father’s close supervision. Their father was to later recall how they celebrated the anniversary. “All we did when we woke up was gather and pray for the rest of the family and their departed mother. Then they both went to their school,” Oluwafemi s a i d with sobriety. Personal encounters with the •Oluwatoba kids revealed the Christiana’s regrowing pains mains were eventuin their hearts as ally interred on March well as the extent to 24, 2007 in Abeokuta, the which their father’s inOgun State capital. tervention with the scripThe Christian Association of Nitures had tried to help them out of geria (CAN), Gombe chapter, and Macedonian Initiative (MI), a the labyrinth of motherlessness. Hear Temilade who said she felt world-renowned humanitarian very sad when she learnt of the group, among others, stepped in to fight for the family and the wid- death of her mother through her faower who was instantly saddled ther: “It pained me and it still pains with a huge burden: Combining his me but I thank God I learnt she died job with caring for their two chil- a matyr for Christ. I was told my dren – Temilade and Emmanuel, mother was fond of going out to with the agony of losing his 31-year- preach the word of God. I feel old wife, with whom he was four lonely each time I remember her, especially at night.” years in wedlock. In a fit of indignation, she was said Everywhere, Senior Pastor of Living Waters Unlimited and MI’s na- to have threatened a colleague not tional coordinator, Ladi Thomp- long ago: “I will kill you the way son, attempted to seek justice for the they killed my mother!” Further regretting her mother’s family. The effort met a brick wall, no thanks to the alleged “biases of death, the young girl who almost broke down in tears said: “Were I the Gombe government.”

to be an adult and present there when my mother was being killed, I would have volunteered to die for her. I would have insisted they kill me to spare her life for being a mother among mothers.” If the Nigerian system would allow him grow, she promised: “I want to live for God like my mum.” Five-year-old Emmanuel proved an old head on young shoulders while he chatted with this reporter. It was an equally emotional moment. Sounding assured, he said his mum was right in heaven. And I hope to meet her again when I get to heaven at old age.” Oluwaseesin has since been nursing his grief. And he has since remained indignant that justice had remained elusive. The eldest affirmed that he had been under pressure to forget the matter and live with his pains. “I have received calls from someone who threatened that if I did not want to lose my life and those of my children, I should forget the case. I reported the case to security agencies,” he recalled. Furious Oluwafemi expressed his anger with former Gombe State Governor, Mohammed Danjuma Goje, now a senator, under whose government his wife was murdered. “I was shocked to read Goje’s lies in a national daily where he claimed that he once visited me and gave me N10.5 million, whereas he did not give me a kobo. It’s a shameful lie,” he once fumed. On his expectation on the matter now, he recently said: “I think at this point, the National Assembly should wade into the matter to attenuate the trauma in my family, cushion the effect of the gory incident in the lives of the kids and ensure that justice is done at long last. With that, it will be realised that human life is sacrosanct and that you cannot just kill your fellow man like a chick. I’m ready to appear before any committee if invited.” Now, of particular concern to most observers of the devlopments are: For such kids to have the gut to kill their teacher, they must have been under an indoctrination by some fundamentalists; hence, a serious government would have investigated the undercurrents. Secondly, before releasing the killer students, security agencies should have debriefed them to find out the truth behind their actions. Thirdly, government should have been quick to realise the fact that it is these dangerous children that grow to become Boko Haram that is now threatening the peace of the nation. They are also of the view that these dangerous children that will one day grow up to become governors and senators who will continue to abet such terrorism. “This is why our government must wake up from slumber,” reasoned Pastor Thompson, one of the concerned.




Jos: t a e c a e P all cost





ITH the rise of militant groups in different parts of the country, the security agencies have been caught napping. Even the Nigeria Police have sermonised that they cannot handle national security alone and have therefore appealed for help and cooperation from members of the public. Buffeted by incessant violence attacks, Plateau State citizens who desire peace have taken steps to secure themselves. The model of internal security in the tin city at the moment is civilian-oriented. In a recent meeting with stakeholders in Plateau State, security chiefs drawn from the military and para-military clearly told anxious civilians to take responsibility for their own security. In fact, they unanimously declared: “We are tired of evacuating corpses from the streets”. Addressing the stakeholders on behalf of the security chiefs, the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ayeni, said: “This meeting has become necessary in view of the situation we have found ourselves in the state. We had already restored peace all over the state. “The state is witnessing a strange dimension of violence not known to the people of this state, and we saw the need to bring the stakeholders together and brainstorm on the best way to tackle this new wave of violence. The security agencies alone cannot do it. This kind of situation requires the coming together of all stakeholders and networks. “The strategies we have adopted may be very expensive for the stakeholders, but it has become necessary if we must stop suicide bombing in the state. Two churches have been attacked. No one knows which worship centre is the next target of the terrorists, but we have a duty to prevent any further attack if we all agree as stakeholders to work together.” According to the security chiefs, the new security measures being adopted to prevent further suicide bombing in the state include preventing worshippers from driving their private vehicles to church or mosque, especially on Fridays and Sundays; training private security guards for the churches and mosques; the worship centres must obtain some security gadgets, especially the type used in detecting metals. The security chiefs added: “All worshippers, including pastors and Imams, must submit themselves to security checks. There should be no accessibility to any worship centre in vehicles. Any road leading to any worship centre must be cordoned off on Fridays and Sundays. No worshippers will be allowed to cluster around a church or a mosque after service. “If all of us who are stakeholders abide strictly by the new security measures listed above, we assure that there will be no more suicide bombings in the state.” The decision to block access roads to worship centres in the state runs contrary to the agreement reached by stakeholders in the state in a peace summit that followed the declaration of emergency in Plateau State by the Obasanjo administration in 2004. Then, it was agreed that no worshipper should block any road during worship hours, so as to allow other road users to exercise their rights to those roads. Today, security agencies are encouraging worshippers to block roads during their programmes. As a matter of fact, Ayeni goes round the city every Friday and Sunday to ensure full compliance with the new security measures. However, in spite of the gloomy condition of security in the state, the residents and the government may have made a firm decision to achieve peace at all cost.

Jos crises: Plateau begins reconstruction, rehabilitation moves suspects beg for pardon

I want to plead with these people that they should leave Plateau alone, because Plateau is God-owned and no matter how they try, they will continue to fail to capture the state. They will only try in vain because God loves Plateau

•STF Commander, Major Gen. Ibrahim Muhammed speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting in Jos... last week

Today, private individuals in Plateau State have taken their destiny in their own hands, taking the lead in security matters while government-owned security agencies follow behind. Even at the time there were security agents all over the state, the Plateau State government and its people did not cease to explore other avenues for peace. Then, realising the efficacy of dialogue, Governor Jonah Jang established an office under his direct supervision to coordinate talks among stakeholders in the state. It was called the Plateau Oneness Dialogue, through which series of dialogues were coordinated by the Directorate of Research and Planning, Governor’s Office, Rayfield Jos. The oneness dialogue brought Plateau youths across religious and ethnic divides to a round table to discuss the unity of the inhabitants of that state, a feat deemed impossible at the height of the crisis. Similar meetings have been held by

Yusufu AMINU-IDEGU academics, politicians, women groups, technocrats and other groups. The meetings provided a platform to sell government’s policies and programmes to the people. During one of the numerous meetings he held with stakeholders, Governor Jang once said: “For all the crises that have bedevilled the state in the last decade, the state has been able to survive because God loves Plateau State. God is interested in the affairs of the state, which is why the state has survived all the plans from within and without to destabilise it and take it over. “All the governors before me faced these challenges and we are still facing the external challenges coming from people who are jealous of the potential of the state. The battle against us is such that while we are building peace, our enemies in and outside the state are working against peace in the state. The most recent incident gave me serious pains because

we had gone far in peace building, but all of a sudden, the prevailing peaceful atmosphere was disrupted. “I want to plead with these people that they should leave Plateau alone, because Plateau is God-owned and no matter how they try, they will continue to fail to capture the state. They will only try in vain because God loves Plateau.” Jang, therefore, called on the people to unite and defend their state irrespective of their political and ethnic inclination, because the enemies of the state would want to see them disunited so they could succeed in their plot. “Remember that a house divided against itself cannot stand. We have to be united to stand, especially since God is on our side,” he warned. Recently, a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), led by Citizens’ Action For Peace (CAP), launched a peace campaign aimed at restoring peace in the state. The coordinator of the group, Mrs. Martina Kure, who disclosed this at a press conference in Jos, said the coalition comprised four NGOs and were committed to faster restoration of peace not only in Plateau State but in all the troubled states in the country. She said: “We are kick-starting the national peace campaign in Jos with the theme ‘I want peace. What about you?’ Let’s join hands to make peace.” The groups in the coalition include CAP, Search For Common Ground (SCG) and Islamic Forum for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation (IFPJR). The coalition intends to work with members of various communities across the country, starting from Plateau State, with a view to helping them to take full control of peace process by working together as stakeholders and evolving ways and means by which they can live together in permanent

s don



•Plateau Oneness Dialogue in session at the Govt House, Rayfield, Jos

•Chief of Defence Staff, Oluseyi Peterin (right) and Governor Jonah Jang during the flag off of free medical services in Jos

peace. Kure said: “These community peace outreaches will enable citizens to pick up identified peace building techniques that best fit their peculiarities and are best practices for them and their environments. It is hoped that since a state is made up of units of communities, there is a need to equip them with the knowledge that conflict is natural and only turns sour when violence is introduced into it. They will learn to analyse situations before taking actions that are inimical or destructive.” The NGOs are currently meeting with stakeholders in the state, especially religious, community and youth leaders. The coalition is expected to take the campaign to all the 17 local government areas in Plateau State. Such is expected to be replicated in other states with similar security challenges, using the success story of Plateau. The combined efforts of the Federal Government-owned Special Task Force (STF) and the Plateau State government in using dialogue to restore the lost glory of the state were further boosted by a soccer tournament involving the youth in the state. The tournament was aimed at stamping out the “no go areas” in Jos. The city had been polarised along religious lines and at the height of the crisis, it was impossible for a Christian to pass through a Muslim settlement and vise versa. The same condition prevailed even after fighting was over. The soccer tournament therefore was to bring the youths closer to one another through training and playing together. The Commander of the STF in the state said: “The idea of the Plateau Peace Tournament was conceived since October, 2011.

“The competition is part of the peace process on the Plateau. There is no doubt that peace has returned to the state. All we need to do is to begin to resume doing all the things Plateau people used to do together irrespective of tribe or religion. “The tournament is structured in such a way that Muslim youths will go to Christian areas to train and Christian youths will go to Muslim areas and train together. We registered 24 teams and they are from Jos North, Jos South, Riyom, Barkin Ladi where the crisis was more pronounced. Youths in these areas will be united in this tournament and will make new friends after the crisis that had separated them for some time.” The STF is not only preaching peace in Jos, it also went further to provide free medical services to the people of the state to alleviate the effect of the war era. Like the football tournament, the free medical services were concentrated at the six local government areas within the Plateau North Senatorial District where the conflict was more pronounced. The Chief of Defence Staff (CODS), Air Marshall Oluseyin Peterin, while flagging off a week-long free medical services recently, said the Federal Government’s efforts in deploying troops in Plateau State had begun to yield dividends, as relative peace had been restored in the troubled state. According to Peterin, “the crisis in Plateau State has been a major source of concern to the Federal Government and all well-meaning Nigerians, which was why the government deployed troops to restore peace in the state. “We are embarking on a comprehensive peace building programme in Plateau State in collaboration with the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and Alliance Professional Resource Service Limited

•A cross section of security chiefs at a stakeholder's meeting in Jos... last week

•Coalition for Peace iat a news conference in Jos

(APRESEL), one of which was the free medical week we held recently. “The slogan of our peace building programme is ‘Plateau for peace, Jos for Joy’. We started with the first phase where we established dialogue among stakeholders. This second phase is to offer free health services for Christians and Muslims in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Jos South, Jos North and Jos South.” One factor that will convince anyone that Plateau citizens desire peace is the fact that even the suspects arrested from various scene of Jos crisis have asked for pardon and to be considered for amnesty. About 90 per cent of the 608 inmates of Jos prison are suspects arrested in the course of the various ethnoreligious conflicts in the state since 2008. Most

of them have been convicted while some are awaiting trial. One of the inmates (name withheld), who spoke on behalf of the rest, said: “We are seeking this opportunity to appeal to the Plateau State Governor, Jonah David Jang, to grant us an amnesty by setting us free from detention. We have realised our mistakes. We have learnt our lessons and we are now reformed citizens. We have shown remorse. The prison officials can bear us witness since they are closer to us. “We appeal for pardon and we promise to return to the society as agents of peace. We have realised the importance of freedom and peace, having spent months or years in detention”.



I had planned to promote myself to ASP before I was arrested, says fake police corporal

•The suspect displaying his fake police ID card


Ebele BONIFACE cause many police officers in Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, Oyo and Edo states already believed he was a genuine police-

suspects. In order for them not to be taken to the police station, they would jointly find a reasonable sum for me and I would warn and discharge them. “If I saw somebody riding okada on the wrong side of traffic, I would stop him and disappear with the okada, pretending that I was taking it the station. Later, I would find a buyer and dispose off the motorcycle. I also used the ID card to gain access to anywhere I wanted to steal from or rode motorcycle in okada-restricted area like Ikoyi without anyone stopping me. “But on this particular day, Supol Lucky, a Sperintendent of Police, ordered one of his men to search me. I was subjected to a thorough search until they found this police identity card on me and handed it over to Supol Lucky. He then started bombarding me with questions. They looked very aggressive. I told them that I was a police officer and was just using the motorcycle to get some money to supplement my meager salary. I even told them that I had not been paid for two months while I had a large family to cater for. “But the Supol was looking at me suspiciously. Then he told me to follow them to the police station for better explanation. I entered their patrol vehicle with my motorcycle put at the back of the vehicle, and they took me to their police station.

There was a place they were calling me DPO. I ran away from there because DPO is a big rank, so I did not want the thing to attract attention... I gave myself the rank of corporal but I had hoped to promote myself to Assistant Superintendent of Police in the near future. This arrest has scuttled my ambition


IRISU, a suspectedly fake police corporal, known as Haruna, arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Lagos State Police Command with a fake identity card with Force No. 383709, has said he could not stop parading himself as a policeman because of the respect he enjoyed from the public and even policemen. He said the speed with which he was accorded recognition each time he flashed his identity card when he was asked to identify himself encouraged him to carry on, adding that he would have made a lot of money be-

man. He also said his fake identity card granted him access into companies and other important places, including police stations, customs offices, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and leaders of market unions. Most importantly, he said, criminals treated him like a king and used him to perpetrate their nefarious activities in Lagos and its environs. Recalling his antics before he was tracked down by SARS operatives, Haruna said: “I am actually an okada (commercial motorcycle) rider around Ikoyi (Lagos). I reside at Mowe Pakuro before the Redeemed Camp on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. I also do security work at No. 11, Thompson Street, Ikoyi. “I do not wear my private security uniform on the streets or when I am riding okada because many people have got the wrong impression that I was a police officer. I even keep a clean shave to support my claim as a force man. “At times, I would see people quarelling and I would threaten to take them to the police station. Midway, I would accuse both parties of causing public disorder or breaching public peace. At other times, I would accuse them of affray or fighting in the public. At times, I would tell them that they were robbery

“When they interrogated me there, I confessed that I forged the identity card but was not using it for armed robbery. I told them I used it to scare away area boys who extorted money from okada riders and to deceive police officers who were on stopand-search duties. Whenever I showed them the ID card, they asked me to carry on and even saluted me. That gave me the impression that I could always beat police intelligence. “When I got to SARS, they took me before OC, SP Abba Kyari. The question he asked me was how I got the police identity card. I told him that I got it from the uniform a police officer. I said he washed his police uniform and spread it in his compound on Thompson Street. When I looked around and nobody was seeing me, I took the uniform and looked for a photographer. After taking photograph with the uniform, I returned it. “As for the identity card, I picked it from police area. There was nothing written on it, so I looked for phone screen, printed my name and a fabricated force number and date and laminated the identity card. “I wanted to impersonate a police officer to enable me to get enough money to establish a small-scale business after all my efforts to get a loan from the banks or micro-finance companies had failed. “I picked the ID card at Falomo area of Lagos. They were even two and both had no names or numbers printed on them. “I would also like to remind you that I once went to my home state, Kogi, for recruitment into the police but the date was postponed. At that time, I was a private security man at No. II, Thompson Avenue, Ikoyi. I spent all the money I had to travel but the recruitment exercise did not hold. When I came back, I could hardly feed. I had no money to even buy fuel to do my okada work. They also nearly sacked me where I was doing my security work because of repeated absence from duty. I went for the next scheduled recruitment in the same Kogi State. We took examination but I did not pass. They asked difficult questions, but my height measurement, feet, teeth, chest, waist and medical test were okay. I was downcast and returned to Ikoyi determined to succeed by all means. “There was a place they were calling me DPO. I ran away from there because DPO is a big rank, so I did not want the thing to attract attention as people would be wondering which DPO is this common fake police corporal. I gave myself the rank of corporal but I had hoped to promote myself to Assistant Superintendent of Police in the near future. This arrest has scuttled my ambition.”




VICTOR AKANDE E-mail: Tel: 08077408676 (SMS only)



nt part of An importa s of any the succes is its civilisation late the mu ability to e t led to the a th factors ther success of o Eric .— s civilisation rt Reine

Re: MOPPICON, not the messiah!

‘Excuse-me’… Mr. Ogundaisi!


did a name search on the self acclaimed Moviedom aficionado; Mr. Yinka ogundaisi as soon as I read his piece on your widely read column last week, and Ogundaisi, from all I read about him, including views expressed in most articles he had penned, came through as one of those attention seeking filmmakers who want to be a part of every movement or who will not see any merit in any development they didn't initiate or help to midwife. In fact, it was during the search that I discovered that he was indeed the architect of the project called the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) Distribution Framework, which he even gladly admitted in his last week article, as not having produced a single active distributor, almost three years after the framework was gleefully introduced. Last week Mr. Ogundaisi talked about providing 'equally important but opposing perspectives' to some of the issues our own Victor Akande has raised over time. He embarked on the usual 'I know it all' when he suggested that his opinion will make for a balance consideration and perhaps deeper understanding by all concerned. What deeper understanding? I didn't get to grasp anything new from that article; rather I was a bit worried that we may end up confusing decision makers on the right way to go in salvaging Nollywood from its near chaotic state, occasioned largely by the absence of a regulatory framework. I am not a filmmaker. I have never cranked a camera in my life. But I am a communication scholar who became interested in studying Nollywood because of its uniqueness, and also because of the way the industry has risen to become a global brand. So when I read comments that don't add up but seem to distract from what should be, I usually get irritated. I will leave my views on awards and festivals for another day, even though I will hastily remark that I don't agree with Mr. Ogundaisi's thesis that we should stop organizers of festivals and award scheme from holding future events until we can sort out our distribution quagmire. Back to the issue of MOPPICON, I'm glad Mr. Ogundaisi doesn't quarrel with the fact that MOPPICON is not desirable for the industry, even though in another breathe, he thinks it is not possible to regulate a free enterprise, but his grouse is with those driving the process of bequeathing to this industry, a legislation which he admits will be for the overall benefit of the

…Writes Chika Ibeziem

motion picture industry. He thinks that those agitating for MOPPICON, which should rightly be to Nollywood what the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) is to the advertising business, are using the platform to achieve their hidden agenda. Ogundaisi also alleges that the MOPPICON document doesn't seem a product of wide consultation and that it might be a long wait in the icy cold for the council because some practitioners including him, 'whose opinions the real decision makers in the executive and legislative arms of the government at both state and federal level respect…' were relegated to the background. And I ask Mr. Ogundaisi; must we all be in the forefront of the agitation? Where was Mr. Ogundaisi when the Committee on the draft MOPPICON bill chaired by the respected Chief Tunde Oloyede held a number of public sittings across the geopolitical zones to elicit comments and views from practitioners who may not belong to guilds and associations represented on the council? I was one of those who paid my way from Enugu to Lagos to attend the public forum the committee held at the National Theatre, and there and then, we were given the opportunity to scrutinize the documents and make our inputs, and I am sure that was what transpired in other zones visited by the committee. If the likes of Mr. Ogundaisi that have been involved in previous attempts to evolve an umbrella body for the industry (which is even different from getting a proper legislation for the industry backed by law), did not avail themselves of those opportunity to make inputs, then its unfortunate. It is indeed unfortunate because the

I'm glad Mr. Ogundaisi doesn't quarrel with the fact that MOPPICON is not desirable for the industry, even though in another breathe, he thinks it is not possible to regulate a free enterprise, but his grouse is with those driving the process of bequeathing to this industry


promoters of the MOPPICON have gone far with getting government to pass it into law. The last time I read up a piece on it, the bill was at the stage of even being considered at the level of the Federal Executive Council. So instead of beefing those in the forefront of the agitation to get that most important and rejuvenating tool that Nollywood requires to address some of its structural deficiencies, including the need to eliminate the mounting distortions and dysfunction in the industry, I think efforts should be geared towards lobbying government to establish MOPPICON which unknown to Ogundaisi will be peopled by duly accredited representatives of all the guilds and associations. I agree with Ogundaisi that the promoters of MOPPICON need to consider the constitutional guarantee of free expression, which encompasses artistic expressions, but I completely disagree that there is nothing specific that the new MOPICCON legislation will achieve for the industry. Although we have gone pass the stage of that argument which is why I think we are being drawn back, there is a need to re-assure the likes of Ogundaisi that the establishment of MOPPICON will streamline activities of practitioners in the motion picture industry which is in dire need of streamlining and restructuring. Also the establishment of MOPPICON will compel practitioners in the motion picture sector to conform to the guidelines of practice. This is necessary in view of the fact that in this part of the world, where every Tom, Dick and Harry is a filmmaker, self-regulation has not worked. Suffice to add that it is perhaps through MOPPICON that Ogundaisi's whole thesis about the need for Nollywood to be integrated into the organized private sector and open new financial vista for the industry. I have no doubt in my mind that the private sector will be ready to do business including the business of distribution of movies once they are aware that there is a regulatory structure that keeps a verifiable register of members, a council that will determine entry points and limits and that will generally administer, regulate and professionalize the practice of motion picture in Nigeria. Let Nollywood be regulated today and you will be sure that all things, including Ogundaisi's lofty dreams for the industry will be added unto it. —Ibeziem is a Mass Communication scholar based in Enugu.

Do you watch Nollywood movies? What do you think of the Nigerian motion picture industry? Send your review of any movie or short essay on any topic of your choice about the film industry in not more than 200 words. Send entries by e-mail to: or SMS your short comments to 08077408676

July date for 2face’s wedding


F news reaching us is anything to go by, then hip hop cum R&B singer 2face Idibia will quit bachelorhood in the month of July, 2012. Information reaching us reveals that 2face is very serious with his marriage proposal to his heartthrob, actress Annie Macaulay which he openly expressed through

the engagement of February 14, 2012. The lovebirds are said to have already chosen a wedding date, and plans are underway for the couple to become man and wife, as the traditional marriage rites of Ms. Macaulay is scheduled to take place at her home town, in Akwa-Ibom State.

Aki sells wedding movie rights


OLLYWOOD actor, Chinedu Ikedieze popularly known as Aki has sold the rights of his superlative traditional and White wedding which took place last year in Uzuaholi, Abia State. The first to have her wedding video sold was Mercy Johnson last year, and Aki now enters Nollywood history books as the first male thespian to offer the video of his wedding for sale to the public. The video which is currently on movie shelves is marketed by Kasvid Venture Limited.




IMAM merges with Trybe Records

Yoruba Movie Academy Awards beckons

Dilemma of a Port T Harcourt club owner


ITTLE known entertainment company, IMAN Entertainment is merging with Trybe Records- a coalition like none ever seen in this part of the world. This mega merger is in line with IMAN Entertainment's vision of becoming Africa's largest and most diversified independent entertainment company. According to the board of the IMAN Entertainment, “the ultimate goal of IMAN Entertainment is to become a major label while providing 360 degree entertainment services to Africa and the rest of the world. Our retinues of seasoned consulting, advisory and media specialists give IMAN Entertainment the advantage of achieving our vision in less than a decade”. The board said further that “eLDee and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these creative properties that have created significant value and presence in the industry. We are pleased to bring these great talents and their assets to IMAN Entertainment”. This symbiotic relationship marries Trybe Records strong brand presence, creative skills, industry expertise and renowned library of work business structure that is aimed at maximizing the value of the Nigerian music industry across multiple platforms and territories.


ROPRIETOR of Eddy Wine Bar, a Port-Harcourt based Lounge, Edwin Okolie has been at logger head with his landlord and owner of Studio 24, Mr. Ifeanyi Oputa. Inside sources say Eddy as he is fondly called and Oputa, who is the landlord of a property on which the club owner runs his ELounge in Abuja have been in court since the inception of the business, a development which led to the temporarily shut-down of the lounge. Reacting to the report, Eddy said, “It is not our desire to close down operations. From inception of E-Lounge the Landlord sublet the place to me and in-turn sublet a part of what I paid for to someone else without my consent. I decided not to get violent about it


and resolved to take the matter to court, but to my surprise, the case was turned against me. I really don't understand what happened between the Landlord, my lawyer and the court. At the end of the day, the court gave an order that we should vacate the place. Before we knew it, before expiration of the grace time given by the court, we were forcefully thrown out of the place and in the process losing part of our equipments. Eddy, who would not give up on the issue said: “Right now, I have changed my lawyer. I had to get a new lawyer whom I think I can entrust my case with. It was obvious the former lawyer didn't give the case adequate attention. The case has been taken to the Appeal Court and I except nothing

Impressive stars line-up at MIPTV 2012



EAN Reno, Franka Potente, Julian Fellowes, Elle Macpherson, Geraldine Somerville, Toby Jones, Celia Imrie, Deena Nicole Cortese, Vinny Guadagnino, Nikki Griffin and Tiffany Brouwer were some of the stars who attended MIPTV 2012, which ended Wednesday in Cannes, France. Red carpet for the event; the largest film and television content market was rolled out in front of the Martinez Hotel to welcome the stars and VIP guests at the opening party, and the International Digital Emmy Awards ceremony in the evening of Sunday April 1. French actor Jean Reno of Da Vinci Code fame was at the market


Duro BABAYEMI travelling abroad in order to enjoy the thrill of Disney world. He said: “That is the reason the idea came up. The Disney world effect is now here. This is the first of its kind in the country and is classified in age groups. We have 36 movies to start the project. Two movies will be shown each day and the audience would not just watch the movies, they would be part of it.” Adisa said though each of the films is a five-minute film, the audience would feel they are watching one hour film. As the film is being shown, they would

MTN launches new offering amid music and dance


N line with MTN's enriching lives value proposition, the telecoms giant recently launched a new offering named MTN Pulse which is specifically designed to give youths a unique platform to connect around their common likes, passions and lifestyle. MTN Pulse also ties into •Keynote showcase fashion star - Elle Macpherson their desire for unlimited friendship, fun and freedom. Intent) and shot in Paris, this with a new international series An upgrade of MTN Fun-link, ambitious project marks Reno's presented by Atlantique MTN Pulse is a reloaded platform television debut as the lead of an Productions, in partnership with for the Youth and Trendy's international series, which was TF1 and distributor SevenOne Segment offering young people revealed during a press conference International. Created by René across Nigeria, the opportunity to at MIPTV. Balcer (Law & Order Criminal be part of the largest youth Harry Potter's mother Geraldine community, one that is also Somerville (Harry Potter films, vibrant and distinctive. Gosford Park), Celia Imrie (Bridget The General Manager, be part of every action of it. Jones's Diary, Nanny McPhee), Toby Consumer Marketing, MTN, Mr. He continued: “3D and 4D have Jones (W., Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Kola Oyeyemi while speaking on been in existence for long, but they and Glen Blackhall (Jump, Echoes) this new value proposition noted came to Africa five years ago. The all star in ITV Studios Global that the youth segment of the society represents a group of D-dimension keeps on advancing Entertainment's eagerly-awaited dynamic people who need to be every season. It started from 3D to international mini-series Titanic, catered for in a special way. 4D and now, it's 5D. were presented at MIPTV's Gala According to him "MTN has He said the 5D experience uses Screening, and marking the 100th identified the youth segment as additional hall's effects such as anniversary of the sinking of the the backbone and future of every smoke, rain, lightning, air bubbles ship. The cast members were economy therefore they must be and special smells. “Every rise and joined by Titanic scriptwriter provided with services and fall feels real in this unique Julian Fellowes, who won an products that will enhance their experience as you swerve around Oscar for Gosford Park (2001) and likes and passions in a way that corners and race down coaster an Emmy Award for Downton adds value to them". tracks. Abbey (2010), and producers Chris The new package which is “It features things like movie Thompson (Love Actually, described by the telecoms seats, a combination of scents, Carrington) and Simon Vaughan company as a gift for the young wind, lightning and water sprayed (Parade's End, Coco Chanel) from generation is loaded with into people's face,” Adisa said. Lookout Point. enticing freebies and benefits.

Cinema goers brace up for 5D effects

one-stop entertainment fun centre called 5D Bamaja Entertainment Spot Centre, will be unveiled in Lagos at the Cemetery Road, Ebute Metta East, on May 1. The centre when opened would beam films on fivedimension (5D) in cinema hall known as Ground Zero. At a press conference held by the brains behind the initiative, the 5D experience, which uses additional Hall effects such as smoke, rain, lightning, air bubbler and special smells, would give cinema patrons real value for their money. According to Babatunde Adisa the 5D experience would save cinema lovers the trouble of

less than justice this time.” “When I paid for the property in 2007 there was nothing on the land. We agreed that we will both share the compound that was why I shelled-out a huge amount of money to acquire that place but at the end of the day he wouldn't even let me have my space.” He added. Eddy who pleads with his clients said, “The only thing I have to say right now is that my customers in Abuja should bear with me. We are coming back. And we are coming back even bigger and better. By God's grace, we'll get a very big place and definitely in the same Abuja Central District that will give us the required ambience that we need for the sort of business that we do.”

HE long awaited maiden edition of the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards (YMAA), which is aimed at honouring and celebrating creativity in the Yoruba movie industry, is here at last. According to Mr. Tunde Oshinibosi a.k.a Laface, President and Executive Producer of YMAA, the rapid development of the Yoruba movie industry is secondto-none and indeed calls for recognition and appreciation by Nigerians. He says: “The Yoruba movie industry produces an average of 70 films a week, therefore, it's socio-economic, cultural and tourism potentials cannot be ignored. It also contributes largely to the growth of our great country, Nigeria.” Laface also indicated that YMAA will honour and celebrate movie industry practitioners in major categories with the aim of encouraging good quality productions and professionalism. “It is noteworthy that the pioneers of today's Nollywood were Yoruba movie icons like the late Hubert Ogunde, Kola Ogunmola, and Adeyemi Afolayan popularly known as Ade Love among others. Now, all hands are on deck to not only stage the biggest event in the Yoruba movie industry but also to create a brand that will become top of the range in Nigeria,” he says.



Like many established artistes, Ibiyemi's career as a singer, songwriter with a particular love for soul music started in the church choir. Born on the 22nd of May 1981 in San Francisco, California, Ibiyemi's burgeoning career is currently on a high. She reveals more about her life and music in this interview with AHMED BOULOR.

My best part as an artiste —Soul/Jazz singer, Ibiyemi


OW did you come about the fusion of Soul and Jazz which is your sound identity? It wasn't something I planned or deliberately set out to do, but as I began to write and record, it became obvious that I was leaning towards Soul. I am influenced by a lot of genres, I listen to different kinds of music, but I find that for the most part, my music is essentially Soul. How were you able to feature Sound Sultan in the song titled 'True Colour'? Sound Sultan had been on my collaboration wish list for some time. I have great respect for him as an artiste and I'm a fan of his works. When we decided that we were going to do collaborations for the deluxe version of 'Love Always Wins'; I just knew I had to ask him. Thankfully, he agreed to record and we went to the studio, wrote the song together and the rest as they say is history. What explains the thought provoking questions you posed in 'True Colour'? We live in a society where things are very difficult. We are plagued by corruption, widespread poverty and so many issues. I find that when the issue of 'the way forward' is discussed, everyone points at the government or someone else. But in the end, that's only a part of it. Given the same opportunity, what would we do? What can we do now? Are we really true to ourselves? Those were the issues I raised with the lyrics of the song. How do you manage to cope in an industry where there are so many Pop artistes? To each with his own. I honestly believe that there is room for many different genres of music. As long as there is an audience, I say play on. I make music for the fans who love to listen and buy. It gives me great joy and fulfilment to write, record and perform. I just keep going. How did your debut album 'Love Always Wins' fare in the market? The response was great! It went a long way in confirming to me what I've always believed in - Nigerians love Soul music and good music at that. People would have you believe otherwise; limited distribution and the lack of proper sales records make it less apparent. But it is a fact. Were you inspired into doing music by a local or foreign artiste? It's difficult to trace my inspiration for going into music to one artiste. For as long as I can remember, I've loved to sing and as the years went by, I realised I wanted to pursue a career in music. But at

the time when I began recording, I was in Nollywood. I think it would be great if greatly inspired by a Nigerian alternative we had more directors using local artistes artiste, Age Beeka. He gave me my first and their music, with permission of opportunity to perform a song I had course. Both industries are evolving and written on stage. there's a lot to be gained from such How do you intend to carve a niche for partnerships. yourself in the ever competitive local At what point in your life did you music industry? discover that you could sing? I intend to keep making music that That's a tough one. I'm really not sure. people can relate with. My music is As a child I always sang adverts, nursery inspired by real life situations and I'm rhymes and whatever I heard; sometimes, always eager to hear feedback from to the irritation of those around. But it listeners. I like to tell stories through my wasn't until my secondary school days music, and I'm excited when people can that I realised people actually enjoyed relate with my songs. Music is such a hearing me sing. My school mates would powerful tool. gather round and just listen to me sing What would you have ventured into, if song after song. I think that's when I not for music? really knew. What was growing up in California, I do a bit of event planning now; I may USA like? have done that full time. I also may have I was born in become a writer. I California, but I grew We live in a society used to write a lot of up in Nigeria. We where things are very poetry and short moved back to Lagos difficult. We are plagued when I was 6 and stories. I attempted by corruption, script writing back in moved to Abuja when the days as well, but widespread poverty and I was 11. My father is a these days the words retired civil servant so many issues. I find seem to always come and his work duties that when the issue of involved moving with melodies. 'the way forward' is around a lot. How did you get inspired to write the How did your career discussed, everyone song 'Big Daddy' begin in 2003? points at the government which was a I started out by or someone else soundtrack for Chris testing the waters and Ehindero's short film basically learning the on rape? ropes. I would go to That was a the studio and watch. I challenging one! I have began to do backup never experienced vocals for other rape, but I know artistes, and people who have and eventually that year I it's a very deep and recorded my first sensitive issue. I knew single 'Can you love when I was writing it, me?' I gave it out to I'd have to try to local stations in Abuja capture the different in a bid to test emotions of anger, audience reaction. The hurt, despair and song later moved up to sadness that I imagine number 1 on the charts a victim would have on Cool FM Abuja, the most popular gone through. It took weeks to write, I urban radio station at the time. That remember crying every time I attempted encouraged me a lot. I continued to write writing. In the end though, I think it was and record and eventually moved to worth it. When I eventually watched the Lagos. film, it seemed apt. Were you part of any music group in Do you think movie producers in the past? Nigeria are utilising the benefits of When I was really young, about 7 or 8 I promoting their movies by engaging believe, I was a member of a children's Nigerian artistes on movie soundtracks? group called 'God's Love Club'. We sang Probably not. I've done a few at church events and fellowships. That soundtracks, but as far as I know, it's not was a very long time ago. That's the only common place to use professional artistes group I've been a part of.

What was it like performing at the 2007 Presidential inauguration ceremony? Again, that was another humbling experience. I still remember how excited I was when I got the call. I felt like I was a part of history. Prior to that year, it had always been played by the military band; the commander warned me severally not to forget the lyrics. Millions of people watched via television and the internet. Technically, it's my largest audience yet. Why did you decide to shoot the video for your song 'Don't Leave Me' in South Africa? The video director, Tosin Igho suggested it. As soon as he heard the song and the ideas I had for the video, he said he had the perfect location in mind and it was in Johannesburg. He was based there at the time, so we flew out to meet him. Everything was in place and we shot it in a day. What's your relationship with Emem Ema of One management? Emem and I go way back. We used to be members of the same group, 'God's Love Club'. That was far back. We went to the same primary school as well and she was my manager for three years. What does love and passion mean to you? Love is the highest level of commitment. It's a deep, beautiful foundation for our existence. God is love! Passion is a by-product of love. Love is the most important thing; it's the reason why I sing and I live. Are you in love at the moment? Yes I am (smiles coyly). Would you say music started for you in the church? Yes I would. I joined the choir long before I began to consider a career in music. I learnt a lot and got the opportunity to serve at the same time. How did you feel singing the American National Anthem at the 228th independence of USA in 2004? I felt very humbled by the experience. I had just started out, and there I was singing to a room full of dignitaries at such an important event. It was surreal to have senior government officials walk up to me afterwards and say they were proud to hear me sing the anthem so well. Do you still find time for live performances? Oh definitely! It's my favourite part of being an artiste. I love to sing and get instant feedback and energy from the audience. I'm planning a tour soon, hopefully in several major cities and I just can't wait.



Ayuba plans album for Asiwaju “ He was the Biblical Joseph sent to me during my four years sojourn in the United States, supporting me and my career. I regret not being around to witness his 60th Birthday,” says Fuji music icon, Adewale who added that he is working on an album for the CAN leader as a way of appreciation. The musician said this upon is return from the US recently. In an emotional tone, Mr. Johnson, as he fondly called maintained that he will be eternally grateful to the former Governor of Lagos State. Ayuba's brand of music is based on his unique voice and rhythm, through which he creates compelling, entrancing and powerful sound. He assured that the new album in honour of the politician will reflect every bit of his (the musician’s) unique elements. The artiste who is expected to visit the Asiwaju after his Easter show, we gathered is also working on digital Fuji to be released soon.


NOWN for its unprecedented crowd at festive periods, one of the activities that is sure to boost fun seekers' presence at the National Theater, Lagos, this Easter period, is the popular Nnena & Friends' show. The event which is billed for tomorrow, Sunday April, 2012 has scheduled a line-up of artistes, among which are Davido and Brymo. Split in to12 -3pm and 3-6pm shows, Nnena, the brand icon says is bound to be an elaborate, colourful and amazing mix of music, comedy, drama and fun. Also scheduled to thrill the crowd at the show is the irresistible Papa Ajasco and Company, hilarious Helen Paul, and magical hot steps by the Explicits dance group. Nnena added that, “the Easter show will witness grand performances by prodigiously gifted children. Participants will smile home with lots of mouth-watering gifts. Also there would be attractive prizes to be won in several dancing competitions”. The show is being sponsored by Indomie Noodles, Bigi sausage roll, Yoyo Bitters and Candia.

Nnena & Friends stages Easter show


HE next Nigerian Idol will Also joining as star guest performers emerge this weekend after for the night was the rap impresario beating thousands of musical 'Ikechukwu' and EME boss and R&B talents across the country to cart home star Banky W. the biggest Nigerian TV reward. The "It is a purely democratic process next Nigerian Idol will join the elite and Nigerian's have till Friday 6th club of Idol alumni like Jordin Sparks, April to choose their winner" said Ruben Stoddard, Timi Dakolo and Tiwa Medubi who is Project Manager most recently Yeka Onka. of the show. "It has been an exciting The stage is now set for the last two few months of igniting dreams and contestants, Joe Blue and Mercy who building the stars of the are both gunning for the USD 100,000 future. We cannot wait grand prize. for the people's choice Last weekend on Nigerian to emerge this Idol was the semi final weekend, it is night; following the tearful history the exit of Stephen Onochie, second time the two finalists Joe around," she Blue and Mercy Chinwo added. sang for their lives on the Nigerian Idol stage. And joining Nigerian Idol's dynamic judging trio last week as a guest judge was none other than Season 1 judge and Chocolate City CEO Audu Maikori. Mercy and Joe Blue

Buga releases 3rd album •Nnena & Friends

It's Celebrate for Sheyman


Joe Blue, Mercy tango for Nigerian Idol star prize

RODUCER cum singer, Ademoye Oluseyi popularly known as Sheyman is out with the first single off his third and upcoming album, Zero to Hero, which is also the first song to be released on Trybe Records imprint. Sheyman, it would be recalled has two previously released albums under his former music label, Baseline Records. His first album, Hotter than Fire was released in 2008 which included hit song, Hotter than Fire, and Iyalaya, both singles which enjoyed massive airplay and got several award nominations. His sophomore album, King of Melody, was released in 2009 with several hit songs including Lie. The artiste has shown his versatility as a music producer over the years with songs like Tribute to Dagrin performed by Sheyman and various artistes, Turn Me Around performed by KSB, Shayo performed by Bigiano and many others.


N a unique way of ushering the new month, cultural singer, Jesse King, popularly known as Buga, treated music lovers and his fellow entertainers to the listening party of the album, Rooted. The event which took place at the Premiership Hotel in Allen Avenue, Ikeja last Sunday paraded friends and fans who all partied with the artiste. Third in the series of his works since he came out in 2006, the artiste said that he is grateful to his fans who still clamour for his songs in spite of the current hip hop craze. He said that he is a man of reality and that is what his Rooted is based on, Expressing delight at the new work, the self-styled artiste said the album is an affirmation of his commitment to his culture. Real name, Adedayo, •Sheyman Jesse King who

plays contemporary Highlife says every track in his album has a way of appealing to the young and old alike. With two previous albums, Buga and Mr. Jeje to his credit, he says the reality of his life is also exemplified in his mode of dressing which he describes as simply African.


Harry Iwuala









Udinese Lecce Atalanta Cesena Chievo AC Milan Novara Cagliari

IR Alex Ferguson still thinks the Manchester derby could decide the Premier League title despite the widening gap between United and City.

Ferguson's men moved five points clear of their local rivals after Monday's 2-0 victory over Blackburn and have now won their last seven league matches. In contrast, City have won only one of their last four games and could be eight points behind the champions when they kick-off at Arsenal on Sunday. It is even conceivable that the title could be wrapped up by the time the two teams meet at the Etihad Stadium on April 30. But Ferguson told Northern Irish radio station U105.8fm: "Derby games are always important, and it could be even more important this year. "It's bound to have an impact on the eventual winner, albeit that we're going into it with a nice, healthy lead." And Ferguson was keen to highlight the contribution of Northern Ireland international defender Jonny Evans in recent months. Evans has been asked to fill the void left by Nemanja Vidic, who suffered a serious knee injury in December, and has responded with a series of impressive displays. "He's been excellent," said Ferguson. "He's maturing, his form in the last two months with Rio Ferdinand has been absolutely fantastic and that's really important to have a partnership at the back that's consistent and playing all the time.”

Saturday v Parma v Roma v Siena v Bologna v Catania v Fiorentina v Genoa v Inter

Top Scorers Ibra AC Milan 22 Natale Udinese 20 Cavani Napoli 19 Milito Inter 17 Palacio Genoa 16 Denis Atalanta 15 Fmiccoli Palermo 12 Klose Lazio 12 Jovetic Fiorentina 12 Calaio Siena 11 Giovinco Parma 11 Matri Juventus 10 Di Vaio Bologna 10 Osvaldo Roma 10 Nocerino AC Milan 9 Borini Roma 9

Ronaldo Messi Falcao Higuain Benzema Saturday Soldado Getafe v S/Gijon Llorente Vallecanov Osasuna Kone Espanyol v Sociedad Castro Zaragozav Barcelona Real Betis vVillarreal Manu Xavi Sunday Barral Levante vAtletico Fabregas Mallorca vGranada Agirretxe Bilbao v Sevilla Rondon Madrid v Valencia Monday Sanchez Malaga v Santander Negredo

Madrid Barcelona Atletico Madrid Madrid Valencia Bilbao Levante Real Betis Sevilla Barcelona S/ Gijon Barcelona Sociedad Malaga Barcelona Sevilla

37 36 21 20 17 16 14 11 11 10 10 9 9 9 9 8 8

Inside The



NPL stars ripe for Europe




Aniston obsessed with staying young


AST month it was revealed Jennifer Aniston, recently voted the Hottest Woman Of All Time by Men's Health magazine, spends a staggering $400 a day on beauty treatments. And the ex-"Friends" star admits she has an obsession with keeping the years at bay. “I'd love to be a

dermatologist. I'd be so obsessive about it," she said. "I'm fascinated by skin, products and lasers. I go on the internet and read all about it. I call it 'laser porn'.” Despite her keen interest, Aniston admits she wasn't looking her best when Men's Health made the announcement. “You should have seen me

when I heard that news,” she said. "My hair was greasy, I'd just had a facial and my skin was gross.” However Jen, who is in a relationship with actor Justin Theroux, admits she still doesn't feel her 43years. “I don't feel my age. I feel young every day," she said. “I feel sexy wearing jeans and my boyfriend's T-shirt.”

Parton devastated at Houston's funeral


OUNTRY superstar Dolly Parton released the double CD An Evening with Dolly this week, a record made from two live performances she did in London in July, 2008. Fox411 Country has the exclusive video of Parton singing “I Will Always Love You,” the song made famous

worldwide by Whitney Houston. It also became the last song played at Houston's funeral after she died earlier this year. “That song will always be precious to me for many reasons. Whitney's passing made it far more emotional that it ever would be otherwise,” Parton said. She

said hearing the song played at Houston's funeral broke her heart. “The fact that they used it at her funeral just killed me. That's when I really lost it. I was shocked and hurt and disheartened when she passed, but it was one of those things where I hadn't really fell down and wept over it,” Parton said.

Crane over Ghollywood

Agya Koo's wife speaks on arrest

Nigeria Awards Yvonne Okoro


N the wake of rumours of award-winning actor and comedian Agya Koo arresting his own wife for stealing his (Agya Koo's) car and giving it to her boyfriend, Victoria Owusua Adomako aka Adwoa Vic has decided to tell her side of the story. “You people should not worry your head at all about what is happening to our marriage because there are more that you do not have an idea about. Since the issue cropped up in the news, I have been receiving countless calls from all over the country. I am not speaking to anybody now because I know the right time to come out with what is really happening. When that time comes, I will come to your radio station to say all that is involved in this issue and you will know what I mean” she said. She said that she is restricting herself from saying something about the case this time because she has set her own time to go public on the matter. “What I want to say is that if Agya Koo wants to go out and disgrace me, then I will also come out to respond to the alleg ations. There is only one truth and the truth will surely come out,” Koo's troubled fumed.


HANAIAN screen diva, Yvonne Okoro, was recently honoured with a Distinguished Achievement Award at this year's Nigeria Excellence Awards. Chaired by His Excellency, Ambassa dor Musiliu Obanikoro , Nigeria's High Commissioner

to Ghana, the award ceremony took place at the La Palm Beach Hotel in Accra, was to honour Nigerians who have lifted their country's flag high with honour in their different sectors of work in Ghana. The beautiful actress was one of the youngest award recipients at the ceremony. She was honoured for her great acting skills and contribution to the African movie industry. It was also to recognise her “Nigeri an

spirit which is affecting lives positively across the African continent”. The ceremony brought together highprofile and distinguished Nigerian citizenry in Ghana.


HE biggest night on Ghana's entertainment calendar, the 13th Ghana Music Awards Night slated for Saturday 14TH April at the dome. The night's entertainment features the very best from UK, South Africa Nigeria and Angola and across the continent. HHP rocks the mic with Cabo Snoop, Brymo, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz and M.I. Hip Hop clashes with Azonto as Buk Bak, Guru and 4x4 square it up with Kwaw Kese, Trigmatic, Edem and the rapperholic, Sarkodie. A Gh Mix Ben Brako, Efya, Kaki, Irene Logan, Asem and Kwabena Kwabena It's more music, more swag, camera flashes and endless red carpet at this first class Event. The VGMA is sponsored by Vodafone with support from, Star Beer and Gh-One Entertainment TV.

Cabo Snoop, others set for VGMA

Larry Miller hospitalised after head injury


OMIC actor Larry Miller was rushed to the emergency room on Tuesday after hitting his head in a nasty spill, reports say. The funnyman's publicist said that the bump occurred while Miller was hanging out at a Los Angeles bar following a taping of Adam Carolla's daily podcast show. After talking with a group of people outside, he returned to the bar but lost his footing and accidentally fell, hitting the back of his head on the hard floor. Luckily, bar patrons rushed to his side and called 911, and the comedian was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was treated and then moved to an ICU. Miller will remain there for a few days more for observation, but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

Whitney Houston autopsy report


HE scene of Whitney Houston's death got a lot clearer Wednesday with the release of a full autopsy report describing her body, found face-down in the water, and the hotel room, where authorities found a "white powdery substance," a rolled-up piece of paper, and a spoon and a mirror with that substance on them. Though Houston's body was face-up when authorities arrived, interviews with those present at the scene revealed she'd been face down in the tub, which had been filled about a foot deep with hot water. A survey of abrasions on the body includes one on the left side of her forehead with an underlying bruise and a small, "very superficial" cut on her upper lip, both having occurred while she was alive. The body was in the bath water for up to an hour, according to a time line determined by police.

Efya set for Easter Sunday concert


AST rising Ghanaian pop songstress Jane Awindor, known in music circles as Efya, has promised residents of the Garden City and all lovers of good music, an enthralling night of musical intimacy ahead of Easter Sunday's Rapperholic Album Launch in Kumasi. Credible reports indicates that the sexy and strong voiced Efya appears upbeat and all too determined to steal the show, a venture she believes will enable her penetrate deeply into the Kumasi market. Efya is slated to perform alongside hiplife giants like DCryme, StayJay, Raquel, Tiffany, Guru, Edem, Keche and Whizz-Kid Awal in support of the 'Azonto King', Sarkodie, in the Rapperholic Concert at Kumasi's ultramodern Royal Lamerta Hotel, Ahodwo.



The best Easter story you’ll read


’VE worked in retail for nearly 15 years but I’ve never seen this before. Today was really busy, one day before Easter. At the checkout area one of our new cashiers appeared to be having difficulties with two customers who were arguing a bit back and forth at her register. Her long Easter shopping line slowed to a crawl as the two people, a man in maybe his late twenties with a ‘high and tight’ haircut, and a woman a bit older, with her own cart of merchandise, appeared to be having some kind of disagreement. As I approached from the side to see what the problem was, I heard the woman say something like ‘It’s done. Go in peace and Happy Easter. Have a great day. Now go, go on now! Happy Easter!’ She was smiling the whole time she repeated it, and I noticed my cashier was grinning, too. I figured maybe the two customers knew each other, that all was well, so I turned and grabbed a nearby empty cart to push it outside. As I came back in a moment later, the man was

heading towards me and the door, not looking at anything in particular, just holding his free hand, the one without a large sack in it, palm up as if to shrug, and say, ‘what the heck just happened???’ as he was shaking his head slowly back and forth. And the look on his face…I couldn’t pin it down! More curious then before, I went back by that register, and found the cashier and the lady still smiling as she in her turn was having her purchases bagged. I must have looked the question; as the cashier immediately piped up, “Do you know what this lady just did? That guy was a Marine buying a big Easter basket for his family, and she swiped HER credit card before he could and paid for it for him! Thanking him for his service!” Now, I still don’t know the word for what I was privileged to see in that man’s face as he left, but I do know what the overall effect was, for all four of us – priceless…….!!!!! I’d bet it brought a bit of a grin to your face as well! The lesson: Just as that woman paid for the goods of the Marine,

somebody paid your own price for you too - thousands of years ago. Isn’t that what Easter is all about. Go in peace! Top Ten Reasons to Celebrate Easter10. You absolutely love the movie, “The Ten Commandments”. 9. You look really, really good in yellow. 8. You just went on a low cholesterol diet and didn’t want to waste all those eggs in the fridge. 7. You figure any Holiday that starts with a “Good Friday” can’t be all bad. 6. You love to bite the heads off chocolate bunnies. 5. It’s a good time to check out your neighborhood church and not be noticed. 4. You have this bunny suit you love to wear, but are too insecure to wear it without a reason. 3. Even though you don’t know what it is, you really like the sound of going to a “Passion Play.” 2. You figured since Jesus went to all THAT trouble to make it to the first Easter, you’d give it a shot. 1. As a Christian you celebrate the resurrection every other day, why not Easter too?

Let’s break the Easter eggs


OMORROW, many people will celebrate Easter. I wish you all journey mercies as you travel to various parts of the country and the world for the Easter celebrations. I wanted very much to celebrate my Easter in London and as a matter of fact, one of my friends who was doing London/US trips for the break got me a ticket. But I can’t make it till I’m done with the work I have given myself this period. I miss the Easter eggs in shops, which come in all forms – sweets, chocolates, decorations, candles, cakes and even wreaths. It’s fun sharing your eggs and breaking it. It’s sheer pleasure shopping in England at this period when the weather is nice. I’m in Abuja where luckily, the Easter eggs have appeared bin shops. Although the place is a bit ‘dry’ now with most people out of town for the holiday, I’m going to be sharing my Easter eggs with some friends and acquaintances. Would you want to know where the idea for Easter eggs came from? I went searching the net and I came back with this for your information: ‘Well, to start, we must remember that the egg has been a symbol of creation for hundreds of years. Keeping this in mind will help you to understand why so many people valued the egg throughout the ages. In Pagan times the egg represented the rebirth of the earth, which allowed people to become hopeful of spring after a long winter. With the emergence of spring, the earth burst forth and was reborn, just as an egg bursts forth with new life.

The term Easter comes from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month of April was dedicated. So, along with the spring equinox and spring festivals, people started exchanging eggs as a symbol of creation, new-life, and a resurrection of nature after winter. With the coming of Christianity, the Easter egg became a religious symbol. The egg changed from representing nature’s rebirth to the rebirth of man. The hatching Easter chick became a symbol of the tomb from which Jesus emerged. By the Middle Ages decorating and coloring eggs for Easter became the custom in England. The wealthy covered eggs in gold, while the peasants dyed theirs with flowers and herbs. By the 17th century people started exchanging eggshaped toys and eventually, by the 19th century, the first chocolate eggs were made in Europe. During this time, Peter Carl Faberge, a well-known goldsmith created the most famous decorated Easter eggs. He was hired by Russian Czar Alexander to make a special Easter gift for his wife. These Faberge eggs had an outside shell of platinum and enameled white which opened to reveal a smaller gold egg. The smaller egg then opened to show a golden chicken and a jeweled replica of the Imperial crown. Fifty-seven of these eggs were made in all. Bet you never thought there were so many meanings for a simple egg. Well, now you know why the egg is such an important symbol for the Easter holiday and for spring. Maybe you could ask to have scrambled eggs for dinner tonight!

Hearts With Adeola Agoro


How do I get over rape by a friend? I was living with a male friend of mine in a house that was big enough that we didn’t ever have to cross paths. We hung out every now and then, drinking, and watching movies, but not very often, and certainly with no romantic intentions. As a matter of fact, he often told me about his “ideal woman”, as far as looks go, which was my polar opposite. He wasn’t my type, either. (I prefer my men employed and without a drug/alcohol habit.) So I was pretty shocked when I woke up one night to find J having sex with me. Unprotected sex. He was very, very, drunk, and did not stop when I asked him to. We were friends though, and I knew that this was not something he would do if he were sober. This thought did not help much in the following days. My stomach was constantly twisted in knots, and I couldn’t stop shaking. I also couldn’t think straight, and kept playing it over and over in my head. X never mentioned it, and did it again two days after the first time. Now, I’m pretty tough. If a stranger had grabbed me off the street and tried the same thing, I would’ve put him in the hospital. X, on the other hand, was someone that I cared about, someone that I thought of like a big brother. Even as he was raping me, I kept telling myself that he was sick and needed help. I WAS HIS FRIEND!!!!!! How could he be doing this to me? I couldn’t afford to move, so I avoided him as much as possible. Three weeks later i found out I was pregnant and the bottom dropped out. I told X, who immediately started whittling away at my self-esteem. He said the most awful things to me! He also killed my cat and damaged my car, but he never hit me. He continued to come into my room at night and to “accidently” walk in on me when I was in the bathroom. I intended to raise the baby, just not in that house, so 6 weeks after she was born I packed up everything that I owned and moved into my mom’s tiny house, which promptly burned to the ground. We, my mom, me and the

baby, were sleeping when it started, and got out with seconds to spare. I didn’t even have shoes on. (In January, in Northern Michigan). I used my share of the insurance money to go back to college, where I’m earning top grades. To the point now: It’s been just over three years since the first rape, 2 and a half years since the last; but I still feel the way I did that first night. Utterly and totally betrayed. X lives in another state now, but just today he was in my apartment getting to know his daughter. For a minute, I remembered what our relationship was like before the rape, when we were just hanging out, but it didn’t last and I wanted to throw up. This man is going to be in my life forever. How can I make these feelings go away? A: I read your letter with my heart in my mouth. From what you wrote, this man is extremely dangerous. What makes you think that your baby is safe with a man who raped you, killed your cat, damaged your car, and perhaps set your mom’s house on fire? My only guess is that you have dissociated so far from the rape that you are unable to let in just how dangerous the situation is. You are in the same position as an abused spouse. You need help to work through the trauma of what happened to you and to figure out how to protect yourself and your daughter. This will take you to a list of all the domestic violence hotlines and support services in your state. Please. Contact the program closest to you and talk to the counselors. They can offer you good advice and support. Meanwhile, do not leave your baby with this man, not for a minute! For that matter, do not even let him visit the baby with only you as a supervisor. Always arrange to have a friend or relative also present. I don’t trust him. And I don’t think you can trust yourself to respond as you should if he tries to harm either you or your daughter. I wish you well. Dr. Marie

Most guys want me but I’m scared because of a rape attempt

From left: Engr. Ibikunle Ogunbayo (CEO - KOA Consultants Ltd), Mr. Mike Anazodo (CEO - Maldini Marbles) & Mr. Owolabi Afolabi (CEO - Rewards On Us Ltd) at the official commissioning of the New Maldini Marble Outlet, Lekki, Lagos.

Hi Aunty, I’m a girl of 19 and most guys want me to be their girlfriend but I’m scared to have a relationship with any of them because my first love betrayed me and the second person I wanted to date attempted to rape me before I accepted his proposal. My parents are also forcing me to wed the person I don’t love and I’m fed up and need your advice. – Hauwa. Dear Hauwa, if you’re feeling this way over an attempted rape, how do you want rape victims to feel? Except you’re not telling the whole story, I see no reason why you should mar your chances of happiness just because one person betrayed you in the past and another tried to rape you. The first rule about having a relationship is being friends with the person first, but this rule is often ignored and people go on making the same mistake of falling into the hands of those whose desire is to get the best from you and leave you.

Who says you cannot have a beautiful relationship and go on to have a happy life? Go on, enjoy all the attention you can get at this age without committing to anyone until you’re sure you have found a friend who won’t leave you. Your friend is the one who may go out of the relationship if it’s not working, but won’t go out of your life. Your friend is that guy who knows you so well he takes your faults and your good points in his strides. I have friends who say, ‘Shebi it’s you’, when I do funny things and they take it well and vice versa. If you have a friend like that and he wants a relationship; why not? That kind of friend won’t want to rape you and betrayal would be out of it. Your parents have the freedom to match-make you, but they DO NOT have the right to force you into marriage. You can meet anybody through anybody, but the decision to marry a particular person is yours.



ESPITE Jenny’s admoni tion, I was still not in terested in going out with Chief Thaddy. And I made that clear to him when he came personally to see me the following weekend instead of sending his personal assistant as he had done previously. “Why do you hate me so much?” he queried as we sat in his car in the car park of my hostel. I told him I didn’t hate him; I was just not interested in any relationship for now. “Who said anything about a relationship? I want us to be just friends!” I had to smile at that. What kind of friendship could there possibly be between an extremely wealthy and worldlywise man in his 60s and a teenager? That day, before leaving, he gave me an envelope which when I opened it later in my room contained five thousand dollars. Though I was used to money, I had never seen so much cash in my life. When I told Ivy, my friend and roommate that I was going to return the money to Chief, she was strongly against it. “It’s just a gift. I will keep it if I were you. Besides we need some money around here. You know I’m broke as my parents haven’t sent me my allowance. So, if you don’t want it, you can hand it over to me,” and she stretched out her hand which I ignored. So, I kept the money but that didn’t change my resolve. But I had reckoned without Chief’s persistence. The man did not give me any breathing space. He called nearly every day, sent me expensive gifts like clothes, shoes, designer watches and many other items. At a point I had to tell him to stop sending me such stuff because I couldn’t wear them at home as my parents especially my mother would ask me where I got the money to buy such costly things. “I will stop on one condition. Have dinner with me,” he pleaded. Just to humour him and get him off my back, I accepted. He took Ivy and I to a nice restaurant on the Island. The evening was an eye-opener. It made me see the other side of Chief and what an important man he was. Everywhere we went, he was treated with so much respect and courtesy, like a VIP. I began to look at him with different eyes; not just an elderly man running after a girl younger than some of his children but a very powerful and influential man indeed. I think it was at this point that my attitude towards Chief started to change and I began

to soften towards him. A few weeks later, I had another date with him. Then about two months after I met him, he invited me on a trip to Europe. He was travelling for business, he said and he needed my company. I had never travelled out of the country and I must confess I was tempted. But since it was in the middle of our exams, I declined his offer. A rich man’s plaything Some weeks later, about a week or so after we resumed for the new session, Chief invited me again, this time to the US and I accepted. We were there for about two weeks and I really had a nice time. That was how I started dating Chief T. During the time I was away, I paid a coursemate of mine to take notes for me during lectures so that my studies would not suffer. Going out with Chief was a whole new experience for me. He really spoilt me. He even bought me a car, a Volkswagen Bug, stating that he didn’t want me to be trekking round the campus under the hot sun. Initially, I was reluctant to accept the car, fearing that my parents may find out about it and I would be in serious trouble. To cover up, I told Ivy that she should say she was the owner of the car in case my parents ever saw me in it and asked questions. Chief T loved me so much and was ready to do anything for me. The only problem with the relationship was his jealousy and possessiveness. He never liked to see me with any other guy even my classmates and male friends. There was a day he came to see me in school and saw me talking with some male friends after class one afternoon. One of them was holding me and we were just laughing and fooling around as students do. Chief T was so angry, he almost beat me that day. “Don’t I do enough for you?” he screamed at me. “How can you allow those boys to be touching you like that? I don’t ever want to see any of those boys around you again!” I was really shocked at his reaction. I was not dating any of the guys so what was he so mad about, I wondered. Later, after he had calmed down, he apologised, blaming his outburst on his love for me. “You know you are my sunshine, my heart throb. You’ve brought so much happiness into my life and I don’t want to lose you,” he said,



My quest for the high life led me into the hands of ritualists (2) drawing me close and kissing me tenderly. To make up for it, Chief T bought me a house, a large duplex in a choice part of town. It was my 19th birthday and it was his gift to me. “Aren’t you lucky! You are already a landlady at your age. I’m jealous o!” Ivy declared when I showed her the house documents. I made sure I hid them well as my parents would faint if they found out about the house. Infact, I went to great lengths to keep the affair with Chief T a secret from my parents as I knew they would not approve. I ensured Chief was never around whenever they came to visit me in school. They hardly ever came anyway as they were both very busy with their respective jobs. I lived a double life. At home during the holidays, I still behaved like their young, innocent daughter with no care in the world while at school, I was a different person. I was a spoilt, young mistress, a rich man’s plaything. I travelled with Chief T to different parts of the world by first class, shopped in expensive boutiques and ate in exotic restaurants.

With time, I became used to a certain lifestyle, a high-class lifestyle. I wore expensive clothes that even my mum didn’t wear and I drove a car that much older people could not afford. I also started moving with a different class of girls, babes like me who were dating rich, old men. Bibi, who had been my friend since Year 1 was no longer among my close friends. She was not in support of my association with Chief. And she never hid her displeasure, telling me that my new lifestyle was wrong and I would regret it in future. I didn’t care and neither did Ivy who liked Chief and was a major beneficiary of Chief’s generosity and largess. With Chief’s help, I was able to rent out my house since it was too big and faraway from campus for me to stay. With the money I was making from the rent and the huge sums Chief T paid regularly into my account, I became a very rich student. In my final year, Chief T didn’t want me to stay on campus anymore probably due to the fear that one of the students would snatch me from him.

He rented a nice apartment for me off-campus not too far from my school. He used to spend a lot of time with me there whenever he was free from his business obligations. His love for me kept growing stronger till it became an obsession. At a point, he even started talking about marriage, about making me his wife. That got me thinking. Much as I liked him, there was no way on earth I could marry him. How could I marry a man who was even older than my father? My parents would have a heart attack if I ever brought someone as old as he was home as a suitor. But I kept such thoughts to myself and just continued to enjoy Chief’s love and attention. Then, the unexpected happened. Chief fell sick. Infact, he had a stroke and had to be flown abroad for treatment. It was one of his assistants, Don who called to inform me. I felt bad as I had grown fond of Chief. He had been very good to me, treating me like a princess and apart from his jealousy, he wasn’t a bad man. I prayed that he would recover and return home hale and

hearty. But it wasn’t to be. Chief died a month after the illness struck. I was in a state of shock for a while. How could he just die like that, I thought. I remembered all he had done for me and I wept as if I had lost a very important member of my family. After mourning for a while, I recovered myself and started going out again. I dated a few older men because by this time, I found most of the young men who were interested in me immature. Because of Chief T, I had got used to a certain lifestyle which very few young men could afford. Later, I began to date Chief Etah, another top business magnate who reminded me a bit of Chief T. It was through Chief Etah that the incident that has almost destroyed my life occurred and which still haunts me to this day, years after it happened... To be continued next week What was the incident that haunts Isi till today? Find out next week in your ever sizzling Saturday Nation!

Text messages

Re: How a fake spiritualist ruined my marriage (2) My advice is for the desperate woman to take the pregnancy to her spiritualist accomplice and make it known to law enforcements agents for her safety because he doesn’t deserve to go unpunished-he is evil, deceitful and needs to be exposed to save other innocent women in the society(08023866786) You made a mistake but you are not supposed to die for it. You have to face the situation as it presents itself. You may be surprised what the future still holds for you. Please forgive yourself -08035511469) She should just leave everything to God to handle; she shouldn’t abort the babyRather she should take care of the child. (08044949087)

Newly wedded couple, Mr and Mrs. Anthony Toyese Okeniyi, with the groom’s parents Pastor and Pastor Mrs Oluwole Okeniyi of the Unchanging Power of God Ministry, Kaduna

My advice to the narrator of the story, who was impregnated by the spiritualist is this: what happened to you could happen to anyone and don’t you ever try to commit suicide because that is never an option. If

your husband and in-laws reject you, that is not the end of your life. Don’t try to kill the baby because that will make the matter worse. Just move closer to God and be prayerful. After you have put to bed successfully, you and your true friends will have to visit the spiritualist for him to take responsibility for the child. Do not go alone and don’t marry him. God can provide you another husband who is reasonable and forgiving. Ayeni, (Ondo state)07055642037 On her having an affair with the spiritualist in the name of looking for the fruit of the womb, she just has to reap the seed sowed in her by her friend. That’s why women (married women) should be very careful with advice from their friends; She should have advised her husband to go to the hospital for check-up as it could be low sperm count which can be easily corrected medically. Let her confess to God and to be honest, faithful and maybe another man may come and fall in love with her. I know it is a bitter experience but I believe she has learnt her lesson. (08087712909)



Society Profile

THE NATION, Saturday, APRIL 7, 2012

STYLE Gossip Interviews


‘Life as a black designer in UK’ His elegant, exquisitely crafted designs are beloved of brides and other women with an eye for quality clothing. Through his design outfit, Yemi Osunkoya, Creative Director of Kosibah has over the years created a signature look in his designs: clothes that celebrate a woman's form and femininity with an emphasis on the classic hourglass figure. Recently, Assistant Editor, PATIENCE SADUWA caught up with the award-winning designer at his studio in Camden, Central London, where he spoke on his passion for creating exquisite gowns, his humble start in the highly competitive design industry, his childhood days at Ibadan, challenges faced over the years and other issues.





Society Profile

Gossip Interviews

With KAYODE ALFRED TEL:08035733605

Endless wait for Bode Pedro's wedding Maiden Ibru smiles again


bundant joy and laughter have returned to the household of Mr. Alex Ibru, the late publisher of The Guardian newspapers. The entire world had mourned to no end when Ibru died on November 20, 2011, and his charming wife, Lady Maiden Ibru, was obviously the hardest hit. Indeed, many had said it was a loss she would never recover from, given her closeness with her late husband. Mercifully, the sorrow of her husband's death is being replaced by the joy of the impending union between her daughter, Anita Ibru, and her Ghanaian heartthrob, Marcel Gilbert Akuetey Kousassigan. The wedding is scheduled to hold at Federal Palace Hotel, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, on April 21. Anita Athena Alex-Ibru is well-read and her wedding promises all the excitement befitting an aristocratic family like the Ibrus.

Nasir Ado returns to social space


ife is indeed transient. And no one would seem to have realised this fact as fully as Nasir Ado, son of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland. A few years back, his name was everywhere. He was the proud owner of Club Towers, which was numbered among the A-list hang-outs at the time. But due to dwindling resources and low patronage, the club was sold to Gloria Ibru, mother of Sammy Okposo's first daughter. Gloria renamed the club Legato, but that did not seem to alter the club's dwindling fortune. On the part of Nasir, he beat a retreat from the glare of society's floodlights, studiously avoiding anything that would remind him of his heyday in night club business. But his disappearing act set tongues wagging. Now the hiatus has has come to an end, as Nasir seems to have regained his groove. No more for him are the empty days and the quiet nights. His marriage to lovely Jibola has suddenly given him a boost and he has re-launched himself into the social space with his delectable wife.


t has been four months since the traditional wedding and introduction of Bode Pedro, son of former Deputy Governor of Lagos State and Uche Eze, the brains behind Bella Naija, one of the most successful Nigerian celebrity blogs, took place. But the wedding bells are yet to ring. The social scene has been waiting for the news of the wedding day, particularly because of the caliber of people involved. Many know Bode Pedro as the son of Femi Pedro, the former number two man in Lagos State. But beyond that, he is the founder and CEO of Veda Technologies. Uche, on the other hand, is a delectable mix of beauty and brains. She has done well for herself since she launched her popular blog and dedicated a column to weddings and relationships. As a result of the delay, many have begun to peddle rumours. Some even said the duo have gone their separate ways. But insider sources insist the husband and wife to-be are only taking their time. It is, however, obvious that they are bent on keeping the details of their nuptials secret.

Tina Ogundoyin rocks at 50


lthough she may not look a day older than 40, the truth is that lovely Tina Ogundoyin, one of the party pillars in the Ibandan social space, has joined the league of socialites in the golden age of 50. For about three decades, she has bestridden the social scene in Ibadan like a colossus, dictating its tempo and pace. Not for her the culture of fizzling out after reigning for a few years. She has got the brains, the class and the style to continuously remain relevant. A heavy investor in real estate and oil and gas, she had both the means and the clout to keep her going. She had suffered a major blow with the loss of her husband about 18 years ago, but she has since put that behind her and moved on with life.

Adunni Bankole celebrates in style


f there is one thing Iyalode Adunni Bankole does extremely well, it is how to celebrate her birthday without being unnecessarily extravagant. On March 29, the woman of means gathered family and friends for a classy breakfast celebration at Protea Hotel, Maryland, Lagos. Representatives of her church, Triumphant Christian Centre, Oregun, Lagos, were on hand to conduct a mini service for her. Also in attendance was her aged mother who came to celebrate with her daughter. Many would remember that about this time last year, Iyalode Adunni was on her sick bed. She vanished completely from the social radar and speculations began to fly as to her whereabouts. But like the phoenix, she rose and moved on with life. Those in the know believe she has a lot to be thankful for, especially her good health, without which she would have found it extremely difficult to celebrate this year. Remarkably, she looked radiant and was all smiles as she attended to the needs of guests during the modest ceremony.



Society Profile

Gossip Interviews




Kofi Sagoe enjoys Hakeem new lease of life Awe, wife bag chieftaincy titles


ofi Sagoe, the estranged husband of Elizade boss, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo's daughter, Deola Sagoe, is currently over the moon. The marriage of the talented former son-in-law to Ade-Ojo had run into troubled waters a few years ago and many thought it was the end of life, especially as he was an employee of his father-in-law. Of course, things were very rough at the time, and even tough-skinned Deola was bitter and had to recoil into her cocoon for months. But Kofi now appears to be back on track. Shortly after he was shown the door at Elizade Motors, Subaru Motors opened its gates to profit from the wealth of experience he had gathered at Elizade. Kofi is currently the CEO of Subaru Motors Nigeria Limited, living life with ease and splendour and relishing his single status. While some believe that Deola is his soul mate and it would be a matter of time for them to make up, others believe that only time will tell.

Ike Ekweremadu, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Adaobi Tokunbo Modupe Nwakuche set to bury dads

in new romance



rdinarily, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Lagos politician, Tokunbo Afikuyomi and frontline public relations practitioner, Tokunbo Modupe have very little in common. However, the same fate recently befell the three men as they all lost their fathers. Ekweremadu was bereaved last week with the loss of his father, Igwe Mathias Ekweremadu, the traditional ruler of Anekeoji Mpu Autonomous Community in Aninri Local Government Area, Abia State. He died at the age of 82. While the burial plans are yet to be made public, consolatory messages have been pouring in like water. In the same vein, Afikuyomi lost his father on March 6, 2012, also at the ripe old age of 82. The burial is scheduled to take place on the 10th and 11th of April in Lagos. While the Christian wake is billed to hold at the late Pa Afikuyomi's residence in Iju, the funeral service will hold at Baptist Church, Yaba, Lagos, with interment at Ikoyi Vaults. The whole ceremony will then be rounded off with a grand reception at The Haven. Modupe, the founder and chief consultant of TPT International, lost his 86-year-old father on March 10. The burial plans are yet to be made public.

weet and smooth Adaobi, formerly with Standard Alliance Insurance and now with Staco Assurance, is glowing. Anyone who has set eyes on her in recent times would admit this fact. Reputed as one of the princesses of high society, she is one big babe who enjoys a cult following among her colleagues in the insurance sector. With glittering looks and good manners, Adaobi is every man's dream. At the time she separated from the man that meant the world to her, Fredrick Ken Nwaeme, many wondered why any man would let go of such a rare gem. Now, news of a fresh romance between the estranged lovers is going about town. She seems to have found love again, enjoying life with the disposition of one who had never been engaged in a matrimonial relationship.


or Hakeem Awe, doing right comes naturally. His patriotic streak has ensured he is numbered among other reputable sons of Egbaland.Today, Awe and his lovely wife, Yemisi, will be honoured and conferred with the title of Aare and Erelu Amulutoro of Egbaland. The coronation is billed for the Ake palace, Abeokuta, Ogun State and would be conducted by His Royal Majesty, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo. There are also plans to confer the Island Club Chairman with two other titles within the month of April. In his Epe hometown, he will be honoured with the title of Bobajiroro of Epeland, a ceremony that will be conducted by the Olu of Epe. Added to this is the title of Bobagbode of Epeland feather which the Oloja of Epe plans to add to Awe's cap. Those who have seen him in recent times would know that arrangements are in top gear to ensure hitch-free ceremonies for the man of means.

Benny Obaze moves on without Rita Amene


rontline clothier and owner of Bevista, Rivista and Jevista, Benny Obaze, is relishing his single status, looking as good and confident as ever. Many would remember his well-documented relationship with Rita Amene, a Zenith Bank Plc executive, and how the duo carried on like soul mates. Their relationship earned them fair mention in society journals. It therefore came as a surprise to many when the two parted ways on account of 'irreconcilable differences'. Since the two have gone their separate ways, no one seems to know whether the separation will be permanent or just another phase in their love story. Since their relationship crashed like a pack of badly arranged cards, Obaze has resorted to stepping out to events alone. While many are of the opinion that a resolution is in the works, others believe he has finally moved on with renewed strength and determination to face his business squarely. Indeed, Happenstances gathered that he is preparing to open a branch of Bevista & Jevista in Bayelsa State.

Bisi Rahman weds heartthrob


onny James Olong has emerged the crown on the head of lovely Bisi Rahman. The lucky dude was all smiles as he tied the nuptial knots with the former Miss Malaika. The two love birds were formally joined at a three-tier ceremony that spanned more than three days. The engagement/traditional wedding took place on March 30, the solemnisation on March 31 at Kingsword International Church, wrapped up with a classy reception at Etal Halls, Oregun a day later. The exquisitely garbed newlyweds were simply over the moon and guests had good memories of the event. The leggy former beauty queen was gaily escorted down the aisle by her retinue of runway queens. Two of her friends and super models, Warebi Martha and Sola Duromola, were on hand to ensure a smoothceremony. Also on hand were icons in the Nigerian fashion and modelling industries. It was a roll call of clothiers, designers, top models and beauty queens.



‘How my father’s death scuttled a childhood dream’

any kind of Nigerian dish here. You can get amala and other dishes. What is it you love about your job? The look on people’s faces when they put on my dress because they have never seen their curves look the way they do in it. At what point in your life did you discover your creative flair? At a very early age, about six-seven years from what I can recall. I grew up in Ibadan and my dad was a medical doctor. He was a professor at the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital (UCH). My mother was a midwife at UCH as well. We didn’t have a sewing machine in the house but I knew how to draw and I used to do a lot of sketches. That was how it started. I would go to weddings with my parents and on getting home, I would draw what I had seen. As I grew older, I did not just sketch what I had seen, I began to add a bit of my own style here and there. At that time, I didn’t know what designing was about. It was just something I used to do. But the most important aspect was that, I was blessed with parents who were forward-thinking enough to know that their child had a talent and they encouraged me instead of beating the talent down. Today, when I look back, I thank God for my parents because just the way many parents want

their children to be footballers, so also do many parents want their children to be designers today. Back then, it wasn’t so; especially from the kind of family background that I came from, you would have expected me to study law, medicine or engineering. When I got to 16, at the time when you are thinking of going for ‘A’ levels, that was when I really sat down with my parents and told them what I really wanted to do. And my father was like, ‘ok, whatever you want to do, as long as you do it to the best of your knowledge.’ But he thought it was important that I went to the university because what you learn in three or four years depending on the course you do is really important and regardless of what you do there, it will just help you in whatever career you choose later. He said I should go to the University of Ife as they had a good Fine Arts Department there. I did the painting and sculpture and the textile design that go hand in hand which I enjoyed thoroughly. Afterwards, the plan was for me to go to Paris to attend a fashion school there. But unfortunately, in my second year, my father died and the plan had to change. I had an uncle who told my mother that he would sort me out. He had a house here. So that was how I ended up coming to London. And because I had done four years in the university, I didn’t want to do another four years in a fashion school because up to that point, I didn’t know how to sew. Challenges faced at the beginning Well, there have been challenges because I started when there was a recession. But in a way, that sort of helped me because if there wasn’t a recession, I probably would have got stuck working for somebody and not be able to strike out on my own. So, during the recession, after a year of writing application letters and nothing was forthcoming, I remembered I had a sewing machine. Before, I was in my basement flat in London doing things here and there. But after a year, I said to myself that I can either continue or take a bold step and venture out on my own. So, I chose to step out solo. But rather than stepping out blindly which is something I tell up and coming people, you must realise that this is a business. It’s not just about sitting down and designing. I went to a function sometime ago where the government was trying to encourage people to be self-employed. They had a certain gathering where they taught business classifica-

Why I shunned a job in Shell and opted for insurance


—Abidoye Oyelami, ex MD, Crusader Insurance


N the name Kosibah Kosibah is a derivation of my mother’s name. In my lower six which I did in a school in Lagos, the Minister of Youths, Sports and Culture during the military government did something at the National Theatre at Iganmu, Lagos. This was in 1982. I was the youngest designer there and I had to come up with a name. I wanted a name that would separate me from my brand. I didn’t want Yemi Fashions or something like that-I wanted my clothes to speak for themselves. Because my parents really encouraged me, especially my mother, when I needed to take a name for my brand, I felt the best thing to do, as a kind of paying homage to her, was to use her name. But being Yoruba, I can’t call my mother’s name. So, I changed the spelling from Cosiba to Kosibah. She originally comes from the Republic of Benin and just like in

Ghana, a girl born on Sunday is called Cosiba. But I changed the C to K and put an H at the end. I wanted it to be African sounding but it could also cross over. I was 16 when I picked the name so I was thinking ahead. I wanted the name to transcend any place. Childhood I had a happy childhood. I grew up on the University of Ibadan campus. We were comfortable, though not rich. I went to International School, Ibadan. My background made me to be comfortable anywhere. Sometime ago, I was invited to the palace to meet with Prince Charles at a programme called prominent black people in the UK. So, on whichever level, I can fit in. Do you miss home food? Not really because you can get virtually

HIS life’s story is one built around providence and self-determination. He rose through the ranks to become the chief executive officer of Crusader Insurance Plc, one of Nigeria’s top insurance companies where he served for about six years before he retired about six months ago. Sharing his grass to grace story with The Nation in his modest Lagos residence, Mr. Gabriel Abidoye Oyelami said growing up in his Inisa, Osun State native town, was a tough experience. He said: “Growing up was very challenging because I came from a poor family and things were very tough. I remember when I was in secondary school. At times, I would have to go to the farm with my younger brothers to pluck maize. It was after we had realised money from the sale of the maize that I would be able to go to school. “There was nothing my mother did not trade in for me to go to school. I hawked a lot of items to be able to raise my school

Kunle AKINRINADE fees. Because I could not afford university education immediately I completed secondary school, I had to first of all go to a College of Education to obtain a National Certificate in Education (NCE) in Mathematics and Physics with Distinction before I could acquire university education.” But he believes his tortuous journey through school till he became the chief executive of a top insurance firm had been divinely guided. “I joined the insurance sector by accident,” he said. “My first interest was to become an engineer but I ended up gaining admission to study Actuarial Science at the University of Lagos in 1975 and I graduated in 1978. “I secured admission into about five universities at the same time. I was offered Applied Geo-physics at the then University of Ife; Statistics at the University of Ibadan and Electrical Engineering at the University of Benin and University of Nigeria, Nsukka. But I settled for UNILAG because Actuarial Science was a new area and we were the first set to be



There was something that the Mayor of London created... I won’t say it’s been easy. But being a black male designer here has really helped me because we are not many. Some things that may be negative to some people, I’ve made it positive

tion, marketing, PR, all aspects of running a business regardless of what the business is all about. Because I didn’t work before starting out as a designer, I learnt a lot of things that in an ideal world, I should know before starting my business. I learnt through a few trials and errors. For example, if you came to me as a client, I don’t take a deposit from you. I start working for you and if something happens, I’m not under any obligation. But that happened once and I learnt my lesson. It’s for this reason that I encourage internship. I do a lot of training, not teaching people how to sew but teaching them what I call best practices and the realities of running a business because what they teach in school and what happens in real life are two different things. Also, when I started, I did both men and women’s clothes. Very quickly, I realised that

men’s wears don’t give me that artistic satisfaction. There isn’t so much you can do with men’s clothes. So, I found myself going towards bridals and evening wears; that’s how my designs are best reflected. What motivates and inspires you when it comes to designing? I will say it’s the female form. Others will say it’s the fabric or nature. But I always want to create a garment that people will see and say, ‘Wow, how did it look like that?’ Growing up in Nigeria, I’m used to seeing real women with butts and curves that sit properly in a garment. And that’s why I do a lot of corsetry. So, when I’m designing something, I have the client in front of me and I ask questions like, what part of your body do you want to hide? What part do you want to celebrate? For what occasion? From all that information, I then design something to match. Was there a defining point in your career that set the Kosibah brand on the part of success?

admitted for undergraduate programme. “When I was leaving UNILAG, my department told me to do my master’s abroad so that I would be able to lecture in UNILAG. But while I was doing my national youth service in Imo State, one of my former lecturers, Mr. Dada, who had left UNILAG to join Crusader Insurance, wrote to me and asked me to apply for a job in Crusader Insurance. I also had an offer from Shell Petroleum Development Company. But after my service year, I decided to join Crusader Insurance on September 30, 1979 because of the course I read.” He recalled his tempestuous journey in the company before he became its helmsman in 2005. He said: “When I was working in Crusader Insurance, it got to a stage that the job was no longer interesting. I suffered a lot and sometimes, I would trek from Oyingbo to Akoka. The work was not interesting and people were hostile to us because we were the first set of graduates to join Crusader Insurance then. “One of the things that discouraged me in the job was that somebody who saw me as a threat sat on the company panel that was to promote me and delayed my promotion when I was supposed to be promoted from Superintendent to Senior Superintendent. “As God would have it, nine years later, the person that denied me promotion and I rose to the same level of Controller in the company, and I later moved ahead of him in terms of hierarchy. I became an Assistant General Manager while he was still a Controller.” He continued: “I take anything that happens to me as the way God wants it to be. When Mr. Dada who brought me into the company left as the MD, some people thought I would succeed him. I never struggled for the position and somebody else was employed to become the MD. When the new MD left, people thought I would automatically be made the MD but I was not. Rather, I was made to be the Acting MD. I was later made the first Executive Director and they later added Chief Operating Officer to my title. I was doing my job joyfully until December 13, 2005 when I was made the MD. I believe that is the way God wants it to be.

“Throughout the period I spent in Crusader, I never had any evil thought against those who were ahead of me. I believe that if you had a boss, you should not do anything to bring him down, because if you do, by the time you are at the top, somebody else would bring you down. “For the period I worked, it is on record and I always tell the staff when I was there that they could dig into it; nobody could say I took one kobo that was not legitimately mine. Everything I achieved in life was through my sweat. I lived within the limits of my resources when I was in office and after retirement. “I thank God that despite all that happened to me, I ended up as the MD of the organisation. I never worked in any organisation other than Crusader Insurance. I worked for 32 years in the organisation and I think I was fulfilled before I retired voluntarily in September 30, 2011. I am fulfilled getting to the peak of my career and retiring as the MD of a company served for 32 years.” Oyelami explained how his poor parents gave him the best they could at the expense of their own comfort. He said: “I wish my parents had lived longer. They sacrificed a lot for me to become great in life. There was a particular case that I can never forget. That period, my mother was dealing in kolanuts and was waiting for the time the price would grow up. As the price was going up, my mother did not sell. When it was time for me to go back to school, my father said there was no money. It was not deliberate. I realised there was no money. “After one week, my mother had to go and sell the kolanuts. A week after he gave me the money and I went to school, the price of kolanuts jumped by more than double. People started questioning my mother’s decision to sell her kolanuts. She told them: ‘I am working because of my children. Should I have kept him at home when I h a d something I could sell for him to go to school? He is

In my second year at the University of Ife, I attended a show by Ituen Basi. At that time, she was called Agnes Basi. To me, that sort of marked a turning point in my life. I was really excited by what I saw- by her designs and the models and I thought to myself that if she could do it, I felt I could too because I had all my sketches. Then, I had this girl who was in her final year in my department that took me under her wing and we discussed what I wanted to do. She got a friend to sponsor me. She gave me about N500 which was a lot of money and I designed a six piece collection. I will take it to the tailor in Ibadan, explain to her what to do but when it was done, it is never what I had in mind. And that taught me about the fact that I needed to learn how to make my garments myself. Anyway, I got my models to wear them and for the fashion show on campus. In those days, there used to be lots of entertainment activities on campus with music and so on. So, when I came here, I decided that since I could draw, I didn’t really need to learn how to design and so I went to a sewing school at the Paris Academy School of Fashion, actually opposite London School of Fashion. It’s closed down now. It was quite an old school then. Their method of teaching had gone out of fashion. That was the progression of how I got fully into fashion designing. So, I’m not one of those that stumbled upon it or had to study engineering and later decided to go into fashion. I knew what I wanted and I was very focused and consistent about it. So, that encounter in school was a definite deciding moment for me. How easy has it been working as a black designer in London? I think I’ve been extremely lucky. There was something that the Mayor of London created which was called ‘Culture to Couture’. For two years they did a fashion show at the V and A Museum in London. That helped to further put black businesses on the map. But at the same time, I won’t say it’s been easy. But being a black male designer here has really helped me because we are not many. Some things that may be negative to some people, I’ve made it positive. That has really helped. Besides, as long as your product is good, clients will come. Apart from yourself, how are Nigerian designers perceived in the UK? I think there has been a shift in the last few years with the combination of fashion weeks in South and Nigeria. Foreign designers are my first son and he has to go to school.’ I realised what she did. So, until my mother died, I never joked with her and my father.” Although Oyelami did not go back to the classroom in 1979 as his lecturers had expected, immediately he retired from Crusader Insurance, he decided to take a a job as a part-time lecturer at the Redeemer’s University where he is currently teaching Insurance. He has also ventured into consultancy with the aim of preparing people for life after retirement. He said: “Since I retired, I have been doing consultancy work. I am educating people on how they can prepare for retirement and what they need to do to prepare for what they would need to sustain themselves after retirement. I also do part-time teaching and that keeps me busy. “When I teach, I just want to share knowledge. Most of the students I teach are younger than my last child. I decided to keep myself busy with lecturing because I cannot run after any contract or move near any p o l i t i c a l appointment.”

• Oyelami

now using our fabrics. With established designers like Lanre Da Silva, Deola Sagoe and even some up-coming ones, people now realise it’s not just about the style but cohesivesness of the designs and their works are very well appreciated. It’s not a fad but a it’s a moment that has come to stay and it will continue for a long while. Fortunately Nigerians do have a sense of style. Who is the Kosibah woman? The Kosibah woman is one that appreciates and knows the value of couture and knows how much work goes into it. A woman that is comfortable with her body and not afraid to celebrate her femininity. How do you separate your life from your job? I love what I do. I have a good work/life balance. On spending 20 years in the industry We clocked 20 years in September last year and we had a very well attended event to mark our anniversary. Yes, I celebrated but I also took time out to reflect on how far I have come uninterrupted. It has not been easy. This work has always been a challenging one. I remember starting in a very small studio. I was in school and I was also working as a security guard to pay my bills. I did that for the first two years and then I realised that I had to stop so that I can properly concentrate on the business otherwise I will keep relying on salary. So I moved from there to the flat I had in West Hampstead. It was a very nice flat and that set the tone. But at this time, I was also working from home. It’s very important to distinguish yourself from being a designer and a dressmaker. That’s how people perceive you when you work from home. So, I got a studio but it was on the second floor of an exquisite building with a modernised warehouse. It was tough because even though it was a nice building, the kind of clients that I was beginning to attract at that time would judge me with a lower perception as they had to climb all the way up to get to me. So, that made me to move to where I am now. This place is unique and well ventilated. So, the progression has been slow and steady because it hasn’t been like this or that. It has been consistent growth. Though I’m not flowing in money, I’m still here, doing great work. For the future, I’m planning to make more of my presence felt in Nigeria. I hope to be doing more consultancy for clients especially in Lagos and Abuja.




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r o f t i f t u Perfect o y a d n u S r Easte

hat king about w Are you thin urches and their . ay nd Su er y ch is East OMORROW is special day? While man hat attendees wear to wear on th casual attitude about w up helps set the members havehers believe that dressing . In all, avoid ot shipping God to make a fashion or to worship, su w r fo e bl ity ne ita to portun reverential to urch service as your op fortably will allow you or com s d ou an ci ns tly es co viewing the ch t being selfressing mod statement. D out of the service withou ice should be a time to rv t se os m er e st th Ea get . In addition, not yourself. fashion-driven heels and a hty and ig lm A e th ings, neutral sure your outfit is rr ea s, es focus on dr n ch, l or plai o, make A pretty flora e a perfect ensemble. Als a get-together after chur nd ak e te m at or g m to ba e ar ng nd u ni ha you are plan and tie so yo adaptable. If t to remove your blazer e to up your game. an tim w is ay It g. you m hile socializin comfortable w


Wallis belted shift dress

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•Oasis embroidered shift dress

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Make it a carnival of colours

carnival party is appropriately celebrated just before Lent because in other cultures, this is traditionally the time to celebrate the season through carnival and circus theme parades and parties. Well, another Lagos carnival is here again. Have you got the costumes needed for this fun-filled day? There are lots of stores on the Mainland and Island that provide a service that is second to none, if you need that outfit which will make you the topic of conversation at the carnival. Mask This is a fun costume that can be worn by men, women and children. Masks come in all manners of hues, pattern and shape. It is the most common and sharpest carnival costume. Face or body painting This will work well, if you want to wear a sexy outfit. Animal attire In any carnival celebration, you will find people dressed like wild or domestic animals. This is also a great costume for either men or women, and can even be made sexy, if you find the right costume. Glitzy costume Make it a scintillating affair. From head to toe accessories, let your costume glisters. A carnival is all about glitz and glamour.


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Feathers mask Black and gold carnival mask

Feathers mask

Prada designs smoking shoes

Florence Ita-Giwa

Last week magic was Christian Louboutin “Sex” shoes, a pair of $1400 pumps that spell out the letters SE-X when the wearer stands with her feet together. But not to be outdone, Prada has come out with its own take on salacious stilettos. Prada designed their heels more literally, with giant pink lips on the toes that irreverently dangle (leather) cigarettes, complete with plumes of leather smoke.

H&M confirms new name H&M has confirmed its new high-end stores’ name. Press officer Håcan Andersson confirmed that the company’s new venture coming next year will be a chain of stores under Name & Other Stories.” Andersson said the name alone “is all the available information we have as of today.”



The Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi met with some journalists during the week to discuss the ongoing reform of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and related issues. Our Managing Editor, Northern Operation, YUSUF ALLI, was there. Excerpts:

Why we are reforming NYSC —Minister of Youth Development Bolaji Abdullahi HY is there a need to reform NYSC and why now? NYSC, as we all know, was established after the civil war as one of the vehicles for national integration. After existing for so long, it is important for us to review the scheme against its original objectives and the prevailing realities in the country. We need to make NYSC more relevant. We need to ensure that there is commensurate return on investment to all its stakeholders. Our initial research shows that people are querying the relevance of NYSC because they are no longer sure about the value the scheme is adding to the participating corps members, their families, and the country at large. This, for us, is a strong case for reform. So we need to reposition the NYSC, make it more effective, and align it with present realities. But why not just scrap the scheme? To scrap NYSC is to accept that the scheme has outlived its usefulness. We do not think that NYSC has outlived its usefulness. The scheme was set up primarily to achieve national integration and to create avenues for young people to contribute meaningfully to the development of the country. I don’t think anybody can argue that Nigeria no longer has a need in these two areas. The challenges of national integration and unity, despite the success that the NYSC has achieved, are still as relevant as they were 39 years ago. Also, there are critical areas where Nigeria needs to be served by its young people today. Take the area of the Millennium Development Goals, where Nigeria needs to catch up with the rest of the world. The issue of employment for young people is also one of the biggest challenges facing our country today. Now how does the NYSC fit into this? The scheme ensures that we have a captive





Our pragmatic approach is to say wherever there are real or potential security challenges, we will not post corps members to such places. We will not have orientation camps in such places and not post corps members to such places until we have evidence of significant improvement...


pool of a quarter of a million young people that we can prepare for life after school. So, if nothing else, the opportunity that the scheme provides to prepare young people for critical transition between the life of schooling and that of work makes the scheme very pertinent and relevant. It is so easy to scrap anything. But the leadership challenge at this time is to make NYSC more effective. So, what and what are you doing to make the scheme more effective? We are looking at the scheme in a holistic way and trying to identify and confront issues that are standing in the way of its effectiveness. The first issue is the need to look at the areas where Nigeria needs to be served. Of course national integration is still relevant, but it is no longer a sufficient justification. We need value addition. Also we are looking at how to shift NYSC from something that people do because they cannot escape it to something that people look forward to. The only way we can answer both is to ensure that the programme adds value to the country and the participating corps members. On the value to the country, we need to redirect the energy of corps members into those areas where their energy is actually needed in the service of the country: education, rural health, infrastructure, and agriculture. What we have experienced over time is a decisive derailment where you find corps members serving in all kinds of places such as banks, oil companies, government ministries and all kinds of private businesses. Is there anything wrong with corps members serving in such places? Ordinarily, there shouldn’t be. But there are certain down-side effects and trade-offs. When you send corps members to places where they are not really needed, it means you are not deploying them to areas where they are really needed. So we miss the opportunity of optimally using this special resource to tackle urgent national challenges. It also means you are using public sector fund

to subsidise private sector gains. There is nothing wrong with this if that was the intention of the scheme, but that is not the intention of the scheme. Of course I have heard all kinds of arguments about how private businesses avail the corps members the opportunity to learn and how serving with them gives corps members a leg into the world of work. But there are questions around that: are we not creating a disincentive for employment and are we redefining NYSC as an internship programme? As it is today, the NYSC is not an internship programme. It is a national service programme. That is what the law says. You recently said the NYSC reform is a comprehensive package, but we only hear of the posting policy… The posting policy is one aspect of the reform. This policy is to ensure that we concentrate the energies of corps members in four areas of urgent national needs. Another area of reform is the content of the orientation programme to ensure that beyond serving their country, corps members also get value from participating in the scheme. One of the key challenges that we are also aware of is that many of our graduates today leave their higher institutions with huge gaps in their skills, education, and competencies. We believe the NYSC can be used to bridge some of these gaps and the scheme can be turned into some sort of finishing school. Of course the big one is the issue of security of corps members, which has led to the desperate calls that the scheme be scrapped. Until recently, the security of corps members was never an issue. In fact, the NYSC uniform used to be a shield of protection. But unfortunately we have arrived at a point where that uniform could actually expose our corps members to danger. Like I said recently, no objective is worth the life of a corps member, because you can only serve your country or improve on your own

abilities if you are alive. So, an important portion of the reform is how to improve the security of corps members. We are also looking into how to improve funding for the scheme. Funding is really critical. For example, majority of our orientation camps are dilapidated and uninhabitable. I have visited some of them and they are not just fit for people you are inviting to come and serve their country. Another area we are looking at is the reform of the NYSC itself, how to realign the organisation and make it fit for purpose. It seems the major issue everyone is concerned about is the security of corps members. But it seems you are side-stepping this important issue… We are not. The security of corps members is very important to us, and as I mentioned earlier, the youth service scheme is not worth the life of anybody. But if we solve that problem, and every corps member is secure, is that enough? Does it mean we will be achieving the objectives of the scheme? Can we solve the problem of security and still solve other problems? Yes. The way I see it is that the security of corps members comes first. But I think it is possible to combine all— it is possible to secure corps members; it is possible to ensure corps members are deployed appropriately; and it is possible to give corps members the requisite skills they need to be more useful to themselves when they go out in the society. Let me share with you some of the things we are doing to show that we are taking the security of corps members very seriously. One of the major initiatives we have taken is to develop a security alert system that maps the country—some kind of early warning— and to take decision on posting of corps members based on our awareness of the security circumstances in various locations. So we are not saying that because NYSC is a national service, then we must post corps members to all parts of the country. Our pragmatic approach is to say wherever there are real or potential security challenges, we will not post corps members to such places. We will not have orientation camps in such places and not post corps members to such places until we have evidence of significant improvement. In addition to that, we want the governors of the affected states to give us clear assurance that they will guarantee the security of corps members. One example I will give you is the case of Niger State, which was one of the four states we decided that corps members will not be posted to during this current exercise. But the governor of Niger State came forward and made a strong case that corps members would be protected in his state. So the DG of NYSC went to the alternative venue provided for the orientation programme and we were satisfied that the new camping ground is secure and safe. We have also set up the NYSC Distress Call Centre to ensure that corps members in distress can call for and receive help on time. The call centre is connected to the operations

of the police departments and other security agencies in the zones where the corps members are deployed. The third intervention, which has largely gone unnoticed, is to be sensitive to the mood of the country. For instance when we did the last passing-out parade, we just issued the certificate to the corps members so as not to make them easy targets for people who want to do mischief. We are also providing selfdefence training to corps members. The new posting policy has taken off with this present batch of corps members. How is its implementation going? I am particularly impressed with the response we have received so far. Before we started this, many people expressed all kinds of concern. In fact we received some negative press on this. But I must say that since we got approval from President Goodluck Jonathan for its implementation and the commencement of the policy, the responses we have received have been really positive. It will surprise you that when I went to the NYSC orientation camp for the first batch of 2012, and I announced the policy and the rationale behind it, the corps members clapped. As you might know, corps members passed out of camp during the week, ordinarily the streets of Abuja would have been clogged with corps members roaming around with their luggage, looking for places to serve. But I have not seen any corps member roaming around. So if that is one thing we have been able to achieve with this policy, I think that is major. Normally when corps members leave the camp, they suffer, hanging around the streets, getting rejected from places they have been posted to and so on. This I think does something negative to their psyche, having gone to university for four/five years, then coming back to serve your country and getting rejected here and there. So I think we have succeeded to a very large extent in dealing with the problems of rejection of corps members, and the trauma they go through after leaving the camps. Let me give you example of Abuja Camp again. Normally each orientation programme in this camp has between 5000 to 6000 corps members, but this year we have a little over 3000. So in terms of the facilities in camp, and the opportunity for posting, we have reduced the number to what can be managed and absorbed. Then the issue of distorting the national integration component of the scheme has also been addressed by this new policy. Since the announcement was made, nobody has come to me to assist him or her in posting anybody. Normally by this time, I would probably have two big bags of request letters from big men asking me to influence the posting of corps members. But after the announcement, the government issued a circular to the effect that no public official should get involved in lobbying for preferred positions for corps members. But there are people who are worried about limiting corps members to only four areas and denying them the opportunity to gain practical experience or get jobs after? You see in some countries, corps members are used only for military service. People don’t choose to do military service. But those countries decided that the area where they need young people to serve is in the military. In some countries they use corps members only for food production, or emergency relief services. You don’t make a choice based on your qualification to say you won’t serve where your country needs you. If you studied history, and your country needs you for disaster management or emergency relief, you do that for your country. That is why it is called national service. You don’t choose what you do when you go to serve. The country decides the area that it needs to be served. If Nigeria is faced with the problem of desertification today, and we need corps members to be planting trees, even if you studied nuclear physics, for that one year, you should plant trees and serve your country with pride. After that year you will move on to your field of training. So, when we sing the anthem: Youth obey the clarion call; let us lift our nation high; under the sun or in the rain; with dedication and selflessness; Nigeria is ours; Nigeria we serve. The NYSC Anthem captures everything. So the clarion call is come and teach, so obey it. The clarion call is come and help us to patch the road, so obey it. The clarion call is children and women are dying in the villages, come and help us administer primary healthcare, so obey it.



I started addressing myself as a professor in Form Three in secondary school —Delta Commissioner Prof. Eghagha Prof. Hope Eghagha is the Commissioner for Higher Education, Delta State. He was a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian newspapers. In this exclusive interview with AUGUSTINE AVWODE, the poet and playwright talks about his early life, upbringing and vision for life, even at a rather young age. He also touches on some of the challenges of being in government. Excerpts:

•Prof. Eghagha

sulted in a rapid decline in the status of the civil servant and the kids, too, were at the receiving end because their parents were no longer so certain about life and that was it. When you finished from the university, which job did you do first? You see, from day one, I was de-

termined not to work. I told my dad, I just wanted to read to the Ph.D level. Did you achieve that? I did in a way because when I finished my secondary school, I went for the HSC and when I finished the HSC, I went on to the university and

took the first degree from the University of Jos. And upon the completion of my NYSC, I went to the University of Lagos where I registered for the Masters, when I completed the Masters, I was engaged as a Graduate Assistant and while there I registered for the Ph.D. And it was

Criticising policies is easier than implementing them. When implementing policies that are well thought out, well written, you run into all kinds of obstacles. The ability to overcome all these obstacles is what makes you a successful person or not...


OW was growing up like for you as a child? Growing up was an experience which, if I had the opportunity, I would go through again largely because of the stable home from which I came. Our mother was always there; and there was a father who cared. He was a civil servant and he imparted the right principles of life to me both morally, spiritually and all that. My father was initially a teacher before he became a civil servant, so a man with that kind of background never spares the rod. He made sure that we followed the right path. And growing up for me was really in the city. My first consciousness was in Sapele, although I was born in Burutu when my father was on a posting there and later moved to Warri and then Sapele. And Sapele then, for us, was the epitome of civilisation. Indeed, Sapele was the place to be if you are really a guy. And you know, we that were in Sapele then looked down on others from other places for some strange reasons. That was in the early 60s. I went to Academy Boys Primary School before it became Okotie Eboh Boys Primary School; then I went to Zik’s Grammar School and did my HSC in Port Harcourt at Baptist High School. Incidentally, my father was on a posting there. So growing up for me was fun, we played all the childhood pranks, we were boys indeed, and, of course, we played football and also engage in serious things. What would you say is the enduring influence of your parents on you? I would say my dad always wanted us to be serious about the things that we did. His advice was take things seriously, be focused. He was very intelligent, sharp and good in Mathematics, but I was not. He taught me Mathematics but my literary mind could not appreciate calculation. I didn’t mind Algebra, but Geometry was something else to me. I could flow with abstractions when it came to literature but I couldn’t get the abstractions in the Mathematical world because of the literary mind that I had. Isn’t it true that your literacy disposition actually influenced your course of study in the university? Yes, as I said, very early in life I started reading the newspaper from primary three, and novels, too. Then, I would go shopping at the Kingsway Stores, buying novels and read. I read all the books on my father’s shelf. For instance, I read for the very first time, serious literature like Gulliver’s Travel. I picked up She by Ridder Hargard. I also picked up Alice in Wonderland, I read that too from my father’s shelf. So very early I was very fascinated by that. It was very well before the days of power failure. Whenever I was reading a novel, I would stay up till midnight because I wanted to get to the end of it. And in class, I was more interested in the arts subjects. I did the sciences to fulfil the combination requirement to get to the university. In all, can we say you are one born with a silver spoon in his mouth? Well, I have said this somewhere before that there was no silver spoon at all. If anything like spoon existed it was a plastic spoon. As a civil servant, life wasn’t too difficult. Feeding wasn’t the problem, paying the fees to go to school wasn’t the problem. It was later, from the 80s that those things became challenges to civil servants. In the 60s, 70s, you earn your money and led a decent life. You are not rich but at the same time you are not poor. It was until much later that inflation wiped out the gains that civil servants could enjoy. And then civil servants became threatened from 1975, 76. After the Udoji award in 1972 which ushered in inflation and 1976 when General Murtala came in and purged the civil service, both re-


while doing the Ph.D that I got my first real job which was as a Lecturer at the then Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti. But then, when I finished my HSC and was awaiting my result, I worked with the African Timber & Plywood (AT&P), Sapele, between July and September of 1978. But I must say I hated the job. It was a clerical officer’s job. Really, why? I hated it because there was a lot of pretension in the place. You have to conform. The first thing I didn’t like was that, to be given the job, one had to go to the clinic for medical examination and the attendant said something to the effect that we should shave our pubic hair. I couldn’t see the link between my pubic hair and being offered a job as a clerical officer. So the next day I went to the place, I didn’t shave. The doctor was a white man then. So he sent me home. I gladly went back home. But somebody had linked me up with the company and he and my dad spoke and my dad called me. So I told him I can’t link shaving my public hair with the job of a clerical officer, actually, an Account Clerk to be precise. I told him they just wanted to humiliate us. So I went back there, I didn’t shave. Then the white man, a medical doctor came. All he did was, he had his hand gloves on, he just fiddled me around my private region. I later discovered that they were testing for hernia. You know AT&P produced doors and plywood and it involves a lot of physical labour. So, that aspect of it, I supposed, was meant for the labourers; those who work in the mills not those of us who work in the offices. So the man just fiddled me and that was all. But throughout the period, I didn’t enjoy working there. I, as an individual, worked fast. By 7.30am you must beat your desk. And any job assigned to me by 9.00am is gone. I am through with it and would be waiting for the next paper to come. And at such a time, they wouldn’t allow you read a newspaper or a novel. They will ask you to spread a ledger in front of you and pretend to be working. (Laughter) I didn’t like that at all; so people will put a ledger on the table and open a drawer and put a book there pretending to be writing but actually reading. But by October, I was fed up. We were paid twice then. We were paid on the 10th and last day of the month. The money though came handy but I did not like the job. My idea of life was not that. So, I then crossed to Okotie-Eboh Grammar School where I taught from November to December then I gained admission and went to the university. You are a Professor at the University of Lagos. At one point, you were on the Editorial Board of The Guardian. Now you are as a Com-

THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2012 missioner. Was the transition easy or difficulty? Well, the transition, I should say was not so smooth because one moved from the realm of theory to practical. As a columnist or social critic, looking at the way things in the society run, for you to be able to evaluate things, you have to look critically and closely. So I was very conscious of my environment and I had my ideas about certain things – institutions, development, road construction, child development, religion and so on. So when I then came into government, we tried to implement some of these policies and lead by example. It is not so different in the sense that one was psychologically prepared for it. As a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian, every Wednesday, it was like a post mortem of the previous week. Events that occurred from the Thursday of the previous week, sometimes till Wednesday morning were x-rayed by intelligent minds across religious, ethnic and political divides in the Boardroom of The Guardian. Besides, I was very interested in society. In fact right from my Secondary School days, I was buying The Time Magazine, listening to VOA, BBC, VON, reading newspapers because of my attention to society. So that actually prepared me for the present job. Although when it came to developing memo, going to executive council to defend, it was a different kettle of fish and one has to learn that. Criticising policies is easier than implementing them. When implementing policies that are well thought out, well written, you run into all kinds of obstacles. The ability to overcome all these obstacles is what makes you a successful person or not. And beside, as a writer, someone who has written poems, novels, plays, I was very conscious of injustice in the society and very conscious of why society should be fair, you know, all those things were at the back of my mind and I do hope that I will be able to bring all this things to bear as a government person. Aside from these three things, what else would you have loved to be? Well, my very first dream, you’ll surprised, was to be an Intelligence Officer. Perhaps, that was influenced by reading novels and books about high level Intelligence gathering, being involved in Espionage and all of that. So, I thought that I would do well in the diplomatic circle as an Intelligence Officer, perhaps largely influenced by the foreign ideas which I had read until much later I then focused on myself and decided that I would be a lecturer. I took that decision very early. Read up till PhD, go to the university and start teaching. I mean by the time I was in Form Three in secondary school, I started addressing myself as a professor, oh yes! If you go back to the books I had at that time, I addressed myself as professor. There was a day about three, four years ago, I was looking through old books in my father’s collection and I saw Prof. Eghagha and I smiled. Here you are today a Prof., how do you feel about it? It is a life long achievement. For me, that is what I wanted to be, to be a Prof. and when you become a Prof you discovered that there are other challenges. Of course at the time, my father would have loved me to read Law. Every Urhobo man at that time wanted his son to be a lawyer. But that was not for me. Indeed when I went to read Theatre Arts, the arrangement by dad was that make sure you change into Law after the first year. But in Theatre Arts, after year one, I had found fulfillment, I could write, I could read, I could act, I just decided to go on with it and that was it. For the Masters, I then went in for English and Dramatic Literature. In the days of Encyclopedia before the advent of the Internet or Google, that kept people busy. Encyclopedia Britannica or


•Prof. Eghagha

Encyclopedia Americana were my companions. So that was it for me. Would you say you are a perfectionist? I don’t think so. I would have love things to be perfect but I don’t think I do things perfectly, no matter how I try. Yes, I would have loved to have things done perfectly but I do know that anybody in the human world as much as he strives for perfection runs into all kinds of errors because the human instrument, the human equipment, the human organs, even in terms of implementing ideas are not perfect. The environment itself is not perfect, the instrument of communication, methods of communication all of these are not perfect. However, one really tries to do his best. If you want to say that one should always do his best, and if you talk of perfectionist in that regard, yes. I don’t like messy narratives. I like narratives that start well, driven through the middle and then get concluded well. To that extent one can say he is a perfectionist. Today, you are in a leadership position what kind of philosophy underscores your approach to your day-to-day assignments? Service to humanity! When you are in this kind of position, it is one of service to people. It is not just a slogan, I mean in a Nigeria of about 140 million where you have 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), let take an average of 30 commissioners per state, if you multiply that by 36, you can see the figure and know that we are very few. So it is a privilege position. It therefore im-

poses some responsibility on you to be of a service to people. It is not a position where you just raise your shoulders that you are better than every other person. And because of the privilege position, you have access to all kinds of things. You can be influential in your community, your local government, you can make things happen, you can intervene on behalf of the under privileged. You can assist in different ways. Often we are on duty 24 hours. Sometimes you get a phone message by 3 am, sometimes by 4am, you have to move. At 2am you are still exchanging messages with some persons in government because you must get something done. For me, it is service to humanity. What do you consider to be the difference between the world of today and when you were growing up? I really don’t know whether one can describe the difference in absolute terms because the world for me is a continuous narrative. At which point of the narrative I am standing at a time? What are the dynamics of the narrative? Have they remained constant, have they changed? Are we building on foundations from the early part of the narrative to the middle until it gets concluded? So I don’t think I can describe the world of my youth and the world of today as diametrically opposed. I will also like to say that people tend to glorify the past; that the past was better than the present, but mind you, the current present will

51 be past of the future. When we were in the 70s, we complained about a lot of things. I remember in those days that it took two to three days to get to Lagos from Sapele by road. But it was life. And there was this saying “To go to Lagos no hard, na to come back be problem.” Life then was not bed of roses. To get to Lagos took three days, now you do it in four hours. The roads were not good then. The Highway robbers after the civil war made life difficult for travelers. You know many people had access to arms after the war. People tend to look back and say those were the golden years. But I am not so enarmoured with describing the differences, I do it advisedly, looking at certain aspects one at a time. For instance, political development and I can say we have made some progress. I look at education and I say we have made some progress. Whatever we say, in terms of access to education, in terms of availability and affordability. I do remember when we were growing up that communities come together to pull funds together to send a child to the university. It is no longer a communal responsibility. Families can now do that. I also know that when we were growing up in the whole of the Midwest there was only one university, the University of Benin. And when it came up, a lot of people were cynical about it. Now the University of Benin has come to stay. If you wanted to go to school then, it had to be Ife, Ibadan or Lagos. Now, the old Midwest have been split into two - Edo and Delta. In Delta, we have a state owned university and three polytechnics. The closest Polytechnic then was Auchi Polytechnic. So for my generation, we kept dreaming of going to a university outside of this state. But now, there is access, a lots of people have come into the system. The half of the old Midwest, now have three polytechnics here, two colleges of education and a College of Physical Education; we have a Federal University of Technology, we have a Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), we have Western Delta University and Novena University. You don’t have to go to kilometers away before you have tertiary education. We are also aware that because of the large number of people going into the system, there has been the challenge on physical structure; the human capital has also been challenged. While a lot more people come into the system, there are no enough funds to fully develop the structure to make them commensurate with the influx of people. And that is the reason when you go to universities or polytechnics you still find people battling with the fundamentals – accommodation, inadequate lecture halls and so on but in all of these, we have the Ministry of Education that is setting goals that in 10 years time, we would like to have enough lecture halls, we would like all our students to be in halls of residence etc, we want the state and federal government to move towards the UNESCO prescription in terms of budgetary allocations. We will be moving from 10 to 15 to 20 and so on. When I say I want to compare, there is certainly this increase in knowledge right now. Take for instance the notion of news, it has been redefined. In the past that we are talking of, somebody in the same community we are

I mean by the time I was in Form Three in secondary school, I had started addressing myself as a professor. Oh yes! If you go back to the books I had at that time, I addressed myself as professor. There was a day, about three, four years ago, I was looking through old books in my father’s collection and I saw ‘Prof. Eghagha’ and I smiled...


living in could die three days, four days and you don’t get to know. But now, immediately somebody dies you hear the news within five minutes. You can send photographs; news is no longer what happened yesterday, news is what is happening now. And all these affect culture; they affect behavior, work ethics and everything about us. So I don’t compare the past. As an individual, I don’t romanticize the past. I look at contemporary society; we do have challenges, all societieshave challenges, I mean all without reservation. America, said to be the mostpowerful nation on earth today has its challenges. But while some are grapplingwith fundamentals others have gone beyond that. Tell us the challenges in the ministry? When you are outside government you have a very broad look at things even though you don’t have access to details. So when you come into government you begin to see the details. The things you want to do and the things you can’t do. Sometimes, funding could be a challenge, way of thinking could be a challenge, where you are coming from could be a challenge when certain persons think you are not of the mainstream and sundry issues. For instance, I would like to have all our students to be well accommodate in decent hostel accommodation; have access to electricity supply 24 hours; access to internet facility. That is the modern world, the IT world. I want to produce graduates in our institutions who can fit into the global market and economy and the question is how you can achieve all these within two years or three years. And education is not the only social service that we have to offer. It is just one of them. We are grappling with road construction, residential accommodation, water supply, all these are there and the resources are not as enormous as people think. Those are some of the things we encounter when we get into government and they are part of the challenges. So far, how far? We have raised consciousness about the issues on the campus. As Commissioner for Higher Education, my brief is to serve as a bridge between the institutions and government, bring to the attention of government the situation in the institutions and also let the institutions know some of the challenges the government is facing. Government can’t do it all. I think that given the situation on ground, it will be a great thing to see stakeholders in the education sector play greater roles in the development of education because government can’t do it all. Stakeholders must be prepared to give more assistance and support in the drive for excellence and the ideal, knowing fully that government alone can’t provide everything. Take for instance the Delta State Government releases N420 million every month as the wage bill of Delta State University alone. And sometimes adds 60 or 70 million for gratuity and pension. So in a month, we talk of almost half a billion naira. That is enormous. Yet an average student of the institution pays about N25,000 for an academic year. A rough mathematics will show that the government subsidizes each student of Delta State origin in Delta State University to the tune of about 85%. You can see the challenges that will pose. How is working with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan? He is a man that is well focused; he knows what he is doing. He is firm and I have enjoyed working with him. In him you find a man who knows what he wants to do, he has been in government, he is experienced and for most of the things, you don’t have to make much noise or push so hard once those issues are clear.




Maintaining purity in courtship


ear Reader, You are welcome once again to this wonderful edition of your favourite column. Here, you have access to the ingredients that make for a successful marital life. They shall be practically delivered into your hand and you shall be richly blessed in Jesus’ name! I am glad to let you know that, marriage can be one of the sweetest experiences on earth and can also be a bitter pill, depending on how you go about it. The Lord designed marriage from inception to be a thrilling experience filled with joyful events, new discoveries, and the euphoria of companionship. After designing and creating the blueprint for a happy home,

God’s Word says: God saw it and rated it as very good (Genesis 1:31). But the natural man with his own rules and ideologies corrupted it and this led to the “bitter pill” experience in marriage and family. The Word of God says: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). As a born again Christian, God has not left you alone to be confronted with the bitter experiences some have in marriage, through the defilement of the marriage bed in courtship. Rather, He has provided in His Word, guidelines that will help you triumph in any area of your life, including courtship and marriage. If you will just follow

them, you will reap the blessings that they carry. The subject of marriage begins when two individuals, man and woman, make a decision to marry each other. That is where a real relationship begins. A real relationship is one where you love that person enough to be honest; honest about who you are, honest about what you plan to do and be, and honest about how you feel about them. At this point, God’s Word says: Prove all things (2 Thessalonians 5:21). To prove means to examine. You prove by getting to know the person better. Your would-be spouse needs to be proved. You too need to be proved, in order to know if you can actually be a help to the other party. This period of waiting and watching before the actual wedding is called courtship. This is the period where you determine if you have made the right choice or not. At such a time, you need to be very alert and not be blinded by romantic feelings, because marriage is not a fantasy, it is a reality. Other most important ingredi-

ents next to love in a relationship are openness and honest communication. If, as someone who is preparing for marriage, you are not at the point where you can communicate with transparency and vulnerability, then you need to work on these areas! Communication is a crucial foundation to every marriage, and open communication is necessary in order to understand what is truly motivating each other when you have differing points of view. Courtship is a period you get more acquainted with your would-be spouse. Despite the fact that you are getting closer and knowing each other better, courtship period should not be equated to marriage. What you do with this period determines how your marriage will turn out to be. This is actually the foundational stage of marriage. God’s Word says: If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3). At this stage, you can’t move in or

sleep with your would-be partner in the bid to get to know each other better. It is ungodly, unhealthy and doesn’t allow you establish a good foundation for your marriage. To establish a good and godly foundation for your marriage, you need to accept Jesus who is a present help as your Lord and personal Saviour by saying this prayer: Dear Lord, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious Blood. I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Now I know I am born again! Congratulations! Till I come your way again next week, call or write, and share your testimonies with me through: E-mail: Tel. No: 234-1-7747546-8; 07026385437, 07094254102 For more insight, these books authored by me are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all the Living Faith Churches, and other leading Christian bookstores: Marriage Covenant, Making Marriage Work and Building a Successful Family.

Myths women need to know about safe sex and sexual hea Web of confusion People know the best place to get information about their sexual health is from their doctor, but for whatever reason—convenience, privacy, or anxiety and urgency—they may one day find themselves searching the Internet for answers to intimate and important questions. It is great to learn more about one’s body and the available choices, but explore those search results with caution: A recent Stanford University study on adolescent reproductive health found that health websites are often riddled with errors, omissions, and outdated advice, and that it’s not always easy to find the truth about common myths believed by many teenagers (and probably many adults as well!). Dr. Sophia Yen, a lead researcher and medicine specialist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in California in the United States, gave the facts behind these top sexual health misconceptions. You can catch an STD from a toilet seat Sexually transmitted diseases or infections can’t live outside the body for a long period of time— especially not on a cold, hard surface like a toilet seat. Plus, they aren’t present in urine, anyway (it’s usually sterile), so the chances of catching one from whoever used the bathroom before are slim to none, says Dr. Yen. What one do need to worry about, however, is what may seem like benign skin-to-skin or mouth-to-mouth contact. Kissing, for example, can spread herpes (and deeper kissing can even spread oral gonorrhea and chlamydia, Dr. Yen warns), while skin rubbing together can pass infections such as genital warts, herpes, scabies, and pubic lice.

You can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex It may seem like the odds are in one’s favor, but there’s no reason to risk it: A woman is just as likely to get pregnant the first time she has sex as any other. “In fact, some statistics say that 20 percent of people get pregnant within a month of starting sex,” says Dr. Yen.

could become pregnant since sperm can live for up to 72 hours in a woman’s reproductive tract. There is also the infamous latein-life pregnancy that can occur during perimenopause, when periods are erratic. Experts say it’s not safe to ditch birth control until she has not had a period for a year.

You can’t get pregnant during your period It is unlikely, but still possible—especially if she is not using a condom or birth control. Some women have long periods that overlap with the beginning of ovulation, which means they can be fertile even though they’re menstruating. Say she has a short cycle (21 days, for example) and her period lasts a week. If she has sex close to the end of her period, she

Women need a Pap smear when they turn 18 In 2003, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists changed its recommendation for Pap tests, also known as Pap smears; previously, the test was recommended immediately after a woman first has sexual intercourse or at age 18, whichever came first. Now, Pap tests aren’t recommended until women have been sexually active for about three years, or until they turn 21.

An early Pap test may seem harmless, but the stress of needing a Pap—often thought of as an uncomfortable and invasive procedure—may cause young women to avoid their gynecologist or refrain from asking about birth control. Young women should be able to approach their doctors and discuss these issues without the scrutiny of unnecessary tests, says Dr. Yen. Why the reason for the change? Most cases of human papillomavirus (HPV) clear up on their own within three years; it is only the cases that stick around longer—and will be picked up by a later Pap test— that are real causes for concern because they can lead to cervical cancer. The “morning after” pill causes an abortion

•Women should not rely on the myth that taking HPV vaccine can stop cervical cancer, rather they should have a regular pap smear

Plan B, also known as the “morning after” pill, is not the same as RU-486, a pill that causes an abortion. In fact, if a lady take Plan B when she is already pregnant—that is, if a fertilized egg has attached to the wall of her uterus—it won’t make a bit of difference. In previous research, more than 30 percent of sexually active adolescents said that they believed emergency contraceptives induce abortion. And in Dr. Yen’s study, 10 of the 34 websites studied failed to mention the difference between the two drugs. “No one likes the word ‘abortion’,” says Dr. Yen, “so I think a lot of websites aren’t going to state that Plan B is not, in fact, an abortive agent.” The “morning after” pill is not available to minors without a prescription As of April 2009, Plan B is available to women ages 17 and up, in some parts of the world, over the counter without a prescription. It has been available over the counter for those 18 and up since 2006, while individual states could make their own rulings about availability to minors. Nine states—Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington, and Vermont—have sold and will continue to sell Plan B directly to women of any age. Birth control pills make you gain weight Although clinical trial after clinical trial has been unable to prove a correlation between oral contraceptives and weight gain, this is still a common belief among women of all ages. Specifically, a review article published in 2006 analyzed 44 previous trials and found that



53 Coping with diseases

Mites, bed bugs, and fleas Prostate enlargement with Prof. Dayo Oyekole


ITES (dust mites) are hardly visible to the naked human eye and can be seen under a microscope. They look like a miniature cross between a spider and a crab. They feed on tiny scales of dead skin on human bodies. Mites are carried with dust and can provoke allergy, asthma, and skin rashes. The itch mite, Sarcaptesscabies, produces scabies. The infestation appears as red intensely itchy bumps. It can be treated with pyrethrin-like medications such asPermethrin®cream orLindane®lotion containing the chemical gammaxene. Mites are found in beds (mattresses and sheets), carpets, and furniture. One in-

vestigation showed 188 mites per gram of dust, therefore a teaspoonful of dust can contain hundreds of mites, unseen by human eyes. Upholstery and carpets should be cleaned by vacuum suction regularly and also washed every now and then if possible. Young couples that are establishing a home and starting a family should think ahead of health matters when designing and furnishing their homes. In the tropics, concrete, ceramic floors and tiles that can be wiped or cleaned with ease and routinely may be safer, health-wise, than wall-to wall carpets that can be a haven for dust mites and health hazards. Ornamental area carpets in

special areas can be used to break the monotony and these may be easier to clean than wall-to-wall carpets. Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown, oval non-flying tiny insects that look like tiny cockroaches of less than 7 mm in length. They live in textiles and upholstery. They are notorious for infestation of beds where human like to lie in peace. They can lodge in the cracks and folds of the bed mattress and frame. They can also be found in the inside corners of drawers, in curtains, and edges of carpets and are common in crowded human habitats. They like warm areas and can reproduce thrice annually. They feed by sucking blood from their hosts which may be humans or animals. Their bite is painless but it may result in a red bump or itch. They bite exposed areas of the skin including the face, neck, arms, and hands. One can escape their bite by going to sleep wrapped like Lazarus,

d sexual health while some participants did gain weight during their studies, there was no evidence that their birth control was to blame. “We’ve heard from several of our patients that they’re concerned about gaining weight on birth control,” says Dr. Yen. “And no woman wants to gain weight. I would rather prevent pregnancy than propagate a myth that’s not supported by science.” One type of contraceptive that may cause weight gain is injectable depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), commonly known as the birth control shot. In a study published in March 2009, University of Texas researchers linked the shot to an average 11pound weight gain over three years. IUD birth control is not safe for use in adolescents Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small objects inserted through the cervix and placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years. Because women don’t need to take a pill every day when using an IUD, it can be a convenient and long-term way to prevent pregnancy. Outdated information suggested that IUDs may increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease in women under 18. But as of 2007, ACOG has said that IUDs are a safe and highly effective birth-control method in most adults as well as adolescents—a population at particular risk for unintended pregnancy. If you get the HPV shot you’re safe from cervical cancer Gardasil and Cervarix are cervical cancer vaccines that

•Women need not worry on these myths, they should work towards achieving the reality block the two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that most frequently cause cervical cancer. Gardasil also protects against two types that cause the majority of genital warts. But about 30 percent of cervical cancers will not be prevented by these vaccines, so it’s important for all women, whether they’ve gotten the shot or not, to continue having regular Pap tests. Gardasil was approved for boys and men in 2009 to reduce the risk of developing genital warts. This may also help prevent the spread of cancer-causing HPV to their female partners. Douching is a healthy way to clean the vagina The vagina is selfcleansing, and douching actually causes more harm than good, according to

The National Women’s Health Information Center. The natural bacteria found in the vagina help keep it clean and healthy, and douching can disturb that balance and spread vaginal infections into the fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries. Additionally, douching does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. In fact, douching makes it easier for a woman to get pregnant because it pushes semen farther up into the vagina and cervix. Regular washing with warm water and mild, unscented soaps will help keep the outside of the vagina clean. Try to avoid scented tampons, pads, powders, and sprays, which can increase the chance of vaginal infections.

but this is not practical. They can survive for months without feeding therefore they may remain alive, waiting for you when you travel and return home. If you go renting a new home, the lice and other pests may be dead since noone has been living there, but bed bugs may be waiting. Therefore always clean and decontaminate a new habitat before you start residing there if you want to preserve your peace of body. Fleas are tiny (microscopic) creatures about 2 mm long that reside on humans. The word flea arouses disgust in some parts of the world. One day, in the USA, I was enthusiastic about going to what I thought they called the “flee market”. I thought such oneday, fleeing markets were open-air markets with all kinds of traders as we have in Africa and for me going there would be a day’s adventure. To my surprise, my white girlfriend was disgusted and total uninterested about going to the “flee market”. It was that day I learnt that the “flea market” was so called because you could pick up fleas from them. (They sell used second and third and fourth-hand products). The discovery was a kill-joy. I have recovered and I sometimes still visit flea markets but now with caution, knowing what to buy and what not to buy - no matter how cheap and good looking. Under a harsh economy, many of us are too poor to buy new clothes and must buy used clothes. There is no problem if one is aware that used items could be contaminated and one should wash them well, even with hot water, and press them thoroughly with hot irons before using them. When you bring such items from the market, keep them in the bag you brought them in until you can clean them so that you do not unknowingly contaminate things in your home. The flea that is a parasite on humans is Pulexirritans. It cannot fly but it has long strong back legs that enable it to leap around on a person’s body. Fleas can survive for a long time if unable to suck blood, therefore they can be retained in a vacant house. Their bites leave spots that look like mosquito bites but are often clustered. Fleas can transmit bacteria, viruses, microscopic worms, and other disease causing microorganisms to their human victim. Pets such as dogs and cats commonly have fleas. They can be killed with insecticides or insect growth regulators. Vacuum suctioning of carpets and upholstery can help to remove them from the home. Dr. ’Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA. For any comments or questions on this column, please Email or call 07028338910


ROSTATE enlargement is generally a disease of eld erly men; and it is characterized by urine retention, lead ing to severe pains, anxiety, discomfort, and sometimes, loss of consciousness. The full function of the prostate is not yet fully understood by scientists all over the world. However, it is known that as a gland, it produces fluid called ‘semen’ which is released by men, at the climax of sexual activity. The prostate gland will only grow and function under the influence of male hormones, the most important of which is called TESTOSTERONE, produced from the testicles. The prostate gland surrounds the neck of the bladder and the first part of the urethra goes through it. An enlarged prostate, presses on the urethra and decreases the size of the opening through it, or it forms a dam which holds back part of the urine. The causes of prostate enlargement are not very precise, but they are associated with hormonal imbalance; and available information indicates that most men who use drugs to improve their sexual performance tend to activate the level of their Testosterone hormone beyond the threshold, and consequently, they often end up developing prostate enlargement and related complications. The enlargement can be a simple type called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or it may be cancerous, that is, Malignant Prostatic Hyperplasia. Both the benign and malignant types usually present similar symptoms of frequency in urination, hesitancy, urgency, trickling flow of urine and in advanced stages, there is acute urine retention as a result of blockage of the urinary tract. A man suffering from enlarged prostate will first notice that he has to get up oftener than usual, to pass urine at night. The stream will be small and slow to start. A long time may be required to empty the bladder. Many men with enlarged prostate may have no further disturbance than the “nuisance” symptoms stated earlier. Other cases will get worse until the patient cannot empty the bladder, and must resort to a catheter for relief. Unfortunately, after the urine has once begun to be drawn by catheter, the danger of bladder infection is great. Also, the symptoms and problems of cystitis are likely to occur. Treatment and Control In Holistic Lifecare, it is strongly advocated that the best prospects of controlling Prostate Enlargement, is by going back to Nature. When symptoms of an enlarged prostate are noticed, it is advisable to avoid spices, condiments and alcoholic beverages; to lessen bladder irritation, which may promote infection. It is also important to avoid cold conditions or getting the feet wet, or holding the urine for too long. Prostate Enlargement is not new in African context. In fact, ethno-medicinal research has shown that herbal remedies are very effective, without complications or side effects. The holistic natural remedy being suggested for Prostate Enlargement is a combination of natural extracts of herbs such as Saw Palmetto, Cocos nucifera, Khaya ivorensis and Lycopersicum esculentum. For further information and consultation on Holistic Lifecare research and services, especially on Blood Infections, Infertility, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Chronic Debilitating Conditions as well as mental and social problems, please call on: 0803-3303897 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0803-330-3897 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit: Mosebolatan Holistic Lifecare Centre, Adeyalo Layout, Ogbere-Tioya, Off Olorunsogo Express Bridge, Ibadan. Website: Distance is no barrier, we can send remedies by courier if need be. We also have facilities for accommodation, admission and hospitalization in a serene and homely environment.



Freedom Park, Broad Street, Marina, for almost a century, was the might of British imperialism in Nigeria. The prison conditions were inhuman. Many condemned criminals breathed their last on the premises of the onehectare Her Majesty’s Prisons. The prison was not all about criminals, political activists like the late Sir Herbert Macaulay, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Anthony Enahoro, at one time or the other, were detained there. With the prison closed down in the early 70s and the inmates transferred to Ikoyi Prisons, the place was taken over by squatters. But the Lagos State government has transformed the place into a place of culture, creativity and relaxation without jettisoning its history. It also houses the Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery. Okorie Uguru captures the transformation


S the huge intimi dating iron door of Her Majesty’s Pris ons closed behind them and they were reluctantly ushered into this foreboding complex, to many of these unfortunate inmates in the past, it was their last contact with the world. The closure of the door was like a bright candle light extinguished, leaving only darkness. To this set of people, what was left were dates with the hangman. So, there was nothing good in this one hectare of prime land on the highbrow Broad Street, Lagos Island that extends to Campbell Street at the back. To others, the years spent behind the doors of this complex are years of the locusts and cankerworms that are best forgotten. It was a place that produced riveting emotions. Yet despite the grim nature of life in this place, it has played host to people from different levels of the society, from the common criminals to murderers; from top politicians like the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late


EMBERS of the Na tional Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) have endorsed the results of the NAIJA7WONDERS project. The results were presented to the 600 strong members association at its AGM which took place in Abuja last week. The members and its outgoing President Dayo Adeola welcomed the project with the promise that with the project travel agents as promoters of out bound travels will now look inwards. The Project Director of 7 wonders, Ikechi Uko, taking advantage of the mood engendered by the speech of Mr. Adeola and Alh Sherriff of Nihotours for agents to look inwards, told the audience that if 600 travel agents could generate

Chief Anthony Enahoro and Alhaji Lateef Jakande to royalties like the an Alake of Egbaland. It is part of the ironies of life that a place that had brought so much anguish to many is capable of bringing so much joy. It is now a celebrated venue for cultural activities. Such is the nature of life that at the exact location that used to be the hangman’s gallows is a theatre stage where writers could give winds to their creative imagination and artistes find fulfilment in creative performance. Her Majesty’s Prisons, Marina was built as a place to torment people and break their spirit. The prison rooms were built in single rooms of about three by five feet space. The prison was built in 1872, 11 years after the signing of cession signed by then Oba of Lagos, Oba Dosunmu, in 1861. The prison system started with the British colonisation of Lagos in 1861. They established colonial law and order and it was manifested in the building and commencement of op-

•A section of Freedom Park

Freedom Park

Nature meets arts eration within eleven years of the cession of Lagos. The Prisons Ordinance was passed in 1876 and led to the evolution of a colonial prison system in Nigeria. The original gaol was said to consist of eight cells surrounded by a mud wall. It

could accommodate up to about 20 prisoners. However, in 1885 this temporary colonial gaol was replaced with a new Lagos prison. It was built with bricks, especially imported from England and the whole prison cost about 16,000 pounds.


While Nigeria was struggling for independence, a number of personalities were accommodated at the Broad Street Prisons for being too vocal and antagonistic to the government of the day. Herbert Macaulay, for instance, was given six


Travel agents endorse 7 Wonders, partners Abuja Bantaba $1billion dollars in 2011 on the BSP platform, then they can generate more than a million visitors to Nigeria if they embrace NAIJA7WONDERS as a destination marketing project. He said he had made presentations to the Federal Government, which through NTDC, have started marketing the 7 wonders and also to the tour operators under the aegis of NATOP and now to NANTA. Mr. Uko listed the 7 wonders of Obudu Resort, Osun Grove, Sukur Landscape, Benin Moat, Kano Walls, Idanre Hills and the war museum and invited people to visit the sites using the entry points of Lagos and

•Co-ordinator of Naija Seven Wonders, Ikechi Uko (second right)presenting the result of the search to NANTA officials

Abuja. He said agents would be licensed by Naija7wonders before they can market the sites as there was a need to

months’ imprisonment in 1928 for alleging in his Lagos Daily News that the colonial government had planned to kill the Eleko in a car explosion. Prince Adeleke Adedoyin and Sir Adeyemo Alakija, two prominent lawyers then, were also guests

ensure security of visitors. After two terms, Mr. Adeola handed over the presidency of NANTA to Kano-based Alhaji Aminu

Agoha, with Tinuke Nwakohu, as 1st Deputy President and Susan Akporaiye as 2nd Deputy National President who were all elected at the end of the AGM. The new executive has reiterated its desire to reinforce the cooperation with the organizers of Abuja Bantaba. According to Mrs. Nwakohu, Abuja Bantaba, a travel expo taking place at Abuja Sheraton on April 25 , offers the new team an opportunity to reach more of the travellers and sell the need to use travel professionals in this era of internet bookings. This comes as United Airlines, the new American airline that flies to Houston,

will be joining other leading travel companies in Abuja Bantaba for the second edition of the travel expo.They will be among the new comers this year and the ATQ magazine will be presenting awards to the top 30 hotels in Abuja. The ATQ magazine is the organizer of Abuja Bantaba and publishes the annual Top 100 Hotels in Nigeria. The last time the ATQ magazine organized Abuja Top 30 was three years ago. Abuja Bantaba taking place at Abuja Sheraton on the 25th of April will be in response to the wishes of last year’s exhibitors who wanted another experience of the travel speed dating expo.ATQ has moved the event from midyear July to April in order to allow the public buy their summer holidays at the event.



•Aerial view of the park in the prison cells at different times for different reasons. Michael Imodu, the first labour leader, was another guest for obvious reasons. The prison was closed down in the late 1960s and the inmates were moved to Ikoyi Prisons The metamorphosis of a prison to a park started in 1999 when a group, the Creative Intelligence Agency(C.I.A.), a collaboration of architects, designers and artistes that came together to propose solutions and ideas for Lagos in 2000. Total Consult proposed the creation of a park within the Lagos metropolis and chose the old Broad Street Prison abandoned for long for the project. Total Consult visited the site to collect necessary data. The group said:”In the course of this, we made incredible discoveries that was to shape the thinking and concept for what we eventually named Freedom Park 2000. “Firstly on our site visit and walkabout, providence crossed our path with a certain Mr. John Ogundare who claimed to have lived in the area during the operation of the site as a prison and also worked there after the prisoners had been transferred to

the new Ikoyi Prisons. He gave us access to the site that was then a squatter colony and regaled us with stories that engaged our curious minds. He spoke of colonial oppression, prisoners hung at the gallows, Alake’s walking from the prison to the court then at today’s Tinubu Square in manacles, Awo and Esther Johnson.” The name Freedom Park was got from the emotive story of a convicted murderer, Esther Johnson. Mrs. Johnson was a Nigerian who originated from Benin and a seamstress by profession and was married to a white man. She arrived at her residence on one fateful day and discovered her husband in their home with another native woman. He told her he could have as many native women as he pleased. Either from continuous provocation, or from simply irrational anger, she took a pair of scissors, and, in an ensuing scuffle, stabbed him at the base of his neck. Ironically, she killed him with the equipment he had bought for her. According to the narrator, Mrs. Johnson was tried and found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death. Broad Street Prisons, the only maximum security prison

where death sentences were carried out, was her destination. She was transferred there in a Black Maria from Tinubu Square. The trial of Mrs. Johnson occurred in 1956. During this period, a white superintendent handled the prison. On arrival, she was asked if she wished to appeal which she refused with a hopeless cry. “I want to die, kill me and let me die.” She attempted to meet her death by going on hunger strike. This not being enough, they gave her hope, a light at the end of a dark tunnel and promises of freedom only if she would eat her rations. This she did, only

to be executed finally after six long months on the death row in 1956. The closure of Broad Street Prisons commenced two years later, and till now, despite many attempts by developers, remains desolate. Currently, the area has been taken over by weeds, trees and squatters. Currently, except for the original wall that is still standing and some of the artifacts in the museum gallery, the dark memory of a prison has been banished. It is refreshing that in the suffocating environment of Broad Street, Marina, a place like the Freedom Park exists. The beauty of the park is the ability to create a hub for creativity and nature and yet still holding to the prison aura. There is a gallery for exhibition. The prison cells have been transformed into stalls where things could be sold. The female section of the prison has a kind of mini open theatre. There is a kind of walkway with an overhanging ornamental plant blooming. There are relaxation points for visitors and it is good for family visits. Other sections of the park include Pergola Cell, Skeletal Cell, Reflection Pool, Tower and so on. Although Freedom Park is less than half a kilometre from the famous MUSON Centre in Onikan, Freedom Park has a more complete package. Unlike MUSON which is just about coming for a programme, it is a tourism spot that both locals and foreigners could visit, learn about an aspect of the country’s history and enjoy and that combines nature and arts.

•Female prison section now converted to an amphitheatre

Titbits NTDC pledges support for Aagboko Day B

Y way of expanding the frontiers of tourism promotion in Nigeria, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation has endorsed the Aagboko Day Festival slated for April 7 and 8, 2012 in Otukpo, Benue State. The Director-General of the NTDC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, made the announcement during a courtesy call to the tourism village by a team from the Aagboko Community Development Association led by the President General, Chief Jonathan A. Ocheibi. Chief Ocheibi informed Otunba Runsewe that the courtesy call was in response to the community’s wish to

invite the NTDC to the 2012 edition of the festival with the theme, “Celebration of Outstanding Performance” noting that like previous ones, this year’s edition will be hosted by the Senate President, Senator David A.B. Mark. Speaking further, the President General said the primary aim of the visit was predicated on dual functions, first to invite the NTDC boss to the festival and second to humbly solicit the corporation’s support of this year’s edition, especially in areas of publicity, cultural troupes, security, entertainment, amongst others.

Chief Ocheibi apologized for the short notice, explaining that the festival is geared towards a committed course for building peace, progress and socioeconomic development of the Aagboko community which, according to him, is the largest clan in Otukpo extraction, while also striving to further integrate the Idoma nation and promote their common heritage. In his words, “Sir, we deeply regret gate-crashing into your organization with our request, considering the hard times. The annual festival is geared towards a committed course for peace

building, progress and socio-economic development of the people. During the 2012 edition, we intend to create conducive avenues that will spur and promote our cultural heritage through dancing, music, arts and other entertainments.” The association’s leader intimated that the 2012 edition will be organized in two segments saying that the first will retain a spiritual context, culminating in many ancestral dances, while the grand finale will showcase the formal ascension to the throne of Och’Ewulo by a son of the soil, Chief Akatu Ahubi.

Ibom Tropicana: Tourism redefined

•Artiste impression of the Tropicana complex Adeola AGORO


N every nation of the world, the issue of tourism is of great value. It cannot be underemphasized because it is regarded as a veritable avenue for economic gain. Tourism facilities have distinctive features which make them basically attractive sites and uniquely special. Either natural or man-made, tourism is an avenue for maximum relaxation, entertainment and income generation. That’s what led the administration of Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio to give the state a facelift and project the state image to the outside world with the Ibom Tropicana , an entertainment, hospitality and business complex. A middle-aged man , Mr Enobong Urua, who was seen at the Udo-Udoma Avenue, staring at a wonderful edifice not of nature but of human and architectural prowess, could not hide his feelings any longer and shouted “Abasi” meaning God in his local dialect and started showering encomiums on Governor Akpabio for the wonderful infrastructural development he has bought to the state in such a short period of time. I got attracted by his comments and asked him why he was full of praise for the governor. He replied with a smile and said ever since he was born he has not witnessed such infrastructural development in a short period of time by any administration. That was why he could not hold his feeling after going round the town and seeing massive infrastructural development going on in the state and on getting to the Tropicana project site, seeing the pace of work going on there, he could not hold his feelings any longer. As a journalist, being attracted to the so-much-talkedabout Ibom Tropicana project I had to do a lot of research to know the benefits of the project to the people of the state. I discovered that it has some features that will make it a place to be after its completion, going by the model and progress of work on site. It’s definitely a “Paradise on earth”. It has some distinctive features which include; 15-storey five star hotel with 250 bedrooms, galleria with multiple cinema hall, international standard theme park with waterfalls, 10,000 seater dome/ conference centre, complimentary services monorail / mini disney, shopping mall and employment generation of over 5000 people. The five star hotel with 250 bedrooms is of course of international standard and can serve as a hospitality concern for people within and outside the state for lodging and accommodation. Various cities are noted for their hotels and with this projection definitely this hotel will be popular beyond the state, thereby inviting patronage from outside the state. Akpabio’s administration wants to project this five star hotel alongside that of Ibom LeMeridian and Golf Resort hotels, thereby making Akwa Ibom a state with reputable hospitability facilities. With another hotel of international standard in place, definitely one can say Akwa Ibom is a home away from home. Also the Galleria with multiple cinema halls has made Ibom Tropicana above the classes of Silver birds Galleria in Lagos and Abuja. The six hall cineplex affords the opportunity to watch movies meant for cinemas, here in Akwa Ibom instead of going to Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt. The question is why go outside to catch fun when you can maximally be entertained here courtesy of Dr. Godswill Akpabio’s administration, who has turned the state capital into an entertainment city like Hollywood.

•The Tropicana complex

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Preparing for the Evening Time launched


•From left: Pastor Samson Kolawole, Pastor Emmanuel Adebayo Ojo, Pastor Femi Omowunmi and his wife, Oluwakemisola, Pastor Peter Oyewole and Mrs. Florence Adeojo

•Deacon Sunday Oderinde (left) and Mr. Sola Omowunmi

ASTOR Solomon Femi Omowumi, a commu nicator with the US Consulate, has written a book entitled Preparing for the Evening Time. . Omowumi, who is also the district pastor of the Gospel Faith Mission International (GOFAMINT), Ikorodu, Lagos, wrote the book as a result of the demand for handouts by church members while teaching as the Men’s Fellowship secretary. The launching of the book, which took place at Honey Meal Restaurant Hall, Ikorodu, was witnessed by members of his church, friends, family members and staff of the US Consulate. They included Lagos State

Adejo DAVID governor represented by the Special Adviser on Special Duties, Idowu Ajanaku; Joke Omotunde, representing the US Consulate General, Lagos, Joseph Stafford; the Baale of Makodo, Chief Ajiborisha; General Secretary, Gospel Faith Mission International, Pastor Emmanuel Adebayo Ojo; Gbenga Ayejuyole and his assistant, Pastor Samson Kolawole. The chairman of the occasion, Peter Oyewole, gave glory to God for the success of the book. On the importance of the book , he said: ”After read-

ing the manuscript of this book, I focused my mind on the end of time when God will come and judge mankind and give everybody rewards for his deeds.” Oyewole described the author as a long-time friend who writes biographies for people. Omowumi, in his speech, said he was prompted to write the book by the advice of a friend, Abel Afolabi, who is the publisher of the book. He said Preparing for the Evening Time, which features a metaphoric title, would be of great benefit to mankind.

•From left: Mrs Olufunmilayo Somoye, Mrs. Theresa Oladeji, Mrs. Joke Omotunde and Mr. Akintunde Akinjole



HAT great leader of men. I mean that legend of all times. The enigmatic Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, clocked 60 years of eventful achievements on earth March 29, 2012. I say kudos to this leader among leaders. An enigma, and a rare gem, who had made an indelible footprint on the sand of time. By every imaginable standard, this silent and methodical revolutionary remains the foremost hero of the Nigerian democratic struggle. Can you just venture to close your eyes, and imagine the uncheering dullness colourlessness and total absence of hope, that would have stared you in the face, in the absence on the progressive tendency epitomized in this enigmatic lion of Bourdillon. Indeed, from whatever angle you look at it, Tinubu remains a pace setter, a tower of inspiration, and a model, who set the pace for others to follow. He remains a riddle that no one has been able to untie. He remains a myth, a legend and an enigma. To be sure, what makes the difference between great and successful men on one hand, and the less accomplished ones is that while the former has the uncanny insight or were by certain stroke of luck, able to identify their destiny, the other category only labour and toddle in the labyrinth. They struggle against fate, while the likes of Tinubu flows with the current of their destiny. But apart from this, is the fact that Tinubu is a special creature, on whom his maker, would have devoted a remarkably extra time not only in moulding, but fashioning his destiny. Fact is that Asiwaju is a child of dominion, who is simply born to rule, and born to lead. That in a nutshell is his destiny, pure and simple.

Tinubu: Celebrating an icon at 60 Kunle ADEMOYE And the day his maker was fashioning his destiny, that very moment, he equipped him with all the tools for dominion and the vital tools for a victorious battle of life. No wonder therefore, that successive attempts to suffocate and emasculate him politically over the years, had all been in vain. This is why today, this revered arrow-head of the progressives and the leader of political opposition, remains an icon of our time, and a political general of uncommon class and stature, who bestride the Nigerian politics like a colossus. But besides this, is his sincerity of mind; his genuineness of motive, his inner beauty, the remarkable immensity of his philanthropy and his humanitarian spirit; his unrivalled sense of excellence, his vision and hard work, his courage, tenacity and indefatigable industry. It is not even his attainment that is only worthy of emphasis in this respect. Going down the memory lane, when you remember the long, tortuous and convoluted path to success, the thistles and thorns, strewn across the lane, and the almost insuperable obstacle laced on the path to success, then you cannot but marvel at the inimitable lionheart of this enigma. One refers in this respect to the certificate saga and the severe heat it generated; ditto the allegation of drug dealing by the teeming hordes of his envious traducers, whose liliputian frame against this ever rising star in the political firmament, makes them acutely jittery and panicky. Looking back, one cannot but mar-

•Tinubu vel, that the intense heat of crisis generated by this deliberately concocted tissue of false hood were enough to send many a strong soul, reeling into the ditch of abysmal failure, including even the irredeemable loss of earned hard reputation, garnered over the years. If the fore-going could be considered more than enough problem on their own, then imagine Obasanjo’s sadistic withholding of the local government money accurable to the Lagos State coffers, from the federation account. What greater blow, could one deliver to the jugular of a leader like

Tinubu, who is obsessed with the vision of nothing but the best for his people and the state as a whole, in every facet of endeavours economic, political, social and other ramifications of life. Of course, the overriding aim of “god Obasanjo”, at the time in question, was to incapacitate the state with acute financial anaemia, as will immediately accelerate its collapse and disintegration, leading the people to rise against Tinubu, and bring about his fatal fall. That Tinubu was able to rise up to the occasion, to make Lagos a show piece amongst the league of states in the federation, remains a tribute to his charisma and administrative wizardry. And this is not to even mention the fire – spitting propensity of the Ogunlewes, the Absorobis, the Bode Georges among others, whom Obasanjo then used as his foot-soldiers, in his avowed bid to overrun the old west particularly Lagos State, in his bid to shrug off the ignoble toga of a ruler without a base, as notoriously conceived of him. The challenge which this posed to Asiwaju could well be understood within the context of the pride of place, Obasanjo accords Lagos as the melting pot of all the tribes and sub-ethnic groups in Nigeria, and the industrial and commercial capital of Nigeria and West Africa, which if captured by the PDP, paves the way for other states of the southwest, to join the fray. Yet, while other states fell to the commando-fashion electoral democracy of Obasanjo’s Realpolitiks, Tinubu’s surprising sway in Laos State, remains to date, a mystery, which in turn has all the more succeeded in making the man a myth

that no one had been able to unravel. If this is the case, as surely as it is, then the later addition of Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Edo States, makes him even a greater mystery. So devastating a blow, it was, that the PDP Oligarchs and their stooges alike are yet to recover from the dazing blow. And I guess never will they. It is therefore against this back ground, that one would understand such frenetic desperation that impelled the rope-in, contrived by them in their attempt to get him nailed by the Code of Conduct Bureau. This desperation to get Tinubu hounded in the gulag could be more poignantly understood, not only by the dooms day media propaganda of the Bureau, which expressly foreclosed any possibility of this beloved man of the people, escaping the booby trap already laid by the bureau – indeed, the fact that the reactionary powers could descend so low as to order their shameless goons to turn back the teeming mass of Tinubu’s supporters at Lokoja – on their journey from Osun State to Abuja, to honour their worthy idol with their presence, goes to show the extent of their pettiness. Long life Asiwaju, may your shadow never grow less. Long Live the Great Action Congress of Nigeria; Long Life for the progressives Long Life for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Asiwaju indeed lives forever. •Hon. Ademoye, ex-lawmaker, was Chairman, Committee on Housing, Lagos State House of Assembly



58 News

THE NATION, SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2012 •Continued from Back Page consequences of his utterances and his submission could just solve the incessant crises at the NFF. It was good news to hear Popo exonerate Harrison Jalla of any blame as it concerns dragging the game to the civil courts. As an insider in the players’ union, Popo said that Jalla doesn’t have the mandate to initiate such court processes. So, who did it? The answer to this question could lead to other posers, you never can tell. Otherwise, we will continue to allow those who caused the problem to try to fix it. It explains where we are today because such a setting amounts to using fuel to quell petrol, all because it is a liquid. I no know book o!

Popo’s potshot Popo’s swipe at exinternationals being the major problem of the crises is exciting. He shocked the Senators and his audience when stated that the reason why exinternationals return to the country to hussle for NFF positions after having earned mega-bucks in Europe was because they were used to being given fish to eat than to be shown how to fish. The free cash mentality imbibed in their playing days explains why they never aspire to higer levels where their contemporaries in Europe are today. I dey laugh o! Honourable minister, we need to establish if Popo’s utterances were potshot fired at those who disagreed with him or the gospel truth. Aren’t the allegations weighty? We are waiting sir.


It’s good to know that NFF eggheads have opted to treat the match-fixing case as a criminal offence. The decision to hand the matter over to the police is the best. The police have the capacity to do the job without fear or favour. The telecommunication firms would have the courage to provide details of the referees’ dialogues with the club officials and vice versa. The call logs of those mentioned will show clearly what was said. Those indicted can be brought before the law. This will also serve as a deterrent to others who may be nursing such crimes. I truly hope that the police have been given all the details. I hope it is not a case of blowing hot air. The Aminu Maigari-led NFF must sanitise our domestic league to rid it of match-fixers. And I trust the police to smoke out the fixers.

Samson Siasia’s winPolice and the match dow

PUBLIC NOTICE THE MAKURDI CLUB 1930 RC NO. 3304 M NOTICE is hereby given to the general public that following the demise of its Trustees to wit Dr. S. C. Ferguson and Mrs. Patricia B. Farrant, the Club at its last Annual General Meeting held at the Club House in Makurdi on 31st August, 2011 unanimously elected the following as the new Trustees of the Club. 1. Dr. Ameh Idoko 2. Justice Terna Ufefa Puusu 3. Professor David Iornongo Ker 4. Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh 5. Mr. Emmanuel Omanga Atini Any objection to the above persons or any one of them becoming Trustees or a Trustee of the Club should be forwarded to the Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420, Tigris Crescent, Maitama, Abuja within twenty-eight days of this publication. Arc. G. A. L. Gbe Chairman

Chief Yima Iwaga Honorary Secretary

It’s good to know that erstwhile Super Eagles chief coach Samson Siasia is being considered for the Orlando Pirates of South Africa’s job. It will be great watching Siasia shout out instructions to his players during the South Africa league. I’m sure that he has learnt a few lessons from the Super Eagles experience. Shuiabu Amodu passed this path before and returned to the Eagles after he was eased out. I won’t be surprised if Siasia goes the Amodu way. What I will look out for if eventually Siasia is picked is his interpersonal relationships with his players. He needs to know that there cannot be any club without the players. He is the players’ boss but he must know too that his performance will not be judged by how educative and exciting his training sessions are, but how the players interpret what they have been taught on the field. Players will die on the pitch for coaches who respect their feelings. They will give their best for coaches who would accept blame for poor results than pass the buck. Siasia, I wish you all the best. I know that you are sober but the glory rests not in how many times you have fallen but how well you have learnt from every fall. May you never fall again! Good luck.













Since those hoodlums have been as shameless as to have sex with unwilling pupils... we need not kill them, but we should remove that ‘weapon’ with which they had done what they did and then let them go in peace. —Tunji Adegboyega


HE is charming. She is graceful. Her beauty is dignified in that peculiar Af rican style. She carries herself with poise and a calm serenity. Her sense of fashion – tastefully designed African fabrics – creates the impression of a proud cultural patriotism. Even when you disagree with her views and ideas, you cannot but admire the bright mind of Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and coordinating Minister of the economy. But scratch deeply enough and you will find that this admittedly admirable woman may be African in name, carriage and fashion sense. In terms of her intellectual orientation and ideological disposition, she is unapologetically a daughter of the west. This is certainly why that intellectual bastion of the current masters of our present iniquitous, inequitable and unjust global order, The Economist magazine, has thrown its considerable weight behind the Nigerian icon’s bid to become the next President of the World Bank. One of the reasons why The Economist believes that President Barack Obama’s choice, Jim Yong Kim, an American public-health professor, is undeserving of the job is that “In an introduction to a 2000 book called “Dying for Growth”, he wrote that “the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of men and women”, quoted Noam Chomsky and praised Cuba for “prioritising social equity”. If you ask me, I would think that this is exactly the kind of thinking required of a leadership that can fundamentally transform an institution like the World Bank into one that can truly promote equitable global development rather than the interest of the dominant few as it currently does. The Economist is convinced that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has requisite experience in government, finance and economics and is thus better qualified for the World Bank job than either Mr. Kim or Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo. According to the influential magazine, “Ms Okonjo-Iweala is an orthodox economist, which many will hold against her. But if there is one thing the world has discovered about poverty reduction in the past 15 years, it is that development is not something rich countries do to poor ones. It is something poor countries manage for themselves, mainly by the sort of policies that Ms Okonjo-Iweala has pursued with some success in Nigeria.” It would appear that the Leader writers of The Economist believe that the current global economic order and its institutionalized inequities and injustices have been divinely ordained and have no historical antecedents. They do not appreciate the role of centuries of slavery, colonialism and neo colonial exploitation in bringing about the current order that enables a microscopic

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Bank and the rest of us

‘ Okonjo-Iweala minority to reap huge profits while the majority of mankind wallow in poverty. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) among others preside over a world economy that has the requisite technology to banish hunger from the face of the earth while billions continue to sink deeper into misery and poverty. These International Financial Institutions are responsible over the last two decades for neo liberal Structural Adjustment Policies that rolled back the frontiers of the state, scaled down the responsibility of government in promoting social welfare, virtually wiped out the middle class in most African countries and worsened the dilemma of underdevelopment in Africa. In a rigorous critique of the World Bank and IMF’s dogmatic free market fundamental-

Under her watch, the country has continued to experience the abnormality of growth without development. De-industrialization continues apace. Unemployment soars. Agriculture stagnates. Poverty deepens. Yes, she helped popularize the otherwise laudable concept of due process but this has been effectively Nigerianized. Public officers now meticulously follow due process in criminally looting the public treasury

ism, Professor Noam Chomsky notes:”How did Europe and those who escaped its control succeed in developing? Part of the answer again seems clear: by radically violating approved free market doctrine. That conclusion holds true from England to the East Asian growth area today, surely including the United States, the leader in protectionism from its origins”. He continues: “The UN Human Development Report (1996) stresses the vital importance of government policies in “spreading skills and meeting basic social needs as a springboard for basic economic growth”. Neo-liberal doctrines, whatever one thinks of them, undermine education and health, increase inequality and reduce labour’s share in income; that much is not seriously in doubt”.

I am completely oblivious of what The Economist means when it refers to “the sort of policies that Ms Okonjo-Iweala has pursued with some success in Nigeria”. The magazine should have given concrete examples of these policy successes either during her first outing under the Obasanjo presidency or her latest incarnation as President Jonathan’s Economic policy guru. The payment of over $12 billion to the country’s external creditors in one fell swoop to exit the Paris debt Club remains an achievement of doubtful value. The promised gains have not materialized. Infrastructure remains parlous while the country is gradually amassing new debts.. Under her watch, the country has continued to experience the abnormality of growth without development. De-industrialization continues apace. Unemployment soars. Agriculture stagnates. Poverty deepens. Yes, she helped popularize the otherwise laudable concept of due process but this has been effectively Nigerianized. Public officers now meticulously follow due process in criminally looting the public treasury It is my firm conviction that the global economy will benefit little from an orthodox economist at the head of the World Bank at this time. Orthodox economic science is itself in an analytical and theoretical quandary. The fabled dismal science has never been in a more dismal state as it desperately seeks solutions to protracted global economic problems that will not go away. Two new books that analyze in detail the intellectual poverty of contemporary economic science are “The Delusions of Economics” by Professor Gilbert Rist and “The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinkers Guide To Micro-Economics” by Professors Rod Hill and Tony Myatt. One economist who has thought profoundly and written copiously on the management of the contemporary global capitalist economy and its ever increasing cycles of stagnation and crises is the Egyptian, Samir Amin. As far back as 1998, he had written the book “Capitalism In The Age of Globalization” in which he discusses not just necessary changes in the management of the international economy but also requisite adjustments in the nation-state political system in line with the emergence of a globalized market. “This world-class economist is a serious Nobel Prize contender”, the journal on Economic Development and Cultural Change commented at that time on the book. But this radical Marxist thinker cannot be the favourite of The Economist magazine. If her admirers believe that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is indeed the economic development genius they claim, they should kindly leave her alone to help tend Nigeria’s sick economy back to good health. That is far more important to us than the prestige of the World Bank presidency.

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday

Popo’s potshot


UR football is in the pit. Rather than lift it out, we want to spread cello phane to cover it. Yet, we expect to stand on it without grave consequences. We have had several intelligent Sports Ministers, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi inclusive. Why they bite the bait of NSC monitoring how the N3billion released in four delayed quarters given to NFF leaves much to be desire off. NSC’s insistence on monitoring how the NFF spends the government’s chicken change can be likened to a father whose kids are enjoying scholarships because of their brilliance, yet he must pay their school fees since it is his right to train them. Until thieving sports administrators are jailed, the crises will continue unabated. Sending them to jail will restore the confidence of investors to put cash into sports

development. If the Federal Government stops funding football today, the game won’t die. Many will celebrate because they are sure that any decision made by the Glass House will stand. A lot of credible organisations don’t want to do business with government because of its instability. I recall one of the foreign investors invited to Nigeria for football business who was miffed that those he discussed with in Europe six months earlier had been removed from office. The foreign investor was in the country to formalise a deal that had passed several stages, with the documents signed by the officials before they got the boot. His body language while discussing with the new management was such that it didn’t come as a shock when the deal collapsed. We have seen quality deals struck by Football House chiefs overturned by Presidential fiat, most times due to party allegiance.

We have also witnessed situations where NSC eggheads lied to NFF chiefs over who to pick for certain deals, citing the government’s thinking on the matter. At the risk of repeating myself, there is the urgent need for Minister Abdulahi to remove NFF from his ministry’s supervision. Recall ex-international Austin Popo’s disquieting revelation that some ministry officials plotted Nigeria’s fall at the South Africa 2010 World Cup in an Abuja hotel room. Popo named some NSC top-shots and those who many, including the minister, thought were the aggrieved stakeholders. From what Popo said, it must be clear to the minister that some people think that the NFF can only work, if they or their cronies are in charge. In other climes, those Popo named at the Senate Committee on Sports’ Public Hearing would have stepped aside so that the veracity of the ex-international’s allegations

can be ascertained. Not here. If those that the government assigned the task of ensuring that Nigeria does well in international competitions can assemble people to ensure that the Super Eagles fail at the South Africa 2010 World Cup as early as May 3, 2010, shouldn’t the minister ask such people to quit their positions or he sends them on leave to allow for proper investigation. Popo’s allegations are grievous, considering the fact that Nigerians are passionate about soccer. The minister must confront those Popo mentioned to find out what happened on May 3. Was Popo just grandstanding? Or was he playing the spoil-sport, having lost out in the permutations? Happily, those whose names Popo mentioned were present on the floor of the Senate. They are yet to deny Popo’s claims. Minister sir, is this not an act of sabotage against the nation? Can we not see selfish agenda in Popo’s submission? Should such those plotting to destroy what brings joy to Nigerians be embraced? Popo, an elder in the church, knows the

•Continued on Page 58

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The Nation, April 7, 2012  
The Nation, April 7, 2012  

The Nation, April 7, 2012